The McKinney Brothers # 2
By: Claudia Connor
Releasing Feb 3rd, 2015
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.
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Stephen was still five yards away when a large man caught up to her. That was bad enough, but when the guy wrapped his hand around her upper arm, he had an instant hell no response. A wave of possessiveness slid down his spine. An emotion that had no place in him, was unwelcome, and surprising, but he sure as hell didn’t want anyone else’s hands on her.
Hannah faced down the stranger and the two of them began a heated discussion. Lucky for him, the guy dropped his hand just as the three of them converged at the end of the sidewalk leading to Matt’s front door. Stephen took in the other man, not quite as tall as he was, but he had bulk that showed through his olive-green army T-shirt.
Stephen reached them and conversation stopped. “Hannah.”
“Hi.” She sent him a somewhat reluctant smile. “This is my brother. Luke.”
Brother. That cooled him a bit.
Hannah introduced him and Stephen took Luke’s hand in a hard grip as each man sized up the other.
They dropped hands and Luke gave his sister a searing glance. “Thanks for the invite, but she’s not staying.”
Stephen didn’t like the tone or the glare.
“He’s right,” Hannah said. “This isn’t a good idea.”
Stephen didn’t take his eyes from hers. “I think it’s a very good idea.”
Hannah held up a shiny pink bag with overflowing ribbon. “I’m sorry. I can’t stay. This is for your niece.”
Stephen didn’t take the gift.
That one word from her brother seemed to convey an entire conversation between them, which pissed him off almost as much as Luke wrapping his fingers around her upper arm. Stephen shifted, aiming to put himself between her and Luke. “Brother or not, you need to take your hand off her arm.”
Luke angled his head and shot Stephen an icy look. “This is a family discussion.”
“Really?” Not backing down, he fired his own right back. “I think she’s old enough to make her own decisions.”
Hannah’s eyes moved between the two of them, obviously uncomfortable.
Luke turned his body to hers. “Hannah. Don’t be an idiot.”
A flash of hurt crossed her face and that bothered Stephen more than anything, but her chin lifted a bit and she straightened.
His brother chose that moment to join their party.
“Matt McKinney.” Matt offered his hand to Luke. “I’m Stephen’s brother. Father of the birthday girl,” he added. “Glad you could come.”
“Luke Walker.” He took Matt’s hand.
“Senior chief, navy,” Matt said, eyeing the visible tattoo on Luke’s upper arm.
Well, wasn’t this special. He eyed Hannah while Matt and Luke exchanged a few get-to-know-yous, where were you stationed, and joint exercises. Then, just when Luke looked like he was gearing up to whisk his sister away, Abby joined them.
“This is my wife, Abby.” Matt slipped his arm around her waist. “Abby, this is Hannah, Stephen’s . . . friend. And her brother Luke.”
“Hi.” Abby went straight to Hannah. “I’m so glad you could come. You’ll both stay,” she said, gracing Luke with a smile no man could resist. “You and Matt can exchange war stories while the rest of us talk like civilized people.” She gave Matt a wink as she laid a hand on Hannah’s arm. “Let’s go inside, sweetie. I could use some help.”
Luke started to say something to Abby, caught Matt’s eye, and thought better of it.
“Oh, Stephen, could you get something down for me? I can’t reach the platters above the stove.”
Stephen paused, looked to Matt for help. He still had some words for the brother.
Matt only shrugged. “You heard the woman, she needs a platter.”
Claudia Connor is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of heartfelt contemporary romance. Claudia 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 travel, but spends most of her time typing out the love stories of the almost real people that live in her head. Claudia lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.
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