Now ten years later, Mia James is in Special Agent Nick Walker’s path once again and this time he’s determined to shed the weight of regret and finally claim the future that was always meant to be theirs.
It won’t be easy. Mia’s heart was shattered by Nick and now, just when she’d pieced it back together, it’s been broken again, bringing their past to the surface, including her own secret about that day everything went wrong.
***Every title by Claudia Connor is a Contemporary Romance and a full stand alone novel. No cheating, no love triangle, no cliff hanger.
The high pitched wail wasn’t his two year old sister’s hurt cry. It was her scared cry with a touch of pissed off. In the six months since their parents’ death, he’d learned to tell the difference. He’d learned a lot of things. Like if he didn’t take her to the bathroom, she’d likely wait too long and have an accident. Like green beans made her throw up, but she’d eat them if he told her to. And she would never, ever go to sleep without Mr. Bunny.
He was up, out of his seat, and halfway down the auditorium stairs before his professor laid his pen down.
Nick’s eyes narrowed on the young blonde in an oversized sweatshirt with silk greek letters sewn on the front. She held a sobbing Hannah dressed in the sunny yellow sundress he’d picked out that morning. She hadn’t been crying when he left her. Now her eyes were red and snot mixed with tears dripped into her mouth. Hannah lunged for him. His arms engulfed her small body and his heart squeezed like it always did when she held onto him.
“I stay you,” Hannah said. Each word tumbled out of her with a jerk of her tiny shoulders.
“What happened to her?”
“Nothing happened to her. She hasn’t stopped screaming for the past hour and she bit three people. We can’t keep her like that.”
Several responses came to mind.
She’s just a baby.
She missed her nap.
And the loudest of all, it was my fault for leaving her.
Hannah raised her head to look at him, giant tears hanging from golden lashes. “I bite.”
“Well. At least she’s honest.” Professor Jenkins turned his questioning eyes to Nick. “She yours?”
OK…so I feel I should preface this review with a couple of notes. First…when I met Matt and Abby I became an immediate, auto-buy fan of Ms. Connor’s. That love only grew with each McKinney I met. Second…I LOVE second chance romances. Third…I do not like – at all – really angsty, heavy on the pain books.
So that leaves me with a bit of a conundrum after reading this book. I have been waiting for the start of the Walker brother series since we first met them in book 2…they seemed like such amazing brothers, each of them a bada$$ in their own right. But now, I’m not totally sure I like Nick. Yes, his life was drastically changed with the loss of his parents. Yes, it was tragic that at 19 he had to become a dad to his 4 younger siblings. Yes, he was under immense pressure to make something of himself and of them. And he handled his responsibility ok at times and not so ok at other times. He was the older one and felt responsible for his siblings but he was buried under a lot of grief and guilt. I hated the way he treated Luke. I hated the way he ended up treating Mia and destroying what they had. I get that what happened with Hannah destroyed him but he took everyone down with him. I hated that it took Mia coming back for him to finally attempt to fix what he broke. I liked him a little better in the last chapter and the epilogue but I think it may have been too late at that point.
I liked Mia. I liked that she was strong and didn’t get off track in school after meeting Nick, which could have easily happened. I loved how strong she was and stood by Nick until she literally could not take being destroyed any longer. I hate what she went through on her own because Nick just couldn’t deal with everything. She brought tears to my eyes more than once and if I had been alone, I probably would have been sobbing.
Maybe they were too young for what happened to them and would have been better off meeting years later, but I know their experiences made them stronger. I just never felt like I got enough happy for the extreme sad and I never really loved Nick like I felt I would.
So…because the writing is as good as always and I loved the McKinney’s and other Walkers, I’m giving this book 3.5 stars. If you like books that are heavy on the angst and soul deep pain, you will love this book. I will absolutely be back for the rest of the Walker books, even if this wasn’t my favorite.
Claudia Connor is the author of the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling series, The McKinney Brothers. Her debut novel, WORTH THE FALL, hit the New York Times Bestsellers list in 2014 and received numerous Best Contemporary Romance of 2014 accolades.
Claudia attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in early childhood education. After teaching kindergarten and first grade for ten years, she retired to be a full-time mom to her three daughters. Always a lover of books, and always one to have stories playing in her mind, she decided to try her hand at writing. It took seven years to finish her first novel and a new love was born.
Claudia lives near Memphis, Tennessee with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a singer-songwriter Siberian Husky. She continues to write warm, heartfelt, and emotional romances with a bit of steam, a lot of family and always a happily ever after.