WHY I READ IT
I loved the first McKinney brother book, and couldn’t wait for this one.
WHAT I RATED IT
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
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.
Oh, those McKinney Brothers! I was immediately taken with Matt in Worth the Fall and Stephen was just as intriguing. Once again, I was completely wrapped up in the story from the first sentence. Claudia Connor hits the ground running. With her books, it doesn’t take 3 or 4 chapters to get the story going. You get it from the start and I that is just one of the many things that I have come to love about her books.
Stephen McKinney suffered a horrific loss five years ago and as result, has withdrawn from his family and his life. Drowning himself in women, whiskey and work, he barely knows who he is anymore and is just drifting through life.
Hannah Walker has suffered her own horrible past at the hands of someone she thought she could trust. She has since found her purpose, using horses to heal not only herself, but children in the community.
On the day Hannah has to say goodbye to her beloved dog, she meets Stephen and is so enamored in her grief, he is barely a blip on her radar, but not for Stephen. He waits for her, and refuses to take no for an answer. He wants a date, a drink, something. He isn’t sure what calls Hannah to him, but he likes it. Hannah’s past with men doesn’t exactly extend itself to dates with random men, but Stephen is insistent.
“I guess I could met you somewhere.”
He cocked his head, resisted giving her the head-to-toe perusal he wanted to. “Is that the best deal I’m going to get?”
“It’s the only deal you’re going to get.”
As hesitant as Stephen and Hannah each are in starting a relationship, they just can not stay away from each other. Stephen is exactly what Hannah needs to trust and heal. He is strong and protective. He allows Hannah to open up to him, to trust him and feel safe. Hannah does the same for Stephen, if only they would each allow it to happen. Stephen know exactly what it’s like to have it all, only to lose it. He is not willing to give everything up again, but he just can’t stay away from Hannah.
She blinked up at him, eyes, dazed, looking every bit like a girl who’d just been thoroughly kissed. “It’s hard to breathe around you.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“I don’t know.”
There are a lot of obstacles for Hannah and Stephen, least of all are Hannah’s brothers, described as her “very own big-brother protective force.” There are secrets and back door deals, catty women and shady coworkers. All of it could spell disaster for Hannah and Stephen. Each one must decide if the other is worth the risk.
I really enjoyed the push and pull between Hannah and Stephen. Claudia wraps you up in her story and keeps you there until the very end. These characters felt like old friends you just wanted the best for. Once again, another outstanding book from Claudia Connor.