Singe (Guardian Protection #1) by Aly Martinez

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 hadn’t been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.

Heroes aren’t always saints. Sometimes, we’re 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 wasn’t the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman I’d burn the world down to protect.

Pet’s $0.02

Perception is everything.

That might as well be the theme for this book. In fact….get rid of the synopsis, just put ‘perception is everything’ and leave it at that.

Every single thing in Jude and Rhion’s lives are based on their perception of the events that have shaped them. From the way Jude perceives his role in what happened to Rhion. How Rhion looks at Jude. How the men of Guardian look at Jude. How Rhion feels about her brother, Apollo, her step-sister, her step-mother, her ‘uncle’ Pete….everything and everyone has multiple facets that you have to work through to figure out what’s really going on at any given time. Nothing is straight forward.

Each time I thought I had a handle on where the story was going, Martinez twisted it. I thought I was reading a romance, a second chance novel…and it is, but it’s so much more.

Jude is pretty fucked up. He only ever wanted to be a police officer. He worked his whole life towards that goal, only to have it all ripped away from him with one disastrous miscalculation. I didn’t think what he did was that bad…but again, there are things we don’t know until later and I can see why he’d still be beating himself up. He’s trying to make up for his past mistakes by dedicating himself to helping Rhion.

Rhion is just as messed up as Jude is but you don’t get the full appreciation of how much until Jude enters her life. She knows Jude’s story and she doesn’t think Jude has anything to feel guilty about. There are so many layers to how they connect. But I loved Rhion’s outlook on life. She’s the kind of woman who inspires loyalty in everyone she meets. She loves with her whole heart and she’s kind of a pushover for those close to her. But she’s also lived through some pretty horrendous shit and come out still seeing the good in people.

This is the very best of romance with a hint of intrigue that will keep you glued. It also doesn’t hurt that there is a whole new group of hot men for Martinez to keep writing about. Each one of them, from Devon, who we met in The Fall Up, to Johnson, Rhion’s protector, has their own issues that I can’t wait to dig into.