Title: Always Practice Safe Hex (Stay a Spell 4)
Author: Juliette Cross
Published: June 6, 2022
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Content warnings: Gaslighting, workplace sexual harassment, attempted rape, abuse of a child in foster care (off page), neglect (off page), death of parents (off page)
I received a copy of Always Practice Safe Hex from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Livvy Savoie is a people person. Not only does she have the magical gift of persuasion, but her natural charisma charms everyone she meets. She hasn’t met a person she didn’t like. Until her annoyingly brilliant competitor walks through the door. No matter how hard she denies it, loathing isn’t the only emotion she feels for him.
Grim reaper Gareth Blackwater is rarely, if ever, moved beyond his broody, stoic state. But the witch he’s partnered with in the public relations contest is destroying his peace of mind. He’s convinced that the flesh-melting attraction he feels for her is merely her witchy magic at work.
But forced proximity proves there is more than magic sparking between them. Livvy learns this enigmatic grim’s abilities are beyond any supernatural she has ever known. And when Livvy becomes the obsessive target of a dangerous warlock, Gareth proves just how powerful he truly is. Because no one is going to hurt his Lavinia.
To say I have been eagerly anticipating this book’s release is an understatement. Juliette Cross has been dropping hints about the Grims in her Stay a Spell world from book 1 and I was not disappointed as we got to know Gareth and the monster within.
Always Practice Safe Hex is the 4th book in a series that follows that Savoie Sisters, powerful witches living in New Orleans. Livvy is an Influencer and she loves people… but she can’t get a read on Gareth Blackwater, Grim reaper and all-around thorn in her side. When they’re forced to work together on a project, sparks begin to fly and Livvy begins to learn exactly what lives beneath Gareth’s skin.
There is so much to love about this book.
In last year’s Walking In a Witchy Wonderland anthology, we got an introductory scene of how these two characters find themselves forced to work together – from Livvy’s perspective – and we see that same scene again in this book, only this time from Gareth’s POV and I love that so much. The set-up has been built and arranged so perfectly that I was desperate to know more about these two characters.
Livvy, like all her sisters, is very family oriented – she’ll do anything for her family – but in this book she’s beginning to break out and do her own thing. She’s determined to be successful and not let Gareth bring her down, and she’s increasingly irritated when his ideas, suggestions and instincts for their project are accurate and well-thought-out. She also doesn’t want to feel the burgeoning attraction to the dark, broody grim who won’t share anything of himself or his abilities with her.
Gareth, likewise, is irked at having to work with Livvy and thinks that his attraction to her is nothing more than the magic of her Influencer abilities but when he realises the truth, and finds out that she’s in trouble, his protective nature kicks in. We learn a lot about Gareth’s past and why he’s reluctant to open up to outsiders, and we also see his devotion to his cousin Henry and the reason why he guards the secrets of the grims so fiercely.
This book definitely felt darker than previous books – given the true abilities of the grims – and I was all-in for it. It’s my favourite of the books so far and I just wanted more time with Livvy and Gareth.
If you want to hear more of my thoughts as I was reading the book, I have a vlog just for this book. I cannot wait to continue the series!