Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman


Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
Publisher: Choc Lit
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (288)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Do nice guys stand a chance?
Lizzie Donavue went from being the sister of his best friend to the girl Nick Templeton most wants to kiss. On her birthday, he finally summons up the courage to make his move. But it looks like Nick’s missed his chance when he discovers that Lizzie has been offered a modelling contract, which will take her away to the glamorous fashion scenes of New York and Los Angeles.

Nick is forced to watch from the sidelines as the gawky teenager he knew is transformed into Elizabeth Donavue: top model and ultimate English rose pin-up, forever caught in a whirlwind of celebrity parties with the next up-and-coming Hollywood bad boy by her side.

But then Lizzie’s star-studded life comes crashing down around her, and a guy like Nick could be just what she needs. Will she take a chance on him? Or is he just too damn nice?

I have to admit that the “friends to lovers” plotline is not my favorite, but there was something fascinating in the synopsis of Too Damn Nice so I decided to give this story a try. Furthermore, the blurb seemed more like a good chick-lit than a romance novel and I wanted to read a chick-lit. I am glad that I decided to read this story even though it’s far, far away from being chick-lit. I can say that I got way more than I expected.

Too Damn Nice is story about how two friends, who loved one another for a long time, finally get together. That is just a part of it. After they got together they broke up, only to find another way to true happiness. This is not a funny or a cheerful story but it’s truly not depressing either. On top of that are all the misunderstandings between Lizzie Donavue and Nick Templeton which push the story into sad territory.

Lizzie and Nick are complex characters. They both have their own deep insecurities. Nick thinks that because he is a boring accountant, Lizzie does not care about him. While Lizzie thinks that because she did something wrong in the past, she does not deserve Nick. Sometimes they are so rude to one another. But, there are times when Nick does not act like such a darn nice guy, and Lizzie is not full of guilt. That’s really good because if the characters had stayed in their predefined roles the whole time, the story would not be so darned good. I refer especially to Nick’s character. If he’d been nice all the time it would have been just too much.

I applaud the author. Kathryn Freeman did a wonderful job of keeping the story interesting and on a high emotional level the whole time. In the first part of the book she balances very well the subtle balance in Nick and Lizzie’s relationship. It’s a relationship in which both of them wanted to cross that line of friendship and enter the lover’s territory, but they just didn’t dare. Each time when they were on the verge of becoming a lovers another unexpected twist happened. Later on when the line is finally crossed, the author again did great work in focusing on their doubts and fears. By resolving them the path to their HEA was finally open. There are so many places in the story where the author could have fallen in the trap of cliche, but she successfully avoided it. So once again, I applaud the author.

Too Damn Nice was my first hidden gem this year. This highly sensual and deeply emotional story was a great read. I am definitely putting Kathryn Freeman on my ‘to read list’. If you like contemporary romance featuring friends to lovers and opposite attracts, I highly recommend this story.

The Right Kind of Reckless by Heather Van Fleet


The Right Kind of Reckless by Heather Van Fleet
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Maxwell Martinez

I’m in love with a woman I can’t have, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.

The problem? Her brother’s my best friend.

I shouldn’t want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I’ve never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.

But one look into her eyes and I’m a mess for her. She’s my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.

This is a second book in Reckless Hearts series. The series features three war veterans and best friends. The Right Kind of Reckless is a Max and Lia’s story. Max is Lia’s brother’s best friend and comrade. They been together in a battlefields and the friendship between them is strong. Max knows that Lia is forbidden territory but when he is around her he thinks with his heart. Lia is also in love with Max. She fell for him the moment she met him.

For me The Right Kind of Reckless was very different from the most of the romance novels I read; because Max and Lia confessed their feelings pretty early in the story. Until that moment the story was intense and emotions were high, but after the mutual revelation there is no more that sweet anticipation of what will happen next. From that moment on, the story focused more on Max and Lia’s happy end and HEA. This was definitely not something that diminished my enjoyment of reading this story; it just slowed the pace and toned down intensity.

Max and Lia are very lovable and complex characters. Each character have somewhat troubled past. I hoped that the author will deal a bit more with their pasts and traumas and issues but, she did not. Due to that characters remained a bit unfinished and they did not changed a lot.

All in all The Right Kind of Reckless is story worth reading. It is funny, it is sexy, it is told from POV of both Max and Lia. Although is second installment in the series it can be read as a standalone.

Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen


Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (416 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion…

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done―fight for what he wants.

Amazing, this story is absolutely amazing. When I started it I wanted to read it in one sitting and on the other hand I did not want to end it.  Third Son’s Charm is a story about Ewan Mostyn and Lady Lorraine. Ewan is a son of a nobleman; but he is the third child and also because of his learning disabilities his father does not like him. Therefore he joined the army and became a decorated war hero. Ewan is a strong and silent type. He is perfect material for a bodyguard. So it comes at no surprised that Duke of Ridlington hired him to watch over his daughter Lady Lorraine. Lady Lorraine is Ewan’s complete opposite. Where he is silent, she is chatty, where he is big, she is petite. But as every romance novel reader knows: opposites attract. I absolutely adored the way Ewan and Lorraine’s attraction was described. Each scene containing the two of them was filled with electricity and high emotions.

Both characters are amazing and they both have their own issues. Ewan was bullied as a child because he was big and because of his learning disability. Due to that his self-esteem is low. But he is not full of pride and thus not afraid to ask for help. On the other hand he acts like nothing can break him and undo him… until Lorraine. Lorraine has her fair share of issues. Although she is a daughter of duke and high expectations are put on her, she bends rules and misbehaves all the time. She is stubborn, determined and bright and she has a kind heart.

Besides being very hot, this story is also funny and it contains some adventure. I highly recommend reading it. Third Son’s a Charm is definitely a wonderful beginning of the series about younger sons of nobility who were all members of an elite military group. I am anxiously looking forward to the next story in the series.

The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor


The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (364 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

He would do anything to protect her. Even marry her…

The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once―an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…

Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.

The Bride Who Got Lucky can be categorized as friends to lovers romance novel. Nicholas St. Mauer and Lady Emma Cavensham have known each other for a long time. Nicholas saved Emma from her own adventure once and then he gave her a present; in return he got a kiss from her. But years passed before the two of them are thrown together again. Although neither of them wanted to get married, destiny has other plans for them.

The Bride Who Got Lucky is a magnificent story. It is rich and beautifully written. It goes beyond romantic pursuit between the hero and heroine. Once I started to read it I just could not put it down. There are many things that make this novel great. The plot makes this more than just another historical romance novel. It combines romance, adventure and social issues. In the novel the author deals with the status of women in society and she raises the issue of domestic violence. These topics are well incorporated into the story and added value to it. Furthermore, the novel is part of a series, yet it can be read as a standalone. The minor references to the previous titles in the series can be disregarded and the reader can fully enjoy this story.

As for the characters, the hero is amazing and the heroine is larger than life, feisty and a blue stocking all at the same time. The hero, Nicholas St. Mauer, has a bit of a father issue. He lives in the past due to some unresolved issues between him and his father but it is also what makes him the way he is. The heroine, Lady Emma Cavensham, is a lady ahead of her time. She bends rules and she uses her social status for a good cause. She is driven by guilt and there were moments in the story when she did something very impulsive and got herself into trouble. But she genuinely wants to help women, so for me Emma was a great character and is so different from many other historical romance novel heroines.

All in all this is amazing and complex story that I highly recommend.

Beautiful Crazy by Kasey Lane


Beautiful Crazy by Kasey Lane
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Quince

Their tension is turning up the heat—in the boardroom and the bedroom…

Kevan Landry is trying to keep her life on track and her brother in rehab. If her fledgling marketing firm can sign the hot new band, Manix Curse, it will make a world of difference. Mason Dillon heads the most successful music PR firm in Portland. He’s desperate to breathe new life into the company by signing Manix Curse.

The stakes are high when a battle for the band—in the bedroom and the boardroom—becomes a battle of the heart. But if these two can set aside their differences, they may find they’re the right mix of sexy savvy to conquer both their worlds.

Kevan Landry and Mason Dillon are complete opposites. Kevan is full of tattoos and dressed in vintage clothes. She runs a small fledgling marketing firm, she has no money, her brother is an addict and she comes from a dysfunctional family. Mason on the other hand, is all business and money. He has no tattoo, he is dressed in business suits, he works for huge PR firm and he is loaded. His family might not be full of love and affection but it is far from dysfunctional. But Kevan and Mason have one thing that bring them together; they want to sign a contract with the same band. In order to get a band they have to spend time together on the tour. The only problem with them being together on the tour is that they are enemies who like one another a lot.

I absolutely loved this book. Everything in it is perfect; characters, plot, relationship between Kevan and Mason, everything. Although it is the first book in the series it focuses solely on the relationship between Kevan and Mason without trying to make introduction into a series. The characters are three-dimensional and it was so easy to fall in love with them. Kevan is a tough girl on the outside, but so fragile on the inside. She is a fighter and I rooted for her through the whole story. Mason is typical alpha, but while he goes for what he wants, he is also so gentle toward Kevan. The relationship between two of them is emotional from the very beginning. It is so obvious that they are head over heels in love with each other from the start. Only, it took them quite some time to realize that. The plot is also amazing; Kevan’s and Mason’s relationship is put in the context of the music world, business deals, promotions and life on the road.

If you are looking for a highly emotional and intense contemporary romance Beautiful Crazy is a perfect story. Read it; it is absolutely amazing!

At Fairfield Orchard by Emma Cane


At Fairfield Orchard by Emma Cane
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (223 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Emma Cane welcomes you to Fairfield Orchard, where new love blooms and romance is always in season.

For Amy Fairfield, the family orchard is more than a business. With its blossom-scented air and rows of trees framed by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s her heritage and her future. But right now, it’s also a headache. Putting a painful breakup behind her, Amy has come home to help revitalize Fairfield Orchard. She doesn’t have time for the handsome—distracting—professor who wants to dig into her family’s history for his research.

Jonathan Gebhart knows he needs the Fairfields’ cooperation to make his new book a success. As for Amy—nothing in his years of academia could have prepared him for their sudden and intense attraction. He doesn’t want to complicate her life further, especially since she seems uneasy about his poking around in the past and he knows he’s not the sort of man built for forever. But some sparks can’t help but grow, and Jonathan and Amy may just learn that unexpected love can be the sweetest of all.

At Fairfield Orchard is the first installment of the series with the same name. It is a story of the Fairfield family and their 200 year-old orchard that is built on the land the family bought from Thomas Jefferson.

Amy Fairfield is a dutiful daughter and sister, a college dropout and a former real estate agent. She returned home after a bad break-up and she returned full of regret and guilt. Her former relationship was not a happy one and her boyfriend was a mean drunk who kept her away from her family. Jonathan Gebhart is Amy’s complete opposite. He is a history professor at the University of Virginia. He is also an only child and a nerdy guy with a great body. His field of research (it can be easily said obsession) is Thomas Jefferson. Due to the direct link between Fairfield Orchard and Thomas Jefferson, Jonathan approached the Fairfield family and asks their help. Although both Amy and Jonathan are reluctant to have a relationship, sparks fly and they cannot deny there is something between them.

This was a fast and enjoyable read for me, although it would be even better if the story could have focused more on the romance part and less on Amy trying to rebuild her life in her hometown. I like to read about developing relationships between a heroine and hero so for me I found that the romance part was a bit rushed in this story.

The author used some common situations that are already seen in romance novels in order to push Amy and Jonathan’s relationship to the next level. In a way, some of the interactions and development of Amy and Jonathan’s relationship was predictable. On the other hand I absolutely liked how the author developed other aspects of the story, for example, Amy’s relationship with her twin brother and former friends, the atmosphere in her hometown, and especially the secondary characters. All of the secondary characters, from Amy’s twin brother Tyler, to her neighbor Miss Jablonsky, are done in great detail. They are realistic and three dimensional. During the read I already started guessing as to who the next potential couple might be.

At Fairfield Orchard is worth reading. Although I wish there were more interactions between Amy and Jonathan because I liked their chemistry, I enjoyed this lovely and sweet story.

No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke

MISTRESS
No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

After spending his youth as one of the wildest rakes in the ton, Lord Denys Somerton has devoted the past six years to putting his past behind him. He is determined to fulfill his duties, find a suitable wife, and start a family, but that plan changes when Lola Valentine—the red-haired temptress from his past—returns to London, sparking the same irresistible desires that almost ruined his life once before.

Lola is a woman with no romantic illusions. She knew love would never be enough for a British lord and an American girl from the wrong side of the tracks. For Denys’s sake, she walked away from him and the glittering life he offered. But when an unexpected inheritance brings her back to London, Lola discovers the passion between them is as hot as ever. Can they vanquish it, or will it burn out of control again and destroy them both?

No Mistress of Mine is a beautifully written story. Its topic is very complex and it takes a great writer to shape it in an interesting cliché less story. Laura Lee Guhrke did just that.

This is the fourth installment in the series An American Heiress in London. It is a story of Lord Denys Somerton and Lola Valentine (real name Charlotte Valinsky). Lord Denys Somerton is a son of an earl and member of the ton, while Lola was a dancer in a Paris when they first met. Their upbringings, their social status, their lives were completely different. But they fell in love (and lust) and became lovers. Only one day after a huge disappointment and a few realizations, Lola decided to leave Lord Denys without revealing the true reasons behind her decision. Fast forward six years and Lola is back in town. To make matters worse for Lord Denys, who decides to marry into his own social circle, Lola is his business partner now. So they are brought together again and they have to find common ground in order to cooperate and work together.

The way Laura Lee Guhrke builds the story is magnificent. Especially since it’s set in 1892 England, a time when social status played a great role in a person’s life and when people rarely married outside their class. The conflict and especially the resolution are done perfectly and believable. I enjoyed reading how Lord Denys and Lola fall in love again. The tension between them is so palpable and their rediscovered passion is so strong.

Lola and Lord Denys are amazing characters. Both his and her individual heartaches are painful. But my hearts goes to Lola a bit more because she had such a horrible childhood and she was forced to grow up quickly in order to take care of herself. She is one of those great, bold, brave and strong female characters that I like a lot and I cheered for her from the very beginning.

The only thing that this story can do without is love making scenes. They seem forced to me, like they are put in the story because they have to be there. Both of them occur near the end of the story. I understand their purpose, but I strongly believe that the story would be just fine without them. No Mistress of Mine is a story is about second chances, overcoming fears, letting go of the past only to finally be able to commit to love in the present, and attraction between characters is unmistakable even without love making scenes.

No Mistress of Mine
is such an emotionally deep story that is worth reading. I highly recommend it to readers who prefer romance novels in general and historical novels in particular.

Opening Gates by Nancy King

GATES
Opening Gates by Nancy King
Publisher: Plainview Press Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (270 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Summer, 1956. With her parents away and her boyfriend abroad, Rennie is on her own. To make money for college, she takes a job as a recreational therapist in a large mental hospital in New York City, despite her reluctance to sign a loyalty oath in the charged times of McCarthyism. She has no relevant experience, but she’s good at sports. How hard can it be? Very hard, she discovers.

As Rennie struggles to relate to the confused, emotionally unpredictable women and challenging hospital administrators and staff, she is befriended by a troubled young man with a passion for jazz, meets a wise Middle Eastern restaurateur, and after an accident on her motor scooter, becomes three construction workers favorite “damsel in distress.”

Too stubborn to quit, Rennie finds meaningful ways to connect with her patients and creates previously unimagined opportunities for them. She also discovers a new, stronger part of herself. By summer’s end, no longer dependent on other’s opinions, she can listen to her heart and conscience and make crucial changes in her own life.

Opening Gates is story from which I got more than I bargained for. It is coming of age story that covers some pretty serious issues like gender equality, mental illness and life in USA in late 1950s.

The main character, and also the narrator, is 19 year-old Rennie Weinstein. Rennie is college student who decides to apply for a summer job in a mental hospital in New York as a recreational therapist, because it pays well. She thought that her job would be relatively easy one, but as soon as she enters the hospital she realizes that it a whole unknown world lies there, a world that has rules of its own which are almost impossible to change. But slowly, with hard determination, and a strong will, Rennie starts to change some rules. Also her different and human approach to patients starts to change the life of women in the mental hospital.

Opening Gates is not an easy read, not just because it deals with mental illness, but because there is so much injustice in this story. The treatment of women in the hospital is often very tenacious and inflexible. The patients are perceived as things or as trouble makers and people who want to help them or make their life a bit better are restricted by so many written and unwritten rules. There are few scenes that are harsh, but I believe that they also picture realistic treatments of the patients in the mental institution at that time. The author does not go into a private stories of the women in the hospital, because her focus is on the main character and the changes Rennie goes through during her summer work, but on the other hand she is describing the atmosphere, sights, and smells so well.

This is a story worth reading because it provides a genuine insight into a mental institution in 1950s. The message of the story: “the little things go a long way”, resonated to me for a long time after I finished the book.

All I Ever Wanted by by Katrina Mills

WANTED
All I Ever Wanted by by Katrina Mills
Publisher: City Owl Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (320 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

You Can’t Go Home Again…Except For Summer Love.

Eat a stick of butter or return to her hometown? School teacher, Kinsley Bailey, would rather risk the caloric overload. Staunton, Virginia is laced in bad memories of a mentally ill mother, an estranged father, and the first boy who broke her heart. Yet the news of her father’s death has forced her return to the nightmare. Now in the heat of the summer, Kinsley’s left unraveling the mysteries surrounding a house, an antique gun collection, a flabby basset hound, and a safety deposit box that no one in the family wants to discuss.

After a series of tough breaks, army soldier, Bastian Harris, desires the serenity of small town life in Staunton. Even with women signing up for his shooting courses and emphasizing their desires for a different kind of target practice, he keeps his nose down and his gun in his holster. Yet when a certain auburn-haired blast from the past comes blazing into his shop to sell her dead father’s antique gun collection, he might have to reconsider the tranquil life and take up arms for the one woman he never could forget.

Kinsley Bauley is a 33 year-old school teacher forced to return to her hometown due to the death of her father. Kinsley is full of resentment mostly towards her father, who took off when she was eight and never contacted her again. She also holds some grudges toward Bastian Harris, her childhood best friend and first heartbreak. Now she is back and she will find out some inconvenient truths that should have been told to her a long time ago. Also she will meet Bastian again.

Kinsley is an interesting character; she was working in a corporation and one day she decided to become middle school chemistry teacher. She has a good life, but she still is dreaming about her first love. I had mixed feeling about her during the story. Sometimes I perceived her as a strong and independent woman, and sometimes she acted like silly immature little girl. But in the end she turned just fine.

Bastian Harris is yummy hero. He is cool, he is nice, he has a daughter he loves a lot and he is much more down to earth than Kinsley, although he has his own issues. But his issues are much more real than Kinsley’s. As a couple they are great match; sweet and lovable.

The story is set in a small town and it has all the regular characteristics of stories in this kind of setting i.e. colorful characters, noisy and amusing old ladies and funny animals (in this case a dog).

My biggest issue with All I Ever Wanted is the foundation on which the whole story is built. I find the idea way over the top that Kinsley was thinking about Bastian for so long. I cannot believe that she kept wondering for 20 years why he did not continue a relationship after the kiss they shared when they were both 13 years old. I cannot believe that she was dreaming about him for 20 years, while pursuing her career, making big bucks and having a good life.

If you do not try to analyze backstory too much and take it as it is, All I Ever Wanted is a lovely and funny story.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long

HOT
Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

A broken truck, a broken career, and a breakup heard around the world land superstar John Tennessee McCord in Hellcat Canyon. Legend has it that hearts come in two colors there: gold or black. And that you can find whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s love . . . or trouble. JT may have found both in waitress Britt Langley.

His looks might cause whiplash and weak knees, but Britt sees past JT’s rough edge and sexy drawl to a person a lot like her: in need of the kind of comfort best given hot and quick, with clothes off and the lights out.

Her wit is sharp but her eyes and heart—not to mention the rest of her—are soft, and JT is falling hard. But Britt has a secret as dark as the hills, and JT’s past is poised to invade their present. It’s up to the people of Hellcat Canyon to help make sure their future includes a happily ever after.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon has all the right ingredients to be a great story. It has an amazing hero and heroine, who are my favorite combination i.e. he is super popular and rich, while she works two jobs – kind of Cinderella story. It’s set in charming small town full of colorful and funny inhabitants. It deals with some pretty serious issues, but it also funny. And along with all of that it features two fictional Hollywood super stars and one of them, Franco Francone, I liked a lot (and he reminds me a lot of James Franco).

The hero of Hot in Hellcat Canyon is John Tennessee McCord, Hollywood superstar that didn’t get a role he was hoping for and his superstar girlfriend dumps him. His car broke down and he finds himself in the small town of Hellcat Canyon. There he meets the amazing Britt Langley waitress/real estate agent, and a town outsider. She came to the town trying to get her life back together after very bad marriage. J.T. and Britt meet in the bar and there is an instant and very hot attraction between them. They both enter this relationship with their own heavy baggage, although Britt’s is a bit heavier and darker. Due to that, and the meddling of one egocentric character, the conflict between two of them is inevitable. Although the conflict was something expected, the author did great job in plotting and resolving it.

Regardless of all above mentioned I had a hard time reading and rating this story. The reason is the pace. It’s slow and it felt like the author focused more on setting the scene for the next novels in the series rather than developing the relationship and settling the differences between JT and Britt. The parts when the two of them are together are amazing, but when they aren’t the story drags a bit. If the story was more focused on J.T. and Britt it would have been much more engaging.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon is a first story in the Hellcat Canyon series, and from this first installment it’s already very obvious to this reader who might be some future couples. Now that the scene is set, and all characters are in place I am looking forward to reading the next story in the series because Julie Anne Long writes amazing romances. Here’s hoping that one story will feature Franco Francone as a hero.