Tag: a returning home novel by serena bell

Holding Out by Serena Bell

Book: Holding Out

Series: Returning Home #4

Author: Serena Bell

Release date: 21 May 2019

Main characters: Becca Drake, younger sister to Alia, and drifting along through life. Griffin Ambrose, mutual friend, supposed good time guy who hides his pain down deep.

 

Blurb:

His friend’s little sister has just asked him for a BIG favor. The trouble is, once won’t be enough … for either of them.

The answer has to be no, of course. No way Griff Ambrose is going to help Becca Drake solve her inexperience issues. Not only is she his friend’s sister, but Griff doesn’t do commitment—not since the day he came home from war to find his house empty and his wife gone.

But he can’t get Becca’s request—or pretty much anything else about her—out of his head. What can it hurt, anyway? If it’s awkward afterwards, they can just avoid each other. Right?

Becca Drake has turned her life around, and she’s proud of how much butt she’s kicking. The shy girl with the self-esteem problem has been shown the door, and New Becca’s in the driver’s seat. There’s just one more demon she has to exorcise. Her lack of experience is messing up her romantic life. Guys who might be okay with giving her a test drive act like they’re being auditioned for marriage when they find out exactly what she’s never done.

Griff is the perfect candidate to do the deed: He’s her friend, he’s hot as heck, and neither of them wants anything serious.

Then Becca’s job goes belly up and she takes a temporary position at the veterans’ retreat where Griff works. Now she and Griff can’t stay out of each other’s way—and their entanglement keeps getting messier—and hotter. Worst of all, it’s getting harder and harder for Becca and Griff to lie to themselves about what they really want…

Why you should read it: Oh how I love Ms. Bell! And I have a particular fondness for this series too. All of the books in this series deal with some pretty hefty issues such as PTSD and both physical and mental trauma. At NO point did it feel inauthentic, or as though there was an agenda behind the plot. It’s good storytelling – making you care about these characters for their humanity. I have read some books set in the military world and some have been good, and others have basically read like recruitment campaigns. This series has neither sought to glamourise,  nor demonise the military, it has been a significant part of the story, but the connections between the characters are human ones. I connected to these characters because I responded to their vulnerability and their search for love. I loved Becca and Griff because they have no clue what they ultimately want out of life, or how to get there (Hello! I hear you!). They’ve both been through periods of difficulty, and are keen to move on with their lives, but are unsure how. Their attraction and their relationship grew at a steady pace and I enjoyed the realness of it. Griff is a good guy – he’s not an alpha, and he’s not a jerk, he’s just trying to get his life back on track and avoiding heartbreak if he can. Becca has also been through the mill, but she’s not sitting around having a pity party.  She is trying to go get her life. She also has her head firmly screwed on. I can’t tell you the number of books I read by women authors that seek to slut shame other female characters in the book – this was not a part of this storyline and I was so thankful that Becca actually calls it out at one point in the book! I want to read more characters like this!

What you may not like: I’m not too sure – this book is low on angst and manufactured drama – if you’re used to elaborate scenarios and engineered plotlines to create endless misunderstandings between the characters, then this may not be the read for you. There is some interference from well-meaning but overbearing family members, but that’s the extent of it! I enjoyed this book for its lack of drama for drama’s sake – it was engaging and real and that’s what I needed.

Rating: 5/5 for a sweet, sexy and funny read. I loved it. Hope you do too.

 

Buy links:

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Amazon

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Apple

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Kobo

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Nook

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Google

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Goodreads

https://serenabell.com/r/HoldingOut-Bookbub

 

 

Can’t Hold Back by Serena Bell

Book: Can’t Hold Back

Series: A Returning Home Novel #2

Author: Serena Bell

Re-release date: 26 March 2019

Main characters: Alia Drake, physio who adores her job and helping others; Nate Riordan, ex-servicemen with a host of demons that need to be slayed.

Plot: Alia Drake thrives on nurturing others and being needed. Her job as a physical therapist is something she excels at and she feels she can make a real difference in the lives of her patients. When she has the opportunity to work at R&R, a veterans’ rehab centre, she jumps at the chance. Even the prospect of treating Nate Riordan isn’t about to put her off her dream job.

Nate Riordan has returned from service battered, both physically and mentally. Struggling with a pain-medication addiction, he can’t deny he needs help any longer. When he arrives at R&R, he isn’t prepared to come face-to-face with Alia – the girl who helped wreck his romantic dreams the year before. He may be unable to trust her, but if he’s going to manage his constant pain, he will have to put his hostilities on hold, if only temporarily.

Alia is determined to reach him and help Nate connect with the pain. This means facing some hard, painful memories and also dealing with the fact that their shared history is far from over…

Why you should read it: I inhaled this book on a wet Sunday afternoon, and it was time well spent! Serena Bell writes some seriously smart, funny and sexy stories. They always hit you right in the gut without being too drama filled or ridiculous. Nate and Alia’s story was sweet, realistic and sexy as hell. Alia is a level-headed heroine who needs to face her own demons. It’s good to see her gradually let go of her issues. Nate is hot! He’s sensitive, hot, well-rounded. Hot. (Ok, you get the point.) I honesty couldn’t put the book down until I finished.

What you might hate: Nada – this is a military romance – so I guess if it’s not your thing, then that may be an issue. I don’t read a lot of stories set in this world, but the ones I have read are so well done that I enjoyed them immensely. It’s a very human story, set in a world that felt authentic.

Rating: 5/5 – for a thoughtful, romantic and insightful story. Definitely recommend it!

Cover reveal: The Returning Home series by Serena Bell

Hey! I’ve got a little treat for you today. Serena Bell is back and she’s re-releasing her hit books in the Returning Home series. Enjoy!

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Aren’t they beaut? Good news for those of you who’ve already read these books. Book 4 will be out in May 2019! I can’t wait!

BLURBS

HOLD ON TIGHT (RETURNING HOME, BOOK ONE)

A wounded soldier. A secret baby. A second chance.

Jake Taylor has made a few terrible decisions, but none worse than the one in Afghanistan that cost him his best friend and his leg.

Or so he thinks, until he comes home from war to discover a seven-year-old son he never knew existed.

Jake can’t regret the blissful nights he spent with Mira in his arms, or the boy with his eyes, but he can leave them alone so they don’t become yet another one of his mistakes.

He’ll rehab his body, figure out how to find purpose again—and keep things simple with the woman he once craved desperately.

Except the sizzling attraction that drew him to Mira is still fierce, and staying away from her is a lot harder than he ever expected…

Mira Shipley has promised herself that if she ever sees Jake Taylor again, she’ll tell him he has a son.

She isn’t expecting to run into him at the physical therapist’s office, where he’s learning to live with an above-the-knee amputation.

She can’t blame him for being a grumpy jerk under the circumstances, but it would be a lot easier to ignore him if she didn’t desperately need child care for her son.

And if Jake didn’t make her feel brand new and dazzlingly alive.

She knows she needs to protect her son’s feelings—but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the long, sweet nights she and Jake spent learning each other’s bodies and each other’s secrets…

CAN’T HOLD BACK (RETURNING HOME, BOOK TWO)

A love triangle gone wrong. The power to heal his pain. And a second chance for both of them.

Nate Riordan came home from war hurting—everywhere.

Alia Drake can touch him and make it all better.

Nate craves her touch, and not just the professional, physical therapist version. But he needs to keep his eyes on the prize and his feet firmly on the path he’s chosen: His buddy, J.J., died, and Nate lived, which means he has promises to keep. Plus, Alia hurt him once, and he’s afraid she’ll do it again.

Alia knows she has to ignore her feelings for Nate. Her job is to take care of him professionally, so she has to keep her hands on the parts of him she has a right to touch. Besides, when she lied to him two years ago, she forfeited any claim she could ever have to his heart.

Now she just has to find some way to stick to her guns, leave him alone, and do her job. Even—or especially—when he’s shirtless on the table in her office…

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD (RETURNING HOME, BOOK THREE)

He doesn’t remember her. She cherishes every moment of their time together. Is there any hope for a second chance? 

Hunter Cross has lost a year. There’s a gap in his memory, and the woman who is living in his house has disappeared into it. He slept with her, fell for her, loved her—and he doesn’t remember any of it.

He knows he should send her away—except for one little thing. At night, when she creeps into his bed, his body remembers hers.

Trina Levine is heartbroken, alone with her memories. Hunter won’t claim any of it—not the joyful days, not the steamy nights. Nothing. It’s like Trina Levine dreamed it, and it hurts like nothing else could.

Except when Hunter cries out in his sleep and Trina comforts him. At those moments, Hunter’s body knows hers, and for a few, brief, blissful moments, Trina’s sure everything will be okay again.

Until morning comes.

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Can’t Hold Back by Serena Bell

canthold back

Book: Can’t Hold Back

Series: A Returning Home Novel #2

Author: Serena Bell

Release date: 15 December 2015

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Alia Drake thrives on nurturing others and being needed. Her job as a physical therapist is something she excels at and she feels she can make a real difference in the lives of her patients. When she has the opportunity to work at R&R, a veterans’ rehab centre, she jumps at the chance. Even the prospect of treating Nate Riordan isn’t about to put her off her dream job.

Nate Riordan has returned from service battered, both physically and mentally. Struggling with a pain-medication addiction, he can’t deny he needs help any longer. When he arrives at R&R, he isn’t prepared to come face-to-face with Alia – the girl who helped wreck his romantic dreams the year before. He may be unable to trust her, but if he’s going to manage his constant pain, he will have to put his hostilities on hold, if only temporarily.

Alia is determined to reach him and help Nate connect with the pain. This means facing some hard, painful memories and also dealing with the fact that their shared history is far from over…

Why you should read it: I inhaled this book on a wet Sunday afternoon, and it was time well spent! Serena Bell writes some seriously smart, funny and sexy stories. They always hit you right in the gut without being too drama filled or ridiculous. Nate and Alia’s story was sweet, realistic and sexy as hell. Alia is a level-headed heroine who needs to face her own demons. It’s good to see her gradually let go of her issues. Nate is hot! He’s sensitive, hot, well-rounded. Hot. (Ok, you get the point.) I honesty couldn’t put the book down until I finished.

What you might hate: Nada – this is a military romance – so I guess if it’s not your thing, then that may be an issue. I don’t read a lot of stories set in this world, but the ones I have read are so well done that I enjoyed them immensely. It’s a very human story, set in a world that felt authentic.

Rating: 5/5 – for a thoughtful, romantic and insightful story. Definitely give it a shot!