Image from Goodreads

Title: Can’t Let Go
Series: The Original Heartbreakers #5
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: 31 Oct 2017
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale about an icy war vet and the only woman capable of melting him…

With trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men.  Then Jude Laurent walks into her bar and all bets are off.  The former Army Ranger has suffered unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting him? Impossible.

To Jude, Ryanne is off limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her livelihood, and her life, he can’t turn away.  She triggers something in him he thought long buried, and he’s determined to protect her, whatever the cost.

As their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows he must let go of his past to hold on to his future…or risk losing the second chance he desperately needs.


I have read and re-read this story and still don’t feel as if I can do it justice.

Can’t Let Go has Gena Showalter’s trademark flawed characters, they are real and their emotions raw drawing you in and taking a piece of your heart. I become so invested in Gena’s characters I feel their emotions as if they were my own, so believe me when I say Can’t Let Go is an emotional rollercoaster.

We have already met the main characters, Jude and Ryanne in the previous books in the series, however, I will say you need to check all of your preconceived ideas at the door, especially where Ryanne is concerned.

Jude has suffered more than any one person should in a lifetime; having lost not only his leg while on active duty but also his family – his wife and twin daughters to a drunk driver. It is no wonder he has cut off all of his emotions and barely functions, making it through each day only because of the promise he made to his beloved wife. Although, Ryanne stirs parts of him he thought were buried alongside his family. Coming to terms with these unwelcome emotions creates a lot of angst not only for himself but also for Ryanne.

Ryanne is a wonderful person, loyal friend, compassionate and caring. Having dealt with her own emotional issues stemming from a flighty mother and lack of a permanent home. Ryanne has deliberately distanced herself from relationships although her outgoing nature would have you think otherwise. Ryanne sets her sights on Jude as an introduction to physical intimacy. Neither expects the impact of their dalliance has on their lives. From stray pregnant cats to aiding those less fortunate, each new incident serves to add another layer to the relationship between Jude and Ryanne. Although there were times I seriously wanted to punch Jude in the private parts for his callous treatment of Ryanne’s emotions, it was obvious that they are good for each other.

The ongoing thriller elements from Can’t Hardly Breathe not only continue but escalate in Can’t Let Go adding to the intensity of the story as a whole. I have to say I loved the way in which Jude handled the situation, taking every angle into account and not only controlling the current situation but ensuring a safe passage in the future.

The previous couples from the series make an appearance and provide a means of continuing their individual stories. Gena does an amazing job of paving the way for the next book in the series where Brock and Lyndie take center stage. While I cannot wait to see what happens between them I am also going to make sure I have tissues to hand because I have a feeling I am going to need them – two very broken characters are sure to bring a whole bunch of messy emotions with them.