★★ Release Day Blitz ★★ Illuminate The Shadows (Shatterproof Bond #1) by Isobel Starling
Title: Illuminate The Shadows (Shatterproof Bond, #1)
Author: Isobel Starling
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: May 9, 2016
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
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.”
As You Wish, by Isobel Starling, was my first time reading this author, but I knew before I even finished that she was someone that I would definitely read again. Finding out that Illuminate The Shadows, the continuation of Declan and Sam, was within sight made me giddy for more of these two, funny and interesting, characters.
After waiting for 3 months for Sam to come home from who knows where, Declan is beside himself. Having Sam in his arms, in his bed, after so long goes a long way at putting his heart and mind at ease.
Sam should have known that his time with Declan would be limited, but it's hard to think about anything, strategic or otherwise, wrapped in Declan's arms. However, Sir James Aiken, Sam's father, is a crude man who waits for no one. He's always had some kind of strange fascination with Declan, more a love/hate feeling and with his plan in motion, he intends to break Declan and get answers.
The author set the scene in, As You Wish, and although details were limited, they were enough to spark interest and curiosity, for what was to happen next. And, Illuminate The Shadows, opens up a whole new world of suspense and intrigue that pulled me in from the very start.
The overall tension will have you holding your breath for more than one reason. The sexual tension between Sam and Declan is crazy good and exhilarating. They thrive in each other's presence and it's obvious these two were made for each other.
I loved watching Declan find his footing, within the relationship, and taking a stand for his love with Sam. He gets pushed a time or two, mentally, but he holds nothing back when it comes to his, Amazing Sam. He turns into a warrior and your heart soars.
You also have an underlying tension of suspense the author weaves throughout that keeps you on pins and needles. As I continued to read, I realized that everything could change at any second. I'm not sure who can be trusted, if anyone, and lying to each other's face, comes more natural than being honest.
I know this, however, that Sam and Declan are amazing together and the love they have found with each other may be their only comfort and support when they are alone in the dark. They both are very strong individuals, but together I believe they will be stronger than anyone gives them credit for. Especially, Sir James, a truly despicable man who has treated his only son like dirt.
I'm looking forward to the next book in this series as the action and drama continues. I'm getting better at picking up the Scottish dialog with Declan and it really brings a smile to my face and sets me in the scene perfectly. 4.5 Stars.
**My thanks to the promoter for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review**
About The Author
at the strangest
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!