Author: Lydia Michaels
Heat Level: Romance (graphic)
Book Length: 258 pages
Date of Publication: August 10, 2015
It’s more than a mountain. It’s a love story generations long.
Maureen O’Leahey has always hoped for a family to love, but with so many men returning from a lost war, she finds life to be a bit less romantic than expected—until she stares in to the blue eyes of Frank McCullough. Though the odds are against them, Frank and Maureen can’t seem to keep their distance. Against her father’s wishes, Maureen falls for the boy trying so hard to make it as a man and Frank fights to keep every promise made to the fiery red head that’s captured his heart.
During difficult times, they find solace in each other. As Frank struggles to do right by his young bride and Maureen aches to be a good wife, they are taught the true value of patience and shown the strength of unconditional love in this memorable story of a devoted Irishman and an untamable woman with a remarkable spirit.
There are not that many series that make me wish they were real and I could travel to for a visit . . . maybe stay for a week . . . or forever.
And one of my favorite series on that list is Lydia Michael's McCullough Mountain. Seven swoon worthy romances that have put me through the emotional wringer . . . and I have enjoyed every gut-wrenching moment. Every audible and slightly inappropriate snort of laughter. Every sob-fest as I lost it and could no longer see the words in front of my face.
I have fallen hard for this family. They have found a special place in my heart and burrowed deep. Hold Me Fast is the last book of this series and even though I am sad to see the end, I am very well satisfied how Michaels concluded their journey.
Throughout the series, Maureen and Frank McCullough have been the backbone of this Pennsylvania Irish family. Their roots are deep, their loyalty unshakable, and their love for one another unending. They have struggled to get to where they are and faced hardships. To finally get to see how Maureen and Frank get together is the supreme icing on such a delicious and spicy cake.
I have always loved Maureen. She has been my favorite secondary character throughout the series. Her sass and strength had me laughing one minute and crying the next. And I have to say, her style of swearing is epic. I have a highlighted several sections on my kindle for Maureen's colorful and witty retorts.
Frank, although quiet, has had me charmed from the get go, as well. He's a lumberjack . . . logger. Not sure what the politically correct term is, but I envision nicely corded muscles. Thick arms. Tanned skin from hours out in the sun. Firm tush. Strong, capable thighs. Flannel. (Sigh)
He is such a virile hero--hard working, devoted, and . . . Irish. Yes, I admit I have a weakness for such things. But I guarantee it would be hard for any warm blooded woman NOT to fall for this man.
The first half of the book is how Frank and Maureen meet and their rocky beginning. They endure ups and downs, heartaches, and the struggles of discovering exactly who they truly are as individuals and what they want from their marriage.
The second half was especially awesome--as the reader gets to revisit with the rest of the clan. Kate, Colin, Luke, Finn, Kelly, Sheilagh, etc . . . have had some very interesting developments and it was great to catch up on their lives. Although . . . as a side note here . . . and in no way negative . . . I could have had more Kelly time. AHEM. But that's just my obsessive streak showing. There is NEVER enough Kelly time.
Lydia Michaels has done a fantastic job creating a series worth reading . . . and rereading . . . and falling in love all over again. I have no doubt I will be visiting McCullough mountain whenever I need a good laugh or an emotional cry.
Come to the mountain. It will be a journey well worth taking--you won't want to leave.
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“When’s that birthday of yours, love?”
She frowned. “July twenty-fifth. Why?” Was he planning on getting her a present?
He nodded, making a masculine sound in his throat. “I’d like to get my lips on you before then, lassie.”
Appalled, she turned and scowled at him. “And that is how you ask? I’d like a lot of things, Frank, mostly, to meet a man who knows how to ask a woman for favors. And if that is why you’re waitin’ for my birthday you can just forget it. I’m saving myself for marriage.”
Every trace of cockiness fled his face as her words sank in. Oh Christ. She wasn’t necessarily saving shit, but it pissed her off that he’d assume the calendar was all that was holding him up from gettin’ into her knickers.
“I wasn’t… I hadn’t meant to insinuate—”
“Don’t try backtracking now. I know what you meant.” It was like her mouth had disconnected from her brain and there was no stopping her words.
Like a runaway train, she’d unleashed on him. “You think I have nothin’ better to do than wait around so you can legally take my virginity? You can think again, Mr. McCullough. I have standards and they aren’t the sort that crumble for some blue eyed, silver-tongued Irishman wantin’ to put his lips on me. I’ll be expectin’ a gentleman, next time I see you, if your lips will be getting’ anywhere near me—”
His mouth was suddenly crushing hers as he pulled her halfway across the seat and cut off her words. She’d never been kissed before, at least not like that. His hand cupped the back of her head as his mouth slanted and his tongue pressed deep, teasing and awakening parts of her she’d rather ignore. Her eyes held wide as his other hand fit around her thigh and massaged through the fabric of her skirt.
“You talk entirely too much, Maureen O’Leahey,” he whispered against her lips. “I’m thinkin’ it’s high time a man shut you up in a way you found acceptable.”
He kissed her again and her chest lifted, her nipples tightening as heat pulled in her stomach and a strange pressure set her insides on fire.
“No,” she mumbled as his hand slowly rubbed higher on her thigh. Pulling back as that hand steadily crept to a place she strongly considered off limits to others, she did the first thing she could manage and smacked him across the jaw.
The sharp slap left the car in dark silence. Quietly, he chuckled. “You really are something.”
“I told you,” she said, out of breath. “You’ll need to be a gentleman to get your lips on me. Buyin’ me dinner doesn’t prove shit.”
The side of his mouth kicked up in a half-smirk. “You sure got a mouth on you, woman.”
She liked being called woman, considering she was only seventeen. “And wouldn’t you like to see all the things it can do.”
His half-smirk turned into a full smile as he laughed. “Well, look at you. You’re tongues as sharp as mine is silver. You better be gettin’ home before real trouble finds you. Tomorrow’s a big day.”
That was right. Tomorrow she was graduating. Funny how such a monumental achievement paled in comparison to being kissed by Frank McCullough.
“Good night, love,” he said, cracking open the door.
“Frank?” He stilled and she took a second to process her sudden insecurities.
He paused, still facing the door. “Yes, Maureen?”
“The kiss… did I do it okay?”
His head tilted as he again faced her. “Have you not been kissed before?”
“Never like that,” she whispered, her fingers tracing where his mouth had been.
He slid back inside the car and turned to the windshield, pulling his lower lip in for a taste. A quiet chuckle escaped, but he didn’t seem amused. “You’re that innocent then?”
“Never mind,” she immediately said, wishing she’d never opened her mouth—for anything.
“No, it’s fine. I shouldn’t have assumed…” he shook his head. “A gentleman indeed.” He laughed. “I’m sorry I came on so strong, love, but when I’m around you, I lose sight of right and wrong and all I can tell is that I want you.”
Her eyes widened as she choked on her words. “Me?” That couldn’t be right.
His gaze turned on her, his eyes appearing almost pained. “Aye, you. I think you’re bonny, smart, funny, and I think about you naked every day.”
“Sorry, but it’s true. Your curves enchant me.”
Was that how men and women spoke to one another? “I’ve never been naked in front of anyone but my mum and my sisters.”
A smirk pulled the corner of his mouth tight. “We could remedy that.”
She smacked his arm. “Don’t be a pig.”
“I have a healthy appetite for beautiful women, love. There’s nothin’ wrong with that.”
“Aye, well if your wantin’ this woman you’ll lose your taste for all others, do you understand?”
They were silent for several minutes. She fidgeted as she waited for him to say more, but he didn’t. Finally, she broke the silence. “What does this mean, Frank? People will talk if they see us together.”
“It means I like you.”
“Like me? Why?”
He shrugged and pointed to his chest. “It’s here, in the way my chest gets tight at just the sight of you and I want to hold you fast, but never feel like we have enough time.”
“Oh.” That was rather sweet and more poetic than she’d expected. “Are you saying we’re…”
“I want you to be mine for more than a minute.”
Lots of things were longer than minutes but still quite short. “Are you askin’ to date me? I’m not trying to be thick headed, but I’ve never much dated and…”
“Aye. I’m wantin’ you to be mine, Maureen O’Leahy. Mine and only mine.”
Liquid heat swirled in her belly as her veins pulsed with excitement. “I can’t let my parents know.”
“It’s no one’s business.”
Insecurity made it difficult to look in his direction. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing and sound foolish. “I…I never much dated,” she repeated.
She laughed, still finding that hard to believe. A thought occurred to her and she frowned. “I’ll not have you hitting on other girls if you want to be with me.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
His gentle tone retrieved a bit of her courage. “And I’m not easy. I’m not promising you a thing, if you get what I mean.”
“Aye. It’ll keep.”
Shooting him a sidelong glance, she snickered. “You seem certain I’m keepin’ it for you.”
“You are,” he said with palpable cockiness.
Her mouth gaped at his surety. “There’s something wrong with you.”
“To be sure, but I speak the truth. I’ll have you, Maureen O’Leahey, make no mistake of that. I’ll be a gentleman for you, as you’re deserving of such, but make no mistake, I’m a man and I will not deny what I want no matter how long you deny me from gettin’ it.”
Award winning author, Lydia Michaels, writes all forms of hot romance. She presses the bounds of love and surprises readers just when they assume they have her stories figured out. From Amish vampyres, to wild Irishmen, to broken heroes, and heroines no man can match, Lydia takes readers on an emotional journey of the heart, mind, and soul with every story she pens. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.
Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaelsBooks.com
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Other Titles by Lydia Michaels:
As Tears Go By
Hold Me Fast
All 4 You
To Catch a Wolfe
Called to Order
Calling for a Miracle
Call Her Mine
Blind (Coming October 2015)