Guarding Axel (Dark Forest Pack #3) by Annabelle Jacobs

Guarding Axel is Talis' and Axel's story and it finally clues us into the story of what happened between these two to cause all the tension we've been feeling between them from the start. 

From the blurb:

A silver-haired fae with a shattered heart—a green-eyed shifter with enough love to heal him.


Burnt by a past betrayal, I’ve learnt the hard way to keep my heart locked up tight. As tempting as Talis is, all I can offer is friendship, because trusting someone again is a risk I can’t take. Love means sharing the true nature of my magic, and the last time I did that it almost cost me my life.


I want what every shifter wants.
A mate, a partner. Someone I can call mine.
Axel Molhieth, beautiful and free-spirited, makes it crystal clear that isn’t him. Will never be him.
I know it’ll end badly for me, but I want him anyway.

One night is all it takes to ruin their friendship, and avoidance is the easy way out. But when Axel’s past catches up with him, putting his life in danger, they’re forced to finally face the consequences of their night together.

Guarding Axel is an MM paranormal romance featuring a protective shifter desperate for love, and a beautiful fae afraid to trust. Full of magic, suspense, and sizzling UST, with a guaranteed HEA.

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

"The thing that absolutely cut me up inside was knowing that even though we'd broken something that should've been so beautiful... I'd do it all again in a heartbeat."

I've been waiting for Talis and Axel's book ever since reading Claiming Rys. I'm a sucker for any books with fae and Axel definitely intrigued me. It was obvious from previous books something was going on between him and Talis and Guarding Axel finally tells us what that was. I mean, I was pretty sure I knew the basics. Talis had obviously been pining for Axel, however from what we know of Axel he isn't in the market for settling down.

"Axel wasn't mine.

Never had been.

Never would be."

As the story progressed we come to understand Axel's reasons for being the way he is. It becomes obvious he too has feelings for Talis, but instead of being excited over it, that fact terrifies him. He's been burned in the past horrifically and that type of trauma leaves a scar regardless of fae healing. The scars left are ones on the inside, leaving Axel unable to open his heart and trust again. The irony of it all was that Axel did trust Talis. He knew Talis would protect him with his life. He'd done it over and over. And when he finally came clean and told Talis his secret, he still didn't realize what that meant. He shared his most protected secret and Talis reacted exactly as I thought he would. With understanding and kindness for the man he loved.

This love story is a slow burn. Axel has things he has to work through and there's also the series plotline which ties closely to him as well. I absolutely get how it might be hard to repair a relationship while both are worried about someone coming to harm Axel. Once that is out of the way all the gloves come off so to speak. It made me so happy finally seeing these two together, admitting how much they love one another. Now I'm ready for Max and Jake to finally do the same in the next book Loving Jake!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Guarding Axel is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.