In Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap (Hellcat Canyon #3) by Julie Anne Long, As a teenager in Hellcat Canyon, California, Avalon Harwood fell head over heels for Maximilian “Mac” Coltrane in no time at all. The son of a billionaire, privileged and a bit arrogant, he was always nice to her. Until one day she found out the hard way that trust is a very fragile thing. Avalon left town to pursue her dreams and to find someone who would love her for who she really is. For a time she thought that was Corbin, her boyfriend and business partner. But a betrayal of the worst kind causes her to take a look at things and she soon finds herself back home again. Much to Avalon’s surprise, Mac is not only back in town as well, but he’s quickly in her life on a daily basis. And she’s not sure her heart is ready for another go-round with him. No matter how sexy he is and how much fun they have together renovating the house.
“…This is funny, Avalon. You’re going to like this.”
Which of course meant she wouldn’t.
“I have a contract that says I’m allowed to be on this property.”
“Why would you have a…” She clued in just before he said it out loud.
“Because I’m the groundskeeper.”
Rebuilding his life from the ground up after his father was sent to prison, Mac has tried his damnedest to be an upstanding guy and to prove he’s nothing like his dad. He’s proud of what he’s accomplished but isn’t sure it’s enough to keep a piece of his family’s former glory: their house near Devil’s Leap. When the property gets bought out from under him by Avalon, Mac is both glad and furious. He knows she’ll appreciate the house and property but he still wants to know why she turned and ran a decade ago with no explanation. His good intentions of keeping things amicable fly out the window when he encounters her sassy attitude he loves so much. Before long, Mac and Avalon are bickering and pulling pranks like the old days. But also like the old days, their attraction gets the better of them, leaving Mac to wonder if they could have a future together after all.
‘How could she not understand that he would literally rather die than deliberately hurt her? And yet apparently just being himself was guaranteed to bring her pain.’
Smartly written with characters you can’t help but love, Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap had me in stitches almost the whole way through. Well, when I wasn’t swooning over our hero Mac, that is…
‘From his expression–the slow, smug smile, all amused, gratified, triumph–he knew exactly what she was thinking.
Nothing was more erotic than a big, hot, strong guy armed with a spreadsheet whose object was to make her life easier.
This was actually my first time reading any of Julie Anne Long’s work (although I do have a couple other books by her on my TBR) and I had such a blast with it. I loved everything from the easy flow of the story itself to the rapid fire bantering full of innuendos and to the character development she used. It all worked together to create a modern, extremely fun romance that had a lot of heart to it. And cute animals! Oh my goodness, there was basically a whole barnyard full of animals to choose from: a cat and dog of course, but also goats and chickens–all with hysterical and fitting names. They added another comedic edge to Avalon and Mac’s story in a super charming way.
Not that Mac and Avalon needed any help in being charming or funny. Nope. I definitely fell for them both right away. Avalon (cool name right?) was one tough cookie who was independent, knew her own mind and had strength beyond measure. I loved that she could take a rather heartbreaking betrayal and keep her sense of humor while finding her way through it. Okay, so Avalon could be pretty stubborn as well, but it turned out to not be such a bad thing overall. Especially when dealing with Mac, whom I also loved. He might have given off the air of being a gruff guy but underneath it all he was pure heart. He pulled himself out of a family disaster and became a man who stood on his own, doing things with pride and honor. And Mac’s love for animals, for his family’s property in Hellcat Canyon, and the way he wanted to keep Avalon safe made me sigh happily many, many times.
My favorite part, I have to admit, was the pranks they pulled on each other. Mac and Avalon had a lot of history together right there in Hellcat Canyon after they were totally into each other as teens. But after a decade apart, with Avalon not fessing up why she left and Mac not really giving her a chance to explain…let’s say there was some animosity there. Add to that how she kind of stole the family property out from under him and it was the makings of a war of wits and seeing who could outdo each other. Talk about fun! And I had to chuckle that Avalon and Mac actually admired each other’s tricks and pranks, getting some laughs out of it themselves.
A second chance romance with a dash of enemies-to-lovers thrown in, Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap was absolutely delightful. After how wowed I was by this story, you just know I’m going to snag every book I can by Julie Anne Long and have a marathon reading session!
She was a naive country girl. He was a billionaire’s spoiled son. He was her first crush, her first heartbreak…and now her sworn enemy.
As Avalon Harwood’s fortunes soared, Maximilian “Mac” Coltrane’s plummeted, and he had to fight his way back to where they both began: Hellcat Canyon. Now Mac and Avalon will play dirty—in more ways than one—to get what they each want: the glorious old abandoned Coltrane mansion. But when Avalon snaps the house up at auction, she discovers there’s something awfully familiar about the extremely hot caretaker…
Mac might have a heart of stone, and the abs to match, but Avalon—the dazzling girl whose heart was always too big and too reckless for her own good—was always his Kryptonite. And just like that, the stakes change: suddenly they’re fighting not just for a house, but for a magic they tasted only once before and never since—long ago, with each other, at Devil’s Leap.