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 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 veteran who’s been hardened by his experiences and loss. I was intrigued and wanted to know what his journey would be like.

I liked both of the main characters in this book. The heroine was easy to admire because she’s great at her job and her intentions in helping the hero heal was very noble. I understand just how difficult it must be for a person to look at someone you have feelings for become a different person from who they once was. I also loved the hero because he was brave. Even when he was going through a dark and tough time, you could see that he was a great man underneath.

I will now include Serena Bell in the authors that I watch out for. If there’s another installation for this series, I will definitely be checking it out as well. I haven’t read the first book, but maybe I will read it as well when I have some time on my hands. This story is sweet and a little sensual as well, so that combination is a winner for me. I think any romance fan will love the story.


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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