When I was nineteen years old, I was faced with a choice that changed my life.
Keep the safety of what I already knew or risk losing everything with the young, hotheaded soldier who stole my heart.
I chose the wrong man, and for seventeen years, I paid in tears, blood, and shattered dreams for that decision.
Now, there’s a man in my house, holding a gun to my head on the order of my ex-husband—given from his prison cell.
That hotheaded soldier I was too afraid to choose? He’s now a six-foot-three wall of muscle who works at the country’s most premier bodyguard agency. I’ve always wanted him, but now, I’ve never needed him more.
It’s the call I’m terrified to make.
I’m sure he still hates me… Even though I’ve never stopped loving him.
“You were always mine.”
Aly Martinez continues to prove that she can do no wrong with this book – an incredible second-chance-romance that is smart, fun, passionate and intense, and full of the feels that I have come to expect from this author. The second book in the Guardian Protection, this book brings us back to Leo James and his badass boys, but could easily be read as a standalone (though why would you want to miss anything this woman writes?), and I absolutely loved it!
Jeremy Lark and Mira York met when he was a hot-headed, troublemaking 23 year old, and she was a 19 year old girl with a bad home life. She was his best friend’s girl and completely off limits, but the relationship was toxic and Jeremy and Mira found themselves falling together into a secret affair. It was short but intense, but when Mira was faced with the ultimate decision, she didn’t choose Jeremy.
Jeremy’s life fell apart, and he completely lost his way. But, fuelled by his anger and hatred, he pulled himself out of his downward spiral and went on to become ‘Lark’, one of the Guardian Protection boys, and is now a divorced father of twin girls. His life is on track until one day, 17 years after he last saw her, Mira calls him for help.
Mira’s life has been a rollercoaster. Since she made her fateful decision all those years ago, she has paid the price over and over again. Now divorced, her life still bears the taint of the choice she made, and when danger literally comes to her door, Jeremy is the only one she can think of to turn to for help.
This is NOT a happy reunion! The emotions are intense, and it’s all anger, guilt, confusion, and epic pent-up frustration. There is so much hurt, but the chemistry is still there, and it makes for a combustible coming together as Lark and Mira are thrown back together.
“I distinctly remember you being able to carry on a conversation with complete sentences and courtesy.”
Spoiler alert: It was the wrong thing to say.
His head swung my way so fast that I was shocked it didn’t fly off his neck. “I’m not the man you remember! Stop fucking assuming you know me.”
It’s all kinds of complicated, and their pain is palpable, but as much as I ached for these two and all they were going through, the dynamic between them is just so damn entertaining! Yes, you have all of the powerful emotion which makes their situation all kinds of intense, but Lark is a protective alpha and Mira is stubborn and sassy, and they have this sense of playfulness about them. They bicker and argue, and Mira’s “snit fits” are hilarious, and I loved watching them together.
“There is no way I’m going home with you! Have you lost your mind?”
His face lit in understanding. “Ahhhh…okay. So this is the part where you have the snit fit.” He shifted on the bed, making a show of getting more comfortable. “Sorry. It’s been a while. I wasn’t prepared.” He crossed his thick arms over his chest and made a shooing motion with four fingers while holding his bicep. “Carry on. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
It’s a wonderful reflection of the way they used to be with each other, and it doesn’t take long for that familiarity to ease the way into sweet memories and rekindled attraction, and my heart pounded as I read, watching all of that passion and emotion just begging to be released and I felt every single moment of it!
She’d been back not two days and that was all it had taken to realize that, for the last seventeen years, I hadn’t been living.
And I fucking hated her for that.
Because I loved her so goddamn much that it had only been two fucking days and I was already scrambling trying to figure out how I was ever going to let her go.
The story of their past is revealed in flashbacks, and in their conversation with each other, and OMG it hurt! They made mistakes, they weren’t open with each other, and misunderstandings and the naivety of youth led to their hearts both being broken, and though they both went on with their lives, they never recovered from the loss of each other. And as painful as it is reading about their history, watching them deal with it in the present is even more so! There is so much between these two, and it’s impossible not to be drawn into everything that is happening between them.
A world of hurt was rolling in on me in waves. And, because it was her, my heart was all but volunteering for me to drown.
But while they are figuring out what is happening between them, Mira is still in danger, and I loved the added intensity that it brought to the story. She goes through a lot, and it’s an emotional ride for her as her life is ripped out from under her again and again. But is there anything hotter than an alpha man claiming his girl, supporting her and being there for her, and then going all badass to protect her? I’m not sure there is, and Lark in badass protective mode is something to behold!
“I’m not letting you go, Mira. We’ll take some time, get to know each other again. but, if you think for one second that I’m letting you go again, you are the one who has lost your fucking mind.”
It’s especially amazing when it’s contrasted with his sweet, emotional side as he lays it all out there and fights for his girl’s heart in sensationally swoony style.
“It’s not always going to be this easy, baby. No matter how much we say the past is in the past, there are going to be times when resentment claws its way through our flames. And it’s going to take both of us, together, working as a team to fight that back.” I tucked a stray hair behind her ear and allowed my gaze to roam her beautiful face. Fuck, this woman owned me. She always had. Always would. “I’m committing to do that with you Mira. I’m committing to fight harder than I’ve ever fought for anything in my life. Because we’re fucking worth it.”
*dreamy sigh* Oh how I love a functional romance!!!!
The rest of the Guardian Protection crew are a part of the story as they come together to take Lark’s back and protect Mira. I loved seeing all of the boys again, and with a spine-tingling intro into Braydon’s story, I can’t wait for his book up next!
It all ends really well with an absolutely gorgeous epilogue that left me grinning like a fool, and I loved it!
An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Guardian Protection series
Consent (#3) (Braydon)
Falter (#4) (Devon)
Consume (#5) (Johnson)
About the Author
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.
For more amazing reads by this author, check out our Aly Martinez Author Spotlight.