Review: Don’t Hex and Drive – Juliette Cross
by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #2
Also in this series: Wolf Gone Wild
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Notoriously bad at peopling, Isadora Savoie spends most of her time in the greenhouse or at the local animal shelter, using her Conduit powers of growth and healing. Content to remain in the background of the Savoie sister shenanigans, she’s reluctantly roped into the mystery of missing neighborhood girls. Now, she’s partnered with a flashy, flirty vampire to find them before it’s too late.
Devraj Kumar has seen and done it all. Three hundred years roaming the earth as a Stygorn—a legendary vampire warrior who operates in the shadows—has its perks. But ennui has set in. That is, until he has a run-in—literally—with an intriguing witch while on a new assignment in New Orleans. Fascinated by her resistance to his charms, Devraj can’t help but push her buttons in an effort to get to know the shy witch. Fortunately for him, she’s been recruited by the Lord of Vampires to assist Devraj on the case.
Between a Bollywood marathon, supernatural dating app, secret package, and sexy driving instruction, Isadora is in over her head. And Devraj? After just one taste, he’s playing for keeps.
Content warnings: View Spoiler »violence, social anxiety, panic attack « Hide Spoiler
The second in the Stay a Spell series, this book features Isadora, another one of the Savoie sisters. Like the rest of her sisters, she’s a witch, and she’s specifically a Conduit, which means she can heal people using her magic. Isadora is very much a homebody, content in her greenhouse and with her family and close circle of friends, partly because of her social anxiety. Her life revolves around gardening and selling potions at the family shop, and frankly, the only thing she thinks is missing is a dog. And then a hot vampire hits her bicycle with his car.
“Let me get this straight.” A shocked laugh belted up my throat. “You speed down an unfamiliar road, hit someone with your Porsche, send her flying into the air, injure her ankle, break her expensive, imported plant, and then decide to flirt with her?”
Devraj is an extremely powerful vampire – a Stygorn – who also happens to be an extremely attractive and rich retired Bollywood actor. He’s there at the request of the head New Orleans vampire, his friend Ruben, to help track down several human women who’ve gone missing from various bars around the city. He’s a jetsetter, fixing issues in one country before setting off for another, partying with actors, basically living a dream lifestyle. But it’s begun to pale lately and what he’s come to the realization that want he really wants is to finally settle down somewhere.
“I’d stopped dating a few years ago, immersing myself in happier pursuits. Like gardening. Men just didn’t compare to the joy of hyacinth in bloom, sorry to say. Not in my experience anyway.”
Devraj is attracted to Isadora initially because of how authentic she is, but it’s also that quality of hers that makes her think they can’t work out together. Sure, Dev’s actually a sweet and humble person, but his movie star lifestyle sounds like a nightmare to introverted Isadora. She describes herself at one point as Mr. Darcy, and there’s definitely some P&P similarities here in how she initially treats Dev. Plus Isadora know that as soon as the case is wrapped up, Dev will leave, so what’s the point of risking getting attached to someone who can’t – or won’t – stay?
Despite the mystery around the missing girls, this is a lighthearted book. Yes, it’s a bit over the top – he’s a retired actor AND a really powerful vampire AND rich AND a mama’s boy – with a side of insta-lust, but it’s ridiculously fun. There’s dates with delicious food, lots of Savoie sister banter, and the inevitable “well, we’ll just sleep together once to get it out of our systems” rationalization. Mmmhmm, we know how that works. Isadora and Devraj are just so cute together – not too mention their great chemistry – and basically everybody besides Isadora realizes that quickly. Luckily, it’s a lot of fun watching her figure that out!
Isadora has both social anxiety and anxiety related to being in a car. While everyone seems to accept that she’s the quiet Savoie sister just fine, I was a little off-put by how some of the other characters treated the car-related issues – her sister brushing off her worries and saying that the person was a good driver, Devraj deciding to teach her how to drive without asking if that’s something she even wants.
Overall, this was a sweet and funny paranormal romance, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for the next Savoie sister’s book!