Can’t Hold Back, A Returning Home Novel, Serena Bell
I really enjoyed Serena’s Hold On Tight, where for once the problems surrounding disability were so accurately portrayed, so I was pleased to get this for review.
Once again Serena has written a novel that doesn’t pull punches, doesn’t gloss over issues but lets us see just how devastating they can be to people’s lives. In this book its pain that’s the problem – its so easy to just think “pop a painkiller”, but that doesn’t always work and of course any medication has secondary effects on the body. Pain also is very mentally disabling, you know how for instance when wearing a pair of shoes that rub it affects your whole body, and dominates your mind. Well, imagine that for pain that crops up suddenly, unexpectedly and without warning – that’s the problem Nate has.
Jake, from the first book, runs a rehab centre for ex service personnel and Alia really wants to work with him. She’s really interested in alternative pain management and techniques such as Tapping and Meditation. She’s proved that it works for some people, can make a huge difference to their lives, but her current employers are dismissive of the benefits and won’t allow her to use these methods of treatment even though patients have requested it. Jake is very open minded though and she’s on a trial there while he tries to get funding for a full time post for her. One of her patients though turns out to be Nate, and she and her sister have a troubled past with him.
Alia,. she’s such a lovely, passionate lady and yet she passed on her attraction to Nate years ago, leaving the way open for him to get to know her beautiful sister. Things didn’t go well though and there are regrets and bad feelings from that time. Alia is still really attracted to Nate and to her surprise he to her. They can’t get involved though, it risks her career and licence to practice and yet things do get hot and heavy, deliciously so! Alia wants her job here though and Nate has plans elsewhere so nothing can come of their attraction.
I loved Alia, so devoted to her sister that she’s given up much for her, gets real satisfaction from her work and helping people back to a normal life, and she deserves a HEA. It doesn’t look like there’s one in store for her though 😦 Then there’s Nate, still feeling a bit resentful of the deception practised by Alia and her sister, even though it was done with the best of intentions. His pain is bad though, he doesn’t want to stay addicted to the pain killers, and has plans that need him clean and able to deal with the pain. Alia seems convinced she can get him there even though he’s at first sceptical and very resistant to her methods, that’s true for many of the men. Somehow Servicemen and mediation, visualisation, and simple therapies like the tapping ones don’t really go together, and its been a hard sell for her. Once the first few saw results though others were convinced. That felt very real, people are sceptical about such therapies, pain does have its own irrational idiosyncrasies and become hard to control. I take a regime of pain medications constantly but also use techniques such as Alia describes because sometimes medication doesn’t work, pain needs a different approach and the body, spirit, mind connection are very strong and need a regime that works for all of it.
Its a great read, feeling very real, with issues that are so true to life. I loved Nate and Alia, and was really keen for them to be able to work things out. when they were together the passion was just searing, steamy and felt like they just couldn’t not touch each other. Still, the problems keeping them apart were very real too….
Stars: Five, a great read, fabulous characters, very real story, and fantastic HEA!
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
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