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‘To explain how I fell in love with Thea Hull, I’d need to go back to the beginning. Fair warning, this is not a story of hearts, flowers, and romance. That would call come later. But in the beginning, my love for Thea was born out of death, broken hearts, and desperation.’

Release by Aly Martinez is an achingly beautiful and tragic love story about two young lovers whose lives would be forever altered in one tragic night. It is an emotional standalone that tells a story of childhood friends to lovers, sacrifice and second chances.

Told in time shifts from when Ramsey (11) and Thea (10) meet on a day when Thea is at her lowest after losing her Mum. She quite literally crashes into Ramsey, and a friendship, albeit begrudgingly, develops. Release takes us through the change of friendship to love as teenagers and the awful moment of the night that would forever change their lives.

‘There had never been a point in my life that I hadn’t been in love with Thea Hull. It was exactly why I let her go.’

Thea and Ramsey are 16 and 17 when the plans they had for their future are ripped apart and would see Ramsey spend twelve years in jail for seeking retribution on Thea’s behalf.

‘Twelve years, eight months, three weeks, four days, twelve hours, and forty-three minutes, and he could finally be mine again.’

We learn, throughout the story, what transpired that night as we move between past and present, when Ramsey is released from jail, and Thea’s world is shattered and when Ramsey makes it quite clear he doesn’t want to pick up where they left off. Too much resentment, pain and Ramsey’s wish for Thea to have a better life stands in the way of Thea’s happiness with Ramsey.

Aly Martinez bought us a beautiful and painful story of first love and sacrifice, and how she wove the story together, the way in which we came to understand their story left a mark on our hearts.

“I’ve spent twelve years choosing you. But dammit, this time, you have to choose me.”

The three musketeers, Ramsey, Thea and Ramsey’s younger sister, Nora (Thea’s best friend) were indeed the A Team – their resilience and all they went through at such tender ages bore such testament to their strength. They were quite a force.  Hoping to make a new start, they move from the terrible memories in their hometown of Clovert, would forever be haunted by the ghosts of their pasts. A wonderful story of love and redemption from an author who always delivers a story that hits us right in the heart.

Synopsis

Growing up, Ramsey Stewart branded my soul in ways time could never heal.

At twelve, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
At thirteen, he gave me my first kiss.
By sixteen, we’d fallen in love, planned a future together, and had our eyes set on the horizon.

Love never fails, right?
But for Ramsey, it did.
Love failed him.
I failed him.
The entire world failed him.

At seventeen, Ramsey was convicted of killing the boy who assaulted me.

Move on, he wrote in his first and only letter from prison.
Start a new life, he urged.
I don’t love you anymore, he lied.

There was no such thing as giving up on Ramsey. Love may have been our curse, but he was mine—then, now, and forever.

So here I am, twelve long years later, waiting for a man I don’t even know to emerge from between the chain link gates.

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