Title: Hunted Hearts
Author: Kimberly Dean
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ Mystery
Favourite Quote: “Things had been so much simpler when they’d been rivals. Or uncertain friends. This attraction that had forced its way to the forefront ignored all the rules they’d agreed to follow.”
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*
Callie Thompson has it all, a fantastic writing career, a two year old beautiful silver Mustang and now she’s just discovered that she’s inherited a house in the small town of Shadow Valley from a distant relative. Callie’s been waiting for an opportunity to leave the busy city for some peace and quiet, now is her chance. With the rest of her belongings packed up in her backseat, she drives to her new life from Boston.
Unfortunately the first person she meets in her new town is non other than the chief of police, the gorgeous but grumpy Carter Landry. Nothing quite says welcome to the neighbourhood like a fine and a speeding ticket.
Carter can’t help but feel frustrated with the new addition to their little town, Callie Thompson. She’s smoking hot but already proven to be a nuisance, especially now that she’s moving into the old Calhoun place. The old house has given him nothing but grief with it’s previous tenants and the rumour that it’s haunted. Carter doesn’t believe in ghosts, but that doesn’t stop the neighbourhood from drinking in the stories connected to that house. He’s got enough to deal with than more unwanted gossip.
When Callie pulls up outside her new home, she can’t help but feel slightly deceived by the appearance she had seen in the photograph before coming here. The house is going to take a lot of refurbishment to get it up to the right standard, but at least it’s hers and she isn’t worried about a bit of hard work.
It doesn’t take long for the neighbourhood to discover that Callie is living in the old Calhoun house and she quickly becomes the talk of the town. She can’t help but notice how the people around her are worried about the house. Callie knows it needs some work, but it can’t all be that bad? At first she passes off the strange noises from it being an old building with it’s old clunky furnace in the basement and creaky old shutters. That is, until she finds herself locked in her bedroom and can hear footsteps outside her door. As the strange occurrences only get worse, Callie needs to rely on the imposingly irritating chief of police more than she would like.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a lovely blend of mystery, fantasy and a bit of steamy romance. The story has a great pace and is told from two different perspectives, Callie and police chief Carter. The author does well to set the scene in a haunted house right from the start, when Callie finds that someone has been through her belongings, she’s creeped out but passes it off as the estate agent trying to be nice. When she hears noises, she’s nervous and a bit jumpy but passes it off as the normal interior of an old house with it’s old furnace and squeaky floor boards. Even when the lights suddenly go out, she’s terrified to go into the basement to look for the fusebox, but she powers through to get the lights working again. I can’t tell if our protagonist is extremely brave or just completely naive at first. I don’t know about anyone else but I’d be running for the door!
‘On any given night in her old apartment in Boston, she’d had to sleep through music from next door, vacuuming from the obsessive-compulsive upstairs, or fighting from the newlyweds across the hall. A clunky furnace and a creaky shutter should be nothing. Then again, it could be because she was alone.
The soft sound was impossible to ignore. Callie’s eyes flew open, and she sat straight up in bed. Her heart thudded as she reached over and turned on the bedside lamp. With wide eyes, she looked across the room. And her heart nearly stopped. Her bedroom door had just locked itself.’
I thought the characters were well written but I felt there wasn’t a lot of time spent on their backstory for a good character build up, which may have been the point. You walk into the story as it is and learn to trust the characters within the story around you as you see them. I really liked David as a character and felt that his story was just as mysteriously intriguing as the haunted house itself. He’s got secrets of his own and acts the part of a delinquent in the neighbourhood in order to distract himself from his complicated issue. The only person who can see him for who is he is, is Callie, who spends most of the book getting Carter to back off him as a suspected culprit to her hauntings. Callie feels that David is just lonely and needs someone to believe in him. Little did she know how much.
The connection between Callie and Carter sparked instantly. They would rather deny any friction between them and fight against each other instead, whether it was Callie’s frustration at him giving her fines and parking tickets, Carter’s annoyance that she would attempt to flirt with him to get out of it, or the way that they openly try and avoid the other. It’s only when Callie needs his help that she realises that he isn’t such a bad guy after all. For Carter, he was fighting his desires from the moment he saw her which makes the spark between them even more fierce. I really didn’t like how quickly he became needy for her, especially at the end, but that’s just me!
‘Carter felt the knot in his back tighten so hard, it was amazing his shoulder didn’t separate. “I know all I want, and I don’t like him sniffing around you.”
“For God’s sake, Carter, he’s not ‘sniffing around me.’ I’ve been blond all my life. Do you think I really would have made it this far without knowing how to pick up the signs? I know when a guy is interested.”
Their gazes met – and held.’
Mamie and Alice were a lovely little addition to the story, they love to gossip and would risk going into the old Calhoun house to leap at the chance for more information swarming the place, even after Callie saw what the rumours were about with her own eyes. Mamie and Alice couldn’t help but interrogate Callie the day she arrived to find out more about her. When they saw the way she and Carter interacted, they made it their task to become matchmaker for the both of them. They were exactly as you could imagine from being in a small town, Callie coming was the start of something new and interesting.
‘Finally, with a nod, he turned and headed to the door. Callie finally let out her breath when the bell jingled.
Mamie spun so fat that her apron flared. “I’ve got the best feeling about this,” she said, clapping her hands together in delight.
“Oh, yeah.” Alice’s eyes danced. “Things are going to get interesting around here – and in more ways than one.”‘
Does a ghost from the past want the man of her future?
Callie Thompson is thrilled when she inherits a house in the small town of Shadow Valley. The house is old and creaky, but she’s not afraid of hard work. Unfortunately, no matter how many repairs she makes, the strange noises won’t go away. Items disappear. Lights flicker. Footsteps echo down the hallway. Her nerves are soon so frayed that she resorts to calling the one person in town she hasn’t been able to get along with, bullheaded police chief Carter Landry.
Carter doesn’t have time to investigate things that go bump in the night—although, with Callie, the idea is tempting. He’s busy working with the governor’s task force on a major case and dealing with a rash of petty Halloween crimes. He knows that Callie’s house isn’t haunted… no matter what the town legend says. Still, when her distress call comes in, he hits the ground running.
Carter can’t help his protective instincts when it comes to the sassy blond. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, but someone is intentionally scaring her—and he doesn’t like it. He stays the night to investigate, and the friction that has always been between them ignites into passion.
As the couple gives in to their mutual attraction, the strange occurrences in the house subside. But could Carter’s presence be the reason? Callie fears that her sexy cop may be the one the ghost has wanted all along.