Freefall by Tess Oliver
Series: Custom Culture #1
January 4, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
After leaving high school, with a hard won diploma and the title of most likely to break hearts, Alexander “Nix” Pierce has left his wild, out of control years mostly behind him. A small inheritance from his grandfather has given him the funds to open up his tattoo shop, Freefall, and he has started to pull his life together. Aside from trying to keep his best friend, Dray, from killing himself in the fight ring, and his slight obsession with a pin-up model he’s never met, Nix’s life is going smoothly . . . until Scotlyn James, the object of his obsession, walks into his shop.
Ever since a tragic accident killed her family and left her alone in the world, Scotlyn James hasn’t spoken one word. Up until now she didn’t care that she had no way of talking to people. Her awful aunt would never have listened, and Lincoln Hammond the arrogant, selfish man who pulled her from the streets of Los Angeles wouldn’t hear her words if she could speak. But when Lincoln insists she get a tattoo to cover up a scar on her side, Scotlyn meets the artist, Nix Pierce. And now she longs for her voice. Now she has found someone who will hear her.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
He’s been carrying around her picture for a year, the image of the pin-up girl whose eyes seem to stare right back at him. Nix just never thought she’d walk into his tattoo shop, that she’d be unable to speak, or that she would be attached to a guy who seemed determined to control her every move.
After losing her family and her voice, Scotlyn’s lucky that Lincoln took her in off the streets and gave her a measure of security that park benches and scavenged food never did. But in exchange, she seems to have lost her freedom, trapped now in a pseudo relationship with a man who views her as a possession, in a cold house filled with fine things, in a silence that keeps her feelings locked away. But Nix, the tattoo artist charged with inking over her scar, really sees her. And for the first time in forever, she longs to be heard.
I knew I’d probably enjoy the Freefall, but I thought it would just be another entertaining read with a predictable plot. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised and ended up loving it!
Nix is not what I expected at all, not your typical romance novel tattoo artist. While it’s made clear that he can have just about any girl he wants, that’s not really a big aspect of the story. In fact, the revolving door of women one might expect seems to have been avoided altogether, focusing instead on a guy who takes care of his ailing grandmother, looks out for his rowdy friends, and falls head over heels with the girl of his dreams.
Scotlyn wasn’t what I expected either, with a darker past than I imagined. Yes, she lost her family in a terrible car accident, and with them her voice, but she also went through a period of homelessness and drug addiction, and while it wasn’t ever detailed, it was hinted that she traded herself for shelter, food, or drugs a time or two. But now she lives in a ritzy mansion with the jerk of a guy who plucked her off the streets, and while she knows he probably saved her life, she can’t be happy in the loveless world in which she now lives.
The moment Nix and Scotlyn meet, it’s clear there’s something between them. He’s fascinated by her, and he accepts her muteness without judgement. Scotlyn’s intrigued by the way he seems to “hear” her, seems to understand even the things she doesn’t say, and there’s no doubt she’s attracted to him. Unfortunately, the man she’s attached to isn’t so willing to let her go, and he’s downright cruel in his possession of her. Turns out his shady business deals are putting her in danger as well, and while he’s not exactly willing to part with her, it’s clear he doesn’t love her at all.
I fully expected Freefall to be filled with angst and drama, but while the drama wasn’t lacking, the angst was somehow dialed down — and that’s a good thing. There was just enough to keep things serious, but the story avoided the usual cliches and pitfalls that so many similarly plotted books contain. I was a bit annoyed with Scotlyn for not simply trying to walk away from her pseudo-boyfriend when it might have been easier, but I can only imagine how difficult it would be to trade in one dependency for another. I suppose it says a lot about her character that she was finally willing to chance it, dangerous as her situation ended up being, to prove to herself that she could take care of herself without relying on the charity of others.
The only thing I didn’t like about the story was how quickly the loose ends were wrapped up at the end. While I appreciated it not being some twisted mess that was dragged out for ages and ages — and that neither Scotlyn nor Nix did that self-sacrificing crap that seems almost like it’s a plot requirement now days — I don’t really understand how something that involved a bunch of criminal goons, South American gun deals (presumably), and what amounts to organized crime could be so easily swept away in favor of a happily ever after. Like I said, I don’t like that overdone drama, but just as it was clear how dangerous Scotlyn’s situation was, it was all resolved. That just doesn’t seem realistic to me at all.
In any case, I’m hooked. It looks like I’ll be breaking my own rules and spending money on the next books in the series.