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.
Title : Beyond The Thistles
Author : Samantha Young
Series : The Highland Series #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 383
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Self Published
Release Date : May 2, 2023
Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
I want to live in Ardnoch
Quiet grump, soft centre
Guilt and redemption
As if there was any doubt I’d be up for this off-shoot series of the Adair Family, I’ll confirm right now that more from the highland village of Ardnoch where the rich and famous come to chill is a favourite place to read about. The rich and famous are rarely at the fore, it’s the normal residents that have our attention.
Sloane and Walker were great MCs and carried the story well with gruff dialogue, grumpy sunshine characterisation and a slow opening up of more. There were some intense storylines centred mostly around Sloane that brought that suspense element to this highland retreat readers have come to expect (content warnings below). That said Walker had a story in his background too.
The connection with Sloane and Walker was slow burn but kindling a roaring heat, I felt invested in these two and sometimes frustrated with Walker. The dynamic with Callie and Walker was a sweet addition to the sense of family.
The pacing for this read was a little different, I liked how Samantha Young flipped the suspense to parts of the story I didn’t expect then snuck back in with more; it kept me on my reader toes.
My parting thought…poor Hayden AGAIN!
Thank you to the author for the review copy.
Content warnings: sexual assault, sexual violence