Review | Holding Out – Serena Bell

The Returning Home series was re-released this year and the fourth and final book, Holding Out, was released this week. If you’ve been following the blog you know I really enjoyed Hold on Tight, Can’t Hold Back and To Have and to Hold. Did I enjoy Holding Out just as much? Keep reading to find out! And a big thanks to the author for providing an ARC to read and review.

She’s done being a virgin. He’s willing to help her out. Only now he has a problem of his own: He can’t stop wanting more.

The answer has to be no, of course. No way Griff Ambrose is going to help Becca Drake lose her virginity. Not only is she his friend’s little sister, but Griff doesn’t do commitment—not since the day he came home from war to find his house empty and his wife gone.

But he can’t get Becca’s request—or pretty much anything else about her—out of his head. What can it hurt, anyway? If it’s awkward afterwards, they can just avoid each other. Right?

Becca Drake has turned her life around, and she’s proud of how much butt she’s kicking. The shy girl with the self-esteem problem has been shown the door, and New Becca’s in the driver’s seat. There’s just one more demon she has to exorcise. Virginity is messing up her sex life. Guys who might be okay with giving her a test drive act like they’re being auditioned for marriage when they find out she’s never had intercourse.

Griff is the perfect candidate to do the deed: He’s her friend, he’s sexy as heck, and neither of them wants anything serious.

Then Becca’s job goes belly up and she takes a temporary position at the veterans’ retreat where Griff works. Now she and Griff can’t stay out of each other’s way—and their entanglement keeps getting messier—and sexier. Worst of all, it’s getting harder and harder for Becca and Griff to lie to themselves about what they really want…


So far every book in this series has made me love the characters even more. Holding Out definitely isn’t an exception. Once again this book pulled me right in from the start and made me love the characters. The way Serena Bell writes sucks you in and won’t let you go!

We already met Becca in Can’t Hold Back so I was really excited to see she was also getting a story. She’s had enough of being a virgin, but just can’t seem to find a guy that’s suitable. Griff is a part of her sister’s friend group and she could see herself with him. He fits everything with being sexy, single, they’re friends and she knows he doesn’t want anything more. So they agree he’ll help her out and it will be a one time thing, but can it stay that way?

I loved both characters in this book and the journey they are on. Becca didn’t have an easy childhood and adding a learning disability to the list and that didn’t really help her be confident. Her sister still treats her like she needs help to make decisions and doesn’t see her as the adult she’s become. I loved how Becca started seeing herself as a new person and going after what she wanted. Becca can be a feisty one and I loved seeing her discover a new side of herself.

Griff is also another character we’ve gotten a glimpse of in other stories and I liked how he finally got into the story! What I loved the most about Griff’s story is that we don’t know everything right away. In the previous books, we know a bit of what happened. This time we learn about Griff’s story gradually. His body came back whole, but his spirit needs some more guidance.

Griff is a special one. After a failed marriage, he isn’t sure how to open his heart again. There’s something about Becca though. Even though it’s just a deal, he’s so sweet wanting to make everything special for her. Also, Griff may seem like a macho guy, he’s actually really sweet and caring. For him this was also a story of healing. Opening up about what happened and how he’s feeling was such an incredible journey to read about.

Don’t get me started on Becca and Griff together. They’re so much fun. The flirting, joking, sexy moments and their very serious conversations. I think they bring out the best in each other and needed each other more than they realized!

On top of a great love story, I loved reading about all of the characters we’ve met along the way. That’s my favorite thing about series like this, little glimpses into the lives of the characters we get in previous books. I also think that’s a compliment to the author for making me love all of her characters. Holding Out and the other three books in this series will be ones I won’t forget about.

Book Links

If you want to pick up this book, it can be found with one of the following links:

About the Author

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 Reviewers’ Choice Award, Apple Books Best Book of the Month, and Amazon Best Book of the Year for Romance.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also of how often she changes her hobbies and how passionately she embraces the new ones. These days, it’s stand-up paddle boarding, board-gaming, meditation, and long walks with good friends.

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I loved all of the characters in this series and I wouldn’t mind many books being added to this series! All of them are very special in their own way. If you’re looking for books that are filled with romance, humor, great friends and all the feels, definitely pick up this series!

2 thoughts on “Review | Holding Out – Serena Bell

  1. AAHH!! This sounds so good! I’m adding this to my TBR pile. My husband will be pleased to see that list growing. HA!

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