Jaded

Author: Anne Calhoun

Publisher: Berkley Sensation

Release Date: February 4, 2014

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT





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Walkers Ford, South Dakota, is a huge change of pace from the fast-paced life Alana Wentworth lived in Chicago. The step-daughter of a Senator, Alana is used to the glitz, glamour, and the hard work of her professional, political activist family. In Walkers Ford, she is merely a librarian and much as she would like to think otherwise, she loves it. She also happens to lust after her landlord, and Walkers Ford chief of police, Lucas Ridgeway. He is all hardness and stoicism from a life made of difficult choices. Lucas has a past and he has no intention of letting anyone in, least of all Alana. He is not opposed to a hot affair, though.

What starts off as mutual sexual chemistry does grow into something more, however. Alana is quickly becoming accustomed to life in Walkers Ford and she is enjoying every minute of the small town atmosphere. As she gets involved in the lives of the citizenry, she starts to worry what will happen when she leaves. Alana truly feels she is making a difference in the community, perhaps on a smaller scale than her family's global company, but an important difference nonetheless. And then there is Lucas. He swore he would not let her into his heart but it is clear by his actions and his words that Alana is becoming important to him. But with her time in Walkers Ford drawing to a close, will these two find a way to share their feelings before it is too late?

JADED is the phenomenal second novel in Anne Calhoun's WALKERS FORD series. It follows UNFORGIVEN but not to worry, JADED stands very well on its own. Lucas and Alana fit together so well. Both characters carry certain burdens on their shoulders but when they are together, the tension seems to ease and they fall into a happier place. I liked that Alana could get Lucas to lighten up a little, to enjoy the small town life a little bit more. And Lucas, well, he's a true blue hero through and through. He takes his duty as police chief seriously but he is also aware that he cannot save everyone, even his own family.

Walkers Ford is not an idealized small town setting. It has drug problems, it has crime, but the citizens definitely feel safer with Lucas at the helm. His seriousness is tempered when he is with Alana and only then does the reader get a glimmer of the humor he has hidden inside of him.

JADED showcases Anne Calhoun's talent for creating multi-layered characters, for bringing to life settings that show not just good but also the gray areas in any town. Lucas and Alana share common goals and beliefs, even as they choose to accomplish those goals from different angles. Their differences make them stronger and in the end, make their love story more believable and strong.

JADED needs to be on every contemporary romance reader's to be read pile. Anne Calhoun stretches her writing wings once again and the ensuing romance proves to be addictive.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Sarah W

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