Freefall by Joanne Efendi
Publication Date: 8 October 2015
Twenty-five year old professional skydiver Levi James has a troubled past that he just can't seem to leave behind. The main cause of his problems—his father. The billionaire Australian publishing magnate, who after being MIA for most of Levi's life, has decided Levi needs to start playing a role in the family business, whether Levi wants to or not.
Andi LaRosa, a twenty-one year old Costco cashier, comes from a loving, if somewhat suffocating, traditional Italian American family. With no direction and in a deep depression, she often seeks solace in Valium and the bottom of a Vodka bottle. That is until see meets Levi and instantly falls for his Aussie charm. The daredevil skydiver makes her feel alive and gives her a sense of direction that she so desperately craves. But can their fledging relationship survive Andi’s personal demons and Levi’s meddling father, who refuses to his son go?
“What’s wrong?” He ran his fingers through my hair tenderly. “Did I hurt you? Fuck, Andi, why didn’t you say something?”
Automatically, I jumped to his defense. “No, you didn’t hurt me. Everything down there feels great. It’s just...look forget it. Forget everything.”
I pushed him away from me and jumped down from the bench, only my Jell-O legs didn’t take my weight and almost gave way. Levi grabbed me by one of my injured elbows to help steady me, causing me to yelp in pain.
“Andi, I have hurt you. Tell me where? Tell me so I can make it better.”
I took a big breath, and gently rubbed my grazed elbow. That pain was only superficial compared to how my heart was coping. “You haven’t hurt me. It’s just…it’s this thing going on between us.” I pointed my finger to myself then him. “That was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. I’m just unsure about where this is going, unsure about you. I’m confused and…” I dropped my face into my hands, unable to look at him any longer. I’ve really screw things up now. He won’t want anything to do with me again. Neurotic, stupid, silly girl.
“Andi, look at me, please,” he demanded, and took my hands in his. His green eyes locked on mine. “What’s there to be confused about? You’re not the only one whose world was rocked. Didn’t I just tell you what I thought? Fuck, you just blew my mind. My back is shredded, my shoulder has teeth marks, and I’m pretty sure I’m bruised in more places than you’d care to know about. But I loved it. I need a friend like you in my life. You’re unsure of where we are headed? Of me? Stop over thinking. Take things day by day. You told me you’re not into relationships. I can respect that. You won’t get any pressure from me.”
I looked at him. He must have misunderstood. I could have laughed, or cried for that matter. He thought I was worried that we were moving toward a relationship, when in actual fact, that was what I wanted more than anything. I wanted to explain to him how I felt, but I was unsure. Was it too early? When I told him I was inexperienced, I meant in all walks of life. I didn’t know how to act around him, what he expected of me. I wanted to be the party girl I told him that I was. I wanted to be the girl who lived life on the edge and didn’t give a shit about anything. I didn’t want to come across as clingy and desperate. I couldn’t tell him I took meds for my anxiety and some days I wanted to kill myself. I didn’t want to come across as the real me.
Author: Joanne Efendi
Release Date: October 8, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Series or Standalone: Standalone Series (Santa Cruz Skydivers #1)
This was a different read for me for a couple of reasons.
The first being, I’d never read anything by the author before, so it was a new experience that way, and the second being, I don’t think I’ve encountered a good that centered around sky diving before picking this one up.
But a book based around freefalling (at least from a sky diving standpoint) wasn’t all this was. It was so much more than that. It was a story that was equal parts humorous, sweet, emotional, moving, and heart wrenching and by the time I finished it, all I wanted was more.
More of this couple, more of Levi and Andi on their own and even though at times I wanted to wring the one brothers neck, I even wanted more of Andi’s family as well. They just came across that well as the love story between these two people progressed.
It was a little slow going in the beginning for me, I have to admit, but I do see the reason and the need for it to be that way. The author had the arduous task of bringing not only the characters to life but what really ties them together in the beginning (the sky diving lesson) and you can’t go at an undertaking like that lightly. There has to be more description, more sensation and feeling.
Once I realized that and the story continued to move along though, it evened out rather nicely and kept the same even flow the rest of the way.
Andi came across the way a lot of heroines seem to in that she was a beautiful person, an outgoing person, I`d even call her a fun person but she didn`t realize her awesomeness. Or like in the very beginning when her and Levi cross paths, her beauty or sex appeal. But that type of character doesn`t bother me really because there are a lot of women in the world, real living and breathing women that are the same way.
Levi on the other hand, I do believe he knew how good looking he was. He knew the effect he had on women, though he wasn`t presented the way a lot of guys are in stories in that he wasn`t a player. This Aussie had made it to the US because he came for a girl in the beginning. He chased love, and in the end he got burned for it and good freaking god did that not bond me to him. He was presented quite well and his interest in Andi right from the jump, even when things got complicated, never wavered. Which in the end only made me love him more.
These two were great together and even though their feelings developed quickly, and to some it could be looked at as insta love, I enjoyed every second of it. I love the idea of soulmates, in general and in fiction so the way these two collided, fell for each other (even with the complications that shall remain nameless because grrrrr) and came through together in the end, I was a happy camper.
The way this books plays out, the way it makes you feel and even at times change your feelings was impressive. I went in hating certain characters, even hating them almost the entire book through, but then as time moved on, things were revealed and conversations years in the making were had, I was able to see a different side and actually have quite a bit of hope for a stronger relationship in the future if it’s meant to be that way.
The ending...I wanted more. I still want more. I think it ended right, and it did end on one of those sigh happy kind of notes for me, but leading up to it, it was a nail biting scenario. I wondered how it was all going to play out. If these two would see what I believe was their happy ending. They one they were both due after all of the trails that got them there.
So this being a series, I can only hope that there will be more shown of them in the future, even if this does turn out to be a standalone series and that I`ll get to see them happy together for a longer period of time. I want that for them so bad I can taste it.
This was a great read. I`m so glad that I took the chance on it. Not only did I learn some things I didn`t know about certain things, but I also got one hell of an emotional story as well.
My thanks to the author and all others involved for letting me read an ARC of this book. It`s a journey that I`m glad I got to be a part of. Now get on giving me more Levi and Andi please and thank you!
About the Author
Joanne is a lover of books and the written word. It had been a life long dream of Joanne’s to write and publish a novel. A dream that she finally fulfilled in early 2014 after writing YA Paranormal Romance Illuminated Darkness for close to three years. In 2015, her NA Romance ‘Freefall’ was signed by Evernight Publishing. Joanne grew up in sunny Queensland in Australia and currently resides on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and two sons. She has always had a passion for writing and is a former radio announcer and journalist. Currently she works in her other passion- teaching children the vital life saving skill of learning to swim. In her spare time she likes to drink coffee with her friends and train and compete in triathlons (very badly). Joanne is currently writing a sequel to Freefall, and a YA Contemporary novel that may or may not take another three years to write. She also has plans to write a sequel to Illuminated Darkness, that will be titled Darkness Enveloped.