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.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the secret baby/adopted baby tropes, because it’s so rarely done well. As a grown-up adopted kid, I have EPIC FEELS about how parents and kids react to this sort of scenario. Previously, I would have said the only person I’d ever seen do it credit was Tammara Weber in her Between the Lines series, especially the last book. Serena Bell’s Hold On Tight gets my nod for handling this issue perfectly.
Overall, Mira and Jake are on similar journeys. They both need to understand how to be independent people, how to be strong in the face of harsh circumstances. They’re both learning. The problems they face are real and realistic, and they aren’t silly nonsense that could have been solved with one real conversation. Jake has real issues coming back from the war, and those are not brushed aside easily. Mira has struggled as a single mother, and struggled to find her own identity, and understanding if and how Jake can fit into that is an involved process. Sam feels like a real kid, not a plot device.
And, almost a character all its own, there’s Jake’s missing leg. I don’t have personal experience of amputees, but I felt that Bell did a great job showing the reader the challenges that Jake faces as he tries to adjust to his prosthesis in intimate situations. And the intimate situations are holy toledo steamy. I had to excuse myself from the living room twice reading this book, if you know what I mean. There were also two eyes-full-of-tears moments, and one official tear-overflow.
I have no complaints about this book at all. Loved every word, and I’m adding more of Bell’s titles to my reading list.
10/13 Edit: I somehow typed the title TWICE as Hang not Hold. My apologies to Ms. Bell and readers!