Don't Hold Back (Chasing Gold #2) by Colette Davison

Don't Hold Back is an Olympic sports romance filled with young competitors having only medals on their minds that accidentally start to fall for each other. Can a grumpy gymnast find happiness with the friendly rival that only brings out his best? 

From the blurb:

Can rivals gain Olympic glory and love?

Garret has spent years training in gymnastics, but the pressure has taken its toll. Despite qualifying for the Olympics, failing to medal at the World Championships is all he can think about.

Anger is taking control and strangling his ability to focus on training, when his main rival, Team USA gymnast, Ryder Anderson, arrives at the gym to train alongside him.

Garrett wants to hate Ryder, but he can’t ignore his rival’s sunshine personality and handsome looks. Discovering Ryder is fighting a battle against himself, Garrett’s anger turns to admiration and then love.

Dating his rival isn’t against the rules, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Can they make a relationship work despite the pressure of the Olympics, or will they crack under the strain?

Don't Hold Back is an M/M sports romance with a grumpy gymnast who falls for his sunshiny rival. It has a slow-burn relationship and some hurt/comfort.

Trigger warnings: Don’t Hold Back features a character who has anorexia. The parent of a minor character dies off-page and is well telegraphed.

SNik's Review:

Second in series (Chasing Gold), but can be read as a standalone. Hurt/comfort. Grumpy/sunshine. Slow burn. Dual POV. 

Ever since the world championships gymnast Garrett has been struggling with his performance and attitude. When upbeat American Ryder joins the gym for training Garrett can’t help but feel second best to the man that beat him out of a medal and is afraid a repeat will occur at the Olympics. 

Once Ryder breaks through to Garrett by sharing some of his own personal struggles the two become closer and their sweet romance begins. 

There is a lot of comfort, support, and communication, especially for the young but mature Ryder, and the way Garrett is drawn to Ryder’s strength and optimism is understandable and beautiful. There are obstacles to overcome as they are competitors as well as ultimately living across an ocean from each other, but these things are dealt with by Ryder and Garrett as a united couple and I was grateful the pressure did not cause the sometimes obligatory break up. 

A fun read with two determined athletes that are just as committed to their profession, mental and physical health, and their relationship.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Heather's Review:

I read this story as standalone, having not read the first book in the series and I really enjoyed this book and don't feel that I missed anything.  

I was a little taken aback when Don't Hold Back opened with a high school age Ryder, struggling with so many things, but once I found the rhythm of the book, I was hooked.

This book is a slow burn, enemies to lovers, rivals story that is a story of resilience and hurt/comfort... I appreciate that the author doesn't try to fix things for the characters and that some struggles continue... even with their HEA...

Please be aware of the trigger warnings around anorexia, but also know that there are other traumas discussed beyond the eating disorder.

Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Don't Hold Back is currently available as an e-book and paperback and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription