Holding Back by Helen Pollard

Holding Back by Helen Pollard
Publisher: Clean Reads
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (219 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

The last thing they’re looking for is love …

Laura Matheson is a natural at avoiding romance, so when she is drawn to mystery guest Daniel Stone while helping out at her friends’ hotel in Portugal, she assumes all she needs is a little extra willpower.

Daniel is at the hotel on business. The demands of work and a manipulative ex-girlfriend mean he doesn’t have the time or energy for romance, but Laura is a distraction he finds hard to ignore.

As they negotiate a minefield of misunderstandings and mutual attraction, will they both continue to hold back? Or will they finally allow love into their lives?

When Laura Matheson and Daniel Stone find themselves together in one of the most romantic places on earth, love should come easy. So why are they holding back?

An annual summer vacation is all business for Laura, who travels to Portugal to stand in for her friends who own Quinta Maria, a country hotel, while they go on a holiday of their own. But the same day Laura arrives, so does the handsome Daniel Stone, a travel agency owner incognito. Although he is constantly visiting idyllic places to send his travel clients, he is growing tired of not having any time to enjoy life … and having an unwanted ex-girlfriend following him halfway around the world makes things even more distressing.

Before Laura and Daniel ever arrive at the Quinta Maria, the two clash at the airport, “Excuse me. You’ve picked up the wrong bag.” Laura’s fiery temperament, coupled with Daniel’s no-nonsense personality, has them quarreling from the outset.

There are many moments when the two finally settle down to an absolutely huggable relationship. So enchanting! These romantic moments were well worth the wait. And for added enjoyment, the rich details and descriptions of Portugal are written so beautifully and in such an inviting way that the reader will surely want to add Portugal to their list of “must see” places.

Both Laura and Daniel are very “real” characters. So much so, in fact, that their personality flaws were strong enough to be more aggravating than I expected. Especially the main character Laura, whom I really wanted to like, seemed to have a few anger issues that might have been better dealt with outside the realm of this novel. She often came off as abrasive and prickly. Every time Daniel made a bit of headway in forming a friendship with Laura, she turned into a powder keg. It was as if she walked into every situation expecting to be offended, and it seemed she was determined to find fault.

In spite of these character flaws, this novel was well written and told a story that kept me turning pages. If you like light romance with a bite, this is one story you’ll be glad you read.

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