Learning to Love by Felice Stevens : Blog Tour, 5 star Review, Excerpt and Giveaway


Released May 2nd, 2016


After ten years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn’t turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn’t count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he’s buried deep for years.

An unexpectedly passionate encounter shocks Gideon, but he pushes Jonah away, convinced he isn’t good enough to be in a relationship and would never be accepted by Jonah’s father. But Jonah hangs tough—he won’t allow Gideon to hide or run away from life again. And when it comes to love, Gideon learns the most important lessons aren’t always taught in school.

 deanna review

I read a shorter version of this book as part of a holiday anthology and loved it, so I was really excited when Felice said she was going to expand on it. I don’t know how it’s possible but she managed to make this story even more beautiful.

Gideon, a dyslexic man who has fought for everything he has in life put himself thru culinary school and returns to New York with his business partner Rico to open “The Garden of Eat-In.” Gideon wants to prove to everyone from his past, including the perfect son of the Rabbi, Jonah that he has made something of himself. Gideon doesn’t count on the sparks flying when he sets eyes on Jonah again after all these years. To make matters worse, Jonah isn’t the arrogant spoiled boy he remembers from his past.

Jonah is determined that Gideon is going to give him a chance, but Gideon is used to keeping everyone at arms length. No one but his business partner knows of his disability and he plans to keep it that way. When Jonah pushes to get closer to Gideon, Gideon pulls away, often with cold, cutting remarks. Jonah quickly realizes that this is Gideon’s only defense against a cruel world he faced alone so he doesn’t give up.

Jonah and Gideon start spending more and more time together and quickly Gideon’s defenses start to crumble. After a date gone horribly wrong Gideon comes clean to Jonah about his disability, thinking that it would be the end of the relationship, but Jonah surprises him. Jonah has been waiting for Gideon for longer than he would dare admit and wasn’t about to let Gideon go for anything.

After a few mis-steps and a health scare with Jonah’s dad, Gideon has to admit to himself and Jonah how much he has come to mean to him. It will take Jonah’s persistence and undying love to convince Gideon that it’s real and that he’s in it for forever.

I love that even though Gideon felt he was weak and less than because of his disability, he never came across that way. He was a strong, confident business owner that wasn’t defined by his disability.

I loved that Jonah loved him with his whole heart regardless of the dyslexia. Seeing a young Gideon through Jonah’s eyes just showed how much and for how long he has loved Gideon.

This book made me feel so much. It’s definitely going on the permanent re-read list.

5 pieces of eye candy


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“How did you know where to find me?”

“I didn’t. But when I went to your apartment and discovered you weren’t home, I thought to myself, ‘Where would a chef be early on Saturday morning?’”

Pleased he’d thought so carefully about me, I bit my lip to keep from smiling, then muttered with my head down, “Lucky guess on your part.”

“I’d like to think so,” said Jonah, his voice as soft as the breeze. My eyes met his, the hurt from our last conversation shimmering bright in their depths, causing a throb within me of a longing I’d never known existed. “Or maybe it was fate.”

He smiled then plucked the paper bag of rugelach out of my clutches, rummaged through it until he found an apricot one, and bit off half.

“Well, if you’re that hungry, I guess you can come home with me, and I’ll make you an omelet,” I grumbled but couldn’t stop the small grin tugging at my lips. “But I planned on browsing a bit more through the market first.”

“I’d like that.” Jonah walked beside me, and we meandered past the stands piled high with colorful peppers and squash. We strolled in silence, but every few steps I’d sneak a glance at him, expecting Jonah to speak. Instead he remained irritatingly, cheerfully silent.

I sampled some hot mulled cider and licked my lips. Spending so much time with Jonah gave me new insight. I’d always thought him superior and judgmental; perhaps I had been wrong in my assessment. He captivated me with the humor in his speech, warmth in his smile, and that unmistakable flare of desire in his eyes. Goddamn it, I wanted him.

I extended the paper cup. “Do you want a sip?” Its heady cinnamon scent remained one of my most favorite things about the fall season. To my shock, instead of answering me, he bent down and kissed me on my lips, lapping at their sticky sweetness. He stepped back, but I put a restraining hand on his wrist.

“What’s going on? Why are you really here?”

The honesty in Jonah’s face took my breath away.

“Do you really have to ask, after the last time?”

My body refused to listen to the war inside my head, kindling a deep need I couldn’t understand. I took a step forward, but unlike me, Jonah didn’t retreat. He stood firm, and I stood close enough to almost touch. Close enough to smell him.

“I’m not who you want; can’t you see that?”

“You don’t have any idea what I see when I look at you, Gideon.”

I wanted to yell back at him, No, you have no idea who I am, but I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the moment. I had no clue who Jonah thought I was, but I wanted to be that man if only to be able to have him always look at me like this. Like I was special. Like I was his. The sun beat hot upon my shoulders, and I held his gaze while contentment poured over me like a warm summer rain.

meet the author

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is
tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner. My character have to
work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes

I live in New York City with my husband and two children. 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 a little angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.




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  1. Crystal, Tasty Book Tours says:

    Lovely review! Thank you for hosting LEARNING TO LOVE today.