In the aftermath of tragedy, it’s strange the things you remember.
The deafening boom as the house exploded.
The paralyzing fear as I searched for my wife.
The blinding smoke burning my eyes as I carried her out.
But carved into my soul for the rest of my days would be the earth-shattering realization that the woman in my arms wasn’t my wife.
Bree and I were the only survivors—not that either of us were truly living after that night. As a single dad with nowhere else to go, I moved into her guest house. And somehow, through the guilt and grief, we forged an unlikely team.
It took years, but I watched the gradual return of her smile—slow and life-altering.
The two of us could sit outside for hours, talking about nothing, and it filled the massive hole in my chest with new life.
I may have carried her out of that fire, but the truth was, Bree saved me.
As we healed, the secrets and lies of the past smoldered in the ashes, threatening to ignite again.
Our love was born from the embers, and together we would go up in flames.
Aly Martinez does it again – I swear when I actually picked up this beauty; I didn’t realise or even expect Ms. Martinez to turn the plot around the way she did.
It’s quite obvious from the blurb that our protagonists are married to different people at the start of the story (don’t worry, there is no cheating involved!) – in fact they don’t even like each other at all.
But when tragedy strikes, and a split second decision by the hero makes sure the heroine is the one who survives, rather than his own wife – it puts them on a path of survival, secrets and betrayal they couldn’t have imagined in their own worst nightmares.
Like always, Aly Martinez delivers a romance that packs an emotional punch and is one that would stay with you long after you shut your kindle down.
If you haven’t ever read Aly Martinez before; just trust the author and stick with this book. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .25
Using my arm to block my face, I carried her lifeless body to the door. The knob seared my palm as I yanked it open, but the pain didn’t even register through the adrenaline. The sound of my feet pounding down the driveway echoed in my ears as the fire crackled behind me. Our closest neighbor was over half a mile away, but there was no way they hadn’t heard the explosion. The fire department would be there soon.
Once I got Jessica safe, I’d go back for Bree. They’d find Rob. Everyone would be okay.
“Eason,” she croaked in my arms.
My feet were still moving as I sprinted away, but time stopped as her voice permeated my senses.
It wasn’t possible.
She was covered in soot, and my eyes were caked with ash and what I would later learn to be blood, but I could still make out the large flowers on her yellow—
“Uh, no. It’s my dress that your wife borrowed and I had to do an entire Tom Cruise Mission Impossible thing to get it back last week.”
I kept running until the wind changed direction, clearing the smoke. With my heart in my throat, I prayed that my still ringing ears had deceived me. I set her down and used the inside of my shirt to clear my face.
“Eason,” she croaked.
But once again, she wasn’t my wife.
“Oh, God,” I breathed, watching as she rose on unsteady legs. Tears carved twin riverbeds through the ash on her cheeks.
“What happened?” Bree asked, her green eyes focused on the blazing inferno behind me.
Acrid guilt devoured me. “I…”
I saved the wrong woman.
I left the mother of my child in a burning building.
My final broken promise to the woman I’d vowed forever to was, “I’ll be right back.”
Bile crawled up my throat. “I don’t know.”
I glanced back at the house, the heat of the roaring fire scorching me even from yards away. Overwhelming grief hit me as I realized there was no way I could get back through those flames.
Oh, God. Jessica.
In the middle of tragedy, it’s strange the things that become engrained into your memories. Years later, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how long it took the firetrucks to get there. I couldn’t tell you what time it was or what I had been wearing. But I would never be able to forget the absolute devastation on Bree’s face when she realized we were the only two standing outside the burning house.
“Where’s Rob?” she rasped, her voice sounding like it had traveled over a mile of gravel before exiting her throat. “And Jessica. Where are they?” She took an urgent stride toward me.
“I tried…” I doubled over into a fit of coughing. It was probably for the best. There was no way I could have finished that thought.
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her husband and four young children.
Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and olives. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.
She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.
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