Worth It All
The latest in Claudia Connor’s series starring the McKinney brothers gives us the story of Jake “JT” McKinney, the youngest sibling and the sole family member on the west coast. Fans of the series and of family-oriented romance are sure to fall in love with JT and his romance with single mom Paige.
Forever isn’t on JT’s mind when he walks into a diner for a quick meal. He’s as far away from his home and his old life back in Virginia as he can get and still remain in the continental US. But he’s drawn to the pretty waitress working there and to her young daughter, an amputee like himself.
Paige Roberts has a plan for her future and it doesn’t involve a man, no matter how sexy and interesting he may be. She’s working and putting herself through college to make a better life for herself and her daughter Casey. The customer with the smoldering good looks is a biomedical engineer of prosthetic limbs though, and he offers to help Casey who has been having trouble with her prosthetic. Of course this necessitates spending more time with him, which could prove dangerous to her long range plans as well as her heart.
JT has just enough emotional baggage and damage from his past to make him interesting but not overly broody. If he has worries or agonizes over his relationship with Paige, it’s not misplaced or blown out of proportion, and his reasons for proceeding with caution are genuine, as are Paige’s. He has some self-loathing due to the issues in his past, but he isn’t consumed by it. And while Casey is the means by which the pair initially has more contact with one another, I never got the sense that he was using her to get to Paige. His desire to help her is genuine and his courtship of Paige is mature and sweet.
JT is respectful of Paige and her boundaries, though he makes it clear that he wants more. He simultaneously falls in love with Casey and never acts as if she’s an obstacle to overcome or just a means by which he can get to her mother. If you’re not a fan of children in your romance, take heed because Casey plays a huge part in the story. She’s not a prop but another character, one who plays an important role in bringing the protagonists together. At times she’s a little too precocious and adorable, but mostly she acts like a kid.
With its realistic depiction of single motherhood and characters with disabilities, Worth It All is a short romance with plenty of substance. At times it’s saccharine sweet, but the characters make it work, communicating and finding solutions to their challenges. If you enjoy romances where the hero woos a harried single mom without being overbearing, this is a strong candidate for your TBR list.