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Beyond the Surface

(The Breakfast Club #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,622 ratings  ·  311 reviews
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
ebook, 248 pages
Published August 2015
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  1,622 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Firefighters and hurl/healing/comfort? Sign me up!

Nick Fletcher and Julian Cornell were once lovers, long ago in high school. They were experimenting with each other and what is was like being gay and were in love. But Nick comes from a long line a macho firefighters and tried to pretend he wasn't gay. When he broke things off with Julian, it broke both of their hearts but neither looked back.

Fast forward almost two decades and Julian is a new, very successful man. He is a popular clothing
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Struggled through this, it felt very high-school and clumsy. The dialogue was pretty bad; often a collection of speeches.

9/11 was such a huge event, even with the time passed the horror feels fresh. It's not insensitively portrayed here, but it did feel a needless point of comparison. It could have been a fictional fire rather than drawing on emotions of a real event.

Reunited lovers is hit/miss with me, after so many years people change and to be so in love after meeting someone you knew at
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5 'second chance M/M' stars

Such a heartwarming and meaningful read.

"We've been given a second chance. Some people never even get a first."

Nick Fletcher is the closet gay firefighter.
Julian Cornell is the stereotypical gay fashion designer.

Julian was in love with Nick since they were sixteen, but due to Nick's inability to come out, they both separated from each other with bruised hearts

Decades later, Nick's working as a trainer for new firefighter recruits and dealing with the survival guilt

I'm not a believer of love at second chance, been there, and well, I had failed miserably.LOL.My bad luck I guess.
But definitely loved the idea of love at second chance in my books, especially, this is written by one of my favorite author Felice Stevens.



Nick and Julian both were still 'kids' (both 16), in love, but Nick was scare about his sexuality, so he denied 'them', he denied that he was gay, and it hurt Julian and
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**
***3.5 Stars***

I enjoyed this one, but sadly nothing really wowed me. As is expected, we get Felice Stevens' signature of sweet and steamy with a touching story and a saccharine induced happily every after, but with the exception of incorporating the events and emotions of 9/11, not much really stands out.

Julian and Nick were endearing characters, but their transformations were a little too perfect for my tastes. Especially Nick. It just didn't ring true that he'd be able to change his
Trisha Harrington
This book was everything I wanted it to be!

It was on my tbr for a while, but I never got around to it. I was looking for a good hurt/comfort and then I saw this and it ticked all my boxes.

I loved watching Julian and Nick reconnect after years apart. I was glad these two were able to work through their differences because I was rooting for them as a couple. They were hot together and also sweet at times.

Marcus and Zach were great friends. And I can't wait to read their books. Zach's especially
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Actual rating 3 1/2 stars.
OTT and too good to be true resolution to issues. Just too easy. I think it's supposed to be a romance with angst, but it felt more like an after school special with a moral to the story. A fable! That's a better description. Could just be me.
Full review originally posted at Sinfully...Addicted to All Male Romance

3.5 stars

Firefighter Nick Fletcher is struggling with survivor’s guilt years after 9/11, a day that scarred him both physically and emotionally. He’s still an emotional mess even after years of therapy. On top of that he has a lot of guilt and self-loathing attached to the sexuality he refuses to acknowledge beyond furtive, anonymous hook ups and the way he treated the only man he ever loved. Living in an apartment
Kade Boehme
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Felice can do no wrong for me. This was such a sweet, wonderful read.
Looks like this one has a new Audio release with Charlie David narrating. Putting it on the re-read shelf for a re-listen...

30Dec2017: 4.1 Stars

Ooof. This one packed a pretty emotional punch...and as much as I'd love all their stories told, I'm kind of glad that 9/11 isn't an overused plot device in MM Romance. I'm not sure I could handle too many of them, and I worry that the pain, loss & survival wouldn't be consistently told well...and I worry about exploitation of a what is considered a
This was a nice read, but for some reason it didn't wow me. Probably a case of " it's not the's me"

3,5 stars from me
While I liked Julian and his friends together, some of the other interactions were just a bit too over the top for me. I wish I hadn't been told (over & over) what a man-whore Marcus is. And yet, I wanted to know more about Zach.

I like that Julian and Nick save each other, I really do. I just struggle with how easy it all seemed. Nick's father changes his mind very quickly, as do other characters.

Two and half stars rounded up.
A nice story, but nothing outstanding and in the last chapters everything went definitely too smooth.
Nevertheless I'll read the next two books of the series, since I have them already on my kindle and I'm honestly a little bit curious about Zach's and especially Marcus's story.

3,5 stars
Book Junky Girls
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars

Nick and Julian went to high school together and learned who they were together, the difference between them though was that Julian was ok showing everyone around him who he was while Nick was terrified of what would happen and what everyone would think if the truth came out. At 16 it tore them apart and both moved on with their lives although neither forgot the other.

Nearly 2 decades later their paths cross in the most unlikely places and it's time for them to finally find peace with
Jessie G.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: felice-stevens
4.5 out of 5 Stars

I’m a huge fan of second chance stories. When life knocks you down, you either stay down or you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and fight on. Easier said than done, easier still with a good support system behind you.

Nick was just a rookie when 9/11 happened, but he couldn’t sit on the sidelines just because he didn’t have the experience. He barely survived, but so many others died. Years later, the survivor’s guilt is a weight he thinks he’ll never be rid of. He’s settled
Denise H.
Amazing story by Felice Stevens.
9/11's devastation hurt more than just those who died. Lonely Nick is a firefighter and trapped under a beam, rescued and spent months recovering and in therapy for survivor's guilt. He still feels guilty to be alive. In their teens, Nick and Julian loved each other, but Nick ran. Equally lonely Julian is now a world famous menswear designer, who has had his latest fashions stolen, and his business ruined.
He and Nick find each other, and sparks fly. Julian's
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, m-m, 2015
Wow.... How do I click more than 5 stars? Absolutely freaking loved Nick and Julian!

Do you believe in second chances? Well if you don't, you will after reading about Nick and Julian. Felice Stevens puts together a truly beautiful, heart-aching yet loving story together. Not only do you feel emotional about the men, she adds another emotional element of the 9/11 tragedy. You root for Nick to be able to heal from that tragedy and to move on to believing in himself that he is one of the heroes we
Fani *loves angst*
DNF at 85%

After witnessing Nick's homophobic father, congratulating Julian for giving physical comfort to his son, only 30 mins after finding out that Nick was gay -and wanting to throw Julian outside the house for 'turning' his son gay- I was done with it. Besides, I was completely bored after the first 30% anyway.

It started with some angst and drama, but it quickly moved into sugarland territory. Too sweet, too perfect, too flat. I couldn't care less about what happens next, but I'm sure
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
3,5 stars.
I read this in one sitting which shows that it grabbed me enough to keep me going. Julian and Nick are nice characters, and the plot is fine, I really rooted for the fire fighter meets fashion designer. But...I can't help that there are a few things not ringing true for me.
Nick has had year long issues, including survivor's guilt and being deeply closeted, not to mention his self-doubts and fears of coming out and living a 'normal' life. Yet, a few weeks with Julian and he declares
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Julian & Nick's story is heart wrenching good! A second chance love story where these two decide after almost 20 years if what they gave up before is worth pursuing now..can they get past all the obstacles and get their HEA?

I love Felice Stevens, her books are the type that connect with your soul, if your not laughing and crying in this book then something is wrong. This story calls to your emotions on the most basic level, the need to be lived that all humans crave & require
Connie Cat
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 50%. Meh. Not for me. These MCs don't act like 36 year-old men, in my opinion. It feels like they are still stuck in high school. The drama feels a little manufactured. I didn't grow to care about either of them, or whether they end up together or not. I was basically forcing myself to continue. I know this book has great reviews but it didn't work for me.

Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked this book but it wasn't as great as a lot of the reviews I read. I liked the idea of reunited lovers but when they reunite in the book it felt awkward for me more than anything else. I don't know but I think the book would have benefited from more flashbacks of when they were together the first time. I know I would have been invested in the relationship if I could see more of the love they had before. I really liked it but i didn't love it. 3.75 stars.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 52%.

I suppose my main issue with this is the MCs.

Julian, who had his heart broken at age 16, has sworn off love... for over 18 years. Which, I mean, that's a bit ridiculous. That's quite some time to be so melodramatic over teenage heartbreak. And then there is the whole fashion designer thing. Julian always wanted to be a fashion designer. He argues with people a few time about how his work has value, but then he meets Nick and all of the sudden his whole career was just something
I like sweet stories. If well written they can even garner four stars from me (I am not the generous type giving away my five star ratings like candies at a kids party)

BUT ...

I need my stories to be somewhat realistic.

Sweet and realistic is ok... right ?

(Careful some spoilers ahead)

So here I was, after the first two chapters each introduced one of the main characters, thinking that I was about to read a sweet if maybe cheesy second-chance romance. I already knew from the semi-caricatural
Mandie Foxylutely
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

This is the first book in a new series The Breakfast Club which focuses on three friends Julian, Marcus and Zach who meet weekly for breakfast and catch up with each other. This book is Julian’s story.

Nick and Julian were once teenage sweethearts but when Nick could not acknowledge he was gay he walked away from Julian. How could he be gay coming from a traditional family with a hard headed firefighter father? So leaving Julian broken
Avid Reader
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beyond the Surface - Felice Stevens
5 stars
I was given this book for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads.

I loved Julian's character. He was so vibrant, outgoing and even when his world was crumbling, he was always worrying about his friends - his family. Stevens did a great job at setting this story up. With the sneak peek the reader was given to understand their backstory, it helped to shape each of these men.

Julian's friends were something else. I really hope that Zach gets his story. I
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beyond the Surface
Series: The Breakfast Club, Book 1
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance, Second Chance

Julian & Nick's story is heart wrenching good! A second chance love story where these two decide after almost 20 years if what they gave up before is worth pursuing now..can they get past all the obstacles and get their HEA?

I love Felice Stevens, her books are the type that connect with your soul, if you're not laughing and crying in this book then something is wrong. This story calls
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Leather. Fucking. PANTS!!!
Can we just start off with saying this book is crazy HOTTT!!! Pretty sure this is the hottest thing Miss Felice has written to date.
Not to say there isn't an amazing story to go along with said hotness. Both these guys are dealing with a past, Nick more so than Julian. They help each other look into the future and dig out of the past that keeps wanting to pull them down and keep them down. The transformation of both of these men was beautiful to watch. There were
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Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

She lives in New York City and has way too much black in her wardrobe yet can't stop buying "just one more pair" of black pants. Felice is a happily

Other books in the series

The Breakfast Club (3 books)
  • Betting on Forever (The Breakfast Club, #2)
  • Second to None (The Breakfast Club, #3)
“Is it normal to live a lie because you’re too scared to tell the truth?” 3 likes
“We’ve been given a second chance. Some people never even get a first. Do you know how lucky we are?” 3 likes
More quotes…