Welcome to our blog tour stop for The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez. It is the first book in a contemporary romance duet, and is it available to read for FREE on KindleUnlimited.
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The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)
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Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.
“It’s a boy.”
“Your son needs a heart transplant.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.
Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.
For ten years, the darkness consumed me.
In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise.
“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”
I’d never for the rest of my life forget those moments in my office with Porter Reese.
The ones where the world finally stopped—even as it kept turning.
I had patients waiting on me, but I couldn’t care less. I’d been waiting for over a decade to take a single breath that didn’t hurt. And, no matter how much I tried to deny it, nothing hurt with Porter, not even in the darkness.
How Porter gave that to me, I wasn’t sure. He didn’t understand my situation. But he didn’t pretend to. He didn’t offer any sage words of advice or try to give me a pep talk about moving on. He just listened and held me.
He’d spoken words, I was sure of it. But those moments were all about feelings.
There was something inherently freeing about telling him about Lucas. Our situations were different, but the same shade of black painted both of our souls.
But, as I clung to him, trying to perform the impossible task of collecting myself, it hit me that the darkness was all we’d ever have.
In the light, we lived on polar-opposite ends of the spectrum.
Porter had his children. His future was in ballet recitals and baseball games. And, after hearing his story, I was happy for him. Really, I was. But I couldn’t handle being a part of that.
That was his life. Not mine.
And, when he aimed a sad smile at me and used the pads of his thumbs to dry under my eyes, I knew he realized it too.
Leave it to me to connect with a single father. I mean, seriously. Karma was sadistic.
Peering up at him, I softly asked, “So, what now?” I didn’t want the answer though.
He shrugged, but it wasn’t in indifference. It was disappointment. Heartbreakingly so. It was also real, no matter how much I wished that it weren’t.
I sighed. “At the risk of sounding like a teenage girl, I really like you.”
His face lit. “I like teenage girls.” His eyebrows pinched together as he quickly amended, “Never mind. Ignore that. It sounded way better in my head.”
Giggling, I gave him a squeeze.
He groaned as he returned it. “Any chance we can rewind to Saturday night?”
“Would it change anything?”
He tipped his head down so he could see me, his blue eyes becoming dark and serious. “No. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again.”
My stomach fluttered. Jesus, he was such a good guy.
It was going to break me more than I already was to let him go, but I had to end it before I had the chance to beg him to stay.
“Porter, I want to. I just…” I closed my eyes and stepped out of his arms while confessing the one word that I feared was starting to dictate my life. “Can’t.”
“I know,” he replied, allowing his fingers to linger on my shoulder until I was out of his reach.
Wrapping one arm around my waist, I attempted to ward off the chill his body had left behind and choked out, “I’m so sorry.”
He twisted his lips—his beautiful, plump, kissable lips. “Don’t apologize. It’s okay. Seriously, I’m not that great. Trust me. You’re getting the good end of the deal.”
I barked a laugh only to start crying all over again. Pointing to my eyes, I said, “This is ridiculous. We barely know each other. You must think I’m insane.”
He chuckled, that deep, masculine sound I loved so much, and it only made the pain in my chest intensify.
“If you’re insane, Charlotte, I’m certifiable. Because this fucking sucks.”
God! The fact that he felt it too made it that much worse.
He brushed the hair off my shoulder, a tingle lighting my skin where his fingers touched. “How about this? If you ever decide you can, promise me I’ll be the first to know. I believe I owe you a kiss.”
I fought back a sigh and asked, “How old is your youngest?”
“Creeping on four.”
I hiccupped a laugh. “You’re in luck. Mills women age really well. I mean, I’m a workaholic who will probably die of a heart attack by the time I’m forty, but if I make it that long, you are in for a real treat.”
He smiled and I wanted to cry all over again.
Christ. What the hell was wrong with me?
Oh, right. The first man I’d felt anything with in as long as I could remember was walking out of my life. And I was all but pushing him out the door because he had children.
When he kissed my forehead, I sucked in a sharp breath and allowed a million memories to flash on the backs of my eyelids.
Memories of me laughing, his eyes lit up as he watched me, a huge smile on his face.
Memories of him touching my lips after that kiss he’d promised.
Memories of us curled up on a couch, watching TV together, a fire crackling in the background, but that warmth only he could give me radiating in my chest.
Memories of him making love to me, slow and desperate.
Memories of me coming home to him after a long day’s work and crashing into his strong arms seconds before falling asleep.
Memories of us watching the bright sunrise together.
Memories that would never exist.
And then Porter left.
He didn’t say anything as he backed out of my office, but goodbyes were spoken all the same. My heart felt as though it were being ripped from my chest with each step he took closer to the door.
He never tore his gaze from mine. It was both a gift and a punishment, because for the first time since I’d met Porter, it gave me the opportunity to see the staggering emptiness in his eyes.
I hated it almost as much as I loved it. He’d lived through hell, but for one lunch, one dinner, and over half an hour in his arms, it had brought him to me.
That was enough.
And, as I watched the door close behind him, I accepted that it would have to be.
After that day, the sunrise only got darker.
*****5 Breathtakingly Emotional Stars*****
Just when I think there is no possible way that Aly Martinez can make me love her books or her exceptional writing more, she goes and does just that. She makes me feel more. She makes me cry more. She makes me laugh my ass off more. She makes me swoon more. She makes my heart soar and fall and break and heal and melt and squeeze infinitely more. She just gives me more.
So. Much. Damn. More.
And that is just a fraction of what makes experiencing her stories, her characters, and her words truly unforgettable.
The Darkest Sunrise is the first part of one of the most emotionally breathtaking and all-feeling stories I have EVER read. It is a story that had me in tears. So many tears. Tears of pain. Tears of anguish and hurt. Tears of hope and strength. Tears of light. Tears of darkness. And most of all tears that were born from two characters my heart immediately seared to.
When I tell you you will feel this book, I mean that you will feel it with every fiber of your being, with every piece of your soul, and every breath of your body. Literally. This book will own you. It will consume your heart and your mind through every word and through every turn of that page. It will steal your breath. It will bring tears to your eyes more times than you can count. It will overwhelm you in the most extraordinary of ways with what you get with these characters.
But let me tell you, I would cry those tears and feel all of those breathtaking emotions again and again with these characters until the end of time because that’s how much I LOVED this story. That’s how much I felt it, lived it, breathed it, and experienced it. That’s how much it blew me away. That’s how much it gave everything.
What Aly Martinez so exceptionally creates in The Darkest Sunrise is something I will never forget, and even when it hurt my heart something fierce for what these characters go through, it hurt so damn good.
This story follows what happens when two people perpetually stuck in the darkness of the tragedies they’ve experienced, meet the one person who truly gets what that darkness feels like. This book follows them as they meet, as they connect, and as they start to realize that they might’ve just met the one person who gets them, their struggles, and the knot of anguish and pain that seems so tightly wrapped around them. Every page of this story gives you them, their emotion filled journey together, and their fight to make it stop, to find that light, and to know that they’re not alone in that darkness they live their life in.
The Darkest Sunrise is a story about two battered and bruised souls who meet through a set of circumstances that will make them, break them, and take them through every emotion and feeling under the sun.
From the very first pages of this book, I was completely in this story with these characters. That is the power and literal magnificence of Aly Martinez’s writing. She puts you right in the thick of it from the get go, from page one, and her words and her stories and her characters truly never let you go. And honestly, it doesn’t get better than that. Trust me.
Her words in this book owned me. Her characters in this story simultaneously shattered me and glued me back together again on a gloriously all-feeling continuous loop. The power and meaning behind every moment of this story, and what I got with Porter and Charlotte gave me it all. It gave me the heartfelt emotion of what they’d been through, and what they started to share together. It gave me their pasts, their intertwined presents, and a future that became more necessary with every breath. It gave me them. Their real, raw, and vulnerable selves that my heart loved and felt for and held onto through every word.
Simply put, her words, her sentences, her story, and everything she gave me in this book were everything. EVERYTHING.
As I sit here writing this review I find myself not wanting to reveal too much about Porter and Charlotte and their story together because this book is one that you just need to experience for yourself. It is one you need to just dive right into, while letting what it gives you wash over you again and again. This is a story that will literally give you it all if you let it, and that is just part of what makes it one of the best books I have EVER read. I also know that my words will in no way do this story or its characters the true justice they deserve. This story is just that powerful, that meaningful, and that unforgettable that my words can’t possibly capture what Aly Martinez so epically created in this book and in this duet.
So just trust me when I say: you NEED this book in your life.
You need Porter and Charlotte. You need Travis and Hannah. You need Lucas. You need Tanner and Rita and Sloth. You need Tom and Brady and Charlotte’s mom. You need them all….because when you put all of their wonderful and distinctive pieces together you get one helluva story that you will feel every breath of.
I have to say that one of my absolute favorite parts of this book was getting to know and fall in love with Porter and Charlotte. Those two pretty much take the cake in my eyes. They are real and honest and just them. They have both been through so much struggle and pain and hurt in their lifetimes, and yet they’re still holding on and putting one step in front of the other. Both of them are beyond endearing, so completely easy to love, and they will pull your heart in again and again to them because of what you experience with them along the way.
Whether it’s Porter’s sweetness and heart, or Charlotte’s vulnerability and strength. Whether it’s their honesty and how they both really go there, or how even in the most emotional of moments they can still find that humor and that connection and spark to see them through. Whether it’s that glorious push and pull that grows between them, or the emotional connection behind it all. Whether it’s their highs, their lows, them in that darkness or in those small glimpses of light, you will LOVE these characters.
You will feel them, you will go through it all with them, and you will experience every lick of what they share together.
Aly Martinez does the most extraordinary job of putting you with them, in their heads and in their hearts, allowing you to be with them in every way possible as this story unfolds. That gives you the most phenomenal level of understanding of those two, what they’re going through, and what they’re sharing, it pulls your heart to them both again and again, and it shows you them. It shows you them in every word, their connection and magnetic pull, and it shows you repeatedly why they have to find a way because of what they share.
What those two share is everything. It’s beautiful. It’s full of a tangible spark that you will feel in your bones. It’s that spark that is there between them through it all, and it will give you life with those two, even as they share some of the most emotional and heart squeezing moments. What Porter and Charlotte share will give you it all and then some, and it is what they share that will take you through every page and breath of what this story throws at them.
The Darkest Sunrise is a story about many things. It’s a story of unimaginable loss and anguish. It’s a story of a father’s love for his children, and a mother’s love that never goes away no matter what is thrown its way. It’s a story of two battered and broken souls, spinning around in the dark, searching for even the most miniscule amount of light they can hold onto. It’s a story of what happens when you meet the one person who gets your cracks, who gets what it feels like to be so thoroughly consumed by a darkness that is so raw and viscerally emotional. It’s a story of hope, of connection, and of finding that light and that feeling and that piece to the puzzle you so desperately need.
This books is a story of two people who share a world of things no person should ever have to go through, yet seem to find the most exceptional feeling and connection and meaning in the midst of that pain they both can’t seem to escape.
This is a book about finding that person that might just be the lifesaver you desperately need. That person who throws you the rope, who reaches out and grabs your hand and says I’m with you, I understand, and I’m not letting go. It’s about finding the person who could be that flashlight in the darkness, that person who can so perfectly loosen the knot of emotion around your heart, and that person who gives you the most glorious hope and life to hold onto.
The Darkest Sunrise is the first part of Porter and Charlotte’s emotionally consuming, breathtakingly beautiful, and completely unforgettable love story.
This book will shock you. It will take your breath away and make you cry more times than you can count. It will allow you to feel it all, and then some, and then some more. And in the end it will have you simultaneously NEEDING the final part of the story like you need your next breath, all while feeling the power and meaning and utter brilliance of what Aly Martinez created.
I could literally go on and on about how much I loved this book, how much I was blown away by it and its characters, and what I experienced within its extraordinary pages. I could keep going and going about how unforgettable this story was, how much I felt through every page, how much Aly Martinez gave me through her exceptional writing. I could keep going and going for thousands of more words, and I wouldn’t even scratch the surface of how amazing this book is. I wouldn’t even come close to capturing a fraction of what it gave me and how much I loved it, and the moment you read and experience this book for yourself, you will completely understand why I say that.
This book is EVERYTHING. It is everything wrapped up in one unforgettable, all-feeling, and completely mesmerizing package, and it is hands down one of the best books I have ever read.
So seriously, run yourself to this book this very second. Run. Do not pass go. Do not collect your 200 dollars in imaginary money. Do not dilly dally. Just read this book. Read it. Live it. Feel it all. Love it all. Hold on through it all. Embrace Porter and Charlotte and what they so exceptionally give you. And in the end, I promise you will be damn glad you did just that because like I said this book, these characters, and what they give you is everything.
The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)
Coming July 27th
Pre-order it Now
You won’t want to miss this amazing series!
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.
Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. 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.