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cover73097-mediumCan’t Hold Back

A Returning Home Novel

by Serena Bell

In this tender military romance from the bestselling author of Hold on Tight—perfect for fans 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.

There is a lot of emotional growth going on here – both Nate and Alia have things that they have to look at about themselves.  And I think because of that it isn’t a very quick read.  The undertones require a lot of digesting and picking apart so that you can totally get where they are coming from.  Which means you have to go a little slower to get all of it.

Because Alia is so strong and independent I think it is a little harder to like her.  Not that she isn’t likable but it makes her a little intimidating because she isn’t very … soft.  She’s used to being the one who is strong that it is hard for her to let go.  Nate is still trying to get over the incident that left him injured and out of the military.  It’s left him in pain both in body and in heart, but now he’s back in Alia’s sphere for help.  Neither expects exactly what that is going to mean for them.

The history between the two takes a bit to get over, but not as much as you would imagine.  It’s more of an issue with the people they are now, how they interact & what they expect from others and what they think their futures should be.  It’s such a journey for them from where they were to where they think they are going to where they actually should be.  It’s a rough trip but definitely worth it.

(This is a follow up to Hold On Tight, but you really can read this one on it’s own.  The little bit of influence the first book has here is minute and easily explained.  It pretty much revolves around Alia and Nate.)