Today, we’re part of a promo tour for The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez.
It is the first book in a contemporary romance duet, and it’s available to read for FREE on KindleUnlimited or
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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 don’t even know how to begin this review…I just finished The Darkest Sunrise…it’s barely been minutes since I read the last page, and I’m struggling to put into words the impact this story…these characters…Aly Martinez’s words have had on me.
I’ve always adored Aly’s writing because she doesn’t confine herself to tried and true story lines; she puts herself out there as a writer, unwilling to put the voices in her head into one certain box; she allows them to roam free and in doing so, she provides her readers with rich storylines and dynamic characters who transform right in front of us, for better AND worse, and as we turn the pages of their story and realize the significance of their pasts and what it will take for them to be able to move on, we get lost in Aly’s words and plead for her to find a way to make her characters shine, despite their pain…despite the loss…despite life’s tendency to pull them into the darkness.
The Darkest Sunrise is such a powerful story of loss, of grief, of guilt…it’s a story that illustrates the true power of words, and how they can both save and destroy, heal and harm, set free and enslave.
Words and deeds have slayed both Charlotte Mills and Porter Reese, forcing them to merely exist…to survive a past that they can’t move on from because the numbness and emptiness are their constant companions, and while they went through separate defining moments – ones that shattered their lives and drowned them into the darkest existences possible, they’re drawn to one another because they share a mutual pain…they share a similar look behind the facades they put on for those around them. Both of them understand just how easy it is to lose the light from their lives, plummeting into the darkness and suffocating from it without the knowledge of how to crawl back out into the sunshine.
Metaphorically, the darkness that Charlotte and Porter find themselves in, since the day their lives went pitch black, is both comforting and disconcerting;
in part, the shadows serve as a protective shield…as a way to cope with incidences they couldn’t control and still manage to deal with the life they continue to live. In some ways, the blackness is where they need to be; it’s a place they feel comfortable because it numbs them enough to endure, but there are also demons there – ones trying to keep them in their clutches, never allowing them to find a way into the light because the circle of hell is where the anger, guilt, despair, and hate need them to be…it’s a place where those dark emotions can fester and grow in ways that Charlotte and Porter may not be able to come back from even if they help one another to willingly try.
Charlotte and Porter’s story has a multilayered plot; there are several story lines occurring at the same time, and it’s not until the end of the first book that all of them blend together as one and leave readers reeling for The Brightest Sunset because it seems impossible for Charlotte and Porter to procure themselves out of the darkness with what’s revealed at the end of The Darkest Sunrise…any progress into the light seems futile with the devastating knowledge of just how similar Charlotte and Porter’s pain and suffering truly is, and I have to be honest…I don’t know how they’re going to be able to remain each other’s support when questions and judgments are bound to reveal even more heartbreaking information for all those involved.
I’m truly blown away by The Darkest Sunrise…every word written…every character trait described…every theme explored is crucial to understanding the pain these characters carry EVERY DAY of their lives, and as I head into the second part of Charlotte and Porter’s duet, I pray that Aly Martinez brings them as well as readers into a sustainable light – one that will blind us in the best ways possible and remain shining when the darkness forcefully comes back to reclaim its captives and keep them from the brightness of a new day.
5 Poison Apples
Porter: Did you make it home safely?
Me: I did. I just got into bed actually.
Porter: Funny you should mention that…how do you feel about tacos?
Me: In bed?
Porter: What? No! We’ve been on two dates. Do I look easy to you?
Me: You just said “Funny you should mention that…how do you feel about tacos?” After I said I just got into bed.
Porter: Ohhhh…see I thought you said, “I just got a burrito actually.”
Me: Uh…I typed it. I didn’t say it.
Porter: Fine! I didn’t have a good transition from bed to see if you wanted to go have tacos with me tomorrow.
I laughed and rolled to my side, kicking the covers off to combat the new warmth coursing through my veins.
Me: I don’t know. If you count the Spring Fling, that’s like four dates in two days.
Porter: I know. You can’t get enough of me. Don’t worry. I find it endearing.
Me: Well, that’s a relief.
Porter: Okay. Okay. You don’t need to beg. Yes, I’ll have tacos with you tomorrow at noon. I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who can get us reservations at Taco Bell.
I smiled so wide I feared it would split my face.
Me: I knew dating a restaurateur would have its perks.
Porter: What can I say? I’m quite a catch. Now, say yes to lunch.
Me: Why are you always trying to force me into having meals with you?
Porter: Because if I left our dates up to you, we’d be eating tacos in bed. That’s at least a sixth-date kind of activity. Slow down there, Mills.
My laugh echoed off the bare walls of my bedroom. Closing my eyes, I sucked in a breath and sank deep into my bed.
Me: You’re right. My mind was clearly in the Mexican gutter. My deepest heartfelt apologies.
Porter: Forgiven. Listen, I just got a text from my guy who knows a guy who knows a guy and unfortunately Taco Bell is fully booked for tomorrow. However, he was able to get us a table for two at Antojitos.
Antojitos wasn’t your average restaurant—it was an experience. The whole place was decorated like a quaint road in Mexico, and waiters wandered around dressed as street vendors offering a plethora of authentic Mexican fare. Every day, the menu was different, but people raved about it. It was always delicious. They didn’t take reservations, so there was usually a line wrapped around the block.
Me: That’s not fair. You can’t tease a girl with Taco Bell and then try to use Antojitos as a sad second choice.
Porter: I know. I know. And to make it up to you, I’d be willing to eat your tacos in bed on our FIFTH date.
Porter: Also…I JUST realized how filthy that sounded. I swear I didn’t mean it like that.
I barked a laugh and paused my fingers over my keyboard when I saw the text bubble pop up. He was typing again.
Porter: I mean…unless you did. In which case, we can do tacos in bed any time you’d like.
Porter: Unless you were talking about real tacos, in which case the crumbs sound like a nightmare.
Porter: Actually, can you do me a favor and delete the last four messages from me without reading them? M’kay thanks.
Tears—actual tears—were in my eyes. I was laughing that hard.
Porter: Christ. Why aren’t you responding now?
Me: Because it’s more fun to watch you sweat.
Porter: Are you laughing?
Porter: That makes it almost worth the embarrassment.
Yeah. Okay. We were talking about eating tacos in bed (which was only slightly less horrifying than sitting on the same side of the booth), but I’ll be damned if that warmth didn’t fill me again.
Me: Antojitos sounds amazing. I have to swing by my office in the morning, so I’ll meet you there at noon.
Porter: Sounds good. Sleep tight.
Me: You too.
I sighed all dreamy-like and started to put my phone down on the nightstand, but the text bubble showed up again. I waited. And waited some more. Boring holes into my phone for at least three minutes until finally his message appeared.
Porter: Confession: I wish I would have kissed you tonight.
My heart stopped and my stomach dipped as I read it three times before finding the courage to reply.
Me: You did.
Porter: No. Not like that. I’m talking about one where you’d spend the rest of your night touching your bruised lips, and I’d spend the rest of mine desperately trying to memorize the way you tasted.
My whole body came alive with a hum, from the tips of my fingers to my peaked nipples and everything in between. The sweet ache of arousal. I threw my head back against the pillow and stared up at the ceiling. I’d been with men over the years. After all, sex was just as much about biology as it was about emotion. But, when the orgasm faded, so did my interest in the other person. Looking back on those encounters, I remembered the release—the brief moments when I’d allowed myself to let go and actually feel something with another person. But not once in ten years had I remembered being kissed. I’m positive it had happened, but it hadn’t been enough to trigger a memory.
Yet there I was, staring at a text describing a kiss that hadn’t happened, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt I’d never forget it.
Me: Confession: I wish you would have done that too.
Porter: Tomorrow, Charlotte.
It was a promise.
One I had every intention of letting him keep.
The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)
Don’t miss this amazing duet!
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.