All through December I'm talking about some of the best books that I've read this year, and today's offering is...
Beyond Forever by Elle Wright
Ryleigh Fields has plans for her life that don’t involve weddings, marriage, or true love. Returning to her hometown is hard, but her agenda is clear: drink, eat, and leave as fast as she can. In that order. But when she stupidly agrees to a wedding pact with her besties and promptly runs into the one guy who could be a game changer, Ryleigh realizes that even the best laid plans can be derailed.
Martin Sullivan travels all over the world for Marshall and Sullivan Consulting. Each destination offers exposure for his software company, more money in his pocket, and a bevy of attractive women. But a trip to his cousin’s wedding, puts him in direct contact with the one woman he can’t stop thinking about.
After consulting on a project, Martin knew he’d met his match with Ryleigh. One perfect night in Brazil, and he was ready to let her know just how much she impressed him, but he never got the opportunity. Now, almost a year later, he has his chance. The problem? Convincing Ryleigh. And like always, he’s up for the challenge.
There's a sentence in Elle Wright's Beyond Forever, that really stuck with me:
Ryleigh decided that she didn't need a man to save her because she would save herself.
This is sentence sums up everything that I love about this book. Raleigh doesn't need saving, just as she doesn't need a man in her life. She's a successful business woman who's worked hard - desire her difficult childhood - to succeed in life. She is intelligent, funny and the clear affection that her friends have for her is testament to her as a person.
Don't get me wrong, she gets her hero (and boy is Martin a delicious hero!), but he augments her life and doesn't just transform it. She may not need a man, but she wants Martin in her life, and that's why this is so powerful.
It's also impossible not to delight in the details of Wright's world. Some made me laugh out loud - like Ryleigh's thoughts when Martin becomes the first man to ever see her bedroom:
Suddenly self-conscious she wondered what he was thinking as he took in her space, her sanctuary. Thank God, I washed clothes. Just to be sure, she stole a glance at the floor in front of her coset. She let out a sigh of relief at the empty clothes hamper.
It's exactly the sort of thought that I can imagine would hit on entering a bedroom, that slight panic at being so caught up in chemistry that you can't quite remember if the room's tidy or not.
And the description of the oil painting by Ryleigh's college roommate, with its "rich purple red and pink" makes me want a book for this unseen character as well!
Of course, Beyond Forever is actually part of a quartet of books called the Once Upon a Bridesmaid series. The other books in the series - Sherelle Green's Yours Forever, Sheryl Lister's Embracing Forever and Angela Seals' Hopelessly Forever - are each just as charming and well worth a read!
Born and raised in Southeast Michigan, near Ann Arbor, Elle Wright's mother always instilled in her the importance of reading. There was never a time when she wasn’t going to read, in the process of reading, or just finished reading a book. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave her my first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, she became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance.
Elle is living her dream now.
For more information about Elle and her writing, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.