Worth the Risk (McKinney Brothers Series #2)

Worth the Risk (McKinney Brothers Series #2)

by Claudia Connor

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For readers of Bella Andre, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Connor follows up her heartfelt debut, Worth the Fall, with a novel about Matt’s brother, Stephen. 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.

Praise for Worth the Risk and Claudia Connor
“Love, love, love! Read Claudia Connor for a consistently raw and emotional love story.”New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips
“Achingly real characters, combined with Connor’s deft and tender handling of complex issues, make for a compelling, layered read.”USA Today bestselling author Maggie McGinnis

Worth the Risk is a story of healing, of overcoming heartbreaking memories and panic-inducing fears, and taking the risk to trust and love again. You do not want to miss this wonderfully emotional story by one of my new favorite authors!”—Wendy S. Marcus, author of Loving You Is Easy

“Connor’s writing is strong enough to maintain the emotional intensity of the main couple’s relationship through it all, providing a reading experience that will no doubt satisfy fans and leave many eager for more tales of the passionate McKinney Brothers.”RT Book Reviews

“A brand-new author I think you’re really gonna like.”New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins
“I can’t get enough of Claudia Connor’s heartwarming stories. Sexy, emotional, complex, dreamy—her characters satisfy on every level.”New York Times bestselling author Virna DePaul
“Loved this book, love this series and I cannot wait for more of this series and Claudia Connor.”—Live, Read and Breathe
“Claudia Connor is a natural storyteller. I was engrossed in Worth the Risk, down to the familiar interactions between the siblings.”—Book Crack
“This was just a really great book to read, and I definitely recommend it! I really want to go back and read Worth the Fall now! I can’t wait to see what else this author has in store for us!”—Pages of Comfort
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553390926
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Series: McKinney Brothers Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 306
Sales rank: 59,507
File size: 5 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

Chapter 1

Hannah’s eyes burned and her head ached from the effort not to cry as she pulled into a parking spot at Foodland. At eight o’clock that morning she’d walked into the veterinarian’s office a dog owner. Three hours later she’d walked out . . . not.

She cut the engine, her forehead dropped to the steering wheel. She’d known Max wasn’t himself, that he might be sick, that eleven was old for a dog, especially a large shepherd mix. But she hadn’t expected to hear the words nothing we can do, or best thing for him.

Biting her lip against tears, she forced herself out and into a spring day so bright and beautiful she couldn’t decide if it was cheerful or a slap in the face.

She grabbed a cart and mentally planned her route, hitting produce first. Avocados, jalapeños, tomatoes. She searched her fuzzy brain for what else she needed for guacamole, her standard contribution when she went to her brother’s. Exactly where she did not want to go tonight. She didn’t want to watch the brothers who’d raised her tiptoeing around, giving one another worried looks, thinking they needed to fix it like they always did. They couldn’t fix this. A lot of things couldn’t be fixed.

Finished with that, she silently repeated the rest. Chips, bread, beer. Chips, bread, milk, beer. She added things and ticked them off as she went. But old habits were hard to break, and like a car on autopilot, she found herself in the dog food aisle.

All she saw were Max’s big eyes fixed on hers. Trusting her when she said it would be okay, not understanding the vet’s syringe was filled with enough anesthesia he’d never wake up. The lump in her throat swelled until she couldn’t swallow past it. Her nose burned and the bags in front of her blurred.

Just get the beer and go. She wheeled around and turned the corner of the next aisle.

She couldn’t handle a pity party tonight. Of course if she didn’t go, if she said she just wanted to hang out at home, they’d cancel the whole March Madness deal and insist on coming to her house. Her house, where a certain brown-eyed shepherd wouldn’t be waiting. An enormous weight settled on her chest.

Don’t cry. She scanned the beer case and swiped at her eyes. She wasn’t going to cry. She bit down on her bottom lip.

Damn it. She was. No wonder her brothers treated her like glass. Broken glass.

“Bad day?”

Hannah jerked at the deep voice beside her. Right beside her and way too close. Dark, tall, and wide, the man filled out his expensive-looking black suit like an athlete entering the stadium tunnel before a game.

“I’m fine.”

He angled his head, smiled, and her heart actually stumbled.

“You know, people usually cry in their beer after they drink it. Just saying.”

He continued to study her with soft brown eyes, and for the first time in a long time, she didn’t want to look away. But she did. And pulled the sides of the long-sleeved shirt she wore open over a tank top closer together. Because of the frigid air coming from the beer case, and because no matter what she had on, no matter how covered, she could never shake the feeling people could somehow see through to what lay beneath. “Well, I’m done now.”

He looked back to the case as well, but even from the side she could see a smirk pulling at his lips. “That’s good.”
She grabbed a six-pack of AmberBock, spun her buggy around, and headed to the front, feeling the stranger’s eyes burning her back the entire way.

Stephen McKinney watched her go, enjoying the way she moved in tan riding breeches that hugged her legs before they disappeared into tall, brown leather boots. He smiled, enjoying it a little longer. Golden-blond hair hung in a long, loose braid nearly to her waist. He had a flash of it tangled in his fingers, spread across silk sheets. Beautiful. And gone.

He loosened his tie and opened the top buttons of his dress shirt as he made his way through the express lane.
Still feeling a stab of disappointment, he exited alone. But the sun warmed him and, it seemed, blessed him, with extreme luck, because, as he stashed his items in the tiny trunk of his Porsche, he caught sight of Goldilocks pushing her cart straight toward him.

Grinning, he pretended to search his bags as she made a wide birth around him and stopped at the neighboring car—a black 4Runner that had seen better days. She rearranged some piles in the back, then stashed her groceries, not once looking at him.

While she delivered her cart to the holding pen, he closed his trunk and stepped around to lean against the side. He waited, watched, noting the deliberate way she walked. Tall and lean, though he still had a good six inches on her.

Still several feet away, she slowed, a touch of fight-or-flight in her eyes. She took a few more steps, maintaining a certain distance he felt compelled to close. But he stayed where he was, legs crossed in front of him, effectively blocking her way. “Have dinner with me.”

Golden eyes blinked up at him. Not the shade of the gold bars stacked inside the national reserve, more like the dark whiskey he’d drunk too much of not so long ago.


“I’m asking you to dinner.”

She looked around again, seeming more concerned with the parking lot than with him. “Oh.”

Not exactly an answer and not the effect he usually had on women. “Stephen,” he said and offered his hand.
She hesitated so long, he thought she might leave him hanging. But finally, and with obvious reluctance, she slipped her small hand into his. He got a little buzz from the slide of her palm against his. He imagined the rest of her would be just as soft. “Your name?”


“So, Hannah,” he said, wanting to tug until she was flat up against him. “Will you please have dinner with me?”

“No.” She didn’t consider it for even a second and pulled her hand free.

“Ah.” He inclined his head toward her bags. “Chips. Beer. You have plans. Another night then.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Give me your number and I’ll call you.”

“Yes. I mean . . . no.”

“Not sure?” Now he was getting somewhere. She rolled her bottom lip between her teeth. If she was playing hard to get, he could play too. And he would win.

“I mean I can’t give you my number and yes, I have plans.”

She flicked her eyes toward her driver’s-side door.

Nervous? It was broad daylight and not like they were standing in a darkened alley, but he straightened, gave her a bit more space. Though there was no way he was about to leave things like this, just watch her drive away. Not when he was dying to touch her, brush back the wayward strands feathering around that gorgeous face.

“Maybe just a drink then. No pressure.”

Seconds ticked by and she bit at her lip again, making him think about biting it too. She seemed to weigh her options, possibly deciding which was the better offer. If he’d been interested before, now he was damned intrigued.

“I guess I could meet 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.”

In the second their eyes connected, he caught a touch of sass before she looked away. Cute. Very cute, on top of being very beautiful. “Okay. Reno’s.” If she was surprised at Norfolk’s exclusive, impossible-to-get-into restaurant, she didn’t show it. His phone rang and, without taking his eyes from hers, he slipped it out of his pocket. “Seven thirty?”

She gave a swift nod and escaped to her car.

As a businessman he knew compromise could often get you farther. And sometimes, he thought, sliding into the deep black leather, it was best to let your opponent think they’d won.

Customer Reviews

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Worth the Risk 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. The character developement and interaction was fantastic, very believeable. I highly recommend this book. This book was 300 pages.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
I didn't think it was possible for Claudia Connor to write another book that touched my heart as deeply as Worth the Fall did, but I was wrong. In this book both Stephen and Hannah have been touched by cruelty and hurt and have difficulty trusting and loving, but together they learn and risk it. This is absolutely a book everyone should have at the very top of their MUST read list. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Both of her books are awesome, sweet and sexy.  Hannah and Stephen's story is a must read.  Your heart will do flips!
Lab228 More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in The McKinney Brothers series. It focuses on Stephen’s story, the millionaire playboy. It is just as enjoyable as the first, Worth the Fall. When Hannah was fourteen, she went through a horrific event that left her scarred not only physically but also mentally. With the help of her brothers, she is working on rebuilding her life. As a therapist, Hannah, works with special needs children. She uses horses as therapy for the children. Stephen was previously in love and engaged but as a result of one awful night, he is now alone and he wants to keep it that way. He is the typical playboy, having sex with random women and does not want to become emotionally involved again. His family is worried about him. Since the incident, he has changed and is no longer the carefree and loving man his family once knew. He feels guilty and that is something difficult to overcome. When Stephen comes into Hannah’s life, in a grocery store no less, he can feel something between them. He tries to ignore it, after all Hannah seems so innocent. But Stephen is so drawn to Hannah he finds himself breaking his own rule of not becoming involved with anyone again. Hannah is determined to not allow the past dictate her future so she takes a chance on Stephen. Their relationship starts slowly and grows over time as they begin to learn to trust, it develops into something much more. Overall this was a good story. Characters well developed and real. Looking forward to another McKinney’s story. So far each book in this series can be read as a standalone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do 5he women ALWAYS have to be so intimidated with the men. This book was going well but just felt kind of awkward with the progression of the relationship. And I get tired of the all in then jump to a conclusion and don't talk it over with the guy before she runa off.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a tear jerker for sure but I loved every chapter... Wonderful character development... Great romance...Bit of mystery... Second book in the McKinney Brothers series... Hannah was kidnapped and nearly killed at the age of 14... Stephen, a self made millionaire who lost his fiancee in a horrible murder... Their coming together and learning to trust and love was beautifully done by Ms. Connor... Big family on both sides so I hope that this series goes on for a long time...
sugarpine721 More than 1 year ago
Worth the Risk has another McKinney brother falling in love...Claudia Connor has added another great addition to this series. Stephen's story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story had characters you love. I like reading books with heart. These stories remind me of Catherine Anderson; they make charactets real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed another book. Highly recommend. Can't wait for the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was definitely "worth the risk" to buy this book and the one before it. The author is a very good writer, the plot was interesting, and the characters are very real. I loved it and look forward to more adventures with this family. By the way, I think Loveswept has a great collection of writers and support staff. LA-TXN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This second book is well written with likeable characters.
wizkids32 More than 1 year ago
This was a awesome book loved it loved how Matt and Abby fell in love and all of her kids and how Matt fell for them all and how she became to trust him and how he all most lost it being an idiot but in the end every thing turn out great in the end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down . ..amazing writer...I can't wait for the next story . ..I love the McKinney family ! !!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read. Great story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her first book, Worth the Fall was amazing and this effort did not disappoint. Ms. Conner is way above the norm of romance writers and I am grateful! I can't wait for the next book in the spring and I have never pre-ordered any romance books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Already ordered the next one! Don't pass up anything by this author. She's got the gift!
Wendylu4 More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved, loved!! This was another great book about the McKinney Brothers. There was so much emotion and romance. There was some action and humor and as well as interaction with the other McKinney's. Well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that makes you feel good and gives you hope in love .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skipped some - descriptive sex scenes are downers.