Worth the Fall
Book 1, The McKinney Brothers - A McKinney Brothers Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Prepare to be swept away by a talented debut author with a passionate, powerful story to tell.
They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.
They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.
But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.
Praise for Worth the Fall
“I can’t remember the last book that had me crying for hours. I loved this hero and heroine and adored the kids. I didn’t want it to end.”—New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips
“Worth the Fall is a beautiful, compassionate romance that hits you straight in the heart and will have you falling in love with this family.”—Smexy Books
“This debut mixes passion and compassion in a contemporary story that has emotional depth. Readers will find the story heartwarming but with enough heat to remind them of what falling in love feels like.”—Library Journal
“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
“Worth the Fall is one of the most touching, heartfelt stories I have read in years. The characters are wonderful, from the Navy SEAL hero to the broken little heroine with her ready-made family just waiting for someone to come love them. I will recommend this book to everyone. It is nothing short of magic.”—New York Times bestselling author Sharon Sala
“I loved this book. A lot.”—New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey
“This book was . . . wow! I can’t wait for Worth the Risk.”—Laura Drewry, USA Todaybestselling author of Prima Donna
“This book made me laugh, cry, and stay up half the night because I couldn’t wait to finish it. I loved watching this couple grow, would highly recommend the book, and cannot wait to read more from Claudia Connor!”—Cocktails and Books
“A book that truly touched my heart and had me fighting off tears as well as sighing happily. I am absolutely excited for the next book in the series.”—Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
“Definitely one of the best books of the summer . . . a must read!”—Underneath the Covers
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
OMG, so much love for this book!
Abby has learned to simply accept what life hands her, accept that people come and then go, accept that she will never have the things it seems everyone else has. From a childhood spent bouncing among foster homes, to a marriage where her husband was gone more than he was home, to widowhood with four small children and a fifth on the way. So the last thing she expects while on vacation with her kids is to meet a man who looks at her like she's something more than a woman used to losing her chances at happiness.
Matt knows he has little to offer in the way of companionship, especially to someone who so clearly needs stability and dependability. But he can't seem to stay away from the pretty widow on the beach or the children who cling to every bit of attention he gives them. He made a promise, though, a promise to remain a Navy SEAL for as long as he could, and even though he sees with Abby a life he wants more, he can't go back on his word.
Judging Covers: The cover for the book doesn't quite feel right, and I think that's because it touches upon lust more than it does on romance. While Matt is a chiseled hunk of Navy SEAL, and the cover model certainly fits his character, nothing about the cover really prepared me for how great a love story Worth the Fall really is. In fact, I almost didn't request the book because the cover had me thinking it was more of an erotic romance than anything else, that the characters would probably be rather sex-crazed, and the scenes would be a bit to graphic. The story is so much more than what little the cover depicts.
The Verdict: You know, I wasn't entirely sure I'd like this one. It had the makings of a great story, but there were just so many ways it could have gone wrong, ways the characters could have been more like caricatures or the plot could have been rushed or too predictable. Turns out I had nothing to worry about.
I think I fell in love with Abby first. While she certainly had some trust and abandonment issues, there was no heavy “woe is me” tone to her thoughts. Instead, she was simply slow to recognize or believe that Matt could be interested in her, and while it was clear that her children reveled in the attention he showed them, she wanted to protect them from the disappointment they would experience when the vacation came to an end and Matt went back to his life in the Navy.
And Matt's instant ease with the children was utterly endearing. He didn't try to swoop in and save them from a fatherless life, and while he of course felt sorry for Abby in her situation, he didn't really show her pity. Instead he showed interest, more of a fascination with this woman and her children who quickly grew on him in a way he never anticipated. And he tried not to get too involved, not to give in to a vacation fling that was so much less than someone like her deserved, but just spending time with her and the kids was all it took.
To say I was pleasantly surprised is a gross understatement. I was immediately as fascinated with Abby and her kids as Matt was, and I loved the slow and subtle build of their relationship, where the attraction was evident, but the emotions were even more intense. Abby's reluctance to believe there could be anything meaningful between her and Matt was entirely believable, not just because she was a single mom of several young children, but because of the way her thoughts were portrayed. Her life wasn't what she'd hoped it would be, but her children were everything, and she wasn't the type of person to throw a pity party.
I did get frustrated with the way Matt was so determined to keep his promise to Teddy, essentially willing to sacrifice his own happiness and chance at a wonderful life to satisfy the dying request of a friend. Perhaps it's because I can't imagine how it would feel to carry that burden, but it seemed to me that Matt was more or less allowing his late friend to dictate not just his career but also his future. It would be one thing if he'd asked Matt to never give up a dream or to even to avenge his death, but to ask him to give up any choice as to the rest of his life? That didn't resonate so well with me. What I did like, though, is that the question was never really answered. There was no long lost letter explaining what Teddy meant or letting Matt off the hook. Matt was left to interpret it on his own, without some conveniently simple answer simply being handed to him.
Worth the Fall is a very different love story that's sooooo worth the read. The romance is simply heartwarming, the characters are intriguing, and the kids are beyond adorable without being overly so. And while the sexual attraction and tension is palpable, the story doesn't rely on that to keep readers interested. If the rest of the series is anything like this one, I'm all in. Actually, can I just have all the other books now?
I love reading, I love romantic, I love sexy! This was all those things and a wonderfully captivating story too! Can't wait to devour the next book CC!
Worth every word!
This was the absolute best story if romance, friendship, honor, heartbreak and family connection. I was left speechless by this story. This was worth every tear. Definite recommended read! Please continue with your stories.