☆✮ My Review ✮☆
☆ I received an ARC via Give Me Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! ☆
*Wah, Isaac stole the show for me in this read. Every moment he was mentioned or present I savored. Such a precious boy that gave such a different perspective on things and even humbled me for things I take for granted.*
Believe was a great follow up from bk1. What worked so well about it was that it held elements of “family”and the unknown that I think everyone can relate to.
For MMA trained expert, Dane-- he has everything a person could dream of, but he’s still missing that direction of what to do next with his life.
As for Arianne, her one true goal in life is protect herself and her son from an abusive ex.
Nothing could have ever prepared her for another man to walk in her life and steal her heart, body, and soul; Not to mention, Dane, and his chance encounter with this courageous mother, with scars inside and out, and will go through any lengths to ensure the safety of her child.
Dane and Arianne’s romance is not easy one, as mentioned before, Arianne has not had a great streak with men. Therefore, her outlook on getting involved with Dane is bleak, which is quite frankly, realistic in itself.
Over all, a wonderful slow burning love story of trifling ordeals and the power of the human spirit.
☆✮ Excerpt ✮☆
Once we were alongside the car I opened the back passenger’s door for Isaac and leant in to make sure he was buckled in properly. That was when the familiar smell of a cologne I’d never forget invaded my nostrils. Every muscle in my body tensed and terror streaked through me.
Ever so slowly I straightened and went to close the door, and that was when his hand landed on my arm and my heart rate spiked to a level that I knew was off the charts.
“Hello Annie, you’re looking beautiful as always and how’s the retard?” His voice was silky and seductive even with his strong French accent—all that ran through my veins was hate and cold hard fear.
Slowly my eyes met the icy, evil hardness. I read the calculating smirk and all I felt was dread.
Marcel Beauchamp was back in my life—not only was he very bad news, he was also my ex-husband and the father of my son.
I pulled into the carpark of the local shopping mall. No sooner had I shifted into park and shut off the engine of my truck, than my mobile rang. I didn’t even need to pick it up from the centre console to know it was my mum. Each member of my family had their own tone in my phone. It was a little quirk of mine and easy to do. Small minds and all that.
I’m fine admitting that I’m easy to keep amused, particularly with anything “shiny”; like mobile phones, video games and technology.
“Hey Mum,” I answered. My eyes flicked across the carpark to a good looking woman who had a young boy with her. My truck being higher than just about every vehicle in the carpark, gave me a distinct height advantage. Yeah the woman was attractive, but that wasn’t what caught my attention. She was acting nervously about something. Her gait was choppy and her movements tense, as her eyes darted back and forth. There was something about the kid as well—I couldn’t quite pick it.
“Dane are you still coming to dinner tonight?” I glanced at my watch, instantly annoyed that I needed to glance away to check the time. There were still a few things I needed to do today before I took the 5:00pm class at Onigashima for Xander.
“What time Mum?”
“Well you know your father likes to eat at 6:30 but I can stretch it to 7:00 if it means you’ll be here.”
The woman had stopped at a compact hatchback, parked in the next row over. The car was a few years old, but looked to be in decent condition. The number plate caught my eye, 847–ISV. I had a memory for stuff like that.
She was putting the boy in the car when my peripheral vision tagged a guy getting out of a blacked out Mercedes two cars down. Immediately he started moving purposefully towards the woman who had her attention on her kid.
Two things screamed through my head. One, this bloke was too interested in the woman, and secondly, a car like that was unusual in a carpark in a Logan shopping centre. Logan wasn’t exactly the most affluent area; the high end sedan stood out like a sore thumb—well to me anyway. Couple that with how nervous she looked and something was about to go down.
“Got to go, Mum. See you tonight.” I ended the call and slid the phone into my pocket. My eyes didn’t leave the guy. There was a look on his face that I didn’t like one bit—something was off about everything I was seeing.
His voice was thick with some sort of foreign accent and it came clear across the distance and through my open window. “Hello Annie, you’re looking beautiful as always and how’s the retard?”
I watched her slowly straighten, her body rigid with fear. She started to look around with wild eyes and before I knew it, I was opening the door and moving.
For a split second my brain asked the obvious question. “Why was I getting involved?” and I hesitated for just a moment at the door.
“Marcel, what are you doing here? I have a restraining order against you. You aren’t allowed to approach us!” Her voice was clear and pitched with the intent that others in the vicinity could hear. At the moment, she was standing her ground, but there was no doubt in my mind she was terrified and trying to figure out how to get out of this situation. Basically, she was looking for someone to help her. That’s why she was projecting her voice. I started to move closer.
“I’m here to talk to my wife.” Once again I briefly hesitated. Was this some sort of strange marriage spat?
“Ex-Wife Marcel. Very ex and for the millionth time your son has Asperger’s—he’s not a retard. We’ve had no contact for over a year. I have full custody of Isaac, why are you here?”
Smart girl. She was giving lots of information, making her situation very plain to anyone that might hear—perhaps could help.
Now she just needed a rescuer and I decided that was going to have to be me. The other few people that had looked up, just as quickly looked back down and hurried on.
No one wanted to get involved. Well that wasn’t how I rolled. This woman was asking for help and I was going to give it. She hadn’t reverted to screaming yet—probably trying to keep the situation stable with her child in the car.
I sized the guy up a little more as I approached. He was a smidge under 6 foot but the wiry type. If he had any skills, my guess was he’d be fast. My brain raced trying to decide the best approach. I was confident I could take him out if it got to that. But I didnt want it to escalate if I could avoid it—particularly when there was a woman and a child so closely involved.
“Annie, I don’t understand all this anger…” He noticed me just as I came level with the front of her car. His eyes shot to mine and I gave him a grin. I needed to get myself between the woman and him first, before I did anything further.
The woman’s head spun around and I could see the relief on her face. I gave her my biggest, friendliest smile. My mum and sisters always told me it made women “melt”. Whatever the hell that meant. I hope it didn’t fail me now.
“Hey gorgeous, sorry I’m late,” I said moving in beside her and putting an arm around her. I dropped a kiss on top of her head for good measure—trying to act familiar. “Who’s this?”
I watched the other man’s eyes narrow and work at summing me up.
“This is my ex-husband, Marcel. The one I told you about. The one that I have a restraining order against for beating me half to death.” I glanced down at her, she had her face turned toward me and I could see the pleading look in her eyes.
Then I did what any “boyfriend” or “partner” would do when his woman was threatened, I squared my shoulders and prepared for battle. I relaxed my arm from around her shoulders.
“We got a problem here Mar…” Fuck, before I could get the word out he’d lunged forward at me. My immediate reaction was to step in front of the woman and I pushed her behind me with my right arm while I blocked the punch, Marcel threw to my head, with my left.
I slipped the arm I blocked with, over and under his and brought my hand up on the inside near his armpit, locking up his arm. Then I pounded a punch directly into his nose, and he staggered back with me still holding him in the lock up.
A shrill scream split the air, so loud and high pitched my ears rung with the assault.
Was it the woman?
☆✮ Haven't Read Book 1? Catch Up with Brave Now!! ✮☆
☆✮ About the Author ✮☆
A confessed readaholic and romantic junkie, Natalie spends her time juggling a busy career as an IT professional and author. In between staring at a computer screen (she spends lot time doing that!) Natalie, enjoys living the Gold Coast life with her very tolerant husband and two school aged children.
She loves spending time with family and friends, hitting the beach, cooking, working out and curling up with a good book. Her pet hates are cleaning and anything else that can be considered “domestic dullness”. If she could have one wish it would be to be able to fit 48 hours into 24.
Natalie is the author of the Centre Games Series. A fast paced, romantic suspense series set on the Gold Coast, Australia. The series tells the stories of the Centre, a quasi government agency established to fight environmental, biological and agricultural threats. The Centre Games books are filled with hot alpha males and the feisty independent females strong enough to capture their hearts. Natalie’s books pack lots of action, hot romance and surprises.
She recently released Brave—the first in her Oni Fighters Series. This series is MMA contemporary romance with inspirational themes. The series is about people overcoming tragedy, pain and circumstances—fighting their inner demons. The next book, Believe, will be released late 2015 with another early 2016.
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