Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Length: 6 hours, 42 minutes
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 and 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 love this book, and I love the audio just as much. I don’t really want to say too much more about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away. This is a story that has to be read/listened to to get the full effect. I want to begin the review by saying this is the third installment in the Shatterproof Bond series, and should not be read/heard as a stand alone. There’s a certain amount of exposition given, but in order to fully appreciate and understand what’s going on, you must start at the beginning with As You Wish.
Sam and Declan are wonderful characters. Their chemistry is perfection. In fact, they’re one of the most delightful couples I’ve come across in any book. Their love for each other makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and I find myself really wishing I could be in the same room with them, just to hear their banter and watch them kiss.
Isobel Starling has written a well plotted, nicely detailed, highly engaging story. I was caught up from the very beginning and hated to see the book end. I hung on every word, and I’ve even gone back a few times to reread my favorite parts. The romantic/sexy parts were wonderful, and the action/adventure parts were exciting. There were parts that made me hold my breath and parts that made me emotional enough to cry, and everything was perfectly balanced.
The ending wrapped up neatly with love, healing, and hope, and it’s obvious there will be a fourth book in the series. Grab this one. Trust me on this.
Now, I want to talk a bit about the audio version of the book. I’m not normally a big audio fan. I like to read books at my own pace, and truthfully, my pace is usually fast. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I’m also fidgety and don’t sit still for long periods of time. This is why picking up and putting down a book at my leisure is handy. So, that’s where I stand when it comes to audio. That being said, I love the Shatterproof Bond series enough that I actually wanted to listen, and I made myself sit still and listen. I’m so happy I did because I’m so pleased with it.
Gary Furlong is the narrator. He has narrated the first two books in the series, and he’ll continue with book four. The man’s voice is smooth, soothing, and sexy. His accent gives me chills (I’m a sucker for an accent.). Furlong portrays Sam and Declan with different voices that go along with their personalities, and he also gave great voices to the various background characters. In fact, he even does this for the females as well. We all know it could wind up being unintentionally hilarious and distracting to hear a man imitating a woman, but he was able to pull this off without a hitch.
Return to Zero has a lot of emotion as well as action, and Furlong doesn’t disappoint. I’m not going to tell you what goes on in a particular scene near the end…no spoilers here…but while reading the book, I cried. Hearing that scene read aloud made me out and out sob. It was just brought to life and sounded so real!
The love scenes, graphic and innocent, were amazing. Sometimes I have the brain of a twelve year old boy, and if I hear sexual situations out loud, I giggle uncontrollably. With Return to Zero, and the others, that didn’t happen at all. I was breathless. The book was detailed, but the audio brought everything to life.
I just wanted to tell you all one thing before I go. This book was so good, and this audio was so brilliant, my husband wound up listening to it with me. In fact, he was caught up enough, he let me bring it to the dinner table so we could listen while we ate. There have been times when I’ve read certain book passages aloud to him, but he’s never been so involved. This alone proves to me (and it should to you as well), this was a fantastic listen. Whether you’re an avid audio listener, or if you’ve never listened to an audio before, you should definitely give Return to Zero a shot.