Can’t Hold Back by Serena Bell

Posted December 19, 2015 by Kate in Blog Tour, Liked It, Review / 0 Comments

Can’t Hold Back by Serena BellCan't Hold Back by Serena Bell
Series: Returning Home #2
Format: eARC
Published by Loveswept Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Contemporary Romance, Love Triangle, Military, Romance, Second Chances
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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.

I really liked the first book in this series, so when I saw the sequel I knew it was going to be a book I picked up. This is definitely a stand alone book, but because I liked the first book so much, I recommend you reading that one, but it’s not necessary. So in this series the recurring theme is military guys returning from the war, and the baggage that they bring back with them. In this book it brings in some family dynamics as well, which I am honestly not sure helped the book all that much.

So our hero and heroine have met before, Alia and Nate met at a picnic thrown by a mutual friend, and in an effort to make her sister happy Alia basically just kind of shoved them together. Things didn’t work out with Nate and Alia’s sister because of some serious non-honesty on Alia and her sisters part, so I totally understand why Nate and Alia aren’t exactly on good terms when he shows up at the rehab place where Alia is trying to get a job years later.

Honestly, my biggest issue with this book is our heroine, Alia. It’s clear she is a great physical therapist, who really wants to improve the lives of her clients, but she takes mothering to an extreme when it comes to her sister. I mean the way she thinks about her sister, like her happiness is Alia’s responsibility, and how she sometimes talks about Nate like he isn’t even a person, saying things like “I gave him to you”, it just came off as weird to me. I get that her sister has some serious learning disabilities, but the way that Alia takes all the responsibility and how she basically enables her and her feelings sometimes just bothered me. There is also this one scene between the sisters where her sisters gets like pissed at Alia for not telling her all about things going on with Nate (who is her client) and Alia just makes accepts it and completely apologizes, even though I don’t think she really did anything wrong. I wish I could have liked her, but her personality when she is around her sister or talking/thinking about her sister, just kind of ruined her for me.

Nate on the other hand was the reason why I liked the book. You knew right from the beginning that this guy is a good guy. He’s dealing with some heavy baggage from the war, and he wants to do right by the friend that he lost, by showing up and being their for his friend’s family. In a lot of ways, I don’t think he believes that he has the right to be happy, or to do what he wants with his life, mostly because his friend isn’t around to be able to make those choices anymore. The good thing about Nate for me was that he really makes a journey throughout the book, it’s not just a physical body repair, but a full mind body repair. And while I didn’t really love Alia as a character, the two of them together just kind of worked. They are good together, bring out good things in each other, and they also have the ability to steam up the pages.

The romance in the book is solid, without question, but for me this book falls under the okay category because I didn’t really have much of a connection with Alia, what can I say, our personalities just didn’t mesh. But the writing is good, and if you like Serena Bell you should check out this latest book.

About Serena Bell

Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people do stupid things sometimes, and how love can make it all better.

Serena 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.

When she’s not scribbling stories or getting her butt kicked at Scrabble by a seven-year-old, she’s practicing modern dance improv in the kitchen, swimming laps, needlepointing, hiking, or reading on one of her large collection of electronic devices.

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