• Almost Priest

  • McCullough Mountain, Book 1
  • By: Lydia Michaels
  • Narrated by: Amber Battaglia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The perfect small-town beach romance brimming with forbidden love, secret desires, and one irresistible virgin hero from best-selling and award-winning author, Lydia Michaels.

Colin McCullough has always been a man of devotion, and at summer’s end, he will finally receive his Holy Orders. Samantha Dougherty never intended to cause trouble, but when she’s invited to stay at McCullough Mountain for summer break, she proves to be an irresistible temptation.

Hot summer nights lead to secret moments of seduction neither Colin or Samantha can resist. No vow of celibacy is without sin. Colin’s thoughts are far from pure, but his intentions to become a priest remain. What should have been a relaxing holiday with his family has turned into a trial of loyalty, lust, courage, sacrifice, and possibly love.

Best-selling author, Lydia Michaels, has created an unforgettable family saga bursting with sizzling secrets and scandalous moments in this award-winning series, McCullough Mountain, where each story can be listened to as a stand-alone! 

©2015 Lydia Michaels (P)2022 Lydia Michaels

What listeners say about Almost Priest

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

couldn't stop listening!

I loved the story. I couldn't wait to get back in my car to continue listening! The narrator was great! Her ability to change characters and each accent was amazing.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Sinfully Beautiful & Amazing Story & Listen🎧

Lydia Michaels never ceases to amaze or entertain me, she is truly a gifted author with a brilliant mind and regardless of the genre or trope I know it is going to be a treat of a story, one that will captivate my attention from start to end and “Almost Priest” is all that and more. First off, I have to say it is a great start to a new series, the McCullough family are quite the bunch and despite not having met them all yet, i just know each story is going to be something special. Braydon McCullough brings his girl friend Samantha Dougherty back home with him so she could spend their summer break from college on the mountain. His family welcomes her with open arms and Samantha just adores them and the big family dynamics and the camaraderie amongst them, it was something she did not have growing up. Staying in Braydon’s room, she surprised another McCullough by walking in on him, his older brother Colin, even more surprising was the instant attraction she felt for him. Colin, studied to become a priest and is close to making his vows to the church and to god, he has always been devout and abstinent, but Samantha stirs up something in him he never felt before and he has to fight that feeling, not only for his sake but his brother’s sake too. Brayden and Samantha’s relationship is not as it seems, and even his mother and family can see that. But they never see what is happening between Colin and Sam, the two connected like no other, they share a special bond, and while he fights the attraction for the sake of his faith, it is hard to fight feelings as strong and true as the ones they share. Holy moly, the depth and layers to this story are absolutely amazing and the same goes for all the drama, heartfelt emotions and the sensual and stolen moments they got to share. Lydia Michals, thank you for another wonderful story and emotional rollercoaster ride, I am looking forward to more visits with the McCulloughs.

🎧📚🎧 And for the fabulous narration, Amber Battaglia is a talented narrator and versatile voice artist. She did an awesome job bringing the characters to life, performing the voices for both the male and female characters, giving each their own distinct sound, making it easy to follow along and tell who is who. She had a complete understanding of the characters she was portraying, took each role and made it her own, sounding believable and just as I pictured the character to sound. You could hear how much heart she put into her work as she captured all the characters’ emotions and projected them into her performance and had you feeling every single one. Amber Battaglia is an entertaining storyteller and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you for this great listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a fantastic story!

This is one of the sweetest love stories I’ve read! These people, this story, everything about it kept me hooked until the very end! I love this family and their big Irish love!

When Sarah comes home with Braden for break, she’s not sure why he invited her, they’ve been out, but aren’t really together…. And when she meets his brother Collin.. she finds him attractive and feels the attraction for him that she’s missing for Braden. They have conversations and things in common… but he’s going to be a priest… and her heart breaks.

There are twists and turns in this story that are so intricate and interesting… the feelings it brings up are so well with the listen! Lydia Michael’s is excellent and these characters just make me want to know more.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Heartfelt

This story was definitely different. I enjoyed the characters and liked how something so taboo felt so sweet at the same time. I have mixed feelings about certain things with the book and that’s why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I do love this whole family though and look forward to reading the rest of the series!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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This forbidden romance was sweet and spicy!

Lydia Michaels has all my money!! lol!

McCullough Mountain series, book 1 starts of with a bang! Give me a forbidden romance with a priest and it's like catnip to me! This may not be the steamiest FR but I still loved it! This book is a little more sweet than steamy yet there is enough to satisfy your average romance reader.
One thing I love about Lydia's books is there's great relationship building and this book really sets the stage for the rest of the series.

Having read later books set in Jasper Falls I absolutely loved having these OG stories of characters I've met!

Amber Battaglia does a fantastic job narrating all characters and giving them all unique voices, especially MaurA and Italian Mary!!

Colin and Samantha have an instant attraction but fight it because it's forbidden. They both care so much for the other and try to put their feelings first. They are the sweetest couple!!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hot almost priest!

Colin and Sami's story is sooo angsty. My heart bled for these two. Samantha comes home from college with Colin's brother Brayden. She doesn't really consider them a couple, more just friends, but Brayden sees them a little different. Sami and Colin have a pretty instant connection, but Colin is becoming a priest in a few short months. Watching these two fall in love, but know it can never be more was sooo hard for me. So many emotions with this one. I love this big burly family and I love the heartfelt stories to come. This first book was really well told.

The narrator did a great job telling the story from both sides.

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Great series starter

Falling in love with a soon to be priest?! Wasn't sure where this was going to go when I started listening, but I enjoyed this large family of characters and can't wait for the rest.

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Almost Priest Audiobook Review

Read this if you
*Like small town romances
*Enjoy struggles with sinning
*Are fond of forbidden love affairs with a soon-to-be priest
*Adore irresistible virgin hero’s

Samantha “Sammy” Dougherty is spending her summer on McCullough Mountain following an invite from her friend Brayden. Colin, Brayden’s brother, is also staying on McCullough Mountain waiting his upcoming receival of holy orders. When Sammy notices Colin, naked, secret desires begin to build. Almost Priest by Lydia Michaels will take you through a trial of loyalty, lust, courage, sacrifice, and love. Will Colin fall for Sammy, or will he go forward with this oath to God and the church?

I found myself in a love/hate relationship with this storyline and the characters. I desperately wanted Colin to give up his dream as a priest to fulfil his love for Samantha. At times I felt Samantha and Colin were both being selfish for numerous reasons. And Colin was a hypocrite at times. He didn’t want to sin by building a relationship with Samantha, but in honesty wasn’t he sinning because he was doing these things with another man’s girl? I don’t want to release any spoilers, but I was not fond of the twist at the very end. Despite my mixed emotions for this novel, I give it a four-star rating. Lydia Michaels writes well and knows how to draw in her readers keeping them wanting more until the very end.

Thank you, @ValentinePR and @lydia_michaels_books for providing me with a complimentary review copy. In no way has that influenced my voluntary review. With Almost Priest being the first installment of the McCullough Mountain series, I can’t wait to get my hands on more of these characters and the wonderful McCullough family.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Forbidden slow burn

I honestly wasn't sure how I'd feel going into this one because I figured the religious tones would be really thick with this one. This whole series has a bit in each book, but I was a little wary with this one being that I'm non-religious. It honestly wasn't bad at all, and Lydia did a wonderful job making sure even those of us outside of that aspect of life can enjoy this story.

The forbidden bit of the relationship in this one made it a worthwhile slow burn that keeps you on your toes the whole book. These characters are beautifully done and I love the amount of care they take with each other and how deeply they pay attention to the ins and outs of the other to understand each other. Their relationship is so sweet, and though it comes with one brother "taking" from another, it's a heart warming story.

Amber Battaglia did a wonderful job narrating this audiobook and I went hesitate to listen to anything she does! She's got the perfect kind of vice for this line of work and her voices for the characters are so spot on. Highly suggest giving her a listen!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Passionate and endearing

Take a trip to McCullough Mountain with Brayden and Samantha. After arriving at Brayden McCullough's family home, Samantha is caught off guard when her eyes fall on the sexy, naked man she just walked in on. Not only is Colin the oldest of the McCullough siblings; he's almost at the end of fulfilling his duties of becoming a priest. So when the young woman surprises him by walking in through Brayden's bathroom door, sparks ignite a new feeling of interest that Colin has never experienced. This unexpected twist starts the beginning of a very complicated situation. As these two pure and innocent souls succumb to their feelings for one another, the rest of the family is unaware of their clandestine meetings.

Almost Priest is a pleasant introduction to the spirited McCullough family. I enjoyed the cast of characters and was utterly enamored with Colin. His innocently wise yet mature stature held my attention. The author did a fantastic job of encapsulating Colin's struggle with his new feelings for Sam and what he always thought was his purpose in life. Grab yourself a copy if you're up for an entertaining and passionate read that is full of angst. If you're an audio lover like me, download the audiobook and listen to Amber Battaglia's wonderful performance. The single narration was a breeze to listen to and suited Sam's character to a T.

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  • Jocelyne
  • 06-09-22

Beautiful Story!

This is the first book in the McCullough Mountain series, a family saga. I loved to follow Samantha (Sam) and Colin in their journey to love. This is a beautiful story, sweet and heartwarming. The story has unpredictable twists and turns. The McCullough family is amazing. Amber Battaglia did a great job with the narration. I enjoyed it. This is a great start to the series, and I am looking forward to listening to Beautiful Distraction, the next book in the series.

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  • TINA WILLIAMS
  • 06-08-22

Angsty, slow burn

This was such an emotional story. I loved this audiobook. The narrator did a great job and really brought these characters to life. If you love sweet, angsty, instant attraction, slow burn and crazy Irish families, this is the story for you. Colin and Sam were going in different directions in life but found themselves drawn to the other. Will they be able to overcome all obstacles in the way? I loved this book and definitely recommend.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for PATRICIA
  • PATRICIA
  • 06-04-22

Amazing listen!

Lydia Michaels has done it again. Given me a new series to sink my teeth into and enjoy. This one is especially fun, as the family had me laughing the entire time, we were together, and the romance is so sweet! Meet the McCullough family. This story focuses on Colin, a seminary student on the verge of taking his vows. All his life he has known this is his calling, but when his brother brings home Samantha, all bets are off! Samantha came home with Braydon, and while the two enjoy spending time together, the chemistry is not romantic. She is drawn to Colin, and the two have an immediate connection. Samantha comes with some baggage, and now Colin is questioning the path he has chosen. What will become of these two? Colin is very conflicted, and I love how he begins to work through the decisions he needs to make. It's not an easy time, and his brother is there for him. Samantha has a lot to deal with, and her love for a man who cannot be with her is just the icing on the cake. But the McCullough house is so inviting, she feels at home. I fell for this couple immediately and felt right at home with the family. The banter is hysterical, and the family endearing. I can't wait to get to know the others better.

Amber Battaglia brings the entire story to life with an amazing performance. She nails the Irish and Gaelic, picks out the perfect voices for the characters and keeps me as a listener engaged. She adds in the emotional turmoil along with some comedic timing and creates a new world I thoroughly enjoyed.

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  • Wanderer Dreamer Romance Reader
  • 05-31-22

An incredible forbidden, small town romance!

Almost Priest is book one in the McCullough Mountain series and is the incredible forbidden love story of Colin McCullough and Samantha Dougherty.
Samantha has agreed to go home to the mountains with Braydon McCullough, she knows there is nothing more to their relationship than friendship, however it becomes clear very quickly that Braydon not only thinks they are more but expects them to share a bed despite never having never done so to date. Sammy makes it clear that she isn’t comfortable with that and ends up with a room of her own but gets the shock of her life when she comes face to face with Colin in the bathroom that connects their rooms. Colin has just got out of the shower and Sammy’s body instantly reacts to him, she feels things for him she doesn’t feel for his brother and begins wondering if she is with the wrong McCullough, only to find out her beautiful bathroom sharing companion is about to become a priest and take a vow of celibacy. To say she is devastated would be an understatement and she tries everything she can to stay away from him, but she is drawn to him like a moth to a flame, heart, body, and soul.
Colin McCullough has known since he was 12 years old that he wanted to join the church. He has been to Ireland and now he’s back, he is just 2 months away from taking his vows and giving himself to the church wholeheartedly. That is until his little brother brings a girl home to the mountains, and she walks into the bathroom they share. He has never had feelings or urges for a woman before, but Sammy just does things to him and his body. He see’s that his brother is pretty much ignoring her and has no idea about her fear of water, so he takes it upon himself to be her guide and help her overcome her fear. The two grow close and despite them both fighting their attraction they can’t help but fall not only in lust with one another but also in love, leaving Colin with one hell of a decision on his hands. Does he follow his head and love for the church or his heart and his love for Sammy?
Amber Battaglia brought this incredible audiobook to life and did so on a solo basis. Considering there are eleventy billion side characters/family members as well as Colin, Samantha, and Braydon to focus on, Amber was a total rockstar and brought the house down with her performance.
I absolutely loved this forbidden romance story, the way they tried in vain to resist each other but that pull of attraction was simply to much and they had no choice but to give in. I laughed, cried, swooned, got angry and swooned some more during this. I’m so looking forward to falling in love with the rest of the McCullough clan and their stories throughout the rest of this series.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Julia TeamStarlite
  • 05-29-22

Almost Priest

At first this story was kind of confusing for me.
When you meet all the McCullough family members - and there are a LOT.

Colin and Sam had an instant connection and attraction, but both wanted to deny it.
The outcome was predictable, but still I enjoyed the story.

Think the McCulloughs are a funny, chaotic family and I wanna get to know them better.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michelle
  • Michelle
  • 05-26-22

really enjoyed it

I really enjoyed this taboo romance between Sam and Colin. When Sam spends the holidays at her boyfriend's family home, the last thing she expected was to fall for his brother, Colin, an almost priest.

The chemistry between these two was electric, I loved every minute of it. Their struggle, passion, and love were just so sweet and touching. I could feel their pain and it was clear how much these two meant to each other.

This book was exceptionally well written and I really enjoyed it. I dropped one star just for the fact that I am Irish and I saw one or two misconceptions when it comes to the Irish language and culture, unfortunately for me, I couldn't overlook it, however, if I (the reader) were unaware of these, it would have been an easy 5 stars.

Overall I highly recommend this audiobook.

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Profile Image for Bette
  • Bette
  • 05-21-22

A Sinfully Beautiful & Amazing Story & Listen🎧

Lydia Michaels never ceases to amaze or entertain me, she is truly a gifted author with a brilliant mind and regardless of the genre or trope I know it is going to be a treat of a story, one that will captivate my attention from start to end and “Almost Priest” is all that and more. First off, I have to say it is a great start to a new series, the McCullough family are quite the bunch and despite not having met them all yet, i just know each story is going to be something special. Braydon McCullough brings his girl friend Samantha Dougherty back home with him so she could spend their summer break from college on the mountain. His family welcomes her with open arms and Samantha just adores them and the big family dynamics and the camaraderie amongst them, it was something she did not have growing up. Staying in Braydon’s room, she surprised another McCullough by walking in on him, his older brother Colin, even more surprising was the instant attraction she felt for him. Colin, studied to become a priest and is close to making his vows to the church and to god, he has always been devout and abstinent, but Samantha stirs up something in him he never felt before and he has to fight that feeling, not only for his sake but his brother’s sake too. Brayden and Samantha’s relationship is not as it seems, and even his mother and family can see that. But they never see what is happening between Colin and Sam, the two connected like no other, they share a special bond, and while he fights the attraction for the sake of his faith, it is hard to fight feelings as strong and true as the ones they share. Holy moly, the depth and layers to this story are absolutely amazing and the same goes for all the drama, heartfelt emotions and the sensual and stolen moments they got to share. Lydia Michals, thank you for another wonderful story and emotional rollercoaster ride, I am looking forward to more visits with the McCulloughs.

🎧📚🎧 And for the fabulous narration, Amber Battaglia is a talented narrator and versatile voice artist. She did an awesome job bringing the characters to life, performing the voices for both the male and female characters, giving each their own distinct sound, making it easy to follow along and tell who is who. She had a complete understanding of the characters she was portraying, took each role and made it her own, sounding believable and just as I pictured the character to sound. You could hear how much heart she put into her work as she captured all the characters’ emotions and projected them into her performance and had you feeling every single one. Amber Battaglia is an entertaining storyteller and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you for this great listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mangankillarney
  • mangankillarney
  • 05-20-22

oh sweet lord

Loved the narration of Amber Battaglia

Samantha goes home with a classmate Braydon McCullough for summer break in college . The McCullough family is a tradition Irish family who have 7 children . Colin is the oldest brother and who always wanted to be a priest and just short of making his final vows . Well that is until Samantha showed up and turned his world upside down . This will be the longest three weeks in both their lives .

What a listen ... WOW