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.
Amazon CA: http://goo.gl/rVSMyw
Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/7Yrf6D
Amazon AU: http://goo.gl/yNFBgp
Tams 4 star review ****
Nick and Julian were friends and somewhat lovers in high school. While Julian embraced his sexuality, Nick ran from it. Two decades later they meet again under strange circumstance and both men have changed dramatically over the years. Julian has become a successful clothing designer, and is still very out and very proud about it. Nick is a fireman but he's struggled a lot in life. He's fought the fact he's very much gay and it's left him miserable and alone. He is also a survivor of 9-11 so he has a lot of survivors guilt to add to the weight of hiding himself on his shoulders.
Having found each other again, neither one wants to let go or make the same mistakes they did in the past. But Nick still refuses to live his life openly, which causes a strain on their still rocky relationship. When Nick takes off his blinders and starts to really see what's going on around him, it rocks him. A fellow firefighter is being bullied and ridiculed because he is gay, and it's this that is sort of a catalyst for Nick to finally not only accept, but be open about his own sexuality. Well, that, and the love of a good man.
There are still struggles they have to overcome though. Nick's announcement to his family and co-workers isn't exactly accepted with hugs and congratulations. And Julian's friends know the story so they aren't accepting of Nick being in Julian's life, they fear a repeat of the past causing permanent damage to Julian's heart.
I really enjoyed the reality of this story. Julian tastes the bitter fruit of disappointment and betrayal when not only does his show flop, but he learns a peer has stolen some of his design ideas. But he is a strong person and he handles it with grace and dignity and finds a way to place himself back at the top of the star. Nick has the largest mountain to climb. He has to face the fact he is gay, he has to find a way to live that openly and he has to overcome the pain of what he endured during 9-11. Together they are fiercely loyal and stronger, but they have to find a balance, a way to be together without necessarily getting what each of them want as individuals.
It was a very passionate love story with an edge. There are some heartaches and some heaviness to the story, but they only add depth and character to it in the end. I highly recommend this read to anyone that likes those happy ever after endings that aren't just handed to you on a silver platter. Sometimes, you have to fight for what you want, what you need. There were a couple little things here and there that were either out of place, or didn't fit well with the story, but overall this book captivated me and kept my attention from start to finish.
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.