Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blog tour: Beyond Eighteen by Gretchen de la O


Max Goldstein has been confronted by death, betrayal, and unwanted expectations. He must work to find the delicate balance of a love that has been tested and a family that has been broken. Returning to the warmth of Wilson’s arms, he finds the only place he can be truly healed. Unfortunately, teetering on the edge of losing everything he’s ever wanted, Max must make decisions that pull at his sense of responsibility and push at his desire to protect the life he’s found with Wilson.

When Wilson Mooney is thrust into adulthood, she never expects her childhood demons to come knocking. Struggling to balance the delicate nature of her relationship with Max and the burning sting of betrayal; Wilson realizes she must dig deep within her soul to find forgiveness. Will she allow circumstances out of her control to shape her future? Or will she find the strength and maturity to go beyond eighteen and have the life she desires with the man she loves?

Will Wilson and Max ever get to have their happily ever after?

4.5 star review by Jen Hagen

When we left off with Max and Wilson at the end of book 2, Max was driving away after being blindsided with the news that Wilson and Nick had kissed, and Wilson’s world was crumbling down at the expense of her mistake.  Max turned the car around to go back to Wilson and was hesitant to walk through the doors of the house, scared that he would find Wilson seeking solace in the arms of Nick once again.  What did he find?  His absolute love and willingness to forgive Wilson astounded me. 

I love her, and when I look at her, I see everything I’ve ever wanted—everything.

Even though Wilson and Max are able to profess their love for each other, the hurt still remains of what caused Wilson to seek refuge and comfort from Nick.  Max has a hard time forgiving Nick for taking advantage of Wilson in her broken state of mind.   Wilson will always have insecurities due to the fact that her mother abandoned her 10 years ago and chose a life of drugs instead of a life with Wilson.  Wilson has nobody to rely upon…the grandparents who raised her are now deceased.  Max knows that she will constantly have doubts and will need to be reassured that he will never walk away from her.

“Do you think we can find a place where we can bury our mistakes and pick up where we left off?” Max looked at me, his eyes narrow and damp as they wandered up my body to my face. “Wilson, I am so sorry I never came for you. I’m sorry I let you…down.”

Max’s father was CEO of Goldstein Petroleum.  Max was never interested in the family business and had elected to pursue his interest in being a high school teacher.  Now that Max’s father has passed away, the company needs somebody to step into his father’s shoes and run the company.  Max doesn’t want to be part of this, but he is forced to become somebody that he is not simply to keep the family business intact.  His father always wanted Max at the company and not as a teacher, and now his father finally gets the last word in on making sure that Max is part of the family business. 

Whereas the first book was about the chase and the angst, the second book continued with angst and heartbreak, and the third book is all about making certain that the person you care about is put first in your life.  Max is faced with a set of challenges.  He needs to be in Colorado for the company, but Wilson is back in California dealing with family matters and also the ramifications of her student/teacher romance.  Wilson still has 5 months of high school remaining, and Max desperately wants to be there for her, but there is no other way than to let Wilson go back to California without him. 

For being a fresh romance of only one month, Wilson and Max have an undying devotion to each other and the refuge they find in each other is comforting.  They will find a way to make this work…there is no other option.  Max is so free with his beautiful words to Wilson, but Wilson is more guarded with her emotions never wanting to be left alone again.

Wilson continues to show a lot of growth throughout the book.  She moves forward in her life letting her insecurities be replaced by the strength of the love from Max.  She still has challenges to face but at least she isn’t doing these by herself and she is now strong willed and not afraid of the outcome.  Max will never let her go through life without knowing that he will always be beside her.

Max realizes that their relationship is not the conventional type…he was her teacher after all.  He gave up his teaching position in order for them to be together.  He will find a way to accept the critical judgment of others because their love is strong enough to endure anything that is thrown their way.

But at the end of each day, when she walks through the door…she has found her home. At the end of the day, she has found someone who loves her enough to stop the world for her; and no matter what anyone says, thinks, sees, or feels…that’s the only thing that will ever matter to me. I’ve found the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with.

I am going to miss Max and Wilson.  I enjoyed seeing Wilson mature throughout the series and the love that Max had for her was never wavering.  He was very vocal in his thoughts.  The author allowed us to become a bigger part of Max’s thinking by allowing him to share his thoughts and words with alternating chapters.  The scenes progressed nicely between the alternating points of view.   This book was definitely a lot HOTTER than the previous two…and when I say hotter, I mean smoking HOT!!  The first half of the book seemed to be more about their reconciliation and the second half was how to handle the curve balls that were being thrown on their path to happiness.   This is a must read for all the teacher/student romance readers. 

You asked…and they answered…I caught up with Wilson Mooney, Max Goldstein and Max’s mom Nancy Goldstein in late September.

Now that The Wilson Mooney Series has wrapped up and finally come to an end, people are curious about what’s going on in the lives of some of their favorite characters.

Wilson, Max and Nancy were gracious enough to sit down and answer your questions. They opened up with some real honest responses, let their guards down to some pretty vulnerable moments, and spoke candid about some really tough events in their lives.

Wilson, will you ever ski again? Ahhh, no, I don’t think so. Wrecking on a bunny slope is one thing, but then to be dragged down the hill behind a snowmobile? Let’s just say, it wasn’t my sport.
Max. Did you hesitate to give your job up for Wilson? Not for one second. I’m not saying that I didn’t love my job. I loved being a teacher. I valued the dedication and time that I put into it. But when I thought I was going to lose Wilson, nothing else mattered to me. I can always find another job…I won’t find another Wilson. 

And Wilson, did you contemplate telling Max not to leave his job for you? Well, at first I was totally shocked! As stupid as this may sound, I never thought about him ever being anything but a teacher. He’s very passionate about teaching, so when he told me he resigned, I worried that he would resent me for having to make that decision. I won’t lie, it scared the hell out of me.

Max. What was it about Wilson, in detail that allowed you to display your feelings for her? I mean, you obviously had them, and we are aware of when you made them known. But you were risking SO much. What was it about Wilson that made you sure enough of her and your feelings for her to make your feelings known, to her, and you family and ultimately, everyone? I think it was Wilson’s spirit; her determination to turn her life into something more than a victim of her circumstances. When I would watch her move she’d own her space, if that makes sense? She seemed so sure of herself. Even if it was bullshit, she never let on…not to me. So, I needed to know her; I wanted to have that part of her that made me feel alive again, complete. Was it a risk? Sure, but to me…the idea of never taking a chance with her, outweighed the risk of losing everything I had. I think I’ve paid enough in my life, for not making my desires known. I wasn’t gonna make that mistake again.

Wilson: Was there an instant attraction to Wayne? Well, come on, who wouldn’t wanna look at him. He’s gorgeous. No, really, I like Wayne, he is super sweet, and I hope he finds a nice girl. I was feeling it for Max, when I met Wayne. Isn’t that just the way it works sometimes? I wasn’t looking then suddenly, pow…all these guys are interested. The last thing I heard about Wayne was that he moved to Tahoe in California.

Wilson.. When you meet Max's family you felt an instant bond. Why do you think you felt so connected? Hmmm, good question. I think I bonded with Nancy immediately because she was the mother I never had. She was the stability and strength I longed for but never got from my birth mom, Candi. I think the bond that developed between Frank and I stemmed from the desire to have a father figure in my life. If I could picture anyone I wanted for my father it would be him. Even with Max telling me how much pressure he got from his dad…he still had a dad. When I’m with Max’s family, I feel like I finally found home.
Max.. What made you finally give Wilson your phone number? I grew a pair; no, just kidding. I can’t tell you how many times I rehearsed in my head, how I was going to make a move. I was scare shitless. No really, I kept looking for moments where I could slip her my number. Even though she’d flirt with me, I was concerned she didn’t feel the same way, and I didn’t wanna come off creepy or anything. So that day Calvin had called me and was telling him about how her grandfather just passed away, and how she was all alone now. He was so tired of me talking about her, he said, just give her a note with your number, tell her if she needs to talk, call you. Changing my name on the note to Matt Gladstone…well, that was my idea.

Wilson.. Do you think the bond between Max's mom and yourself will be the same? I sure hope so. I love Nancy, and even when I was hurt by her words, she wasn’t saying anything but the truth at that time. Nancy really is an amazing woman and we grow closer every day. I adore her.

Wilson: What's it like to kiss Max? I knew this question was coming. Wouldn’t you like to know! LOL...No, seriously, kissing Max is like being swathed in my favorite blanket. He’s the perfect warmth, with just enough chill. He’s a hint of Aspen, with a splash of California. When Max presses his lips to mine, and his scent swarms around my head, all the sparks going off in every inch of my body collect low in  my stomach…Truthfully, Kissing Max feels like I’m home. Yeah, he’s my home.
Wilson and Max. Since skiing and ice skating never seem to work out well.. Have you thought of vacationing somewhere sunny? Wilson: Ah, yeah, I want to go to Hawaii, Max keeps saying it’s overrated. He wants to take me to the Bahamas, we’ll see. 

Max. Who is Matt Gladstone or how did you come up with that name? I knew this question was going to come up. It was my attempt at being sly, and if Wilson would have got it sooner…She would have known it was me, my initials, as someone else’s name. Matt Gladstone, didn’t exist.

Ms. Goldstein.. How do you feel about Max dating Wilson? Oh, gollie, a question for me. Heavens, I’ve been so wrapped up in listening to Maxi and Wilson, I didn’t realize someone would want to ask me anything...so, how do I feel about Maxie and Wilson dating? I couldn’t be happier. Wilson makes my son happy, I couldn’t ask for a better fit for my son and I absolutely adore her. 

Were you hurt to find out that Max and Wilson lied to you? I’ve put my foot in my mouth before with some of the things I’ve said, but it wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I wasn’t hurt by the way they went about their relationship. Under the circumstances, I understand why they did it. I wasn’t happy, but I understand. 

How are you doing since you husband’s death? Thanks for asking. Some days are harder than others. I have good and bad moments. Some days I miss him so much I can’t get out of bed, and there are days where it’s the exact thing that gets me up in the morning. It can be lonely, thinking about little things only he and I shared, and not having anyone to talk about them with. I’ve had to adjust to life without him and that is so hard. But I am determined to be here for my family.

MAX: What attracted you to Wilson...her being your student and all? I remember the very first time she walked into my class…my world stopped. She walked up, slid into the seat directly in front of me. I remember tripping over my words and wondering if she could see my heart slam in my chest. It was instant for me. It was like…my life came walking into the room and announced…I’m here! I know that sounds corny, even unbelievable. But it’s true. She has this confidence about her, a strength that I was instantly drawn to. She wasn’t like any other girl I’d met before;she seemed so much older than her calendar age. Even women I met closer to my age didn’t hold a match to Wilson. I don’t know…could it have been that we both had a broken past that needed to healed? Maybe…but when she showed up in Aspen…I knew it was meant to be.

Max: What's the last song you listened to on your ipod? Run Right Back, by The Black Keys.
Wilson: If you really loved Max how could you have kissed Nick WTH were you thinking? Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking and I love Max more than anything in this world. All I can say was that I was pretty messed up, scared, and got caught up in the whole lot of bad…fast. It’s not an excuse, I made a terrible mistake. 

How are you going to build that trust back? Well, one moment at a time. Max is my first real boyfriend, first real love…hell, he’s my first real everything. So I hope with time, conversations, and understanding, hopefully, he will grow to trust me again.

Max.. Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us. I actually love to cook, and because Wilson hates it…it works out perfectly! So if it works out perfectly, what is your favorite thing you like to cook for Wilson? Breakfast in bed!

Max.. Do you think your father would have been more understanding about your relationship with Wilson? Or would you mom have handled it better if your father hadn't just died?
My dad would have been pissed at me for upsetting my mother and hurting my career. But, with that, he already had a soft spot for Wilson. I guess I’ll never really know. And I truly believe that my mom would have handled the whole situation better if my dad hadn’t died.

Max, can you forgive Calvin for his betrayal about your relationship? with Wilson? Yes, I have. Cal doesn’t handle pressure very well. He tends to fly off the handle…a lot. But we talked and well, he’s my brother.

Gretchen, what inspired you to write Wilson Mooney?
I was in a real emotionally heavy section of Hindsight is 20/20 when Wilson came busting into my head…and from that day forth, I had to write her story. It was such a light moment…I had to find out what was going to happen to her and I am sure glad I did.

About the Author:

By day Gretchen teaches computers, by night she dawns the cloak of motherhood, wifehood, and authorship. She is making her way through self-publishing and is truly learning to let go with every curve and bump in the creative process.

She enjoys writing about first loves and first times, in the first person. She is a firm believer that anything is possible if you set your mind to it; and what you expect out of life, always finds a way of showing up.

Gretchen happily lives in Northern California with her amazing husband, their three terrific boys, her talented mother, one goofy black lab, one crazy kitty, and eight happy chickens. Even though it sounds like it, she doesn't live on a farm.

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