Review Post: Thrive (Guardian Protection #2) by Aly Martinez

Today we are celebrating the release of THRIVE by Aly Martinez. Thrive is the second book in the Guardian Protection series and it can be read as a complete standalone.

You can grab the ebook or paperback on Amazon.

Download the audiobook at Audible or iTunes.

Thrive by Aly Martinez (Guardian Protection, #2)

 Purchase the ebook on Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

Purchase the Audiobook | Purchase the PaperbackSynopsis:

When I was nineteen years old, I was faced with a choice that changed my life.
Keep the safety of what I already knew or risk losing everything with the young, hotheaded soldier who stole my heart.

I chose the wrong man, and for seventeen years, I paid in tears, blood, and shattered dreams for that decision.

Now, there’s a man in my house, holding a gun to my head on the order of my ex-husband—given from his prison cell.

That hotheaded soldier I was too afraid to choose? He’s now a six-foot-three wall of muscle who works at the country’s most premier bodyguard agency. I’ve always wanted him, but now, I’ve never needed him more.

It’s the call I’m terrified to make.
I’m sure he still hates me… Even though I’ve never stopped loving him.

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*****5 Unforgettably Amazing Stars*****

So let’s talk about how absolutely incredible this book is.

Are you ready? Pull up a chair and take a seat because do I have some things to tell you about this amazing, breathtaking, and utterly consuming book. This book was the epitome of a perfect second chance romance. It was emotional, gripping, and breathtaking with the moments it gave me with its characters. It was so exceptionally crafted, with so much feeling, so much intensity and angst and heart and heartbreak behind each word, and the way that Aly Martinez brought it all to life was everything. EVERYTHING.

She made this book thrilling. She made it breathtakingly emotional. She made it all consuming in the most unforgettable way. She made it all so real. The love, the heartbreak, the anguish, the highs and lows and everything these characters experienced. It was so real, so authentic as if I was living it right along with them, and that seared me to them in every single way possible.

It pulled me into every single part of this book. It pulled me to the minds and hearts and souls of these characters. It pulled me into every single emotionally charged moment they shared. It pulled me into their sensual and heart rendering passion. It pulled me into it all.

Every word that Aly Martinez so thoughtfully created, every dynamic layer she added to this story, and every emotion and feeling she infused and wove together so breathtakingly in this book made it one of the best books I have ever read.

Thrive is a second chance romance that follows two characters who have experienced their own world of heartbreak. Years ago they had a connection they couldn’t get enough of, and a fire that burned them from the inside out. They couldn’t get enough of each other, but when faced with a choice, one of them chooses wrong leading to heartbreak, pain, and more anguish than you can shake a stick at. That one choice changes everything for the both of them in ways that neither of them were prepared for. They go their separate ways, but another string of events brings them back together again years later.

The events of this book follow what happens when Mira and Lark come face to face after the mountain of hurt and pain that has separated them for many years. This book is filled to the brim with twists and turns, adrenaline pumping moments, and a second chance love story that will pummel your heart in the most amazing and all-feeling way with what these characters give you. Years have passed, choices have been made, but when these two come face to face again there is nothing that can stop the fire and heat and emotion that bursts out of them for one another…no matter how hard they might try to hide it and fight it.

These two have a past, they have the most interesting and captivating and emotional present together, and this story explores what happens when they must face the past and embrace and live the present, all to see what the future could bring them.

Let me just tell you this now, if I could give this book all the stars in the world, I would. It was that good. It was that captivating. It was that exceptionally emotional. It was that phenomenally written. This book had it all. It had the fire and connection and passion that Aly Martinez brings to life in the most alluring and encapsulating way. It had the story that kept me on my toes through every single page dying to see what would happen next. It had the emotion and feels that owned me through every lick of what I was experiencing with these characters.

It had the characters, the story, the heart, the heat, and everything I needed and more. Simply put, Thrive had it all. It had everything I have come to love and expect from a book by Aly Martinez. It was beautifully written, with a layer of suspense, passion, and emotion that truly delivered it all. That along with her incredible and wonderfully distinctive characters gave me a story that I know I will never forget.

What I loved about Thrive was that it was all about choice and consequences and the high stakes emotions that go along with that. It was about what happens when you make a mistake, when you make a choice, when you make one decision that changes everything. It allowed me to understand these characters, to understand their motives and fear and worries. It let me get them in the past and in the present, and it let me put it all together in a way that pulled me into every moment they shared.

This book explored what can happen when you get a second chance at it all. It shows you the hope that can bring, the emotional turmoil that can come with it, and it takes you along the bumpy, twisty, and all-feeling road that exists on the way to putting yourself back together again.

Every chapter, every moment, and everything these characters shared was brought to life through Aly Martinez’s exceptional writing. She let you live their pain, their past, and the emotion that went along with their heartbreak. She put you there with them as they were reunited, as you caught up with them, and as you learned what the past years had brought to their lives. She kept you with them as they felt that soul touching fire that seared them to one another in ways they didn’t even realize. She let you breathe their pain, their hope, their fire and their hearts and everything that exploded between them as she reached out for help and as he did all that he could to keep her from falling.

This book touched every part of my heart with what I got with Mira and Lark. When I read Thrive, there were so many moments that literally took my breath away and hurt my heart. Sometimes that was because of the shear pain and hurt these characters experienced and were going through. Other times it was because of what happened when they were together, whether it was their banter or their attempts at healing or the connection that exploded from them in such a way that made all of that emotion and hurt worth it. Sometimes I was just in awe of those two and what they shared, what they felt, and what was happening between them as they faced a second chance at what could be.

Through it all I lived it, I felt it, I breathed it and experienced every ounce of what was happening between them, and I loved it. I loved it all. Even when it hurt, even when it made me cry, even when it took my breath away because of how hard it was to read because of the depth and rawness of the emotion, I loved it. I loved it because it was them. It was their story, their hearts, and their second chance. And that was everything to get.

Now Aly Martinez has given me some of my all-time favorite characters, and Thrive just gave me two more to add to my list. Mira and Lark are probably two of the strongest characters I have ever read. They have both lost so much, been through so much, and have had to endure more than anyone should, yet they still fight. They still give it their all. Their tenacity and determination and fire is on a whole other level, and that is just part of what makes them so fantastic and distinctive.

What can I say? I loved those two with my entire heart. I loved how they pushed each other’s buttons like nobody’s business. I loved how they just got each other. I loved how those two slipped right back in to being them, yet in the same breath were older, wiser, and a more experienced version of themselves. I loved how every moment of this book let me understand them a little bit more. I loved how Aly Martinez made them so memorable. She made their humor and personalities and their fire so them, so distinctively Mira and Lark, and that brought every lively and vibrant part of them and their connection to life.

The way she so intricately creates them, their story, and everything they share together in Thrive creates a book and world that you’ll never want to leave. I spent this book LOVING every moment I got with them and the other amazing characters that make the Guardian Protection Series what it is. I love this world. I love how the members of Guardian are one crazy, unforgettable, and wonderfully ridiculous group of men who I just love with my whole damn heart. I love that every little taste of them all make me want more, and has me even more in need of the next time I get more with them.

What Aly Martinez so fantastically created in the first book in this series, continues outstandingly into Thrive. She once again allows this world to come alive in a way that is tangible, emotional, memorable, and so distinctively Guardian. It’s Leo and Johnson and Brayden and Jude. It’s Lark and Mira and Apollo. It’s everyone. It’s their personalities, it’s their sense of family and bond, it’s their friendships and connections that add another incredible layer to what you get, while just investing you more in everything you’re experiencing.

Reading this book was one of the most fulfilling reading experiences I have ever had. This book owned me. It owned my emotions, it owned my thoughts, it owned my heart and mind and my very soul, and in the end it owned every part of me as it delivered an emotionally breathtaking story of what happens when two soulmates get a second chance at love.

Thrive made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me smile at the antics and banter and back and forth with these characters, and through it all it gave me Mira and Lark and every lick of what they shared in a way that I will never forget.

Aly Martinez has done it again. She has once again crafted a book that delivers it all. She has once again created a story that will keep you and your heart on your toes, a story that will connect you so deeply to its character, and a story that will have you feeling every ounce of what it has to give you.

This book will show you what it means to get a second chance at the one choice that changed everything. It will show you what can happen when the other half of your heart comes barreling into your life. Literally. And it will show you what can happen if you put yourself out there, if you fight, and if you give it all up to what you feel and what could be in order to heal from the pains of the past.

Thrive is hands down one of my top reads for the year, and it was everything. And then some. And then some more. It is a story that I guarantee will touch your heart and own you in ways that you will love, and in the end you will be damn glad you jumped into the thick of that emotion and into that second chance with Mira and Lark because it will give you everything you need.

And then some.


“This is yours?” I asked in awe, trailing my fingers over the shiny, black hood of a newer-model Ford pickup truck.

He’d lifted it and put huge tires on it, and while the top was spotless, there was a thin layer of mud covering the running boards, letting me know that it didn’t stay locked away in his garage waiting for a Chicago snow. It actually got used—and in places that weren’t covered in asphalt. My Southern heart, which had been relocated to the Midwest all those years ago, quaked in its stunning presence.

He stared at me, his arms crossed over his chest, the muscles of his neck straining beneath a gray henley, but not because he was stressed or upset, but rather because his muscles were so thick and defined that they were always straining.

He answered with a simple, “Babe.”

I swung my hand to the Escalade parked in the driveway. “What about the SUV?”

Twirling the keys on his finger, he walked over to me. “It’s not a crime for a man to own two vehicles.” Gripping my hip, he swayed me toward him. “If I have the kids, I drive the Caddy. If I’m by myself and the Caddy isn’t blocking the garage, I’ll take the truck.” He grinned, dipped low, brushed his lips to mine, and whispered, “If I’m with Mira, I take the truck even if the Caddy is blocking the garage and I have to move it so it’s not.”

My stomach performed gold-medal-worthy somersaults as I pushed up onto my toes and gave him far more than a lip brush.

His mouth opened, inviting me in. His warm tongue rolled with mine, acting as the welcoming committee. My head became light and I fisted my hands in the front of his shirt for balance. The moan that slipped from my throat made his tantalizing lips curve up in a smile before he pulled away.

Resting his forehead to mine, he rumbled, “Breakfast and condoms, baby. We can’t do anything without them.”

“Not completely true,” I murmured. “I saw a loaf of bread in your kitchen. Toast will serve as sustenance, and you can eat while I do other things with my mouth that don’t require condoms.”

His hand slipped down to my ass. “I’ve missed your mouth, Mira. But not a chance in hell you start things on your knees and I don’t end them inside you. And, for that, I’m gonna need more than toast. So it looks like we’re back to breakfast and condoms.” He gripped my ass, rocking me against him. “But we’re going to take the truck so you can slide in real close. And, on the off chance you feel like getting handsy while I drive, I won’t object.”

That had happened a lot when we were younger. The minute my ass had hit his seat, he’d lift his arm in invitation and I’d slid all the way over, as close as I could get without being in his lap. And then he’d drive. Windows down, the world passing us in a blur, him being the only thing in focus.

Inside that truck, I had been free to be Mira.

And, the idea of having that now, after seventeen years of feeling like someone else, I became giddy with excitement.

“You have a bench seat?” I gasped, staring up at him with a megawatt smile.

Smirking, he released me and opened the passenger’s door. “When I lift the armrest, I do.”

I giggled. “Jesus, it’s like you knew I’d be coming back.”

His shoulders jerked, and his jaw turned to granite. And then Jeremy Lark slayed me, brought me back to life, and then ruined me once and for all. “No. Because if I’d thought there was any chance of you ever coming back, I’d probably still be sitting on the tailgate of that clunker in the woods, waiting.”

Purchase the previous book in the Guardian Protection Series

SINGE is the first book in the Guardian Protection Series and is FREE in KindleUnlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU



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.


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