Title: AXEL (Corps Security #1)
Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.
Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.
For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.
When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.
Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.
How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?
Note from the author--This book is intended for a mature reading audience and isn't suitable for younger readers.
I’ve been eyeing Harper Sloan’s Corps Security series for a long time now but just didn’t have the time to read and really get into it since it’s quite lengthy. Five books and a novella, right? However, during the last few days of January I came across the synopsis for Harper’s upcoming book which is Unexpected Fate and I immediately liked it. Have you read the synopsis? Damn, that alone is already breaking my heart. I’ll probably be needing tissues while reading that book. I did some scrolling over its Goodreads page and saw that the story will revolve around the kids of the main characters from Corps Security. That gave me the push and so here I am, doing my assignment and getting acquainted with these characters.
“Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.” More than ten years of being pinned down under Fate’s thumb, piled up misunderstanding since then and “quite free” from her abusive ex-husband, a blast from her past comes strolling back in her life.
Axel. Her first and true love.
After years of scouring all over the place, Axel never thought that he’d FINALLY see her. Fate’s playing around with them again. Not funny. Their confrontation and years of pent up anger must take a back seat first because of Izzy being placed in a life threatening situation brought in by her douchebag of an ex-husband, Brandon. Deal with Brandon and talk.
Now that they’re reunited with each other, Axel’s desire to protect her, to love her and basically his every desire for her fires up in his system while Izzy craves for him and his love too. Lust. Love. Yes, they still pretty much have it for each other. But before they are going to be able to move forward, there are a lot of things that they need to address first concerning their past.
Both of them need answers. But can they handle it when everything is all said and done? Is their love for each other strong enough?
Axel by Harper Sloan is good debut novel and series starter. The story may be quite predictable for me but then it still managed to impress me when it came down to its pacing, the uniqueness of the intensity that the story brought and how every emotion that Harper Sloan poured into these characters seems to have come to life and found its way to claw in my heart.
The story is told from alternating POVs of Izzy and Axel from the present and a number of flashback sequences were included to recount their relationship as childhood sweethearts. From the flashbacks, you can really feel how deeply rooted they are with each other and their relationship. Their love just pours out from those pages of the book. So what happened? Miscommunication? Oh yeah, that played a big ass part here. I forgot; throw in a bit of stupidity too! What happened with them was a big ball of misunderstanding due to taking other people’s word who is obviously someone they shouldn’t believe in. Thus, they ended up hating each other for all the wrong reasons.
A painful past and a painful path to the present, that’s what you’re getting yourself into with this book. Isabelle West seems to never run out of tough luck cards in her life. She moves from one painful experience to another down to ending up with an abusive husband and a failed marriage. Sloan pulled out all the dramatic stops in this book which got me into thinking, for real? Can a person really have that kind of luck? Yes, the situations her character was put through were realistic. But with almost everything happening to her one after the other, I don’t know but for me it feels like going way overboard.
I cry for everything what fate has done to her and her life. I know that the author wrote a warning in the first few pages of the book for domestic violence being present in the story but despite that I still wasn’t prepared. The horror to read what Brandon did to her, unimaginable but so real. She suffered so much pain and I know it isn’t easy to deal with. But I know that people can deal with it without being much of an alcoholic. I didn’t like that she took that road. Well, that’s how she’s coping with the drama in her life then so be it. But take note: You won’t be able to solve a thing if you’re too drunk to think of ways of how to pull yourself from the depths of pain and anger. I have to praise Dee and Greg for being so protective, understanding, patient and being there for Izzy even if she tends to be a bit difficult.
Axel Reid, Damn! He’s a man on a mission: to protect and claim her woman once again. He’s over the top possessive (I rolled my eyes a couple of times) towards Izzy and swears a lot (filthy mouth too) but the scenes wherein they were talking about their past and the whole truth comes out has truly taken a toll on him. Seeing an Alpha male character crying and having a breaking down moment was enough to make me cry along with him. Add in the visual that Sloan painted in my imagination with her words. Every whimper that he made, every shake of his shoulder and every tear that leaked out of his eyes I imagined and felt it in my bones. It was heartbreaking.
But that part when Axel telling Izzy that they’re happening already wasn’t just enough for me. I know they’ve rehashed and unravelled the truth but I would gladly take it if there were scenes wherein they were shown working out and rebuilding their relationship after that shit storm they’ve both suffered from the past. I know that Axel’s character is such an imposing one but by not having those scenes it feels like that that fact was being imposed to the readers. I think, those were highly important scenes for a second chance romance themed book, especially given Axel and Izzy’s situation wherein fate has time and time again stepped in and royally screwed them over. Hey, that’s what I just thought.
Looking at the previous books that I’ve read, I haven’t come across a book filled with Alpha male characters and all of them being an ex-Marine at that. It’s definitely an interesting and huge change from the usual reads that I fervor. Axel, Greg, Beck, Coop and Maddox truly turned the heat up a notch and at the same time playing important roles in the story. In addition, they aren’t just hot bods because Sloan managed to breathe in and give these characters such distinct personalities. You could certainly tell their characters apart from each other and I had so much fun being in their presence. Despite being described as hotties with pounds of muscles in them and acts uber possessive dudes, all of them are a huge softie. Yes, all of them and we’ve seen a glimpses of it here in Axel. I can't wait to see more of it!
I think one my favourite parts of this story is the great set of characters that surrounds Axel and Izzy and the friendship that they have with them. I adore every single thing about Dee, Greg, Coop, Beck and Maddox. Even Sway. I love them even more because they showered Axel and Izzy with so much love and support. Something both of those characters needed. It was also so obvious that Harper Sloan was teasing us, though. If you’ve been very observant, she left important marks in this story wherein we could possibly see where the story line will go or the conflict for specific characters will lie. I’m super teased. Damn, if I can only read these books all the daylong I would do just that! I want to know what happens with Maddox and Emmy, Dee and Beck, Greg and also for Coop. This book left me wanting to know and to be with these characters more when I finished it. So expect to read more reviews coming from this series in the following days because I'll definitely be picking up those books!
Axel by Harper Sloan is a story about getting a second shot at love, a powerful and beautiful kind of first love that overcomes every heartache and suffering, and a chance to be healed. I would like to recommend this book to readers who love drama, angst, oh so hot Alpha-male characters, steamy scenes, and a great friendship story.