Worth the Fall: A McKinney Brothers Novel

Worth the Fall: A McKinney Brothers Novel

by Claudia Connor

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553390919
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Series: The McKinney Brothers , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 58,777
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author 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.

Read an Excerpt

Families crowded the beach, getting in one last trip before school started. A pack of teenagers raced into the water, brightly colored rafts under their arms, and a baby off to his right tasted sand. The seagulls screaming above his head reminded him of his brothers and sister fighting over the last cookie.

He’d gone less than ten yards before he was drawn to the water like the Navy SEAL he was. With strong, even strokes, he cut through the rolling waves of the Atlantic, pushing himself, swimming faster, kicking harder, as if he could prove to his commanding officer he was more than ready for active duty. Prove to him it’d be wrong to sideline him because of a knock on the head. Idiotic medical bullshit.

The cool water brushing past him did nothing to quiet his mind. This final week of mandatory recovery could have been relaxing, but already on edge, his beach companions were driving him to the brink. At thirty-four, what had once been sexy seemed sleazy. Bold and assertive felt more like desperate and aggressive.

He liked sex. He didn’t like being mauled.

Matt continued moving parallel to the shore, catching glimpses of colorful umbrellas and the six towering condos that made up the resort. He preferred the water, but running back under the midday sun would likely burn off more steam than swimming.

As he approached the shore, a small football landed off to his right with a splash and he glanced around for the thrower. No one was anywhere near him in the ocean, but a little boy stood at the water’s edge, watching him.
Matt squinted against the reflecting sun and waded onto the beach, NERF ball in hand. “Here you go.”

The boy looked to be around five or so and stared silently up at Matt as he took his ball.

Deed done, Matt turned to go. He hadn’t taken two steps before something wet hit his shoulder. He sighed at the small blue and yellow football at his feet.

When he looked back, the expression on the kid’s face reminded him of a dog after dropping a ball at your feet for the tenth time.

You probably don’t want to play with me, but I sure wish you would.

Matt lowered his head for a second, debating whether to applaud the boy’s tactics or scream in frustration. What he wouldn’t give to be a kid again with kid worries. To want nothing more in life than someone to play with.
Matt picked up the ball with every intention of walking away and tossed it underhand to the boy. It sailed right through the kid’s outstretched hands, bounced off his bony chest and back toward Matt.


He shook his head, hating himself for thinking it, but he’d grown up with five brothers. You didn’t drop a ball without hearing a jab.

The kid ran over to retrieve his football and stopped short. He glanced over his shoulder and waved at a woman sitting in the sand with three other children. “That’s my mom.”

Matt couldn’t see her face, but she raised a hand at her son, clearly keeping an eye on the situation. Matt waved back.

The boy took a step closer to Matt, stared at his toes and dug them into the sand. “I can’t catch,” he mumbled.
Based on that one throw, the kid was right, but Matt wasn’t going to say so. “You’ll get it. You just need to practice. Maybe your dad could throw with you or something.”

“Nope. He can’t throw. He’s dead.”

The kid dropped that bit of info like he was talking about the color of the sky. Matt’s gut twisted. Another person dead. He ran his fingers through his hair, pulling at the ends in frustration. And he’d been jealous of this kid.

He closed his eyes for a second and rubbed at the headache hovering behind his right eye. The one that had been gathering strength all morning. He didn’t have anywhere else to be and he sure as hell wasn’t in a hurry to get back to playing cabana boy.

“I’ll throw with you,” Matt said, taking five steps back and motioning with his fingers, ready for the ball.

The kid gave him a million-watt smile and wound up for his throw. The ball wobbled and sailed straight into the ocean. Nailing Matt in the back had obviously been a fluke. The kid wasn’t any better at throwing than he was at catching, though what he lacked in skill he made up for in enthusiasm.

After his tenth trip fishing the ball out of the surf, Matt turned and came face-to-face with the kid’s mother.

And what a face it was.

Smooth, flawless complexion. Delicate features. She was small, compared to the five-foot-ten Kimmi; the top of her head barely reached his shoulders. Dark hair hung in a simple ponytail, a few strands blowing softly around her striking face.

“Hey, Jack.” She laid a gentle hand on the boy’s head. “Why don’t you go play with Annie?”

“But, Mom, we’re practicing.”

“Jack!” yelled a little girl with long brown braids. “Charlie’s tearing down your castle!”

She watched her son run off to rescue his creation.

Matt hadn’t noticed it at first, but when she turned, the black tank top she wore with black bikini bottoms stretched over her belly. Beautiful and pregnant.

He forced his attention to the kids. Jack and a smaller boy knelt, throwing sand out behind them like dogs digging a hole. “Nice kid.”

“Thanks.” She flashed him a sweet smile and looked away again.

Such a sharp contrast to his current companions but every bit as beautiful. Even more so.

One of the kids, a little girl who looked around three, came up. Her short legs struggled in the sand and her arms strained, dragging a yellow bucket.

“Mommy, wook in my bucket. You gotta see.”

“Wow, Gracie.” She peered into the bucket. “You have a lot of sand.”

“Not just sand, Mommy. I got a creature. He’s in dere ’cause I putted him in dere. You want to see?” she asked Matt.

“Sure.” Matt crouched down beside her. “What did you say was in there?”

She leaned right under Matt’s nose. “It’s a creature.”

A riot of soft brown curls tickled his cheek, giving him a whiff of baby shampoo and little-kid sunscreen, reminding him of nieces he didn’t see enough.

A sexy womanly smell also surrounded him and he breathed in a little deeper. Kneeling as he was, there was no way to avoid the sexy thighs mere inches from his face.

“Oh no! He’s gone! Hey, wittle guy, where are you?” Her nose practically touched the sand. “Mommy, I wost him.”

“Oh, I’m sure he’s in there,” Matt said, jerking his attention back to the bucket. “He’s probably hiding with all of us crowded around. Pretty sure I saw him.”

“Well, I want to see him too. I’m gonna dig him out.” She popped up and the crown of her head caught Matt right in the mouth.

“Ow!” Gracie rubbed her head, then gave him a wide dimpled smile. “I’m okay.” And she skittered off to find her creature.


“It’s fine.” Matt straightened and the woman raised her hand toward his face, stopping midway and lowering it before making contact. But not before Matt caught the gleam of a gold band on her left ring finger. Hadn’t the kid just said his dad was dead?

A white-blond, cherub-faced toddler stopped at her side, his arms raised. Matt tried hard not to stare at her breasts as she bent to pick him up. Yeah. His lip was fine.

She propped the boy on her hip, and he twisted a strand of her hair around his sandy finger. And that sand sprinkled over her smooth, sun-kissed chest, and . . . Damn.

The little boy tucked his head under her chin, his soft baby hair ruffling over his forehead in the breeze. Time seemed to stop along with Matt’s brain. They stood awkwardly for a beat before a squabble broke out around the crumbling sand structure.

She shifted her feet and adjusted the weight of the boy. “Guess I better go.”

Matt glanced at the castle builders. He wouldn’t mind helping.

“Bye,” she said.

Okay. Maybe not.

She took a step, then smiled at him over her shoulder. “Thanks for playing with Jack.”

“No problem. Nice to meet you.” He watched her walk away. All toned legs, tiny ankles, and an ass he was not looking at.

He stood there another minute, waiting on . . . he had no idea what, before heading back in the direction he’d come. That little girl was a doll, with her blowing curls and preschool chatter. And the mom, well . . . he needed to keep walking. And then it hit him.

He hadn’t met her at all. Hadn’t even asked her name. What an idiot. His brothers would laugh their asses off. He picked up the pace until he was jogging.

It shouldn’t matter whether he knew her name or not. It didn’t. Just because he hadn’t seen a man around didn’t mean there wasn’t one. Except . . . if she was here alone and pregnant with four kids, then . . . Then what?

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Worth the Fall: A McKinney Brothers Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not one to take the time to leave book reviews but this book deserves my time. I love this story! I couldn't put it down! There's so many books out with similar story lines. It was refreshing to read a book that wasn't like any others. I want a Matt of my own! Abby is such a great mom. I also love the way the author took the time to bring each childs personality to life. Each one was individual and unique. I can't wait to read more from this author. I'm going to check out her web page right now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! The characters draw you in and before you know it you are crying with them, laughing with them and falling in love with them. Very well written story that has sexual tension strong enough you could strum it...It builds beautifully between the characters and explodes with a show worthy of fireworks. Absolutely adored this book! Adored the characters and the storyline. It was a nice change having the heroin be a single sexy mom. Very different but nice! So this book holds high on my list of faves...my only complaint is finding a book to follow it. I fear dissapointment is in my near future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have an emotional hangover from reading this book. Wow...just wow!
sugarpine721 More than 1 year ago
Absolutely the perfect story to warm your heart...you will fall in love with this Navy Seal...the way he loves four small children and their pregnant mother is just too much. The characters are rich and lovable, the writing engrossing. I loved very word from start to finish. It was romance and lots of love....pure gold!!! The building of relationships between Matt and the children will make you laugh and cry...all the while watching Matt and Abby find their way together. If you read "Room For You" by Beth Ehemann and loved it like I did, you will not want to miss this heartfelt, beautiful book!!
Lauren2LC More than 1 year ago
God! What a sweet love story!!!!!! I loved Matt from the get go. *swoon* The book starts basically with Matt getting hit by a football and falling instantly in love with a family. It is not your typical love story but it was amazing. I loved the fact that Matt saw past all the baggage of 4.5 kids and fell in love with all of them. How long had it been since she'd been sheltered instead of being the shelterer? No one wanted to be strong all the time. For Abby, god she was so broken. Often I get frustrated with heroines who are whiny and insecure and there were moments where I was like 'Gah! Just pull your big girl panties up and move on' but then I had to step back and remind myself that Abby wasn't whiny and insecure she was just really broken, which broke my heart. "Everything in life's a chance. Nothing is a sure thing. people die, they leave, they change. ..." Matt had his own demons but he knew what he wanted from the beginning and powered through to make it happen because he had to fight so many aspects for Abby to let go and fall where Matt would be to catch her. This is a debut book by Claudia Connor and it rocked! I can NOT wait for Worth the Risk. January can not come soon enough. This book was well written and captured me from the beginning. I was only going to read a few chapters before bed but I ended up staying up all night because I couldn't put it down having to find out how this story ended and what a sweet end it was. *sigh*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one wonderful book about a navy Seal meeting a widow women with 4.5 children, under the age of 6 years old, on a week vacation on a beach. Very emotional, steamy, and touching story that you just can not help but fall in love with the children too!! Can not wait for the next book coming out in Jan. 2015. Highly recommend.***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am absolutly hooked! I fell in love with the characters right away. Sex scenes were hot and the story was great. Cant wait for the next one!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really loved reading this book and I loved all the characters as well. I've never read anything from this author before but I look forward to reading more from her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel I've read from this author, and I loved it. Claudia is a gifted writer and the book had just enough heat to be realistic. Some romance writers think cursing, or pre-marital sex is forbidden in the 21st century! This author is real and I loved the realness of the story line. I will be ordering the rest in this series. Please write more?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written and a page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot express my love for this story ! Do yourself a favor and read this one, You truly will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Enjoyed it from the first page until the last. Its a story of unimanageable loss, forgiveness and love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved how their ronance grows. The children were wonderful and loved Matt's family. Great story.
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I loved this story-Matt was so sweet & hot! The story was so emotional-loved Abby & the sweetest kids - beautiful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was such a beautiful story of love, trust, sacrifice and healing. They deserve the many blessings in their lives. True there were some hot steamy romantic scenes, but this was far more about family and everyone falling in love. Matt is just perfection!!!!!!!
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars Reviewed by Suzanne and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Stephen McKinney hasn’t been the same ever since his fiance was brutally murdered mere weeks before their wedding. He drowns his bitter anger and grieve behind alcohol and meaningless sex, and stays as far away from his family as he can. But, that starts to change when he meets the sweet yet vulnerable Hannah Walker. Hannah has been through a hellish experience the marks still visible all over her body, but it’s the mental scars that bother her the most. When she meets Stephen, she thinks she making a step in the right direction, no longer hiding herself away, or behind the protective barrier of her older brothers. But Stephen has scars and troubles of his own, ones that may prevent him from loving Hannah like she needs. I don’t know why it took so long for me to read this book, I received the ARC last year, but it never quite got to the top of the pile, especially as I really enjoyed the first book, Worth the Fall. What a fool I was! I really liked this book, like the first book it was a sweet read, with both characters being vulnerable in their own way and it was lovely to see two such lonely damaged people come together. Hannah went through a truly terrifying and harrowing experience when she was a teenager, one that left her scarred and scared of everything, especially men. Because of this, she has very little interaction with anyone outside of her overprotective (and extremely hot) brothers. Watching Hannah learning to trust Stephen and Stephen letting go of his anger enough to love Hannah was fantastic. They had great sexual chemistry from the start as well, I liked how Connor built it up, how they had to overcome their own personal demons to take their relationship to the next level. Connor created a poignant and moving romance. Another enjoyable read from Claudia Connor, I enjoyed seeing Hannah and Stephen come together, as well as taking a peek back into Abby and Matt’s life. This is a really good family based contemporary romance, it has some sweet and sexy main couples, surrounded by a great mix of secondary characters, I definitely recommend you give it a read. p.s. I really hope she does a Walker Brother spin off, those over-protective hunks deserve a HEA!
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
I bought Claudia Connor’s Worth the Fall back in 2014 when it was on sale. A number of my friends sang its praises so I couldn’t resist. Of course, I got distracted by other books and didn’t get around to reading it until this year. As I do. It was beautiful. I loved the writing and the story and, most of all, the characters. It was sexy without being overly graphic, more about the WANT and passion than the explicit words and dirty talk. (Not that I don’t LOVE dirty talk, but it just wouldn’t have fit with these characters.) Worth the Fall was emotionally-charged and powerful. I was immediately sucked into Abby and Matt’s story. It was impossible NOT to fall in love with both of them at the start. Abby’s kids were charming and I enjoy watching Matt with them. I loved the way this little family came together and even when times got tough, I loved the story. Such a fantastic, heartwarming book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story . ..wonderful characters...I must warn, this is a tear jerker...Awesome !!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I laughed, I cried, I got mad, I was sad, I got excited. Read it and it will happen to you. Great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago