Shatterproof Bond by Isobel Starling Series Recap Blog Tour, Excerpt & Reviews!

Isobel Starling - Shatterproof Bond Banner s

Hi guys, we have Isobel Starling popping in today with her brilliant series Shatterproof Bond, we have excerpts from Illuminating the Shadows and Return to Zero, and we have Prime’s reviews of all three books! So check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00015]

As You Wish

(Shatterproof Bond 0.5)
by

Isobel Starling

“1 wedding, 2 best men, one hell of a love story!

Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairy tale Castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided, so that he didn’t feel left out, Annabelle’s gay younger brother Sam Should share the best man duties with Declan.

Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man.
Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.

But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realise the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond and athletic young man. Declan is alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

But is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?

This story continues in the up and coming novel ‘Illuminate the Shadows’ Book 1 of the ‘Shatterproof Bond’ series

*free at time of posting*

 Amazon | ARe | Smashwords | B&N

Isobel Starling - Illuminate The Shadows Cover

Illuminate The Shadows

(Shatterproof Bond 01)
by

Isobel Starling

The thrilling, funny sequel to ‘As You Wish’. 

A Scotsman and an Englishman fall in love…

After the most amazing week of Declan Ramsay’s life, at Dunloch Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, in Scotland. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan’s life upside down. Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over-heels in love with his boss’s son Sam.

However, falling for his boss’s son was never going to be an easy path to happiness, mainly because the boss in question is multi-millionaire property tycoon and former MI5 operative, Sir James Aiken. 

Sir James is repulsed by his son’s homosexuality, and so discovering that his employee Declan Ramsay- the man he installed to run his luxury property rental empire- is in a relationship with Sam, does not go down well.

The lovers cannot hide from the looming presence of Sir James Aiken for long! Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam, and what he will have to give to feel worthy of Sam’s love.

**The story continues in “Return to Zero” (Shatterproof Bond #2)** This second book will be released on 6th June 2016

Amazon | ARe | Smashwords | iTunes | Kobo

ISOBEL STARLING - RETURN TO ZERO cover_release blitz

Return To Zero

(Shatterproof Bond 02)
by

Isobel Starling

Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting, and falling for his boss’s son, Sam Aiken.  Declan journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined.

Two agents are missing — presumed dead, while on a reconnaissance mission at an outdoor adventure centre in the Scottish Highlands.  Sir James Aiken sends his son and Declan to follow the trail, and discover the fate of the agents.

As the mission offers his first chance to use the skills he learned on the MI6 training course in Morocco, Declan is keen to get started. However, Sir James sees to it that the seeds of doubt and discord have been sewn between the couple, as they begin their mission.

The journey to their Highland location, and the discoveries they make when they reach the G’wan Adventures centre, prove that Sir James Aiken has been less than honest with his son.  Events in the Highlands force Sam and Declan to face their greatest fears, and understand what they both really want from life — and from each other.

Isobel Starling - Shatterproof Bond Banner 1 s

Excerpts

Isobel Starling - Illuminate The Shadows 1

Illuminating Shadows

Sam and Declan have invited their siblings to dinner at their home, and during the meal they decide to share their relationship status. Declan’s brother, Oliver, does not take the news that his brother is bisexual, at all well.

“Declan strolled out of the living room, a look of determination on his face. He wanted to punch his brother in the mouth for what he’d said, and had to breathe deeply to harness his bubbling anger. Sure enough, when he turned to the top of the stairs, Oliver sat half-way down, looking a little queasy. Declan parked his arse on the top step and looked down at his baby brother.

“Ye’ve only been sharing fer a few weeks… he’s a fast worker, that one,” Oliver said with a sarcastic sneer.

“DON’T” Declan said roughly, barely keeping the anger in check. He was so very disappointed with his brother. “What the fuck is yer problem? What does it matter who I love? What I get up te in the privacy of my own home, with my body is, frankly, none a yer damn business.” He paused to take a couple of calming breaths and simmered with frustration at the look of disinterest on his brother’s face.

“This is important te me. Sam and I are a couple, and we wanted to share our happiness with you and Belle, just as you shared yours wi’ us.” Declan glared at Ollie who now wouldn’t even look him in the eye. The silence was palpable, and the more Declan looked at his brother, the more he began to pity him. After several minutes Oliver couldn’t hold his pinched, scowling expression any more.

“It wasnea supposed te be like this,” He burst out suddenly, sounding like a whiny brat. “You were supposed te meet a nice lassie, and we’d have son’s and take them te football, and hiking an’ fishing. Normal stuff, ye know”

Declan winced at the outburst. Normal stuff… bollox te that!

“Oliver, that’s not me. That was never me. And as fer meetin’ a lassie, I’ve tried, a lot. I tried for so many years te be like the other lads, but I hated the man I became. I was goin’ through the motions, and it made me so fuckin’ unhappy.” Declan ran his hands over his bearded face and into his hair. Oliver was silent and taciturn. Declan decided to try another strategy.

“When you wake up in the morning wi’ Belle sleeping beside ye. How’d ye feel?”

Oliver’s glance darted to meet Declan’s. “Why?”

“Just say, fer fucks sake” God, my brother is stubborn bollox.

“I guess I feel… peaceful, contented, I suppose. She looks beautiful, like a fairy princess, or sum’ thin’,” He admitted candidly.

“And you know ye love her, fer certain?”

“Aye, from the moment I laid eyes on her at that Aikens corporate party”

“Well, since when do straight people have first dibs on happiness? Eh?” Declan challenged. “I’m attracted te women, and I’m attracted te men, but I have never woken up beside anyone feelin’ anything, but discomfort, like I was in the… wrong place. I felt sick, I felt like a liar. Every. Time. And it ate away at me. It’s no’ fair te me, and it’s no’ fair te the women I was foolin,’” Declan took a breath to organize his thoughts.

“But Sam… Sam is different. Jesus, if I could only put into words how he makes me feel” Declan felt the tears crowd his eyes. Talking about his feelings had always been difficult. He’d been the stereotypical emotional cripple before Sam, but this time words flowed unbidden.

“I know who I am when I’m wi’ him. When I wake up in his arms, I’m so at peace I don’t wantae get out of bed. He makes me laugh until I cry. He always cares for me, no matter that I’m a maudlin, moody control freak. I look at him, and fer the first time in my life, I’m home.” Declan paused to catch a breath “If you truly think our love is wrong… well… tough shite. This is my life, and he is who I choose to live it wi’. If ye cannae be happy fer us, I just feel sorry fer ye.” The words felt clumsy and poorly constructed, but he needed to say them, and he hoped his brother would hear and accept them.

Sam and Annabelle stood in the open doorway, listening to their partners talk. Belle’s hand was absently rubbing her brother’s back for comfort as Declan explained how he felt for Sam. “I’m so happy for you” She said “I can’t believe we’ve hooked brothers” She drew Sam into a hug and when they parted Declan was standing at the door.

“Can I have a go?” he asked with a wry smirk on his face. Sam gripped the front of Declan’s shirt and pulled him into an embrace. The downstairs door slammed.”

ISOBEL STARLING - RETURN TO ZERO RTZ teaser graphic 2

Return to Zero

“Hullo,”

“Parcel for Samuel Aiken” The gruff male voice said. Declan peered at the CCTV image on the wall tablet screen of a courier wearing a Swift Co tabard.

“Hang on a minute” Declan replied “You expectin’ anythin Sam?” He hollered. He would not be fooled a second time. Sam sauntered out of the bedroom, bare chested, with dark grey jersey pyjama trousers hugging his prominent hip bones.

“Let him in,” He directed, so Declan did as he was told and pressed the button to unlock the downstairs door. Sam and Declan stood either side of the closed front door, both on edge, expecting… something. Had James sent them a message at last?

They both startled and sniggered at each other, at hearing the hard thump on the front door. Sam took a quick look through the peep hole to see the courier — a grey haired, slightly obese Asian man in his early fifties, with Fred Flintstone stubble on his chubby face. He held a package the size of a shoe box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, in an old fashioned way. Sam opened the door, and was immediately knocked back by the scent of sweat and cigarettes. The man smelled like he had bathed in kebabs. If this was an attempted assassination, the courier’s armpits would surely do the job. The man shoved a clipboard in Sam’s direction. He browsed the delivery note attached. The ‘sender’ address box was empty.

“Where d’ya pick this up from mate? I weren’t expectin’ nuffink,” Sam said in a rangy East London accent.

“I picks up from the depot, and delivers. Don’t know nuffin’ abaht where vu packages comes from, not my business,”

“Well, it had better not be tickin’” Sam joked, his expression gormless. The courier snickered and put the box to his ear.

“Nah, prob’ly a pair of shoes, or somefink — nice surprise from your lady love?”

“Yeah, prob’ly,” Sam mimicked. He signed an illegible squiggle, took the box, and was immediately surprised by its lightness. “Cheers mate, have a good one,” he said, giving the clipboard back, and then closing the door.

Declan observed the wall mounted tablet screen as the courier left, and the main entrance door sealed behind him. He then opened the apartment front door and checked the hallway and staircase. Nothing had been left behind. Declan felt a little melodramatic and over cautious with his behaviour, but he had a strange gut feeling that something was afoot, something that would bring more sweeping changes to his life. He couldn’t put his finger on it. Declan had felt this tinge of something ever since coming back from Morocco, like he was still in a holding pattern, waiting for permission to land. Sam didn’t seem to be unduly concerned about James lack of contact, but the past few months had seen a huge shift in the way Declan lived his life, and his self-esteem. Long hidden memories had been uncovered by the ‘interview’, and the flashes of remembrance that Declan couldn’t dare talk about, made him feel unnerved and uncomfortable.

Sam sauntered into the kitchen and retrieved a pair of scissors from a drawer filled with miscellaneous kitchen implements. He put the box on the kitchen island worktop and cut the string. There was one branded Swift Co courier label on the front of the box, and no return address. Sam made an incision at the side of the brown wrapping paper, and then cut along one side, so as to keep the adhesive tape and any fingerprints or DNA that may have gotten stuck to it, intact. He slid out a cream coloured shoe-sized box. Sam looked curiously up at Declan, who stood silently beside with his arms folded.

“Would you like to do the honours?” Sam asked witheringly. Declan held his palms up in surrender,

“Nah, yer grand. I think The Amazing Sam’s got this one” he snickered.

The box displayed no visible wires, there was no ticking sound, and the box was feather-light. Sam thought that he would feel completely foolish about the cautious way he approached opening a package if it were empty, but he’d been trained to be cautious. He returned to the drawer filled with kitchen implements, and retrieved a pair of plastic barbeque tongs.

“You know I love you, right?” Sam said dramatically, as if they were to be his last words.

Declan shook his head at the ridiculousness of the charade and pursed his lips.

“On three. Ready?” Declan nodded,

“One…” Sam flicked the lid up and Declan reflexively stepped back covering his head with his arms.

“Ye said on three,” Declan whined, feeling like an idiot. Sam snickered with relief at the lack of fireworks. He used the tongs to remove a sheet of white tissue paper that covered the contents. When Sam saw what the box contained, he gasped and stepped back.

“What?” Declan said in alarm, seeing Sam’s complexion turn ghostly pale.

“Nothing” Sam flattened his expression and then reached to replace the lid. Declan stilled his hand, and took a look. The box held a noose made from red paracord rope. Just like the rope that had been secreted into his pocket at the Coburg Bar, nearly three months earlier.

“I’m going out. I’ve got to get this to the lab” Sam said coldly, his stare detached and light-years away.

Declan was suddenly overcome by a wave of frustration. “What the hell’s this about Sam? Jesus, I don’t even know where the fucking lab is!” he roared furiously.

Sam was shocked by the anger in Declan’s tone. He felt a prickle of guilt for behaving all ‘cloak and dagger’ with his partner — the one person he was supposed to trust. Declan had every right to know about the A.L.L lab and warehouse.

“Get dressed,” Sam directed, and then he turned and left the kitchen.

Isobel Starling - Shatterproof Bond Square s

About Isobel


Isobel Starling author pic sInspiration strikes at the strangest of times.  

Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art.  She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative

block, Isobel started to write and found she loved it more than making art.  

Isobel’s first novel “Schonling” was a best seller in the GLBT-Bisexual genre on the ‘All Romance ebooks’ site.  She has just completed her sixth book, and signed French translation rights for novella “As You Wish”.  

She adores the M/M genre and enjoys writing about wounded souls and the complexities of personal relationships.  Despite not having found proof yet, Isobelbelieves in love at first sight and endeavours to give her men a thrilling journey and a satisfying ending!

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter |  Blog | Goodreads

Review

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00015]Title: As You Wish *free at time of posting*

Series: Shatterproof Bond 0.5

Author: Isobel Starling

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Length: Novella (45K words)

ISBN: 9781310294662

Publisher: Isobel Starling (5 Oct 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: 1 wedding, 2 best men, one hell of a love story!

Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairy tale Castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided, so that he didn’t feel left out, Annabelle’s gay younger brother Sam Should share the best man duties with Declan. 

Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man.
Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.

But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realise the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond and athletic young man. Declan is sure he’s straight, so he’s alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

But is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?

Product Link: Amazon | ARe | Smashwords | B&N

Review: As You Wish is the introductory novella that starts off Isobel mystery/suspense series, Shatterproof Bond. This novella was originally published as part of an MM Romance Group event Love is an Open Road, with the story based on a photograph. (Look, all the information about this book says novella but by other standards it is also a novel at 225 pages in length).

Sam and Declan are both set to the best men for their respective siblings when the couple gets married at an old Scottish castle near Loch Ness. The two have got to know each other via email but have yet to meet each other. For the most part, the wedding and the romance and the hot sex that happens in the wonderful setting of the Scottish Highlands is a really fun read. However, there is more and that is a twist that really does come out of nowhere, though not entirely surprising. I won’t take that thought any further because I don’t want to spoil the start of this series.

Sam and Declan are great together. They have fantastic chemistry and it’s really funny to read. For those that have trouble with Scots just be aware that Declan is a Scotsman through and through and that comes out in his dialogue. It’s a funny and sweet story. However, I will admit that towards the end of the book the pace dropped off a tad as we approached “the twist” and for me that really took away from the story in its entirety. I feel I would have far more enjoyed an ending where the twist comes out in one massive bomb and then we deal with the aftermath immediately, not pansy foot around it for a little. This is the only reason that I found myself unable to rate the book any higher than I have.

That being said though, I have to applaud something that made me love As You Wish so much: the movie reference. In itself, the book title is a quote from the movie The Princess Bride, but the fact there are so many references to the book/movie is nothing short of awesome. Pun intended, I find it inconceivable that any fan of The Princess Bride would not enjoy this. However, that being said, a couple of guys tramping about the Scottish Highlands near Loch Ness had me thinking more along the lines of Outlander TV/books.

If you love sweetness and romance that comes with weddings, give this book a go. If you like a bit of mystery and suspense, keep on reading and get ready for the rest of the series.

51fg3giFdGL._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Illuminate the Shadows

Series: Shatterproof Bond, #1

Author: Isobel Starling

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: Novella (157pgs)

ISBN: 9781311584984

Publisher: Isobel Starling (9 May 2016)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: The thrilling, funny sequel to ‘As You Wish’. 

A Scotsman and an Englishman fall in love…

After the most amazing week of Declan Ramsay’s life, at Dunloch Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, in Scotland. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan’s life upside down. Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over-heels in love with his boss’s son Sam.

However, falling for his boss’s son was never going to be an easy path to happiness, mainly because the boss in question is multi-millionaire property tycoon and former MI5 operative, Sir James Aiken.

Sir James is repulsed by his son’s homosexuality, and so discovering that his employee Declan Ramsay- the man he installed to run his luxury property rental empire- is in a relationship with Sam, does not go down well.

The lovers cannot hide from the looming presence of Sir James Aiken for long! Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam, and what he will have to give to feel worthy of Sam’s love.

Product Link(s): http://amzn.to/1qcQaMa | https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-illuminatetheshadowsshatterproofbond1-2021253-340.html | https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/630381

Review: This is the first book I’ve read by Isobel Starling. I have to admit that one of the draws was the references to the movie The Princess Bride and that really did provide some funny moments in the book.

This is technically the first book in the series, but this story takes place after our MCs meet, which happens in #0.5 of the series, As You Wish. Nonetheless, Isobel Starling does also provide a synopsis of the first short story, but I think I still would have preferred to read it myself. However, I do not think that not reading As You Wish took away from my enjoyment.

An Englishman, Declan, and a Scotsman, Sam, meet at their siblings wedding at a castle off the shores of Loch Ness. Sounds like the punch line to a joke – or the start of an Outlander book. Now we follow the story of the guys as they try to get their romance to work in the real world – which is a lot trickier when Declan finds out that his boss, Sam’s father, is not just a rich and titled businessman. He also finds out that Sam has his own role to play in his father’s real business.

It’s an interesting storyline with a couple of interesting twists. However, if you aren’t into anything to do thriller/espionage or anything similar to Bourne Identity, this probably is not the book for you. This also seems big on the insta-love, so again, I know a lot of people that aren’t keen on those types of books.

The guys have a lot of charisma and sexual tension, the biggest problem I had with this book is that the plot didn’t seem fully fleshed out. I suppose I will have to wait for the sequels, which I very much interested in reading.

I want to know where this crazy ride with Declan and Sam will go.

returntosexoTitle: Return to Zero

Series: Shatterproof Bond 02

Author: Isobel Starling

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Length: Novel (209pgs)

ISBN: 9781310449154

Publisher: Isobel Starling (6 June 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting, and falling for his boss’s son, Sam Aiken.

Declan journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined.

Product Link(s): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/630385 | https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-returntozeroshatterproofbond2-2037239-340.html | http://amzn.to/1O77ca3 | https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/return-to-zero-shatterproof/id1105072409?mt=11

Review: Return to Zero is the third book in the Shatterproof Bond series by Isobel Starling, although the book is really 0.5, making this on book 2. I have to say straight off the bat, this is definitely my favourite book in the series so far.

We follow couple Declan Ramsey and Sam Aiken, who work for Sam’s father’s super-spy agency A.L.L. Declan has now become an agent, although he is waiting for his first assignment, while Sam is trying his best to help Declan as well begins to feel a ghost from his past begin to catch up to him.

This one is high action and adrenaline as well as a good heaping of romance and love that makes you think “nawwww”. Both characters develop more than they have in the previous books put together as Declan and Sam need to find new strength so that they can survive the horrors and the drama that is about to catch them.

As ever, there are plenty of Princess Bride references, which I completely love. Although it doesn’t seem to completely match the characters, I love the fact that Sam calls Declan “Buttercup”.

This is for fans of spy and action type of romances. It is both hot and sweet while the danger increases around them. For those that have read the first 2 books, this is a must to read because we get to find out so much more about Declan, Sam and the world in which they live and it is so completely satisfying.

Signal Boost Banner s