Declan Ramsay has found himself in the middle of a strange world of spies, intrigue, murder, and love. He’s just returned from a training mission. He’s leaner, stronger, and more self assured than he’s ever been. Declan’s also eager to be given his first assignment from his boss (and Sam’s father), Sir James Aiken.
Sam’s also excited to be able to work with Declan. He feels they’ll be perfect partners. Soon, the call comes in from Sir James. There are two operatives missing after having gone to check out an outdoor retreat in Scotland. The retreat is one of those places where companies send employees to work on team building. In fact, that’s Sam and Declan’s cover. Declan is the owner of a company, and Sam is his faithful, but long suffering, personal assistant.
The assignment also calls for them to actually walk into the retreat rather than drive. It’s a long journey into the highlands, and it’s not an easy one. There are misunderstandings and arguments, and they cause Declan and Sam to question their relationship. Once they arrive at the retreat, confusion, lies, betrayal, and danger await them.
I don’t want to go too much further into detail. I hate to give away any import plot points that will spoil Return to Zero. Isobel Starling has written what is fast becoming one of my favorite series. I love Declan and Sam. They’re a sweet and sexy couple. They make me laugh, and they make my heart feel all warm and gushy. A quick rundown here. Declan and Sam met at their mutual siblings’ wedding. Declan had always identified as straight, but was always left feeling unsatisfied. Sam is gay, and he’s also a spy. He’s proficient in many languages, and he’s always on some assignment given to him by his father…a man who runs an international spy agency. There is an instant chemistry, and they fall in love quickly and deeply. Gracious, but it was adorable too. Believe it or not, these two manly men are big fans of the movie, The Princess Bride. They also start calling each other Wesley and Buttercup. Seriously. I can’t even with these two. They are just that awesome.
What I really love about this series is the perfect balance of action, mystery, intrigue, and humor along with the romance and sex. Each scene is a piece of a greater puzzle. Nothing is there simply to lengthen the story. It’s all meat and no fillers. The background characters all play an important role, even though a few of them are rather quiet and hang back until they’re needed. Sir James Aiken makes me want to scream. I’ve read a lot of books, and there have been a lot of jerks in those books, but I think he captures the title of King Jerk. The Big Bad Guy in RTZ is terrifying. Once again, I’m not going to give it away, but he made me shudder and left me cold. However, he was able to make the reader see just how much Declan and Sam love each other, and what they’d do to make sure they’re safe from harm.
How about we talk about the sex for a few minutes? Oh, the sex! Declan and Sam are absolutely explosive. I love how they fit together, and I love the sexy dirty talking. Give me a dirty talking man, and I’m a happy woman. Give me two? I’m yours forever. Isobel Starling is a pro at writing hot sex scenes. Trust me here. I’m a certified sex scene aficionado 🙂
I have no problem recommending Return to Zero. While there is enough exposition, I still don’t think it should be read as a standalone. Start with As You Wish to see where it all began and move onto Illuminate the Shadows. Both of these will give you a glimpse into Declan and Sam’s love story. I am so happy to be able to read these books, and I hope there are a lot more to come.