Cris Reads: HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON by Julie Anne Long

A broken truck, a broken career and a breakup heard around the world lands superstar John Tennessee McCord in Hellcat Canyon. Legend has it 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.

A big movie star falling for a small town waitress is not a new romance trope. We've seen it time and time again, both in novels and romcoms alike. But what HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON brings to the table is characters with so many unexpected layers, you can't help but feel like J.T. and Britt are something completely different. They're nuanced, clever, kindhearted individuals with enough charm and sass between them to keep you engrossed. And to top it all off, they have honest, deeply rooted insecurities and fears that make them both endearing and relatable. Their relationship has such a great balance of comfort, when they're basking in everyday moments together and the simplicity of doing things to make each other happy, and passionate, rip-your-clothes-off heat. I couldn't get enough of these two together!

Personally, I think Julie Anne Long's shift into contemporary romance couldn't have gone smoother. HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON is witty, sexy and utterly hilarious. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. As much as I adored J.T. and Britt together, I really loved getting to know the people of the town, and getting a taste for their different personalities and quirks. There were so many unexpected elements in the mix that just made each character a wonderful surprise waiting to be discovered. 

But what I loved most about this novel was how poignantly it captured how absolutely terrifying falling in love can be. Allowing yourself to trust someone with your soft squishy center can feel like giving someone the tools to destroy you. I don't think a lot of romances really get into how much courage it truly takes to fall in love and resist the urge to run and protect yourself from possible hurt. As much as the reward can be worth it, it's not always easy to see it when all your sense are telling you to bolt in the opposite direction. This was something I thought Julie Anne Long captured perfectly, something that really helped me connect with Britt on a much deeper level. 

For me, HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON was just full of surprises. If you love a good small town romance and want something that'll get you both hot under the collar and make you laugh out loud, this is one to definitely check out. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

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About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author JULIE ANNE LONG originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

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