Beyond The Surface by Felice Stevens

Rating:
Title: Beyond the Surface
Series: The Breakfast Club #1
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: August 17, 2015

On 9/11, firefighter Nick Fletcher’s world changed forever. He’s unable to rid himself of survivor’s guilt, made worse by the secret he hides from his family and co-workers. Nick’s life is centered around helping burn victims, until he is reunited with the man he’d once loved but pushed away. Now he has a second chance at a love he thought lost forever.
For fashion designer Julian Cornell, appearances mean everything. His love affairs are strictly casual, and the only thing he cares about is making his clothing line a success. A chance encounter with the man he loved long ago has Julian thinking for the first time in years there may be more to life than being seen at the best parties and what designer labels to wear.
When Julian’s world takes an unexpected turn, it’s Nick who helps him regain perspective on what matters most in life. Julian, in turn, helps Nick accept who he is and understand he isn’t responsible for tragedies he couldn’t prevent. Lost love found can be even sweeter the second time around and after all the years apart, both men learn to look beyond the surface to find the men they are inside.

REVIEW

DAWN’S 4.25 STAR REVIEW

Felice Stevens has proven her writing capabilities once again with Beyond the surface. She consistently gives us wonderful and complex storylines with diverse and endearing characters. I applaud her in always writing inspirational stories about love and the human spirit. This book has very sad content, but doesn’t make you feel weighed down or over emotional.

In Beyond the surface we meet Julian and Nick. They were together for brief period in High school. Both falling hard for one another. It should have been bliss, but Nick could not come to terms with his sexuality. Ultimately leaving Julian, in turn breaking both their hearts…. Fast forward many years later, both guys never got over one another and are living unfulfilled lives. Nick has severe survivor’s guilt and is still in the closet. While Julian is shallow and living a surface life, out and proud. Once they meet up again everything changes… It’s a bumpy ride, but I loved how these boys fought for their relationship. Friends first… Both guys have some big issues, but with the support of each other, they look deep within themselves and changed for the better. This book proves how the right person, can make you want to change, not only for them but for yourself. Felice keeps you turning the pages because there is never a dull moment. You crave her stories. She doesn’t rush the love and she gives you plenty of sex, especially in this one. These boys are hot!! She also points out that even in this day and age there is still a prejudice against homosexuality. This hurt my heart because it’s true!

We also meet Julian’s best friends, Marcus and Zach. I found them to not only be charming but hysterical. Talk about opposites, but they all make it work. All the guys are so interesting. Marcus seems to be the horny party guy, while Zach is sweet and quiet one. I need to know more about them. We were also introduced to Nick’s wonderful family. Felice captured the spirit of a New York Irish family perfectly. I love that her stories are based in New York!!

I am so looking forward to more of this series. I am a total Felice Stevens fan now!! Bring it on lady.

Julian was in the kitchen, sitting on one of the stools by the counter. He had a glass in front of him filled with what Nick presumed was vodka, having spied the Grey Goose bottle.
“Would you like a drink? I have beer, wine…anything you’d like.”
Nick shook his head, regret piercing his heart as he watched the hope drain from Julian’s eyes.
“I don’t think so. I’m going to head home. I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for Jamal tonight.”
Julian stood abruptly, kicking the stool away from his feet.
“Don’t treat me like I’m some fucking stranger, Nicky. You owe me. It’s been eighteen years; you think I’m going to let you walk out on me again like you did before? After what just happened between us? After you fell apart? No fucking way. I’m not that same person and neither are you, obviously.”
Taken aback by Julian’s anger, Nick remained mute.
“What the hell is going on with you? One minute you’re tongue fucking me into the next century and the next you’re freaking out. I know I’m a damn good kisser, but this isn’t about us, is it? It has nothing to do with our past and everything to do with you and the shit that’s floating around in your head.”
Julian stepped closer to him and Nick, who normally couldn’t stand people near him, was rooted to the floor, unable to move.
“Talk to me, Nicky. Tell me what happened to you.”
He was so tired of holding himself together, feeling like at any moment he’d shatter into a million tiny pieces, leaving nothing behind but a pile of dust.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
The words poured out of him, flowing unchecked this time. “It should’ve been me. We all went to the Towers to save them. It was my day off, but I went anyway. I heard and couldn’t stay home; I had a duty to help, you know? But I lived and they all died. Why, Julian? Why did I live and they didn’t?”
“Oh, Nick.” Julian held him close. “I don’t have the answers for you. No one does. But I’m going to be completely selfish and say I’m so thankful you did make it and we’re here together after all these years.”
Unflinching green eyes gazed back at him. Clever, beautiful eyes that Nick could never stop dreaming of. Eyes that at one time had held the promise of forever, until Nick ruined everything with his cowardice and shame. Unable to maintain Julian’s scrutiny, Nick broke away and ran to the elevator, his chest heaving, eyes stinging with tears.
“Let me out. I need to leave here. NOW.”

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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