Jan 29 2014 10:45am

First Look: Anne Calhoun’s Jaded (February 4, 2014)

Jaded by Anne CalhounAnne Calhoun
Berkley / February 4, 2014 / $7.99 print / $5.99 digital

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….

Family is at the core of Anne Calhoun’s newest release, Jaded. Our family is one of the most complicated relationships we will ever have, sometimes demanding too much and not always giving enough back in return. A family's expectations can and often do take a person places they hadn't intended to go. But despite everything, family is home. It is the one place to go when there is nowhere else, the glue to hold you together when your life falls apart.

In Jaded, we meet some individuals who, while seeming to be trapped by family obligations, struggle to find a balance that allows them to be true to their loved ones and themselves.

Alana Wentsworth, a socialite from a powerful political family has long accepted that she can not live up to their expectations. They have regulated her to the background, using her formidable planning skills to make their lives easier, and Alana has chosen to accept that role. When her mother oversteps some serious boundaries, Alana takes a time-limited contract job in the small town of Walker’s Ford as the head librarian and vows she will make some changes in her life.

“...she wondered how to tell him in no uncertain terms that she wanted to go to bed with him and stay there until she couldn’t even remember her own name…”

Those changes come in the form of Lucas Ridgeway, the chief of police. Lucas, a strong, silent and gorgeous man is the perfect person for Alana to make some changes with. His seemingly natural reluctance to become involved beyond the necessary assures Alana that her leaving in a few weeks won't cause anyone any problems or heartache.

“...the darkness clouded his eyes too frequently to think he’d get hurt.”

Lucas, born of two free spirited musicians, spent most of his time growing up with his down to earth grandmother in Walker’s Ford. Lucas left Walker’s Ford to pursue his dreams, only to find himself immersed in tragedy and questioning everything he believed in. He comes home and attempts to rebuild his life while barricading his heart to ensure he is never hurt again.

No expectations. Don’t ask for more. Hope is what burns you. Not disappointment.

Alana pursues Lucas, and soon they embark on an affair. Spending time together in and out of bed, getting to know one another despite Alana’s naivete and Lucas’s emotional blockage. As their relationship progresses, Lucas begin to see the strong ties that Alana is making with the community—ties that when cut could spell disaster for them all.

“Do you ever think about what happens after you leave?”

One potential disaster is Cody, a young high school student whose family’s demands leave him shouldering a weight too heavy for a boy his age. When Cody gets into trouble and given to Alana to perform community service for, Alana uses her skills to try and improve Cody’s life only to be warned off by Lucas.

“He’ll start to hope. He’ll start to need you, and you’ll be gone.”

As the countdown to Alana’s return to her family and their needs ticks away at a steady pace, Alana begins to see that her brief fling has turned into something deeper. Something she wants to explore and build at her own pace. She discovers the roots she thought only temporary have dug down deep into the small town of Walker’s Ford and the urge to live her own life is a powerful one that will require her to make a choice once and for all.

Anne Calhoun has one of the most intriguing and hypnotic voices in contemporary and and erotic romance these days. Not prone to over the top drama or unbelievable exploits, Calhoun gives readers realistic couples whose joys, sorrows, loves, and losses mirrors our own. If you have not tried one of her stories, I urge you to do so now. You will not be disappointed.

Learn more about, or order a copy of Jaded by Anne Calhoun, available February 4, 2014:

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Tori Benson can be found at Smexybooks and at Twitter.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
Okay, I just went and bought this book bc of this review and February 4 can't get here soon enough!
3. Kareni
I've enjoyed other books by this author. Now I'm looking forward to this!
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