Sunday, March 1, 2020

THE SHATTERPROOF BOND SERIES by Isobel Starling - With an Excerpt, Reviews, & Giveaway!

Sam and Declan’s journeys are filled with thrilling emotion, laughter, intrigue, and angst.  Together they will fight and overcome anything that is thrown at them. 

The Shatterproof Bond Series: 

Book 1: As You Wish
Book 2: Illuminate the Shadows
Book 3: Return to Zero
Book 4: Counterblow
Book 5: Powder Burns

Publisher: Decent Fellows Press

Release date: Already released in print, ebook, and audiobook

Length (Print & Ebook/Audio):

Book 1: As You Wish, 45k words | 4 hours audio
Book 2: Illuminate the Shadows 55k words | 5 hours audio
Book 3: Return to Zero 70k words | 7 hours audio
Book 4: Counterblow 48k words | 4.5 hours audio
Book 5: Powder Burns 103k words | 10 hours audio

Subgenre: M/M Romance Thriller
Warnings: Mild BDSM

Purchase now:

As You Wish : 

Illuminate the Shadows: 

Return to Zero: 


Powder Burns 


About the Books

Book 1: As You Wish


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

Declan Ramsay was set to be the best man at his brother's wedding in Scotland, sharing best man duties with the bride's gay kid brother Sam.  Sam was abroad finishing his studies so the best men communicated by email for more than a year and wouldn't meet for the first time until a few days before the wedding.

But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to see he isn't a kid at all, but a striking, athletic blond man with gorgeous green eyes and a wicked sense of humor.  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 Sam Aiken all he appears to be?

Also available in paperback and as an award-winning audiobook, narrated by Gary Furlong.

Carra's Review of As You Wish

I absolutely loved this story. It’s a wonderful look at one man’s journey to find what-and who-he truly wants after so many unsatisfying encounters with women, and another man’s attempt to find love and settle back into a normal life-if his controlling father will let him.

God, I adored these characters. Sam is so lovable, bubbly and bright and outgoing-though at times hiding some bit of sadness that we don’t get to find out about until the absolute end of the story. And Declan…there’s just something about a person discovering his sexuality and breaking free of expectations that endears Declan (and other characters like him) to me from the start. The two together are intensely passionate and the phrase “explosive chemistry” was probably coined with their eventual pairing in mind.

Watching as Declan explored his sexual boundaries as he learns just what he needs and wants is emotional for the reader as well as Declan himself as he experiences it. He and Sam weave such a tight bond with each other, and as a reader I was just as devastated as Declan when their time together at the castle for the wedding comes to an end…especially the way it did.

I’m really glad the way things tied up at the end, I don’t think I could have taken any other ending. I’m am totally hooked for this series and can’t wait to dive in to the next book. 5 stars for As You Wish, and I can guarantee no matter how this series progresses from here that I’ll still be re-reading this one in the future! Recommended for M/M romance fans 18+ for adult language and explicit sexual content.

Book 2: Illuminate the Shadows

A Scotsman and an Englishman fall in love…
After the most amazing week of his life, at Dunloch Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, in Scotland. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan Ramsay’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.”

Carra's Review of Illuminate the Shadows

It’s fantastic having Sam and Declan finally together here. They feel so comfortable with each other, only to be tested when Declan is taken away. But everything they go through-especially Declan with his “interview” for A.L.L.-just shows how loyal and committed they’ve become to each other even in just a short period of time. If I had to choose a word that explains the theme of this installment of the series, I’d choose “devotion”.

Thanks to the A.L.L. interview and some other incidents, Declan is made to feel unsure about himself and about Sam, and he thinks he’s unable to protect and take care of Sam like Sam can do for him. But thanks to Sam’s dad (James)-the same man who is so thoroughly disappointed in Sam’s sexual orientation and that he’s in a relationship with Declan-we find Declan’s character growing and evolving after he gets to learn more about his new role with A.L.L.

To be honest, other than Declan’s tortuous interview-where we get to find out some interesting tidbits about Declan’s past that even he wasn’t aware of-there’s really not a lot of drama in this story. This one is more about getting more background and further cementing the bond between Declan and Sam…which is pretty darn successful since I can’t ever imagine the two of them not being together. There’s some hints of irregular things happening that involve the bartender across the street from the home they share, but we don’t get much information on that so I’m hoping this is setting the stage for upcoming entries in the series.

The sex is still blazingly hot (just wait until you get to the last scene…), and everything between Declan and Sam continues to deepen and pull you further in to their story. I plan on following them through every book because the author has me fully entranced with their romance, I’m just hoping we get to see more excitement and suspense as the series progresses.

4 stars for Illuminate the Shadows, recommended for M/M romance/suspense fans 18+ only due to adult language and explicit sexual content (which is positively delicious!). My interest is also piqued to see what sort of interesting undergarments Sam comes up with next…you’ll see what I mean ;-)

Book 3: Return to Zero

Life takes a darker turn for Sam and Declan...
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's 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 center 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 center, 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.

Excerpt from Return to Zero (Shatterproof Bond #3):

“SAM!  Are ye home?”  Declan hollered as he opened the front door.  “Sam?”
“In here.”  Sam’s distant voice filtered from the spare bedroom.  Declan was in a buoyant mood, at last, after weeks of waiting, he’d received a call from his boss.  He sauntered confidently towards the bedroom and knocked once before walking in.
“Why d’ye no’ pick up?  I’ve called ye, like, six times already!  James wants us in fer a meet —” Declan stopped, and in the way, only Sam Aiken could do, the breath was stolen from his lungs.  
Declan’s yoga mat was laid out in the center of the large bedroom floor, and upon it, a shamelessly nude Sam Aiken was facing the tall antique mirror that rested against the wall.  He was on his belly, his back bowed, and his palms pushing against the floor as his shoulders rose in the midst of the cobra pose.  
Declan slumped to sit silently on the king-size bed and watch.  He stared, bug-eyed and slack-jawed at all of that flawless pale skin, wrapped around an athletic, slim frame.  Declan adored how pliant and supple Sam was.  He reveled in the sight of corded muscles moving beneath the taut surface of the younger man’s skin, like the workings of a well-honed machine. 
Ignoring his voyeur, Sam pushed himself up from the cobra pose, so he sat back on his calves.  He closed his eyes and focused on his breath, and then, when he was ready, placed his palms flat on the mat, level with his knees.  Then, putting all of his weight on his hands, Sam drew his legs out to either side of his body, doing the splits, balancing solely on his hands.  
Declan’s bearded jaw dropped open, and his heart skipped a beat at the impressive sight.  The mirror allowed Declan to observe Sam from many angles, and the view was exquisite.  He knew there was a reason he was home early, but, whatever the hell it was, it could wait.  
Sam aligned his legs and bought them up above his head, so he was in a handstand position, and there he stayed for a minute, his breath shallow and barely audible.  There was not one tremble in any of Sam’s muscles.  It was awe-inspiring.  Sam was the very picture of oneness—strength, control, balance, and agility.  The lines of Sam’s form were sinuous and erotic, and there was no stopping the hot, hot hunger that made Declan’s whole being shudder with need.
Sam’s spine arched back and with incredible discipline, his body bowed slowly, until the soles of his feet were placed firmly on the yoga mat, and Sam was in the crab position.  He was trying so desperately to focus on his own breath and to remain centered, but Declan was breathing heavily through his nose, like a stag readying for the rut, and even though Sam could not actually see him, Declan’s presence always came with the prickle of otherworldly electricity.  It really was like they were magnetized.  
The sound of heavy breathing was doing things to Sam’s body that he just could not control.  His heart beat faster, beads of sweat littered his brow and formed on his chest, and his pale c*ck reddened, filled and rose majestically, providing an extra spectacle for his handsome observer.  Sam arched his spine to its capacity and inched to his toes and fingertips.  He stayed like that, his muscles clenched tight and his c*ck standing straight as a flagpole awaiting its flag.  After a minute, he slowly unclenched his muscles and allowed his body to ease its way gently back to the mat.  Each movement still effortlessly controlled.
This naked yoga routine was on the list of the most erotic things that Declan had ever seen in his life.  And now that Sam was on his back, his eyes closed, with arms stretched above his head.  Declan decided that this was his opportunity to pounce. 

Carra's Review of Return to Zero

Oh my goodness… *sigh* and *swoon*

Well, I was hoping for some more action and suspense and I definitely got it here in Return to Zero. This story sees Declan learning more about A.L.L.’s inner workings, and eventually he and Sam get to work together on a mission. Before that comes up, we get more background into the agency as well as more about Sam before he met Declan. Most of the first half of the book moves at a relatively sedate pace (or at least what I would consider sedate), and it’s from the midpoint on that things really grab your attention an have you hanging on for the ride.

Sam and Declan are becoming one of my favorite series couples, and up until now everything has been wonderful between them. There’s a bit of drama thanks to Sam’s father (no surprise there, right?) that does come up here, and we get to see how both men react and still come out strong together in the end. But the real suspense and action comes from an old nemesis from Sam’s past who’s back in the picture-against all odds it seems. And any character that causes Sam to scare…well you know what comes next is going to be good.

The tension and drama really ramps up in the second half of the story, and I found myself staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this as I just could not put it down without reading the end. There’s so much excitement, and the intensity of the emotions Sam and Declan go through are stunning. The way those final scenes between them are written totally envelop the reader and I found myself simply mesmerized by the exchange of words as they make the true depth of their feelings known. You can’t help but be moved by it, and I felt like my heart would just explode with the power of Sam and Declan’s love and devotion.

And after that ending to the epilogue…PLEASE tell me the next book is ready to go because I’m here absolutely frantic for more.

With a slower start than the prequel and first story but an utterly more powerful finish, Return to Zero was a 4.5-star read for me, and I highly recommend this story and series to M/M romantic suspense fans. This is for readers 18+ due to adult language and explicit sexual content (which by the way is getting more interesting as the series goes on). I can’t wait for Sam and Declan’s next adventure, this series really has me hooked!

Book 4: Counterblow

True love comes at a cost...
After the devastating events in the Scottish Highlands, Sam and Declan have moved on to a new, deeper level in their romance.  Their commitment to each other is unquestionable; however, there are plenty of questions that need answering about other aspects of their lives, and those who sought to end them.
Sam is trying his best to deal with the day to day frustrations of his injuries.  He’s completely dependent on Declan for everything and hates the way the scales have tipped in their relationship.  Although he’s officially on leave, Sam’s mind cannot stop replaying all that happened to him and questioning why, and who is behind it all.
Declan’s relief at having Sam home throws him into house-husband mode. He’s happy to take the reins and care for his partner, however, beneath the surface Declan cannot help but be drawn back to how he felt in the Highlands, and how they were betrayed by a man who was supposed to have their back. Declan had promised Sir James Aiken that he would pay if he hurt Sam, and now Declan has to decide how he can deliver his payback and put his and Sam’s world back on an even keel.

Carra's Review of Counterblow

Each book in this series has seen Declan and Sam’s relationship become deeper and stronger, and the level of suspense continues to remain high as they come closer but still yet further from solving the intrigues in which they’ve become embroiled.  Counterblow continues the pattern, and just when you think they might be making significant progress…it all stops on a cliffhanger.

Here we have secrets being kept by both Declan and Sam as they each search for answers.  They are both hiding things from each other, both with the best of intentions, but their actions did inject concern on my part about what keeping those secrets could do to their relationship.

I’ll freely admit I was worried for a bit when the author introduced a touch of doubt at what seemed to be a low point for Sam.  After the events in the previous book and the healing he has needed since, it’s easy to see how he could get to such a high level of frustration with his life.  But I was keeping my faith in the series title, and in the author to eventually reinforce that bond between our heroes…and I was not disappointed.

One thing that stood out?  One of the most sensual, deeply emotional intimate scenes I’ve read.  Talk about breathless…it just about fully made up for the abrupt cliffhanger ending that had me scrambling to load the next story up.  I’m teetering between 4 and 4.5 stars for this one, with those two points being the ones steering me back and forth on my rating.  Just know that I’m still well entrenched in this series, and can’t wait to see where things go from here.

Book 5: Powder Burns

One book, Two Missions, and a memory-key full of secrets!

After a series of terrorist attacks on fracking sites owned by a Gas multinational named Drilsink, Sir James Aiken’s agency is bought in to find the radical Eco-terrorist group responsible. He sends Sam and Declan to work undercover at Imperial College where Intel suggests the group is recruiting. While Sam works behind the scenes, Declan takes on the identity of Geologist Dr. Tobias Hunter and soon makes an enemy of a fellow science geek- a man who Declan comes to despise more than Sir James Aiken!

When the operation moves from London to Munich and then Vienna, Sam, and Declan are thrown headlong into a spy scenario straight out of the thriller novels they love to read—but with a distinct and disturbing sexual twist! Sam meets an old friend and uncovers shocking information about James’ past.

With Erik Madsson still imprisoned inside the A.L.L. HQ, James comes to realize that he should have listened to his son. Keeping the enemy inside his own home is about to be the biggest mistake he has ever made.

Want to know what I thought of Powder Burns?  Take a breather, catch yourself up on the series, then pop back in to the blog this week ;-)

About the Author

Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career as a visual artist in Ireland.  She now writes full time and loves writing Thrillers, Comedy, Historical, and Fantasy.  In nearly six years she has written twenty books, released fourteen audiobooks, and has translations of most titles in French, German, and Italian.  The Shatterproof Bond series is a #1 bestseller in Germany.

"As You Wish" (Shatterproof Bond#1) narrated by Gary Furlong won the Audiobook Reviewer Award for Romance 2018.  It is the first M/M Romance audiobook to win a mainstream audiobook award.


To celebrate the refresh of the Shatterproof Bond Series, Isobel Starling is giving away 2 complete e-sets of the series! Open internationally, must be 18 years old to win. 

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