Before The Dawn ~ The Grayson Trilogy #2

  • BeforeTheDawnAuthor: Georgia Rose
  • Published: September 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Romance
  • five-stars

…he moved closer and slowly ran the point of his blade along my jaw line as he spoke softly, intimately, to me. “So, you are Trent’s woman. Now that is very…appealing.” I glared back at him silently.

There’s a marked increase in the action and pacing in the second of The Grayson Trilogy and I was hooked into the story from the beginning. Emma Grayson has survived the traumas life hurled at her in A Single Step and has gained in confidence and strength.  She and Trent are learning to trust in each other as their relationship deepens although Trent, by Emma’s reckoning, is still overly protective and possessive. Her emotions are complicated but the dawning acceptance of her feelings is more apparent. 

To all outside appearances Melton Manor is an agricultural farm, but the people who live and work there are involved in supporting Cavendish and Trent in their undercover operations for MI6. When Cavendish is targeted after he and Trent help to break up a Russian criminal organisation everyone is put on high alert. Circumstances, however , are about to throw them and the residents of Melton Manor into a perilous situation. When danger materializes Emma, Grace and the children are caught in the cross fire and Emma needs all her resources to protect those she holds dear.

Trent looked around the room again before he went on. “This is only an initial briefing, and I’m going to hand back to Cavendish shortly, but before I do, I want to be very clear. This type of situation is the reason why we’ve all been brought together. This is what we’ve planned for, this is what we’ve trained for and it is our expectation that you will support us in the actions we’re gong to be taking.” 

The suspense and tension begin to build almost immediately with the impending threat, and increase as events unfold, escalating into a totally action packed sequence which paints vivid (and scary) images. Emma really shows what she’s made of and the huge leaps she’s made in personality and spirit. I love the way Emma and Trent’s characters are evolving, he trying to lessen his vigilance where Emma is concerned, while she is becoming less focused on being self-reliant and stubborn and is therefore able to accept more from Trent. She’s faced and come to terms with past losses which has made her stronger and able to commit to another relationship. 

There are hints that all wasn’t quite as straight forward as first supposed with Emma’s childhood and adoptive parents, and an intriguing part of the attack on the manor is left unanswered, to be resolved in the third instalment of the trilogy. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. 

Book links ~ Amazon UK AmazonUS

A Single Step ~ The Grayson Trilogy, Book 1

  • ASingleStepAuthor: Georgia Rose
  • Published: February 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Romantic Drama, Contemporary
  • four-stars

Emma Grayson was left devastated when her life was torn apart by tragedy and betrayal. Now someone believes it’s time for her to start again and puts an advert for a job through her door which leads her to the Melton Estate. Despite her desire for a solitary existence she finds herself discovering a life she could never have imagined, challenging her independence, her fears and her resistance to love.

Emma Grayson desperately needs a fresh start after a devastating personal trauma compounded by a betrayal she couldn’t comprehend. She secures a job with Lord Cavendish of Melton Manor Estate, managing the stables and looking after the horses, after the advert for the job had been posted to her anonymously. Hurt beyond measure and disillusioned, she is wary of getting close to anyone again and just wants to get on with her job and be left alone. The community on the Estate is a tight knit one though and Emma soon finds herself, almost against her will, being drawn in and actually enjoying making new friends.

I’d also mulled over who had put this through my letterbox in the first place, dismissing most of the names I came up with and leaving me with one suspect. My still viciously raw feelings towards her and the thought of her motivation for doing this was to get me to move away almost made me tear it up. In the end, however, so as not to spite myself, I’d written a curriculum vitae, attached it to an email as requested, and sent it together with a covering letter.

The story is told in the first person by Emma, which gives the tragedy she suffered even more poignancy and engenders a deep sympathy and understanding for her. Despite her initial contrary attitude with people, it’s easy to like her and very obvious she loves the horses and her dog, Susie. 

The suspense builds slowly and, with little hints dropped about Emma’s self-defense abilities, you know something is looming, and Emma’s skills are displayed unexpectedly during a night out. And as the sparks begin between Emma and Trent, it becomes apparent he has secrets of his own which he’s unwilling to talk about.

Really good, strong portrayals of Trent, enigmatic and aloof, and Emma, stubborn and edgy, and their personalities develop as the story progresses. The other characters, although likeable, were slightly less well-rounded but hopefully will come into their own as the series moves forward. The setting and atmosphere of the estate is created in such detail it’s easy to have a mental picture running with the narrative. And, although I’m not a horsey person, I found the descriptions of work at the stables and the horses interesting to read. 

There are a lot of surprises revealed along the way, character wise, and even the estate isn’t quite what it seems. Melton Manor has an air of mystery about it as Lord Cavendish and his right hand man, Trent, disappear on business trips several times in the Estate’s helicopter and the male staff all belong, in some capacity, to the military. 

Well written and entertaining, I enjoyed the storyline and look forward to following on with the series.