Blog Tour: From the Embers: Aly Martinez

by - Monday, May 03, 2021


From The Embers
Aly Martinez
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Release Date April 28, 2021

In the aftermath of tragedy, it’s strange the things you remember.
The deafening boom as the house exploded.
The paralyzing fear as I searched for my wife.
The blinding smoke burning my eyes as I carried her out.

But carved into my soul for the rest of my days would be the earth-shattering realization that the woman in my arms wasn’t my wife.

Bree and I were the only survivors—not that either of us were truly living after that night. As a single dad with nowhere else to go, I moved into her guest house. And somehow, through the guilt and grief, we forged an unlikely team.

It took years, but I watched the gradual return of her smile—slow and life-altering.
The two of us could sit outside for hours, talking about nothing, and it filled the massive hole in my chest with new life.

I may have carried her out of that fire, but the truth was, Bree saved me.

As we healed, the secrets and lies of the past smoldered in the ashes, threatening to ignite again.

Our love was born from the embers, and together we would go up in flames.

OMFG! What a story! It took me on a rollercoaster of emotions and was unpredictable and full of surprises and twists! There are so many layers to uncover and it is hard to say much without spoilers. But at the heart of it are two devastated people just trying to hold onto each other for their own sanity and for the sake of their children. 

It is a poignant and beautiful story of hope, healing,  and learning to live again after tragedy. About putting guilt, anger, and pain from the past behind in order to enjoy the present and look towards a future. 

These two seem like such opposites with her being more stubborn, reserved, controlling, and rigid. And him being more fun, easy-going, laid back, and artistically inclined. They had a complicated relationship in the past, but now they have to rely on each other just to survive each day and provide as much normalcy and happiness as they can for their kids. 

But along the way, there is a true spark of love and passion, and so many tender and heartwarming moments. There are secret and devastating truths uncovered. There are events that will shake the new foundation that they are trying to build. For every little bit of happiness they find, it seems that there is a new challenge. And some of them will test them to their limits. Sometimes life does not go as expected and the most devastating of events can eventually lead you to right where you need to be. 

This book was tragic, gut-wrenching, inspiring, romantic, suspenseful, swoony, and completely unputdownable. It kept me flipping pages, my heart pounding, yelling at my kindle, and thinking that this author continues to be an evil genius. There were things I never saw coming! But even with the hard and sad stuff, there is so much love, faith, and real moments in this story that it just warmed my heart. 

It is about survival and literally rising from the ashes. I loved this couple together. I adored the family they created. I shared every triumph they did and my heart hurt every time they went through something difficult. I enjoyed the cameos that fans of this author might recognize. This story is absolutely unique and unforgettable, and one of my top favorites of this year. 
From the very first pages I was hooked on these characters and this story. Aly writes the plots that rip my heart out every time and I’m always amazed at how she puts it back together.

Eason and Bree survive an accident that claims the lives of each of their spouses (and best friends). Though they were reluctant friends before the accident, their shared grief and rebuilding their lives has them leaning on each other for support and help as they each try to reclaim their careers and parent their respective kids. As their journey post-fire progresses, I couldn’t help but be shocked at the twists and turns their story took.

I loved Eason from the start. Life as a musician is difficult and though he almost made it once, he hadn’t given up the dream of releasing his own album. But he was also cognizant of the strain his stalled career was having on his family, and was taking the steps to let go of his original dream in order to support his family.

I was a little hesitant at the start to love Bree. She didn’t make it easy at first, because though she is a devoted mother, she is very cold to Eason. Her protectiveness of her best friend made it hard to believe she would fall in love with Eason because she had been so critical of certain aspects of his character and life that are core to who he is.

This was a story of grief, healing, and rebuilding the life one thought they had and wanted into something better than before. The relationship between Eason and Bree was a slow burn, which absolutely worked based on their previous marriages and periods of grief. But as their friendship developed into more, the love and devotion between them grew as well. Every minute of this story is well planned and well executed to create an emotional, dramatic story for these two.

Using my arm to block my face, I carried her lifeless body to the door. The knob seared my palm as I yanked it open, but the pain didn’t even register through the adrenaline. The sound of my feet pounding down the driveway echoed in my ears as the fire crackled behind me. Our closest neighbor was over half a mile away, but there was no way they hadn’t heard the explosion. The fire department would be there soon. 
Once I got Jessica safe, I’d go back for Bree. They’d find Rob. Everyone would be okay.
“Eason,” she croaked in my arms.
My feet were still moving as I sprinted away, but time stopped as her voice permeated my senses. 
It wasn’t possible.
She was covered in soot, and my eyes were caked with ash and what I would later learn to be blood, but I could still make out the large flowers on her yellow—
“Uh, no. It’s my dress that your wife borrowed and I had to do an entire Tom Cruise Mission Impossible thing to get it back last week.”
Oh, God. 
I kept running until the wind changed direction, clearing the smoke. With my heart in my throat, I prayed that my still ringing ears had deceived me. I set her down and used the inside of my shirt to clear my face.  
“Eason,” she croaked. 
But once again, she wasn’t my wife.
“Oh, God,” I breathed, watching as she rose on unsteady legs. Tears carved twin riverbeds through the ash on her cheeks. 
“What happened?” Bree asked, her green eyes focused on the blazing inferno behind me.
Acrid guilt devoured me. “I…” 
I saved the wrong woman.
I left the mother of my child in a burning building.
My final broken promise to the woman I’d vowed forever to was, “I’ll be right back.”
Bile crawled up my throat. “I don’t know.”
I glanced back at the house, the heat of the roaring fire scorching me even from yards away. Overwhelming grief hit me as I realized there was no way I could get back through those flames. 
Oh, God. Jessica.
In the middle of tragedy, it’s strange the things that become engrained into your memories. Years later, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how long it took the firetrucks to get there. I couldn’t tell you what time it was or what I had been wearing. But I would never be able to forget the absolute devastation on Bree’s face when she realized we were the only two standing outside the burning house.
“Where’s Rob?” she rasped, her voice sounding like it had traveled over a mile of gravel before exiting her throat. “And Jessica. Where are they?” She took an urgent stride toward me. 
“I tried…” I doubled over into a fit of coughing. It was probably for the best. There was no way I could have finished that thought.

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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