From New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren comes Hard to Handle, the fifth book in her Gargoyles series about a tale that is as old as time…and a love as strong as stone.
The only male among four sisters, Michael Drummond is no stranger to women’s strength and formidable will. But when a fierce woman warrior from another realm bursts into his life, bringing with her a battle between good and evil, Michael is overcome by an explosive dose of desire that only this stunningly beautiful woman can inspire.
The first and only of her kind, Ash is a lone female gargoyle, a creature destined to protect mankind from Demons determined to unleash their darkest forces.
But her bone-deep instinct to do battle is turned off-kilter by her untamed attraction to the dangerously handsome human she can’t stay away from. If they manage to keep the world safe, can they turn the passion crackling between them into a love that will withstand the test of time?
“Soars with fun, witty characters and nonstop action.” - Publishers Weekly on Stone Cold Lover
Don't miss the other books in the Gargoyle series:
Book #1: Heart of Stone
Book #2: Stone Cold Lover
Book #3: Hard as a Rock
Book #4: Rocked by Love
About the Author
Christine Warren is the bestselling author of The Others series, including Wolf at the Door, Big Bad Wolf, Born to Be Wild, Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here, and Black Magic Woman. Born and raised in coastal New England, she now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. (She completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her phobia of being landlocked). When not writing, she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.
Read an Excerpt
Hard to Handle
By Christine Warren
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Christine Warren
All rights reserved.
Michael Drummond was a man blessed with sisters, though there were times — much like the present — when he wished his parents had perhaps done a little less blessing and a little more sinning. Prophylactically speaking. But like the good Irish Catholics they were, Madelaine and Stephen Drummond had brought five healthy children into the world — four beautiful, independent girls and one sadly outnumbered boy, wedged smack into the middle and with no hope of escape.
What else but a sister could have Drum standing outside in the wet, unseasonable chill of a late September night with his arse turning to ice and his breath curling into a mist around his head, while all of respectable Dublin lay snug in their beds? Not a single damned thing, he acknowledged as he shoved his hands deeper into the pockets of his battered leather jacket. Nothing but a sister and the persistent tingling at the back of his neck that plagued him like an unreachable itch.
The tingling had started nearly six months ago, when the proposed peaceful events commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the Easter Uprising had lurched off the charted course and into a chaotic nightmare of bomb shrapnel and bloodied faces. Terrorism, the government had called it, and Drum couldn't argue with the label, but he also couldn't shake the niggling certainty that the deadly attack had signaled something more.
Drum couldn't point to what he meant by that. Hell, he couldn't even wave a hand in any one, slightly indeterminate direction, but ever since the Easter riots, the air in his hometown of Dublin had felt different, sharper and thinner, like the edge of a knife poised forever at one's throat.
And imagine him spouting off such nonsense without so much as a speck of real, tangible evidence to point to and say, "Look. See how that's changed?" No, Drum had grown up differently enough to know better than that, as had the sister with a much better chance of seeing disaster looming than he did. Both of them knew better than to start shouting that the sky was falling before they had damned good evidence to back up their claims. Even the sentimentally superstitious Irish drew the line between intuition and insanity with a definite stroke of the pen. He kept his mouth shut.
He also kept up his guard, if for no better reason than to keep the dreams at bay. Ignoring his feelings had only led to fitful sleep and persistent visions of things he refused to name and would prefer not to remember. So, he took his precautions and couched them in terms of modern crime and the upswing in global terrorism. He made sure to impress on his family members that no one should take silly chances in today's world, and that family was meant to stick together and to watch each other's backs.
Which made it his own fault that the youngest of his sisters had brought him out into the unpleasant damp at such an hour. It went without saying that he'd have much preferred to be behind the bar at the Skin and Bones, his pub in the Liberties. But wandering through the streets on their own in the dark before midnight was among the things he had asked his sisters not to do, so begrudging one his company drew him a wee bit nearer the rocky shoals of hypocrisy than he liked. A year ago, he'd not have thought twice about such a schedule, but a lot had changed in Dublin town this year.
Maeve, the sister in question and the youngest of the pack of them, was late, however. As usual. She'd dragged him from the Bones less than an hour before closing, just when the Guinness flowed most freely and the music made even his toes tap behind the counter. Under circumstances like those, she might have at least put on a bit of a hurry.
But hurry wasn't in Maeve's nature, at least not in any way that had ever made sense to the rest of the world. Occasionally, she rushed here or there, most often trailing the scent of spilled, milky tea and dropping scraps of paper left and right behind her. Her goal at those times was always the book she suddenly needed but had abandoned hours earlier in the parlor, because she had relocated her scribbler's nest to the table near the kitchen, where the light was better. Or maybe it was the Internet on the computer she used no more than necessity demanded, and with the greatest reluctance, because electronic devices had never warmed to Maeve Drummond.
In either case, she would hurry for the precise amount of time needed to reach her destination, then she would burrow in like a dormouse and not stir again until the next urgent summons from a forgotten piece of knowledge only she seemed to care about. That was Maeve — twenty-four years old, doctoral candidate, and well on her way to the life of a professional academic.
This, at least, explained Drum's current odd surroundings. The Abbey of St. Ultan crouched in the shadows of Trinity College, half forgotten and sulking with it. Long abandoned by the full complement of monks, the few remaining buildings now housed a collection of ecclesiastical documents and works of art dating back past the medieval era and all the way into the heart of the Dark Ages. Scholars from the neighboring university regularly sent eager petitions to the few remaining brothers for access to the vast reserves of early printed books, illuminated manuscripts, and preserved letters and scrolls that traced their provenance back to the days of the Irish kingdoms. To Maeve, the place seemed to double for Neverland and Tír na nÓg in one shining package.
By contrast, the abbey always gave Drum the creeps. He never felt easy in the shadow of the hulking limestone buildings, the cold gray of the rock streaked with black stains he knew came from the damp Dublin weather and centuries of polluted air. But to him, they always looked like thick corruption oozing from the pores of the place. The ground beneath his feet felt a great deal less consecrated than he imagined the Church had intended. Of course, his teachers and others had always called him fanciful.
The truth was that fancy ran in his family. His grandmother had fancied away several cases of polio among family and friends well before a vaccine had been invented, and rumor had it that her grandmother had once fancied that the passengers aboard the unsinkable ship sailing from England to New York in 1912 might wish to get their affairs in order before the tide came in.
Drum couldn't swear to the truth of any of the family stories, but he knew for a fact that his elder sister Sorcha's poultices would cure an infection faster than any antibiotic she could prescribe, and that Maeve, for all her inattention to the world around her, always knew when the telephone was about to ring, as well as who would be on the other end of the call. She also knew when someone of her acquaintance was about to fall ill or be injured, which candidate would win an election, and who was about to have a baby of which sex, weighing how much, at which time, and on which day. It drove the family odds makers batty.
Drum had never caught so much as a glimpse of the future himself — thank heaven for small mercies — but if pressed, he would be forced to admit that he did see other things, find things. Occasionally.
At the moment, his eyes provided an adequate view of the abbey common, though the mist did obscure things at a certain distance. It wrapped around shrubs and statues, drifted among trees, and parted like whispers as Maeve's coltish figure appeared racing toward him full tilt.
Drum's mouth quirked up at the corner, and he parted his lips to tease her about imagining he had pages to wade through when a lamp from the nearby street sent a beam of light across her face. The bright glare of safety bulbs had faded by the time it cast Maeve's wide, doelike eyes and narrow pointed chin in stark relief against the clinging shadows, but it offered proof enough to show Drum that something was very, very wrong.
"Michael." The urgency in her voice rose above the clatter of sharp boot heels on the cobbled pathway and made his stomach twist hard and tight. "Hurry! We have to get away. Now."
She didn't even stop to greet him, just gripped the leather of his jacket above his elbow and spun him in the direction from which he'd come just a quarter of an hour earlier. Dragging him along like a plow behind a mule, she plunged off the path and into the shadows between the chapel and the misericord attached to the adjacent converted infirmary.
His toe caught in a rough patch of ground, and he stumbled before catching himself and hurrying after her. The blood in his veins seemed to burn with urgent energy, and the hairs at the back of his neck stood on end. He tried to reassure himself that his sister's ominous words and air of panic had just proven contagious, like a yawn, but the fist in his gut didn't ease.
"Mae, slow down," he said, pulling back against her grip. "Tell me what has you in such a state, love. What's going on?" She shook her head, not bothering to look at him. "Just hurry. We need to get home. Something's going to happen."
His heart stumbled. "Happen to who?"
"Just happen, Michael. Hurry."
And so he hurried. Maeve was never wrong.
Drum let his sister lead him through the darkness beneath the chapel wall. It seemed to loom over them, canted off its foundation at a precarious angle. High above, the stone buttresses creaked like old wood, and the jeering, screaming faces of the grotesque statuary cackled down at them like fairy-tale witches.
Christ Jesus. Had he gone mad, or had tonight's beef pie contained quite another kind of mushroom altogether?
Maeve tugged harder on his hand, her much shorter legs covering the distance at a rate he had to strain to match. She ran as if the hounds themselves were chasing her, and though he couldn't see her face, he could feel the anxiety and fear billowing out of her like the steam from her breath hitting the cool air. He could almost see it, and that wasn't the sort of Sight Drum had been touched with.
"Come on, come on."
He recognized the sound of his sister's words gritted through clenched teeth, but he couldn't tell if she spoke to him or the universe at large. Maeve had never boasted much patience. She'd been the type of child who had to be reminded to let the beaters stop spinning before she stuck a finger in to scoop up the batter. It wouldn't surprise him to find her demanding that whatever she had foreseen hurry itself along and be over.
Based on her behavior and the near panic in which she had grabbed him and run, Drum on the other hand felt in no hurry at all. In fact, if the impending disaster wanted to cancel its Dublin tour date entirely, he'd not shed a tear. Maeve had begun to frighten him, and like many a man before him, when Drum got frightened, he got angry, as well.
Which meant that when the atmosphere lit up with a sudden crack of unseasonable lightning, he greeted the phenomenon with an angry shout of, "Oh, piss off!"
For better or for worse, the words were drowned out under an earsplitting crack of thunder.
Why did it feel as if the heavens had timed that specifically for him?
Drum might even have descended into melodrama and raised a shaking fist to the sky had his sister not chosen that very moment to dig her fingernails into the skin of his hand and jerk him forward. "Run!" she shouted, and hearing the terror and urgency in her voice, Drum pushed aside his own resentment and took off at a dash.
As it turned out, that first running step might have saved his life.
It was one of only three he managed, because just as he began to hit his stride, some unseen force grabbed hold of the earth's mantle and shook it like a rug on cleaning day. The ground heaved up beneath them and tossed them into the air, sending both brother and sister sprawling on their faces in the cold, wet grass. Drum had just enough time to lift his head and spit out a mouthful of soil when another crash sounded, one not at all like the sharp report of the thunderclap, barely feet away from where he had landed. On the spot where he had stood before Maeve had screamed.
Now, Drum screamed for himself.
In the retelling, he imagined he would change the scream to a hoarse, manly shout of surprise; but in the moment, the high pitch of his girlish exclamation sounded like a harmony to the unearthly shriek that shook the air around them. He half expected a bean sidhe to swoop down from the spire to warn them of impending death, but what he saw struck him as not half so plausible a thing.
Adrenaline picked him up like a kitten by the scruff, sending him scrambling away from that second crash in a move born of pure survival instinct. He rolled to his back and crawled across the grass like a crab, hands and feet slipping and sliding on the wet blades, wishing the continuing drizzle of misty rain would do him a mercy and obscure the sight before his eyes.
Where he had stood not a moment before, the earth gaped open in a ragged crater, clods of dark, peaty soil scattered about it like crumbs round a teacake. At least five feet wide and half as deep, the ugly gash appeared to spit out the cracked and broken remains of one of the elaborately carved statues that graced the chapel's ornate battlements.
Drum's eyes locked on the ruined hunks of stone in the same instant that another bolt of lightning sizzled through the darkness, the accompanying crash of thunder sounding almost simultaneously. The deep, echoing boom rattled the teeth in Drum's head and he winced, arms shooting up to clap over his ears as if he could protect himself from the deafening impact.
But he couldn't protect himself from the vision that appeared.
His eyes closed for an instant. He couldn't stop them, not when the lightning seemed to strike the ground just inches from his feet. Even through the shutter of his closed eyelids, the glare nearly blinded him. Perhaps it did blind him for a moment. Maybe permanently. For what else could explain the sight that greeted him when his lids lifted? Before him, the pile of stone split further and a creature from heaven or hell launched itself into the fraught night sky.
Drum had never seen anything like it. It screamed as it flew, not like a banshee but like a Valkyrie, a cry of rattling shields and bloody spears, of battle fever and furious determination. Its body arrowed through the air as if it chased the lightning back to its source. In that brief flash, its gray skin appeared silver, glistening with the rain and glowing in the blinding light. It reached its apex and spread a mantle of enormous feathered wings, casting Drum and Maeve in shadow. Then just as quickly as it had risen it dove, slicing through the atmosphere into a dense collection of shadows where the misericord backed up to the high wall of the cloister garden.
The thing let out a bloody roar, and a jagged circle of eerie red light the color of blood backlit by fire exploded. The dark light illuminated the winged creature as well as the inspiration for its battle cry — a human figure, hooded and robed all in black but for a strange sigil that marked the fabric like an insignia on the left breast.
Drum had the almost simultaneous thoughts that he should attempt to help his fellow man, and that he wanted to get no closer to the robed figure than he did to the one with the wings and tail. In fact, while the latter disturbed him because it should not have existed in his reality, the former literally made his skin crawl.
The man — well, he shouldn't assume, because it could be a woman, but it certainly looked human, at least — in black made Drum recoil on a purely visceral level. Sure, the robe thing pointed toward a certain eccentricity, but why should the simple sight of him make Drum want to take his sister and go somewhere very far away? He had no answer, but a little discomfort didn't mean he could allow himself to stand by and watch another human being be torn apart by a monster.
He had no weapon and no intention of sacrificing his own life for the sake of the stranger, but he could at least perhaps cause a distraction. Fumbling about the edge of the crater beside him, Drum closed his hand around a chunk of granite approximately the side of a cricket ball and hefted it in his right hand.
"Oi!" he shouted, following the salute with a raucous whistle. Then, not waiting to see if he'd caught either figure's attention, he hurled the stone at the monstrous creature's head.
Had Drum mentioned that he'd never played cricket? Or baseball? Or any other game except soccer, where a player never put a hand on the ball, let alone attempted to throw it with any accuracy?
The stone missed its mark entirely, instead impacting the cloister wall a good three feet behind the winged beast and even farther away from the man in the black robes. For that reason, he never expected the man to turn in his direction and send another one of those balls of red fire straight at his head.
With a shout of his own, Drum threw himself over his sister and rolled them both across the damaged earth. Maeve shouted a protest, but it cut off abruptly when the fireball hit the ground where she had lain a moment ago. For her, the close call must have come as a shock, but for Drum it was the second time tonight. Hell, it was the second time in a quarter hour!
Excerpted from Hard to Handle by Christine Warren. Copyright © 2017 Christine Warren. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Also by Christine Warren,
Praise for Christine Warren,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Michael /Drum was a man blessed with four independent sisters. Drum had a persistant tingling at the back of his neck had plagued him with an reachable itch for the last six months. Through dreams Drum was having persistent dreams of things he refused to name and would prefer not to remember. Drum impressed on his family not to take silly chances in today’s world. The family was meant to stick together and watch each others back Drum owns a bar called Skin And Bones. Drum and his family has gifts that set them apart Drums gift is he can find things. His sister Maeve has the gift of sight. Drun did not like his sister being out alone at night. That was the night he met Ash and his life was changed forever. Ash was the first of her kind and she has no idea why she woke up or woke her up. Ash is a woman Gargoyle who is to protect humans. The Order of Darkness is a threat coming closer to being a problem. Drum and Maeve .are the only ones there and they aren’t Wardens. But Ash has to accept their help. It didn’t take long for evil to come after Ash. In the heat of the battle Drum discovers he has more gifts that he hadn’t known about and is actually a warden. Drum and Ash are very attracted to each other. I liked this story but had mixed feelings. I had some trouble with things being repeated like Drum complaining about having his life interrupted by Ash Also there was too many villains and they didn’t last very long. I did like the fighting scenes. At times this drags for me. I liked the plot. I didn’t like Drums whining it took him awhile to man up and this annoyed me so as I said I had mixed feelings.
Christine Warren is a master of paranormal romance and Hard to Handle is a good addition to the Gargoyle Series. It pairs the first female gargoyle, Ash with her Irish warden, Micheal Drummond.. They have a rough beginning but soon they get over the hate. Their relationship develops as they battle the darkness. This is a good book, but I found myself struggling to connect to the main characters. I was given a free copy for a honest review.
I really loved the idea of a female gargoyle and Ash played it beautifully ! Drumm was the perfect guardian for her, very reluctant at first but then totally committed. I totally loved the Irish setting, too. It was great to hear from the other characters from the previous books, too. They gave you just enough info that you understood their characters without having to had read the other books. Great job, as usual, Ms. Warren. Please hurry with the next book!!
Great story, good characters
✦Review: Hard to Handle: A Beauty and Beast Novel (Gargoyles Series) by Christine Warren Publication Date: February 7, 2017 Genre: Paranormal Romance Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated 4.5 Stars I had fun reading this Gargoyle story. Drum was a humorous reluctant hero with enough sex appeal to thaw even a stone Gargoyle’s heart. Ash made a good counterpoint to Drum and I enjoyed watching her learn about life and love. The crazy Wardens and Guardians around them provided enough humor to counteract the evil surrounding them. (Drum’s inner thoughts were my favorite though.) It was a fast paced and action packed read that kept me wanting more. *Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A SEDUCTION STRONGER THAN STONE The only male among four sisters, Michael Drummond is no stranger to women’s strength and formidable will. His Dublin pub, the Skin & Bones, is his refuge, a reassuringly masculine retreat. Until a fierce woman warrior from another realm bursts into his life, bringing with her a battle between good and evil…and an explosive dose of desire. The first and only of her kind, Ash is a lone female gargoyle, a creature destined to protect mankind from Demons determined to unleash their darkest forces. But her arrival on Earth is more confusing than she expected: her bone-deep instinct to do battle is matched only by her untamed attraction to stubborn, stalwart Drum. If they manage to keep the world safe, can they turn the passion crackling between them into a love that will withstand the test of time? Review: In this next installment of this series, another Guardian has awoken. This time it is the first female Guardian. I liked the switch up. It was fun to see how the others reacted to this revelation. Then to have the Warden be the male lead to some interesting twists in the book and series. I liked that there is a lot of tension at first between Ash and Drum and some definite love/hate going on. I think it makes sense to the story. I mean you are a gargoyle and just wake up and then encounter Maeve and Drum who have powers but have no idea about all the supernatural world around them definitely makes for a lot of emotions and tension between all. Then of course neither Drum or Ash want to admit to the attraction they have for each other. You have to take a leap with the insta-love but other than that, they are super steamy together. There is also a lot of action in this story as the fight with the Darkness escalates. Of course, we get to see the other Guardians and Wardens also. The Author does an great job of not making the reader feel lost if reading these out of order. My recommendation is to read them in order. They each build on the other and the storyline continues from one book to the next as they try to save the world from The Darkness. I do love the snarky/witty dialogue that this Author comes up with, even in tense situations there is some levity. 3.5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.* @ChristineWarren @SMPRomance
Hard to Handle by Christine Warren is the 5th book in her Gargoyles series. This is the first book I am reading in this series, and it did read very well as a standalone, as Warren does give us information on the some of the other characters from the previous books. In the first 4 books, the hero is a male gargoyle , who is a restored from stone, when the threat of demons and hell become real. They are considered Guardians to protect humans from the darkness. For each Gargoyle, there is a Warden, who helps them. In Dublin, Ireland, Michael Drum (Drum)mond is pulled away from the pub he runs, becuase his sister, Maeve, has a vision of extreme danger from monsters. On the way home, the earth quakes and it is not an earthquake. What they perceive is a monster with wings, is actually a Guardian being summoned to life, as a terrible darkness is about to endanger all their lives. Ash, our heroine in this story, is the first female Guardian, and she enlists the aid of both Maeve and Michael to find the warden who requires her help. Wheras, Maeve, who has the sight and sees visions of the future, is more than ready to help Ash; but Drum wants nothing to do with monsters, demons and wants to head back to his pub. But then they are attacked, and Ash is able to save them. Ash is able to take a form of human female, when not being the Gargoyle. In a short time, she will discover that Drum, who treats her rudely, is in fact the Warden she has been looking for. I thought that early on, Drum was easy to dislike, and even though he is being pulled into something he knows nothing about, I did feel he went overboard in his distaste for Ash, or her quest. What follows is a very exciting action packed adventure, where Ash and Drum must try to find and kill the demons, and along the way they both begin to have feelings for each other. When the danger escalates, Maeve will find information on the other Guardians/Wardens, and some will come from America to Ireland to help with the war. I loved meeting two of the previous heroes, and it was fun to watch them learn about each other. The last third of the book was intense, with lots of action and dangerous situations, which had you sitting on the edge of your seat. Hard to Handle has a nice ending, but the war has just begun. Drum and Ash’s romance heats up with a happy conclusion. The Demons are still around, and all the Guardians and Wardens will find themselves together at some point in future books. Excellent suspenseful adventure, written very well by Christine Warren. One day I need to go back and read the earlier books.
The next installment of Christine Warren's Gargoyle series introduces us to a twist in the plot. Guardians are supposed to be male, they have always been male, until now. Ash is summoned after one of her brethren is destroyed and she doesn't understand why she exists. Michael is present when she is summoned and he is very hard-headed in his belief that magic does not exist. Even when it is before his eyes he wants to refuse its, and Ash's, existence which of course brings tension between the couple. He hates the fact that he is thrust into a world he doesn't want to belong to and he takes his anger out on Ash. Their passion when it happens is so explosive, I loved it. They were intense and once they give in, it is all over for the both of them. They, individually, of course, acknowledge that the other is their mate. Ash doesn't believe she will have a happy ending like her brothers because she is female and the story of the original 7 Guardians finding their mates can't include her because she isn't into females. She wants Michael but doesn't believe she will end up having him as her mate. The battles are intense and two previous Guardians and their mates come to aid Ash and Michael save his sister and the world from another Demon being freed from its prison. I enjoyed their story, I loved their passion, and I was entertained from beginning to end. Warren knows how to tell a tale of love, passion, and excitement.
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!! ***I choose what I read and review based on what intrigues me!! The cover is deceiving because you think you are looking at the Guardian, but you are not! Tricky Tricky! This is the 5th book in the series, and it is for adults only due to the steamy content. I highly recommend reading the series in order because the characters are much better when you understand them through their own book story :) This book departs from tradition, and I loved it! I was very confused in the beginning, but I don’t usually read the blurbs because I like to be surprised. And I was surprised! At first I thought Drum was a tool, but he was protective where his family was concerned which I admired. I think he didn’t realize how much potential he had in the wake of his mom and sisters’ talents and thinking his was nothing of value and only a parlor trick. I grow fond of him especially his protective streak. Ash is a typical warrior and also more lost than most Guardians due to the circumstance surrounding her. She is just as protective as Drum, and it makes for entertainment for sure! Of course, I really loved when Kylie and Wynn joined with snarky conversations that are most amusing. I couldn’t put this book down, and I’m sick as a dog right now! I highly recommend this book and series to all readers to love rock hard men…and woman….get your minds out of the gutters…gargoyles rule! You definitely want to read if you love Christine’s work too! I can’t wait to see what Christine sculpts next!
Twists within Turns in a series that is still super Fresh #Gargoyles5 Hard to Handle' by Christine Warren is book 5 in the Gargoyles series and wow it feels as fresh as if I was picking up and reading book 1. In this book, it is the story of Michael Drummond and Ash. In this book, we are introduced to the first female Guardian/ gargoyle-- This book departs from tradition, because in previous books there were the male guardians to the female human Wardens but in this book, we have a female gargoyle which is totally awesome. Ash looks and acts like her Gargoyle brothers , she knows her what her sacred duty is but how can she proceed without a male Warden to guide her? Ahh that is where Michael Drummond aka Drum comes in. Drum is part of an Irish family and they have certain talents or abilities. These abilities have come in pretty useful to him and his family, including his sister. Drum owns a bar , comes off at first as kind of a jerk but that is surface glance. He is very protective of his family and a bit unsure where he fits in because he doesn’t think he has any of their talents when he does, his hasn’t come thru yet. Oh he will grow on you and his interaction with this female Gargoyle is unique—Ash is fierce and independent –there is a chemistry, a heat between them. He doesn’t know what to make of her but he is interested in her. She has come to save the world and is ready for battle while Drum is trying to figure out what is going on. There is a bit more action in this book than in previous books, in my opinion. There is also a lot more sexual tension and humor between the MC. The action and romance is great and while some spots did run slow, overall it was a good read. I loved Drum’s sister and I hope she gets her own book soon. Overall, this was a solid Gargoyles read and I look forward to the next in the series. My rating: 4.5 stars ****
Hard to Handle is book five in the Gargoyles series by Christine Warren. In this installment the battle continues against the evil that is threatening mankind and all we hold dear. But the newest addition to the band of Guardians is not another sexy male guardian but a female. Michael Drummond or Drum, owns a bar called Skin and Bones in Dublin, Ireland and lives a happy if not uneventful life. If you can call uneventful when you are the brother of four sisters. The Drummond family, though, do have gifts that set them apart from others. Drum can find things, something he considers a silly parlor trick. But his sister, Maeve, has the gift of sight. The Drummond family is tight knit, the bond of love that ties them together goes deep. That is how this all began, Drum not wanting his sister to be out alone that night, the night his life changed. The night he met Ash. In the previous books we have met four guardians, gargoyles that were awoken from their stony slumber by their female wardens who would eventually become their mates. All four of these guardians were hot, sexy and alpha males. Historically, guardians were always male, until Ash woke up. She is just as shocked. She knows she is the first of her kind. She has no idea why she was awoken or who woke her. Michael and his sister, Maeve, are the only ones present and neither of them are wardens. But she has no choice but to accept their help until she can figure things out. “She was a warrior who couldn’t find the battlefield, and off it, her purpose became unclear. The only foe she could see at the moment was uncertainty, and against that, her axe was useless.” It doesn’t take long for the evil to seek out Ash and it becomes clear in the heat of battle that Drum possesses gifts he wasn’t even aware he had. It also becomes clear that Drum is her warden. In the beginning their relationship consisted of bickering and anger. Drum did not want this. But the more time they spent together, the attraction became stronger until they could no longer fight it. “His last thought was that the woman above him had just changed his life forever. After this, he would never have to watch her walk away, because wherever she wanted to go, he would go right behind her.” As Ash and Drum gather forces for the epic battle, their bond continues to grow. Ash, though, believes that the fate of her four brothers finding their mates would not apply to her. She believes that after the evil has been vanquished, she will be sent back to live as stone until she is needed once again. But she can’t imagine the pain of leaving Drum. She is determined to absorb every bit of joy from their bond as she can in the time she has with him. “Somehow, in the last few days full of chaos and fear and danger, this unhuman woman had become Michael Drummond’s true north. Whenever he looked around, his compass pointed straight at her.” I have to say that with this one, I missed some of the humor I enjoyed in the first books. But as always, the last twenty percent of this one was intense as the showdown was upon them. During this time the bond between Ash and Drum had grown so strong that I finally really felt their connection. There are a lot of details regarding the dark forces at work. Perhaps it’s the length of time between books but I did have a bit of trouble keeping the details straight. There are supposed to be seven guardians and since five have awoken so far in this series, I assume
I read a gargoyle story years ago on fan fiction and really liked it so I was very curious about this book. Being a female gargoyle, Ash was a great character. I had no issues with her as this role even though you might associate a gargoyle as male. Also I think the author did a good job of making her attractive. Gargoyle's in general are not pretty. This was definitely a unique story and while I had no issues with Ash as a gargoyle, I didn't like Drum at first. He came off as a bit of a coward to me in the beginning. He wanted to get rid of Ash as soon as he met her and wasn't going to help her if it wasn't for his sister nagging him into it. I just like a stronger male in my stories. Overall, a great read and I really want to try one of the other books with the male gargoyles. This can be read as a standalone. ARC provided by NetGalley.
The Drummond family is filled with “gifts” so one night, when Michael Drummond goes to pick his sister up and she is running as if the bats of hell are on her heels, he doesn’t question why but picks up his heels and follows her. Lightning flashes, the earth trembles and his world changes in that instant. Why? A female gargoyle comes to life and battles evil before his eyes. Not being a pushover and rather curmudgeonly he eventually does what is “right” with a push and prod from his sister then from his internal good-meter. He eventually realizes his purpose, as does female gargoyle Ash, and the story is on. With trips to the countryside, visions, magic, visits from other gargoyles and their warden-mates, a kidnapping and near sacrifice, unfolding of information that will eventually lead to the tying up of the series and a HEA but not an end to the series the story was busy indeed. I liked the book and found it an easy read. I would like to find out how the series will end. I believe that with seven gargoyles mentioned there are probably two more books expected in the series. That said, since there must always be seven gargoyles to be available to fight evil there is potential for future gargoyle books or a future gargoyle series. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. This is my honest review. 3.5 Stars