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The Hero’s Journey in Contemporary Romance by Skylar M. Cates

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Skylar, here. Ready to discuss my newest release Secrets of You.

If you know the series from previous book, then you know how unique River is. If my series is new to you, then I think you’ll really enjoy meeting River and Morgan!

From the moment I started the series, I already planned to have River’s story. River is the lonesome hero from the books. It got me thinking about how hard it is to write a hero on a quest these days. Stories set in other times can have the hero sail to foreign lands or fight the devil. But what’s a modern hero supposed to do? (Although, jeez, I have seen some modern devils lately in the news)

I wanted River to have a quest.  A quest that involved a kind act.

What are some elements of a hero’s journey? Here are a few. The list in bold are archetypes, not mine. The bolded parts are from a quick Google search.

Since I don’t want to spoil anything, I am keeping it rather vague, but I do mention some plot points below.

I thought it’d be fun to see how River measured up to these elements of the hero on the quest:

The hero gets a call to an adventure.

In River’s case, this begins with the money. Although it began really in book one Here for You with a death of somebody he loved.

The hero refuses the call.

Faced with uncertainty, the hero tries to turn away. This fits River. When he first gets the money from a lawsuit, he freezes. He feels burdened to figure out what to do all alone, but then his friends and Morgan motivate him to move forward.

Morgan and River both fight their mutual attraction. To me this is the call most romance MCs will try and refuse until lust/love wins.

The hero crosses to a new land/threshold.

River and Morgan do travel to several charities and encounter people out of their normal lives.

Additionally, while River stays in America, he does travel to his roots at one point in the novel. Although it is a homecoming of sorts, I think he’s also charting unfamiliar territory as he confronts his past.

The hero faces an ordeal.

The ordeal for a modern hero would be whatever he fears. It does not have to be external, although it can be.

River fears he is cursed. Only when he confronts this worry can he be free of it.

The hero has a reward.

Well, duh. This one is easy, lol. River gets to be with Morgan. Sex and love are awesome rewards in any romance. *Grins*

On a deeper note, he also gets to see the money put to good use. Kindness is a quest in our modern society that is so full of negativity and consumption these days.

I enjoyed writing about the two main characters: they are both kind and caring. At least I crafted them to be this way, and I hope readers might agree.

The hero returns from his journey.

The transformative power in romance is love, of course. So it makes sense being loved would be the ultimate treasure for River. The book ends with Morgan and River together.

It’s amazing how these ancient values of the hero can still shape romances of today. This wasn’t something I thought of until I was composing blog topics, but it might be a list that I keep handy as I write the next book!

Thanks for hosting me!

Secrets of You – Sunshine and Happiness Book 4


It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love—it’s not something he will consider—until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.




Review by Truus

Great read. Powerful, heartbreaking and full of emotions. All written in a convincing way!
An extended story, book four in this series. I didn’t read the other three, but this can easily be read as a stand alone. I guess the other books are also about the circle of friends.

River and Morgan

River closed his heart a long time ago. His secrets are heavy on his shoulders. He lives a withdrawn life with his friends.

Morgan moves away from home….. away from his father who criticized everything about him.

He will live at his friends house where also his crush River lives….
River knows about this crush but he will never give in because he is convinced he don’t deserve happiness and all his secrets will never be exposed.

All the friends are going on a cruise except Morgan and River…. they are alone in the house… alone but also together…..
And one way or the other….they are hot for each other and both feel very lonely.

They are very different, Morgan extrovert, funny and positive and River introvert, grumpy and convinced he is cursed. Both had their traumas.

When River finally trust Morgan with his heart the most beautiful things are happening.
When Morgan finds out who River really is….. he knew he was right to trust his heart because his heart was right from the start.

The personalities of Morgan and River are perfect put down and developed, piece by piece they were opened up. River has more skeletons in the closet than Morgan but both have their hard part given in life.

The way this is put down was just…. close to the heart and convincing. It really felt like I was in the middle of this journey and was given a look in every (dark) corner which finally get some light on it. Not overdone, well balanced with all the parts of real life in it. A very pleasurable read!!

“Imperfect and real”

Recommend for the ones who love an endearing close to the heart story. With plenty steamy parts and a laugh and a tear.

Now I want to read all the other books from this serie ‘Sunshine and Happiness’

Star Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

~ ARC provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review ~


About the Author

Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.




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  • I love this series… really looking forward to reading River’s story… he has had me intrigued forever…
    When my sister in law was diagnosed with stomach cancer i travelled 7 hrs x 3 times to help my niece care for her. This was not a hard thing to do… i loved my sister in law and miss her greatly every day

  • Congrats on the new release, Skylar. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the series.
    I am trying very hard to not do one kind thing, but live my life giving to others. A helping hand, a listening ear, a smile. Small things that are easy to do and make a world of difference.

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