This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Love Swept
Released on February 3, 2015
Two very broken people meet by chance in the grocery aisle and the beginning of something special happens that nobody would predict turning into something special.
Hannah Walker was kidnapped and tortured and barely holds it together these days outside working as a physical therapist using her precious horses with kids with special needs. Her four older very protective brothers hover, worried for her and feeling guilty that she was hurt when they were responsible for her after their parents died. Now for the first time, she feels interest and not fear, but wouldn’t you know it, he’s a billionaire playboy who’s as gun-shy in his own way as her. At first, it’s just an exercise in getting back in the saddle and moving on with life, but then its so much more as Stephen’s attentiveness and real desire to be with her- horrific scars and all. She wants him badly enough that she tentatively takes the risk even while she fights to keep the land that someone wants so badly.
Stephen McKinney lost his fiancée when she was murdered five years before and spiraled out of control grabbing for booze and women to drown out the roar of pain, guilt and anger. He pushed his family away and won’t take the risk of feeling anything for anybody ever again. It hurt too much. Anger and a desire for revenge that he can’t have were the dark thoughts that stayed with him. However, Hannah and her sad eyes and warm unbroken spirit in spite of all she has been through pushes him to let go of the past. He is cold as ice when brokering his big real estate business deals, but this sweet, warm woman has him turning all his attentions to see her smile, laugh and let him bask in her glow. Her work is fulfilling and he will do his part to help her keep her land. Something shifts inside him to thoughts of love and forever, but he realizes that she doesn’t know the dark, ugliness inside him. Will she think he’s worth the risk?
As with the first book in this series which blew me away emotionally, this one was right there too. The characters, their heartbreaking pasts, the surrounding family and the intriguing plot just kept me riveted through the whole story. The development, pace, and build to the crisis points was handled so well leaving me itching for the next McKinney story.
The romance was beautiful in the way it was executed one hesitant step at a time as Stephen has to figure out how to even be in a relationship again after the mercenary way he had been with women for years and Hannah has her first shot at a relationship if she can get past all the fear and feelings of inadequacy. I loved how neither knew the other’s background so that they were flying blind much for some time which causes some halts and re-starts until it got going. They were strongly attracted, but the sensual side waited until a true relationship was underway which worked perfect considering their issues. It was never easy and just seemed to get harder. This was a tough-fought romance, but the author painted the characters so perfectly that it was worth it.
As an aside, the continuation of Matt and Abby and the kids’ story from book one along with the inclusion of lots of page time with the whole McKinney family and Hannah’s Walker family was a huge treat. This book could be read out of order, but personally I’m glad to have read the other first just so the family updates are more delicious knowing what happened before.
In summary, this touching, heartwarming, passionate romance was sheer delight. I would recommend this book and the series to those who enjoy emotion-packed contemporary romance.
My thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.