One Step Further by Felice Stevens: Blog Tour, Reviews, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: One Step Further
 Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 29, 2015
 
 
Alex Stern has it all; good looks, charm, a job he loves and everyone calls him a friend. He lives life to the fullest at a breakneck pace, in the city that never sleeps. But Alex is also a master pretender; not even his best friend sees the pain that Alex hides so well. Alex himself isn’t sure who he is or what he’s searching for, he only knows that he hasn’t found it yet.
 
As a veterinarian, Rafe Hazelton loves each animal that crosses his path; they don’t care if he stutters a bit or that prefers men. Their love is unconditional, but his life is still empty; they can only give him so much. New friendships convince him it’s time to break the wall of loneliness he’s hidden behind since childhood and discover what he’s been missing.
 
Alex and Rafe forge a friendship that turns physical, and they both swear that the relationship will last only as long as the fun does. But when old heartaches come to light and secrets hidden for years are revealed, Alex and Rafe discover if they accept what’s in their hearts and take it one step further, the greatest reward is waiting for them in the end.

 

 

review

Denise’s Review:

There are several things you can count on with a Felice Stevens novel. First, that there will be an HEA. No matter what, she will make sure that the men you have learned to love on her pages will learn to love each other, and find their way to their happy ending (and yes, I mean that in both senses of the word! 🙂 ) Second, there will be emotion, lots of it. Whether that is you, as the reader, dealing with the angst right along with the characters, or just reading how the characters react to the situations they find themselves in. Third, there will be animals. And I truly love this about Felice’s books. She adds in a mix of animals, because she believes, as I do, that animals enhance our lives, and bring us so much joy. And fourth, you will love these sexy, strong men. Although they may not see themselves as strong in the beginning these men, no matter how crippling their issues, find their strength, in each other, and in themselves. This book hits all of these notes, without question, and I was happy to be along for the ride.

Rafe, Lucky’s veterinarian from Memories of the Heart, is a shy, lonely man who has never been in love, and is very inexperienced. His life has been about his vet practice and keeping himself as invisible as possible, with a stutter that he has allowed to oversee much of his life and personality. Meanwhile Alex is vivacious, outgoing, always the life of the party, and quick to throw a joke, especially if it throws people off track from delving further into the depths of his private life. Even his best friend Micah has no idea the secret that he has held close to his heart for 15 years.

These two men begin their relationship as friends, moving to friends with benefits, and into lovers. Their relationship naturally evolves, as they support each other through some very difficult times. As Rafe deals with the passing of a mother that clearly has never felt love for him, Alex is there to help him find a way to deal with all the emotions that come with that. As Alex finds himself soon dealing with his own family situation, Rafe, as he has become more confident, is right by Alex’s side to support him through those challenges. One of the things that I appreciated about this book was their unwavering support. Even when these men thought they didn’t need or want the others support, they got it, and realized how much they really DID need it.

This is another Felice Stevens story with lots of heart, passion, and some angst thrown in the mix. As always, Felice brings you two men who need each other more than they each realize. It was sweet, sexy, and such a great example of true friends to lovers. These men needed a true friend just as much as they needed a special man in their life. It showed the men the impact of true friends, and allowed them to move forward in their outside relationships as well.

What a joy this book was to read, as all of her books are. Felice can pack a lot of emotion into one book, and has hit a winner with One Step Further. (And how about that gorgeous cover! Another Reese Dante winner!) 4.5 pieces of eye candy for me!

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Morgan’s Review:

 

I’ll start by saying I adore Felice. She always writes such wonderful stories. This book comes after Memories of the Heart and deals with Rafe and Alex. These two are such complex characters. They both have issues they are struggling to overcome.  Alex is so confident, outgoing and full of life, yet on the inside he’s a broken man with secrets no one knows. Rafe is shy, lonely and tends to stutter. He’s more comfortable around animals than people. These two very different men come to realize they are more alike than they thought, and maybe they could be happy if they open themselves up fully to each other.

I was so excited for the release of this book and I was not disappointed. Be ready for the different turns this read takes and make sure you have the tissues ready. Definitely 5 pieces of eye candy from me.

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Through his years of practice and experience, Rafe had learned to help and comfort, to step in when his expertise was needed, and step away when there was no hope left at all. What Alex didn’t know was that Rafe always held out hope for life, and though he might give the appearance of a man ruled by quiet and calm, in truth he was tenacious as a bulldog and refused to accept defeat.So Rafe allowed Alex to sit in his moody silence until their beers came and they both took long, bracing swallows.“Can I speak now?”Alex shrugged. “Suit yourself.” That offhand comment led Rafe to believe Alex didn’t expect much from people or life in general. Perhaps he too had been disappointed by the people who should have always been there for him and weren’t.

“All my life I’ve been told I was different and that kids wouldn’t like me because of my stutter. When I realized I was gay, I knew my struggle only increased ten-fold. It made me retreat even more.”

Alex traced the lip of his beer bottle with his finger. “Yeah. I can understand that to an extent.”

“That’s my point. You can understand it to an extent, but not really. I’m not saying this in a spiteful way.” It was so important to Rafe to make Alex understand where he was coming from. “You’re a big, good-looking man with a great personality. Everywhere you go, you make friends so easily; people gravitate to you naturally. It’s a gift, if you think about it.”“I have many gifts,” said Alex with a wink and smiled for the first time since they sat down. Rafe wasn’t fooled.“You’re deflecting,” he stated, and like Rafe knew he would, Alex stopped smiling, his mouth thinning to a tight line. “Don’t get angry with me.”“I’m not. I’m only wondering when you decided to appoint yourself as my therapist.”

Rafe pinned Alex with a stare and a raised brow. “When someone sticks their tongue down my throat, it’s a signal to me that maybe we’ve gone beyond a handshake and a ‘Hi, how are you.’”Alex stared at him for a moment, then his eyes creased with amusement and he started to laugh. He didn’t stop, even when the waiter arrived with their food.Rafe folded his arms and glared. “I’m not finished. You make friends easily but it’s all on the surface, isn’t it? I bet people don’t ever really get to know the real you, do they?”Once again, Alex stopped laughing, only this time it seemed he’d had enough. “I don’t have to listen to this shit.” He looked around for the waiter. “I’ll get my food to go.”

“That’s what you always do, don’t you. Instead of talking about things, you make a joke or run away. It’s easier to run away.”

As Rafe spoke, Alex’s face grew dark with anger. Now that he’d started talking, Rafe couldn’t stop; the words spilled like water rushing from a dam.

“I know what it’s like. My reason is obvious. I spent almost my whole life hiding behind a wall of silence. But what reason do you have to play the class clown all the time? People would like you no matter what.”

For a moment Alex stared at him, then smiled a real smile, the first all night. It kindled a glow in his deep blue eyes.

“Do you realize something?” He leaned forward and Rafe swore he could feel the warmth radiating from Alex’s body across the table.

Caught up in the moment, Rafe couldn’t look away. The sounds of the pub faded in the background, including the music, which unfortunately had gone from ’80s retro to modern day rap. “Wha-what?” His mouth tasted dry even with the beer he’d drunk.

“You barely stuttered, not at all until now.”

Alex’s large warm palm slid over his own hand and gave it a squeeze. “That’s great isn’t it? You must be getting more comfortable with me.” A wide grin broke across his face. “Guess that tongue down the throat action worked for something.”

 

 

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.

 

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