Welcome to our 2nd week of celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we're featuring the Shatterproof Bond series, plus five little-known things about Isobel. All the way at the bottom is another chance to win one of her books.
First up, As You Wish
One wedding, two 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, that Annabelle's gay younger brother could 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 realize 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?
Declan stood, wearing just a white linen shirt that fell to just below his hips. His flushed, pink cockhead and dangling balls peeked from the hem. He carried black Ghillie Brogue shoes and a coat hanger that held his Highland dress.
“I’m guessing you’ve never worn a kilt an’ Prince Charlie before. I’ll give ye a hand gettin’ dressed,” he called to Sam in the bathroom. After a plonk, and then a glugging sound, Sam walked out of the bathroom shamelessly naked. Declan still could not fathom the flare of desire he felt when he saw Sam nude. Every cell in his body just wanted to envelop the man, covet his body, and take him. He watched long, lean legs stroll around as Sam collected garments and tossed others in his unruly suitcase. The mess of that suitcase tickled annoyance at the back of Declan’s mind. However, there were other things to keep Declan occupied. A pert, pale backside teased as Sam bent down to rummage through his rucksack. Declan uttered an involuntary low growl. Sam looked back at him, still bent over, and grinned. He knew exactly what he was doing. Sam retrieved a white crease-free shirt which was still in its packaging, from his bag. He unwrapped it and gave it a shake. Sure enough, there was no need to iron it.
Sam put the shirt on, feeling the burn of Declan’s lustful gaze. Sam had never felt so admired, yet self-conscious. He sprayed deodorant under his arms before turning back to catch Declan’s eye. Now they both stood in crisp white shirts and nothing else. Declan shook his head at the sight of Sam and his own reaction to him.
“Ye know, if I had mah way, we’d never leave this room” He smirked
“You know, if I had my way, you’d be tied to that four-poster bed” Sam countered. Declan boomed a laugh. His gaze lingered, reading the desire clearly written on Sam’s face, but they had a groom to get to his wedding. Flirtation would have to wait for a more appropriate time.
“The way I do it is stockings first” Declan informed him as he moved to the hanger holding his highland dress.
“Is that right?” Sam wagged his brows and smirked, mirroring his new lover while retrieving his dark-navy stockings. Declan pulled a side chair close to the bed and sat. Sam sat on the blanket box, his feet up on the dark-oak surface. Declan dragged the stockings over his hard muscled calves up to the knee. The dark color of the wool hose outlined the masculine shape of him. He watched as Sam did the same, pulling the socks over sculpted feet and up over lean calves. They were putting on socks, for God’s sake… but, Jesus, it was sexy. Declan bit his lip… sex with this man had left him horny as a rutting bull.
“Next are the flashes” Declan stood and retrieved the flag-like flashes and garters for both men. He sat on the blanket box at Sam’s feet and pulled Sam’s legs over his bare thighs. Sam leaned back on his hands and allowed Declan to attend to him. He was getting turned on by the darting heated looks and simplest of gestures. His skin flared with each incidental touch of Declan’s fingers. It was ridiculous. Sam bit his lip coquettishly and sat wide-eyed, watching in silence as the garter braces were strapped around his socked calves, the navy flashes positioned facing outward and the stocking folded down to cover the brace. Declan talked nervously the whole time, explaining the reason for each action as if he had to justify the touches.
“Here… let me do yours,” Sam said, moving swiftly to his feet and then dropping onto his knees in front of Declan. Large playful eyes shot a look up at the older man. Sam took the garters and flashes and did as he’d been directed, marveling at the firm-muscled, calves, strong, thick thighs and the delicious cock that had awoken with the sexual tension between them.
Declan couldn’t control the compulsion. His hands roamed over Sam’s short blond hair, the men exchanged knowing glances and smiles as the garters were secured and navy flashes positioned. Declan exhaled a long, defeated breath. He leaned in and took Sam’s lips in a tender kiss, murmuring into his mouth,
“I really canae keep mah hands off you”
Sam’s hands cupped Declan’s broad, smiling face and he said “The feelings mutual, lover”
Sam was dragged from the floor and tossed on the bed as if he were light as a feather. Declan crawled over Sam, and then those strong hands were around Sam’s wrists, restraining him, and the weight of the domineering Scotsman covered his slender frame. Sam was helpless with desire once more, his cock pulsing and filling in response to the heated rush. His face was kissed, devoured, and his throat nuzzled, bitten, licked. Gods! Declan’s tongue read Sam’s body and knew what he liked. But…
“Fuck…” Sam exhaled. “We don’t have time for this” he reminded.
Declan paused and breathed his disappointment into the crook of Sam’s shoulder. He reluctantly moved off Sam’s body and lay panting in shallow huffs of breath for a moment. Sam was right. Declan rolled off the bed and offered a hand to his lover. He pulled him up and into his arms. Again Sam submitted to the embrace, his chest crushed tight, and the breath pushed from his lungs. At this rate, they were never leaving the room.
“Okay… the Ramsay Tartan kilt” Declan said decisively, letting Sam go. He moved to the hanger on the door and unhooked his kilt. “There are three buckles…”
©Isobel Starling 2018
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The second book in the series, Illuminate The Shadows
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.
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 anymore.
“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. Fer a start, you know I’m probably infertile… cos of the treatment,” Oliver looked up at his brother, sheepish. Declan knew his own mother was still in denial about the fact he would never give her grandchildren.
“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?”
“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 partner's 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.
“OLIVER!” Annabelle shouted, all too late. “Fuck! It looks like I nabbed the bloody stupid Ramsay brother,” She huffed “I’m so, so sorry. I’d better go after him, he’s had far too much to drink, and I have the car keys.”
©Isobel Starling 2018
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Book three, Return To Zero
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.
The night sky had cleared and was now illuminated by a large, silver, full moon in a cloudless starry sky. They made their way in silence through the trees. Declan noted that the enclosing darkness seemed to make the scents in the woods somehow stronger. He smelled damp earth, fragrant foliage, fresh pine, and occasionally the strong ammonia scent of animal piss. Declan estimated they had been walking for ten minutes before Sam stopped suddenly, and he barreled into his back.
“What the fuck are we doin’ here?” Declan said in a stage whisper, frustrated at seeing they had stopped in a silent, moonlit clearing. He had no idea why he was whispering – they were in the middle of a forest, on a chilly night, and there was not a soul for miles.
Sam turned, and his body pressed to Declan’s. The moonlight caught his green doe-eyed gaze. “Sorry, you had to sit through that orientation alone, sir. It appears I’ve been a naughty… naughty boy.”
Declan knew that look all too well. It was the spark to his touch paper, and the look set him aflame every damn time. His once scowling mouth hitched to a knowing, lecherous smile. Their eyes locked for a moment of mutual lustful consideration and Declan’s heart skipped a beat. Sam Aiken worked him like a puppet, and Declan could do nothing, but surrender and play along.
“Really, I just can’t find good staff these days,” He said in Richard Eaton’s arrogant posh British accent. “You are very lucky I’m a forgiving boss, or you’d be out on your ear Darling.”
“Yes, sir, thank you, sir.”
Dick glared at his inept employee and tutted disdainfully. “And now what should I do with you?”
“I need to be punished sir,” William Darling said. Declan’s eyes widened with interest.
“And how do you suggest I do that?”
Sam unzipped Declan’s parka coat, and then unbuckled Declan’s belt and drew it from around his narrow hips. He handed the long brown leather belt to Declan, whose expression was one of intrigue. Sam removed his own winter coat and laid it over the thick low bough of a half fallen ancient oak tree. He returned to Declan and presented his wrists.
Declan met Sam’s eyes in understanding and held his gaze while he wrapped the leather belt around Sam’s wrists and pulled tight. Sam’s eyes took on that glassy aroused look that always made Declan’s cock stir and awaken in his pants. Declan tugged on the leash and Sam slammed forwards into Declan’s hard chest.
“You have been a naughty, naughty boy” Dick scolded, and then his mouth pressed hard and unforgiving to Darling’s. Darling expelled a muffled moan of protest in the kiss and writhed in his boss’s arms. Then, he was led to the low branch where his coat was spread out, and, submissively, he bent over it. The bough creaked a little but took his weight. Dick then gathered the remaining length of the belt and tied it around Darling’s ankles, pulling his hands and feet together.
Sam’s abdomen was taking all of his weight. His breath hitched. He was not expecting this extra binding, and a shrill of illicit delight ran through his body. Declan had just earned himself extra blowjob points for showing such initiative.
Dick pulled Darling’s jeans roughly half-way down his thighs, to see he wore no underwear and had exposed his shapely alabaster bottom to the moonlight. Then, Dick stood back and observed.
Sam felt vulnerable, exposed, and so deliciously turned-on. He didn’t feel that comfortable having sex in the bugged cabin, and so fucking like foxes… in the woods, seemed the next best option. And it was. Sam loved that Declan was so keen to indulge in sexy role play.
Declan paced an arc around Sam, secured over the bough with his peachy arse mooning in the moonlight. God, it was a sight so delicious, tempting, and erotic that Declan burned it into his memory. He was getting the hang of these role playing sex games, and he had to admit, he enjoyed variety in their sex life. He liked that he and Sam communicated secretly, understood one another’s needs and that it gave them both so much shared pleasure.
Darling felt two warm brawny hands on his ass cheeks. And then, the weight of muscled thighs, pushing against his own.
©Isobel Starling 2018
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Book four, Counterblow
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 dependant 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.
Declan strode off to use the bathroom, then entered the dressing room and reappeared a minute later with a large brown cardboard box containing several other smaller brown cardboard boxes. Each of them had a big number scrawled in black marker pen, from one to ten. Declan placed the box on the end of the bed, dragged his t-shirt over his head and then unzipped his jeans and stepped out of them. He noticed how Sam’s heated gaze was magnetized to his body as he undressed, his eyes getting their old playful twinkle back as they roamed over his muscled hairy chest, taut abdomen and followed down as Declan pushed his underwear over his thick thighs and stepped out of them. He picked up his bundle of clothes, turned to let Sam get a good view of his bare arse, and strode to the covered laundry basket to deposit the bundle.
“You’re looking trim Buttercup. I don’t tell you enough, do I? I’m sorry I should tell you how good you look more often.” Sam heard himself as he spoke the words and he felt like a babbling teenager, heat rushing up to blush his cheeks. The more time he and Declan spent together, the more Sam became aware of just how much Declan did for him. He felt humbled and a little guilty for his supposed selfishness. Relationships are all about give and take. Declan had made so many sacrifices to be with him and Sam knew he would have to think up something spectacular to show Declan just how much he loved and appreciated him.
Declan gave Sam a long, curious look. He didn’t know where Sam’s insecurity was coming from. “Ye dinnae have te say anythin’. I know exactly what yer thinkin’ Westley. Ye must know by now I can read that face like a book.”
“A dirty book?” Sam’s eyes twinkled salaciously, and he wagged his brows.
“Aye, ye know yersel, it’s pornographic.” Declan chuckled. He reached into the box and picked up a pair of large wooden dice and tossed them one at a time to Sam who plucked them from the air with his good hand.
Sam smiled triumphantly as if even something as simple as catching dice was a major victory. He tossed one dice in the air and caught it several times, eyeing his naked, buff partner thoughtfully all the while. They’d had to get a little imaginative when it came to dealing with sex and Sam’s physical condition, and Declan continued to surprise Sam with his ingenuity in bed. Sam had no idea that the man he broken in only ten months before would have such a kinky streak. He liked it—a lot, and wished he was able to participate in sexy shenanigans more energetically than he currently could, but as Declan had repeatedly said, “The injuries are temporary, an’ we’ve a lifetime te explore our sexual desires together.” Sam could not argue with that.
He picked up the second dice, then shuffled them both in his hand and tossed the dice onto the mattress. Then, in the manner of a game show host, he said: “Aaaand for tonight’s entertainment, box nuuumber six.”
Declan searched the boxes for the one marked number six. He found it and tossed it onto the bed, then picked the dice up, put them back in the large box and moved it on the floor. He joined Sam in bed.
“You do the honors,” Sam said, and Declan tore the tape sealing box six. Inside there were two smaller boxes. Declan passed one to Sam who laughed out loud.
“Oh My God. You got us one each?”
Declan hadn’t heard Sam sound so chirpy in weeks. It made warmth pool in his chest. He opened his box and removed the wireless vibrating love egg, remote control, batteries, and instructions. Sam wrestled his own box open with his teeth and one usable hand and let the contents fall onto his belly.
“C’mere, I’ll fit the batteries,” Declan said, offering Sam a leery, filthy smirk.
“Declan Ramsay, you never cease to amaze me. This is just as good as the pork sword dildo in box number nine.” Sam flattered to Declan’s obvious delight.
©Isobel Starling 2018
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In the works and coming hopefully soon, Powder Burns
The new term at Imperial College, London sees Declan taking on the cover identity of Earth Science professor Dr. Tobias Hunter, and Sam becoming Librarian, Kit Franklin.
Tasked with infiltrating a shadowy Environmental group who recruit Earth Science students at Universities around Europe, Sam and Declan attempt to discover the identity of the leader of the organization, and the shocking things the most devoted recruits are expected to do to prove their loyalty.
Declan is thrown headlong into a spy scenario straight out of the thriller novels he loves to read—but with a distinct and very kinky sexual twist!
When operation moves from London to Vienna, Sam meets an old friend and uncovers shocking information about James’ past that he is sure his father does not want to fall into the wrong hands.
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.
Five little-known facts about Isobel Starling
1. I never had any ambition to become a writer. Strange but true. Writing found me rather than me searching for it. The fact this is my career and I can earn a living from it is a miracle to me.
2. I got into Art School in London when I was just 16, and terrified by the thought of having my work critiqued, I left after 2 days. I think I was just too young. I went back to study art when I was 23.
3. I have a birthmark on my back that is the shape of Honshu - the main island of Japan. When I was 5, I was into reading the Atlas. Yes, I was a strange child! I asked my brother to trace my birthmark and we searched for a match. I decided then that I was a Japanese Princess in my past life, and my birthmark was a Royal Seal. I delightedly told the kids at school this. I have no idea where I got the notion of past lives or royal seals from at such a young age.
It was probably Scooby Doo’s fault.
4. I have a thing for birds… the feathered variety. I’m just mad about Robins.
5. I’ve met many of my idols and would not recommend it. People are just people in the end.
More about the author:
Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.
Isobel is currently working on her sixteenth book. The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller and is being translated into French with Juno Publications, German with Deadsoft Verlag, and Italian with Quixote Edizioni. The series is also available as audiobooks, narrated by Gary Furlong. “Fall Together” and “Sweet Thing” will be translated into French by Reines- Beaux Publishing.
“Silken” is in audio, narrated by Gomez Pugh. “Silken” is also available as a German translation, and will be translated into Italian, and French in 2018.
Connect with Isobel:
Thanks for celebrating this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Isobel's books, a personal story she's chosen to share, plus another chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!