Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk


Source: Purchased

Will a dark history doom their future together?

New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

“Rule by cats, that’s what we really need. My first decree would be for more naps.”

This book pushed all my romance reading buttons. Great character, great world-building, genuine issues that pop up that aren't easily resolved, fated-to-be-mated but with choice and reluctance at first, steamy build-up and even steamier result, some humor tossed in, a little darkness tossed in, paranormal, check.

Cicero is fun and hilarious. A controversial and daring dresser who only likes hanging out with art types. He's flamboyant and contrary. Add in that he's a cat and it enters pure adorable territory. The scene of carrying on the neck - sigh. Tom is stiff and uncertain but I love his vulnerability, outlook and dedication. The past interferes with the present but the author avoid angst with all this - thank you!

Side characters work superbly too - Rook is hilarious, especially in the office with the motions that caused Cicero to slap him. I even liked the captain. Villains are layered with some surprises thrown in, non-cheesy situations, and an epic ending that relies on brains over luck or coincidence. Lovely.

I do wish we could have seen the captain offering a certain promotion, and that Cicero would have been more understanding at first - but not everything about a book can be perfect. Some of the writing during a few sex scenes wasn't my thing either but the scenes themselves were genuine and pretty epic.

World-building wise it's a winner as well - different breeds of magic talent, familiars who are on a time limit on finding someone suitable to prove their use, different classes of system warring for fairness - plus toss in a paranormal police division who is at small odds with a regular police division.

Everything works but it's the two mains who really hook you. Their bonding is convincing, charming and ultra sweet. The sarcastic personality of Cicero kept me on the edge to see what he'd do next. Tom was a surprise for both him and the reader (in good ways). I'm definitely bespelled.

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