Sat
Jun 14 2014 10:00am

First Look: Serena Bell’s Hold Me Tight (June 17, 2014)

Hold on Tight by Serena Bell

Serena Bell
Hold on Tight
Loveswept / June 17, 2014 / $2.99
, digital

A young mother and a battle-scarred veteran must decide if they can rekindle the sparks they once shared.

Fighting for his country gave Jake Taylor’s life shape and meaning. Now as an injured war hero he struggles to find purpose, until he runs into the gorgeous woman he dated briefly—and disastrously—before being deployed eight years ago. Turns out Jake doesn’t just need to figure out how to be a civilian . . . he also needs to learn how to be a dad.

Eighteen, pregnant, and totally lost, Mira Shipley couldn’t track down the soldier who fathered her child, so she put college on hold and focused on making a good life for her son. Now she’s determined to be something more than Sam’s mom, her parents’ daughter, or Jake’s girl—as hot as she finds her old flame’s take-charge attitude in and out of bed. Soon Mira and Jake realize that their passion didn’t disappear when Sam was conceived—and that instead of running away, sometimes it’s better to hold on tight.

In Serena Bell’s heartwarming novel, a young mother and a battle-scarred veteran must decide if they can rekindle the sparks they once shared. Fighting for his country gave Jake Taylor’s life shape and meaning, but now, as an injured war hero, he struggles to find purpose. He finds his purpose, and then some, when he runs into the gorgeous woman he dated briefly—and disastrously—before being deployed eight years ago. Turns out Jake doesn’t just need to figure out how to be a civilian...he also needs to learn how to be a dad.

Eighteen, pregnant, and totally lost, Mira Shipley couldn’t track down the soldier who fathered her child, so she put college on hold and focused on making a good life for her son. Now she’s determined to be something more than Sam’s mom, her parents’ daughter, or Jake’s girl—as hot as she finds her old flame’s take-charge attitude in and out of bed. It's not long before Mira and Jake realize that their passion didn’t disappear when Sam was conceived—and that instead of running away, sometimes it’s better to hold on tight.

This was a very different kind of military romance story. The story flips between Jake and Mina’s POV. Each voice is eloquent and articulate. I love second chance romance stories, and this one packed an element I didn’t see coming—Jake’s an amputee.

Jake is a complex character; the story starts off eight years ago when Jake meets Mira and they have a one night stand. When we meet Jake again, he is coming to terms with the new direction his life has taken. He’s lost his best friend and his leg in the war, but he's gained a child and the child's mother, a woman he's never forgotten:

“I don’t think it works that way,” she said. “I think we tried that once. 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.”

His journey to accept, at last, the loss of his leg is heartrending and emotional. What was once a simple task of Jake taking a jog in the morning becomes a thought-out process that makes him break out in a cold sweat. His doubt, concerns, and embarrassment are palpable and incredibly realistic. He is a new version of himself and is trying to find balance between his new self and old self. Yes, Jake is an amputee and as he is discovering the only limitations he has are the ones he sets for himself, you witness the growth of a fascinating character.

“What? He’s not allowed to be cocky because he has a prosthetic leg?”

Jake’s relationship with his son is also one to watch. Sam is a sharp, intuitive child who helps bridge the monstrous gap between Mira and Jake. His one- liners help break up the extremely emotional scenes between them.

“Grown-ups have so many rules,” Sam said. “I don’t want to grow up, because then I have to have all those rules.”

The feels I had during this book were all over the place. I was up and down and when I thought they were finally finding their rhythm a new hiccup arises to  throw them off course. The characters do a lot of hard work in their maturing process.

I’ve never read a story where the hero’s flaws were so physically blatant and where the struggle is not withheld but incredibly detailed. Jake tries to hide how he struggles (after all, he is a typical military alpha male hero), but Mira is  able to figure out what he’s trying to hide. Mira matches him in ferocity of spirit; like Jake, she is heading in a new direction, no longer under her father’s wing. The authenticity of their story is resounding. This isn’t a story of instant love, but of an uphill battle and determination, of making decisions, and of living in the here and now.

“This Jake knew a day could be an uphill climb. She wasn’t supposed to want either Jake. Any Jake. “

This story builds on the fact that being independent and mature doesn’t mean refusing help, but about being humble enough to know when to accept it.
Can these characters find the strength to help themselves and each other?

Learn more about or order a copy of Hold on Tight by Serena Bell, available June 17, 2014:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

 

 


Jessica spends her time daydreaming about a life within the pages of her favorite books, hoping to meet her own alpha male in an amazing meet cute. Living in Miami, she breaks the stereotype of the tanned appearance; being the palest amongst her friends takes a lot of work and it's all owed to the aforementioned books. She works all day but dreams of the day she can get paid to devour romance books all day and night. An avid reader since she could sound out words, you can find her reviewing at Bookcrack.com where she lets her reading freak flag fly!

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