Can’t Hold Back by Serena Bell

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews 16th May 2016
Can’t Hold Back by Serena BellCan't Hold Back by Serena Bell
Series: Returning Home #2
Published by Loveswept on December 15th 2015
Pages: 213
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five-stars

In this tender military romance from the bestselling author of Hold 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.  

Gorgeously scripted, and so very compelling, ‘Can’t Hold Back’ is a slow burn of a wounded warrior romance between two characters so lifelike that they leap from the page and straight into your emotional pockets that soon ignite with their scorching chemistry.

For all the tales of loss, unfulfilled promises, guilt and struggles that are well-documented in military veterans, the story is a startlingly great read, precisely because of its sharp, yet poignantly drawn focus on the changing relationship between Alia and Nate. Handled with such care, realism and maturity, the pages simply flew by not because of the action (there’s admittedly very little of it) but because of the spike in the tension between them as well as the conflict both Alia and Nate faced when it finally came down to making choices that seemed to pull their personal integrity and duty in different directions.

While I loved the fact that there wasn’t any unnecessary drama or sudden, inexplicable mood swings, there was so much talk about pain – emotional, physical and even psychosomatic -, at least enough of it to gut you and remind you of all the occasions where you might have ridden these same emotions. But Serena Bell makes it clear that it’s all about a continual journey towards the light at the end of a tunnel, no matter how far that may seem.

Which, of course, makes for a very satisfying ending.

five-stars

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