An architect who lost his finance under horrific circumstances finds himself drawn to a horse-loving physical therapist who was the victim of a violent crime.
Worth the Risk
I was ambivalent as I started this book. WORTH THE FALL, the first installment in The McKinney Brothers series, didn’t do much for me. I’m glad I gave it another chance, because WORTH THE RISK is a keeper. Characters, plot, pacing, setting–the whole package works.
They say that tragedy brings out the best in some people and the worst in other. Stephen McKinney isn’t all that likable when the book opens. He lost his fiance five years before. We don’t get the details of the terrible attack she suffered until near the middle of the novel. Once we do, its easy to see why learning about Hannah Walker’s past would send him into a tailspin. When they first meet, pursing her is a game for him. He doesn’t believe he’s capable of connecting on a deep level, and so he’s a real jerk.
Hannah is physically and emotionally damaged. In many ways, her social development ended at fourteen. Her five older brothers are incredibly over protective and inhibit her from really trying out her wings in the real world. The author does a great job showing us how torn Hannah is between protecting herself and venturing out into the world. Stephen is way way out of her league in terms of life experience. He’s a game player. It’s how he survives. Poor Hannah couldn’t play head games if her life depended on it. There’s no guile, no artfulness about her, and THIS is what Stephen is not used to coping with. He has no defense against her other than feigned indifference, which he can’t keep up for very long.
Claudia Conner makes good use of Hannah’s little ranch. It’s both a place where Hannah and Stephen can reveal their real selves, and the factor that most threatens their burgeoning relationship. Someone is trying to buy the place out from under Hannah, who inherited it in a rather unconventional manner. Stephen believes he can help her save the property. He has no idea how difficult and dangerous things are going to get.
As in the first McKinney Brothers book, there’s plenty of family poking their noses into Stephen and Hannah’s business. Her brothers are a hoot. I know they’re not McKinneys, but I hope they get books of their own.
I didn’t expect the ending–especially what becomes of Stephen’s beloved company–but I found it absolutely perfect. Too many romances end with the hero getting the girl, catching the bad guys, and maintaining his massive fortune. Things are more complicated in WORTH THE RISK.
And I’m glad I took a risk and stuck with Claudia Connor’s series. It was definitely worth it.