A Stella Review: Beyond the Surface (The Breakfast Club #1) by Felice Stevens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Beyond the Surface coverOn 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.

“I see the real you, the man underneath the scars at the surface. Those mean nothing to me. I’ve looked beyond that. A person’s body is merely a place card for their soul, their heart, and their mind. And in that respect?” Julian bent down and kissed him softly. “You’re the most perfect man I know.”

Beyond The Surface was my first Felice Stevens book and it will not be my last. I know it sounds rhetorical but I really loved her writing style a lot.

This story was a joy to read, a hurt/comfort book hard to ignore since it’s well written and so full of good feelings. I was afraid it was going to be more angsty since Nick being there on the 9/11. Instead everything was showed us in the perfect way, delicate and thorough. It simply filled my heart.

I love “second chance at love” stories and this one was amazing. After being left by Nick without a second though in high school, Julian met him again almost twenty years later; Nick who, in spite of everything, is still the man of his life. Both their lives have changed so much, but the chemistry is still there waiting for them to act on it, especially for Nick to finally be brave and come out. Pretending to be straight is what Nick has done all this time, afraid to disappoint his family, already wounded by his injuries and impossibility to work as a firefighter anymore. He’s afraid when he shouldn’t be cause his family is really great. That’s one more thing I liked, the acceptance and the no drama his coming out was met with. Beautiful and light to see.

“I’m gay.” Julian expelled a long breath and leaned his forehead against Nick’s.
“Thank God.” He kissed Nick then, a soft sweet brush of his lips like the wing of a bird. “It’s the first step. I’m so proud of you.”
Nick kissed Julian back, and he knew he’d finally come home.

There is a great second characters’ cast, some made me laugh, others, the boys and girls at the burn center, broke my heart with their pain and their courage, but they represented the turning point in the MCs’ relationship. In a couple of scenes that played around these young people, I admit I shed some tears, almost of all them were happy tears. It’s an emotional book so it was inevitable.

Beyond the Surface is the first book in a new series called The Breakfast Club, set around three young friends who are used to meet for breakfast. Julian is one of them, then there’s Marcus, club owner always looking for the next man to seduce, and the sweet and shy geek Zach. I’m dying to get their stories too. With this first installment, Felice made me fall in love with her talent and her boys and I’m waiting for the next couple.

Highly recommended!

Cover art by Reese Dante is sweet and simple, it fits the book perfectly in every little detail.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details;

Published August 17th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Kindle Edition, 229 pages
ASIN B013JB97QY
Edition Language English

 

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