Release Day Launch and Reviews: Worth The Risk: Claudia Connor

Worth The Risk (The McKinney Brothers #2)
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Expected February 3, 2014 

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.

Stephen McKinney and Hannah Walker...

Two people who had been broken  but coped in different ways. Hannah coped with isolation except for her brothers and helping others. She has not had relationships or intimacy with men. Stephen dealt with his loss with alcohol, women, work, anger, and pulling away from his family.

One never having a real relationship...one lost someone special...neither know what they're doing or if they can handle even trying to be anything significant to each other. One family encourages them and one is discouraging them. They are two confused, lost people forming a connection and attraction that they can't seem to avoid, but scares them. Fears, ghost, and demons make them wary and unsure. Trust is tentative. Each do not feel worthy of love in some ways. 

Can they face their past together in order to move forwards stronger or will they be shattered all over again?

I loved Stephen even when he was broody and made mistakes. He was Norfolk's "Most Eligible Bachelor. His life revolved around his cutthroat business, acquisitions, and money. He was refusing to allow himself to find happiness or connect with his own family or women. He wanted to continue to be cold and detached, but once he met Hannah it became harder for him. She brought out parts of him he thought were lost and he found himself falling against his will. He was living in a self imposed prison of guilt, loss, anger, self preservation and detachment. My heart broke for him as he thought of himself a monster for the revengeful thoughts he harbored. Even as he began to realize what he wanted, he was still scared of the prospect of grabbing it and holding on. Sometimes fighting himself led to him making poor decisions or saying things that were hard to take back. But I still forgave him because it was obvious that he was hurt, vulnerable, and terrified of loving and losing again. 

Hannah was a fantastic heroine, She had been through something horrific, then was in recovery and and sheltered. But she survived and was  living to help others. Her passion was her horses and helping kids with disabilities.  She had a huge, giving, beautiful heart. But she was insecure, shy, frightened, and had trust issues. She did not have a normal upbringing or life and it marked her. She also was insulated by overprotective brothers. But she had this resilience and strength abut her that she conveyed to her students that was heartwarming and inspirational.

I loved them together. In so many ways they were different, but then they shared some surprising similarities as well. Their pasts tethered them in a way that yielded understanding and empathy. But at the same time brought back nightmares and fears. But they also brought out the best in each other in other ways. He needed to find joy in life and family and feel again. She needed to discover intimacy, self worth and empowerment. They had chemistry and passion that built at a realistic pace. But their lives also had complications.

This book abounds with hot, magnetic, muscular brothers. Not only are there the other McKinney brothers Matt (Worth The Fall), Tony, Andrew, Patrick, J.T. as well as sassy sister Lizzy. But there are also The Walker brothers Nick(FBI agent), Luke(Delta Force), Zach (Firefighter) and another mysterious one named Dallas. Claudia Connor has a lot of options for further books in this series. And all the young McKinney kids are back too in all of their rambunctious glory. There was lots of family dynamics and fun. I loved catching up with Matt, Abby and the whole family.

This was another engaging installment in this series although it had a darker, emotional edge to it. But there was also humor and romance as well. It was told in both points of view allowing me to totally connect and understand each of the main characters and their varying issues and fears. Their pasts were gradually revealed throughout the story making it a bit mysterious until it was fully disclosed. And there was also a bit of suspense, danger and deceit swirling under the surface.

They were two people to made a connection when they weren't even looking and they had to determine if taking the risk would be worth the possible reward. It was a heartbreaking, emotional, inspiring story of love, hope and healing. I can't wait for more in this series. I am especially interested in the other moody, self isolating brother J.T. McKinney and all of the Walker brothers who are very intriguing, protective alpha males in need of women of their own.

I was gifted a copy in exchange of an honest review. 

Hannah Walker and Stephen McKinney both have incidents in their pasts that have marked them. Hannah reacted by withdrawing, while Stephen threw himself into his work. But the connection between these two runs deeper than common pain.

Hannah Walker is sheltered by her four overprotective older brothers. Having lived through a horror at the age of 14, she hasn’t done much living in the 12 years since. She built a small therapy program for children using horses and has big plans for her little farm, which both helped her heal and gave her a purpose.

Avoiding his family and burying himself in his work since the death of his fiancee 5 years ago, land developed Stephen McKinney has been doing little more than surviving. When he meets the sweet, shy owner of Freedom Farms, he finds himself not so quick to avoid life, his family, and risk.

Together, these two begin to open up and live again. But what will happen when secrets come to light? Or will their secrets break the fragile bonds they have managed to build?

I loved each of these two as individuals. While Hannah was withdrawn and quiet, she had an inner strength and light that allowed her to continue on and find ways to cope with her past. She may not have been good with people, but she was a wonder for the kids she worked with and her job quickly became her passion. Though Stephen had pulled away from his family, at heart he is still a McKinney, and McKinney’s ultimately are loyal, and family driven. His grief may have clouded his vision for some time, but as his grief and anger thaw, he quickly finds his place among his siblings once again.

And together? I loved them even more. Broken in their own ways, they found safety and comfort that had been missing elsewhere. Stephen had tried to drown his grief in women and drink, but never found full peace. Until he met Hannah.

Their families each made interesting and fun additions to the story. In addition to the large McKinney family, the Walkers join the story with their own large family. I don’t know if the author has plans to create a spin-off around the Walker brothers, but while the McKinney boys are sweet at the heart of their protectiveness, the Walker brothers have an alpha quality that I don’t think we’ve seen from the McKinney’s so far. Their individual personalities would make for compelling reading, for sure!

Worth the Risk was more emotional than Worth the Fall in a darker way. There were more elements of danger and suspense that helped spur the story along. From start to finish, this was a great read that kept me turning pages wondering how they would be able to overcome their pasts, the present tension and look ahead to the future.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

They meet on a beach
. . . . 
Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.
They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family. 

But a week is all it takes. . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

Claudia Connor Website/Facebook/Twitter

Claudia Connor is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of heartfelt contemporary romance. Claudia attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and travel, but spends most of her time typing out the love stories of the almost real people that live in her head. Claudia lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.

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