Review: The Darkest Sunrise duet by Aly Martinez

Review

“I assure you I have zero interest in commiserating with you. I wouldn’t understand your demons any more than you would understand my personal circle of hell.”

Her sad eyes flicked back to mine. “Then what do you want?”

I sucked in a deep breath that did nothing to calm the eternal storm brewing within me.

“Just a little company in the darkness. No questions. No judgments. No faking it.”

With The Darkest Sunrise duet, Aly Martinez delivers a heart-wrenching, deeply moving story of two people finding happiness after living in the dark fog of grief for so long. Evocative at every level, the narrative explores situations with no easy answers.

The story of Charlotte and Porter is felt in the gut, in the heart, in a way that unbearably tightens even as the story unravels. Although it’s best to go into these books blind, I’ll say that they explore the aftermath of tragedies, the feelings of anger and heartache that come with the loss of control, the fractures these events can trigger, and the path to healing that often seems obscure.

These two people—Charlotte and Porter—discover what it means to love vigorously and relentlessly. How to fight for it despite feeling caught in the unimaginable.

While decidedly heartrending, Aly skillfully adds levity to the story with the perfect balance of humor and sexiness.

You’ll devour both books, and you’ll be sad to finish when you do—count on that!

“It’s always darkest before dawn, Porter. We just have to wait a little longer. The sun always rises, baby.”

About The Darkest Sunrise

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.
“You’re pregnant.”
“It’s a boy.”
“Your son needs a heart transplant.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Lies.
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.
“He’s gone.”
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.”

Reading Order

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Exclusive excerpt: The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez

Aly Martinez does it again, delivering a heart-wrenching story with The Darkest Sunrise. I’m reading it now and can’t put it down. It’s gripping, evocative and beautifully written.

The Darkest Sunrise, out Thursday, is the first part of a duet with the second part—The Brightest Sunset—coming soon after on July 27th. I’m so excited to share with you an excerpt from this must-read novel, just 99 cents if you pre-order now!

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About The Darkest Sunrise

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.
“You’re pregnant.”
“It’s a boy.”
“Your son needs a heart transplant.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Lies.
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.
“He’s gone.”
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.”

Excerpt

After that, silence fell on the room, but we didn’t need any more words. We stood there, her back to the wall, her front plastered to mine, so close that not even the air divided us.

Two people alone in the darkness.

No questions.

No judgments.

No faking it.

Until she decided to turn on the lights.

“Losing your wife doesn’t count,” she said so quietly that I barely heard her.

“What?” I breathed, sliding my hand around her back and shifting her deeper into my curve.

“You chose to love her. You can choose to let her go.”

My hand spasmed on her lower back as my head popped up.

Those tears that had been filling her eyes finally spilled out the sides. “I never had a choice, Porter. He came out of me.”

My stomach knotted. “I didn’t tell you that so you’d open up. No questions, remember?”

She shook her head. “It was ingrained into me to love him. Morning, noon, and night And then…he was gone.” A horrible, soul-searing cry tore from her throat, slamming into me like a physical blow.

I rocked back onto my heels, but not before gathering her impossibly closer.

I held her as though I could put her back together. And, God, did I try as she sobbed in my arms.

“Lucas,” she choked out, her tears soaking the front of my shirt. “It was my fault. I left him alone at the park. It was only for a second, and someone took him. It’s been almost ten years, and I still don’t even know if he’s alive or not.”

“Oh God,” I breathed, pain gripping my chest.

“That kind of love doesn’t die, Porter. It grows in the darkness, and I can’t make it stop.”

“Okay. Okay. Shhh,” I urged, my mind barely able to formulate thoughts over the thundering of my heart. “I’ve got you.”

“You don’t understand!” she cried, attempting to push me away, but I refused to let her go.

“No. I don’t,” I assured.

She continued to writhe in my arms, but the way she gripped the back of my shirt made it clear she wasn’t trying to get away anymore. “No one fucking understands. The whole world just keeps going on without him. And I can’t do it anymore. I can’t keep up. I try. And I try. But I can’t do it anymore. I need it to stop, Porter.”

Cupping the back of her neck, I tucked her face against my shoulder and murmured, “I’ll stop with you. I swear to God, Charlotte. I’ll stop with you.”

She clung to me with frantic desperation. “I can’t treat your son.”

I screwed my eyes shut.

Fuck. She really couldn’t.

Shame corroded my insides. A part of me had still hoped she would.

But there were other doctors.

And only half of her.

“It’s okay,” I murmured into her hair.

“I want to. And I swear I would do it for you. But kids and me… We just don’t work. They’re all him. Every single one of them. Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter. They’re all him.”

I rubbed her back. “Shhh…okay.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Me too.” I tipped my head back to stare at the ceiling. “Fuck. Me too, Charlotte.”

She continued to apologize, and I let her because it seemed to soothe her. She didn’t owe me those.

We stood there for a long time, our pounding hearts filling the drawn-out silences. Unwilling to sit—or, really, move at all—our bodies swayed as we did our best to balance as a single unit.

She held me.

I held her.

No questions.

No judgments.

No faking it.

But the longer we stood there, the more I realized that those three things were going to be our biggest problems. With her wrapped securely in my arms, soft admissions pouring from her mouth, reality crashed onto my shoulders like a ton of bricks. I was a single father chasing a woman who couldn’t handle being in the presence of a child.

I’d never even had her, yet when she finally stepped out of my arms, I knew I’d lost her all the same.

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