Title: One Step Further
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 29, 2015
Alex Stern has it all; good looks, charm, a job he loves and everyone calls him a friend. He lives life to the fullest at a breakneck pace, in the city that never sleeps. But Alex is also a master pretender; not even his best friend sees the pain that Alex hides so well. Alex himself isn’t sure who he is or what he’s searching for, he only knows that he hasn’t found it yet.
As a veterinarian, Rafe Hazelton loves each animal that crosses his path; they don’t care if he stutters a bit or that prefers men. Their love is unconditional, but his life is still empty; they can only give him so much. New friendships convince him it’s time to break the wall of loneliness he’s hidden behind since childhood and discover what he's been missing.
Alex and Rafe forge a friendship that turns physical, and they both swear that the relationship will last only as long as the fun does. But when old heartaches come to light and secrets hidden for years are revealed, Alex and Rafe discover if they accept what’s in their hearts and take it one step further, the greatest reward is waiting for them in the end.
On the outside, Alex Stern lives the seemingly perfect life. He's the life of the party, everyone that meets him likes him, in fact people are drawn to his infectious personality, and he loves his job. On the inside, however, is a different image entirely. Alex uses his looks, charm and personality to hide the constant ache over the loss of his twin brother when they were just teenagers. Fate is a cruel and vindictive thing when it separates twins, they are linked on a more personal level than anyone not a twin could ever understand. But it's a secret Alex doesn't share with anyone.
As the best man for his best friend Micah, Alex comes into close contact with the other grooms best friend during all the festivities. Rafe is shy and withdrawn as a defense mechanism. He has been belittled and picked on his entire life because of his stutter, even his own parents distanced themselves from him. His only solace in life is his Vet business, the animals love unconditionally, they don't even care if you stutter. Alex is drawn to Rafe's quiet personality, possibly because it's the opposite of his, but whatever it is, Alex decides he wants Rafe in his life and he'll do whatever it takes to accomplish that.
The two run hot and cold for a while, trying to learn how to communicate with each other. Rafe is a loner and he's used to his solitude, so it takes him a while to realize that Alex is genuine in his attempts at dating. Alex feels the pull to Rafe like nothing he's ever felt for another man, but he fears sharing his secrets or getting attached to someone and loosing them again. So both men make a lot of mistakes along the way, learning to navigate the sometimes rough waters of the relationship river they find themselves in.
I really enjoyed the way Alex and Rafe complimented each other throughout the story. They were polar opposites in so many ways... Alex is this larger than life personality while Rafe prefers to walk around invisible. So while Alex pulls Rafe out of his shell, Rafe grounds Alex in a way, and I thought the author showing Rafe's stutter being less pronounced the more comfortable he became with Alex was pure genius. Their lives and their problems were realistic and believable which only drew me further into the story. I was zipping through the pages on my kindle with this one, anxious to see what would happen next.
I did get a bit frustrated early on with both men continuing to hear only what they wanted to hear, but I suppose that was part of what made them stronger together by the end. That they had to work through those communication barriers to get where they were. Overall I really enjoyed this one. It's passionate, a bit of angst, a little heartbreak and a whole lot of lovin goin on. Definitely a must read for those that like gushy romances with a bit of an edge and stories that will keep you engaged throughout.
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.