Take a Chance by D Jackson Leigh is the second book in the Pine Cone Romance series. While it can be read as a standalone, consider reading the whole trilogy because the books are fun to read together!

Officer Jamie Grant is new to Pine Cone, having joined the local police department with her dog, Petunia, who she’s trained to sniff out drugs. Unfortunately, Petunia has an unknown gastro problem that makes it smell like something died inside her, but the little dog owns Jamie’s heart anyway.

As former military, Jamie hates it when people break the rules, so she pretty quickly burns through a book of traffic tickets, writing up the local veterinarian for parking wherever she damn well pleases. Could the fact that Trip Beaumont is also the long-ago best friend who once broke Jamie’s heart be part of why she won’t give the animal healer a break? Well, sure, but it’s not like Jamie would admit that to anyone.

Between coming from an important family in Pine Cone and being able to solve any local animal’s problem, Trip is used to everyone in town giving her love, or at least respect. So, when the new rookie cop starts leaving ticket after ticket on her windshield, Trip knows she needs to straighten the little brownnoser out. She’s in for the shock of her lifetime, however, when it turns out that the person writing all those tickets is the one woman she’s never stopped thinking about.

When Trip catches wind of Petunia’s problem (why yes, pun intended), she thinks she might just have the solution to getting Jamie to talk to her again. But can Jamie really let her heart take a chance on Trip?

The Characters

Trip and Jamie are lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall for each other. Their dance through the complicated feelings about their past and the new, more romantic, ones that develop as they spend more time together is beautiful.

The Writing Style

I’d heard before about the way the series works. Three books that follow three couples as they get together, all happening at roughly the same time, and each can be read as standalone stories. And while I enjoyed the first book, which follows Clay and River, this is the one where I understood the ingenuity of the project.

Even as we see Trip and Jamie first meet each other again and work through their problems, we also see how River and Clay meet and fall for each other through different eyes. We also get a glimpse into Dani and Grace’s romance, which is fully revealed in the final book. It’s masterfully done, ensuring continuity of events across the stories, and Take a Chance provides nuances and insights into the first book that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

The Narration

I’m a pretty big fan of AJ Ferraro’s narration, so I was very happy with this one.

The Pros

This is a low-angst, sweet, smalltown romance that checks all the right boxes for me.

The Cons

I didn’t have any, but I want to give a content warning for suicide for anyone who needs it.

The Conclusion

Pine Cone is a wonderful place to escape from it all. I totally recommend both Take a Chance and the series as a whole, especially when you want to immerse yourself in a few books that will give you all the happy feelings.

Excerpt from Take a Chance by D Jackson Leigh

Trip slid her sunglasses into the side pocket of her board shorts and dove into the deep end of the pool. The refreshing water glided against her skin, and she wished for a second that everyone would be gone when she surfaced. Today felt…off, but she had no idea why. She opened her eyes instinctively as she approached the wall at the shallow end and put her hand out to stop her forward motion, planting it between two legs dangling in the water, and popped up to the surface. She shook her head, spraying water like a dog to the shrieks of several women who also were dangling their legs into the cool water, then wiped the water from her eyes to offer a friendly grin at whoever she’d nearly plowed into.

She blinked. Her jaw dropped. Then for a tiny second—or maybe it was an eternity—her lungs forgot to draw breath and her heart froze a few beats.

“Hello, Trip.” Jamie Grant’s face was expressionless, but her hazel eyes were bright when they met and held hers. “Still the life of the party, I see.”

“Jamie.” Trip whispered the name. Was she still dreaming? Her mind jumped from thought to thought so fast she couldn’t complete a single one, much less form a coherent sentence.

“Hey, Jamie Grant. You’re the next challenger on the cornhole sign-up.” Someone shouted from across the yard, and Jamie’s eyes flicked over Trip’s shoulder.

“Be right there.” Jamie smoothly levered to her feet and stared down at Trip. “Gotta go.”

Trip watched her walk away from the pool. Jamie Grant. In the flesh. And even more attractive all grown up. Her tennis-style shorts hugged her slim hips and muscled thighs, and the Lycra V-neck appeared molded to her still perfect torso and shoulders. Say something. SAY something. But Jamie was too far away now.

“How do you know Jamie? She said she just moved to town,” one of the other women asked.

The question brought Trip back to earth. She cleared her throat, but her eyes stayed on Jamie. If she looked away, Jamie might disappear. “From another time, another life.”

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Series

Pine Cone Romance

Take My Hand

Take A Chance

Take Your Time

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635551181
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Narrator: AJ Ferraro
  • D. Jackson Leigh Online

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