Author and Publisher: Colette Davison Cover Artist: Colette Davison Release Date: July 26, 2022 Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance Tropes: Rivals to lovers, grumpy and sunshine, slow burn, hurt/comfort Themes: Winning isn’t everything, learning to love yourself Heat Rating: 3 flames Length: 93,000 words It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
“Two members of the British team train there. Reece Matthews and Garrett Kidd.”
“They’re great gymnasts.”
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.”
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.”
“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.”
About the Author
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. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.