Title: New Forever
Author: Yessi Smith
Release Date: March 22, 2015
Haunted by a past Max can’t seem to escape, he invests everything he is into Hayley. He pampers her and shows her a love she never knew she could experience. His entire life revolves around making her happy and eventually protecting her from his demons. Even if that means hurting her in the process.
While Max tries to pick up the pieces of his broken past, Hayley protects her own heart the best way she knows how – through laughter and mayhem.
But when secrets unravel, both must decide what is most important. Feeling more vulnerable than ever before, they must fight for each other and for themselves.
**This is an interconnected standalone for Love, Always. **
New Forever is Hayley’s story. This book was everything I’d imagined Hayley to be and then some. What little we know about Hayley from Love, Always indicates that she is a vibrant personality. New Forever felt just like that. This book is vibrant, colorful, hilarious, awkward, quirky, and touching. Hayley was every bit the fireball that lives her life unapologetically I had pictured in my mind. She made me laugh and care and hurt. Seeing Max and his demons was hard but it felt like a giant weight being lifted from their story. Hayley’s reaction to his revelations was strong and careful, giving me a new respect for her. These two twisted and scarred characters made for a journey that was breathtaking and memorable, breaking my heart and putting it back together again.
“You’ll love her, and only her, but you will go to the grave knowing your one noble act killed your soul.”
I knew from the moment we met Hayley and Max in Love, Always that their story would be incredibly special. They both carried pain and heartache that threatened to crush them and yet continued to fight for the light. I connected with them and felt for them. The journey Yessi Smith takes us on in New Forever is stunning. It’s not pretty or perfect and things are definitely messy, but it’s genuine and in that there is so much beauty. As Max and Hayley struggled to eliminate the secrets between them and to let go of their pasts, they grew. Both characters transformed over the course of this story, revealing a depth and tangibility that allowed them both to shine. There is an innate chemistry between them that sparks, even when they’ve never felt further apart. Yessi Smith did an amazing job with these characters, allowing them to really drive their own story.
“Screw pride when happiness is so close I can practically hear its heart beating alongside mine.”
New Forever is just as packed with emotion as I’d expected. The startling truths that come to light in this book evoke intense and conflicting emotions that hit unexpectedly during Max and Hayley’s journey. Yessi Smith wrote every feeling with a simplicity and honesty that had my heart aching for this couple. I’m so glad we got more Dee, Adam, and Josie in this book. I loved seeing their story move forward as we got to experience Max and Hayley’s secrets. The relationships between all of the characters are raw and real, filled with harsh truths, uncomfortable disagreements, and unconditional love. This story took me by surprise with its honesty and careful consideration of difficult topics. Yessi Smith has written a true gem with New Forever and I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of this amazing family.
“You know you can take the blindfold off and I still won’t know where we’re going,” I complain although I secretly love the mystery behind our early morning drive.
I hear Max laugh beside me and feel my heart warm when he takes my hand and squeezes it.
“Almost there,” he says for the third time since we left our apartment.
“A hint?” I say again, practically jumping in my seat on the passenger side of Max’s car. “Just one hint.”
He sighs and I smile, knowing I’ve won this little battle. “You think you’ve seen the sunrise, but never quite like this.”
“Okay, Riddler. That wasn’t helpful at all.” I pout while I mull over his words.
We’re gonna see the sunrise, but in a different way. So, we’re not going to the beach. There are no mountains in South Florida. So what does that leave?
“Scuba diving?” I ask and he lets out a loud bark of laughter as I feel the car stop. Does that mean we’re here or that he’s at another red light?
“Yeah, Hay,” he agrees, brushing the hair away from my face so he can kiss the side of my mouth. “We’re gonna see the sunrise from twenty feet under water. The crepes you made might get a bit soggy, but it’s the latest thing.” I’d made crepes early this morning when Max told me he was taking me somewhere as a surprise the night before. God forbid I let either of our stomachs grow hungry and ruin whatever he has planned for us.
I stick my tongue out at him and yelp when he bites it, but sink into his kiss, giving him my soul.
“We’re here,” he says, after ending our kiss and already, I miss his breath on me.
He gently takes off my blindfold and I blink several times to get my eyes accustomed to the predawn light, but I still don’t see much of anything. Unless a dark, open field is my big surprise.
I look back at him curiously and smile when I imagine us making love on a blanket with nothing but nature around us as the sun rises. I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him in for another kiss.
“I love it,” I tell him between kisses and feel his lips turn into a smile.
“I’m glad, but you haven’t seen your surprise yet. Over there.” He points to our left and I squint my eyes, only seeing the silhouette of something very large. Whatever it is, it is so large, it takes up a huge amount of space on the ground and in the air. We walk toward the direction of my surprise and I see what seems to be some sort of flame floating inside the silhouette.
Max takes my hand and leads me towards it and I can’t even begin to guess what it is, but I feel my heartbeat quicken as we get closer. My eyebrows furrow together and I stare in the direction of my surprise with intense focus. I stop suddenly when finally, I see it and my smile builds slowly across my face.
A hot air balloon!
I squeal and jump then throw myself at Max, hugging him with my arms and legs.
“You like?” he asks.
“I love! But nowhere near as much as I love you.” My breath catches in my throat as I pull Max the rest of the way towards our hot air balloon.
The desire to explore the balloon is strong, but not as strong as my need to hug Max. So I hug him, molding our bodies flat against one another. A soft cough interrupts our embrace and Max spins around with me still latched onto him like a koala. After the mandatory introductions are made and safety instructions are told, we climb into the basket of our hot air balloon with our guide and basket of crepes.
Max puts his arms around my waist and I lean into him as we softly float off the ground. Once we’re in the air, I feel it—the freedom I envy every time I see a bird in flight. I watch the city grow smaller as we float higher and higher in the atmosphere. The wind tickles my nose and I close my eyes to enhance the scent of the fresh, warm air. This is freedom. In Max’s arms, I watch the sunrise as it paints the clear sky in an explosion of orange, red, and gold.
This is to live. To love.
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Yessi Smith lives in South Florida with her husband, seven year old son and newborn baby. She is also owned by a neurotic Border Collie and “ferocious” Rottweiler.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s in Human Resource Management and has held several jobs, from picking up dog poop to upper management positions. And now she hopes to leave the business world behind so she can live full time in a world that does not exist until she places her fingers on a keyboard and brings them to fruition.
She is the proud Momma of Life’s A Cappella and Love, Always