Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
If you want the perfect formula for a sports romance, add in some hockey plus a grumpy hero who is a little too hyper-focused on his sport with a heroine who has the right sense of self to challenge the grumpy hero while creating a little mistaken identity. Voila! You have the beginnings of a situation that is only further complicated by the heroine being the sister of one of your team captains. Jaqueline Snowe’s Holdout is this such book, and it’s a great addition to Sarina Bowen’s Moo U series.
Holdout tells the story of Jonah “JD” and Ryann. Ryan is in a pinch. Her college roommate has an issue with substances. The previous year, her roommate’s stash was found, and she and Ryann were put on probation. If caught, she could be kicked out of college even though she has nothing to do with her roommate’s party supply. She decides to look for housing off-campus so that she’s protected. The problem is she doesn’t want to let her brother, one of the team captains of the Burlington U hockey team, know. He tends to take over anything related to her. She answers a room for rent listing, thinking that the person is a female, and learns quickly that her potential roommate is a male. Caught in a difficult situation, she decides to continue on with her plan.
On moving in, her roommate turns out to be JD, a teammate of her brother. Grumpy and seriously put off by Ryann, Jonah agrees to her living with him as long as they follow his rules. Unfortunately, these two find out quickly that they are attracted to each other. Jonah stresses about everything, but most importantly, hockey. And Ryann is the secret weapon to destress Jonah. The biggest issue is that Ryann’s brother, Michael, can’t find out about their chemistry and interest in each other.
Holdout is a nice easy read. It has all the factors of a forbidden romance. Snowe has carefully created a story that shows the complications of death and divorce in one’s life. It shows the challenges between Ryann and Jonah as they navigate a forbidden relationship. It is replete with lots of steamy scenes (Jonah is quite the dirty talker). There is much to like about this story.
I do think, however, that it isn’t trying to do anything too different with the genre and trope. It’s a safe read. You will like Ryann and Jonah and the complications of their coupling. I would definitely recommend it especially if you are a Sarina Bowen fan. Jaqueline Snowe has done her world justice with Holdout.
In love and romance,