Sam Aiken is miserable, stuck at home recovering from the injuries he received in book three of the Shatterproof Bond series, Return to Zero. Declan Ramsay, his lover and mission partner, is waiting on him hand and foot, almost literally, as Sam’s injuries are a broken arm and leg. Declan is happy to take care of his man, but he’s worried. Sam hasn’t been the same since what happened (and I’m not going to tell you what that is because you must read the series), and Declan thinks he needs to face his trauma and meet the man who caused it all. Through everything the love Sam and Declan feel for each other shines, and together they’ll weather whatever Sam’s father, the head of the agency they work for and all around bastard, throws at them.
Counterblow picks up a short time after the events in Return to Zero. Sam is feeling traumatized, but he doesn’t want to show it. What happened was terrible, and now he’s having nightmares, along with being frustrated by being laid up and unable to be doing his job.
I want to start out by telling you that you need to start at the very beginning of this series (As You Wish). You cannot go into Counterblow cold. Sam and Declan have a relationship like none other, and they’re perfect together. They go through a lot to get where they are in this book. I’d love to go into a lot of detail, but I can’t because there is mystery and intrigue along the way, and each piece of the puzzle fitting in to make a big picture.
What I really loved about this book was that it didn’t exactly focus on a case Sam and Declan were working on. It focused on them. Sure there was a bad guy, and they were preparing themselves to go a new mission, but to me, that all took a role in the background. The men were dealing with a traumatic experience, and there were things they felt uncomfortable sharing with each other. Counterblow was about them strengthening their bond. Isobel Starling pulls this off nicely. She’s made the guys strong, sexy, and vulnerable at the same time. And when I say sexy, I mean SEXY.
There are two other important characters in the book: Sam’s father, James, who shaped the man Sam is now, and a bad guy who is also responsible for Sam’s current state of mind. That man is true evil. However, thanks to a brilliant interrogation by Sam, we learn a little more about him, and it’s fascinating. I’m not going to tell you what book/movie it reminded me of. I’m going to leave that as a little tease 😉
I feel that it’s only fair I tell you Counterblow ends in a sexy cliffhanger. That was absolutely fine by me. It only gets me more excited for book five, and I really am super psyched for it. I love this series. In fact, I put all three of the previous books in my top reads for 2016. It has everything…sex, intrigue, action, and family drama. And, oh my goodness, the way the meet and fall for each other is so adorable, I’m smiling as I type this. Do yourself a favor and pick this series up. They’re such great reads, and I highly recommend them.
PS…Included in the ebook is a special short story about Sam’s experience at university. He’s a prodigy, so he’s much younger than all the other students. It hasn’t been easy, but there’s one instructor who helps him…ahem…adjust. It’s only a few pages, but it’s sweet and sexy, and it gives you an idea how the Sam we know and love came of age. ALSO, and this is very important, this story will only be available in the ebook until June 30th. To me, this is a major incentive to get Counterblow.