#BlogTour Singe by Aly Martinez #Review #OUAP @AlyMartinezAuth

Posted February 8, 2017 by Loredana 0 Comments

by Aly Martinez
Genres: Contemporary Romance

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

four-half-stars

SINGE is the first book in an ALL NEW smokin-hot standalone series by Aly Martinez NOW AVAILABLE!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kfNgXh
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2kfyRdL
Nook:  http://bit.ly/2kQyB5S
Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2kC4kru

She was my nightmare. Every time I closed my eyes, I watched her fall into that inferno. Over and over, I failed to save her.

I hadnÔÇÖt been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.

Heroes arenÔÇÖt always saints. Sometimes, weÔÇÖre nothing more than jaded sinners driven by sleepless nights and hearts full of darkness.

And then I met her. She was a dreamer who managed to soothe my scars and heal my wounds.

But, as the flames closed in around us, I feared I wasnÔÇÖt the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman IÔÇÖd burn the world down to protect.

A split-second decision with the best of intentions is what has haunted Jude for years. ┬áHe’s a good man and wants to make the world a better place, but somehow his world certainly isn’t. ┬áCurrently, it’s the stuff of nightmares because of a well-intended decision. ┬áSometimes when we hold on to the past, it becomes toxic, burning us from the inside out. ┬áThat is what I saw Jude do in the book; slowly burn from the inside out as he held on to the past. ┬áFunnily enough, it’s another decision, almost split-second (without much hesitation, at least), that brings him back to her, his butterfly. ┬áAgain he burns because the embers of his personal hell are far from extinguished, toxic fumes dragging him back to the inferno.

Fire will bring about a chemical change, changing the composition of a substance.  That is how I view what these characters endured.  They have each undergone an irreversible transformation, but it is up to them determine if the fires have created such a depth of irreparable damage or if they can rise from the ashes much like a phoenix.

Watching them each come to grips with their new realities and rediscover themselves and each other plus lots of plot twists (wow, seriously enjoyable writing there) is the enjoyable journey for Jude and his butterfly.

I can’t wait to see what Martinez has in store for the rest of the crew at Guardian. ┬áShe does an excellent job kicking off this new series!

Chapter One

Jude

ÔÇ£Tomorrow, itÔÇÖs on me,ÔÇØ I said, standing up off the barstool.

Behind the bar, Carmen waggled her eyebrows, seductively calling out, ÔÇ£Funny, I could be on you tonight if you stayed awhile longer.ÔÇØ

I laughed at her innuendo and tossed her a wink. ÔÇ£I gotta get home, babe. Seven a.m. comes way too early.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Well, offerÔÇÖs on the table,ÔÇØ she purred.

It always was with her. And, if I wasnÔÇÖt careful, IÔÇÖd eventually take her up on it.

Not that sleeping with Carmen wouldnÔÇÖt have been good. But, when you find a cheap bar only five minutes from your house, you donÔÇÖt fuck that up by dipping your cock into the bartender.

ÔÇ£Later, Carmen,ÔÇØ I called, pushing the door open and heading to my car.

I wasnÔÇÖt out of the parking lot before I heard, ÔÇ£Officer Levitt? WeÔÇÖve got an alarm going off in Park Hill. You mind taking a look on your way home?ÔÇØ

Banging my head back against the headrest, I groaned to myself. Park Hill was about as ÔÇ£on my way homeÔÇØ as swinging past California on the way to Maine.

Switching my radio to my other hand, I complained, ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm off the clock, Jocelyn.ÔÇØ I had been for several hours, even if I hadnÔÇÖt made it home yet.

She laughed. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm sorry, but youÔÇÖre the only one remotely close. I had to send two cars out to the LaslowsÔÇÖ to break up another argument between Cam and his old man.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£They at it again?ÔÇØ I asked.

ÔÇ£Apparently, Cam told Lindsey he didnÔÇÖt want the baby. Lindsey told his dad. Old Man Laslow lost his mind.ÔÇØ

I chuckled, putting my blinker on and then doing a U-turn in the middle of the empty road. ÔÇ£Christ. I bet he did. I know the manÔÇÖs seventy-five, but I sure as hell wouldnÔÇÖt want to go toe-to-toe with him.ÔÇØ

Im with you on that. Soyou gonna head out to Park Hill? she asked in a sugary-sweet tone.

I grumbled deep in my chest. ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre gonna owe me some of that banana bread for this. I missed it the other day when you brought it up to the station.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I donÔÇÖt owe you anything.ÔÇØ She giggled. ÔÇ£However, as a personal thank-you from the state of Illinois, Park County, and the owners of Park Hill, IÔÇÖll bring you in a loaf on Friday. Deal?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Deal. IÔÇÖm en route now.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Stay safe, and radio in with your report.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yes, maÔÇÖam,ÔÇØ I replied, knowing exactly how much thirty-year-old Jocelyn loved being called maÔÇÖam by a twenty-five-year-old man.

ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt youÔÇöÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Gotta go.ÔÇØ I turned the volume down to mute her, grinning to myself as I flipped my lights and siren on.

IÔÇÖd been a cop for two years. And, in that time, IÔÇÖd been out to the privately owned Park Hill estate at least a dozen times. It wasnÔÇÖt unusual for the alarm on the mansion to get triggered. It never amounted to anything. The expansive estate was on the very edge of the county, and trouble didnÔÇÖt usually travel that far out. More often than not, a bird at a window or a bumbling new member of the grounds crew would accidentally trip the alarm. Truth was, no one actually lived in Park Hill. The owners visited sporadically. But, for the majority of the time, it remained empty.

Some minutes later, I cut my siren as I pulled up to the entrance. The cold air assaulted me as I stepped out of my patrol car with my flashlight in hand and aimed at the keypad on the massive security gate that blocked the driveway off. That damn thing alone had to have cost more than IÔÇÖd make in a lifetime. Forget about the house inside.

The smell of wood burning in a fireplace wafted through the night air. I guessed someone was home for a visit.

I typed in the emergency code on the gate panel and then climbed back in my car and made my way down the tree-lined driveway. IÔÇÖd spent the day on patrol, and, with the exception of some minor vandalism across town, it had been a slow one.

Though, in the blink of an eye, that would change.

Along with my entire life.

ÔÇ£Oh fuck,ÔÇØ I breathed as the main house came into view on the top of the hill.

After throwing my car in park, I jumped on the radio at my shoulder. I could barely get the words out as I slung my door open and took off at a dead sprint.

ÔÇ£This is Officer Levitt! I need fire support at Park Hill immediately!ÔÇØ

And then I froze as a wave of adrenaline crashed into me like a tsunami.

An inferno roared in the night sky, but it was the small silhouette of a woman perched outside a third-floor window, smoke pouring out all around her, that knocked the breath out of me. My heart stopped, but my feet continued to pound against the pavement.

JocelynÔÇÖs voice caught me. ÔÇ£WhatÔÇÖs going on?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I need medical too!ÔÇØ I barked as I got closer. ÔÇ£The whole damn place is in flames and thereÔÇÖs a woman trapped!ÔÇØ

The womanÔÇÖs long, black hair blew out behind her like a battered flag whipping in a storm. I couldnÔÇÖt make out her face or her skin color or even guess at her age for the black soot covering her, but her fear was unmistakable.

And unforgettable.

ÔÇ£Hang on!ÔÇØ I yelled up to her.

ÔÇ£Oh my God!ÔÇØ she screamed before it turned into a fit of coughing. ÔÇ£Help me!ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Hang on! DonÔÇÖt let go!ÔÇØ

Frantically, I searched the perimeter for a way in, but it wasnÔÇÖt only her house that was on fire. Flames were encompassing her. The yard and all the surrounding flowerbeds. Top to bottom. The first and second floors were completely engulfed, and if the sound of shattering windows was any indication, it was quickly making its way up to the third floorÔÇöto her.

ÔÇ£No! DonÔÇÖt leave me!ÔÇØ she screamed, panic thick in her garbled voice, as I started around the side of the house.

A wall of heat stopped me in my tracks. Throwing an arm up, I did my best to block my face while scanning the building for any possible entryÔÇöor, in her case, exit.

But there wasnÔÇÖt a surface of that house that wasnÔÇÖt ablaze.

Except the roof.

Son of a bitch.

I spoke into the radio. ÔÇ£I need an ETA on fire.ÔÇØ

Jocelyn replied, ÔÇ£TheyÔÇÖre on their way. Five minutes out.ÔÇØ

I didnÔÇÖt have one minute, much less five.

Fuck.

My pulse quickened, sending blood thundering in my ears. I was a cop. IÔÇÖd trained for chaos. I should have been able to come up with a solution for a situation like this, but they didnÔÇÖt teach you how to conquer the impossible at the Academy.

And, as I took inventory of the flames dancing beneath her, I knew that was exactly what I was up against.

My gut wrenched as I helplessly sped back around the house. She appeared almost childlike, hovering barefoot on that narrow brick ledge, but her long-sleeve top and her loose-fitting pants clung to the body of a woman.

Jesus Christ! Where was that fucking fire truck?

ÔÇ£Is anyone else in the house?ÔÇØ I yelled up to her.

Not that I could have helped them, either. Short of running into a burning building, on what would surely be a suicide mission, there was not one thing I could do. And didnÔÇÖt that little reality feel like a wrecking ball to the chest.

ÔÇ£No!ÔÇØ she cried, a loud sob lodging in her throat. It turned into more coughing, her body shaking violently with every heave.

I fisted my hands at my sides as my anxiety spiraled higher.

ÔÇ£Please. Do something!ÔÇØ she begged.

I ground my teeth together and once again glanced around as if a water hose and a ladder were going to suddenly appear out of nowhere. ÔÇ£Hang tight, okay? Fire trucks are on their way.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I canÔÇÖt hold on much longer!ÔÇØ she cried.

ÔÇ£Yes, you can,ÔÇØ I demanded.

II think I need to jump, she coughed out.

I assessed the massive fire below her. IÔÇÖd never be able to reach her before it swallowed her. But there was no way IÔÇÖd be able to stand by and watch her burn.

No. If she jumped off that ledge, she was going to get us both killed.

ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt you dare,ÔÇØ I barked. ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt even think about it. Two minutes. TheyÔÇÖll be here.ÔÇØ

II cant.

ÔÇ£Two minutes,ÔÇØ I repeated. ÔÇ£HoldÔÇöÔÇØ

Suddenly, a window to her left exploded, shooting glass and flames in all directions.

I covered my face as she screamed in a paralyzing mixture of fear and agony. It cut me so deep that I knew IÔÇÖd bear the scars for the rest of my life, and that had nothing to do with the glass and everything to do with the heavy weight of my failure already lingering in the smoke-filled air.

When I opened my eyes again, I caught a glimpse of orange flickering in the window behind her. Panic built in my chest.

ÔÇ£You need to move!ÔÇØ I yelled.

She shook her head and continued to cough and cry.

But it wasnÔÇÖt an option. I couldnÔÇÖt help her. Though I damn sure refused to watch her die.

ÔÇ£Please. Just listen to me.ÔÇØ I swallowed hard. ÔÇ£You canÔÇÖt stay there.ÔÇØ I looked to the roof.

Sending her higher seemed wrong and went against everything IÔÇÖd learned in my limited fire training. But fuck, my options were having her jump into a conflagration or scale up the side of a building in hopes of buying us the precious minutes needed for the fire department to arrive.

Drawing in a smoke-filled breath, I made a decision that would haunt me for the rest of my life. ÔÇ£You need to climb up to the roof.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I canÔÇÖt!ÔÇØ she shrieked.

My stomach twisted, but I gentled my voice. ÔÇ£Look, I know youÔÇÖre scared. But IÔÇÖm right here. IÔÇÖll help guide you up, but, sweetheart, itÔÇÖs bearing down on you. You gotta move, and I mean now.ÔÇØ

She choked on a mouthful of smoke as she attempted to look over her shoulder.

ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre going to be fine. I swear to you,ÔÇØ I lied. ÔÇ£But you have to move.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm not going to make it!ÔÇØ She had to have yelled it in order for me to hear her, but I felt her defeat slither over my skin like a whispered goodbye.

I took a long step forward, too focused on her to feel the heat singeing my skin. ÔÇ£Yes, you are!ÔÇØ I declared. ÔÇ£Move your ass up to the roof and weÔÇÖll both be out of here in time for breakfast.ÔÇØ

Her gaze landed on mine, tears forging paths down her soot-covered cheeks, her disbelief obvious even from yards away. ÔÇ£Are you sure?ÔÇØ

It was a ridiculous question. It wasnÔÇÖt like I could make any guarantees. It was fire, for GodÔÇÖs sake. But that didnÔÇÖt stop me from covering my heart with my palm and vowing, ÔÇ£I swear on my life youÔÇÖre going to make it through this.ÔÇØ

Her hesitation was evident, but with one last sob, she inched her small body farther out onto the narrow ledge, reaching the tips of her shaking fingers out for the windowsill above her.

ÔÇ£Good girl,ÔÇØ I praised, a fraction of relief washing over me.

And then I sucked in a sharp breath as one of her shaking legs slipped out from under her.

ÔÇ£No!ÔÇØ I yelled.

On instinct, I rushed toward the flames, my arms stretched out in the air as though I could catch her.

A scalding heat blistered my face and forced me to stop, but the real pain was in my chest. I watched in horror for what felt like a lifetime as she fought to right herself, her dainty arms flailing like a wounded butterfly frantically trying to catch the wind.

But there was none to be found.

My heart lurched into my throat, and my breath seized in my lungs.

And then a deep, guttural sound tore through me, shredding me from the inside out, as I watched her fall.

I woke up in a cold sweat. It wasnÔÇÖt exactly something new. IÔÇÖd been dreaming of Butterfly for over four years. She always flew directly into the flames, screaming as I stood helpless to save her.

Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I cradled my head in my hands and tried to pretend I was okay. That wasnÔÇÖt exactly something new, either. I could still feel the heat on the back of my neck. My lungs were still thick with smoke. The pressure in my chest never left me.

The distance while I was living in LA had helped. But, in the week since IÔÇÖd been back in Illinois, IÔÇÖd woken up every morning at that blazing house. I didnÔÇÖt even have to be asleep for the memories to assault me.

I should have gone back to sleep. It was my first day at my new job, and the last thing I needed was to show up haggard and sleep-deprived. But, as IÔÇÖd learned over the years, another fiery butterfly awaited me on the other side of REM. No way I was volunteering for that.

I pushed myself off the bed and tugged a T-shirt on, preparing to head down to the hotel gym with hopes that I could outrun the mental fog that had been hovering over me since IÔÇÖd returned. There was a reason IÔÇÖd thrown all of my shit in my car and driven as far as I could all those years ago.

Yet, somehow, IÔÇÖd come full circle.

But IÔÇÖd come back a different man.

At least thatÔÇÖs what IÔÇÖd told myself as the deafening roar of doubt had overwhelmed me the moment IÔÇÖd driven across the state line.

Regardless, it had been time to go home.

IÔÇÖd been gone too long.

Or, as IÔÇÖd decided as IÔÇÖd passed the exit to Park County, not nearly long enough.

About Aly Martinez

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five- including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

four-half-stars
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