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Shield

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I never thought we’d get a second chance. Fox Walker is the CIA’s best hacker, but his latest case has him stumped. He comes to Hidden Creek hot on the data trail of a terrorist, but his own past traumas still haunt him, and he can’t forget the sexy Green Beret he met in Syria eight years ago. Former Green Beret Axel Ford is now with the FBI, stationed in Hidden Creek an I never thought we’d get a second chance. Fox Walker is the CIA’s best hacker, but his latest case has him stumped. He comes to Hidden Creek hot on the data trail of a terrorist, but his own past traumas still haunt him, and he can’t forget the sexy Green Beret he met in Syria eight years ago. Former Green Beret Axel Ford is now with the FBI, stationed in Hidden Creek and investigating a domestic bombing ring. He works too much, plays too little, and still thinks that he’s straight. So when he bumps into Fox after all these years, he can’t explain why he’s drawn to the geek. Fox and Axel must work fast before more lives are lost, but in the heat of the moment everything they thought they’d buried in Syria bursts through into their hearts. Can they stop an international terrorist conspiracy, save this small town, and still find time for their second chance at love? Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains a sassy nerd, an all-American hero, and some seriously explosive amateur chemistry.


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I never thought we’d get a second chance. Fox Walker is the CIA’s best hacker, but his latest case has him stumped. He comes to Hidden Creek hot on the data trail of a terrorist, but his own past traumas still haunt him, and he can’t forget the sexy Green Beret he met in Syria eight years ago. Former Green Beret Axel Ford is now with the FBI, stationed in Hidden Creek an I never thought we’d get a second chance. Fox Walker is the CIA’s best hacker, but his latest case has him stumped. He comes to Hidden Creek hot on the data trail of a terrorist, but his own past traumas still haunt him, and he can’t forget the sexy Green Beret he met in Syria eight years ago. Former Green Beret Axel Ford is now with the FBI, stationed in Hidden Creek and investigating a domestic bombing ring. He works too much, plays too little, and still thinks that he’s straight. So when he bumps into Fox after all these years, he can’t explain why he’s drawn to the geek. Fox and Axel must work fast before more lives are lost, but in the heat of the moment everything they thought they’d buried in Syria bursts through into their hearts. Can they stop an international terrorist conspiracy, save this small town, and still find time for their second chance at love? Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains a sassy nerd, an all-American hero, and some seriously explosive amateur chemistry.

30 review for Shield

  1. 4 out of 5

    Myriam

    Solid 3,5 stars The rating might make you think otherwise but I actually really enjoyed this. With the series of abysmally written DNF's I had recently it was such a pleasure to finally get lost in something well written again. This was a solidly entertaining mix of action and romance that just didn't shake my world enough for 4 or even 5 stars. A quick list of observations: - the pace is quick and unfortunately some plot development gets sacrificed in the process - a bit of insta-lust tinged by ins Solid 3,5 stars The rating might make you think otherwise but I actually really enjoyed this. With the series of abysmally written DNF's I had recently it was such a pleasure to finally get lost in something well written again. This was a solidly entertaining mix of action and romance that just didn't shake my world enough for 4 or even 5 stars. A quick list of observations: - the pace is quick and unfortunately some plot development gets sacrificed in the process - a bit of insta-lust tinged by insta-love - Axel gets over being a straight guy suddenly wanting to fuck a dude *really* quickly - on the one hand that's great because low angst and I have read that a million times - on the other hand it's a little unrealistic (like I said development gets sacrificed for pace) - the action is crackling and feels realistic - then again Hidden Creek seems like a hot-spot for criminal activity and drama, weird for a small town I would definitely read more about these two but this series is built on stand-alones. I think I might check out other parts of the series when I once more absolutely can't find anything good to read. This seems like a reliable good time. Definitely recommended!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bo

    This was a great read, but it needed more imo. The plot was exciting and fast paced, but I needed more romance in the equation. The plot overshadowed the book, and the characters didn't get together until the last 10%. I wanted more couple on page. I have no doubt this would've been a 5 start read if that had happened.

  3. 4 out of 5

    SoCalBookReviews

    This book is one part of a six book series, all written by different Authors. All books are a standalone with supporting characters coming from each of the different books. I found this book to be really interesting and the premise held my attention throughout the entire book. Without giving the story away, There was a ton of Action and suspense and a little mystery as to what was happening during this book. Fox, a Hacker/CIA agent, was super witty and sassy and was the perfect opposite of the ot This book is one part of a six book series, all written by different Authors. All books are a standalone with supporting characters coming from each of the different books. I found this book to be really interesting and the premise held my attention throughout the entire book. Without giving the story away, There was a ton of Action and suspense and a little mystery as to what was happening during this book. Fox, a Hacker/CIA agent, was super witty and sassy and was the perfect opposite of the other main character which makes the Snarky banter between the two extra fun to read. Axel Ford is Former Military turned FBI and is really hard working and stoic. These two had met during a military operation years before, and are now getting a second chance to get to know each other and see what they missed out on all those years ago. The only downside of this book was the ending, after all the action in the book, the end was just a little anti-climactic for me, I wish we got more info and back story on the bad guy and why he did what he did. Other than that this book was pretty Great. I've never read this author before but I will look forward to reading another of their books in the future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristine (A Cozy Booknook)

    This book takes off with a bang and doesn’t stop until the final page is turned. The author has crafted a well-written story dull of twists and a few surprises. The characters are complex and likable, I enjoyed getting to know them. There is something for everyone in this story, suspense, action, romance, and love. This is the first book by this author I have read and it won’t be my last. This is one of the books in The Men of Hidden Creek series. Each book is written by a different author and c This book takes off with a bang and doesn’t stop until the final page is turned. The author has crafted a well-written story dull of twists and a few surprises. The characters are complex and likable, I enjoyed getting to know them. There is something for everyone in this story, suspense, action, romance, and love. This is the first book by this author I have read and it won’t be my last. This is one of the books in The Men of Hidden Creek series. Each book is written by a different author and can be read as a stand-alone with appearances from familiar characters. I received a copy of this book from the author, my review has been voluntarily submitted.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    this is my first book by this author but I really enjoyed it. both characters were fun to read about - had their strenght and weaknesses and did really connect with me. the romance was a bit quick - especially the "lust at first sight and can't forget you for 8 years" thing ... but it worked. the suspense part was quite well done and on the whole this was fun to read. I will defnitely read it again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacq ~

    Starts off with a bang literally this was a first glance. Next we get a second chance. Fox still CIA hacker Ford ex special forces and a bad ass hero, now a FBI agent. Turned out to be sweet read. Full of action and some Luv. My only disappointment was the bad guy was too easy and typical.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenn (not Lily)

    Exciting chase the bad guys adventure, and still an absolutely lovely romance! The auto-sass default setting on Fox is fantastic, and Axel is wonderfully protective. Can't wait to read more of Hidden Creek to see what the other authors have in mind!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kendra T

    Axel and Fox--they met in Syria when Fox was a CIA agent who needed back up from the military. They only knew each other for less than 24 hours, and never connected. 8 years later, they both still thought about the other, and they were able to connect for real when they see each other again. Axel now works as an FBI SAC and Fox is still in the CIA. The cases they are working on happen to end up being the same, so they end up working together. Axel has always thought he was straight, but he defin Axel and Fox--they met in Syria when Fox was a CIA agent who needed back up from the military. They only knew each other for less than 24 hours, and never connected. 8 years later, they both still thought about the other, and they were able to connect for real when they see each other again. Axel now works as an FBI SAC and Fox is still in the CIA. The cases they are working on happen to end up being the same, so they end up working together. Axel has always thought he was straight, but he definitely questions that once he sees Fox again. They end up having a great connection, and they work well together. Axel is very much the perfect match for Fox. Max Hawthorn is a new to me author, and I don't see any other books by her, so I'm guessing she is a new author all together. I am so glad I found this series and tried her out. The characters were lovable, the story was intriguing, and the details were a perfect mix of detailed and understandable. I really, really enjoyed this, and will definitely look for new books by Max! I am voluntarily reviewing an ARC received from LesCourt Author Services

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Max Hawthorn has delivered a Five-alarm read!!! We start the story in Aleppo Syria - okay my interest was piqued right there - a CIA intelligence nerd (read their best hacker) named Fox Walker sent to a war zone to retrieve intel and so very obviously in the DEEP end and out of his comfort zone. He's described as a lithe, lanky redhead, and so very obviously out of place in the desert. Enter Spec Ops Captain Axel Ford, yes that IS his real name, the Green Beret in charge of making sure Fox gets i Max Hawthorn has delivered a Five-alarm read!!! We start the story in Aleppo Syria - okay my interest was piqued right there - a CIA intelligence nerd (read their best hacker) named Fox Walker sent to a war zone to retrieve intel and so very obviously in the DEEP end and out of his comfort zone. He's described as a lithe, lanky redhead, and so very obviously out of place in the desert. Enter Spec Ops Captain Axel Ford, yes that IS his real name, the Green Beret in charge of making sure Fox gets in, gets his info, and gets out alive. Extra smoking HOT Captain Ford, the kind of guy that makes Fox sit up and bark! Except he's military, Fox is CIA and Fox is there to do a job. Things go squirrelly, as things are wont to do, and Fox finds himself getting shot at and blown up but he does get out of there alive, thanks to sexy Captain 'Probably Straight' Ford. But not without some battle scars in the form of unacknowledged PTSD. Eight years later Fox is still the CIA's best hacker and he's currently in a little town outside of Houston, Texas, called Hidden Creek, trying to track down yet another terrorist - this one of the variety that likes to make things go BOOM - through his data trails. Hot in pursuit of his bad guy who does Fox run into but Captain Axel Ford - now Special Agent in Charge of the local FBI office. And don't the sparks just fly? or was it the building exploding? Turns out they're both after the same guy, Axel's domestic terrorist is Fox's international terrorist. Axel and Fox find themselves working together yet again, and the heat from the desert country of Syria flares even hotter in good old Texas - everything is bigger there, after all. But they're also working to stop a man with an agenda and a link to Fox's past before he hurts more people. How many more lives are on the line? How many more buildings will he blow up before they find him? And when they do, will they be forced to lay it all on the line, lay their lives down, to stop him just as they're discovering what they have is worth living for. I thoroughly enjoyed Max Hawthorn's no nonsense writing style. I felt like I was in that tent in Syria, the burning building in Hidden Creek, the speeding car as it was being shot at, in the bedroom when things _really_ combust. Their action sequences were exciting and fun, their writing crisp and clean. Definitely going to read more by this author as it comes out! Book series blurb: Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! It's a collection of shared world novels with authors Ed Davis, HJ Welch, Avery Ford, Max Hawthorn, and Ian Lewis. The books are stand alones with HEA that don't have to be read in any particular order.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tizerkane

    **************** Borrowed from Kindle Unlimited. I will always state when I borrowed something from Kindle Unlimited and whether I purchased it afterward or not! Why? Well, if I've borrowed something from KU, it - by default - means I am very unsure of either the author (if that author is new to me) or that specific book (in general)! I ADORE purchasing and owning my books, BUT for books or authors I'm unsure of, KU is a phenomenal way to try before committing! Regardless, it means I'm very much on **************** Borrowed from Kindle Unlimited. I will always state when I borrowed something from Kindle Unlimited and whether I purchased it afterward or not! Why? Well, if I've borrowed something from KU, it - by default - means I am very unsure of either the author (if that author is new to me) or that specific book (in general)! I ADORE purchasing and owning my books, BUT for books or authors I'm unsure of, KU is a phenomenal way to try before committing! Regardless, it means I'm very much on the fence, for whatever reason! I'll highlight the outcome either way ... I'll either be glad it was on KU so I could give it back, or I'll have ADORED it and will decided to purchase right after borrowing :-)!! I think it's a nice way to keep track; it might help someone else who's on the fence!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    This book ticked several categories I like. I enjoy the former military man. I enjoy the CIA/FBI/abc agency MCs. I enjoy the "not as straight as he thought" books. The MCs met several years ago in Syria, and had a sort of connection but neither acted on it. Now they're thrown back together working on a terrorism investigation. The investigation was entertaining, although I felt at points that things were too simple or didn't make sense there, but never in a way that made me want to put the book d This book ticked several categories I like. I enjoy the former military man. I enjoy the CIA/FBI/abc agency MCs. I enjoy the "not as straight as he thought" books. The MCs met several years ago in Syria, and had a sort of connection but neither acted on it. Now they're thrown back together working on a terrorism investigation. The investigation was entertaining, although I felt at points that things were too simple or didn't make sense there, but never in a way that made me want to put the book down. The romance was...well, there wasn't as much romance as I wanted, but what was there was good. I just wanted more. 3.5 stars for me, rounding up to 4.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Wood

    I cannot believe I just learned of this series! So, if you’re reading this one, then perhaps you read about the explosion last book, well this one is everything surrounding it, so it happens in same time as the other book, so I’d say you don’t have to read them in chronological order, but it would help to. So, in this one, we have a different author, one who is new to me. All of these books are written by someone different, and I really like the idea of that. In this book though, we have Axel an I cannot believe I just learned of this series! So, if you’re reading this one, then perhaps you read about the explosion last book, well this one is everything surrounding it, so it happens in same time as the other book, so I’d say you don’t have to read them in chronological order, but it would help to. So, in this one, we have a different author, one who is new to me. All of these books are written by someone different, and I really like the idea of that. In this book though, we have Axel and Fox. Fox is a government-hired hacker who chooses to do work for the country now, instead of illegally like he used to. He first meets Ford on an assignment overseas to obtain a flash drive that almost gets them all killed. 8 years later, he still can’t stop thinking about the guy who saved his life…. Working for the government never keeps him in one place long, so for now, he’s in little town Texas, looking for a terrorist organization that’s known for explosives… when the FBI also traces their suspect to the same place, he comes face to face with the guy he’s thought about for the last 8 years. Ford is straight, though I didn’t realize that going in or I might’ve skipped it. I’m glad I didn’t. Ford is retired from the military and is now working for he FBI, who’s trying to find their terrorist. Walking right into an undercover operation by Fox, their terrorist is always a step ahead of them, and Ford saves Fox’s life once again. That starts their hunt to find the guy who ends up having ties to one of the men and it’s a big ol’ action-packed adventure. I’ll admit it kept me intrigued … I loved how the intense situations forced these two to admit their feelings for each other, because I thought for sure we’d have a little trouble with Axel, but there’s nothing like mortality to help you realize how much you care for someone… even if their dialogue was a wee bit cringy there towards the end. I still adored them together and I love where they ended up, and a plan for the future together. Very cute. I can’t wait to see who’s next. 4 stars from me

  13. 4 out of 5

    May Lacer

    4.5 stars Another good book by an author who is new to me. I'm not usually into romantic suspense, and because I just one-clicked this book after finishing Shelter I was surprised that both Axel and Fox worked for governmental law enforcement. The previous book in this series was a slow paced small town kind of story. But my surprise didn't last long and I ended up really enjoying this book. There was a lot of plot stuffed into this book, and there are two ways to look at that. On the upside, I wa 4.5 stars Another good book by an author who is new to me. I'm not usually into romantic suspense, and because I just one-clicked this book after finishing Shelter I was surprised that both Axel and Fox worked for governmental law enforcement. The previous book in this series was a slow paced small town kind of story. But my surprise didn't last long and I ended up really enjoying this book. There was a lot of plot stuffed into this book, and there are two ways to look at that. On the upside, I was on the proverbial edge of my seat the entire time and finished the book quickly. On the downside, I felt like a lot of things were not as fully fleshed out as they could/should have been. Axel and Fox were both great characters, similar in some ways and different in others, but they worked well as a team and as a couple. Their chemistry was great, despite the insta-lust, which I don't mind. I was a little disappointed that Axel had no real journey of accepting that he was bisexual. Then again, his character was mostly unflappable, so it did suit him to just roll with it. And the sex between them is both explosive and sweet, with Fox leading the way and showing Axel the ropes. I will say that it's strange to find an action/suspense story in the middle of what I assumed would be a series about local boys. But it works. I would definitely be interested in reading more about Axel and Fox, because it feels like they will have many more adventures together in the future. The supporting characters in this book weren't as good as in Shelter and without looking at the blurb of the next book in the series I have no idea who the next main characters are, which always annoys me for some reason. Like, I want to know who's going to be coupled up next so I can keep an eye on them. I'm looking forward to the next book, and will definitely check out more things written by Max Hawthorn in the future. Originally posted on Love is Love Reviews

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A connection, a fire fight, an eight year separation. There's a lot that life throws between Axel and Fox, but fate's not done with them. On American soil they get a second chance, but only if they can find the courage to take a risk, swallow pride to ask for help, and work together to take out the home-grown hacker terrorist eluding them. I really liked Fox right away. His awkward, sassy, brilliance was quirky and endearing. Axel took a little longer to warm up to because our first introduction A connection, a fire fight, an eight year separation. There's a lot that life throws between Axel and Fox, but fate's not done with them. On American soil they get a second chance, but only if they can find the courage to take a risk, swallow pride to ask for help, and work together to take out the home-grown hacker terrorist eluding them. I really liked Fox right away. His awkward, sassy, brilliance was quirky and endearing. Axel took a little longer to warm up to because our first introduction to his mind is as an FBI agent who works too much and isn't willing to admit he's lonely. I think my gradual warming to him was like his gradual warming to his feelings for Fox. Slow to take root, fits and starts, and then a big ole whack upside the head. By the end of the story I couldn't imagine not liking him. He was willing to ask the hard questions, finally open to accepting his attraction to a man, protective of Fox, and so tender and caring under all the alpha male control. Fox read quite a bit younger than I think he was. His sass helped with that, but it was also his lack of a jaded attitude, his vehement expressions of patriotism, his faith in his abilities, and his unwillingness to slow down or admit to a problem that would bench him. When he was finally willing to admit the need for help with his PTSD he also realized that he had support from someone who genuinely cared for him and listened to his opinions, trusted his intelligence. They became the best partners at home and support in their jobs. So while the story felt like it was a little too drawn out, too many little details about everything leading up to the bigger scenes, there was enough personal detail and growth that their romance was believable. Fox and Axel made up for the over-the-top villain and confrontation scene and excessive minutia; they won me over completely.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Wow, this book was intense! Fox and Axel run into each other via their jobs eight years after they first meet in Syria.. also due to their jobs. Fox is a genius hacker-turned-CIA-operative who has been chasing a bomber with terrorist ties across the country for months. Axel is a workaholic, former Green Beret, and now the SAC of the FBI field office near Hidden Creek, TX. He and his agents are after domestic terrorists, and his case and Fox’s intersect one day. Cue some serious action and suspen Wow, this book was intense! Fox and Axel run into each other via their jobs eight years after they first meet in Syria.. also due to their jobs. Fox is a genius hacker-turned-CIA-operative who has been chasing a bomber with terrorist ties across the country for months. Axel is a workaholic, former Green Beret, and now the SAC of the FBI field office near Hidden Creek, TX. He and his agents are after domestic terrorists, and his case and Fox’s intersect one day. Cue some serious action and suspense! The two work together to bring down the bombers while trying to fight against the instant connection between them that was first forged in a Syrian war zone years ago. Axel was a bit dense when it came to how he felt, seeing as he has never thought of himself as anything but straight before. The sexual tension between these men is palpable (and rather delicious), and it’s pretty explosive when they finally give in. But things aren’t easy with them on the heels of terrorists determined to destroy them.. especially when they discover they have a history with Fox and start taunting them. This fast-paced story had me on the edge of my seat through the last half of the book, and I could not put it down until I got to the end. This is the most action-packed book in the Men of Hidden Creek series, and as someone who loves some heart-stopping action thrown in with her romance, I enjoyed it a lot. I do wish it was a little longer so the romance aspect could have been fleshed out a little more before the last couple of chapters, as it seemed a bit rushed before that considering everything else happening at the same time.. but still a great read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Violet Marshall

    This is a book in the Men of Hidden Creek Series which is a multiple author series. Although the books are in a series they can be read in any order. The series includes the following books: Shield by - Max Hawthorn Serve by - Ian O Lewis Storm by - HJ Welch Stay by - Avery Ford Score by - A. E. Wasp Shelter by – E. Davies This book is more of a 4.5 Stars. A spellbinding story with great writing. The Prologue had me hooked from the start. The plot was entertaining and it was steady throughout the book. This is a book in the Men of Hidden Creek Series which is a multiple author series. Although the books are in a series they can be read in any order. The series includes the following books: Shield by - Max Hawthorn Serve by - Ian O Lewis Storm by - HJ Welch Stay by - Avery Ford Score by - A. E. Wasp Shelter by – E. Davies This book is more of a 4.5 Stars. A spellbinding story with great writing. The Prologue had me hooked from the start. The plot was entertaining and it was steady throughout the book. I found the story and characters captivating. The characters were well developed and thought out. Fox Walker and Axel Ford are the MC’s of this book. There was lots of humor, FBI, CIA, explosions and a fire, gun fights, bad guys, action, suspense, a car chase, sex and so much more in this book. Here is a quote from the book, “There were more messages waiting for him when he got out. He’s cute. Very formal. Ex-military, I guess? Lacks your intelligence. No two numbers were the same, which meant his messages screen was filling up with these waste-of-space notes. “He’s having fun,” Axel said. “I guess everyone’s gotta have a hobby.” Fox dressed as quickly as he could. “Anything from your office?” “Nothing yet.” Axel pulled his shoes on. “You think we’ve got a chance of finding Kennedy just from some text messages?”. There is more but you will need to read the book which I can highly recommend. I voluntarily read an advance copy of this book for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Fox meets Axel as his first CIA mission goes sideways, and Axel protects him. Lust combined with gratitude? Perhaps, but it’s not the time or the place to explore their relationship – it’s over in a day, anyway. Eight years later, they find themselves working different angles of the same case, involving a hacker Fox used to know. There’s plenty of action, bullets, and even explosions, and while this is going on, Fox comes to realize that Axel is his safe place – his home. Axel likewise feels not Fox meets Axel as his first CIA mission goes sideways, and Axel protects him. Lust combined with gratitude? Perhaps, but it’s not the time or the place to explore their relationship – it’s over in a day, anyway. Eight years later, they find themselves working different angles of the same case, involving a hacker Fox used to know. There’s plenty of action, bullets, and even explosions, and while this is going on, Fox comes to realize that Axel is his safe place – his home. Axel likewise feels not only protective of Fox, but he also admires him for his intellect, his humor, his…more earthy attributes. They have to figure out how to work together to solve the case, though, so they’re in a bit of a spot. The conclusion of the case, the way they solve their dilemma of being in different agencies, and the way the two complete each other is quite thrilling, and good reading. There was a bit more boom and a bit less character/relationship development than I generally expect in a good romance novel, but it really was a nice change of pace. I particularly liked that Axel, the former Green Beret, Adonis-like alpha male, had no problem recognizing and celebrating Fox’s genius and his status as a full agent. The power dynamic was well written. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this novel in return for my honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michaelene

    Shield by Max Hawthorn is part of the Men of Hidden Creek series, but each book can be read as a standalone. I simply didn’t connect with this one and wanted a bit more romance to balance out the plot. Fox Walker fell hard for Axel Ford, the ex-Green Beret who saved Fox back in Syria. Eight years later, Fox and Axel’s cases diverge in a place called Hidden Creek. They decide to work together as chemistry begins to rise between them. I enjoyed Fox. He has more than his fair share of charisma. He’s Shield by Max Hawthorn is part of the Men of Hidden Creek series, but each book can be read as a standalone. I simply didn’t connect with this one and wanted a bit more romance to balance out the plot. Fox Walker fell hard for Axel Ford, the ex-Green Beret who saved Fox back in Syria. Eight years later, Fox and Axel’s cases diverge in a place called Hidden Creek. They decide to work together as chemistry begins to rise between them. I enjoyed Fox. He has more than his fair share of charisma. He’s a hacker, super smart, and has this quick wit. The one person Fox hasn’t forgotten in all these years is muscly, heroic, and straight Axel. Fox doesn’t expect to run into Axel who is now an FBI agent working to find the same enemy. Come-out stories always peak my interest. Axel has the whole bashful thing going on, but he’s also confident and take-charge, and the combination whets Fox’s appetite for more. I just wish there had been more romance—more internal conflict for both Axel and Fox. Something that had me anticipating each scene. As it was, I just lost interest and kept putting the book down. While this didn’t work for me, I think readers wanting a heavy suspense plot would enjoy this one more. 3 stars!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kirk

    I’m a sucker for a romance with a military theme and the blurb ticked a few other boxes for me too; MC thinking he’s straight, lots of slow burn and UST and a ton of action and suspense. CIA Agent Fox Walker fell for Axel Ford eight years ago on a mission in Syria when Axel saved his life and he can’t seem to forget the sexy ex-Green Beret. Fast forward eight years and we have them converging again in a town called Hidden Creek. Axel’s now with the FBI and Fox is the IT guru called in to help shu I’m a sucker for a romance with a military theme and the blurb ticked a few other boxes for me too; MC thinking he’s straight, lots of slow burn and UST and a ton of action and suspense. CIA Agent Fox Walker fell for Axel Ford eight years ago on a mission in Syria when Axel saved his life and he can’t seem to forget the sexy ex-Green Beret. Fast forward eight years and we have them converging again in a town called Hidden Creek. Axel’s now with the FBI and Fox is the IT guru called in to help shut down a bombing ring. There’s so much chemistry when they meet again. For how bold and smart Fox is, he’s on the back foot here; second guessing what’s going through Axel’s mind. The attraction between them ramps up and Axel starts to face some truths about himself and his sexuality. I love a big and tough MC who has an awakening and finds just what he needs right under his nose― Fox was just perfect for him ― and can then he could finally just be. I enjoyed all the action and the race to shut down the threat, it just was a great recipe for a good story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Axel and Fox met once years ago in Syria - it was Axel's job to protect Fox and he did it... barely. Years later they both think about that day... right up until the day they meet again on a terrorist case in Hidden Creek, Texas. Fox wants Axel - not just because he's hot but because he makes him feel safe. Meanwhile Axel is confused over his first real feelings for a man. Not a great combination when buildings are blowing up and they are both getting shot at. I didn't have a lot I loved or hate Axel and Fox met once years ago in Syria - it was Axel's job to protect Fox and he did it... barely. Years later they both think about that day... right up until the day they meet again on a terrorist case in Hidden Creek, Texas. Fox wants Axel - not just because he's hot but because he makes him feel safe. Meanwhile Axel is confused over his first real feelings for a man. Not a great combination when buildings are blowing up and they are both getting shot at. I didn't have a lot I loved or hated about this book.. it just kind of coasted. I never got invested in either character as much as I wanted to. I think part of this was that it took so long for the couple to actually get together. I was more invested in the suspense subplot than I was with Axel and Fox. Favorite Quote: He was a hero. Oh, sure, people might not see that on the surface, what with Fox’s delicate features and his slender body. He was like Axel’s total opposite in that regard, all flex and subtlety where Axel was hardness and strength.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erth

    Axel and Fox--they met in Syria when Fox was a CIA agent who needed back up from the military. They only knew each other for less than 24 hours, and never connected. 8 years later, they both still thought about the other, and they were able to connect for real when they see each other again. Axel now works as an FBI SAC and Fox is still in the CIA. The cases they are working on happen to end up being the same, so they end up working together. Axel has always thought he was straight, but he defin Axel and Fox--they met in Syria when Fox was a CIA agent who needed back up from the military. They only knew each other for less than 24 hours, and never connected. 8 years later, they both still thought about the other, and they were able to connect for real when they see each other again. Axel now works as an FBI SAC and Fox is still in the CIA. The cases they are working on happen to end up being the same, so they end up working together. Axel has always thought he was straight, but he definitely questions that once he sees Fox again. They end up having a great connection, and they work well together. Axel is very much the perfect match for Fox. Max Hawthorn is a new to me author, and I don't see any other books by her, so I'm guessing she is a new author all together. I am so glad I found this series and tried her out. The characters were lovable, the story was intriguing, and the details were a perfect mix of detailed and understandable. I really, really enjoyed this, and will definitely look for new books by Max!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    This started with a bang in more ways than one for Fox, Axel and the reader. Eight years later, there are still repercussions of their first meeting for both of these characters. I loved Fox’s sassy comebacks to all those around him but especially the ones for Axel. Axel is definitely the calm, cool guy that you want fighting for your side and looking out for you. Together, the computer genius and former Green Beret, make one hell of a team locating and fighting terrorism. The slow burn of chemi This started with a bang in more ways than one for Fox, Axel and the reader. Eight years later, there are still repercussions of their first meeting for both of these characters. I loved Fox’s sassy comebacks to all those around him but especially the ones for Axel. Axel is definitely the calm, cool guy that you want fighting for your side and looking out for you. Together, the computer genius and former Green Beret, make one hell of a team locating and fighting terrorism. The slow burn of chemistry between Fox and Axel lead up to some scorching and explosive scenes between the two! There is a lot of intense suspense and action in this book that I loved. There was a lot of technical computer language and knowledge of explosives used as well, that at times overwhelmed the romance story line between these two. Overall, it was a great addition to this series. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarita Chapdelaine

    I really enjoyed this book and found it to be well-written, fast-paced and with enough plot twists to keep me engaged until the end. The action is great and I love the heat between Fox and Axel. Their first meeting eight years earlier haunts Fox because of the circumstances and because he can't get thoughts of Axel out of his head. Axel now works for the FBI and he is surprised to run into Fox during a case. I love how Axel accepts his attraction to Fox without any angst even though he has never I really enjoyed this book and found it to be well-written, fast-paced and with enough plot twists to keep me engaged until the end. The action is great and I love the heat between Fox and Axel. Their first meeting eight years earlier haunts Fox because of the circumstances and because he can't get thoughts of Axel out of his head. Axel now works for the FBI and he is surprised to run into Fox during a case. I love how Axel accepts his attraction to Fox without any angst even though he has never thought of himself as anything other than straight before. They manage to find some time to be together amid the bombings, investigations and gunfights. They both realize their true feelings for each other during a deadly stand-off with their suspect. This is an excellent action/mystery story with enough romance to make me happy and a perfect ending. I look forward to reading more books by Max Hawthorn I was given an ARC to review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bo

    Explosive From the Start Explosions rock this book from beginning to end, with the ones toward the end between coverman Axel Ford of the FBI and his new crime solving partner Fox Walker of the CIA wall-to-wall scorching. That the two of them meet up cute in the town of Hidden Creek, Texas after having their first encounter eight years prior in Syria is just one of the literal and personal explosions that drive this book over the edge in every respect. I loved these two complete opposites who fit s Explosive From the Start Explosions rock this book from beginning to end, with the ones toward the end between coverman Axel Ford of the FBI and his new crime solving partner Fox Walker of the CIA wall-to-wall scorching. That the two of them meet up cute in the town of Hidden Creek, Texas after having their first encounter eight years prior in Syria is just one of the literal and personal explosions that drive this book over the edge in every respect. I loved these two complete opposites who fit so well with each other. Axel is a big, buff, hard ass straight ex-soldier and Fox is a smaller, ginger, wisecracking openly gay analyst. They are instantly attracted to each other the second time around (though Fox was not without desire during their first encounter by uttering one of the great come-on lines I've ever read). This animal attraction overwhelms and then consumes Axel which is a terrific writer's trick to keep you interested in where this is going. Even though I am not fond of gay-4-you this works even though Axel has never been attracted to a man because author Hawthorn makes it work. Where is goes is delightful to follow, and puts another notch in a series which I am starting to believe is consuming me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    T

    Shield is a standalone book that is part of the Men of Hidden Creek series, 6 books that are each written by a different author. Max Hawthorne is a new-to-me author and I enjoyed that this book had a different flavor from the other books in the series. I would describe it as more action/suspense with romance added instead of just a straightforward romance. The story is fast paced which kept me engaged all the way to the last page. Fox, the CIA hacker, is very sharp, quick and a bit sassy which bal Shield is a standalone book that is part of the Men of Hidden Creek series, 6 books that are each written by a different author. Max Hawthorne is a new-to-me author and I enjoyed that this book had a different flavor from the other books in the series. I would describe it as more action/suspense with romance added instead of just a straightforward romance. The story is fast paced which kept me engaged all the way to the last page. Fox, the CIA hacker, is very sharp, quick and a bit sassy which balanced the more serious Axel who is former green beret and now FBI. They had met years before and hadn't forgotten each other so I'd say this was a bit of a second chance romance. I liked both characters and enjoyed their story very much! I would absolutely read another book by this author! I received an Advanced Reader Copy for an honest review

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    💻Fox & Axel This book is part of a 6 book series written by 6 different authors. They can be read in any order. All take place in the same town and during the same time. You may see some characters from the other books but they don’t have a significant part in the book you’re reading so you definitely don’t feel cheated if you choose to read it as a stand-alone. Although I’d encourage you to read them all because they were all enjoyable and they all offer something different (I’ve now read the en 💻Fox & Axel This book is part of a 6 book series written by 6 different authors. They can be read in any order. All take place in the same town and during the same time. You may see some characters from the other books but they don’t have a significant part in the book you’re reading so you definitely don’t feel cheated if you choose to read it as a stand-alone. Although I’d encourage you to read them all because they were all enjoyable and they all offer something different (I’ve now read the entire series after finishing this book). Fox is a hacker with the CIA and Axel is with the FBI but is former Army Special Ops. I really enjoyed this book. It has action, mystery and a beautiful love story all rolled together. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting read then this is the book for you!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Neta

    I liked this book quit a lot, even though some part were a bit too easy at times, I felt the action was good and the connection between Fox and Axel was really appealing. My favorite troop is Friends-To-Lovers and you really feel the connection and longing for each other over the eight years they have been apart- even though they only knew each other for a very short time. I LOVED Fox as a characters, he was funny, cute, and smart- everything you can possibly want in a guy :) His mind is sharp an I liked this book quit a lot, even though some part were a bit too easy at times, I felt the action was good and the connection between Fox and Axel was really appealing. My favorite troop is Friends-To-Lovers and you really feel the connection and longing for each other over the eight years they have been apart- even though they only knew each other for a very short time. I LOVED Fox as a characters, he was funny, cute, and smart- everything you can possibly want in a guy :) His mind is sharp and his sassy comebacks were charming and endearing. The mystery was well written even though I felt like the ending was a bit unclear about why it all happened. The relationship they form is respectful, I like that they use protection from the start for both of them, something you don't often see in M/M books. I enjoyed this book very much.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dixiecowgirl

    Lots of action, mystery and a nice slow build to romance. Throw in a snarky CIA hacker and a he can handle himself ex-special forces guy and some chemistry and you have the foundation for a romance. Story was well written and i the pacing kept me engaged. Fox and Axel are terrific together and i was hooked from page one to the very end. This is a new author for me and i will definitely be looking for more of their work! Shield is the fourth book that i have read within the Men of Hidden Creek se Lots of action, mystery and a nice slow build to romance. Throw in a snarky CIA hacker and a he can handle himself ex-special forces guy and some chemistry and you have the foundation for a romance. Story was well written and i the pacing kept me engaged. Fox and Axel are terrific together and i was hooked from page one to the very end. This is a new author for me and i will definitely be looking for more of their work! Shield is the fourth book that i have read within the Men of Hidden Creek series and i am so looking forward to reading more! Shield is part of a group of books written by different authors all centered around the town of Hidden Creek. Each book can be read as a stand-alone but the characters pop up in the different books. I’m quite intrigued and will be following them.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Loralee

    The TL;DR: Worth reading? Yes. Enjoyable? Highly. Worth reading again? Yes. Solid story? Yes. Fun read, endearing characters, nicely done romance, and plenty of steaminess. This story kept me engrossed, turning each page, and drawn in by the characters. The military/CIA/FBI angle was great. As an Army brat, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fox and Axel were solid and likeable characters worth reading. Loved the play of brawn and sass. Shield's pace is by far the fastest, action-packed, plot of the three Hidd The TL;DR: Worth reading? Yes. Enjoyable? Highly. Worth reading again? Yes. Solid story? Yes. Fun read, endearing characters, nicely done romance, and plenty of steaminess. This story kept me engrossed, turning each page, and drawn in by the characters. The military/CIA/FBI angle was great. As an Army brat, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fox and Axel were solid and likeable characters worth reading. Loved the play of brawn and sass. Shield's pace is by far the fastest, action-packed, plot of the three Hidden Creek books I've read. Thankfully, I personally didn't find the romance side of things overshadowed at all. Fox and Axel carried it along nicely for me; even at high speed. The plot held it's validity and I didn't find myself pausing for any 'wait a minute...' moments. And I'm still invested in reading the next book of the series; not to mention more by Hawthorn.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ulrike Apel

    Fox and Axel met for the first time in a war effort eight years earlier. , Fox is now working for the CIA and Axel for the FBI. An attack brings the two back together in Hidden Creek., Axel does not know that Fox has had a crush on him for eight years. The two are dependent on each other in this mission, Axel needs Fox knowledge and his computer skills and Fox needs Axel's protection. The two are part of a race against a terrorist targeting Hidden Creek and Fox. Axel learns that he needs Fox in his arm Fox and Axel met for the first time in a war effort eight years earlier. , Fox is now working for the CIA and Axel for the FBI. An attack brings the two back together in Hidden Creek., Axel does not know that Fox has had a crush on him for eight years. The two are dependent on each other in this mission, Axel needs Fox knowledge and his computer skills and Fox needs Axel's protection. The two are part of a race against a terrorist targeting Hidden Creek and Fox. Axel learns that he needs Fox in his arms and will do anything to protect him. It's a slightly different love story, not just built on conflicts between the partners, their families and possibly the place. A really good love / action book. The whole series is absolutely great.

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