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Can't Hold Back

(Returning Home #2)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  425 ratings  ·  149 reviews
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.
Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Jelsba Media Group (first published December 15th 2015)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  425 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 - "What about happy endings?" Stars!

One of the main things that I love about Serena Bell’s writing is that she always manages to add a little something different to every one of her stories.

Nate, an injured ex-serviceman is struggling to fit back into a civilian life, in Alia he finds a woman who offers him physical therapy for his injuries and mental clarity for the other issues he is currently trying to come to terms with. The only problem being is that he and Alia have a past, and that p
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Two years ago Alia met Nate at a picnic. She liked him but instead of making her move, she introduced him to her sister essentially giving him to her. Things did not end well between them, partly because of Alia. Two years later, Nate is an injured soldier who comes to the veterans retreat where Alia is a physical therapist. Nate needs her to help take his pain away but he notices a lot more than just her healing hands.

I really enjoyed this book! When this book first started, I really wasn't
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 I was planning to love you whether you wanted me to or not stars. Nate and Alia should have been but Ali gave her sister to Nate on a silver platter. She fell in love with him years ago but attempted to put it in a box and never discuss it again. Now she's his physical therapist and Nate isn't the same charming man he use to be, he's changed by the explosion that ended a good friend's life and that ensures he never forgets due to the constant agony his body is in.

Alia treats Nate hoping to sol
Sweet and Sexy, Can’t Hold Back is a military romance with heart and soul.

Nate finds himself addicted to pain medication after a percussion injury while serving. Wanting to make a difference, Nate checks himself into a camp for Vets looking for R&R only to find the woman who helped break his heart, Alia.

Alia met Nate at a picnic then turned him over to her sister, thinking he couldn't be romantically interested in her. To say it was a bad break up would be an understatement. Leaving Alia's siste
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
I have to say, I fell in love with this amazing book. It started out like any typical romance book. Two sisters and one guy... not sure where that was going. But then you are introduced to some problems. Hurt and betrayal. Deeply emotional but a simmering love beneath it all.

Alia and Nate are sweet and endearing characters that I really liked but then the author kicked it up by pouring her heart into this story. Amazing descriptions of an all consuming love that literally takes your breath away
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley and Publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. The blurb held a lot of promise. It is very difficult to tell the story of post war turmoil for veterans and the author handled this with dignity. My problem however was with the heroine of the book and her chemistry with the hero. The book was very slow throughout and with the dual point of view, there was a lot of repeat and inner monologue. T
Maria Rose
When Alia first laid eyes on Nate, she thought he’d be perfect for her sister, Becca, and ignored her own initial feelings of attraction towards him. But things got complicated when Becca and Nate’s long distance relationship didn’t work out the way anyone expected, ending in heartbreak for all involved. Two years later, Nate and Alia are back in the same place but under wholly different circumstances, no sister in sight. Can they mend the tears of their initial friendship and finally let what s ...more
Nate Roirdan, extremely handsome military man while attending his buddy Jake's barbecue meets the very beautiful Alia Drake and is having an incredible conversation and time with her when they are interrupted, not by his buddy but by her sister Becca, Nate is a little irritated that they are interrupted but thrown even a little more when Alia gets up and leaves and leaves him with Becca.
Sure Becca is beautiful , blonde to Alia 's brunette , curvier but more quiet , shy, but Natrs interested and
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC received from NetGalley for honest review.

Second in a series but can be read as a standalone.

Confession I am an absolute sucker for a military man so I was already hooked.

What I liked:

Nate and Alia together in the present. Definitely had chemistry and weren't shy about it.
Alia wasn't a pushover when it came to helping Nate with his pain.

What I didn't get:

Why Alia felt it necessary to "give" Nate to her sister in the past. The sacrifices she made for her sister didn't really make sense t
4.5 stars

Can't Hold Back was a beautifully written second chance love story, I loved it.

The characters Alia and Nate were likable and very relatable. I was drawn into their emotional story from the first page. They had this strong attraction/connection, you could see it from their first meeting and their chemistry was off the charts.
I enjoyed watching them reconnect and work together to get to their HEA.

Serena Bell is a talented author who gives her readers heartwarming and memorable romance s
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Original review can be found at
4.5 stars

** I received an advanced readers copy from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Can't Hold Back is the second book in the Returning Home series but can be read as a stand alone. I was fortunate enough to read Hold on Tight, the first book, and although it is not necessary to read it to follow along I highly recommend it only because it was a really great book.

Serena Bell writes cont
Anne / Reviewer at AC Book Blog
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can’t hold back is the first book I read of Serena Bell. I chose this book for two reasons: first I am a big sucker for military romance and second I always on a look out for new authors with new writing styles and new stories. I have to say I am very happy that I chose this book.

Nate was injured in the line of duty leaves him broken, body and soul. Nate finds himself addicted to his pain meds, with no place to call home. Desperate for an escape, Nate reluctantly accepts a
***ARC provided through NetGalley for an honest review***

****4 very enjoyable stars for me***

**spoilers free**

This is my first book by Serena Bell and I'm very happy that I requested this book. I love stories about broken men and women who help them get better. Also, who doesn't love a story about a man in uniform. Can't Hold Back was a well written book with likable characters. This was also a second chance romance in my opinion. Well more of a second chance for Alia and an opening of the eyes
RachelW (BamaGal)
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I came into this story with such high expectations after the wonderful first book of this series, Hold on Tight. For the most part I was not disappointed. While not quite as emotionally satisfying as the first book, it was still a sweet and lovely second-chance-at-love story, and packed its own emotional punch. There were parts that moved a bit slowly; and parts that didn't go the way I thought they would...or should. It was not until I actually finished reading the book that all the pieces real ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
While I enjoyed this book, I was often frustrated by the actions of the characters involved. Alia was attracted to Nate from the very first. However, she decided that her sister who hadn't even met or seen Nate deserved him more, so she just gave him to her. Then later, Alia even wrote all of the love letters on behalf of Becca. So is it any wonder Nate was ticked when he found out the truth since he was attracted to Alia and not Becca even though they did date. Argh, I just wanted to smack thei ...more
This book was kind of boring and bland. Nothing really happened, it just meandered along. There was a lot of telling and not showing as well as a certain lack of dialogue.
I never understood why the heroine had "to give" the hero to her sister so selflessly in the first place. She also lied to him repeatedly (in writing letters/messages in her sisters name to him while he was deployed) which is a huge turn-off for me.
I've enjoyed this author's work before so I'm a bit bummed this book didn't wo
Candyce Kirk
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading Hold on Tight, I was a big fan of Jake and had a feeling he would stay the favorite of the series. I was wrong! Nate came storming in and stole Jake's first place. Can't Hold Back sucked me right in and I couldn't put the book down.

Nate suffered a pretty bad injury while deployed and is still learning to live with the consequences. All he knows is there is a lot of pain and he doesn't want painkillers solving the problem anymore! That's when he ends up at Jake's center set up for
Leanne Davis
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nate and Alia... this was a HOT story! These two burned the pages up.

But before that... there was a long ago introduction that went a bit wrong when Alia tried to pass Nate off to her baby sister. There was some letters written while he was on deployment... making Nate believe the letter writer was the sister but it was really Alia... and yeah, he found out and didn't speak to either of them for awhile. But Alia held onto feelings for him the entire time.

Now, Nate has unbearable pain that is se
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2018, for-review
Can't Hold Back is the second book in the Returning Home series. It takes place about five years after the events of the first book. It works very well as a stand alone. For the most part, I thought it was a sweet romance. I will admit to liking the first book, Hold on Tight , a bit more. It's kind of a second chance story, but not in the conventional way. This is Nate and Alia's story. Alia has always been interested in Nate, but to help her sister find happiness, she passed him on to her. Becc ...more
I dug this, but i think I would have liked even more on the ethical issues? That feels like a weird thing to say about a romance novel, but when you lay the issues out there, I expect thorough follow up.
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With current events surrounding the plight of returning veterans readers will find this second installment in the Returning Home series a timely addition to the discussion. From start to finish this story will captivate readers as it touches on the pain of returning veterans, feelings of survivor's guilt, and the lengths people will go to in the name of love. With two strong protagonists readers will find themselves cheering them on towards HEA one moment while shedding a tear over their misguid ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book much better than the first and third but there were still some issues with it that kept me from loving it all. I loved the middle of this book, the beginning and ending though, I hated. I don't like how Alia "gave" Nate to her sister like he was a possession. That right there, was just stupid. I don't see how you could just pass off a guy you were into on to your sister like he was a gift. The reasoning behind that was stupid and very unrealistic to begin with. No girl having a ...more
Char (1RadReader59)
Alia Drake and Nate Riordan had an interesting beginning. They met through Alia’s friend Jake. She and Jake went to college and PT classes together. Jake was a U.S. Vet who had lost a leg and a teammate on his last tour in the military and was now married to Mira and has a son Sam. But at the time he came home he had no clue he even had a seven year old son. But like the soldier he was he took it on the chin and got back in the game stepped up to the plate and won his girl back and met his son ...more
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I’ve been waiting for this book since I finished reading Jake and Mira’s story. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I’d like to start with a pre-review note – Serena opened a Facebook group a while ago called Serena’s Salon. Great people, good discussions and one fantastic Serena Bell. Join us there for exclusive announcements and such.

Now, for my review of Can’t Hold Back. It can be read as a standalone, but Hold On Tight is so good, you don’t want to not read it, too.

This story introduces two new charac
Carlene Inspired
Alia gave sexy, smart military man Nate Riordan to her sister years ago, even though there was an odd feeling in her stomach and in her heart. Then, she helped screw it all up and the effects of that decision effect all three of them to this date. Hoping for a spot on staff at her friend's veteran's retreat, R&R, Alia agrees to cover Jake's role as physical therapist for the veterans. Little does she know, Nate's accepted his friend's offer to spend some time there after quitting pain management ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this, and I liked that it was sort of a second chance at love story. Nate is a soldier that has been injured and is in need of rehabilitation, and he is working on his dependence of pain medication. Alia is a physical therapist, and she is working at a soldier rehabilitation place. Alia and Nate knew each other awhile back, and even though Alia was/is really attracted to Nate, she "gives him up" to her sister; which is just stupid, and of course the relationship between Nate and ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little hesitant to start this book…wait, that’s a lie. I was a lot hesitant to start this book. The whole my sister’s ex-boyfriend thing just does not do it for me and I don’t even know why I agreed to review it. My only excuse is that I have always heard good things about Serena Bell. Now I sit back and kick myself for waiting so long. Can’t Hold Back is fantastic! It is the story of Alia, a physical therapist who loves to help people. She helps them manage their pain through mostly hol ...more
Sultry Steamy Reading
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I haven't read anything from Serena Bell before, but I've seen that the reviews on her book were good. I found Can't Hold Back, and the blurb sounded pretty interesting to me, so I took a chance on it. As it turns out, I'm glad I checked this book out. I ended up really loving the whole story. I don't read a lot of military romance because it's just not my thing. However, this book was about a vetera
Susan (susayq ~)
3.5 stars

I really like Serena Bell's writing. She gives us characters with so much emotional baggage, but during the course of the story, the load they are carrying lessens with the love they end up finding. And let me just tell you, Nate and Alia had some baggage. Not only did they have their individual stuff going on, his coming back a survivor from war and her having to take on the role of a parent to her sister, but they had a history. Their history was something I don't think I'd ever read
Brianna at Renee Entress's Blog
4 Stars!

Well I have a new author to come to and check out in the future. This is my first book by Serena and she definitely has a new fan in me. This author gave me a story that had me trying to turn the pages long after they stopped. This is the second book in a new series but is a complete standalone.

This book was fantastic. Written flawlessly, this author has created a beautiful love story that will speak to your soul. I am a sucker for military romances and this author surpassed my expectati
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USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes contemporary romance with heat, heart, and humor. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and you can often find her scribbling in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

Serena’s books have earned many honors, including an RT

Other books in the series

Returning Home (4 books)
  • Hold on Tight (Returning Home, #1)
  • To Have and to Hold (Returning Home, #3)
  • Holding Out (Returning Home, #4)

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