I seriously cannot remember the last time I became this frenzied over a story, but I was turning those pages so deliriously fast I had blisters on my fingers by the end of it. With an absolutely brilliant premise at its core, followed by a million heart-stopping surprises along the way, and a mega plot twist in the middle, this duet was one of my most gripping and exhilarating reads ever, and cover to cover, a tragic yet gratifying roller-coaster ride like no other. Aly Martinez writes with compassion and ferocity, cutting us deep time and time again, but never failing to infuse every single scene with the kind of raw emotional intensity that a story like this demands. She weaves an intricate web of truths, mistruths, sorrow, guilt, desire, hope, and parental love to create a page-turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. This was one of my top must-reads of the year.
I stayed busy, kept to myself, and made a difference in other people’s lives as some sort of penance for having failed the one person who had truly depended on me.
A respected pulmonologist and known workaholic, Charlotte Mills has dedicated the past ten years of her life to her career, working herself to the bone and leaving little time for anything else—including love—because her mind struggles daily with the darkness that has consumed her ever since her six-month-old baby went missing while in her care, leaving her every breath filled with guilt and regret.
It had been ten goddamn years; it should have been getting easier to climb out of bed every morning, not harder.
A widower and dad of two, Porter Reese will never forget how close he came to losing everything he holds dearest in the blink of an eye. He works hard to provide a happy, stable life for his kids and be the kind of parent they deserve to have, all the while drowning in helplessness and anger as he watches his son’s health decline with each passing day.
My smile had become a mask for the kids. My laugh a guise to throw my family off the beaten path. Going through the motions of carrying on—all the while, I was withering away.
In a perfect world, Charlotte Mills and Porter Reese would have met and fallen in love under very different circumstances, but what brings them into each other’s lives is the very thing that could destroy them both. From the moment they lay eyes on one another, the pull between them is unquestionable, their explosive attraction vanquishing all doubts and hesitations, and soon the darkness that has enveloped them both for so long becomes the very place where they heal one another and confess their greatest fears.
“Just a little company in the darkness. No questions. No judgments. No faking it.”
Outside the haven they’ve found in each other’s arms, however, their realities have very little in common, and every attempt to bring Charlotte into his daily life only fails miserably, causing them to wonder if loving one another so easily is life’s greatest gift to them both, or its cruellest curse.
I was a single father chasing a woman who couldn’t handle being in the presence of a child.
Everything changes when their lives suddenly collide in the most unexpected of ways, throwing doubt over the very reason why fate brought them into each other’s lives in the first place. But not even this new, overwhelming wall of distrust and suspicion between them can erase their feelings for one another or make them forget how comforted they felt while hiding together in the darkness. And in the end, they must decide whether those feelings could ever survive a battle they are both willing to fight until their dying breath.
We were already at a stalemate, and the match was just getting started.
And this is all I am going to tell you about this story because anything more would be a cruel act of thievery on my part. Aly Martinez does a remarkable job at bringing these characters to life, at capturing the palpable intensity of feeling between them, while continuously adding more and more puzzle pieces to a story that keeps us gripped until the very end. With every new book I read from this incredibly talented author, I fall more and more in love with her writing. She has become one of my favourite storytellers, never failing to take my breath away with the superb quality of her prose, or the emotionally driven tales she tells, but with this book she left me utterly speechless.
“It’s always darkest before dawn, Porter. We just have to wait a little while longer. The sun always rises, baby.”