Free Fall: Catherine Mann

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Pararescueman Jose "Cuervo" James can't imagine committing to anything other than his job. But when he parachutes deep into East Africa to rescue wounded Interpol agent Sarah Carson—a woman from his past—he finds himself ensnared in more ways than he can count. Racing through the jungle to stop separatists from attacking the U.S. embassy, Jose and Sarah must call upon their training to survive. Could this be their second chance at passion...or will the rebels end their future before it begins?

Tammy & Kim's Rating:
3.5-4 out of 5 Stars

Tammy & Kim's Review:

He was a PJ (parajumper) and she'd worked her entire career with Interpol with one goal: to find the truth about her mother's death....

Free Fall was our first read by Catherine Mann, and we did not read previous books in the series. Although this is book four in the series, it may be read as a stand-alone. Free Fall was easy to follow and wrapped up without any cliffhangers.

"It's not about the pace or the distance. It's the 'afterward' that has me worried, the everyday life part, the quiet moments. As long as I keep running, I'm good. When I stop, I crash."

Jose and Stella met on a covert mission and from there an intense fast relationship grew between them until five months in it came to a standstill. Stella wanted more from their relationship and Jose was unable to commit at the level she needed. Therefore, they broke things off. A pain filled month later, they are thrust back together in another covert mission, this round has Jose saving Stella. Their journey isn’t getting any easier, emotionally or physically. Both of them need to set their emotions for each other aside so they can focus on what lies ahead. State secrets are beginning to unfold, traitors are uncovered (inside and outside the multiple organizations) and betrayal of the worst kind will question whether forgiveness can be considered.

"You don't seem to get it. You broke my heart. Not some flowery, romantic sob story. It's messy and painful. Let me say it again, clearer. You broke my fucking heart."

Overall, we really liked Jose and Stella as characters. However, those two definitely struggled as a couple. Stella and Jose were a mess together. On their own, they kicked ass. Both had strong personalities; they were loyal and passionate towards their jobs and each other. The emotional struggle and connection was there between the characters and very well developed. We felt their love and their pain, but at times, the sexual chemistry seemed a little lacking to us. Their relationship teetered on the fact that they couldn't be together but they also couldn't stand to be apart. Even though they were deeply in love with each other, their different wants out of life became a huge obstacle that they couldn’t seem to compromise on, and the outcome ended up breaking their hearts. They knew they need to be together, as there wasn’t anyone else for them, but could not agree on what that really meant. Jose has commitment issues, his painful past interferes with his ability to commit the way Stella needs, and she is not willing to compromise on what she wants out of life; that included the house, kids, and white picket fence.

There were secrets, omissions, danger, drama and twists that kept the story interesting. A major twist surprised us both. We adored Catherine Mann’s writing style and her glimpses into their past and present memories from alternating points of view. Our hero and heroine were a complicated dance of denial, running, pushing away, and pulling back together. At times, we felt it moved a little slow and the push and pull between Jose and Stella seemed a little old after a while. The secondary characters, however,  were a fun and entertaining mix amongst the turmoil helping to break up the tension.

Thank you to Catherine Mann for providing us with the opportunity of reviewing Free Fall for an honest opinion.


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