Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
While I've had her Second Circle Tattoos on my to-be-read list for a while and all four books have been waiting patiently for me on my e-reader, my first ever Scarlett Cole read is courtesy of the first novel in her brand new spin-off series, Preload, which is the name of a heavy metal slash hard rock band. The first story involving a member of the band was actually The Purest Hook, the third novel in Second Circle Tattoos, so I'm going to have to accelerate my plans to read the books in that series, especially with Dred Zanders, lead singer of Preload, and Pixie Travers, manager of the tattoo studio, having a significant presence here, as do the other members of the band--Elliott Dawson, Nikan, and Lennon (last names for the last two members weren't mentioned). This series starter is about the band's bassist, Jordan Steele, and a ballerina named Aleksandra Artemor. Set in various parts of Canada, readers like me who aren't familiar with the band are introduced to the five members, and it's clear that these are five men who've been through a great deal in their lives and must overcome challenges to find and keep true love.
Jordan Steele was only ten when he finally found home and family among four boys who would become his brothers and with whom he would find worldwide success as Preload and two women who would become their mothers. But seventeen years later and Jordan is still experiencing the anxieties that have weighed upon him for nearly three decades. He's never believed himself worthy or able to provide anyone what they need or want. He was never enough for so many others not to keep or accept. The only relationships he's had are those with his chosen family, but when he glances through a window and spies a young woman dancing, she inspires within him something he's never fully experienced before. Lexi Artemor is beautiful standing still but she's mesmerizing when she begins to move to the music. At twenty-six, she's the principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, a prime position for any ballerina. But as far as her domineering father is wont to remind her, she has too many failings. When she listens to the music written for her by her tattooed musician, he makes her crave her freedom.
This book tackles some serious issues from both Jordan and Lexi. The four other Preload band members have issues of their own as well and their mentioned in passing, but Jordan's and Lexi's alone make for a very angsty and emotional read. They have struggles, not just with what they're going through as individuals but with their new relationship, although admittedly, they have more good times than they do bad ones, except the bad ones are heavy moments that do take their toll. I loved reading Jordan and Lexi's love story as much as I did the dynamics in the relationships among the five Preload guys and how they're adjusting to having a growing family. Scarlett Cole's knows how to develop her story and her characters, which isn't all that easy when you're dealing with heavier material but she does it with sensitivity and without over-complicating things. And after having read this, I've now added the three other books in this series along with the four from the original one. Yup, Scarlett Cole is so on my radar because I was thoroughly impressed with what I read in book one. Five out of five stars for Jordan Reclaimed. ♥
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