Every little girl dreams of the fairytale. The one where the white knight rushes in to save her from the clutches of evil. They fall in love, have babies, and live happily ever after.
By that definition, my life should have been a fairytale too.
When I was eight years old, Caven Hunt saved me from the worst kind of evil to walk the Earth. It didn’t matter that I was a kid. I fell in love with him all the same.
But that was where my fairytale ended.
Years later, a one-night stand during the darkest time imaginable gave us a little girl. It was nothing compared to the pitch black that consumed me when I was forced to leave her with Caven for good.
At the end of every fairytale, the happily-ever-after is the one thing that remains consistent. It wasn’t going to be mine, but there hadn’t been a night that passed where I hadn’t prayed that it would be hers.
I owed Caven my life.
However, I owed that innocent child more.
And that included ripping the heart from my chest and facing her father again.
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
It is very rare that I come across an author that has me wondering what rock I’ve been living under that I’ve not read their books yet. This is one of those times. This is my first book by Aly Martinez (yes I know, as I said I’ve been under a rock). Even rarer does a book come along that exquisitely combines a love story and tragedy as well as this one did. At first glance it seems like a reunion of hearts after a brief meet, but as you delve deeper, it’s a beautiful tale of such heartache, love, survival, hope and family. Before you start reading this book, you need to send the kids to grandma Beth’s or auntie Paula’s house. Hell, send them to fucking mars if Beth or Paula can’t have them. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re alone and uninterrupted once you start because believe me you’re not going to want to deal with mundane useless things like cooking, eating or sleeping. Through the author’s brilliant writing, we see the characters once broken put together with witty come backs and deceit. This book easily earned its way into my 2019 favourite and best reads list. But that fucking cliff-hanger…God I wish they would stop doing this to me.
“God was not an idiot. He knew we’d need every minute of that time to prepare. But, apparently he had a twisted sense of humour, because I was only given thirty-six hours”.
For twenty-nine year old Caven Hunt, the sky truly is the limit. Having recently sold his business that made him a multi-millionaire, his only objective in life is to live a carefree, playboy, fuck-yourself-into-a-stupor lifestyle. Having survived childhood trauma of epic proportions, he’s sworn off any emotional ties to anyone. But when his playboy ways finally catch up to him and that bitch karma shows up and leaves him a parcel at his door step, to say he freaked out is an understatement.
“Because life isn’t lived as a whole. You aren’t given hundred years all at once. Time is doled out one very manageable second at a time. Stop looking at the big picture and find happiness in the seconds”.
After Hadley Banks experiences harrowing loss, her grief sends her on a path to Caven Hunt. But when she leaves with more than she bargained for, she finally realises that she has to face her past and is no position to assume any responsibility for the situation she finds herself in. So she makes a heart-breaking and brave decision to deal with her childhood traumas thus throwing a grenade into Caven’s life. Having lost all her family, taken the time to heal, regain her strength and purpose in life, she suddenly reappears at Caven’s backyard, sending him on yet another tailspin. But she’s got no choice. He’s got the only thing left that matters to her.
“Oh my God, that man does it for me so hard. Screw your eight seconds. If he ever kisses me, I’m not coming up for air. Possibly ever.”
Having survived and made a fantastic life following Hadley’s last bomb-shell, Caven’s strong feelings of anger, resentment and betrayal, have him determined not to let her screw him over again. But a conversation with Hadley reveals that their connection goes beyond their night of passion; to the day they both lost so much. Being reasonable adults that they are, they find a compromise that benefits everyone. When it transpires that anger and hatred is no match for matters of the heart, for Hadley it’s an 18 year old dream come true, for Caven, there is a unexplained familiarity that draws him to Hadely, that goes further than he could ever imagine.
Although there is more to the story judging by that freaking cliffhanger, I never once thought the author lost sign of the plot. The slowburn was juicy and nobody acted like a lunatic. The level of maturity shown by the characters was refreshing. I loved Caven from the get go. He has a fantastic sense of humor; had me in stitches throughout the book. We saw a man who grew and overcame his inhibitions and stepped up when he needed to. He embraced the challenges thrown at him with such finesse and made the best of really messed up circumstances. I really liked Hadley too. As a mom myself I thought what she did was admirable and selfless, although she could have gone about it better. Her level of maturing was really welcome. I thought she was a brilliant woman until that last page. That cliffhanger has me all the way fucked up. So the jury is still out on her.
The story was well written. I did however think the implication of Hadley’s sister’s involvement at the end was a bit left field. If what I’m thinking is true, then I think her character in the story could have been developed a bit more; considering she too was at the mall. But apart from her taking a picture, there is no mention of what happened to her, how she got out of there etc. Maybe that’s part of book 2. If it wasn’t for the cliff-hanger, it wouldn’t bother me. Other than that, I was thoroughly satisfied.