Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Bearing it All by Vonnie Davis

Bearing It All 
by Vonnie Davis
Series:  Highlander Beloved #3
Pub. Date:  Oct. 27, 2015
Publisher:  Loveswept
Pages:  255
Format:  eARC
Source:  NetGalley

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

A Scottish hunter and a French secret agent find themselves on a collision course with danger—and irresistible desire—in Vonnie Davis’s new bear-shifting Highlander novel, perfect for fans of Jennifer Ashley and Shelly Laurenston.

In the pine-dense mountains of the Scottish Highlands, shape-shifter Ronan Matheson is running free when a desperate woman parachutes out of the sky, directly onto his furry, powerful chest. Instead of clawing her to death, Ronan’s inner bear longs to keep her safe. Once he’s back in human form, Ronan is amused by the mysterious beauty’s fearless attitude—and tempted by her expertly toned physique. But what could she possibly be doing in this isolated stretch of the Highlands? 

French intelligence agent Anisa Brosseau never imagined she’d be on the CIA’s bad side—until she’s framed for treason and forced to flee in a stolen drone. Hiding out in a remote cabin, Anisa just needs some time to clear her name. What she doesn’t need is a brooding, muscle-bound Scot in a skimpy kilt to drive her crazy with lust. But when Anisa’s enemies come knocking on his door, Ronan calls on a secret weapon to protect his turf and the bonny lass he’s come to love. 

This has been a fun light-hearted series that I have really enjoyed. Modern-day kilt-wearing highland werebears, a crazy old lady with pink hair and pink pelican baffies, and feisty females ... its a recipe for a good time.

Since the first two books featured the eldest brother (Creighton) and the youngest (Bryce) - we now get acquainted with middle brother, Ronan. I don't remember a lot about Ronan from the earlier books. That's not saying anything about his character or the writing though, I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. So anyway, Ronan is the middle brother and he is kind of closed off emotionally. He has never fully grieved for the loss of his father and he is a bit hung up on that, vowing never to marry or have bairns that he could die and leave alone like he was. Ronan's fumbling mannerisms were endearing. I liked that he is a man's man, fixing things and knocking heads are what he understands. Ronan refers to his inner bear as "Brother Bear" and he is very childlike and obstinate. His misbehaving, sneaking out and simple way of thinking was just as endearing as Ronan's vulnerability.

Ronan's special lady turns out to be a blast from the past, Anise Brosseau. Anise literally falls out of the sky onto Brother Bear as she is fleeing the French military and CIA, who have accused her of being a terrorist. She is not really a damsel in distress... but it kind of seems like she wants to be. She has been put through some hellacious training to become a French military agent... which goes way beyond anything G.I. Jane faced in SEAL training. I can't imagine this stuff actually happening - but I'll save that for my suspending belief discussion below. I just had a hard time connecting with Anise - though I did like that she was a capable female and very intelligent.

This installment was an entertaining diversion, but it wasn't my favorite of the series. Unlike the previous books, the plot conflict here is more real-world suspense than fantasy drama. The suspense aspect really requires you to suspend your belief, and because the national security area and legal field are within my professional line of work, there were times that I had a hard time with it. As long as you are able to look at it as "anything is possible" - you should be fine. And good grief, Effie still provides hilarious interruptions... and she has gotten to be even more of a dirty old bird in this book. Seriously, she has taken up handcuffs and sex toys and BDSM novels. So you can always count on her to be a good time.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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About the Author

Vonnie Davis, who studied English at Penn State, likens herself to a croissant: crusty, wrinkled, flaky—and best served with strong coffee. After a career as a technical writer, she’s spending her retirement playing fairy godmother to her characters, giving them their happily-ever-afters. Six fantastic, talented kids call her “Grandma” and brighten her world in so many ways. She lives in Southern Virginia with her husband, author Calvin Davis.

 Author Links: Website Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


To Ronan Matheson, this was home. Quiet seclusion. No meals served by the clock. No strange boarders to be gracious to in his own home. No tours through the ancient castle–turned–vacation lodge to explain the clan’s history. This was his space . . . his and his internal bear’s. Two hours away from his family’s lodge, this small cabin he’d built in the rocky, pine-dense mountains of the upper Scottish Highlands was theirs.
Arriving at the retreat was always a hurried routine to get the generator running, firewood brought in, and the supplies unloaded from his truck. He’d take a few minutes to contact his family’s lodge through an old ham radio to let them know he’d arrived safely; in this highly remote area, where there was no cell reception, this was his only reach to the outside world—and for a few weeks, he liked it this way. Then he’d strip, shift, and lumber outside so his bear could run through the trees and brush. He inhaled the mountain air as a bear, detecting every animal within hundreds of yards. Leaves and pine needles rustled; a pine marten was creating a nest for the night. Dusk would approach soon.
An almost silent, strange-shaped black aircraft zoomed low overhead, which snagged his attention. A faint whooshing sound followed. His bear stopped and tilted his head, seeking the direction of the unfamiliar noise. At first, he suspected something . . . a tree, perhaps . . . had fallen across the stream, blocking the natural flow of water and creating the strange racket but, nay. This was different and growing louder.
He stood on his hind legs to get a better view.
“Oh, shit! Oh, holy shit! Ohhh, holy blessed mother of Prada effing shit!” a strange human shrieked.
He jerked his head skyward at a person plummeting toward him, tied to a billowing red parachute.
Nay, buddy, ye take care of the intruder. Roar yer furry arse off.
The bear roared, bared his teeth, and waved his upper legs in a threatening manner.
The trespasser yanked like crazy on the ropes as if they’d swerve him in a different direction, but it didna matter. He crashed into the bear with a powerful combination of his weight and the force of his speed, his knees ramming the beast’s shoulders to the ground. The sudden impact knocked the wind out of the bear as both he and the person from the sky fought to push away the silky fabric. For a few fear-filled minutes, the two made eye contact and the dark-lashed person screamed so loudly, the bear’s chin rose and he glanced over his head at the forest behind them, searching for a quick retreat from the infernal racket.
The curvy human’s heart beat like a frightened rabbit. Both the person’s skin and hair had an odor of wild strawberries. Its arms wouldna be still as it fought to escape the bear’s hold. And its persistent high-pitched screeching made the animal’s ears ring.
Finally, the person stopped screaming. “Un ours! . . . A bear! I’ve landed on a wild and wicked bear! Holy hell, have I escaped the CIA only to become a bear’s dinner?” The person—French, if Ronan had to guess—reached between them and unclicked the belt holding the parachute apparatus before slipping his arms free, tossing more of the red silk over the bear’s head, and rolling away from the parachute.
Ronan’s bear fought to work his way from under the mountain of a soft batch of fabric and, with one eye exposed, lay still to watch his adversary scramble toward a tree and stand.
The human was a woman.
A frantic, voluptuous woman with arms that waved as she grumbled.
Mon Dieu! A bear! A freakin’ smelly, hairy bear. Survival classes never taught me proper procedure for landing from a jump with my crotch under a bear’s chin. Damn incompetent instructors. Hell, they claimed they were preparing us for anything we’d encounter.” She slipped off her backpack. “Calm down.” Both of her opened hands made a pushing down motion. “Calmez. I’ve read several survival guides. I know what to do. I can handle this. I can. My nerves are running rampant and I’m allowing them to freak me out.”
She placed her fingertips on her forehead as if trying to gather her thoughts on how to handle this unexpected scenario. “Do not run from a bear. Make yourself a large target and yell to scare the bear away. Bears are easily frightened unless it’s mating season.
“Oh, wouldn’t it be just my horrible luck to fall on a horny bear? Oh, hell and shit.” She stood on her toes, her arms outstretched and her hands poised like claws. “Roar! Growl! Snarl! Hiss! Run, you hairy bastard!” She bellowed like Colleen, Ronan’s niece, when she was throwing a tantrum.
Even with his bear at the forefront of their dual persona, Ronan turned over and laughed. Laughed like he hadna in years. Me God, what a gutsy woman. Funny and plucky at the same time. Although her crotch did smell nice. Bloody hell, he’d been over two months without a member of the weaker sex.
I think I like this one. She’s ours.
Before Ronan could tell his bear what he thought of his foolish idea, the female stomped over and poked the bear in the arse with the toe of her boot. “Are you laughing at me? What kind of bear laughs?”
Get rid of her, Brother Bear, before the Frenchwoman decides to give ye a haircut, spray ye with perfume, and puts a rhinestone collar and leash on ye to make ye her pet.
The bear stood, fought off the parachute, tossing it aside, and roared, the sound echoing off the pines and bare trees.
The small, oddly shaped airplane crashed against the steep, granite, snow-covered mountain. The loud explosion startled the bear, but not the woman. She merely gave it a salute, blew it a kiss, and bid it “Au revoir.”
To his surprise, she unzipped her jumpsuit partway and jerked a pistol from her shoulder holster. “Look, I followed the book and you had the audacity to laugh? Now, if you don’t run the hell away, I’m going to shoot your bear balls off.” Her commanding voice echoed off the pines, too. This woman was used to giving orders and having them followed.
The bear bounded for the thick brush. We’ll have to go back to the cabin and shift. She might find us again.


Highlander Beloved Series