WARNING: There is domestic violence in this book. The author does not sugarcoat the scenes, they are a bit rough. If this is a sensitive subject for you, please take it into consideration.
This is book one in the Corps Security Series and it is a fantastic start to a fabulous series. This book will focus on the relationship between Isabelle (Izzy) West and Holt (Axel) Reid. There is a lot of “book” packed into the 260 pages, so get ready and hang on to your emotions and your panties, because they will both be hanging on by a thin thread by the end of this rollercoaster.
This book is told through the POV of Izzy and Axel. I love it when an author uses both the H and h to tell the story. Most of the time I feel that it’s a perk. Maybe not completely necessary, but more of a bonus. In this story, it is totally necessary. These two characters are on opposite sides of the globe when it comes to the re-telling of “their” story.
Izzy and Axel met when they were in high school and fell madly in love. So much so that they planned out their future and new they were going to get a “happy ever after”. Axel is a foster kid, not from a very good foster home and as soon as the opportunity presents itself, he enlists in the Marines. Izzy is a year behind him, but they make plans to reunite as soon as his basic training is over. Tragic events occur to Izzy that will forever change the destination of her future plans.
I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you that because of one of the tragedies that struck Izzy, she is forced to move from Georgia to North Carolina and live with her grandparents. Afraid of losing contact with Axel, she does the only thing she can think of, and leaves her new address with Axel’s foster mom. Needless to say, but the address was never forwarded and Axel believes that Izzy left him and Izzy believes that Axel has been killed (that’s because the foster mom told her that).
Izzy goes to college, meets Brandon, marries Brandon, then gets beaten continuously by Brandon. She finally gains the strength to leave Brandon and begins her new life in Georgia with her BFF’s, Dee and Greg. This is in essence where the story actually begins.
Dee and Izzy met in college and became friends fast. When Izzy finds the strength to leave her husband, it’s Greg who helps Dee with Izzy’s situation. So, the three of them are thick as thieves and I love the way Ms. Sloan wrote their relationship. It was written in a very familial way, not a sexual one. You can feel the love that these three have for one another. Izzy and Greg share an unfortunate connection. Greg’s sister, Grace, was too in an abusive relationship. Sadly, she didn’t make it out alive, so the bond between them two is pretty unbreakable.
Greg owns a security business and it is growing so much, that he enlists the help of his military buddies to go into business with him. Surely now you can see where this is going. Axel happens to be one of the buddies. Greg knows Izzy’s past, but doesn’t know Axel as Axel, so he has never put two and two together. When circumstances force them to meet, shock is an understatement. For crying out loud, Izzy thought he was actually dead, so imagine seeing that ghost. Axel is of course pissed, because he did eventually find out that Izzy was married, so in true “Alpha Male” style, he becomes somewhat of a ass when they meet for the first time in twelve years.
I’m not going to give all the “fun” away, but this story doesn’t stop from the first page to the last. Izzy refuses to speak to Axel, which as the reader is a bit frustrating, because she is harboring a life altering secret that he deserves to know. I understand why the author kept the lack of communication the way she did, it’s just irritating when neither one of them would confront what happened. Now, obviously this is a love story and with that the H/h need to get their happy ending. Izzy and Axel finally do see the error of their ways, it just takes one ex-husband who doesn’t want to let go in order for that to happen.
Lots and lots of heartache through violence in this one, but in the end, it is a journey worth taking. The author does a great job in this book introducing you to the supporting characters. They will all get their book, but as the reader, it’s nice to have an established relationship when starting the remaining books. All of the characters have terrific back and forth banter. The closeness of their group, is almost enviable. I love that Harper Sloan did not need to have any past females of Axel’s pop up. I appreciate that she had enough baggage for Izzy, that she didn’t need any additional baggage to add to the drama of their relationship.
To see the love that Axel and Izzy have for one another actually bring them their deserved fairytale is a very powerful thing. I enjoy reading a powerful alpha male, I mean don’t we all? What I think really brings out “alpha hotness” is when he is not afraid to put his vulnerability on display. My heart broke for everything that Izzy and Axel had to go through, but it was smiling by the time to last page was turned.
The sex scenes rock. As the reader, you know that Izzy is going to have some sort of an adjustment period, but boy, they did not disappoint in the steaminess of their needs. It was A LOT of pent up frustration and heartache and really twelve years of missing your other half, all thrown in to some serious bedroom games. I told you, panties-thin thread, hang on to em’.
All in all, this is a great start to a great series. Next up is Greg Cage’s story. I think that while these books are emotional to read, they are quick and very difficult to put down. I hope you enjoy them. I mean look at the cover, if you can’t get some sort of “gasm” just by looking at that, you are probably reading the wrong genre.