Finding Trust By Natalie Gayle

376 pages

Published February 27, 2013 by EBS

4/5 stars

Finding Trust – Book 1 Centre Games Series

Brayden and Rihanna

He’s hot, sexy, and leads a double life. Sometimes in the limelight, mostly in the shadows. Brayden James holds fast to a secret that’s more than his to share.

She’s a singularly focused veterinarian out for a rare night of fun with friends, at a New Year’s Eve rock concert. Going home with the lead guitarist was furthest thing from Rihanna Mason’s mind when the night began.

When Rihanna inadvertently becomes the target of a deadly terrorist plot using the Hendra virus as a biological weapon, Brayden is forced to reveal his other life. His job is to keep her safe and together they must stop the terrorists before it’s too late. But what happens when she becomes more to him than just the assignment?

Will the secret he cannot disclose ultimately prove too much for Rihanna’s fragile trust in relationships? Or will he finally break through the double brick walls around her heart, where every other man has failed?Finding Trust is a playful and entertaining read the avid romance readers are bound to love. It’s part romance, part intrigue and part suspense and a whole lot of fun. Goodreads Blurb

Finding Trust is a playful and entertaining read, one that avid romance readers are bound to love. What’s more, it is an addictive read. The narrative itself is engaging to the point you don’t want to put the book (or in my case ereader) down because you simply have to know more. More about the characters, their backgrounds, the centre itself and all of the vibrant characters lives and futures.  More often than not when reading I found myself questioning and eargly wanting to know what makes each of the characters tick? Where is the could see their future going? Their views about the Centre? What they do in their spare time and how they see the world thanks to their altered genetics.

Like all good romantic suspense novels, Finding Trust relies heavily on the use of mystery and intrigue and Natalie Gayle pulls this off effectively and in a manner that is both believable and coherent in its somewhat natural progressions. In fact the narrative is all the more intriguing and compelling at times due to the added ‘paranormal’ extras to the story.

Although a unique take, the paranormal edge really works for this story and yet at the same time I feel that it was still largely unexplored at the same time. For all Brayden’s worries, Rhinana never guessed his secret, and although it does take a bit of time for her to possible comprehend the situation, she never really questions it either. I would have liked to have seen the genetics twist played on a bit more because it brings so much potential to the story and seeks to shed the narrative in a new light, not to mention it’s also a little bit exciting because it hasn’t really been done before in this genre before.  I know that Gayle has intentions (in fact she’s currently busily finishing off book two in the series) to continue this series and I for one am excited to see where she takes it.

In fact Gayle has proven herself to be an expert when it comes to withholding information and revealing it at the precise time the reader needs it. What’s more nothing seemed forced or over the top. Her characters are what they are, and as a reader you accept that easily enough.

What really drew me to the novel however was the use of the HENDRA virus and its very real threat to society for it is fatal to both humans and horses- although Gayle has explained that a vaccine now exists. I must admit that I had never heard of this virus until reading the foreword by Gayle, and yet I immediately found myself interested. I’m not really a horse person. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful creatures, its just their power and strength frightens me at times. I was thus surprised myself so emerged in this world of horses, veterinary science and the modified gentic traits. Gayle needs to be commended here for her writing is clear and coherent, and although some of the romantic side is predictable (though I’d argue thats why we love romance novels so much, because we know what were getting and are happy to let the author take us there), her imagery and characters are so vivid and real it is really not hard to find yourself lost in the book, even with out any prior knowledge to horses, the virus or really the genre of romantic suspense.

The romance in the novel is hot, and the first half to three quarters of the novel is dedicated to setting up the setting and the relationship before the big suspense battle scenes come to play. At times this may have dragged on a bit, but I still throughly enjoyed getting to know both the characters and their relationship. Some of the scene are even more unexpected and surprising (that jet ski beach scene for one) that left my mouth open in awe that Rhinana was even capable of that – prior to this she wasn’t and yet it still didn’t seem forced. Overall I probably would have preferred the romance to have been more blurred with the action in the novel, but it still held its own ground as it was.

Natalie Gayle is a new voice in Aussie romance fiction and one that shouldn’t be missed.  You may have noticed that I didn’t talk too much about the romance side of this novel and its because Finding trust is so much more than just another romance novel, it seriously has a bit of everything for everyone – a bit of action, a bit of intrigue and mystery, bad guys and good guys, suspense, modified genetics bordering on paranormal influences – all that said however, if you don’t like romance than perhaps this isn’t the novel for you. If you do like romance, then seriously give this novel and this Aussie Author a chance. I very much look forward to seeing where Gayle takes this series and see just what she can do and does with her writing as it grows and matures over time.

For more information on Natalie be sure to check out the interview I posted earlier on today, and leave a comment on the post and you could win a copy of this brilliant read as either an ebook (Open Internationally) and a signed paperback (Aust Only).

This novel was read as part of my Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013 and read as part of my Romance Appreciation Challenge 2013.

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