To Have and to Hold by Serena Bell

This one slayed me, guys. Absolutely decimated my feelings. I think it’s the ‘back home from war’ thing that’s strumming the heart so well. Plus, Serena Bells’ writing. OMG!

The perfect teaser gif for what I felt throughout most of the read…

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I was really looking forward to this book, especially since I’ve enjoyed the first two novels in this series. And then came Hunter and Trina.

Take a widower raising his 11 year old daughter alone, combine him with a single mother to the girls best friend and get a combustible pairing of soulmates. Then deploy the man for the 6th time to Afghanistan, on what is intended to be his last tour.

The story begins with Hunter and Trina right before his deployment, and we know they are a fairly recent couple, professing their love for each other, and no one knows about it, least of all their girls. Promising Trina his feelings won’t change until he’s back, they’re planning of moving in together. In the meantime, Trina will house sit and raise both girls.

Fast forward a year, Hunter is home several weeks earlier than anticipated after suffering a life-threatening injury. But when Trina and the girls are there to pick him up from the airport, he seems cordial and friendly. Almost as if he doesn’t understand why Trina is there.

Can you feel my heart crumbling in on itself? 

It’s only later that day when he realizes he’s suffering from amnesia on top of his injury. Something no one has picked up on. Hunter is missing a whole year of his life before his deployment.

Heartbroken (almost as much as I am) Trina has no other choice but to start looking for an alternative living situation and another job, which her ex is offering on the other side of the country in LA.

Can you imagine how a returning soldier feels when a woman he knows from the PTA is living in his house, raising his daughter while he’s away, being a mother to her, and he has no recollection to their relationship. He can’t remember loving her where he can clearly see and feel her intense love for him. Her hurt at the situation and frustration and resolve.

The girls, though, OMG the girls…those girls are just perfect in this story. Raised during that year as siblings for all intents and purposes, they don’t have a big role to play, but when they are part of it, they’re just wonderfully written and mesh into the scenes beautifully. And they do have a purpose in the plot – and it’s an awesome purpose.

There is a steady thrum of dramatic angst (mild, but there, just enough to kill from heartache) and combined with an insanely good writing by Bell, the story is just a perfect read.

I felt like I wanted to read and read to get to where Hunter catches up on his feelings and things are perfect.

5 stars

~Eleanor

If you want indication to the first two books, check out the praise at the bottom. These ladies don’t lie.

**My thanks to the publisher, NetGalley and Serena Bell for a copy of this awesomeness in exchange for my review**

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Amazon ~ BN ~ Kobo ~ iBooks

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27208833In this emotionally charged novel from the bestselling author of Hold on Tight (“Sweet, sexy, and real.”—Jessica Scott), a war hero fights to remember the love he left behind—and the woman who refuses to fade away.

The reunion is supposed to be the start of the rest of their lives. But when Trina Levine sees the soldier she promised to love forever, Hunter Cross looks at her like she’s a stranger. The connection is gone, lost in the blank stare of those soulful brown eyes. Hunter remembers his young daughter but not Trina, and he certainly can’t recall why Trina and her own child are living in his house. Although his lean, rugged frame bears the scars of battle, his mind took the worst hit.

But Hunter Cross hasn’t forgotten everything. His body remembers caressing Trina’s delicate curves, holding her close, never wanting to let go. Was it just a dream, or was it real life? Now, as he tries to put the pieces back together, Trina’s the one who comforts him when his night terrors strike. It’s Trina whose warm touch rekindles a connection no man could deny. Even with the odds stacked against them, Hunter wants to believe. Because passion has the power to awaken the past—and remake the future.

Praise for Serena Bell’s Returning Home novels
 
“Sweet, sexy, and real . . . In Hold on Tight, Serena Bell has written a beautiful story about a wounded soldier and the woman strong enough to love him.”USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott
 
Hold on Tight is intensely sensual, with three-dimensional characters and a romance worth rooting for. Serena Bell is a master of sumptuous realism.”—Cara McKenna, author ofCrosstown Crush

Can’t Hold Back is a lovely story of second chances and new beginnings. Wounds that go deeper than physical pain are the most difficult to heal.”New York Times bestselling author Kathy Clark

“With deceit and forgiveness, pain and addiction, healing and a second chance at love, Can’t Hold Back has it all. You do not want to miss this sexy story of a soldier coming home.”—Wendy S. Marcus, award-winning author of All I Need Is You

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

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