Saturday, 23 March 2013

Book Review: A Risk Worth Taking by Victoria James

Title: A Risk Worth Taking
Author: Victoria James
Series: Book #1 in the Red River series
Release Date: 11 March 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Indulgence imprint)
Number of pages: 170 pages
Source: ebook copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's WebsiteAmazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunesRead an excerpt

Grade: 5 stars

Novellus perfectus!
Goodreads appetizer: Interior designer Holly Carrington worked hard for her success. Then tragedy struck, leaving Holly the sole guardian of her infant niece. Now she’s swapped her designer purse for a diaper bag, and is going ahead with plans to renovate—and sell—her childhood home in Red River. But facing her past also means coming face-to-face with Quinn Manning all over again...

Quinn was the object of her girlhood crush—and heartbreak— and is more gorgeous than ever. He’s also the only person qualified to oversee the renovation. Now they’re butting heads every step of the way... and their attraction is more electrifying than ever! But once the house is sold, Holly needs to return to her real life. And falling for Quinn all over again is one risk she can’t take...

My Thoughts: One of the biggest (and best) surprises of 2012 was discovering Victoria James and reading her debut novel The Billionaire's Christmas Baby. So as you can see A Risk Worth Taking started with an unfair head start  it had to measure up to its predecessor, and I am very happy and relieved to report that not only did it not disappoint, it was just as wonderful as Victoria James' previous novel!

A Risk Worth Taking is the first book in Victoria James' new contemporary romance series taking place in the small town of Red River and featuring the Manning brothers (Quinn, Jackson and Evan). A Risk Worth Taking is Quinn's, the eldest brother's story.

Our heroine, big city girl, successful interior designer Holly suddenly becomes the guardian of Ella, her little niece of 6 months when her sister and her husband are killed in a car accident. She goes back to renovate her childhood home and sell it to put the money in a trust for the baby and since Quinn is the local and successful contractor who will help her with her plans.

Holly was a heroine I not only liked but admired. She was ambitious yet warm-hearted and she took on the role of guardian of her orphaned niece even though she didn't know anything about babies or mothering. Not only was she grieving for her sister (and her husband), she also felt guilty for being the one alive to take care of Ella and scared that one day when was all grown up she would resent her and hate her because it was Holly who brought her up and not her own mother. My heart went out to her when reading about her grief and vulnerability, but her strength and how she tried to cope with these were admirable. Holly is all alone having lost her parents when she was little, then her grandparents who brought her up and now her beloved sister with whom she was so close, she doesn't have any other family than Ella, and all the loss and grieving sadly left their mark on her.

A few weeks ago, he’d called her cold for selling the house. Now, he knew. The vulnerability that she tried so desperately to hide was staring him in the face. Holly was afraid. This place was her old house, but everyone she loved was gone. The memories were haunting her.

Quinn was a dreamy hero: all responsible and gentleman-like, and it didn't hurt he was swoon-worthy sexy. ;-)

Quinn and Holly go way back: they practically grew up together and Quinn was Holly's first crush and teenage love, and on her last night before leaving for college she declared her love, but he refused her.

She’d been naïve and trusting—and told him that she loved him. He knew, looking into her eyes, that he loved her, too, but never said the words aloud. He didn’t want to be the guy to hold her back. She’d been too young to know what she wanted for the rest of her life.

Although a decade has gone by the humiliation is still fresh in Holly's mind, and to make matters worse Quinn is even more drop-dead gorgeous than before. She feels her traitorous body reacting, melting to his proximity. Kudos to Victoria James, because the chemistry and attraction between Holly and Quinn was palpable, off the charts!

“Holly, do you know what I want to do right now?” Holly swallowed. Hard.

“Take a hot bath?” He shook his head and took a step closer. She could barely breathe.

“A hot shower?” He shook his head again and his eyes dropped to her mouth. Her lips parted involuntarily.

“Coffee?” she managed to whisper as she heard the beep signaling the brew cycle had finished. He shook his head again and stood a few inches away from her.

“I want to kiss you,” he said, his voice deep, and then he gently took her wrist and tugged her toward him.“I want to kiss you and taste you and never stop.”

I loved Quinn's intensity, the strength and conviction behind his words were so powerful I could feel them resonate through the pages:

Quinn turned, ready to leave, but then paused.“I never kissed you the way I wanted to because I knew that if I did I wouldn’t be able to stop. I wouldn’t be able to get enough of you. And if I had thought for one second that you meant what you said that night, I would have come after you,” he said.

There were lots of delicious sexual tension and sparks flying, but their relationship was so much more than just physical. Loved all the scenes where Quinn teased Holly, made me chuckle out loud.

And of course besides the romance aspect of the story I have to point out that A Risk Worth Taking is as much a story of a woman becoming a mother and a man finding himself a family as it is the story of how Holly and Quinn found love.

Quinn’s eyes opened slowly, and Holly held her breath. Her heart constricted painfully as his hand immediately went to smooth Ella’s hair. And then his eyes landed on hers, filled with the emotion that she wanted to run from. He was the man that she could never forget—hard and strong, combined with that mix of tenderness that only he could pull off so well. He made her want to give up her solitary existence, abandon her career in Toronto. He made her want to believe that people stayed, that people lived, that love could conquer everything.

Verdict: A Risk Worth Taking had everything I loved in The Billionaire's Christmas Baby: it had just as much heart and heart-warming/heart-squeezing emotion, equally wonderful and lovable characters and a terrific, captivating romance with such a vivid chemistry that you could feel those sparks flying off the pages. A Risk Worth Taking has everything and more you could expect and want from a contemporary romance, with her captivating writing style, engaging characterization, witty humour and steamy scenes, Victoria James gifts us with another keeper. A Risk Worth Taking is a wonderful first instalment to this new series, I can't wait to read about the other Manning brothers. Readers, you'd better put A Risk Worth Taking on your to-be-read lists, trust me, you don't want to miss this series!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Cover: 6/10 - a bit too bland and forgettable in my opinion

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

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