Thursday, November 7, 2013

#BookTour and #BookReview--> Chance for Love #3- Knowing Vera by Rachelle Ayala

Some secrets are best untold.
Vera Custodio has never fallen in love, though she has strong feelings for her friend and sometimes lover, Zach Spencer. Long-forgotten memories resurface when Vera discovers Zach’s mother was the woman her father supposedly murdered many years ago.
After losing his leg, former triathlete Zach Spencer reevaluates his life—and realizes he’s falling in love with Vera. When she ends their relationship, Zach is determined to prove his love and follows her to Australia in search of the killer.
Caught between a web of family secrets and a deranged adversary, Vera and Zach must depend on each other for survival. Love blossoms, but the truth explodes everything Vera knows about herself. Will she close her heart forever or risk it all for a shot at happily-ever-after?


Excerpt

I’ve never been in love. Serious like? Yes. But love? Not happening. Doesn’t matter if he’s sinfully hot or responsible for global panty warming. Or even if he’s the sweetest, most gorgeous man on the planet. I can still walk away. I have to.
Zach Spencer, scion of an Australian wine fortune, ambles slowly from the light-rail platform and waves. His swimmer’s physique, sun-streaked blond hair and audacious grin revs my heart every time. I can’t help but jump to my tippy-toes like one of those silly game show contestants. But today, I’m not going to run into his arms because I have to break up with him.
He steps toward me, oblivious of the crowd parting at the sight of his artificial leg. The muscular calf on his right leg contrasts sharply with the metallic rod and linkages of the other, ending with an artificial foot.
Until a few months ago he was a world-class athlete, a contender for the 2016 Olympic Triathlon team, but he lost his lower left leg in a jet ski accident while rescuing my friend Maryanne.
His magnetic blue eyes lock onto me as he wraps me in a toe-curling hug. Butterflies tickle my stomach and I want to disappear into his arms. How on earth can I end this without hurting him?
“Ready for the opera?” He guides me through the turnstile.
I tug at one of his oversized pockets. “Seriously, cargo shorts in winter?”
“I’m Aussie.” He kisses me with a loud smack.
“I suppose you’ll tell me it’s summer Down Under. Are all Aussie men so tough?”
“Dunno, but all Filipinas are gorgeous.” He winks and takes my hand, pulling me up the stairs and onto the crowded street. His smile raises the temperature a few degrees. “Shall we hop on a cable car or have dinner first?”
“Let’s catch a cab and take a walk on the Golden Gate Bridge. Have you ever been there?” I’m dressed to the nines, spiky stilettos and a metallic sequined dress, but the walk hopefully won’t be long.
He tucks an errant strand of hair in back of my ear. “No, but I hear guys are always proposing there. I’d have a hard time dropping to one knee …”
“Stop joking. We’re only friends—with benefits.”
“True, but we haven’t been very … friendly … lately.” His eyes telegraph bedroom, and his tongue does a quick flick over his teeth. “It’s my fault, of course.”
I caress the back of his hand with my thumb. “You’ve just recovered from major surgery. I’m glad to see you walking again.”
“Me, too. Now we can go places and get to know each other. Maybe start dating?”
A gasp catches in my throat. I never pegged him as the dating type. I suck in a deep breath to calm my speeding heart.
If only things were different and I hadn’t discovered the truth about our families.

Buy Links:
Amazon

My Review:

One murder, another suicide and a traumatized small girl. Vera Custodio had seen it all and felt it all. Twenty years had passed since that fateful night when everything changed for the worse for her as well as her family. Her father committed suicide by jumping from the "Golden Gate Bridge" after he had supposedly killed a woman named Lillian Spencer and Vera, just a small girl clutching her father's leg as well as her teddy Bing Bing, saw it all. After that it was as if they had all been cursed. Vera lost her voice for a whole year and underwent years of therapy to recover, her mother was never happy again and both her brothers died tragically. There was no happiness and definitely no happy family for her. So she did what she could to cope. Vera became someone who didn't get close to anyone, ever. Even when Zach came along and she felt her heart flutter, she didn't commit and carefully tagged her relationship to him as "friends with benefits".
Zach Spencer is the very gorgeous and charismatic athlete who has always been a ladies man but an accident leaves him crippled. Later, Vera learns that he is the son of the woman her father killed!
The chemistry between them which suspiciously looked it love before, is something Vera can no longer take the risk of exploring. So she decides to keep Zach at arms length. Zach, on the other side, is a changed man now and fully aware of his love for Vera.

But will these two make it to the stage of a happily-ever-after?
Who is the mysterious person sending messages to Vera urging her to find the real killer of Lillian?
Is her father innocent after all?
And is he also alive?
Is he the "Tatay" person who keeps tabs on her and sends her messages containing info only her father had known?

As Vera races against time and suspicious circumstances to find the truth, her path of discovery of the truth is filled with dangers, unknown forces working against her and a web of lies.

Can she find the truth?
What happened all those years ago that no one is ready to talk about it?
Will her suppressed memory resurface?
How much does Zack know about his mother's death?
Does he suspect her connection to his mother?
Why is someone trying to reopen an otherwise cold case?
Why now?

I was bombarded with all these questions and more as I read Rachelle Ayala's book, Knowing Vera.
Although this is third book in the "Chance for Love" series, I didn't have any problems while reading it as a standalone. It is a complete package in itself. This is the first book by Rachelle that I have read and I am very impressed with her writing style. The plot is meticulously planned and story expertly executed where Rachelle easily keeps the reader guessing till the end and still manages to shock him with her solution to the "Who done it?" mystery. I had several theories as I progressed with the story and I managed to be suspicious of each and every one at one time or the other but the end totally threw me leaving me chuckling and applauding the author for her cleverness.

The characterization is vivid and very sensitively done. Rachelle sketches Vera's pain and longing for her father, her grief at losing her brothers and her sadness at the crack in the relationship with her mother who she thinks blames her for everything that happened twenty years ago. She is also successful in bringing out her conflict with her emotions for Zach and her wistful thinking of a future with him which she knows she can never have!

"If only things were different and I hadn't discovered the truth about our families."

Zach's character is that of a strong person who doesn't wish to let anyone see his incapability with his missing left leg and who is deeply in love with Vera. Ever since his unfortunate accident, he has changed and now wants to cherish everything that he has, including Vera. Where once they were no-strings-attached "friends with benefits", he now wants a future with her and is no longer interested in anything superfluous.
He touched my heart with his devotion to her. He didn't leave her even when so many unfavorable things happened and Vera also jilted him. His selfless love and caring for her was what endeared him to me.

The chance of increasing my vocabulary with some new and very common yet important words in a different language also greatly appealed to me. Now I can say "I love you" and say endearing words in Tagalog. Yippee.. :)

"Mahal kita" (I love you)

A great cross cultural mystery with some very sensuous love scenes and an engaging romance along with a touching side to a family that made sacrifices for the happiness of others, I can safely say that you wont regret reading this great book. A guaranteed page turner which left me very satisfied at the end, not to mention very happy at seeing two people so in love finally find peace and a future with each other. I give Knowing Vera a 4 out of 5 and recommend that you read this book as well as the other books in the "Chance for Love" series. I am definitely going to.


Is it love when you feel his pain and would give anything to comfort him, do anything to make him smile and give him a ray of sunshine?
Or is it love when you're drawn into his arms like it's your hiding place, safe, protected, and cherished?
Or is it love when it just is?

I received this book from the author and Book Review Tours and I am very thankful to them. The above review is my personal and unbiased opinion and in no way influenced.

Other Books in this Series:

Broken Build (Chance for Love #1)








Hidden Under Her Heart (Chance For Love #2)

About the Author
Rachelle Ayala was a software engineer until she discovered storytelling works better in fiction than real code. She enjoys writing love stories and has always lived in a multi-cultural environment. The tapestry of characters in her books reflect that diversity. She is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe.
Check out her four romantic novels. Michal's Window is a powerful, emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Hidden Under Her Heart is a heartfelt love story combined with controversy over difficult decisions, and Knowing Vera is a suspenseful, cross-cultural romance mixing an unsolved murder, adventure, and hot, steamy love scenes.

Connect with the Author:
Website I Blog I Facebook Twitter I Goodreads



Giveaway
A $10 Amazon Gift Card will go to the best review posted as a part of the tour. 
Reviews will be judged by a qualified Anonymous Judge

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