Reviewed by Susan65
Title: Beyond the Surface
Author: Felice Stevens
Series: The Breakfast Club #1
Heroes: Nick Fletcher/Julian Cornell
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 248 Pages
Publisher: Felice Stevens
Release Date: August 17, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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: I loved this story. I especially loved Nick and his heartbreaking past, and I totally fell for Julian and his amazing friendship with Marcus and Zach. I knew Julian was jaded because of his past with Nick, but I was easily able to forgive Nick because they were just kids…yes, he was a tool and left Julian to fend for himself, but that made it all the more realistic because that’s what kids do. They look out for themselves. The man Nick became was a totally different animal…it just took him a while to get there.
Julian took a bit to grow on me. I didn’t see him as shallow like others did, like Nick did initially; I saw him as a man committed to his craft. Since his craft was the fashion industry, it would have been unbelievable if he didn’t care about appearances. He was a bit contradictory where Nick was concerned though. Too many times did he say he would give Nick time, but them turn around and give him grief only a day or even hours later. At times I thought he was bit high maintenance and possibly bi-polar. Fortunately, Nick was able to calm him and they actually talked out the issues instead of allowing them to fester. What a concept and one that is usually considered an annoying requisite for MM stories.
Julian learning about Nick’s injuries, and seeing him interact with children suffering similar injuries, is the catalyst that turns both their relationship and Julian’s struggling business around. Watching Nick come to terms with his sexuality and the ramifications it causes at his job and home was heartwarming and heartbreaking all rolled into one emotional ball. Watching Julian and Nick finally get it right was just beautiful.
This story covers a lot, but it’s all relevant and the world building and characterization easily brought it to life. Realizing this was the beginning of a series, and that Zach’s story is next (even though I totally expected it to be Marcus), is just the icing on the cake. I’m looking forward to seeing both Julian and Nick again, and I totally can’t wait to see what’s in store for our terminally shy Zach.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*