Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Forever Love: Kelly Elliott

A Forever Love (Wanted 0.5)
prequel to the Wanted Series
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The moment Garrett Mathews sees the woman of his dreams, he vows to fight with everything he has to win Emma Birk’s heart. Garrett will embark on the longest, hardest struggle of his life to make his dreams a reality.

Emma Birk has every intention of focusing on her last year of high school with no interruptions—until she lays eyes on the one person who will end up turning her whole world upside down. Emma attempts to avoid the feelings she quickly develops for Garrett, only to start slowly giving in to his endless pursuit of her.

As life throws twists and turns at Garrett and Emma, their commitment to each other is tested as they determine if they have a forever love.

View the Trailer
Emma, Garrett, and Gunner Mathews

What is the quality you like most about each other? 

Garrett and Emma both turn and smile at each other. 
Garrett Emma’s kind heart. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for anyone with nothing expected in return. 
EmmaGarrett’s love for life. I’ve never meet anyone who was just grateful for being. 

Is there a word or phrase that you think is overused today?

Emma and Garrett both chuckle and nod their head. 
EmmaI love you. It used to mean something. It seems these days it is tossed around like it means nothing sacred. It’s special and should only be used when truly meant.

What is your greatest achievement or proudest moment?

Garrett reaches for Emma’s hand. 
Garrett For me my greatest achievement would be our children, grandchildren and then the ranch. Proudest moment…I’ve had too many to pick one.

If you could change one moment or decision, what would it be? 

EmmaNothing. I believe every decision we make in life was a decision that was intended for us to make. They have been bad, they may have been good but they define who we are. They carved the road that led us to where we are today. 

If you had one day with no responsibilities, no work, no visitors except the people you choose, what would you do?

Garrett gives an evil little chuckle as Emma shakes her head. 
Garrett I’d probably sneak my beautiful bride away somewhere private and spend the day with her and only her. 

Is there anything you haven’t done that you really want to do? What would happen if you did it? 

Emma smiles and shakes her head as Garrett looks up like he is thinking hard about the question. 
EmmaSky diving. If I did it I’d probably have a heart attack.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Or the craziest thing you’ve seen the other do?

Emma and Garrett laugh and look at each other.
GarrettHaving sex while watching a picture show.
Emma Well, we were in the back of the theater! 

Emma what does Garrett do for you or give you that no one else ever has before? Same question for Garrett too. 

EmmaWell…he loves me like no one else. Always has and always will!
GarrettI would say the same thing.

Will you tell us a secret? Something no one else knows? 

Garrett and Emma look at each other and Emma grins as Garrett winks at her. 
GarrettIt wouldn’t really be a secret anymore if we told y’all now would it! 

Garrett, the kids seem to think you have some kind of radar to catch them in compromising positions. Do you? How do you always time it just right (and not get an eyeful at the same time)?

GarrettNot sure…but my dad always said, an unlocked door is an open invitation. 

For the rest of the gang — 
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from watching Emma and Garrett?

Gunner smiles warmly as he looks at Garrett and Emma. 
Gunner The most important lesson I’ve learned from Grams and Gramps is how to be respectful to others. Even if you want to punch them in the face, it’s best to smile and walk away. In the end…you’re the winner.

Describe Emma and Garrett in one word. 
Gunner – Timeless.

"The only way to truly appreciate the happy times in your life is to go through the bad times...Garrett and I learned that very early on."

We have seen the deep connection and love between Grams (Emma) and Gramps (Garrett) throughout the Wanted series as the matriarch and patriarch. Now as they tell their full love story to their grandchildren and significant others, we are thrust back in time to 1956....

Garrett Mathews had his whole life planned out, but he never planned on Emma Birk. They shared an instant attraction, but sweet, innocent Emma was not sure she was quite ready for the perceived bad boy, Garrett. She avoided him the best she could, but Garrett was one persistent guy. But Emma made him really work for it, and many times they were almost over before they could ever really could get started. And their lives had complications that they never expected. Dreams were lost and changed...sending them spiraling. 

Emma was the perfect combination of sweet, smart, sassy, and a little vixen. She really came out of her shell during the course of the story. Garrett was hardworking, caring, and a total sweet heart. He had a lot to face in his young life, but was determined to be a good man. They shared an unwavering attraction and connection. But their lives were not always easy. They both made mistakes and they had situations to overcome. Some of the scenes broke my heart, while others had me laughing or swooning. 

There were surprises good and bad, special and emotional moments, sadness and joy. This was the story of a beautiful life full of love, laughter, and ups and downs. But as a couple they were passionate, supportive, and shared a deep connection and love that affected everyone in their lives in a positive way. Garrett set the foundation for the romantic, caring men that came after him. His influence continued to be seen throughout his family and others that he mentored. 

Garrett and Emma had a tight group of friends that stood by them for the long haul. I especially loved the relationship with his pseudo brother Billy and Billy's Dad, and Emma's cousin, Margie. Their tight bonds provided such friendship, love, and support over the years. And that sense of community continued years later as their children and grandchildren grew and found their mates and friends. This story tied it all together and brought them all full circle. It was told in Emma and Garrett's points of view mostly in the past, but also had a few present scenes with the Wanted gang. And the special ending bonus was swoony and had me sighing in happiness! Gotta love the sweetness of these guys...sigh....

Fans of the Wanted series will enjoy finally getting Emma and Garrett's full story and seeing how the legacy of love, laughter, friendship and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. It was fun traveling back in time to where you would think they were all more innocent, but maybe not as innocent as you would think. And then progressing with them over time through various milestones.

"We question our love, and we place doubt in our minds, but you have to believe in the very thing that got you this far--love. It breaks down the walls we have built and shows us the light we've always known is there. Nothing is stronger than love."

Thanks to Kelly Elliott for gifting me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Finally, Gramps and Grams tell their story! Garrett and Emma have often referred to their love as a forever love, and boy is it ever. Jumping back to 1956, Garrett and Emma tell their story in their own words. From their first meeting to welcoming their sons into the world, Garrett and Emma live their forever love everyday.

"Emma Rose Birk, the first time I saw you in that drugstore, I knew...I knew I would love you for the rest of my life."

There were so many sweet moments throughout the story, but even knowing 50 years later they are still very much in love, it wasn’t always the smoothest road to get where they are now and several times I was left wondering how they would get through their struggles. And as has been established in this series, there are just as many humorous moments as there are deeply emotional ones. 

This story was filled with great tie-ins to some of the hints that have been dropped throughout the rest of the series. It was fun to watch the roots of some of the things that have become tradition among the gang develop. And yes, Gramps was one romantic fellow. The influence of his gestures that we’ve seen in other books in definitely present here as well. These are the most romantic bunch of ranchers I think I’ve ever read, and it starts firmly with Garrett. 

I loved the trip back through time, and the way we were tossed back to 1956 while sitting around the kitchen table with the whole gang. Those couple of scenes in the present time are the perfect jumping off and landing points for the entire story. The period pop culture references, slang, and behaviors put me right in the mindset of the 1950’s. As the story progressed into the 60s, some of the period voice softened, but never felt so modern as to be out of place. 

As in all the best love stories, this one doesn’t end at the wedding. In fact, Garrett and Emma’s wedding doesn’t even happen the way either one imagined. Once again, we see that perfect love doesn’t always mean smooth sailing, and it certainly doesn’t end on the wedding night! 

"You'll never leave me because you're forever in my heart."

I loved Garrett and Emma’s story from start to finish. It was a quick read and a sweet trip back in time. Once again, the Wanted series mixed sweet with funny, and brings a few unexpected twists along the way. The final part of the book includes letters from each of the men to their wives at the birth of their first child. Filled with sweet words, each letter is a reminder of everything each couple has faced to reach their own version of the love modeled by Garrett and Emma. A perfect ending to the series!

Thank you to Kelly Elliott for providing a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
 Wanted (#1)
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Saved (#2)
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Faithful (#3)
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Believe (novella#3.5) 
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Cherished (#4)
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Kelly Elliott
Kelly is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!

She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.

In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.

One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.

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