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The First Time at Firelight Falls

(Hellcat Canyon #4)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Single mom Eden Harwood has a lively daughter, a blooming business—and a juicy secret she’s hung on to for ten years. She doesn’t mind a bit that there’s no room for romance in her whirlwind life . . . until six-foot-infinity, smoldery-eyed, bass-voiced Gabe Caldera reminds her of what she might be missing.

The principal of Hellcat Elementary is usually knee-deep in fawning
ebook, 384 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Avon
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  450 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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If there is one way to kill a romance novel, it is to include a "precocious" kid. The author NEVER seems to have the kid act their age, which pulls you out of the story. Then, the kid always ends up reminding me of one of those hammy kids who always needs to be the center of attention and they are just so damn loud that you can't think and their parents think it's cute when they are obnoxious little brats being horrible... uh, yeah. Okay, I might have dealt with a kid or two like that... I might ...more
The kinds of things Eden Harwood said out loud made Gabe yearn to know all the things she didn't say out loud.

If someone wants to get me to know me like Gabe got to know Eden (with protracted conversation you perverts), I would.. uh, let it happen. I'd be down for that.

While every woman wanted to hear she's beautiful in a man's eyes, true seduction was all about making it clear that he saw her for who she truly was. That maybe he saw things no one else saw. And liked them. And wanted them all.

Sam (AMNReader)
This woman is solidifying herself as one of my favorite contemporary authors.

Her romances feel so real and so do her characters. Eden was a fantastic heroine, so relatable and real - the amount of times she took my breath away discussing her daughter had me falling in love with this book. Annalise felt real too-precocious, but real. And then...there's Gabe. I wouldn't say I was chomping at the bit to read his story, but I pretty much did a 180 with all the direct, intense, short conversations..
Jacob Proffitt
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, steamy
This is fourth in a series, but really only the previous, Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap, is relevant. I recommend reading at least that one before this because Avalon and Mac are present and important and we meet Annalise and Eden there, too.

As is common in this series, the title really does suck and has literally nothing to do with the story. Just so you know.

Anyway, this story is fantastic and I loved both protagonists right from the start and never let go. Oh my heart, is Gabe the prefect man
A lovely crafted romance, especially the first half, which zings with sexy banter and deft plotting. Up until now, I've been more of a fan of Long's historical romances, but this fourth addition to her contemporary series feels more in tradition with the best of her historicals. Just exchange a waltz, a courtly stroll through meticulous grounds, and witty banter at a country dinner party with sassy repartee in the elementary school parking lot, hasty flirting on the sly at weekly PTA fundrais
Joanna Loves Reading
For me, each book in this series has basically been better than the last, and this one will be difficult to top. I am writing this review much to long after reading, but I just could relate to this story very much. I loved how it took place as real life was happening. So lovely. Great kiddo also.
3.5 stars

I had read and enjoyed the previous book in this series, so I couldn’t resist this one.

Eden and Gabe are both great MCs. They’re both loving and maybe a bit stubborn and it works. Annalise straight up steals every scene she’s in and I loved reading her questions and reaction.

Plot wise, it was okay. The underlying theme is that Eden doesn’t have time and it definitely comes across. Eden and Gabe fall in love in 5 minute increments because that’s basically all the time they have to be a
Slow burn romance between two busy individuals - single mum and florist, Eden Harwood, and her 10 year old daughter's school principal, Gabe Caldera. Eden makes for a strong and warm heroine and her relationship with her daughter, Annelise, is wonderfully portrayed. The child is a cute kid who is bright and yet not precocious which so many book kids are. Okay, so I confess, I held off on reading this book for a while despite enjoying the series and loving JAL, because I wasn't sure if a primary/ ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty charming. A warmhearted, if mildly disjointed, read. Very endearing leads. Quite a few memorable lines and moments of humour.

It was also full of wonderful character discussions about words in that way relatable to what a regular reader feels when they encounter a word they enjoy the sound or rythm of, or discover some naunce of meaning.

The kid bordered on annoying. Totally didn’t act her stated age.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was C H A R M I N G! The writing is lovely and the characters are so mature and sweet, and have distinct voices and I don't know what else to say. It's such a nice, nuanced yet straightforward exploration of motherhood and what it does to a person's identity in ways that are great and complicated and sometimes hard to navigate, and I liked every part of it. Also, it has a love gesture, not grand gesture, but *love* gesture, that it's one of the most touching, romantic things I've read ...more
*The Angry Reader*
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, arcs

This is me being resentful at the forced ending of my JAL binge. We now return you to our regularly scheduled backlog of ARCs, a pile of SEPs delivered Monday by the postal service and two shifter series loaned by a friend.


Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
3.5 to 4 stars. A sweet, enjoyable CR, with little angst. I liked the H, Gabe, principal of the elementary school, but also an ex-Navy SEAL. He's hot, but also a really nice guy. Mature, likeable, a person of integrity.

Gabe has quietly admired Eden for a while. A parent of one of his students, a single mom of bright ten-year-old Annelise. He sees the lovely relationship between mother and daughter, and his respect and liking for Eden grows.

But just as the relationship between Gabe and Eden sta
Pj Ausdenmore
I just finished reading an ARC of this May 29, 2018 novel by Julie Anne Long and all I want to do is go back to the beginning and read it all over again. Exquisitely crafted by Long, it's filled with humor, romance, sizzle, emotion, family, community, and the reveal of a long-held secret. I can honestly say I never imagined I'd be lusting after a grade school principal hero but when that hero is Gabe Caldera? Let's just say my internal engine is humming very nicely.

I mourned Long's announcement
Bambi Unbridled

This was my first time reading Julie Anne Long, and I will be reading more of her in the future. I was at first skeptical as to whether I would like this book. I didn't think I would relate to the characters - a single mom and school principal... but I loved them! I really like Long's writing style. The romance was sweet and a little steamy, and she made our heroine's kid cute and entertaining.

Eden Harwood is our single mom heroine, proprietor of a florist shop and master at a white board schedu
Kay (aka) Miss Bates
It took me a long time to recognize how good this book is, which is my reader's prerogative. Gabe and Eden were likable, their hesitant dance to being together wasn't quite convincing. However, Long's witty writing, engaging banter, and penchant for making wonderful allusions won me over, reluctantly, but enough to keep me reading. About more than half of the way through, this got really really good. I can't tell you why, spoilers, but here are some thoughts from my blog:

First half of this was a solid 5 stars for me. I love a smitten hero, and Gabe is that in spades. The book introduces his huge crush on Eden almost immediately, and it was adorable. Their romance was so sweet, the way they’d start conversations and pick them up later.

The book took a dive in the second half for me, even though I thought the ending was really romantic.

This book handles the subject of single parenthood with such humor and heart. Eden has always been a single mom, and her entire id
So witty and funny! Gabe and Eden had excellent banter, with sweet moments. The whole ex-Navy SEAL hot principal thing floats my boat, even though I have yet to encounter anything close in real life.

I read this out of order, so I may have spoiled myself for Avalon’s (Eden’s sister) story. I don’t care; I’m still reading it. I really like Julie Long’s writing.

The anatomically correct Ken doll was hilarious. I laughed pretty hard while reading.
Dani (Dani Reviews Things & Love in a time of Feminism)
Rating: 4.5 stars

Again, I have been surprised and delighted by a book. I mean, I was already on board for a book about a single mom and a principal – just think of the sexual fantasies wrapped up in that one – but I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. If I ever become a single mom, I want to be Eden and have hot-as-sin relationship with the principal. Plus, then I'd have the coolest kid and some awesome family around me.

Because, honestly, Annelise was awesome. She’s 10, she’s clever,
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"The kinds of things Eden Harwood said out loud made Gabe yearn to know all the things she didn't say out loud."

I hope this series last forever. There's something incredibly good and totally unique about the way Julie Anne Long write. I'll be the first to admit, it can be too wordy and overwhelming at time, especially in this one but she always come up with ideas like no other and some of her phrasing are just so beautiful.

"The epiphany was that she'd all along thought she hadn't room in he
Feb 06, 2018 added it
Shelves: 5-2018, aar-to-review
Review to come for AAR.
JAJ takes pages to lay out a conversation - any other author does this and I am screaming in aggravation. But how she describes body language, how she sets up the pauses and the banter - it's just SO FUN. When it works, I have the hugest grin on my face while reading, and what's better than that.

Gabe gave me some serious Adam from A Notorious Countess Confesses vibes - I clearly have a soft spot for The Pillar of The Community Comes Undone trope - and I loved that Eden had a backbone and was un
A (Is For Awkward)
This was one was almost fun, and I enjoyed the concept of the scattered interrupted q/a relationship development. But it took a nose dive with the introduction of her daughter's father and how that played out. From that point on the relationship not only stagnated but took a dive off the deep end into rage jealousy, and while I wanted to know more about this side story, I didn't want it at the expense of the slow banter between them that had kept me interested.

So this more of a 2.5. "I wish it
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was sweet and I am glad Eden got her story, but I think it's time to move on from Hellcat Canyon.
Sheila Melo
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Days like these made being a Navy SEAL seem definitely easier than being an elementary school principal."

FINAL DECISION: Passionate, romantic, funny, fabulous and so incredibly normal. This is my favorite book of the year so far...and I'm not sure another book is going to be able to top it.

THE STORY: Eden Harwood was the good girl who ended up pregnant. She adores and dedicates her life to her ten year old daughter and her life is busy and seems full until something starts with the elementary s
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book in the series. It was a nice quick read with lots of interesting characters.

Eden owns a flower shop and is the mom to 10 year old Annalise. We met Annalise in previous books - she is the charming, intelligent, witty, and talented young girl who has slowly stolen our hearts. She stole the show in some scenes during this book as well. Eden hasn't told a soul who Annalise's father is, not even her own family. But Annalise has been asking a lot of questions lately about her fath
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jeep-diva
Rating 4.5 stars.

In the fourth installment to the Hellcat Canyon series, First Time at Firelight Falls, Julie Anne Long again delivers a fun, witty and touching book. I particularly liked the unfinished sentences that leave Gabe and Eden hanging on for days on end until they meet again. What fun to be left guessing what went unsaid. Gabe and Eden were both so nice and deserving of a great love. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a kid the way I did Annelise. She’s so smart and clever and a genuinely
Talk about hot for teacher! Okay, well hot for the ex-Navy SEAL principal!

Gabe Caldera is wildly attracted to single mom Eden Harwood. She's beautiful, smart, and wicked capable with running her flower shop and keeping her clever 10-year-old daughter on schedule (with some help from a massive white board).

Unfortunately for Gabe, Eden's life is so scheduled out that she thinks she doesn't have time for love, let alone flirt, with the sexy principal, but Gabe is out to convince Eden that even if
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some meet cute moments in here. I got so tickled at the office scene when the lights went off. So something that could have happened to me at a smexy time, except I would have been the one to bang my knee or stub my toe. Really fun read.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Took me a moment. But ended up loving this.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll post a full review nearer publication date (May 29), but I loved this book so much that I could not wait to share my excitement about it. I think it is the best in what has already proved to be a stellar series. It is the first entry on my Best of 2018 list and Gabe is now tied with Quinn Hunter from Kathleen Gilles's Seidel's Till the Stars Fall as my favorite contemporary romance hero.

The following review appeared in Romantic Intentions Quarterly -- Issue 1, April 2018:

Some days Gabe Cald
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Other books in the series

Hellcat Canyon (4 books)
  • Hot in Hellcat Canyon (Hellcat Canyon, #1)
  • Wild at Whiskey Creek (Hellcat Canyon, #2)
  • Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap (Hellcat Canyon, #3)