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Hold on Tight

(Returning Home #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,851 ratings  ·  252 reviews
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 ey
Published by Jelsba Media Group (first published January 1st 2014)
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Serena Yes! I'm sorry I took so long to see this, but Jennifer's answer is right. The book was "out of print" for a while after I got the rights back, and is…moreYes! I'm sorry I took so long to see this, but Jennifer's answer is right. The book was "out of print" for a while after I got the rights back, and is available now ... the other books in the series will be back 3/26 and 4/23, with a new release coming 5/21. Thank you so much for your interest!(less)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,851 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Quick summary
Eight years ago, Jake Taylor was on a one-week leave before his deployment to Afghanistan when he met Mira Shipley and found himself falling for her. He abruptly ended their time together because he didn't need the distraction before going to war. Now, he's back stateside having lost his leg and is face-to-face with the woman and the 7-year old son he unknowingly left behind because Mira never could find him.

What this story isn't
This wasn't about "insta-love" or the same old tired
4.75 beautiful stars

"...her heart was aligned, like the rest of her, with Jake's magnetic north."


If you enjoy a good military romance book with a wounded hero, this book is for you.

The love story between Mira and Jake was beautiful and emotional. They were so perfect together and I loved reading about them! This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you read it!

Will definitely be reading more from this author!
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love-swept
4 - "I've had sex that isn't as good as staring at you." Stars!

I absolutely fell in love with Serena Bell’s writing after reading Yours To Keep. She is an author that manages to take a love story and add a little something different to it, just to keep the interest piqued.

Hold on Tight, is just as beautifully written, and again offers you a sexy-hot love story based around two average, but also extraordinary people, there is also the bonus of a child in the mix, which I always think adds an extr
Jacob Proffitt
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, steamy
I enjoyed this story a lot. Mira is a wonderful protagonist, brave in all the right ways, even though her life is no bed of roses. Jake is deeply, and I mean deeply, broken but worth the wait as he figures his way through the rough. I came out of this liking them both and happy they finally ended up together (yeah, like that's a spoiler).

There's a lot of internal dialogue in the book and that may put off some readers, though I barely noticed it until after. A lot of the damage in both main chara
вιвℓισρнιℓια {кιηgѕℓєу & ѕøяєη ƒσяєνєя}
**ARC, kindly provided by Netgallery, in exchange for an honest review. Many Thanks.**


I love it when a book surprises me, and this one sure did. I was expecting and hoping for something good, but what I found was exceptional. I just loved this very emotional, heart-wrenching read about a second chance years later. It was so endearing and intense and damn right hot, which just warmed me to my core.

She didn’t have words for how she’d wanted to receive everything about him, the anger she could see on his face, his need begging in his eyes, the way he braced himself as if he were going to deliver something that was part gift, part mean withholding. She wanted it as rough as he wanted to give it; she wanted it for as long as he could hold out; she wanted it now and then again after the first time. She feared she would never be done wanting it.

Hold On Tight is a stand-alone novel by author Se
Maria Rose
In her heartwarming and emotional new story, Serena Bell treats us to the ups and downs of the relationship between Jake and Mira. Initially meeting as young adults, a summer fling between them dissolves as Jake returns to his military duties, leaving Mira (unbeknownst to him) pregnant and coping with her new responsibilities with the help of her parents. 7 years later they meet again - Jake, bitter and suffering from a lost limb and PTSD from his military service and Mira, setting out on her ow ...more
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

2.5 stars

This started out with great promise. I loved the premise, loved Jake's character, loved that there was unfinished history and child in the mix. But... somewhere around the mid-point, I started to lose interest. I kept thinking to myself, "don't tell me... show me!" There seemed to be brief moments of interaction interrupted with long paragraphs of the characters explaining why they can/can't do something or explaining h
3.5 stars

I read the blurb for this book and immediately knew that I had to read it. I love books about soldiers, I love books that include kids, and I love a second-chance-romance, so I couldn’t resist the combination of all of that potential in one book, and this is a really sweet story.

Mira and Jake met when she was 18 and he was 20. He had just completed bootcamp, and they started seeing each other in the few weeks before he went off on deployment. But knowing that he needed to concentrate o
Okay it's pretty clear that I'm not going to finish this after this much time has passed. It was all insta-attraction and everything. Hormones that over-write common sense. Blah blah blah. NA trope on top of NA trope. Blech! ...more
Wendy Marcus
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Secret baby is my favorite romance trope. And I love stories with wounded military heroes. This book was a two for two win for me!!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and am providing an honest review.

Hold on Tight was more of a 3.5 star read for me.

There were several things that I thought the author did quite well. First, the characters were real. Jake had issues even before he was injured in the war. He ran from his problems and while that's not an admirable trait, it's great to see the author writing characters that aren't instantly perfect.

I also liked that this wasn't a case of the mother hiding a pregnancy w
Aug 08, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon & on iBooks today (8/8/2020)! 🎁
Kim Reads (Read Your Writes Book Reviews)
Reviewed by Gemini

Hold on Tight is the first book that I have ever read by Serena Bell. It’s a Military Romance that focuses on the fallout that comes out of a brief fling between a twenty-year-old soldier on leave and an eighteen-year-old girl. Their attraction eventually leads them to have some seriously bad and considerably brief sex that results in a pregnancy. The soldier goes back off to war not knowing about his impending fatherhood while the girl is left to lead an unfulfilled life tryin
Hold on Tight is one of those romances that worms its way into your heart without being full of unnecessary angst and overly flowery descriptions. Selena Bell has told a heart-warming tale of two people who are as realistic as their story is to today’s world. Mira was young, Jake was shipping off to the Middle East, strangers that met one night, who made a connection that would stay in their hearts forever. Eight years later, Mira is finally taking responsibility for her life and that of her sev ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars!
As I was setting up this post, I was on Ms. Bell's webpage. As soon as it loaded, I noticed the tag line "Where Smart Meets Sexy" and I was like... YES!! This is exactly how I felt about this author and this book. I believe I have one other of Ms. Bell's books on my TBR list but I can assure you that I will be reading everything I can get my hands on. I love her writing style and her characters.

For one thing, she wrote a female character that was not full of issues. She certainly had s
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A wonderful second chance romance…

Jake Taylor couldn’t wait to leave his fractured home and at the age of 20, after the results of 9-11, he joins the Army. On his last leave before being deployed overseas he meets a young woman who makes him feel things that he’s never felt before, emotions so deep they confuse and frighten him. The time is not right for them though for he doesn’t know when he’ll be back or even if he’ll be one that returns. He’s never forgotten her, or the feelings that she pro
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jamie, Melindeeloo
Shelves: romance, arc
I don't know children. I don't know vets nor soldiers. I'm soo unromantic roses would probably wither and die in my presence.
Moreover, I don't usually like contemporary romances, because they are fake-fantasy books in disguise. They lack honesty, and often would be better shelved in the mary-sue-fantasy label of a bookstore.

Do I sound harsh? Yes. You'd be right. I am. So, if I say to you that this book was an honest to god real romance, and had me melt, you'd probably call the doctor. One of u
Apr 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 51%. I just couldn't take the heroine any more. She had a brief fling with a soldier just before he deployed and she became pregnant. Some years later they run into each other. He has lost the lower part of his leg during the war but desperately wants to rejoin his unit.

She had very actively sought to find him when she first knew she was going to have a baby, always intending to tell him. And, indeed she does tell him right away when they first meet again. He steps up to the plate, wants
Lala_Loopsie [fire breathing B!tch Queen]
Ok. I actually give this book 3.5 stars. So it's not "meh" or a "favourite".

This book was quite good. I mean, it must be hard to (view spoiler)

I mean, it seemed like a good book. And Sam!! Gooooooooodyeee! I love you!! Be my baby.

Any way ( pointless babble) If you wanna read, read.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To call this book "sweet" may throw some people off because it definitely has some heat to it. I think it handled some difficult subjects in sensitive and positive ways. There was insta attraction but not love. It felt like it developed pretty naturally which is enjoyable as so many books they meet and fall in love in 3 days and are getting married 3 months down the road. So to my friend who says "secret babies are my jam!" Thanks for introducing me to Jake, Mira and Sam. ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, overall, it wasn't a horrible story, but I will say it's not a story for me personally. I just didn't like Jake at all, not in the beginning, not in the middle, not in the end. He was too stuck in that state of being miserable and took out his frustration on the one good thing in his life. Mira was willing to give him a second chance on his say so, despite being hurt by him once already. She did the right thing and tried to find him, the first ting she did upon seeing him again was tell hi ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wounded soldier, single Mom and an adorable seven year old. I laughed and cried through this whole book!
Full review to follow.......
Dawn Parker
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sweet and heart wrenching story. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

Mira is a strong independent woman when she is around Jake. She is able to be her true self. They have an instant connection that they feel is crazy! He is only in town for a couple more days on leave but the sparks fly and little does he know that he becomes a father. With no way to contact him, Mira is a single parent stuck at home with having to listen to her father.

Eight years later, running three thousand mi
Jessica Alcazar
HOLY beGEESUS! Nothing I love more than a second chance/time around story and throw a child in the mix and I AM A GONER!

I'm in love with Serena Bell! If I was a lesbian, I would totally have to have her mind! LOL She has a way with writing, I tell ya. She grabbed me and would not let go with this story. I felt EVERYTHING they felt. GAWD!

I just loved this very emotional, heart-wrenching and heart-warming story! It was so endearing and intense and damn right hot, which just warmed me to my core. I
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The first chapter was fantastic and completely hooked me. I immediately liked and respected the heroine Mira. She was a single mother determined to be independent and make it on her own, which I really admired. Mira was level-headed, responsible and an amazing mother to Sam, whom I adored! Sam was such a smart, caring and adorable boy. He absolutely stole my heart! The hero, Jake, was a soldier who was seriously injured in Afghanistan and was struggling. He was at a c ...more
Susan (susayq ~)
Wow. What a great read. This was the story of Jake and Mira, who met eight years ago and spent a month together before Jake went to Afghanistan. Their one night ended badly, Jake left, and Mira couldn't find him after to tell him about the consequences of the night. Flash forward to today and they run into each other at the physical therapists office. Jake is a grumpy guy who was injured in the war and Mira is a single mom. Their connection is still there and holy moley, are they hot together! A ...more
I loved this book! The main character, Mira, is strong, sweet, funny, patient and just awesome. She's a single mom to a super cute and smart 7 year old boy, Sam. I loved Sam! There was so much about this book to love. I love the relationship development between Jake and Mira. I love how strong Jake is even when he doesn't realize it. I loved that there wasn't a lot of stupid drama. I was actually sad when this book was over because I liked these characters so much. Fantastic book, highly recomme ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First let me say I have the upmost respect for our men and women in the service. My review of the book is not to be perceived as being insensitive to the characters situations it is sticky based on the writing. I felt I had to push myself to keep reading. There was not enough dialogue and interaction between characters and a crap load of inner thought processes that it border lined overload. I found myself skimming the book. It was just so boring for a majority of the book.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hold On Tight is a sweet, sexy second chance story that I quite enjoyed. I loved the emotion depth of the characters and story. I recommend to those who love military stories.

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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)
  • Can't Hold Back (Returning Home, #2)
  • To Have and to Hold (Returning Home, #3)
  • Holding Out (Returning Home, #4)

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“It’s just holding hands,” she said. “But it’s totally messing with me.”
“Yeah.” He moved his fingers between hers, and that, too, he felt everywhere – all over the surface of his skin.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ve had sex that isn’t this good.”
“I don’t think we do simple. We do complicated.”
“We’re older now. Smarter.”
“No,” she said. “I don’t think so. I think we make each other stupid.”
He was in her space now, backing her up. She could feel the heat of his body. Smell soap and musk, which called to the most primitive part of her brain: You want this.
“Fine,” he said. “Let’s be stupid.”
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