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Brave by Natalie Gayle Review

Posted on Jul 3, 2016 by in review |

Brave Book Cover Brave
Oni Fighters #1
Natalie Gayle
MMA Romance. Contemporary.
10th July 2015

A moment in time, that’s all it took. Beauty, pain and tragedy.

Xander “Pretty Boy” Todd was a demon in the ring. A professional MMA fighter with a career that had the world a buzz—but now it’s gone. Or is it?

Eden Sommers had her dreams of an international modelling career within her grasp—and lost it. Gone within a few seconds, leaving nothing but pain.

How do you go on, when the one thing that defines you is suddenly ripped away—only to leave scars and a hollow shell in its place? Has the beauty gone forever? Or has it just retreated—to now be hidden, and dormant; guarded by the inner demons?

Can these two wounded souls find the inner strength to fight back the demons together and find the beauty in their lives once again?

To do this, they must first accept—The hardest demons to defeat are the ones inside. They’ll have to be BRAVE.

What I Thought


In the beginning, this book isn’t what you would expect from an MMA fighter romance. There is a lot more to the story than just an MMA fighter falling in love. Character development is a HUGE feature in this storyline. Eliciting a lot of emotion and rationalization and I found it awe-inspiring.

Eden Sommers is living the life of a recluse. After saving her sisters during a fire in their home, she suffered severe burns along her right side to her hip. A few years later, the scars dictate Eden’s life. She is scared of anything hot, she lets people’s stares and comments affect her and would rather just stay at home, away from the eyes of everyone so she doesn’t see their looks of what she thinks is disgust that upset her. Due to being challenged during counseling, Eden is now attending college and sometimes ventures to a quiet cafe to meet her sisters, Tori and Sophia, for a cold drink. It’s at this cafe that Eden encounters Xander for the first time. His face does not show any effect to her scars, and she is super shocked when he pulls her into a hug.

Xander Todd knows of Eden Sommers. He remembers how her smile lit up when he first saw her when he was fourteen. He knows why she is in pain now, that she hides away and he wants to help her. He wants to see that smile again, that he remembers. Xander has his own pain though, he used to be a professional fighter, but one night during a fight, a tragedy stopped him from fighting ever again. One wrong turn from his opponent, and an unfortunate strike from Xander, led to the loss of a life. Xander was cleared of the death, an unfortunate accident. An accident that will forever haunt him though. Both Xander and Eden have had to let go of their dreams due to their tragedies. Something they will never forget.

A near fatal attack towards Eden brings her and xander together. It’s like fate. This is a story of facing their pasts, facing and fighting their demons and moving forward. Its not as simple as it seems though.

This story highlights quite a lot of true to life, day to day scenarios that can damage people and hold them back. Public scrutiny. Social media bullying. Judging people on first appearances. Brave makes you stop and think about how much this actually happens and it is sad to realise. Brave faces and opposes these issues. Eden and Xander stare down their bullies and don’t let it affect them.

The story is told from both Eden and Xander’s points of view. Hearing from both sides of their demons, inner fears and how they come together and fight as one. How they evolve.  I did find the pace of the story a little slow in the beginning, but when it kicked in, boy…..did it kick in amazingly. It was captivating and insightful and engaging.

I could see on my Kindle that I was getting closer to the end. I both wanted to slow down reading so it didn’t end but I was also eager to get there to see what happened.

The title of this book is so apt. It couldn’t be more perfect with relation to the story.

So no…..not your typical MMA fighter storyline, but that is a good thing right. It brought something different to the fighter romance genre. Still full of sexy men though 😉 Thanks Natalie!


Sweet Score



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