A Returning Home Novel
by Serena Bell
In Serena Bell’s heartwarming novel, a young mother and a battle-scarred veteran must decide if they can rekindle the sparks they once shared.
Fighting for his country gave Jake Taylor’s life shape and meaning. Now as an injured war hero he struggles to find purpose, until he runs into the gorgeous woman he dated briefly—and disastrously—before being deployed eight years ago. Turns out Jake doesn’t just need to figure out how to be a civilian . . . he also needs to learn how to be a dad.
Eighteen, pregnant, and totally lost, Mira Shipley couldn’t track down the soldier who fathered her child, so she put college on hold and focused on making a good life for her son. Now she’s determined to be something more than Sam’s mom, her parents’ daughter, or Jake’s girl—as hot as she finds her old flame’s take-charge attitude in and out of bed. Soon Mira and Jake realize that their passion didn’t disappear when Sam was conceived—and that instead of running away, sometimes it’s better to hold on tight.
This has got to be one of my favorite second-chance romances – I love the idea that Mira and Jake were infatuated at such a young age but were separated. Now fate has brought them back together again at a time when they really need each other.
You feel so much for both of the characters. While Mira’s parents love her very much, her dad is also a bit controlling. Getting pregnant at 18 and without Jake, living with her parents, means that this is the first time that she’s had a chance to try to break free. She knows that everything was done with good intentions but it made it hard to be an adult. Unfortunately for her piece of mind just as she’s striking out she runs into Jake again and with him comes a ton of complications.
I really liked how strong Mira is. She’s fought for as much independence as she could while raising her son in her childhood home. She’s dedicated, smart and very understanding. And she’ll need all of that to deal with Jake.
Jake was dealt a very hard blow while serving as a Ranger. He’s lost not only his leg, but his best friend and his calling. He’s allowed everything he lost to bring him down, until he runs into Mira again and she shocks him with the news that he has a 7 year old son. Even though the changes that Jake starts making are caused by Mira and Sam, I really love the fact that Bell has him making those changes for himself. Realizing that he has a family is the kick he needed to get him out of his own head.
I also love that once he starts moving forward Bell doesn’t have him wallow too much in the setbacks that he experiences. He shows the attitude that he needed to make it in the military – he picks himself, brushes himself off and tries again. He’s vulnerable but strong in mind and body. Some of his most embarrassing moments happen in front of Mira but she’s so very good at helping him get past them and I think it helps to make their bond even better.
Of course things aren’t 100% easy for them. Jake is carrying around a lot of baggage, even some from his childhood which are only complicated by his accident. But it is wrapped up wonderfully and I was so invested in them that I found myself smiling at the end.
Hold on Tight is fantastically written – the perfect balance of emotions, with Jake learning to live again and Mira learning to stand on her own two feet. Plus both have to deal with the fact that they made a child together and now have to decide what that means for them going forward. But Bell does a great job of not letting things get too bogged down. Instead she manages to keep all of her characters steadily moving forward to something better and that HEA that we want so badly for them.
Available on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1KUmRr1