Thursday, January 29, 2015

review || WORTH THE RISK { blog tour }

Worth the Risk by Claudia Connor

Publisher: Loveswept (2/3/2015)
Series: The McKinney Brothers, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy from || amazon | bn | itunes | kobo || add to goodreads

My Rating: ★★

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.

{ excerpt } .

Her oldest brother, Nick, stood leaning against the hood of his SUV, looking like the formidable FBI agent he was. Nick was tall and handsome; his hair was dark brown to her light and he wore the perpetual unshaven look well. It gave him a tough look just short of scary.
He lifted his hand and she waved back. Afraid she couldn’t tell him about Max without crying, she’d texted him. And now he was here, checking on her like he always did. Her brothers had raised her, sacrificed for her. Nick more than any of them.
Lexie met them and took Hazel and Allie into the barn. Hannah turned to find Nick’s cop eyes full of concern. That was the look she couldn’t spend an entire night with.
“I’m okay. I’m sad, but I’m okay.”
Nick said nothing for several seconds, just gave her his I-can-read-your-mind stare. “I talked to Luke and Zach. They’re fine with changing plans tonight.”
“I knew you’d say that.” She headed into the barn to get ready for her next student, leaving Nick to follow. “You don’t need to change your plans.”
“Well, you’re sure as hell not sitting home alone.”
“You’re right. I’m not.” She stepped into the tack room and Nick stopped just outside.
“Yes. Really. You can still have your guy party. I have plans.”
“Yes.” She looked back at him and smiled. “I can have plans, you know.”
“I know you can, you just . . .”
“What?” She reached for a piece of support foam. “Never do?
He leaned against the doorway, watching her. “Where are you going?”
“With who?”
She stepped around him and moved down the aisle for Big Ben, a small chestnut pony. “A friend.”
“A friend.” He said it full of suspicion and disdain for someone he didn’t know. Big-brother syndrome plus FBI equaled over-the-top.
“I also manage to have friends.” Kind of. She slipped the halter over the pony’s head.
“Where are you going?”
She speared him with a glare over her shoulder.
“Okay. Sorry.” He held up his hands. “But why don’t you and your friend come over to watch the game?”
Hannah tilted her head. “Is there an echo in here?”
“On top of not knowing who this friend is, I don’t like the idea of you coming home at night to an empty house.” Immediately he looked remorseful and scrubbed a hand over his face. “Sorry.”
She blew out a shaky breath before speaking. “It’s fine. Dogs don’t live forever, you knew that when I moved out here.” Something he’d been adamantly against, but having the dog had helped.
She loved her four brothers, and she wouldn’t say they suffocated her, though the hum of their hovering could be deafening at times. FBI, Special Forces, firefighter, cop. It was like her very own big-brother protection force. And every one of them liked to be in charge and in control. Especially Nick. If they knew she was going out with a man, let alone a man she didn’t know, they’d freak. Even if it was for their own good.
“I know how to lock a door.”
“I know you do.”
She met her brother’s worried eyes, and not for the first time thought what it must have been like for him at nineteen, suddenly responsible for four siblings. Then she thought of how much more she’d put him through. Put them all through.
If they were ever going to believe she was really okay, if she was going to believe it, she had to prove it. Time to push herself out of her comfort zone. For herself. For all of them.

about Claudia || Claudia Connor 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 spending her days putting on paper the stories in her head. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.

connect with Claudia || Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

{ review } .

When I read WORTH THE FALL in June, it was one of my first to-review reads, it was the first time I'd heard of Claudia Connor, and, the reason why I'd never heard of her before, it was Claudia's debut. Oh, and what a beautiful debut it had been.

Right there on all the pages -- Amazon, Goodreads, etc -- it stated that FALL was book one in the McKinney brother series. Reading FALL, you knew that there were a couple un-shacked-up brothers: Stephen and JT, both with their demons. Obviously I was intrigued... 

But with FALL being so flipping great? I wasn't sure how Claudia would make connected books that would even touch the greatness of Abby and Matt's love story. 

....but she did it.

Unlike FALL, where Matt falls in love quickly with Abby, Stephen has to work his mind around it. It was great watching their relationship bloom.

I love when authors start books with huge emotional scenes. If I'm crying in the first few pages, I know that the book is well written and that I'm going to connect to it. Claudia's pretty good (understatement...) with getting the reader to connect.

Reading about Abby losing her dog? Oh my goodness, gracious, was I crying. Max was her everything -- and reading these scenes and 'watching' her try to do normal, every day things afterward? (My goodness, I'm going to cry just writing this part) -- it reminded me of when I had to put down my dog, and when my other dog passed away -- trying to go grocery shopping the day of, trying to exercise away the demons but your mind keeps going back to that face.

Abby has dealt with a lot in her years; losing her dog is fairly minimal in relation, but it's really the first major thing to go 'wrong' since starting to be independent of her overbearing, even though they have legit reasons brothers.

She breaks her own walls by agreeing to go out with Stephen, even though she doesn't expect it to go anywhere. She needs to find normal, and going on a date (with a man who has pursued her all over the city in one day) is normal.

Stephen does things different with Hannah from the start. He knows that Hannah is not his normal 'conquest' and oddly enough, he's ok with that.
It was odd ending a date this way, standing outside a car. It usually ended with him slipping out of a woman's bed mildly rested and covered with guilt.
Not only that, but he wants more... 
"...Did I pass the test? Can I have your number now?” 
No answer. Second time today she’d refused him and still, he ached to arch her back, taste that sweet mouth, nip his way across her cheek and down her throat. “How do you feel about parties?” 
“Um . . .” Her eyes were everywhere but on him, teeth pressing into that bottom lip he was dying to suck into his own. “I’m not really into parties.” 
“I think you’ll like this one.” 
She held out her hand for her keys. “No, but thank you.” 
“Hmm. The birthday girl will be very disappointed. If I don’t make an appearance she’ll get her feelings hurt. I’d hate to do that.” Something flashed in her eyes at the mention of another woman. So she wasn’t totally uninterested. Good. 
“Why can’t you go by yourself?” 
“I don’t want to go by myself. I want to go with you.” 
“Well, if she really wants you to come to her party, she probably won’t be very happy about you bringing a friend.” 
“No, she’d love me to bring a friend. Definitely the more– the– merrier type.” 
“I don’t think so.” Hannah turned to her car, remembered he still had her keys and turned back with her hand out. 
“You sure? Turning five is a pretty big deal.” 
Her mouth dropped open. “Five?” 
“Yes. My niece. Gracie.” He grinned, enjoying her shock.
Ok, so it's not really nice to use his sweet little niece as a ploy to get Hannah to see him again, but c'mon -- man wants her to meet his family already. That's pretty monumental. Even Matt didn't introduce Abby to his family so early (ok, those were different circumstances but...).

And when her fears come to surface and she tries to run -- Stephen doesn't let her. I absolutely loved him in the scene where Hannah discovers the article calling her a 'beast' (in regards to Beauty and the Beast). These two... 

I could read Matt and Abby's story three days a week and never get tired of it.

Stephen and Hannah would take the other days, hands down.

...but then again, JT's story is on it's way (WORTH IT ALL -- isn't that a fabulous title?) and rumor has it those Walker boys will be getting their own chance at happily ever after.

Claudia, you're on a roll. I don't think it's possible for you to fail at this point. Your mind works in beautiful ways and I'm so glad your decided to take a chance and bring WORTH THE FALL to life. Keep on doing what you're doing, lady.
"What are you so afraid to love her?"
"I'm not." He was afraid to ask her to love him.
"I think you are. I think you're terrified to the point you're brought to your knees, to the point you risk it all." 

{ giveaway } .


  1. Thank you for hosting today! Lovely review!! You have a wonderful way with words!

  2. Thank you so so much for this review!! <3