I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Series: Everland Georgia #2
Published by Forever on 2017-09-26
Length: 368 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 New Release Challenge
Fairy tales aren't ever what they seem . . .
Tuesday Knight's dream of Broadway stardom has flopped, leaving her unemployed and brokenhearted. Ready to quit kissing frogs and make her own happily-ever-after, she takes a job as a princess in Everland, Georgia's historical amusement park.
Mayor Beau Marino lives an unenchanted existence-all work, no play-which is fine by him. After his marriage ended in disaster, the last thing he wants in his life is more drama. But Everland's new free spirit has a talent for getting under his starched collar.
When the town's beloved but bankrupt park might be shut down, Tuesday and Beau face a choice. Can they join forces, save the day-and each other? Or will their fierce battle of wills destroy any chance of a fairy-tale ending?
In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Marina Adair, comes the second book in Lia Riley's Everland, Georgia series about two city sisters finding love in a small town.
The Corner of Forever and Always by Lia Riley is the second book in the Everland Georgia that follows two sisters and their journey to find themselves and love. I enjoyed this book! I’m a sucker for a small town romance and this is definitely that.
Tuesday Knight is a girl from a small town who tried (and failed) to make it big in the city. Now she finds herself a little lost. Everything she dreamed of as a child is so far out of her reach now. She wanted to be a Broadway star, but her naivety and longing for love cost her what little reputation she’d gained. Running to Everland was supposed to be temporary. Her and Pepper were going to go to another big city far from Broadway, but instead Pepper’s engaged and she’s working at the local amusement park as a princess. My heart ached for Tuesday. She’s viewed as the flighty sister and no one expects much from her. BUT she has such a big, kind heart. Everything she does (and I do mean everything) is for someone else. She keeps her own feelings private and makes decisions off what makes others happy. It’s sad and sweet at the same time.
Beau Marino is the mayor of Everland and the town’s widower. His past is heartbreaking and really explains his actions and how he presents himself. He’s a workaholic, pouring everything into his job and love for his town. Beau had big dreams too. He wanted to make Everland a destination for tourist, wake the sleepy town and save them from their neighboring competition in Hogg Jaw. He wanted a marriage like his parents, someone who would love and care for him as he would her. Except his marriage wasn’t picture perfect. His deceased wife was horrid and left him the night she died. No one knows that except Beau. Instead of being allowed to be angry at his wife for her decisions and ending their marriage, he had to play the grieving husband. This hurt has turned to bitterness and my heart broke for him. He’s kind and big hearted, yet he’s built this impenetrable wall around his heart, letting no one in. That is until he meets Tuesday.
This book really focuses on romance more than anything else. There is of course what brings the two characters together (the potential closing and tearing down of Happily Ever After Land) but it’s more of a side story to move the romance along. I enjoyed the chemistry between Beau and Tuesday. Despite being near complete opposites, they have quite a bit in common, reminding me of my own relationship with my husband. It’s a sweet, slow buildup to love….even if it’s lust-at-first-sight 😉
Overall I really enjoyed The Corner of Forever and Always! As much as I liked the two main characters, I love the side characters as well. I love the small town charm and meddling. Everyone knows everyone in this book and it makes for a fun, light-hearted read. If you enjoy contemporary romance, I highly recommend it. This book can be read as a standalone, though I do recommend reading the first book in the series It Happened on Love Street as the characters from this book do play a role in this one. Also FYI, this is an adult book with strong language and some sex scenes.
“I’m nervous.” The tightness in his tone backed up the muscles bunching near the hinge in his jaw. And the simple, honest admission did something to her that no amount of flirtatious back-and-forth ever would.
“So am I.” She began buttering the dish. “Who taught you how to cook?”
He stirred the chocolate in the double boiler, hands clenching the spoon. “Mama used to say that a man needed to know three things: how to fix a dessert, iron his own shirt and sew a button. That some day future women would thank her.”
“Smart lady.” Tuesday laughed, grateful for a moment to recalibrate, to slow her racing heart. “I suck at ironing by the way.”
Beau gave her a resolute stare. “I make my own starch.”
“Stop.” She nearly dropped the dishtowel. “No, you don’t.”
“One tablespoon of cornstarch in two cups of water.”
Her gaze fixed on the rare smile tugging the corner of his mouth. The revelation was oddly endearing. “I’m not sure whether to be impressed or terrified.”
“Your mama didn’t teach you these things?”
Tuesday thought. “We grew up in small town Maine.”
“So, so cold. So much snow. So much cold. Beautiful though.”
“I’d like to check it out, in summer.”
“Yeah, good idea. My dad ran a maple sugarbush farm, made homemade maple syrup. Mom was his opposite. He loved being outdoors. She liked being inside. I guess they were opposites, must have attracted at some point but over time they repelled each other. Pushed one another further and further away. She left when I was in high school. Moved down to New Hampshire where she was from and met a banker. They live in the suburbs. She has a housekeeper now.”
“She abandoned your family?”
“I. . .you know, I don’t know. My sister thinks so. I was the baby. My mom used to love to style my hair. She could do so many intricate braids. We didn’t have much money but she’d shop at thrift stores and garage sales and find me cute dresses. Sometimes I’d find her sad and I’d try to cheer her up. I’d ask her to brush my hair and she would, even though sometimes I could hear her sniffling and I knew if I turned around I’d see her crying.”
Tears sprang to her eyes and she ground her fists into them. “Wow. Hello! Where’d these come from.” God, way to keep things light. Her inconvenient emotions would probably sink the night.
“I’m sorry that happened.”
“Me too.” She took a breath. Then another.
“Can we return to the regularly scheduled programming? Chocolate is always the cure.”
Beau looked like he might press forward but changed his mind at the last moment. “My mama taught me how to separate yolks from whites. Can I show you?”
“I won’t pretend that I have skills. Instruct away.”
“Okay, pick an egg, any egg.”
She selected a brown one and he stepped behind her, her back heating against his chest. His arms slid over hers. “Now what you do is give it a tap to open the shell. No! Not so big, just a little one.” His hand engulfed hers, guiding the movement. “Good. That’s real good. Now let the yolk settle in one side. That’s it. Now you start to transfer the egg back and forth and back and forth, let the white run out like that until voila! All you have left is the yolk.”
Tuesday gawked at the golden yolk in the shell. “Martha Stewart eat your heart out.”
He checked the chocolate and milk, it had melted down into a decadent pool.
“Can we eat that as is? I’m sure the souffle is amazing and all but hey, a bowl of melted warm chocolate is going to do me fine.”
His laugh was just as decadently rich. “Haven’t you ever heard that good things come to those who wait?”
“Sure, by people waiting,” she quipped. “They need something to tell themselves.”
That really got him going, his deep laugh rich as sun-warmed molasses. “Let me make you a deal.”
“I’m not agreeing until I hear the terms.”
“Smart woman. When you have this dessert, you are going to say it’s better than the best sex you’ve ever had.”
She set her hands on her hips. “You have a low opinion of my sex life.”
“Nah.” He winked. “Just a very high opinion on my soufflé.”
She arched a brow. “You’re on.”
Standing behind her he continued to help guide her effortlessly through measurements and pouring, mixing and stirring. He didn’t grind on her or get perverted, not that she’d have minded. Chocolate was meant to be an aphrodisiac and she’d never experienced anything so sexily mundane as chatting over nothings in the kitchen with a man who didn’t try to cop a feel. He appreciated and and even savored her for who she was and what she offered which right now was fully dressed fairly polite company.
In fifteen minutes he opened the oven and slid the soufflé in.
“We wait,” he answered. “Until it’s puffed on top and jiggly in the center.”
“You have a way of making cooking sexy.”
“Do I? I guess that helps even the field.”
“You make breathing look sexy.” His gaze lingered on hers for a few beats before he turned and began to wash the dishes.
She stared at the back of his head, his broad shoulders, his narrow hips, blinking in surprise. He seemed wholly unaware that he’d broken her heart and put it back together, refashioned into something new, stronger and brighter.
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