Written With Regret, the first in an all-new emotional duet from USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez, is available now!
5 ONE SECOND CROWNS
Gah! A-freaking-mazing, but what did I expect from Aly Martinez.
Caven is my most favorite single dad in all of the fictional world! Holy. I didn’t stand a chance. Every single moment with Rosie has my heart melting until I was puddle on the floor. Seeing the guilt he carries, made me want to snuggle up to him and make him feel better. The man was near perfection.
Hadley is charming. It is hard to resist her affable nature, her enthusiasm for life, and I particularly cling to her new life mantra of living for the seconds. While I have never endured her trauma, I do connect with her idea that life is overwhelming and to tackle it a second at a time.
This story, like most of Aly’s recent releases, hits you square in the chest. These people are traumatized, broken, and fractured, but there is always a bit of hope. The juxtaposition of the past and the present with the use of flashbacks truly helps to build the emotional connection between these two that goes way past just sharing a child, making their chemistry explosive and consuming. The revelation at the end has me concerned. I truly never saw it coming and I’m scared how this is going to shake out for the characters I have come to love.
Aly Martinez has become the master of suspense romance. She keeps me engaged with these characters who have beaten by life and creates these epic romances that leave me hopeful for a better future. I cannot wait to see what stunning conclusion she has planned for us next.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
I really want to use a whole boat load of expletives to help me explain how much I loved this book! It’s an amazing, outstanding, unpredictable, epic read that both lulled me into a happy false sense of security and had me on the edge of my seat in equal measure.
This story wrecked me in one way or another and I ran the full gamut when it came to emotions. I cried, I laughed, I gasped and I raged. From the writing style and the pacing, to the great character development and shocking storyline, it totally exceeded my already high expectations. This is a book that needs to be read from beginning to end, with an open mind, without judgement, because if you think you know where it’s going, you really don’t. I was so engrossed in the story that, apart from one tiny clue, which I admit I immediately dismissed, any others that hinted at things to come, completely passed me by. I love to be caught off guard by a storyline, to live it as I’m reading without skipping ahead in my mind and to feel the full impact when the emotional bombs start to go off. Written with Regret is one of those books best entered into blindly.
I fell in love with these characters and couldn’t put the book down. I’m now going to sit here chewing my nails, anxiously and not so patiently, awaiting the conclusion to this gripping tale.
Every little girl dreams of the fairytale. The one where the white knight rushes in to save her from the clutches of evil. They fall in love, have babies, and live happily ever after.
By that definition, my life should have been a fairytale too.
When I was eight years old, Caven Hunt saved me from the worst kind of evil to walk the Earth. It didn’t matter that I was a kid. I fell in love with him all the same.
But that was where my fairytale ended.
Years later, a one-night stand during the darkest time imaginable gave us a little girl. It was nothing compared to the pitch black that consumed me when I was forced to leave her with Caven for good.
At the end of every fairytale, the happily-ever-after is the one thing that remains consistent. It wasn’t going to be mine, but there hadn’t been a night that passed where I hadn’t prayed that it would be hers.
I owed Caven my life.
However, I owed that innocent child more.
And that included ripping the heart from my chest and facing her father again.
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Life had never been easy for me. Chaos had been following me like a dark cloud, looming and hovering, casting its shadow far and wide despite how bright the path in front of me should have appeared. After growing up the way I had, where happiness had been more of a privilege than a choice, I knew better than to believe that that moment would be anything other than fleeting.
And one second later, the universe proved me right.
I opened the door to see who had rung the bell—a cursory check revealed an empty hallway.
And that’s when I heard it: the sound that changed not only my entire life in the present, but my life for all future days to come.
At first, it was just a grunt, but as if that baby could feel my gaze, the minute my eyes made contact, it let out a sharp cry.
Confusion hit me like a lightning bolt, sending me back a step. I used the door frame for balance as I took in the yellow blanket with a hole only big enough to reveal a pale-pink face.
“What the fuck?” I breathed. Glancing around the hall, I waited for someone to jump out and start laughing. When no one spoke up to issue a punchline, I took a step closer and repeated, “What the fuck?”
I was utterly unable to process the absurdity in front of me.
Of course, I knew the facts.
It was a baby.
On my doorstep.
But the why in that equation was glaringly absent.
“Uhhh,” Ian drawled, peering over my shoulder. “Why is there a kid at your door?”
“I have no idea,” I replied, staring down at the squirming and now-screaming bundle. “It was just there when I opened the door.”
Ian shoved me to the side so he could stand beside me. “You’re shitting me, right?”
“Does it look like I’m shitting you?”
He looked from me to the baby, then back again. “How did it get there?”
We were two incredibly smart men who had created a technology empire out of nothing. But, clearly, a baby was too big for either of us to wrap our minds around.
I swept an arm out and pointed to the kid. “I have no clue, but I’m assuming it didn’t catch a cab.”
A light of understanding hit his eyes. He moved first, stepping over the crying baby and hurrying down the hall, searching around the corner near the elevator before returning alone.
The party continued behind me, but even with the door open, the loud chatter was no match for the ear-piecing cries happening in that hallway.
Veronica suddenly appeared beside me, her body going solid as she stammered out. “Is that…a baby?”
“Back up,” I urged, throwing my arm out to block her path as though the infant were going to suddenly morph into a rabid animal. And let’s be honest, I knew nothing about babies. Anything was possible.
Ian dropped to his knees, scooping up the wailing child. Meanwhile, I stood there like a gawking idiot, paralyzed by a weight I didn’t yet understand.
“Call the pol—” He stopped abruptly and reached into the top of the child’s blanket. “Oh shit,” he whispered, his wide, panic-filled eyes flashing to mine.
“What?” I asked, stepping toward him to get a better look at the kid. Only it wasn’t that tiny baby cradled in his arms that made my heart stop and bile rise in my throat.
There, in my best friend’s hand, was a folded piece of notebook paper that had been tucked into the child’s blanket. From the looks of it, the paper was unremarkable in every sense of the word. Blue lines, white spaces, hanging remnants from where it had been haphazardly ripped from a spiral bound notebook. Even the crease was crooked. But it was my name scrawled on the outside in messy, black ink that made it the most remarkable paper in existence.
I snatched it from his hand and, with blood roaring in my ears, opened it.
I’m sorry. I never meant for this to happen. This is our daughter Keira. I’ll love her forever. Take care of her the way I can’t.
Written with regret,
The hall began to spin, my head feeling like every ounce of blood had been drained from my body. The thundering in my ears faded and the loud chatter of my guests, who were suddenly aware that something was happening at the door, roared to life.
And then the chaos finally found me all over again—the past playing out in my head like my life flashing before my eyes.
I sucked in a deep breath and looked at the baby in his arms. The blanket had fallen off its head just enough to reveal a patch of fine hairs, more orange than its mother’s red.
“Call the police,” I declared, turning on a toe and walking back into my apartment, leaving Ian standing in the hall with Hadley’s child.
Shoving through the crowd of concerned onlookers, I headed straight to the bottles of liquor lining the counter. I didn’t bother with ice or even a glass. I threw back that bottle of vodka, hoping like hell the burn of the alcohol could numb the panic coursing through my veins.
Through it all, that baby never stopped crying.
When I was fifteen, a single bullet changed my life. I spent the next decade trying to outrun the devastation of my past, building an empire that would shield me from whatever life could throw at me.
But all the money in the world couldn’t help me when I found a screaming newborn abandoned on my doorstep.
I’d never wanted to be a father. Passing the sludge that ran through my veins down to an innocent child seemed like a tragedy. But there she was—pink cheeks, red hair, and mine.
Somehow, against all logic, that little girl became the best thing that ever happened to me. It was impossible to stay lost in the past when I was the only one who could protect her future.
Which is exactly why, when her mother came back four years later, I was ready for battle.
If only I could stop myself from falling in love with her during the war.
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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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