Series: Stay a Spell #4
Release Date: May 24th, 2022
CW: attempted sexual abuse in the workplace, childhood trauma, mentions of the foster system, gaslighting, mentions of violence and death
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.
If you haven’t read the rest of the Stay a Spell series, then please do that first. They’re so brilliant and wonderful and honestly, Juliette Cross could write a 100 more books in this series and I would be totally fine with it.
“Lavinia. I’d break the whole world to be with you.”
From the minute Gareth and Livvy were teased and we were tortured with their story, I have wanted this book. Their chemistry was so intense that all I wanted was to see how it would all unfold. And because I didn’t want to rush through this and read it in a hurry, I paced myself. And yet…I finished it faster than intended. No regrets, because this book? Spectacular. Always Practice Safe Hex had the usually magical shenanigans, the Savoie sisters being absolutely brilliant and all the fantastic supporting characters coming in to make you smile and laugh. But it’s also a heavy book, maybe even the heaviest of the series so far. Between Gareth’s history and everything that Livvy goes through in the course of this book, there’s a lot to unpack! I won’t give anything away, because that would ruin the whole point of it. Just brace yourselves!
The one thing I know we’re always going to get with these books is incredible sexual tension, lots of banter and holy smokes the chemistry. Livvy and Gareth are brilliant as individual characters, they bring so much to the story with their distinct personalities, the way they function around each other and their relationships with everyone else in the books. But together? EXPLOSIVE. If you’ve read the snippet in Walking in a Witchy Wonderland, then you already know just how much the two of them desire each other even if they’re pretending like they don’t. And with a full length novel? Oof, it’s amazing. Gareth never holds back on expressing just how much he wants Livvy, but he’s always very aware of what makes her uncomfortable and steps back when necessary. But he’s also not shy to tell her just how much she turns him on. And it’s not just that. The way Gareth sees Livvy is truly so special. And let’s not forget how Livvy lets her guard down around Gareth and sees him for so much more than just the Grim that he is. She sees past the facade he puts on for everyone else and seeing Gareth through Livvy’s eyes really makes you love him more.
“Gareth in his usual broody, austere state was disturbingly attractive. But when he laughed? Damnation and hellfire. He was like a dark angel showering us lowly humans with a glimpse of heaven.”
I don’t know if this is the hottest book in the series, but there’s this one scene that was so incredible that I might have read it a few times because damn. But it’s hot simply for the fact that Gareth and Livvy have all these feelings and energies that are drawn to each other. Also, fated mates. Please, I never knew I’d like this so much, but hot damn. Juliette definitely does take things up a notch and I have no complaints about it.
Special mention for the tabletop RPG Gareth plays with all the male characters we’ve met through the course of this series. That scene? Gave me life. I love the friendships they’re building and the bonds they’re creating, really added a layer to the story in ways I did not expect. As always, the Stay A Spell series features magic and some magical violence, it’s got a healthy dose of regular violence too. Keep the content warnings in mind, because like I said this book deals with some slightly more traumatic experiences.
I am now absolutely ready for Clara and Henry, but mostly…I just want Jules and Rueben. Even though that means the end of the series, I’m still really excited to see everything unravel!
Thanks to Juliette Cross for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.