Title: Something About Witches
Author: Joey W. Hill
Page Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Genre: paranormal romance, first in a series
Copy for review was purchased by me
Note: Book counts for the Authors After Dark reading challenge
Ruby Night Divine is a witch who runs a gun shop. Magic can fail – she knows that first hand, having experienced it with full-blown tragic consequences, far beyond what Dr. Phil can fix. Smith and Wesson is a whole hell of a lot more reliable, and nothing’s as cathartic as the ability to put a few holes in the things that piss you off. Like Derek Stormwind.
A powerful sorcerer, Derek is determined to get to the bottom of why she pushed him away and ran three years before. He also wants her help. A coven needs training to face a demon and his army of minions. Oh sure. It’s amazing what sweet things a guy will offer to get back into a woman’s heart, and into her bed.
Only in this case, she knows he never left her heart, and in her bed is exactly where she wants him to be. Unfortunately, her bed’s already made, and she’s close to losing her soul. And not even Smith and Wesson or Derek Stormwind can fix that.
This book was a dark horse for me, but one I'm certainly glad that I picked up. The author is brand new to me (although I've read great things, especially lately and especially about this book,) the supernatural elements revolve around witches, which is not my usual fare, and I'm kind of touch and go about second chance romances, even though the ones that are done well definitely make my heart go pitter pat.
Those elements come together perfectly in this story, and the emotional turmoil was so strong it kept me riveted for hours. Ruby and Derek individually are incredibly strong and nuanced characters; add in their shared history and the fact that each is crazy about the other and you get a relationship that truly is the star of the show.
What stands apart for me, though, is how the trauma Ruby has endured and the tragedy that she hadn't yet overcome drove the narrative. It's kind of spoilery to say specifically what happened to Ruby but suffice it to say that the author totally went there, and emotions and grief were completely laid bare. Ruby feels betrayed by things that Derek has done (or not done) in the past but they're examples of how grief and loss twist a person. I never got the feeling that Ruby was being unfair to Derek or was choosing to ignore facts to suit her purpose, which is all too common in second chance stories; what happened to Ruby was so outside the realm of the horrific that her reactions were simply that; hers alone.
In contrast, Derek had never stopped loving Ruby, and his biggest mistake was honestly in just misreading the situation. He assumed when Ruby sent him away that she was kind of freaking out because a) he's about a thousand years older than her (literally,) b) she's kind of unnerved by the strong feelings they're experienced, and c) she just needs some space. He had no idea about what had happened to her while he was away for the Fae wars, and she didn't tell him; he assumed the whole thing would blow over and immediately started trying to find her when it became apparent that it hadn't. Derek's character shines in the details of what happens when he realizes the gravity of the situation. He lays it on the line for Ruby; he loves her so much he's willing to do what's necessary, even that means changing his entire existence. He feels the loss and pain as acutely as her, and accepts the facets of her grief that involve him not being there when the trauma happened; he never blames her for her feelings or tries to make her feel dirty or wrong. He simply points out that sometimes we all have to move on, no matter how painful that may be, and that he's here to help her do just that.
I admit that I wasn't terribly interested in the side plot of Ruby and Derek working to train the Florida coven to protect the magical fault line or in the issue of the demons trying to invade except for the facets that involved Ruby's trauma. I was so invested in the romance between Ruby and Derek that I was impatient to read more. I also admit that I didn't spend too much time reading the details of the workings of the witchcraft and the spiritual beliefs held by the coven, although I respect the fact that they were there. When I go to reread this story (which I will defintely do at some point) I can see myself spending more time with those details.
Final verdict on this book- loved it, want more, have to wait until May to get it, when In the Company of Witches comes out. Life is rough.
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