Isabella’s not too pleased. She has a hangover and now there’s a bunch of contractors claiming that they are here to renovate her house. To top it all off, Luke, the one in charge is incredibly handsome and well-built. Too bad she’s sworn off men.


For his part, Luke likes prickly Isabella. So when his workmen propose a bet, he accepts it, even if the amended rules make him uncomfortable. The bet is that he can seduce a woman to bed, while she is aware of the bet’s existence. But his workmen are upping the stakes – Isabella can’t be told. Nothing good can come out of it.


The premise of the “Jaded” showed promise. The first chapter would easily make a reader smile. However, the characterization isn’t quite up to snuff. While Isabella did have her bad moments, mainly with her inability to say no to Luke and her mood swings, Luke is the one who causes the most problems. First, the entire business with the bet paints him in a bad light. But it’s his opinion of women that makes it worse:


“Luke was surprised to learn that Isabella was beautiful and intelligent. He hadn’t known that such a girl existed outside of lame date movies…”


He does get better as the book progresses, but the initial impression is hard to overcome. Their relationship is tumultuous and dramatic.  All in all, a spicy romance that would’ve rated higher had the characters been written in a way that readers could sympathize with, ultimately understand and like much more.


Ana Smith