by Claudia Connor
Publication date: February 3rd 2015
My rating: 5 stars
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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.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
I fell head-over-heels in love with Worth the Fall (my review) this past summer, so I’ve been excitedly anticipating Worth the Risk, and it did not disappoint! Worth the Risk was a little darker, the character’s pasts were heart wrenching, but their romance was a moving story of mending wounds and melding hearts, one I LOVED so hard! I read it and couldn’t part with the characters, so I immediately read it again!
Hannah has lived in a protective bubble provided by her brothers and her life on Freedom Farms for years. Fear and doubt made it impossible to even think of the opposite sex. But Hannah’s finally ready to take some baby steps towards having a relationship when Stephen shows up in her life. He’s successful, confident, larger than life, and gorgeous. Someone Hannah is sure she should avoid. But he’s persistent and Hannah can’t resist, especially when he sparks something in her she’s never really felt before: desire.
Stephen doesn’t date, at least not since tragedy turned his life upside down five years ago. Since then he’s buried his emotions by focusing on his business. Being around his big, loving family just reminds him of what he’s lost, so he’s avoided them until he spies Hannah. Something about her innocence and vulnerability speaks to him and has Stephen opening up his heart and stepping back into his old life again.
Hannah was a compelling character, and it was hard not to be awed by her strength of spirit, being so brave after everything she went through. Instead of curling up in a fetal position and shutting the world away, Hannah chose to help others work through tragedy, injuries or disabilities through hippotherapy, physical therapy that incorporates horses and riding instead of traditional methods. She had insecurities, and understandably so, but she never wallowed in self-pity. If she was feeling down she grabbed onto the things that uplifted her in the past: horses, riding, hard work and helping others. However, it was Stephen who awakened desires she didn’t ever imagine having, and made her feel wanted, beautiful, and safe.
Hannah and Stephen’s romance was a tentative process at first: attraction that sparked arousal, a slow and steady build of sexual tension to the point of explosion! I anxiously hung on every step but the slow progression felt right for these characters. No games were played on either side. Hannah just was not the type of girl that would ever play them:
“Don’t. Please.” She dropped her gaze from a man too used to getting what he wanted, too used to being wanted. “Don’t play with me.”
But she went on, desperate to make him understand. “Because I can’t play, I don’t know how.” And she didn’t want to. She wanted someone to share her life with, someone to want her. When she found him it wouldn’t be a game.
Hannah affected Stephen in such a profound way (whether or not he fought it) he wouldn’t consider putting her through that. Their relationship felt real, raw, and passionate, and there were some missteps along the way, but not just to add angst to the story. Stephen REALLY put his foot in it at the beginning but it was easy to forgive him knowing his issues. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to smack him a couple of times! Thankfully, sufficient groveling ensued. Lol!
One of the things I absolutely ADORED about Worth the Risk was the McKinney family and kids! I appreciated how the whole family rallied around Stephen and Hannah, and did everything they could to help things along. I was thrilled that we got so much of Matt and Abby and the kids! Baby Mary was just too cute, squealing, smearing gooey graham crackers, running naked from the bath! Of course Gracie stole my heart all over again with her curls, dimples and love of horses:
Gracie skipped along beside him as they walked to the barn, so overflowing with sunshine and rainbows, you couldn’t help but get splattered with it.
Stray water balloons, falling hot dogs and demands for ICEES, I smiled and laughed at the general chaos that came with this large, loving McKinney family!
Not to be left out was Hannah’s four loving, and protective brothers. Each brother held potential for a story in the future, but I would love a second chance romance for Nick and Mia! (Hint, hint, Ms. Connnor!)
Claudia Connor swept me off my feet AGAIN with this beautiful, heartfelt, and passionate romance! The epilogue was just so completely, and utterly perfect. I’m eagerly counting the days until her next story!
The McKinny Brothers Book One:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)