“Sometimes love happens when you least expect it.” That was what my husband’s mistress told me the day I found out about their affair.
I didn’t believe it until five minutes later when mouth-watering celebrity chef Tanner Reese walked up, tossed his arm around my shoulders, and told my cheating husband to take a hike.
Tanner and I couldn’t have been more different. He spent his weekends at clubs, rubbing elbows with fellow A-listers. I spent mine in yoga pants with cheese boards and a glass of wine—or six.
Our relationship shouldn’t have worked, but it did. That is until Tanner proved to me that even though love happens when you least expect it…
So does heartbreak.
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After meeting Tanner, Porter’s brother, and Rita, Charlotte’s best friend, in Aly Martinez’s The Darkest Sunrise duet, I had hoped that Martinez would give readers this imperfectly perfect couple their own story, and in her newest release, Across the Horizon, we finally get to read how everything played out between Tanner and Rita as the people they love most went through hell and back, and while these two never expected to fall so quickly or feel so deeply for each other, that’s exactly what happens, but that also means that the complications of their lives – Tanner’s fame and celebrity status and Rita’s messy divorce with her cheating ex – have the power to harm as well as heal.
It’s easy to see just how well these two fit together and how much happiness Tanner and Rita bring to each other, and I was completely behind this relationship from the beginning, even if it was too quick and they were in the midst of their own individual maelstroms. What they share, though, is definitely not a straight shot to a happily ever after because there are two many variables still at play and a few pieces of information that still need to be exposed and discussed before Tanner and Rita will have a true chance at forever.
Tanner’s relationship with his mother and brother are quite something. It’s easy to see just how close Tanner is to his mom, and the scene where she first meets Rita and then the subsequent conversation Tanner and his mom have more than prove how important his mom’s opinion is to Tanner, but he also holds his ground as a grown man when something means everything to him and while his mom backs down, it’s also clear that she won’t let things get out of hand again…at least if she can help it. I loved the antagonistic relationship that Tanner and Porter share; it all was in good fun, at least most of it was, and I truly believe that Tanner was Porter’s lifeline through Tanner’s darkest times. They definitely keep each other on their toes, which also keeps them, especially Porter living instead of merely existing.
Tanner and Rita’s story isn’t all snark, sex, and good times…because as much as these two love to talk, love to meddle, and love to get the upper hand in all situations, there are some that they just can’t control and it’s in those moments that Aly Martinez shows her readers who her hero and her heroine are and what they’re made of and that’s what I enjoyed most about Across the Horizon because Tanner and Rita can only hope that when they reach the horizon, they’ll experience everything they’ve ever wanted, together.
4.5 Poison Apples
I shifted the phone to my other ear and asked her, “Did you just get in bed?”
“If, by bed, you mean carrying a glass of wine out back to swing in the hammock, maybe.”
I bit my bottom lip, my head falling back against the headrest. For most men, this would have been an innocuous statement. But for a hammock connoisseur like myself, this was the normal guy equivalent of her saying that she liked to give blowjobs during halftime.
“You have a hammock out back?”
There was a delay in her response, which was followed by a subtle kiss of her lips on what I assumed was a wine glass. “Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s one of the most underrated luxuries in outdoor furniture.”
“Oh, I’m not knocking anything. Rope or quilted?”
“Oh, sweet heavenly baby Jesus, she’s beautiful and knows her hammocks. I’ve never been so turned on in my life.”
She giggled, pausing for another sip. “You know, if you leaked this hammock fetish to the press, you could probably increase demand by five million percent and singlehandedly lower the country’s unemployment rate.”
Okay, so at some point during the day, she’d figured out who I was.
But! Even with this knowledge, she was trying to avoid a date with me and was not elbow-deep in planning our televised wedding. This was a definite plus in my book.
“Yeah, but then, when I talked to beautiful women like yourself, I’d have no idea if the hammock was your idea or a ploy to impress me.”
“Jeez, that’s sad, Tanner,” she said, her sweet Southern accent like a wave rolling over my name.
I’d meant it as a joke, but it was the absolute truth when it came to dating. Early on in my career, I’d done a rapid-fire interview about my personal life. One of the questions had been: What would your ideal woman order on the first date? Truth be told, the only thing I hoped my ideal woman would order was something she wanted. I didn’t factor into that. But I’d been on my last question in my last interview of the last day of a month-long press tour. My face had hurt from fake smiling, I’d been in desperate need of a shower, a smoke, and sleep, and my mind had been mush, so I’d prattled off the first thing that had come to mind: shrimp and grits.
That one little answer somehow made it onto my Wiki page, and after that, every woman I’d taken out ordered shrimp and grits. One of them even had a shellfish allergy and nearly ended up in the hospital. And this insanity was not limited to women outside of the spotlight.
I’d once gone on a date with America’s princess of pop, Levee Williams. We’d hit it off at a charity event. For one of the most famous women in the world, she was a surprisingly nice girl, gorgeous, and funny as all get out. But the first time I took her out? One guess what she ordered.
I was at the end of my rope with dating and lost my freaking mind before storming out like an asshole. That night, as I was reporting shrimp and fucking grits as an error to Wiki, I noticed that her page listed it as her favorite food. I’d never had the balls to contact her again, and I once hid behind a palm tree on Rodeo Drive when I heard the clamoring of paparazzi calling her name. But that’s neither here nor there.
In short, while finding a woman was all too easy, dating was hard.
But that wasn’t about to stop me from trying with Rita.
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.