Young Adult Romance
Beta/ARC provided by author for review
Maddox is running. By accident, he discovered long ago that he was adopted as a baby and his need to find his biological father has consumed him ever since. Now, on a road trip, determined to find his father and his sanity, and armed with locations and his cousin, Nixon, to help him, maybe he can find the answers he’s been searching for. With nothing but a suitcase and a wad of cash to get him there, lead after lead takes him further from home. But he’ll find much more than he intended. He finds Storey, a pint sized pin-up model who has learned painful lessons about guys. Her wounds run deep, but so do his. She knows what she wants, but will she recognize it when it’s right in front of her?
Maddox can’t touch anyone without feeling like his skin is crawling, but just maybe his instinct to protect this amazing girl will supersede his own hang-ups. If he can brush her skin and start to feel alive inside...everything will change.
*Sigh* It's always hard to say good-bye to a series once you get attached to the characters but this one was especially hard for me because I have been there from the beginning with these characters. From conception to the page, I have been watching Lila Felix cultivate this derby world and fell in love with everything in this series. I always say "this book was my favorite" but Down N Derby was my favorite for so many reasons. Maddox Black is dealing with the fact that he isn't a true Black. His mother died shortly after giving birth to him due to Diabetes and his Aunt Sylvia raised him as her own. When this book opens he is sneaking out to go on a Summer long road trip with his cousin Nixon to find his biological father.
As they travel to different states they find several wrong turns and after exhausting every previous option they visit the last of two places, Venice California. During a trip to the beach they come across a beautiful girl name Storey who Maddox is instantly attracted to but frightened of. See ever since Maddox found out he was adopted he has had this tick where if people touch him he starts getting a crawling sensation throughout his body. He is afraid that if he touches Storey and gets that feeling it will break him because he is so into her.
Storey has been mistreated in the past by an abusive ex boyfriend and has a hard time believing Maddox is as much a gentleman as he comes off. She has to fight against comparing him to Simon, her crazy ex. As the relationship progresses between Maddox and Storey a beautiful thing happens. Maddox has a breakthrough in the form of Storey and her soft skin. He finds out that touching her isn't going to cause him to freak out with the contact and she eventually helps him understand that the death of his mother has caused him to feel like it was his fault making him use the touching thing as a defense mechanism. He starts to understand that by touching others he won't hurt them and vice versa.
When Maddox meets his father for the first time he finds a broken shell of a man, and discovers he has a half brother who has been caring for their father his whole life. Maddox is scared to find out that his dad is Schizophrenic and fears that it may be passed onto him. Storey helps him cope with all the drama that unfolds involving his father and becomes his anchor when everything else falls apart. A tragedy sends Maddox packing for home with an extra person in tow and the family is reunited once again.
I have to say this book brought me to tears. I don't like to cry but when a book reaches past the concrete wall I have erected in my chest that makes it much more special. This was the close out of Lila's original characters in this series and that in itself was emotional. But the thing that got me the most was seeing this family, who has been through hell and high water come together so strongly in the end. From near fatal car accidents, divorce and homelessness this family proves that nothing on earth can come between the love of a good family. Even Maddox leaving doesn't break them up. They even put their lives on hold to wait for him to figure things out. That is the reason I adore Lila's writing. Her passion for family comes out in her stories and I couldn't help but love this book.
This one has my favorite female character name of all time. Storey Delilah Kane is the most interesting girls' name I think I have heard. True to her name her character had strength and passion that I enjoyed watching cultivate the more comfortable she became with herself and her relationship with Maddox. She didn't give up on him even when he tried pushing her away. Which brings me to Maddox! I think he is my favorite Black brother of the whole series. He is a gentleman, he is charming and sweet, affectionate and caring but the best part is his eyes! I won't spoil it but I will say I love mint chocolate chip ice cream *wink*
When the book closes out it's on a long awaited moment that fans of the series will be excited and emotional over. Love always wins out in Lila's world and sometimes you just need to be reminded of that, especially in today's world of violence and self seeking mentalities. Even though this is closing out the original cast of character's there seems to be a spin off coming out of it featuring Nixon! His brief moment in Down 'N' Derby was enough to make me love him and want more from his character. I was really happy the way everything worked out for these characters and I know the fans will be too!
"I swear if you make a reference to me becoming a butterfly, I'm going to murder you and leave you here with no good sweet tea for miles - and no ketchup for miles" eARC 8%
God's honest truth - I would've eaten pickled horse teeth if she asked me to flashing one of those smiles. And I couldn't help but hang on every single word she said. I felt like a toddler experiencing everything for the first time. eARC 46%
"I will always forgive you Mad. But you can't do that to me again. Next time something happens run to me. Let me help you. And even if I can't help you, at least let me hold your hand while you fix it." eARC 89%