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This book sucked me in right from the start, which surprised me since it’s part of a series. I know lots of other books are supposed to be standalones within a series, but it usually takes me a little time to catch up with who the various characters are. M. Tasia did such a good job of character introduction that even though I haven’t read the earlier books, I connected with everyone right away.
Carlos is a gentle giant of a man; being over 7 feet tall his physical presence scares a lot of people. The fact that he has a horrible scar around his neck only makes it worse. But Carlos is a survivor of a horrible, wretched, abusive childhood, and even through all that, he grew up to be a kind and beautiful soul.
Clay Everett is a slightly rough-around-the-edges cop who is still nursing a broken heart after being left at the altar a few years back. He absolutely never planned on falling in love again. Particularly with a huge, gentle man who also happens to be a world famous artist. Carlos is terribly shy and reclusive due to his abusive childhood, which brings out every protective instinct Clay has. Clay even surprises himself by going toe-to-toe with Miguel, Carlos’ over-protective brother, in order to keep him safe from a stalker from his past.
The couple is able to navigate their budding relationship in spite of all their challenges, and it’s super satisfying. Carlos is a quick and easy read with characters who are both broken and kind. I plan to read the other books in The Gates series, because I enjoyed Carlos so much.