Series: The McKinney Brothers, #2
My Rating: ❀❀❀❀
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I honestly felt for the characters in this novel. Stephan had been to hell and back when his fiancee was killed, and reading about those events was downright chilling. But how Stephan dealt with the loss was harder to read about, because it truly tore him apart. He simply wasn't the same man anymore, and he didn't trust that he was even a good man after what happened to Tracy. And yet, a chance encounter with Hannah makes him want to love again. He really struggles with himself on a lot of levels, and I thought the author did a marvelous job conveying the psychology of his mind. I don't think anyone but Hannah could have made Stephan realize the things that he did as this novel developed.
Hannah. I just wanted to cry for her. It's difficult to talk about the horror she's lived through, but wow, I don't think I've ever read a character who's been through that and yet walked away not quite broken. She still had so much light in her. It was an interesting parallel considering Hannah thought of herself as broken in many respects. I absolutely adored her character and I honestly felt her struggle with the issues of the past, how they played into her understanding of herself and it wasn't always easy reading. It wasn't gut churning, but it was poignant. And then, just as her relationship is really cementing, and both she and Stephan are ready to commit, we get the monkey wrench. And it hurt to see the wall come up between them, hurt to see how much more they had to struggle. Because they still had a lot to overcome.
But they did overcome it, and it was a happily ever after truly earned. Stephan proves his love is unconditional, and he really, truly does something that lays to rest any ghosts between him and Hannah. It was amazing the way he set them on a path that was totally their own, and how they both accept that they might not ever be the same people they used to be, but that the people they are now aren't that badly broken after all. Wonderful story telling. I cannot wait to read more from this author.