Title: Can't Hold Back
Author: Serena Bell
My Rating: B+
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Returning Home #2
Main Characters: Nate and Alia
Release Date: December 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
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.
This story was interesting on a lot of different levels. I liked the backstory between Alia and Nate, because it worked so well with her conflict with her job in the current story. I also really found her pain management techniques interesting. I really enjoyed those scenes where she was not only treating Nate's pain, but also the other guys...through her tapping and meditation. It was fascinating.
I do love the veterans aspect to this series and the R&R facility. Nate is there after he was involved with an IED that left him with a traumatic brain injury that left phantom nerve pain. Up to now, he's been treating that pain with oxy...and is now in the process of going cold turkey without it. Alia knows it's a bad idea for her to treat Nate because of her feelings for him, but she can't turn away someone in pain and need especially when she knows that she can help. She's caught in a web of circumstances that make the situation impossible...Nate's flirting definitely doesn't help.
I enjoyed the book and the set-up. Alia is a caretaker, so it's so easy how she ended up in this mess with her sister and Nate. Her focus is always the ones she loves before herself.
There were a few little details in the story that niggled and bothered me a tiny bit, but overall, this was a very readable, enjoyable book. While the characters didn't always make the choices I would have, I could see their motivations and accept them for what they were. I'm hoping there's still more to come from this series, because I've really enjoyed it so far.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.