Beyond the Thistles
by Samantha Young
Book 1 in The Highlands Series
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.
First, I would like to thank Valentine PR and Samantha Young for sending me an arc of Beyond the Thistles in exchange for a fair and honest review.
So far, I have really enjoyed all of the books I've gotten from the Valentine PR group, and Beyond The Thistles is no different. If you have read some of my other reviews regarding the bodyguard trope, you know I usually hate it. So actually liking Beyond the Thistles was a surprise.
I didn't hate it in Beyond The Thistles.
It actually didn't bother me at all, except for that initial oh no, he is a bodyguard, why did I apply for this arc moment. I'm not sure why this book is different in regard to this trope. Perhaps because he isn't actually a hired bodyguard, and is more of a volunteer one? It doesn't really matter. Just know, that if you are like me and dislike the bodyguard trope, Beyond the Thistles stands apart.
The storyline of Beyond the Thistles is interesting. A touch predictable - but interesting. I love the setting (anything set in Scotland is a hit for me usually) and the side characters were equally interesting. I could tell that some of the couples must have been featured couples in other books by this author in the past, and I was definitely intrigued to go back and read those stories.
All in all, Beyond The Thistles was a good, entertaining read for me. I laughed at a few parts, and I definitely cried. But I am waning on continuing the series. Not because there is anything wrong with Beyond The Thistles, but my reading schedule is insane.