Review: Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

New to me author Lucie Archer has delivered a slow burn romance with a ghost and it was a truly lovely story.

We meet pansexual Casey North as he is dealing with the aftermath of his Los Angeles restaurant Cinder being destroyed in a fire. The restaurant was everything to Casey so losing it spirals him downward into depression and to make matters even worse, his girlfriend leaves him. Casey decides the best plan is to take the insurance money, rent a house on the beach back in his hometown of Land’s End and try to put his life back together.

Myles Taylor was happy with his life as a professional surfer and happy to be renting a house on the beach with his equally professional surfer boyfriend, James. One perfect morning, Myles and James head out for a morning surf session where Myles planned to purpose only to have Myles wake up on the beach and seeing his late Uncle Joe walking toward him. Myles soon learns he is stuck in what is called the “In Between” after an accident out on the water. An accident that Myles can’t remember and Myles is now stuck to the beach house with minimal range to move about. For some reason, he’s attached to the house and needs to find a way to move on, but he doesn’t know if he needs to fix something in his life, or someone else’s.

I liked that we got both Myles and Casey’s POV’s in this book as it’s always a plus to see how the ghost is dealing with things. Myles is a good guy who is not just a surfer, he went to college for a business degree and has a good head on his shoulders. His uncle Joe was the man who raised him and everything to him until he lost his battle with cancer. The fact that Joe is not in the Between with Myles and only shows up sporadically makes Myles’ situation tough to deal with. You see, Myles has no idea why he is stuck and not able to follow Joe (who doesn’t know either) to the Beyond and he is frustrated that he can’t remember how he died. The meeting of Myles and Casey was comical even though Casey and his cat Jasper were a bit freaked out by the ghost in the house and things flying about.

But, Casey is on the edge with his depression and when he hears Myles moving things in the house he turns to this therapist who suggests he is hallucinating and prescribes new meds. On a whim, Casey seeks the guidance of a fortune teller who tells him he has a spirit in the house and gives him a book to help.

Myles isn’t happy someone has moved into the beach house that he considers his and decides he is going to scare Casey away. But when Casey comes back with the book and begins to talk to Myles, he decides having someone to talk to isn’t a bad thing.

I adore the way Myles sees Casey! We know that Casey has been depressed over the months since the traumatic experience of his restaurant burning and has let himself go. He’s put on a few pounds and shaving has become a chore so he sports a beard but Myles, Myles with the athletic physique sees nothing but a fuzzy stomach he wants to blow raspberries on and arms he wants to feel around him. Myles never suggests Casey change the way he eats to lose weight or even shave, he accepts him as he is and not just because he is the only one Myles can talk to. You feel the attraction the men have for one another even though they aren’t quite in the same reality of the living.

While the story deals with Myles being a ghost, we are also dealing with the mystery behind his death and the betrayal of his boyfriend James. Casey does everything that he can to help Myles and even contemplates what it would be like to be in a long term relationship with a ghost. The two are amazing together and the chemistry they have is wonderful to read. I loved how Myles met the neighbor and how it fueled his want for Casey to see him and when Casey does, it was sigh worthy. There were a bunch of sigh worthy moments in this that actually had me reading past my bedtime because once these two could see and hear each other, it was super romantic.

This truly was a lovely book where Casey and Myles build not only a unique friendship but a slow burn romance develops with clever ways of communication and a strength that comes from wanting more from both men.

The end wasn’t what I was expecting and while it may seem a bit over the top, this is a romance with a ghost so you have to take it for what it is. You know? For me, I loved the end and that epilogue was perfect.

Past the Breakers, is wonderful slow burn romance and aptly named with a POV from a surfer. The breakers are the waves that crash toward the shore line and in “surfer speak”, it’s where the surf dies. So, being past the breakers is the point where we pass the crash of the waves and watch what lies beyond our reach. With a romance between two men who have lost it all, who feel they are outside who they used to be, only to find one another again, it truly is a life and love past the breakers.

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