Worth the Risk (The McKinney Brothers #2)
by Claudia Connor
When a McKinney brother falls in love, powerful emotion and overwhelming desire are never far behind.
Two hearts locked away . . . Hannah Walker spends her days coaching children through injury and trauma, one therapeutic horseback ride at a time. She knows all too well how violence can change a child and leave scars that never heal. It’s easy for her to relate to the kids; what isn’t easy is the thought of facing her own harrowing past.
Millionaire playboy Stephen McKinney could use a little coaching himself. Five years ago he encountered his most horrible nightmare—and the nightmare won. No matter what he achieves, nothing can make up for that awful night . . . or so he believes.
Both desperate for a second chance . . . Stephen is used to getting what he wants. And he wants Hannah. So when she turns him down, he’s intrigued. What he doesn’t know is that her secrets will lead him to a place he never wanted to go again . . . to a side of himself he’s tried to forget . . . a side that would scare Hannah away from ever loving him. Now his only chance to win her trust is to bare his soul, risking everything he tried so hard to protect.
First order of business was to cancel his prior commitment for the evening, easy enough. He sat at his desk and pulled up the number. He’d had a fun couple of weeks, but things between him and Nicole had run their course and they both knew it. She’d been the one to cancel last time. Women used him for his money and prestige. He used them for . . . some would say sex. He thought of it more as sleep aid without the pills.
When that was done he dug into the Shanghai file, barely looking up when his partner, Dave Pietro, strode in. His tie was a blast of orange against a navy pinstripe. And that was Dave, from his three-thousand-dollar shoes to his slicked-back hair and shrewd black eyes. Dave’s favorite saying was “shock and awe.” More often than not, it was just shock. But he was sharp, and he enjoyed playing the political side, something Stephen had no patience for.
“Congratulations.” Dave waved a magazine, one he’d already seen.
Stephen McKinney, Norfolk’s Most Eligible Bachelor.
“You didn’t tell me.”
“I forgot.” Since making his first million in college and being dubbed the Stock Whisperer by Forbes, it was always something. He’d been recognized in Top Ten Young Professionals more times than he could count. One article had even called him a young Donald Trump. That one he appreciated, as he had great respect for the man.
He’d strategized, negotiated, and outsmarted, gaining power and leverage with surprising speed. But it was the bigger, more recent, risks that had gotten him farther, faster. It wasn’t hard to risk everything when you had nothing to lose. Nothing to live for.
“So, how many women did you have to screw to get that Most Eligible status?”
“I don’t know,” Stephen answered dryly, thinking Dave actually sounded jealous. “I didn’t count.”
“Well, either I’m not screwing enough or not the right ones. Better up my game.”
Stephen looked up just in time to see Dave cover his tone with a smile as he passed him a file.
“New property. I want it.”
Always with the new deals, the quick and easy profit. Stephen wasn’t against quick money, but he held majority in Trace, and small projects offered little challenge, in addition to wasting time. While Dave went on about an empty stretch of land and the commercial opportunities, Stephen’s mind wandered to a real challenge.
Hannah. The name suited her somehow. Soft and earthy. Full lips and a mouth he could spend hours exploring. He was well aware he might never see her again.
It wasn’t at all like him to care.
Worth the Fall, book one in The McKinney Brothers series by Claudia Connor, was one of my favorite reads of 2014 so of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on Worth the Risk. I went in with high expectations for an emotional, heartwarming romance and Ms. Connor did not disappoint.
I have to admit, Stephen took a little longer to grow on me than his brother Matt did, but he proved himself in the end. I generally stay away from widower heroes, and while Stephen wasn't technically a widower, he was still close enough that I wasn't honestly sure how I'd feel about him in the end. It seems that widowers always hold such a torch for their deceased wife (not that I can't understand why) but it always takes them sooooo long to realize that it's okay to love again and it usually leaves me feeling like the heroine is second best. Luckily Stephen's grand gesture at the end left me with no doubts.
Now that I got that out of the way, let's get to the story, shall we?! Hannah hasn't lead an easy life but she found purpose working with kids on her farm and she's happy, for the most part anyway. She's always shied away from people but when she meets Stephen she feels something she's never felt before... Safe. So when he asks her out when they first meet she reluctantly agrees.
Stephen is wresting with demons of his own but shy, beautiful Hannah intrigues him. So he goes after her... And he's the type of guy that always gets what he wants. The only problem? He actually starts to feel something for Hannah and that scares him so he does the typical guy thing, acts like a jerk... Same story, different hero.
There was a lot of back and forth going on in Stephen's mind throughout the book. He wanted Hannah, he definitely felt something for Hannah, but he didn't want to feel something for her. Then he starts to worry that he's not good enough for her. It got a little annoying, which brings me back to my original gripe about widower heroes.
Hannah, on the other hand, really made this story for me. After all she's been through... Losing her parents when she was only two, being raised by her four older brothers, then the tragedy she suffered as a teenager... She's still such a strong heroine. And even through her vulnerability you can't help but envy the way she can still love so freely.
Worth the Risk was a heartwarming romance about two people learning to trust and love after experiencing so much pain in the past. Overall it was a great read and I can't wait to see what else Ms. Connor has in store for us with the rest of the McKinney brothers!
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Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Worth the Risk in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.