Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens

Beyond the SurfaceRate: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication day: August 17, 2015
Length:  248 pages
Publisher: Self-Published

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.

My View: I had a hard time getting into this story. I didn’t DNF it because it was recommended to me by two GR friends. The first twenty-five percent was painfully filled with characters’ introductions and setting the action for the rest of the story.

The main characters were compelling and stood as interesting individuals, but as a couple, they took away from each other instead of complementing their relationship. As friends with benefits, they had a connection, but their romance lacked depth.

I enjoyed the hurt-comfort aspect and the secondary friendships. I really liked Jamal and how he helped move the story forward. Plus, I did love the cover and how well it played with the story.

What I liked the most: The idea behind the breakfast club.

I wanted more of: Personally, I needed less of an introduction to all the characters at the beginning of the story.

Who should read it: Fans of second chances.

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