I’ve been waiting for this book since I finished reading Jake and Mira’s story. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I’d like to start with a pre-review note – Serena opened a Facebook group a while ago called Serena’s Salon. Great people, good discussions and one fantastic Serena Bell. Join us there for exclusive announcements and such.
Now, for my review of Can’t Hold Back. It can be read as a standalone, but Hold On Tight is so good, you don’t want to not read it, too.
This story introduces two new characters. Three actually, but I’m referring to the lead characters and they are Alia, Jake’s friend and Nate, also a friend and on leave from his tour.
I’d admit, the prologue was so sweet, I didn’t see where the drama that carries the plot goes into play. But that became very clear as I progressed towards the end of the prologue when Alia pretty much hands over Nate Riordan to her sister, Becca. Then we’re immediately thrown into the story. Alia at Jake’s facility.
Jake opened a recovery facility for veterans and Alia, a good friend and PT is seeking employment with him after leaving her previous job. Jake takes her on for a two week trial while he’s taking a long overdue vacation with his wife, Mira.
Two years later enters Nate. Nate is back from Afghanistan, having lost his friend in battle, he’s suffering from random pain all over his body and can’t handle it by himself. He is now on a guilt induced mission and is seeking help with his pain while dealing with dropping his pain meds cold turkey. All in order to fulfill his dead friend’s wish.
Alia and Nate have a history, not like you’d think, but it’s painful and reeks of betrayal and hurt. Alia has a hand in the betrayal and Nate is still somewhat angry about it.
Since Alia is in charge of treating Nate, there’s not much he can do when cramps and unbearable pain hits and he seeks her help. Granted, he’s reluctant and mostly isn’t trusting her skills, but she proves him wrong quickly, while helping him face some demons.
And still that doesn’t alleviate his hurt from Alia and Becca’s betrayal.
The story weaves through injured veterans and as opposed to the first title in the series where Jake is an ATK amputee and is dealing with both emotional struggles but physical as well as self esteem, in Can’t Hold Back Nate is struggling with invisible wounds, with pain that cannot be explained and with his injured psyche fueling it.
Alia, on her end is struggling with her attraction to Nate and feeling guilty about deceiving him years prior. Always the caretaker she’s slowly realizing her faults and limitations, her need to let loose and seek help herself. And a big part of that is her sister pretty much getting in her face about it.
Becca, while behind the scenes of the story, definitely makes a difference when she shows up. She’s the spark behind Alia’s recognition of being unable to say what she wants and needs, behind her seeking help herself and leaning on others for it.
These kinds of stories always carry a certain air of honor. They’re always emotional and somehow they touch each and every one of us readers on some level. Can’t Hold Back is a wonderful example of great writing, careful weaving of emotions and reality into a special situation, and of course – great, passionate and sexy romance. Grab this second chance romance today.
* Loveswept and NetGalley provided this copy in exchange for my honest review.
In this tender military romance from the bestselling author ofHold on Tight—perfect for fans of of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery—a war-shattered veteran gets a second chance at love with the one that got away.
No girl can resist a man in uniform—especially if that man is Nate Riordan. But after an injury in the line of duty leaves Nate broken, body and soul, the soldier finds himself addicted to his pain meds, with no place to call home. Desperate for an escape, Nate reluctantly accepts a friend’s invitation to a new veterans’ retreat. Expecting a little R&R, Nate is shocked when the sight of his physical therapist opens up another old wound: heartbreak.
Years ago, Alia Drake fell hard for Nate, but never made her move. Instead, she set up her sister with the sexy, confident military man, a foolish decision that continues to haunt all three of them. Now, with Nate as her patient, she can make things right—even if it means getting too close for comfort. A healing touch and a little honesty work wonders, fueling a physical intimacy that crosses professional boundaries. This time, with desire in the air once more, Alia won’t hold anything back.
Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people sometimes do stupid things, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two school-aged children.
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