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The Retrieval by Aly Martinez ~ Excerpt Reveal

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Excerpt

Prologue

Roman

The house was dark when I quietly twisted the lock so as not to wake her. God knows she needed the sleep. I didn’t know how she still functioned when her days were filled with tears and her nights weren’t much better. It was precisely the reason I stayed gone as much as I did. Or so I’d thought as I’d thrown myself into work. Money couldn’t solve my problems, but it might have been able to solve hers.

My body ached, and my lids barely stayed open despite the pot of coffee I’d downed not even an hour earlier. It was a miracle I had been able to drive at all. I should have just crashed at the office, but after yet another failed prototype, I’d needed an escape.

Instead, I’d gone home—the very place I’d spent so many nights trying to avoid.

Only one foot was over the threshold when I suddenly froze.

“Elisabeth?” I called, flipping the overhead light on.

My shoulders fell as I found her sitting on the sofa, her long, blond hair curtaining her face and suitcases surrounding her feet.

“What’s going on?” I asked as my gut wrenched, already knowing the answer.

I had no right to be surprised. I’d all but forced her hand. If I was honest with myself, it was what I’d wanted—for her. However, none of that made the pain of reality any less agonizing.

My heart raced. “Elisabeth?” I prompted again, needing to hear her say the words almost as much as I dreaded it.

“I can’t stay here anymore,” she whispered at the floor.

Acid rose in my throat.

Out of habit, I dropped my keys into the basket she’d bought when we’d first moved in. “If you fail the key basket, the key basket will fail you,” she’d announced with an infectious smile the day we had become homeowners to the two-bedroom-two-bath starter home we could barely afford. It was just seconds before I’d swept her off her feet and made love to her on the hardwood floor of our foyer in the middle of the day.

But such was life as a newlywed.

Inside that house with her was the only place I’d ever wanted to be.

Until the fantasy of forever had worn off and the walls of real life had closed in on us. Once my refuge, our home became an inescapable prison with bars built of my failures.

I couldn’t breathe inside that house any more than I could look her in the eye.

We’d only been married for five years. But, seeing her now, I felt like it’d been a lifetime since I’d peered into her eyes, promising to love her in sickness and in health.

But it wasn’t like she was the same woman, either.

Over the last six months, she’d wasted away both physically and mentally in front of my eyes.

And I’d done absolutely nothing to help her.

But how do you throw a lifeline when you yourself don’t even have a rope to hold on to? I might have been able to keep her afloat for another day, but I’d never have been able to pull her back to me.

We merely existed on the same plane. Living under the same roof, eating meals at the same table, sleeping in the same bed. But we were far from sharing our lives together.

“Are you coming back?” I asked, not willing to accept the truth that lingered in the air around us.

Her deep-green eyes lifted to mine—the red rims and the dark circles doing nothing to hinder her beauty. Swallowing hard, she shifted her gaze to the mantel on the other side of the room. I knew what she was looking at, but I refused to follow her into the past.

That might have been our biggest problem of all.

She was still living there.

And I refused to go back.

“Elisabeth?” My voice softened, but the question remained the same. “Are you coming back?”

“No,” she replied, swiping the tears from her cheeks.

A thousand arrows fell from the sky, searing into my soul. My breath hitched, and my lungs burned. This was it—the end of my life as I knew it. But, in that moment, with her shoulders hunched forward in defeat, I realized that it was the end of hers, too.

Why did that realization hurt more than the lifetime of loneliness that was awaiting me when the sun rose?

I lifted a hand and rubbed my chest, hoping to ease the mounting pressure threatening to overtake me. “Don’t do this,” I mumbled through the pain.

I wasn’t sure who I’d meant that for though.

Was I chastising myself for having asked her to prolong the inevitable just because I wasn’t ready to lose her yet? Or was I asking her to stay in this sham of a marriage for even one day longer?

Probably both.

“You’ll be okay,” she assured me, pushing to her feet and gathering her bag, complete with our Yorkie, Loretta, tucked in her mesh dog carrier.

My pulse quickened, nature’s fight-or-flight finally kicking in. But I’d been in flight mode for entirely too long. There was no fight left.

I stepped into her path. “Elisabeth, please.” I wasn’t sure why I kept saying her name. I secretly hoped that it would snap her out of it, bringing her back to the reality of it all. But it was the reality that was killing us.

“I’ll take off work tomorrow,” I pleaded. “We can talk. Figure things out.”

It was selfish. Completely and utterly selfish. But that was nothing new for me.

Her chin quivered as a steady stream of tears fell from her eyes. “Promise me something, Roman.”

I would have promised her the entire fucking universe if it had made her stay one night longer. But who was I kidding?

We were over.

We both knew it.

“Anything,” I whispered, reaching down to take her hand, desperate for the connection I didn’t deserve.

“Remember to live.” Her voice caught, and a silent sob tore through her.

Cupping the back of her head, I pulled her into my chest.

“I can fix this,” I swore, but it was yet another lie. “We just need time.”

Her shoulders shook as she cried in my arms. “We…we promised. We told him we’d live for him.”

I closed my lids and clung to her tighter.

We were supposed to be fighting and screaming. That was what soon-to-be-divorced couples did. But that wasn’t us. We didn’t hate each other. Elisabeth was my soul mate on every level.

And she was paying the price for that.

Minutes later, the tears stopped and she backed out of my arms. I fought the urge to regain my hold, forcing her to stay. But her sad resolve as she hurried to the mantel and then to the door made it clear it’d be a wasted effort.

Never in a million years had I thought I’d be standing there, watching her walk away.

But, then again, I’d never expected her to have the urn of our only child cradled in her arm, either. A reminder of just how much I hadn’t been able to give her. How much I’d never be able to give her.

My past, present, and future were walking out of my life, and I stood immobile as every fiber in my being screamed for me to drop to my knees and beg her to stay.

To take her in my arms and tell her that we’d figure it out.

To reclaim my life once and for all.

But how would that have helped her?

Staying wouldn’t magically bring back her smile. Nor would it make her look at me with those bright-green eyes that made me feel as though I could conquer the world.

It wouldn’t give me back the crazy woman who argued with her whole heart and loved with her entire soul. No. Those days were gone.

I’d lost that woman somewhere in the bitterness between grief and blame.

We’d been happy once.

But we’d gotten greedy and tried to start a family.

That was her future. Not mine. Regardless how desperately I longed to give it to her…and then selfishly take it for myself.

Sex. That’s how babies are made. Children as young as elementary school are taught the simple biological facts of reproduction.

But what they never tell you is that, for one in six couples, having a baby goes a little differently.

For Elisabeth and me, it looked more like this:

Thirty-six months of crushing disappointment.

Three miscarriages.

Hundreds of tests our insurance company refused to cover because the inability to reproduce was not considered a health condition.

Countless tears.

Helplessness.

Failure.

Failure.

Failure.

Her broken heart.

My empty chest.

Thirty-seven thousand dollars we didn’t have.

In vitro fertilization.

A sperm donor.

A handful of hope.

A positive pregnancy test.

Five months of utter bliss.

Earth-shattering devastation.

A funeral for a child I would never get to see grow up.

A job that became my only reprieve from reality.

And now…losing the only woman I would ever love.

I’d always been amazed by how much punishment a heart could take. I was broken, battered, and destroyed. And yet, much to my dismay, as I watched the front door close behind her, my heart kept beating.

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ONE STORY. TWO COUPLES.

The Retrieval Duet by Aly Martinez is a two part series releasing September 2016.

RETRIEVAL releases on September 13th and will bring readers the first part of this emotional second chance romance.   

TRANSFER (Part Two) will release on September 27th!

Retrieval (Part One):

Amazon US
Amazon UK
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Kobo

Transfer (Part Two)

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Amazon UK
iBooks
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retrieval aly

Blurb

 

I proposed on our first date.

She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes.

It was a whirlwind, but we were happy…

Until we got greedy and wanted a family.

 

It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand.

Finally, we were successful…

Until we were forced to bury our son.

 

We were left broken, battered, and destroyed.

They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us.

 

This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine.

The retrieval of my wife and our family.

 

the-retrieval-duiet-teaser-1

 

Meet Aly Martinez

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.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

THANK YOU!

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The Retrieval Duet by Aly Martinez ~ Cover Reveal

retrieval duet

ONE STORY. TWO COUPLES.

The Retrieval Duet by Aly Martinez is a two part series releasing September 2016.

RETRIEVAL releases on September 13th and will bring readers the first part of this emotional second chance romance.   

TRANSFER (Part Two) will release on September 27th!

Check out these beautiful covers &

Pre-order The Retrieval Duet TODAY!

You will not be disappointed.

 

Retrieval (Part One):

Amazon US

Amazon UK

iBooks

Kobo

Transfer (Part Two)

Amazon US
Amazon UK
iBooks
Kobo

retrieval aly

Blurb

 

I proposed on our first date.

She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes.

It was a whirlwind, but we were happy…

Until we got greedy and wanted a family.

 

It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand.

Finally, we were successful…

Until we were forced to bury our son.

 

We were left broken, battered, and destroyed.

They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us.

 

This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine.

The retrieval of my wife and our family.

 

Release Date: September 13th

Add to your TBR

transfer aly

Blurb

 

I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist.

 

What started out as romance ended in hell.

His words turned to razor blades.

His kisses converted to fists.

His embrace became my cage.

His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately….

I broke.

 

I hated him.

My sole job in life became to protect our daughter.

 

I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears.

Until the day our savior arrived.

 

This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me.

The transfer of my life and my family.

 

Release Date:  September 27th

Add to your TBR

 

Meet Aly Martinez

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.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

On the Ropes by Aly Martinez ~ Release Blitz

on the ropes now live

⭐️⭐️⭐️SURPRISE RELEASE⭐️⭐️⭐️

Now you can get the complete On The Ropes Series for only $3.99 for a very limited time! Price will go up to $6.99 in a few days! Grab this #fighter #romance series today!

Now Available!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

iBooks

Kobo

Barnes & Noble: coming soon.

 

**Each book in the series can be read as a standalone**

on the ropes series

Blurb

The complete series. Three full-length novels.

 

For the Page brothers, fighting was a way of life. Both inside and outside of the ring.

Follow them through hardship, disability, and overwhelming adversity as they fight for the women they love.

 

Fighting Silence:

Meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.

They both happened anyway.

Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.

Fighting for my career.

Fighting the impending silence.

Fighting for her.

 

Fighting Shadows:

I was a jaded asshole who fell for a girl with a knack for running away. I couldn’t even walk but I would have spent a lifetime chasing her.

Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.

Fighting the shadows of our past.

Fighting to reclaim my future.

Fighting for her.

 

Fighting Solitude:

Liv was everything to me, but she was never truly mine.

That was going to change.

I lost my first love, but I refused to lose my soulmate.

Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.

Fighting to be the man she deserves.

Fighting the solitude of our pasts.

Fighting for her.

FIGHTING SOLITUDE TEASER 2

Excerpt

Fighting Silence

Prologue

He didn’t budge, but my bare feet slipped, sending me toward the ground. Impossibly fast, Till’s hand snaked out and caught my arm. But I didn’t let his chivalrous gesture douse my fire. I had six months’ worth of words to say to the man I was irrevocably in love with.

“You took what you wanted. Then you left me.”

“Doodle,” he whispered.

I had been perilously close to the edge of insanity, and with one single word, he’d pushed me over.

I lost it completely.

Pounding my fists against his chest, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “It’s Eliza! My name is fucking Eliza! Not Doodle!” I spun to march away, but Till’s arms folded around me, lifting me off my feet to restrain me.

I was miniscule compared to him. There was no use in fighting, but I still kicked my legs, irrationally desperate to get away from him—but only because I knew I couldn’t keep him for forever.

“Stop it!” he growled into my ear. “I know your goddamned name—probably better than I know my own.”

While I was wrapped in Till’s strong arms, six months’ worth of tears fell from my eyes. He carried me to my apartment and guided me back through the window before following me inside. Then he stripped out of his blood-soaked shirt before dragging the blankets down and climbing into the bed behind me. I cried for a while in his arms, even turning to face him, only to cry against his chest. I had missed him so much.

I knew I’d loved Till years ago, but this was more. I needed him in order to function on a very basic level. Together, the world didn’t feel so big and overwhelming. He was my escape—the dream personified.

Till Page was comfortable.

His hands trailed up and down my back as he lulled me until the words fought their way out.

“I couldn’t stop going back,” I announced in a broken whisper. “I didn’t know where you had gone. And for the first time since I was thirteen, I was alone inside my own head. God. It was a scary place.” I tried to joke, but the tears streaming down my face told the truth.

“I’m sorry,” he responded on a sigh. “I couldn’t stay.”

“Why?” I whined, but I curled in closer against his chest, needing to feel him more than anything else.

“I don’t know, Doodle,” he lied.

God! It was such a fucking lie. He knew as well as I did. He just didn’t want to tell me.

“Where did you go?” I pressed further.

There was no way I ever could have expected his answer, but that wasn’t because it was a novel thought. No. His answer was surprising because it was the source of my anguish too.

“The real world.” He kissed my forehead.

fighting silence teaser 2 (1)

About the Author

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.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

THANK YOU!
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F*CKING AWKWARD ANTHOLOGY ~ Release Blitz

F*cking Awkward
A Romantic Comedy Anthology
— BLURB —
Romance done right is full of beautiful and awe-inspiring sex, where the only noises are gasps of pleasure, and changes of position happen smoothly and effortlessly. But what happens when it all goes wrong?
This collection of short stories will bring you back to the real world, where you laugh to keep from crying, because sometimes, it’s just F*cking Awkward!
— AUTHORS —
Taryn Plendl
A.D. Justice
Ahren Sanders
Aly Martinez
Amanda Maxlyn
B.A. Wolfe
Brooke Blaine
Brooke Page
Carey Heywood
Christine Zolendz
CM Foss
Dina Littner
Ella Frank
Heather C. Leigh
HJ Bellus
K. Langston
Laura Ward
Lex Martin
Liv Morris
Mel Ballew
RE Hunter
Stacy Kestwick
Tiffany Aleman
Trudy Stiles
— PURCHASE for only 99CENTS
All profits from digital sales will be going to The Bookworm Box to distribute to their monthly charity!
Dear reader:
Congratulations on purchasing the Awkward Sex Anthology! A bunch of amazing authors in a group called FTN (We could tell you what this means, but then we’d have to kill you) got together to write the most awkward sex scenes you could imagine, all for charity. You might be thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe I just bought a book called F*cking Awkward” and I’m here to tell you, it’s much better than the titles that were rejected:
F*cking Toasters
F*cking Goats
F*cking a Box of Captain Crunch
F*cking a T-Rex While Playing the Trumpet
F*cking My Best Friend’s Neighbor’s Stepsister’s Starbucks Manager While Wearing a Toga
F*cking a Toga
I’m just kidding! Nobody wrote a story about f*cking a goat! It was a wombat, actually, and no one pressed charges, so it’s fine. The author is fine, the wombat is fine, EVERYONE IS FINE AND I DIDN’T NEED THERAPY SO STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.
Did you know that six out of every seven people in the entire world have experienced an awkward sexual encounter? It’s true. I’ve done extensive research. And by extensive, I mean I did a poll of all the adults in my house – 2 dogs, 3 cats, and my husband and I. I’m pretty sure my dog Fat Ralph was lying when he told me he’d never experienced anything awkward during sex, but he had his nuts cut off when he was six weeks old and is still quite bitter about the whole thing and threatens me with a dog bone shank whenever we chat about sex, so I think it’s 4 best if I stop questioning him about the time I found him in the backyard with a jar of peanut butter, two frogs and the neighbor’s cat wearing pasties.
The cat was the one wearing pasties, FYI, not Fat Ralph. That would just be weird.
So, grab some booze, sit back, and enjoy these hilariously awkward sex scenes. Give yourself a pat on the back for purchasing a book for charity and another one for never experiencing something as crazy as what you’re about to read. Unless you have. In that case, it’s okay to cry and rock back and forth in the corner screaming, “IT WAS ONLY THAT ONE TIME AND I HAD NO IDEA I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO PUT THAT CUCUMBER THERE!” Six out of seven of us totally understand. Except for Fat Ralph. He’s totally judging you right now.
XO Tara Sivec

The Spiral Down by Aly Martinez ~ Excerpt Reveal

the spiral down excerpt reveal

Chapter One

Henry

Rain fell from the sky in sheets. It’d only been drizzling when I’d boarded my private jet not even a half hour earlier.  Now, I could barely see the airport outside my window.

“No, babe, it’s not a big deal. I just would have liked to see you while I was in town. It’s been a while. That’s all,” I said, shifting the phone to my other hand.

Dipping my finger into the empty glass that had once been the home of gin and tonic number three, I stared at the melting ice as I stirred it in a circle.

Her raspy, sleep-filled voice no longer sounded anything like that of the little girl I’d met when she was only five. But, after sixteen years, Robin Clark no longer resembled that child, either.

“I swear I thought the shower was next weekend. I got my dates mixed up. I’m so sorry,” she lied. She did that a lot.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s cool,” I said, pretending to believe her.  I did that a lot.

And it killed us both a little more every time I did.

“I love you, Cookie,” she whispered.

I wasn’t sure if that was a lie or not anymore.

But I knew one thing was true. “I love you too, kid.”

We sat in silence for several seconds, neither of us willing to hang up. However, neither of us knew what else to say.  A million words hung between us, but none of them would solve anything. God knows I’d said them all over the last five years. Still, she’d never heard any of them. Not really.

With my heart physically aching, I swallowed hard and bit the bullet. “Listen, I’m about to take off. I’ll be in L.A. for a show next week. Why don’t you come and we’ll hang out for a few days?” It was an honest invitation.

I didn’t receive an honest response.

“I’ll be there!”

“I’ll have Carter set it up. I’ll come by tomorrow afternoon and give you the details. I can’t stay long, but maybe a quick dinner or something.”

“Perfect.”

We didn’t linger with drawn-out goodbyes. A few seconds later, my phone was off and I was once again gazing out at the pouring rain, wishing I were anywhere but on a plane.

Carter, my head of security, settled in the seat beside me and opened the latest issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

My stomach clenched when the plane jerked as we backed away from the gate.

“Tell Levee I love her, okay?” I said to Carter without dragging my eyes off the terminal disappearing in the distance.

“Here we go,” he mumbled, closing his magazine and turning his attention my way.  

“Can you do me a huge favor? If I don’t survive, make sure it’s open casket and I’m wearing—”

“Blue. It makes your eyes pop,” he finished for me.

“Right, but—”

“But your eyes will be closed, so you should wear green instead. It looks better with your complexion.”

“Yes, but—”

“But your complexion will be ashy since you’re dead and all. So let’s just go with a sleek, black suit. It’s timeless.” He arched an incredulous eyebrow.

Lifting my glass in the air, I rattled the ice at Susan, my personal flight attendant. She was busy buckling herself in for takeoff, but she flashed me a warm, motherly smile in acknowledgement that she had seen me.

“So maybe we’ve had this conversation before,” I told Carter.

He rolled his eyes. “Every time we fly.”

I huffed but didn’t bother explaining. He knew exactly how terrified of flying I was. He’d been there the day it’d all begun.

You would have thought that, after having traveled the globe for years, a simple two-hour flight wouldn’t have been a problem. My racing heart and sweating palms argued otherwise.

In the eight years since my career had taken off, I’d gone from a somewhat-popular YouTube personality to the king of the music industry when Levee and I’d released our self-produced debut album, Dichotomy. Filled with half of her tracks and half of mine, it had soared to the top of the charts. There hadn’t been a radio station in the country not playing our music. In a matter of weeks, our careers had exploded, which had forced the whole world to take notice.

The following years had been a whirlwind. Grammys, record deals, fame, fortune, security. I could have retired six months after I’d started and never wanted for anything again. Well, that’s not totally true. The one thing I really wanted could never be bought.

I wasn’t even sure it could be earned.

It was something so rare that I feared it didn’t actually exist.

Love. Unconditional. Unwavering. Eternal. Love.

I gave that to exactly two people in my life.

I only received it in return from one.

I’d been born a gay man. There had never been a moment in my life when I’d been remotely sexually attracted to women. If I had been, I would have married Levee Williams the second I’d laid eyes on her. Because I’d known, just that fast, that she was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

And she had been.

Riding the state’s dime to college, I’d branched out on my own at eighteen, armed with nothing more than a guitar and a headful of mediocre lyrics.

In a lot of ways, alone felt better.

In most, it felt worse.

Luckily, within weeks of starting my new adventure, I met Levee at a local bar on amateur night.  She wouldn’t admit it, but she’d been attempting to hit on me when she’d first strutted over after her set. I understood how she’d misinterpreted my intense stare while she’d performed. But, when her kind, brown eyes lit as our gazes met, I knew, straight or gay, I needed to meet that woman. That night, over beers and more laughs than I had ever experienced, we bonded over music. Less than two weeks later, I moved in with her. Part of my heart bound to hers in a way I had never felt before. With no parents, no siblings, not even a foster mother who’d taken a liking to me, I’d spent most of my life searching for the sense of belonging she gave me only minutes after we’d met.

I fiercely loved that crazy woman. And it amplified as the years passed when I realized the feeling was mutual.

Levee was more than my best friend. Outside of Robin, she was the only family I’d ever had.

Which really meant she was the only true family I’d ever had.

I’d heard that God wasn’t exactly stoked about homosexuality, but come on. What kind of a masochist sends a gay man his soul mate with boobs and a vagina?

Especially considering she was now married to Sam Rivers and six months pregnant with his baby girl.

I’d tried dating over the years, but the few men I’d found interesting had found me temporary. I was good for a night of fulfilling their secret fantasies. But that’s where it ended. I guess that’s what I got for having a thing for straight men. I couldn’t stop myself though. It wasn’t the sex. As a celebrity, I had plenty of men vying for my attention. Ass was easy to come by. But the high that came from being with a straight man, knowing he was going against his own genetic coding just for one night with me, made every minute of the pain worth it.

Those forbidden encounters were a drug.

And I was a junkie.

The hunt of finding that perfect blend of brute masculinity and subtle curiosity.

The chase of teasing and taunting, ramping them up until they were unable to get my clothes off fast enough.

The victory as they finally broke, giving in to the one desire they had never considered before they’d landed in my crosshairs.

That was the high.

But it was always followed by the crash.

Including the inevitable spiral down when they realized what they had done.

Some freaked, slinging insults and threats at me as if I had somehow magically cast a spell and charmed their dick into my mouth. Some wore their shame on their faces, gathering their clothes and rushing from the room without a backward glance. Some felt the high too and came back for seconds, desperate for more.

But they all left, one way or another.

Always.

Once I’d accepted that those encounters were nothing more than a fix, it’d stopped gutting me when they walked away.

While I’d had my fair share of partners, I was far from a whore. I didn’t launch my expert skills of seduction on any straight man who crossed my path. That would have been a wasted effort. I was good; don’t doubt that. But men didn’t just fall naked into my bed, begging for me to take their bodies in ways they would never forget. At least, not the men I wanted. It took patience and dedication to achieve my high.

I spent two years working my way into a certain NFL quarterback’s bedroom.

Worth every single second.

Or so I’d told myself as I’d felt another piece of my soul break away when he’d dismissed me from his life the very next day.

Maybe I was a whore after all.

But I’d tried the relationship thing and it just didn’t work.

I’d given my heart to a man once. He’d given it back a month later.

I was devastated when he left. I was ruined when, two months later, I watched him marry a woman I knew he didn’t love.

No. That’s not true. It was me he didn’t love.

That was a common theme in my life and exactly why I was so successful as a singer-songwriter. It was hard to be all “woe is me” with millions of adoring fans acting as if you were a god who’d returned to Earth.

While Levee struggled with the weight of her fame, I flourished under the spotlight. I was alive on stage. And, with no one waiting for me at home, I’d devoted years to touring. The roar of the crowd fueled my happiness to the point I feared the day when I would have to settle down.

And, right then, I was white-knuckle gripping the armrest as the jet accelerated down the runway before lifting into the sky.

“Shit. Shit. Shit,” I mumbled as my stomach dropped when the landing gear loudly locked into place.

“You’re fine,” Carter said absently.

I was absolutely not fine.

“I’m gonna puke,” I groaned.

His eyes never lifted from the pages of his magazine as he shook a vomit bag open and passed it my way.

“Thanks,” I replied, disingenuous.

“No problem. Now, take a deep breath and try to relax. We’ll be there in no time.”

As the plane leveled out, so did my stomach.

Blowing out a loud breath, I dropped my head back against the headrest. “We should’ve taken the bus.”

“There wasn’t time for the bus. Your ass is supposed to be on stage in four hours. What we shouldn’t have done is drive to San Francisco in the first place.”

“We’ve been over this. I wasn’t missing her baby shower.”

He grumbled, adjusting in his seat. “I think Levee and Sam would’ve understood.”

I narrowed my eyes and turned to glare at him. “Don’t even start with me. They would have understood perfectly. But that doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to be there.”

My tour had been scheduled over a year in advance. Tickets had sold out in less than five minutes. But none of that had mattered when I’d found out that Sam’s mom was planning a baby shower for Levee. I had very few priorities in life. However, being there for her was always one of them.

Susan approached my seat. “Can I get you another drink, Mr. Alexander?”

“Thank God. Yes!” I lifted my glass in her direction.

“No problem.” Her eyes nervously shifted to Carter. “A word?”

Carter unbuckled his seat belt and moved past me. They huddled together behind the small bar in the front, but my focus was on the mini bottle of gin she was emptying in my glass. I was well aware that I needed to slow down. Drunk on stage wasn’t exactly a novelty in my business, but slurring my words and stumbling over lyrics was a deal breaker for me.

Just as I was about to tell her to hold off on the drink, the plane suddenly jerked and my nerves skyrocketed all over again. I sucked in a sharp breath, and both sets of their concerned eyes jumped to mine.

Yep. I can sober up later.

Snapping my fingers, I ordered, “Drink.”

Susan smiled compassionately before shooting an impatient glare at Carter. I would have cared what they were whispering about if I hadn’t been about to pull an Incredible Hulk and peel out of my own skin.

“I’ll tell him,” Carter relented with a sigh, tagging the drink from her hand and then moving in my direction.

With shaking hands, I took the glass and tipped it back for a sip, relishing in the distracting burn in my chest.

“Tell me what?” I asked, settling the glass in a cup holder.

He motioned his chin at my drink. “Why don’t you finish that first?”

The clear liquid sloshed as the plane suddenly banked to the left.

“Excellent idea,” I said.

Carter’s gaze once again lifted to Susan’s in a silent conversation.

Her lips thinned.

Throwing the rest of my drink back, I bounced my attention back and forth between the two of them. Susan looked downright nervous, and Carter appeared more than a little annoyed.

“Okay, what the hell is going on with you two?” I demanded.

“The pilot is having some chest pains,” he announced.

Suddenly, there wasn’t enough gin in the world.

Fighting to make my seat belt tighter, I gasped, “Did he pass out? Are we going down?”

Carter’s expression remained impassive.

“Of course not!” Susan cut in.

Her reassurance did little to comfort me, because whatever magical mechanism kept the cabin pressurized suddenly failed. If the pain in my lungs was any indication, there was absolutely no oxygen left on that plane. We were all going to die.

Carter’s heavy paw landed on my back, pushing my torso down so my head was between my knees.

“Calm down and breathe. We aren’t going down. The copilot is taking us back to San Francisco. We’ll be on the ground in no time.”

The vise on my lungs didn’t loosen.

Still hunched over, I nodded, having heard his words but finding no relief in them.

Susan kneeled beside me. “It’s okay, Henry. Co-captain Baez is an amazing pilot. You won’t even know the difference.” She rubbed my back.

Embarrassment mingled with the worthlessness I felt in that moment. But I was helpless to reel it in. My body was out of control. I was left as nothing more than a marionette being held captive by my fear.

Reaching out, I gripped Carter’s thigh desperately searching for a way to ground myself.

The man was a beast. At six-five and well over three hundred pounds, with short, black hair and nearly black eyes, he looked every bit of the scary bodyguard I’d hired him to be. There wasn’t anything soft or gentle about him. However, he’d been with me for almost a decade. He knew how I worked, even if he didn’t like it.

He patted my hand, and then I heard the crinkle of his magazine opening.

“You’ll be fine,” he said.

I wasn’t sure he was right.

the spiral down coming soon

Henry Alexander’s story will arrive on May 17th

in The Spiral Down by Aly Martinez!  

Add this M/M Romance  to your TBR list on Goodreads!

RELEASE DATE: May 17th

the spiral down cover

Blurb

I was afraid to fly.

He made me soar.

 

After years of climbing the ladder of success in the music industry, I finally had everything I could want.

Yet I still found myself wandering through life alone.

 

Captain Evan Roth was the one man I never saw coming.

Tall, dark, mysterious… Straight.

 

We were both damaged beyond repair and searching for something so elusive we weren’t sure it even existed.

 

But, when two broken souls collide in midair, falling is a given.

 

I just never expected to crave the spiral down.
the spiral down excerpt 5

About the Author:

Aly Martinez

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.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

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