Review – Jaded (Walkers Ford #2) by Anne Calhoun

Jaded cover image
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

They can’t hide from desire…

After life as a cop in Denver leaves him burned-out, Lucas Ridgeway returns to Walkers Ford, South Dakota, to serve as their chief of police. He’s hoping to start over with a clean slate and avoid any emotional entanglements—even after his next-door neighbor kisses him senseless. Alana is passionate, dedicated, and most importantly leaving town soon. So why not have some fun?

Alana Wentworth comes from a larger-than-life political family, yet all she wanted was to be a librarian. Then after an embarrassing marriage proposal from Mr. Not-For-Her, she jumps at the chance to live her dream for a few months. She wasn’t supposed to get involved with the community—or sexy, troubled Lucas. But when the time comes for Alana to put Walkers Ford behind her, she’s not ready. And Lucas may not be ready for her to go…
This blurb came from the author’s website.

After reading and enjoying Uncommon Passion last year when I saw a new Calhoun release I had to request it. I didn’t realize at the time that this was a small town, non-erotic, contemporary romance. I also didn’t know this was the second of the series until I realized a few things from the previous book were referenced. Thankfully my ignorance in no way prevented me from thoroughly enjoying this story and going back to read the first one. While the heat level was much lower than Calhoun’s erotic romances, she didn’t skimp on the characterization or world-building.

Alana grew up in the family of politicians turned philanthropies. They were all famous, very visible, and used to getting their own way. Alana on the other hand was never interested in the spotlight. She enjoyed the research aspect of the family foundation and as a result was a certified librarian. After years of taking the path of the least resistance when it came to her family she was shocked into finally taking some action and leaving to work as a contract librarian in Walkers Ford as she tried to find herself. Her contract was almost over when she decided that after weeks of not really flirting with her landlord the local chief of police that she was going to take things into her own hands and get what she wanted.

Lucas returned to his hometown of Walkers Ford after life as a cop in Denver left him bitter, disillusioned about people and life in general, and certainly not looking to settle down with anyone anytime soon. Serving as chief of police in his hometown meant he knew all the likely suspects, how they would end up, and expected them to live up to or really down to his expectations. However, he didn’t quite know where to categorize his classy tenant. He thought she was attracted to him but she also looked like the settling down-type and that didn’t work with his thoughts of the future. Then one night during a plumbing repair visit **no snickers** Alana took matters in her own hands and gave him an unmistakable signal.

I loved watching Alana and Lucas teach each other different aspects of life. Alana taught Lucas that it was OK to expect the best out of others or at give them the benefit of the doubt that they could choose to change. At the same time Lucas taught Alana that when you involve yourself in people’s lives they in turn develop expectations of you; thinking you will continue to be around and stay involved. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the town and people of Walkers Ford suck Alana in bit by bit and force her to lose some of her distant objectivity. She also experienced first hand how she was changed by becoming personally invested in a project instead of just researching various options. Lucas learned that sometimes, all it takes is one person’s openly stated belief in another to change lives for the better.

In addition to Walkers Ford, I thought Alana’s interactions with her family explained her life pattern really well. They made me laugh while I also wished Alana would continue to refuse to let her family plan her life. At first I wasn’t a huge fan of Alana’s sister but as the story continued I found myself wanting more because it was evident she cared and acted in certain ways as a shield for their mother’s attention. I also loved the final scenes with Alana’s family because they showed the impact of Alana’s decisions and how her decisions reverberated through others.

Jaded was a very enjoyable read. Calhoun toned down the activity during the sex scenes compared to her erotic romance but she kept the sexual tension and attraction high. She retained her gift for characterization and I felt she expanded the details of her world-building. I thought her ability to capture and retain my interest in this subgenre shift bodes well for my future reading but is perhaps not so good for my wallet. I loved the journey Alana and Lucas took and how each had to grow, learn, and decide they were going to break out of their comfortable rut. I hope Calhoun returns to Walkers Ford for future installments.

I give Jaded a B+

2 thoughts on “Review – Jaded (Walkers Ford #2) by Anne Calhoun”

  1. Yay! I don’t read as much contemporary as some of my fellow Pushers but they keep working on me *grin*.

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