Jaded is the second book in Anne Calhoun’s Walkers Ford series. Alana Wentworth is the librarian who eventually gave Adam and Marissa the final push toward being together. She is on a temporary contract with the Walkers Ford because she needed some time away from the hectic city and the expectations of her family. She is to the point where she only has weeks left in her contract and she doesn’t feel any different than when she arrived. She made a promise to herself that she would return home a changed woman but unless she takes some quick action that promise will be broken.
Lucas Ridgeway is the chief of police, her landlord and next door neighbor. He returned to Walkers Ford with the hope that getting away from a city and his overwhelming job with the DEA would save his marriage. It was too late to save anything though and now he lives in his own shell unable to let anyone penetrate his emotions.
Some days he felt like if he never had to speak another word, he’d be good with that. Words didn’t fix anything, and more often than not, he found the wrong ones.
When Alana asks him to fix her bathroom plumbing and returns the favor with a kiss, parts of him that have been long frozen awaken and demand attention. Before they are able to go any further Lucas is called away and things are put on hold.
Alana thinks time is slipping away but her job is extended when the Mayor requests a proposal for updating the library. The town is skeptical because the money could be better spend for infrastructure and police use so it is up to Alana to prove how important and central the library is to the town. She has the bonus of being able to spend a little more time with Lucas also.
Lucas knows spending time with Alana is not a good thing because he will fall deeper and deeper into her. She has a way of drawing people to her even though she doesn’t realize is. She has so many people who have come to love her and Lucas is resentful that she will up and leave them soon. One of the local troublemakers has even come to depend on her despite Lucas telling her to leave it alone. Alana doesn’t see anything wrong with what she is doing because that is how her family operates. They come in and set things up for people, hand it off to capable hands and then they move on. What Alana sees as standard fare, Lucas sees as superficial and fake. Even though he knows it will hurt, he can’t help but keep her close.
Jaded is another example of Ms. Calhoun’s expressive and emotional writing. She creates characters that draw you and make you want and hope for their HEA. Lucas is such a closed shell and Alana’s openness and love is exactly what he needs but the reader knows it comes with a clock. She will leave him and what he will do then is always in the back of our minds. For the first 50% of the book it is hard to get a read on Lucas because of how closed off he is. It isn’t until the last part where you really see his deep emotions and start to get a feel for who he is.
The story isn’t just about their relationship though. Jaded is a very interesting and complex look into a small town library and what it takes to keep one alive. The benefit of books and the services the library offers touch all characters in this story. Ms. Calhoun takes such a simple concept as a library and creates a whole plot centered around that library.
Overall, this is another very enjoyable book by Ms. Calhoun. We revisit Marissa and Adam from Unforgiven when Lucas and Alana are invited to their wedding. We are able to see how they turn out along with allowing Lucas and Alana to spend time with each other away from Walkers Ford. We also see another recurring character that I am hopeful will have the next book in this series. As always, Ms. Calhoun has a winner and romance readers will be enchanted by this couple and their love story. Final grade- B
Up against a wall. She was about to have sex up against the library’s wall, and all she could think about was more now please.