Beyond the Blue

by TJ O'Shea

Numbers rule Dr. Mei Sharpe’s life. She has no husband, one friend, two daughters, and three random meetings with the same woman within four weeks. Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but upon the third meeting, even Mei in all her empirical rigidness must admit that perhaps the universe is giving her a nudge. A nudge that lands her directly in the path of Lieutenant Morgan Kelly—an affable, charming detective for the Sheriff Department’s brand-new cold case team working down the hall from Mei’s morgue.

More golden retriever than hard-boiled detective, Morgan is determined to pull the asocial widow out of her shell. As the icy scientist warms to her cheerful new friend, an irrepressible chemistry develops, and Mei begins to realize she’s perhaps a different number on the Kinsey scale than previously considered.

As Mei and Morgan struggle with guilt and grief, drama and desires, Mei finds her scientific austerity is no match for the universe and its nudges toward the startling revelation of what her heart really wants.

Genre Romance
Length 292 pages
Publication Date February 17, 2022
Publisher Bella Books
ISBN 9781642473438A
Editor Heather Flournoy
Cover Designer Heather Honeywell


GCLS Goldie Awards
Beyond the Blue — Finalist, Debut Novel.


"Writing this novel came to me out of the blue, no pun intended. The character of Mei arrived almost fully formed, loosely inspired by an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I was fascinated by a story about a widow who'd lost her effervescent husband and immediately wondered what love would look like for someone whose children have flown the nest, and who'd met and lost their soul mate. Morgan's life and heart developed as a result of that quest. What began as a romance turned into a story about exploring grief and the different kinds of love we are so fortunately capable of as humans. On the commute back and forth from NYC to New Jersey, their love story came to be in bursts, in out of sequence pieces, but thankfully came together!

Beyond the Blue is filled with lots of colorful people, all on their own journeys, who are in the orbit of Mei and Morgan and their enduring love story, and I think everyone can find a character to relate to. I hope everyone who reads it finds the same joy I found in writing it."

—TJ O’Shea

  • A Bella Debut Novel.


Lex Kent’s Reviews - An excellent age-gap romance that was actually one of the better romances I have read in 2022. I often talk about the amazing track record that Bella has in finding debut authors and with O’Shea, they have proved it again. If her debut is this good, it makes me so excited to read her future releases.

Abbott F. - The writing is very good, the dialogue witty and sometimes laugh-out loud funny. The pace of the book doesn’t sag in the middle of the book like so many others and the conflict is real. The ending is believable and is, of course, expected.

If you’d like to read an author’s debut novel, this is one not to be missed. If you love intelligent, believable characters, pick this book up. If you like a really well written book, this book is for you.

Michele R. - What a beautiful, heartwarming, heart wrenching debut romance from TJ O’Shea. If I had not known this was a debut novel I would have assumed that it was penned by a more experienced writer. I would rate this stellar debut 4.25 stars with high recommendations to other readers. I can’t wait for future books by this author.

Celina H. - A beautiful story indeed. The book is well written and the events are so carefully planned that it was very moving.

D. Booker - Oh my goodness! What a sweet amazing read this book was!

This is a character focused book and I really liked how the book was able to delve deep into the makeup of these two. As each part of their relationship evolved, I found I couldn’t put this book down. Each mini situation / moment was filled with a mix of witty banter, dry sarcasm (Mei) affection, emotional confessions and totally made this a page turner. This is a “late coming out” story as well, and I liked how it wasn’t made to be a big deal. There was no angsty crazy and the processing was managed like the mature adults they were. So refreshing!

Lastly kudos to O’Shea for representation. I love it when authors introduce characters of color, ethnicity, body types and gender. It makes the story so much more real and I really appreciate the effort that goes into that. As a debut book this is absolutely fantastic and will probably end up in my re-read pile. 4.75 stars.

Kaye Cox - Lovely debut novel.

This book surprised me at many moments. It's an age gap and a later in life coming out story. Both of those are dealt with well and with some humor. Overall, high praise for this debut. I can't wait to see what T.J. O'Shea writes next.

Della B. - For a debut novel, O’Shea has delivered an extraordinary story filled with humour and witty banter overlaying dark psychological trauma and loss. We are casually handed bits and pieces of Morgan’s past. The subtlety O’Shea employs to drop her plot line bombs is pure genius.

The story is refreshing in its originality and depth. We experience more darkness than is expected in any romance yet it is handled with a soft touch. All of this makes Beyond the Blue a must read novel on everyone’s list.

Diane W. - An auspicious read! (4.5stars!)
A rich and an enchanting romantic love story that tells the tale of an attraction between two people that is so deep that they both needed to realize being committed to their relationship is better for the long haul because in truth their bond & love can surely be one sweet ride. The narrative approach of Beyond the Blue encompasses everything a reader looks for in a story whether a debut or seasoned. It's well paced, has a steady tone suffused with many moments of amusing sense of humor, very good character development, a host of different friendships & family dynamics, spectacular storytelling, very good sexual chemistry, intimate & intense interaction plus even great dialogue.

Furthermore, an utterly compelling drama with this undercurrent of family complications and past traumatic experiences that is at its core, Beyond the Blue is definitely a brilliant, alluring and well written story. It's also an absorbing story that will keep readers involved and glued to each sentence, chapter and paragraph until the very end. A highly recommended book!

Cheryl S. - Definitely 5 stars from me. Great love story. Great and different. Different because instead of a long slow burn with a quick ending...while you wonder what happened next. In this story, the romance is in the first 20% of the story and the remainder is how they are together as lovers. How do they deal with the age gap and how do they each resolve their past loss and grief? How do the family members accept the relationship? It is a very thoughtful, interesting, and warm story. I loved the sex scenes. They were very hot without describing every minute detail. I enjoyed all the characters, and felt they were all very natural and the dialog insightful. I understand this is O'Shea's first published story. Amazing...hopefully there will be many more.

Sam D. - I believe this book is TJ O'Shea's first foray into the wonderful world of romance and the author did an amazing job. I consider this as much a story about finding love as a story of letting go.

Anne M. - I believe this is TJ O’Shea’s first book and I genuinely hope many more follow if this is an indication of her writing style and imagination. This is an excellent book with rounded, likeable characters who behave like human beings, mistakes included. The contrast between the exuberant, positive Morgan and the quiet, private Mei is perfectly captured. The ancillary characters add great depth to the main relationship—especially Ruiz—and help give explanations and assistance the main characters journey.

Kennedy O. - I was captivated from the beginning of the read. The setting and the characters were so well written. The emotional story of two women dealing with past and current issues was a draw for me. Lieutenant Morgan Kelly presented herself as one of the most dynamic characters I have read in a very long time. Morgan is a survivor of a childhood that you would not wish on anyone. I just wanted to pull her in and give her a big hug. Dr. Mei Sharpe appears to have it all together but when you look closer, that is not the case. What these women do is interact with each other in a way that they both need. Mei and Morgan are very good at their jobs and that gives them some sense of comfort but they need more. I also appreciated Morgan's best friend, Ruiz and Mei's best friend Shanvi. Morgan's daughters were quite the characters with some very funny interactions and dialogue. Lovely age gap romance.

J. Beebs - TJ O’Shea has done a masterful job in creating this story. Mei and Morgan were three dimensional, relatable women. The supporting cast of characters really helped to enhance the overall plot. The dialogue was witty and engaging. And the chemistry between our mains was spicy! I loved everything about this book from Morgan’s need to help others to Mei’s dry humor to Ruiz’s snarky wit. How can this be TJ O’Shea’s first book?

Leah M. - The characters were interesting and fun and had me right from the beginning. There’s a lot of humor and heart and there are parts that will tug on your heartstrings. Both main characters, Mei and Morgan, are dealing with issues that have an effect on their relationship and I loved how they grew separately and together to move on from those issues.

This is a romance where the romance is the star of the show, there’s not a mystery or exciting action going on. So, it’s always nice when the authors remember the main characters don’t live in a bubble and add more to the story to keep it interesting. Mei and Morgan’s family and friends were a benefit that added drama to the story in a way that felt natural.

I enjoyed this so much I was actually quite disappointed there wasn’t a back catalog of books from O’Shea to read. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for a follow up from her.

Ameliah F. - Loved This Tale!
I LOVED this book! The characters were so real and complex. The dialogue engaging and it’s just the right pace. I loved how patient Morgan was and watching Mei’s journey. I cried for them when trouble drove them apart and cheered when they started figuring things out. The secondary characters, especially Morgan’s best friend were really well developed and important to the story without overtaking our heroes. This is one of those special books that make you say aww and gives you the warm fuzzies. I already want to read this book again!

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