Release, an all-new “mesmerizing” and “captivating” standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez, is available now!
Growing up, Ramsey Stewart branded my soul in ways time could never heal.
At twelve, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
At thirteen, he gave me my first kiss.
By sixteen, we’d fallen in love, planned a future together, and had our eyes set on the horizon.
Love never fails, right?
But for Ramsey, it did.
Love failed him.
I failed him.
The entire world failed him.
At seventeen, Ramsey was convicted of killing the boy who assaulted me.
Move on,he wrote in his first and only letter from prison.
Start a new life, he urged.
I don’t love you anymore, he lied.
There was no such thing as giving up on Ramsey. Love may have been our curse, but he was mine—then, now, and forever.
So here I am, twelve long years later, waiting for a man I don’t even know to emerge from between the chain link gates.
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There are many things I know in this life:
-I love when Aly Martinez murders all of my emotions.
-I especially love when she murders all of my emotions and tries to put me back together again.
-Release is hands-down one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. (And it seriously murdered all of my emotions and I LOVED IT!)
-Ramsey and Thea are the actual best.
This book put me through the ringer from the very first word until the very last. This is a heartbreakingly emotional, moving, yet beautiful story of second chances, of a love that truly knows no bounds, and what happens when you meet the one person who truly makes all the difference. This bank shattered me. It brought me to tears, I’m pretty sure I sobbed somewhere in there too, but through it all, through all the darkness and hurt and pain and anguish that these characters struggled with, I felt their light. I felt their magic. I felt what truly made them special. I felt every bit of that and more and that is what pulled me through every unforgettably magnificent word of their story.
What can I say? I really love it when Aly Martinez toys with all of my emotions. I also especially love it when she rips all of them out of my body and beats them with a baseball bat. But you know what I especially love? I especially love when she shows me the why. When she gives me the foundation of her characters, of their very souls and beings, and when she lets me truly be with them and feel with them in love with them. I also especially love when she puts me and her characters back together again simultaneously. The way that her writing and storytelling so authentically does that truly puts her words and her books in a league of their own.
Release is a story that will make you feel at all. It will show you how Ramsey and Thea came to be, it will show you their journey that is riddled with a hell of a lot of heartbreak and strife and anguish, but it will also show you the strength and tenacity and heart that those two have. I loved every single second of being a part of that journey with them. It wasn’t easy, and it had me crying quite a bit, but it shows so much about them. It was honest and raw and real and it showed them. It showed their hearts and their souls and just how far they were willing to go for one another. This book exemplified who they were, what they were fighting for, and who they wanted to be in the end. I loved every bit of getting to be a part of that and I truly feel lucky that I had the chance to experience their story.
What I got in this book was a truly unforgettable story. If you have a story of redemption, a story filled to the brim with emotion and heart and raw feeling when you need this book in your life. You need to experience the unforgettable journey that these two characters go on. They will make you work for it. There will be moments when you are with them when you question what else could happen to them or what that next page could bring, but the light you feel with them, the hope that is equally there just as much as the hurt and emotion will pull you through. And in the end you will be beyond grateful that you read this book, that you experience to their story, and that you gave their second chance a chance.
I truly cannot recommend this book enough. It was perfection. The writing, the characters, the emotion and heart of it all, and the multiple layers that are so dynamic, breathtaking, and truly exceptional. Aly Martinez continues to outdo herself again and again, and this book proves that through every single word.
I am a true emotional masochist, and I would gladly have Aly Martinez and her books ripped out my heart and beat them with the emotional baseball bat every day if it meant getting more stories like this.
Release was everything and then some. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read and it will have you feeling it all, believing in the power of hope and second chances, and it will have you knowing through every word that you have never read a book quite like this one. Trust me, the journey might not be the easiest, but Ramsey and Thea will see you through. And you will be so glad that you have the chance to go along with them. Because their story… Their story is hope and longing and fight personified. Their story is beautiful. Their story is heartbreaking and devastating in so many ways, yet is bursting at the seams with what makes them so special and truly set them apart.
You will fall with them, you will fly with them, you will feel at all with them. You will hurt and cry and fight and pull yourself up just as they do. You will see and feel and breathe their lives with them. You will get Ramsey and Thea in a way that you have not gotten other characters. You will get it all.
Their story is uniquely theirs, and that is just a scratch of the surface of what makes it so spectacular and completely unforgettable.
So seriously, get yourself a glass of wine, curl up with this book, and be prepared to be completely moved and shattered in the best way by this story and it’s characters. Aly Martinez continues to up her game with every word that she writes, and this is yet another example of the truly exceptional writing and storytelling she continues to produce.
It was funny. I’d spent almost half my life surrounded by the biggest, baddest criminals the state of Georgia had been able to capture. Yet, I was terrified of a five-foot-five woman who for some asinine reason was still in love with me.
I couldn’t be around her. Not if I wanted to keep my head straight and my eye on the prize. I had three years before I got off parole. I needed to get a job, tuck away some cash, and, the second I was allowed to leave Georgia, get the hell out of there. Maybe, if I was lucky, I’d be able to convince my sister to come with me. We didn’t have to go far. We could stay in the south if she wanted. South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee—there were schools everywhere. Nora wouldn’t have trouble finding a job. The hardest part would be convincing her to leave Thea.
However, maybe if she did, Thea would finally move on with her life and stop obsessing about me.
I’d known they lived together for a while. I didn’t want anything to do with Thea while I was locked up, but I was happy as hell Nora had someone to lean on. I had been under the impression that Nora had gotten her own place when she found out about my release. I had been under that impression because Nora had straight-up told me she was getting her own place after I’d declared there was no way I was living with Thea.
Now, I was hiding in my room, waiting for Nora to wake up, open my door, and escort me to breakfast like a damn bodyguard so I could avoid confrontation.
Next up in my efforts to kill time was a workout. Sit ups, push-ups, planks, running in place. This was when I realized Nora hadn’t bought me any deodorant.
Another naked lap around the bedroom, and this time, I managed to keep my hands off my cock.
Finally, I got dressed. This required me to pick through a bunch of preppy shit Nora had bought for me to find tattered jeans and a fitted green tee that clung to my chest like a damn glove. In my closet, I found a belt and a pair of distressed brown lace-up boots that maybe could have doubled as combat boots if the war was taking place on a runway. But what the hell did I know about style? I’d been wearing orange or puke beige for almost half my life.
When I was done with all of that and there was still no sign of Nora, I sat on the edge of the bed and decided to give the phone thing a try. I wasn’t totally out of the technology loop. We had computers at the library and we were allowed to use them if we earned the privileges. But they might as well have been dinosaurs compared to the phone she’d bought me. I couldn’t even get it to read my face with the fancy secret laser thing. I gave up trying pretty quickly.
So there I was, bored out of my mind, starving, and poking at my newfound wrinkles in the bathroom mirror, when I heard a knock at my door.
I froze, my eyes locked on the mirror, panic staring back at me.
Jesus. I needed to find somewhere else to live.
Leaning out of the bathroom, I stared at the door. If I was super quiet, maybe she’d think I was still asleep and go the hell away.
When I didn’t reply, she knocked again. Her voice was timid and sweet, not at all like the fearless girl I’d grown up with. I hated it.
“Ramsey? You hungry? I’m making breakfast? I was wondering if you wanted something?” Everything from my name to the fact that she was making breakfast was a question, as if maybe she was asking permission to cook in her own house.
My stomach was currently feasting on my backbone. Still, I said nothing.
She sighed. “Okay. Well, if you change your—” There were several seconds of silence.
I quirked my eyebrow at the door, trying to figure out why she’d abruptly stopped talking, and then cursed my inability to develop x-ray vision.
I held my breath, hoping to hear her footsteps as she walked away.
No. Such. Fucking. Luck.
The door swung open and she came walking inside with her hands stacked over her eyes. “Look, I know you’re awake. I heard you running earlier. I also heard you take at least three showers. Sorry, but the house isn’t that big. Neither is the hot water heater. Are you at least dressed so I can open my eyes?”
Brave. Unapologetic. And completely oblivious to boundaries. Now that was the Thea I knew.
“Get out,” I barked.
“Dressed? Not dressed? Help me out here?”
She kept her eyes closed. “You gotta eat, Ramsey. You can’t stay locked up in this room forever.”
I wanted to tell her to get the hell out again. Honestly, it was on the tip of my tongue. But it never made it past my lips because my traitorous eyes stole a head-to-toe of her lithe body. She was barefoot, wearing jeans—tight ones that tapered at her ankle. They looked like mine in the sense that they had a rip in the knee. They didn’t look like mine in the sense that they hugged the curve of her hips and more than likely her ass too. A pink tank top stretched across her chest, and I swear on my life, fuck x-ray vision because I could see the pebble of her nipples beneath the fabric.
It wasn’t a ridiculous dress.
It wasn’t stupid fucking heels.
She wasn’t wearing a face full of clown makeup.
She was just Thea.
The nostalgia pumped through my veins like acid even as my cock stirred. Fuck, I should have jerked off again in the shower.
“I’m dressed,” I bit out, desperate for her to put her damn hands down and maybe use them to cover her tits instead.
Her long, brown lashes fluttered as she opened her eyes. Those fucking eyes had once owned me. As a huge smile lit her face, I felt the claim all over again.
“Oh, look, you chose one of the outfits I picked out for you.”
Of course I had. Of fucking course. As soon as I got her out of my room, I was going to take the outfit off and light it on fire.
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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