Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blog Tour: M/M ~ Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens ~ (5 Star ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Blog Tour: M/M ~ Beyond the Surface by Felice Stevens ~ (5 Star ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
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.
Julian was in the kitchen, sitting on one of the stools by the counter. He had a glass in front of him filled with what Nick presumed was vodka, having spied the Grey Goose bottle.

“Would you like a drink? I have beer, wine…anything you’d like.”

Nick shook his head, regret piercing his heart as he watched the hope drain from Julian’s eyes.

“I don’t think so. I’m going to head home. I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for Jamal tonight.”

Julian stood abruptly, kicking the stool away from his feet.

“Don’t treat me like I’m some fucking stranger, Nicky. You owe me. It’s been eighteen years; you think I’m going to let you walk out on me again like you did before? After what just happened between us? After you fell apart? No fucking way. I’m not that same person and neither are you, obviously.”

Taken aback by Julian’s anger, Nick remained mute.

“What the hell is going on with you? One minute you’re tongue fucking me into the next century and the next you’re freaking out. I know I’m a damn good kisser, but this isn’t about us, is it? It has nothing to do with our past and everything to do with you and the shit that’s floating around in your head.”

Julian stepped closer to him and Nick, who normally couldn’t stand people near him, was rooted to the floor, unable to move.

“Talk to me, Nicky. Tell me what happened to you.”

He was so tired of holding himself together, feeling like at any moment he’d shatter into a million tiny pieces, leaving nothing behind but a pile of dust.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

The words poured out of him, flowing unchecked this time. “It should’ve been me. We all went to the Towers to save them. It was my day off, but I went anyway. I heard and couldn’t stay home; I had a duty to help, you know? But I lived and they all died. Why, Julian? Why did I live and they didn’t?”

“Oh, Nick.” Julian held him close. “I don’t have the answers for you. No one does. But I’m going to be completely selfish and say I’m so thankful you did make it and we’re here together after all these years.”

Unflinching green eyes gazed back at him. Clever, beautiful eyes that Nick could never stop dreaming of. Eyes that at one time had held the promise of forever, until Nick ruined everything with his cowardice and shame. Unable to maintain Julian’s scrutiny, Nick broke away and ran to the elevator, his chest heaving, eyes stinging with tears.

“Let me out. I need to leave here. NOW.”
Tracy's Review:

5 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher via Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review*

I can't believe it's been almost 14 years since 9/11. I remember it like it was yesterday. Where I was, what I was doing, who I was with. It's ingrained in my memory. It's also ingrained in the memories of Nick and Julian.

Nick is a firefighter who was off on 9/11, but as most first responders did, he felt the call of duty and went to work anyway, to help out his brothers. Though he was injured, he was the only one of his brothers to survive and now he lives not only with the physical scars of that day, but the mental scars of survivors guilt as well.

Julian is a fashion designer with a lot of talent, but when he receives really bad reviews, after his latest showing of his new line, for allegedly stealing ideas from the competitor, he is left wondering how he will save face and keep his company afloat.

Julian and Nick know each other. They dated when they were 16. They fell in love, and were together for 2 years, but fear of the backlash he would suffer from coming out, drove Nick to end their relationship, breaking not only Julian's heart but his own.

The two men are thrown back together at a charity event. Nick is convinced that Julian has become a materialistic snob, who thinks that nothing but fashion matters. When he confronts Julian, by bringing him to the burn unit at the hospital, Julian's reaction surprises him. As they reconnect will they discover the spark is still there? Is Nick strong enough to fight for the love he has always wanted?

I loved this story. Felice delivered an emotional rollercoaster. This story was heartbreaking, sweet, sexy and HOT as all get out! The chemistry and connection between Nick and Julian was amazing. This story was intriguing, and I especially loved the secondary characters. The kids were amazing as well as Marcus, and especially Zach. I am looking forward to their stories. Someone needs to tame Marcus, and bring Zach out of his shell!

The story was well written. It flowed well and was a joy to read. It wasn't predictable. Felice kept me happily on the edge of my seat until the very perfect ending! I can't wait to read more in the future!!

Author Interview:

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Felice Stevens, author of , Beyond The Surface.

Hi Felice, thank you for agreeing to this interview. 

What inspired this story?

Living in New York City, we were all very affected by the terror attacks of 9/11. Where I live, right by the Brooklyn Bridge, our firehouse lost 6 firefighters. It was devastating; despite NY being such a large, overwhelming city, our neighborhood is small and people know one another. Losing these people was like losing a neighbor. I wanted to something to honor the survivors who worked so tirelessly on the pile and in the months afterwards.

What are your favorite qualities about each of these main characters?

Julian is so vibrant and has so much love to give; he locked it away for years because of Nick's rejection. Nick is devoted to family and courageous. He just doesn't know it. And of course, family plays a central role in their lives—for Nick it's his parents and sister and for Julian it's his friends, Marcus and Zack, the other members of The Breakfast Club

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love a good mystery story and also romantic suspense.

What does romance mean to you?

In a romance book, it's two people finding each other, falling in love and spending the rest of their lives together. 

Open your recipe box! Give us your favorite recipe! 

One of my favorites is cold poached salmon with yogurt dill sauce

Take salmon fillets and cove them in cold water, add a half a cup of white wine, the juice of half a lemon some salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil then turn down the heat until it simmers for 12-15 mins. Remove the salmon from the water to chill in the refrigerator. While it is cooling, take a cup of plain, unsweetened greek yogurt and add in some chopped fresh dill and a little salt and pepper. Mix well. Serve on the side with the salmon when ready to serve.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Hope to start this book today!! So excited and have heard great things!!