A Stella Review: Betting on Forever (The Breakfast Club #2) by Felice Stevens

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Rating 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

Betting on Forever coverA weekend fling in Atlantic City couldn’t be more out of socially shy Zach Cohen’s comfort zone, but a bet with his best friends forces him to put aside the humiliation he’s hidden for years, stepping away from his computer screens and on-line world. When he meets Sam Stein, despite their spark, Zach expects nothing more than a night of passion and a kiss goodbye. Yet weeks later, he can’t keep the man out of his head. 

After a split second decision with tragic results ends his twenty year police career at the same time his relationship falls apart, Sam Stein is drifting through life. At his best friend’s urging he agrees to a trip to Atlantic City to clear his head. What Sam doesn’t plan on is meeting Zach Cohen, whose sweet nature and honesty has him thinking maybe he could move forward, until Zach leaves him without explanation, reinforcing Sam’s belief that people can’t be trusted.

Well-meaning friends refuse to let Zach and Sam hide from each other, forcing them to realize their weekend is much more than a one night stand. Before that can happen, Zach must come to terms with his past and stand up for his own independence, while Sam has to learn to take a chance and believe in himself and people again. All bets are off when dreams become reality and forever doesn’t seem to be long enough.

Betting on Forever is the second book in The Breakfast Club series by the amazing Felice Stevens. The first installment, Beyond the Surface, was a “second chance at love” story really well done, so you can imagine my joy when I get this new one. I can already tell you she didn’t disappoint me. To me it was another winner.

I was waiting for Zach’s story since the first time I met him. I was so curious to know what was behind his shyness and who was going to be the one to disclose the sweet boy he is as Zach has spent all his life feeling invisible. He has true friends in Marcus, Julian and Nick, but he keeps things from them too. It’s hard for Zach to trust people with his heart, he’s been hurt and humiliated by someone  who convinced him that he’s worthless. He prefers to hide behind his pc screen but now he’s going to Atlantic City for an important work-related convention,  and cheered up by a bet with his friends, he promises himself to be a different person during this weekend.

Sam is a private investigator, ex cop with a bad past behind him. He knows nothing about computers but he is forced to join his friend Henry at the convention, as a way to distract himself. When he meets Zach, it is soon lust at first sight, but Zach leaves the convention in a hurry and the date they had scheduled is postponed to… never. Or not?

I think one of the reason why I loved this story so much is that I was able to connect with Zach on so many levels. I knew his fears and the past/present duties he feels to the people he loves. It was hard to follow him in his struggles with his mother and his life in general but it was never sad. Felice did a great work with this story, because it’s full of  positivity and happiness. It’s sweet, just as I like it. She surrounded Zach and Sam with some amazing friends and parents. Supportive, caring but ready to kick their asses.

I loved the writing, the dialogues were all so easy and real. It was a pleasure to read Betting on Forever, see these boys get their finally deserved HEA and get some of their issues solved. I was soon drawn in their relationship, they completed each other so beautifully, it really seemed they were the missing pieces in the other’s life. It was easy but at times it was really emotional, especially in a couple of touching scenes. And I was happy I was able to see more about Julian and Nick together, Felice fulfilled my wish.

I want to highly recommend Betting on Forever to everyone who’s looking for a feel good story, sweet and with characters with an age gap between them (not too much), this book is for you. If you read anything else by the author you already know how talented she is. If she is a new author to you, here is a perfect story to give her a chance. This book could be simply read as a standalone but don’t miss the first one too.

I can’t wait for Marcus story!

Cover art by Reese Dante. This artist is became a guarantee. Her covers are always well done and fitting. In this case too, the scene on the beach depicted on the cover is one of my favorite in the book.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)Amazon US |Amazon UK|  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Expected publication: November 17th 2015
Edition Language English

The Breakfast Club series

Beyond the Surface #1 (my review here )
Betting on Forever #2

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