A Risk Worth Taking
by Heather Hildenbrand
Publisher: Accendo Press
Available as of October 22, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.
Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.
Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.
Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.
When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk.
Some of you may know how much I love Heather Hildenbrand... and her writing. If you don't, I suggest you go check out every post with her name in it. A Risk Worth Taking is her first new adult contemporary novel.
When first cracking open this story Summer is a college graduate who heads home because her mother abandoned her father and, because of this, is pissed off, recently single, and not living the life she anticipated. Ford, on the other hand, just arrived at Heritage Plantation and is only planning on a short stay. A few months changes everything.
What I loved most about this story is that the characters stuck with me. I purchased this book the day it released on Amazon back in October and started reading it. While I didn't get to finish it in one or even two sittings I did (finally!) finish it on December 14th. When it takes me more than a month to read a book, I normally forget characters names, their stories, and how they got to where they are. This was not the case with A Risk Worth Taking. Summer and Ford were so memorable, that when I did get a chance to finish the story I read a single paragraph and was able to recall everything that had transpired in the earlier pages. I also liked that this story didn't solely focus on the budding relationship between Summer and Ford. Both of them had problems of their own that they worked through on the side.
There isn't one negative thing I could say about this story. Some people may not like that one or two pivotal scenes don't show how they end, but I liked that because it added to the mystery of what happened. Those scenes were later described through either Summer or Ford's eyes in flashbacks.
Overall, this book was a fantastic first new adult novel for an author who usually writes young adult paranormal books. If you enjoy reading NA or Heather's other stories, you should most definitely pick this book up.
From Dirty Blood
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From Dirty Blood
I nodded, still reeling from the kiss and the weight of his eyes, and let him pull me toward the door. “So there’s going to be others at this meeting? Like other Werewolves?”
“Yes, some.” He raised his eyebrow in a challenge. “I thought you said you weren’t scared.”
“I’m not. I just—what if some of them aren’t happy with me about Liliana?”
“Tara, no one’s mad at you. They all understand it wasn’t your fault. You had no choice. Besides, we’re pretty sure Liliana was a double agent.”
“Like I have any idea what that means,” I mumbled.
“You don’t have to do this, you know. Get involved, I mean. We’ll still protect you.”
His tone was gentle and meant to be reassuring but I bristled at what he was suggesting. “So, just stay home and hide out while somebody out there takes a shot at everyone I care about? Let a pack of strangers
fight my battles for me?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I said I wouldn’t freak out again, and I meant it. I’m going to do whatever it takes to find this guy and stop him from hurting people.”
He nodded, something unreadable in his eyes. “Okay, then.”
I stopped short, throwing a glance at my closet. “Can I have a minute to change?”
“I’ll be downstairs.”
I listened to the sound of his footsteps on the stairs, already feeling bad for snapping at him. I hated my temper, and I hated when it got the better of me even more. But he’d started it, with suggesting I stick my head in the sand. That just wasn’t me.
When I was sure he wasn’t going to pop his head back in, I took the plunger pieces out of my backpack and stuffed them into my back jeans pockets. Like before, I pulled my shirt down to hide them. Then I pulled on my boots, grabbed my sweatshirt, and headed downstairs. Wes was waiting for me at the door.
“I’m going to pull the car around. Wait here,” he said.
I nodded, and he slipped around the side of the house. I turned the key in the lock on the front door and then dropped my keys into my bag. As I did, a familiar tingly feeling hit me, and crawled along my skin, underneath my jacket. My head came up, and I scanned my yard, looking for the source.
Just like earlier, I saw no one, but I wasn’t going to let it go so easily this time. I flattened myself against the house and crept to the corner, but when I peeked around, it was empty. The quiet purr of an engine broke the silence, and I saw the Aston Martin coming down the street, sleek and silver. The tingly feeling abruptly disappeared.
I hurried down to the curb.
Wes pulled to a stop, and I climbed in, grateful that he’d already been blasting the heat. I held my hands up to the vents as he pulled away.
“When you picked me up just now, did you feel anything?” I asked, as we curved through the neighborhood.
He glanced over, sharply. “No—did you?”
“I don’t know. I think so …”
Wes slammed his foot on the brake, and the car jerked to a stop. I felt myself slam forward, and then the seat belt caught and held me in place. Wes swerved the car onto the shoulder, and a spray of gravel flew up behind us as we came to a halt. “What did you feel?”
“The same feeling I got at the pool hall. A Werewolf.”
Wes responded by flooring the gas and jerking the wheel hard to the left. We spun around in a U-turn and sped back through my neighborhood. A second later the car lurched to another stop. Wes threw his door open and then he was out of the car, striding quickly across my front lawn, scanning the yard as he went.
I reluctantly followed, carefully aware of my body’s nerve endings but there was no trace of tingles this time. I waited on the lawn while Wes did a circle of the house. When he walked back over to me, the disapproval was plain on his face.
“You should have told me right away,” he said.
“It was already gone by the time you pulled up,” I said defensively. “Besides, I figured I was just being paranoid, like the other day.”
His eyes immediately narrowed, making me regret the admission.
“What do you mean ‘like the other day’?”
“I got the same feeling in the mall parking lot on Friday night.” I shrugged like it was no big deal. “It went away, though, and I didn’t see anything suspicious so I figured it was nothing, maybe an aftershock of my encounter with Liliana or something.”
A muscle in his jaw flexed. “Hunters don’t have aftershocks.”
He squeezed his eyes shut and ran a hand over his face. “Next time, tell me immediately, okay?”
“Okay,” I agreed.
“You do realize that someone is possibly trying to kill you, right?”
“Yes,” I said, my voice icy. I crossed my arms in front of me.
“You’re impossible,” he said, throwing his arms up.
“And you’re overprotective.”
Wes looked down at me like he was about to launch into another lecture. Instead, he shook his head and got back in the car. And just like that, the feeling of connection that had lingered since our kiss evaporated.
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