Table of Contents

Book Cover
Trigger Warnings:
Don’t Hold Back features a character who has anorexia.
Author's Notes:
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.

Book Info

Author:
Series:

Chasing Gold

Series Type:
Interlinked
Number In Series:
2
Cover Artist:
Publisher:
Colette Davison
Published:
26 July 2022
Book Type
Words:
377
Pages:
93,000
Genre's

Synopsis

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?

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Review

Reviewed By: Josh Dale

5/5

I am going to say it right now, Don’t Hold Back, is likely to be my favourite read of the year.  This story really touches you in unexpected ways.

We know how competitive sports and the sports persons are.  We only see them at events like the Olympics or World Championships.  This book gives us that, but also shows us how brutal training and competing is, and its toll it takes on the competitors.

Some people may find it difficult to read, as it revolves around two young competitors who both are suffering mental health issues, Garret has anger and self esteem issues, and Ryder has anorexia.

I do not know much about Gymnastics or the suffering of those with eating disorders, so I cannot say how accurate the story is.

But let me just say I really felt what these guys are going through, especially Ryder.  It just feels so authentic from start to finish.

I love the Enemies/rivals to lovers, Grumpy/ Sunshine stories, so this one ticked all of the boxes for me.

The story is so well written and paced perfectly, we really get to know each character, their battles with mental health issues, the stress of training.   Once they get together, the banter between them Is so real and fun, Especially Ryder’s nickname for Garret.

The book is uplifting, despite its darker topics.  We go on a journey with Ryder and Garrett, as they fight two battles and build a strong relationship.  They really do bring out the best in each other.  The love oozes out of the words Colette has written.

So why do I believe this is likely my top read this year?  Especially as we are just starting the second half of the year.

Because this story touches you when you read it, the book inspires you to fight for what you want, to dig a little deeper for the strength needed to get over the next hurdle you face.  But more than that, the characters and their journey will remain in my mind for a long time.

Whether you’re a Gymnast / Sports fan or not, I highly recommend you take a look at this book.

Excerpt

“Ryder.” Lennie waved him across. “Good work. I’ve got two options for you.”

Ryder raised his eyebrows as he waited. From the look on Lennie’s face, he wasn’t sure he’d like either of them.

“You could go to Boulder and train alongside David Marshall.”

David was a two-time Olympian.

“Isn’t he trained by Isaiah Hobbs these days?” Ryder asked, trying hard not to scowl.

“Yes.”

“That’s not really an option, then is it?”

“Hobbs said he’d have you.”

Ryder shook his head and half turned away. “I don’t particularly care.”

“I didn’t think you’d go for it. But Boulder’s closer to home than my next suggestion.”

“There’s not much farther away than that.”

“The other option is to come with me.”

“To England?”

Lennie nodded. “I’ve called in a favour at my old gym in Leeds. They’d be happy to have us. We could train around visiting hours. They’re pretty prescriptive. You’d get more training hours in if you went to Boulder.”

“I’d rather take the week off than train under Isaiah again.” He folded his arms and dipped his chin. “England, huh? I’ve always wanted to see Buckingham Palace.”

Lennie laughed. “Leeds and London aren’t exactly next door.”

“Oh.”

“Seriously, what do you think?”

Ryder drew in a breath. “Travelling’s always harder than being home, but I’d rather train with you in England than with Isaiah. But only if you’re sure.”

“I am. We can stay at my parents’ house. Dad won’t mind if you take over the kitchen. Or if you prefer, we can rent somewhere.”

“Sounds good.” It was easy to say, less easy to feel.

Ryder always felt anxious about travelling, especially when it meant staying somewhere else for any length of time. But travelling was unavoidable at his level of gymnastics, so he dealt with it.

“You’re sure?”

Ryder smiled and nodded. He wouldn’t train under Isaiah again. He couldn’t.

“You won’t be the only Olympian training at the gym we’ll be using,” Lennie said.

“Oh?”

“Two members of the British team train there. Reece Matthews and Garrett Kidd.”

“They’re great gymnasts.”

“Yes.”

Ryder laughed. “Garrett’s the handsome scowling one, right?”

Lennie gave him a stern look.

“What? He is handsome, and he was very scowly at Worlds when I went to congratulate him.”

“You beat him.”

“So?”

Lennie rolled his eyes. “He probably thought you were rubbing your win in his face.”

“Me? Nah. Why would I do that?”

Lennie raised an eyebrow.

“I barely beat him in the all-around final. It was by point four or something.”

“Point two.”

“Oh. Even closer than I thought.” Ryder shrugged. “Either one of us could have won on the day. I was just luckier. See? Now I’m looking forward to a trip to England.”

Lennie shook his head and sighed. “Let’s see your floor routine again.”

Ryder grinned. “On it.”

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Biography

Colette's personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. Several years later, she’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

Ever since she could hold a pen, Colette has been writing stories. Always an avid reader and lover of the arts, Colette graduated in Theatre Studies from Lancaster University in 1999, and in English Literature from the Open University in 2010. After studying for a P.G.C.E. in secondary education, and subsequently teaching english and drama for six years, Colette chose to become a stay at home mum and to focus on her writing.

Colette's first M/M romance, Why I Left You, was published in November 2017. Since then she has continued to write books with flawed characters, lots of heart, and happy endings.

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