A Beautiful Forever

Dedication –

To Lana, for always being wonderful

‘Would you leave me, if I told you what I've done?

And would you need me, if I told you what I've become?

– No Light, No Light. Florence and the Machine


The moment I sent A Beautiful Struggle out into the world I started to get emails, reviews and personal messages telling me that I broke the reader’s heart by breaking Katrina and Elliot up. So despite the fact that it was supposed to be a standalone book, I decided to write a sequel. I had been toying with the idea of writing Elliot’s story but it didn’t really come to life until I realised that the girl for him was one that I had already started writing about in a manuscript I had originally titled ‘Superfluous Me’ – that idea had stalled because her knight in shining armor hadn’t revealed himself to me yet.

The moment I realized that Elliot was the guy for her, the story took off and my fingers started flying all over the keyboard. This book is solely about Elliot and Paige – there is no third wheel here. This is simply a representation of all they have to overcome to be together. Hopefully, you’ll love them as much as I do.


First and foremost I must thank all of the Beta readers and Advanced reviewers who agreed to look over this book.

Mary – who was my constant sounding board during my re-writes, Betchiva, Pati, Alyssa, Wendy, Isabel, Ginnie, Jenny, Crystal, April, Sara, ‘Brazillian Girl’, Anne, Liona, Kristy and the very enthusiastic Nancy (I loved your email and I’ll keep it always!!)

Whether, you loved it, hated it, or just couldn’t find the time to read it – I still greatly appreciate the support you gave me, no matter how small.

A big thank you also to my ‘Reader Valentine’ Celsey, who spend the month of February promoting my work to earn herself a cameo within this book. Love you!

I also want to thank my family, especially my husband for supporting me while I write. My husband listened to my ideas and gave me great story suggestions, and held my hand while I bit my fingernails nervously while I waited for reviews to come back.

The very last thank you is to you, the person reading right now – you are the whole entire reason that I have worked so hard to create this book. Enjoy.



Encouraging the sweaty, grunting man in front of me to tuck his knees closer to his chest as he does mountain climbers, I distractedly scan the people and the scenery in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, as I do every time I bring a client here.

That’s when I finally see her, her movement is unmistakable as she runs in a rhythmic pace along the path in front of me. The two years I spent trying to get over her just fell away like I didn’t even live them, and I’m taken right back to where I was, wanting her, wishing I could touch her.

Holding my breath, I watch her, her pony tail swinging from side to side as her feet hit the concrete. When she turns her head in my direction, a gripping pain creeps over my chest, constricting my airways when I see the recognition steal over her face.

I was kind of hoping she’d run past me, so I could convince myself I was seeing things, but no such luck. She’s stopped running and is smiling brightly at me. My stomach flips in response while my arm automatically waves at her. All of a sudden, I hear myself telling my client that I’ll be back in a minute, as my feet propel me toward her.

Katrina is standing with her hands on her hips grinning at me as I approach. I have so much I want to say to her, but mostly I just want to touch her again. My body is screaming at me to reach out. But I don’t.

“What’s this?” she asks me immediately, indicating the logo on my shirt. I smile to myself - she’s never been one to mince words. She seems exactly the same, like I only saw her yesterday.

Looking at my shirt, I chuckle uncomfortably. “I’m a personal trainer now,” I inform her.

Her eyebrows shoot up in surprise, “What? What about becoming a barrister?”

Still smiling I shake my head from side to side, “That was my father’s dream for me. After you left, I did a lot of soul-searching and decided to make my own path,” I answer, scanning her body, drinking in every little detail.

“Wow, that’s amazing Elliot. I'm really happy for you.”

My eyes land on her left hand, and my chest tightens as I see the ring she now wears. Swallowing the ball that has suddenly lodged itself firmly in my throat, I say, “Looks like congratulations is owed to you as well. Is that from David?”

She looks at her hand briefly, like she needs to confirm that we’re looking at the same thing and gives me a small nod. “Oh thank you, the wedding is a while off, but everything else is great.” Giving me a tight smile, she meets my eyes and places her hand back on her hip. “How about you? How are things with you?”

I look into her face, searching for some semblance of the way she used to look at me, but there's nothing there. I shift a little uneasily on my feet, suddenly feeling slightly sick in the guts.

Clearing my throat, I finally answer her, “Well, I don’t really speak to my dad anymore – which really is a good thing; and I’m seeing someone now. It took a while – and she’s not you... but things are ok. I’m certainly not ready for a commitment like that yet,” I say, nodding at that bloody ring again, I’m trying to sound okay with it, but it hurts. It's like my brain is swelling and throbbing against my skull from the sight of it.

She seems completely unfazed by seeing me and just stands there smiling like we’re buddies. Her eyes shift to look over my shoulder, where I’m sure my client is still waiting. “Well, I had better let you get back to it,” she says, starting to back away from me. I hate feeling like this. It's like she’s tearing a part of me off the further she steps. “It was nice to see you again Evan.”

I laugh, but it makes this really hollow and empty sound. I don’t mean for it to come out that way, but I’m feeling a little bitter right now.

“You too Katrina. I'll see you around, if not – have a great life!” I smile on only one side of my face and run back to my client, forcing my feet every step and refusing to let myself turn around.

I don’t chance a look at her again until after I’ve told my client what his next exercise is. My guts are churning as I watch her run away, but I can’t stop staring. She doesn’t even look back.

I just lied to her. I'm not seeing anyone. Truth is I haven’t dated anyone in the two years since her. I f*cked around a lot, which is really out of character for me, but I just wanted to try to get her out of my head. It never helped because every time I closed my eyes, I dreamed about our time together – it was f*cking perfect, and I destroyed it because I was too much of a * to stand up to my dad.

Now she’s engaged and I’ve got no chance, I guess I could pursue her and try to change her mind – but there is something about the way she just looked at me that tells me it would be a waste of time. Plus, she seems happy and I’m not a home wrecker. At the end of the day, David is a good guy, and they have a lot of history. I'm sure they’ll be disgustingly blissful together.

“Elliot,” my client snaps me back from my thoughts. “What’s next?”

Dragging my eyes from watching Katrina’s figure fade into the distance, I tell him that it is time to cool down. We go for a run in the opposite direction. I don’t trust myself not to chase her down.

Chapter 1


“My family are all dead,” I reply to the well-meaning lady sitting next to me. She’s just trying to make conversation to pass the time as we fly half way across the world from Sydney, Australia to Heathrow Airport in the UK.

“Oh… I’m so sorry to hear that,” she stammers out, now not sure what to say. She looks at me, her mouth moving up and down like she's a goldfish caught out of water. Her jowly cheeks are wobbling, and her eyes are darting nervously around as she searches for something else to say.

“It’s fine. I just don’t like to talk about it,” I tell her, looking out the window at the passing clouds. I don’t like to talk about it because it isn’t true. As far as I know, my family are all alive and well, they just don’t speak to me after kicking me out when I was fifteen. I have taken to telling people they're dead – because that’s how it feels to me. I used to say that they don’t talk to me anymore, but what does that say about me? The one that was cast out. It says no one loved me enough to fight for me, that I’m too much trouble to put up with. It’s better if I say they’re dead – it makes me lucky to be the one who’s still alive.

Staring out the window, I watch the clouds roll by below us, like a fluffy white and grey blanket that I so desperately want to touch. The woman turns her attention to the guy sitting on the other side of her and starts to ask him questions about his life instead. I've made her uncomfortable. I have probably made everyone within earshot uncomfortable.

Anderson, Lilliana's Books