My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
The small town librarian and the police chief. It may be a cliche, but JADED shows us why it works. When you live in a town as tiny as Walkers Ford, everybody knows your business. We saw how destructive that could be in UNFORGIVEN, the first book in this series, and fear of those repercussions is reflected in the behavior of our hero and heroine when JADED begins.
Alana is one of those people who choose a small town as a place to hide from their responsibilities back in the big city. She’s spent her whole life hiding from others, content to let her famous sister be the public face of their family’s foundation while she works tirelessly behind the scenes. It wasn’t until their mother pushed a family friend to propose marriage that Alana finally fled her privileged life in Chicago for a place where she could directly influence the lives of people in need. What Alana didn’t count on was a landlord who would make her regret her decision to leave Walkers Ford when the job was done.
Lucas grew up in Walkers Ford, but had left years before to be a cop in the big city of Denver, returning only after he believed his actions had led to the death of a young man he’d mentored there. After a bitter divorce and the descent of his beloved cousin into drug addiction, Lucas has become too cynical to believe that love was worth the trouble it could bring, even as he embarks on a secret fling with Alana. But as she prepares to leave Walkers Ford for good, he has to decide if he can take one more chance on love and on her.
Anne Calhoun’s UNFORGIVEN was one of my top ten best reads of 2013, so I was especially excited about reading this next book in her new Walkers Ford contemporary romance series. As much as I enjoyed its over the top drama and angst, I was relieved to see the level was dialed back a bit here in JADED. We have a hero and heroine who are both spending all their time doing everything for everyone else in their lives, but unlike the stars of the previous book, neither of them seems to have an unhealthy level of self-loathing. Still, the fear of small-town gossip keeps them from going public with their liaison and feeds into their respective worries that the other isn’t looking for anything beyond a temporary fling.
Lucas and Alana are brought together by their shared inability to keep their hands off each other, and their intimate scenes are loaded with sexual chemistry and undeniable passion. As their affair progresses, the responsibilities they each have threaten to tear them apart. But the love they find with each other helps Lucas and Alana reach the balance they both need in their lives and begins to heal the pain which had brought them to Walkers Ford.
What Anne Calhoun shows us in JADED is that you can’t do your best for others if you won’t give yourself the same amount of consideration first. It’s a lovely return visit to Walkers Ford and bodes well for the next book in the series.
Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5