Falling for Owen by Jennifer Ryan
Series: The McBrides #2
Publisher: Avon Impulse on April 15, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
The McBrides of Fallbrook return with reformed bad boy Owen. He'll do whatever he must to protect the woman who's captured his heart.
Attorney by day, rancher by night Owen McBride conquered his dark past and made it his mission to help the innocent-even at the expense of a personal life. But when a client's abusive ex-husband targets Owen and his gorgeous neighbor Claire gets caught in the crossfire, his feelings turn anything but professional. The mysterious beauty awakens something in him, and he'll move heaven and earth to keep her safe.
Coffee shop owner Claire Walsh learned the hard way that handsome men aren't to be trusted. Owen may be sexy as hell and determined to take care of her, but she's reluctant to put her heart on the line. His presence in her life puts a target on her back, yet the more time she spends with him, the more she finds she can't help falling for Owen.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Once a trouble-maker, Owen McBride is now a respected attorney in his small town, but he hasn’t quite shed his bad boy reputation. When coupled with his money and status, it’s little wonder women practically throw themselves at him. But no one’s ever caught his eye long enough to have him considering a serious relationship — at least not until Claire, his stand-offish but beautiful neighbor, is caught up in one of his client’s drama.
While I certainly enjoyed the story, I was surprised to find several typos. Normally, I probably would have overlooked them, but this wasn’t an ARC; it was a purchase of the final version on Amazon more than a year after it was published, and it’s Avon/Harlequin/Harper Collins. With that kind of operation behind it, you’d think the editing would be spotless. I can’t say it really affected my reading, but it just seemed so weird to see this from one of the biggest publishing conglomerates there is. Oh well…
While Owen may have been a secondary character in The Return of Brody McBride, he certainly made an impression. The way he stepped in and took care of Rain when she was dealing with a double-dose of single motherhood was certainly admirable, but the way he did it with his whole heart had me loving him from the beginning. So, of course, I was thrilled to get his story and watch him find his happily ever after.
Claire has been in town for a while now, long enough to set up shop and establish her business, not to mention make some serious progress on renovating the old house she bought. But after having been cheated on repeatedly by her slime of an ex, she’s not looking to rush out and find a new romance. But her quiet life takes a crazy turn the night a drunk man shows up at her house and attacks her in a very misguided, confused, and violent attempt to get revenge on his ex-wife and her lawyer.
When Owen took Shannon, client who’d been abused by her husband, he tried to do the right thing and convince her that she deserved better, but while he certainly showed compassion while handling her divorce, he never even hinted at crossing any lines with her. Her drunken, crazy ex has other ideas though, attacking Claire in the mistaken assumption that she’s important to Owen. That attack is what finally brings Owen and Claire together. I have to say, though, that attack scared the hell out of me. While Dale was more violent drunk than murdering rapist, it just goes to show how safety is an illusion.
Owen and Claire’s relationship moves at a decent pace, not so fast that it feels rushed, but not so slow that it’s terribly frustrating. Claire is understandably hesitant to get involved with anyone too quickly, and when it becomes clear that Shannon’s also got her eye on Owen, it just adds a complication to their budding relationship that would have most women reluctant to move forward, and I loved seeing Claire’s very realistic hesitation and questioning of things.
The one real drawback, I think, was the not-so-surprising plot twist. While it wasn’t so entirely transparent that I figured it out in the first couple of chapters, by the time I did guess what was coming, I was shocked that the characters in the book were still blind to it. Comments by Owen and the police about Dale’s intelligence and typical transgressions made it a simple case of 2+2=4, but the characters were still coming up with 73. I think I would have enjoyed the story quite a bit more if (A) we as readers had been left as much in the dark as the characters apparently were, or (B) the characters remained as intelligent as they initially appeared to be and figured out the obvious for themselves.
Despite that annoyance, though,Falling for Owen remained an entertaining read. There was plenty of drama, some good suspense and danger, and a “bad guy” one would not have expected early on. Owen, of course, was as awesomely sweet as always, and Claire was smarter than your average romance novel heroine who rushes headlong into love. Their romance was hot, sweet, and exactly what I look for in the genre.