I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Beyond the Thistles by Samantha Young
Series: The Highlands #1
on May 2, 2023
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble
He’s a brooding bodyguard. She’s a single mom on the run. And in a town this small, they can’t hide from their fierce attraction… It’s been a long time since Walker Ironside left behind Scotland and the memories that haunt him. Yet after years of traveling the world as a bodyguard, Walker misses his homeland enough to return. To a village in the Scottish Highlands that plays host to an exclusive members-only club, Ardnoch Estate. If not happy, Walker is content working with the elite security at the club and maintaining his bachelor lifestyle. What he doesn’t need is distraction in the form of the enticing but too-young newcomer, single mother Sloane Harrow. Sloane never imagined she’d get pregnant at sixteen. Or that a decade later she’d escape from California with her daughter, Callie, to start over in the Scottish Highlands. Hidden and safe from Callie’s dangerous father, Sloane is satisfied with their new lives. Her daughter is happy. Sloane has a stable job, a quaint cottage, a passion for baking that might just be turning into a business, and a huge crush on brooding security guard Walker Ironside. Unfortunately, the grumpy Scot seems immune to Sloane’s charm, but she can’t help but try to seduce him with cupcakes and baked treats whenever the opportunity arises.
However, when someone arrives in Ardnoch intent on destroying Sloane’s life, Walker is the first to step forward to protect her and Callie. Even if it means giving into temptation and awakening his own demons. Because in doing so, Walker faces failing not only to shield Sloane from her past, but to safeguard her against his own.
The beginning to this book was such an attention grabber and had me pulled in right away! I was excited for this couple’s story as we met them in the author’s last book, Only You, and got a glimpse into the first inklings of their connection. Walker had a hand in helping that couple get together, so it was definitely turnabout/fairplay when that couple helped him, in a little way, to get together with Sloane in this book.
But as with all of this series, there is more than just romance. Sloane’s background will come back and catch up to her, the background that was the grabbing point at the start of the story. One thing that I did like a lot about this story was how even though she was able to take care of herself, doesn’t mean that something couldn’t happen again. But again, with a little help from Walker, but also on her own, she was able to take care of things as best she could herself.
Walker had a background as well that was a little dark. Not quite the same way as Sloane’s, but enough that he was suffering through survivor’s guilt. It was a little frustrating him feeling he had to keep that secret from her, when he knew all her secrets, even if it was something she had to tell him to help him keep her safe. Again, I know that is the miscommunication drama we get in these types of stories, even if it bugs me a bit every time any author does it.
But their connection was perfect, the steamy scenes were very hot, as well done as this author always does! I think I possibly see a future romance between Callie and Lewis, lol. Oh yeah, and I really hope the author will give that single dad that was interested in Monroe in the last book, and then Sloane in this book, his own HEA at some point. Even as a side story, I just feel so bad for him because he seems like such a nice guy who keeps losing out on some great women.
Another series by Samantha Young that I look forward to reading the rest of as they come out!
About the Author
Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journalbestselling author from Scotland. She’s been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. She writes adult contemporary and paranormal romance, YA urban fantasy and YA contemporary fiction. Currently published in 31 countries, Samantha is a #1 international bestselling author.
For more information visit http://authorsamanthayoung.com
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