Feb 5 2017 10:00am

First Look: Christine Warren’s Hard to Handle (February 7, 2017)

Hard to Handle by Christine Warren

Christine Warren
Hard to Handle (Gargoyles Series #5)
St. Martin's Press / February 7, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital 

Hard to Handle is the latest novel in Christine Warren’s Gargoyle series and this time Beauty is the Beast.   

These Guardians protect our world against the Darkness and the Order of Nocturnis that serve them. Since the beginning of time, whenever one of the seven Guardians fell, another Guardian was sent to take his place.  His being the key word.  Guardians have always been an all-boys club, so how did Ash get here?

Why is the latest Guardian sent to earth female?  No one wants to know the answer to that mystery more than Ash.  She knows that there must be a very important reason that she was sent here as female, the first ever female Guardian, but why?

No matter what shape she wore, her strength could crush a mortal of either sex.  After all, she was a warrior and a Guardian.  She existed to battle the most powerful Demons the Darkness had ever spawned.  Her prowess could not be matched on this plane, even if this was the first time she had ever visited it.

The thought made her frown, because it meant something very important had brought her here.  She need to discover that reason, and for that, she should have a Warden by her side.

Like the previous Guardians to wake this time around, the first thing Ash realizes – besides the fact that she had boobs – is that her Warden is not there upon her awakening to advise her why she has been awoken.   She stumbles upon Michael Drummond and his sister, Maeve.  Abilities run in their family, including Maeve’s ability to see the future, and Maeve knows that she and Michael are meant to stay by the Guardian’s side.   While Michael objects to putting his family in danger, there is something that is pulling him to protect the pretty woman before him.  Guardian or not, Michael as raised to protect the women in his family and that seems to be extending to Ash as well. 

With Michael and Maeve’s help, Ash is able to find the other Guardians who have awoken and are already fighting the agents of the Darkness.   They will be able to tell her why she has come and more importantly what happened to the Guild and their Wardens who guide the Guardians in their duty.  Except, the Guardians are as confused about Ash as she is.

“Tell me, how hot is he?  Like Dag hot, or like my Knox-your-sox-off hot?”

Kylie smirked.  “Here.  See for yourself.”  Then she turned the computer around until the camera lens landed on Ash.

“Um, I hate to break this to you, Koyote,” the image on the screen said, “but either your aim sucks or your camera does.  I’m looking at a chick.  Let me see the Guardian?”

“I did.”

So did Ash. It smarted a little, since her wings got crushed against the back of her chair for a second before they burst free, then the chair itself let out an unnerving groan of stressed wood at her increased mass, but the look on Wynn’s face was worth it.

Fighting together with her Guardian brothers is Ash’s purpose for being.  She has yet to uncover the reason she has been sent in the form of a female but she knows that her ability to fight either as a male or as a female is not in any doubt.  But Ash is beginning to harbor one item of jealously against her male compatriots.  The sacred tales of the origins of the Guardians tell of the special bond between the male Guardian and a human female of power who can free him from his endless cycle of waking and sleeping which is the destiny of every Guardian.  They rest in their gargoyle form, sometimes for decades, until they are awakened to fight the Darkness again.  It is only this special bond that can free the Guardian and allow him to retain his human shape and live a mortal life. 

In other words, love could transform the beast into the man.

But where did that leave Ash?

As she grows fonder and fonder of Michael Drummond, she knows that the ancient stories only speak of women of power who can release their male Guardian.  Is that why Ash is here instead of a male Guardian?  Will she, the only female Guardian, be doomed to return to endless sleep, once the Darkness has been defeated, until she is needed again? Will she be forced to leave behind the male she is coming to love? 

What’s a girl to do?


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Hard to Handle by Christine Warren, available February 7, 2017:

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H&H Editor Picks:

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Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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