Hexbreaker is the first book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series of m/m paranormal historical romance novels. I’ve been a fan of Hawk’s Widdershins books, but after hearing about the Hexworld books in a Facebook group, I knew that I had to read them as well.
Hexbreaker takes place in the 1890s in an alternate version of New York City. Magic plays an important role in everyday life. Hexes are spells that can help or harm people. Witches are aided by familiars- assistants who have the ability to shift into an animal form. A witch needs to bond with a familiar in order to achieve their full potential, but bonding is a serious undertaking that can’t easily be undone.
Tom Halloran is a police officer with several big secrets. He has built a new life for himself, but his newest case is reminiscent of the terrible crime similar to the one that sent him into hiding, and he’s one of the only ones who can stop it from happening again.
Cicero is a cat familiar whose friend has been kidnapped. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to find his friend, including working with Tom, who has revealed that he is a hexbreaker. It’s unclear why somebody with a rare and powerful talent like that would be working as a nonmagical police officer, but they need to work quickly because Cicero’s friend is in grave danger.
They’re assigned to work at a gentlemen’s nightclub- Tom as a bartender, and Cicero as a dancer. As they begin to spend more time together, they realize that it’s becoming harder for them to ignore the mutual attraction that’s been slowly brewing. Even though they’re complete opposites, they connect quickly on a physical level, but if they don’t figure out who is creating the dangerous hexes, unspeakable horror will be released!
Hexbreaker does a wonderful job of worldbuilding, setting the scene for the rest of the series. The magic adds an interesting dynamic, but at its core, this is a sweet story of opposites attracting. Tom might have his secrets, but he’s a simple man, who hasn’t given much thought to love, or for that matter, any sort of physical attraction. He’s never meet anyone like Cicero, and he certainly doesn’t know what to think when he sees Cicero performing a “hoochie coochie” dance. Tom has never had a lover before, but Cicero is so kind and patient with him, and their chemistry is scorching. But of course, there’s no time for love when there’s danger afoot!
I would absolutely recommend Hexbreaker. There are so many things that make this an engaging book. The historical setting is almost familiar, but it’s rendered wholly unique by the inclusion of magic. A protagonist with a secret is always interesting, and the mystery added an element of tension. Tom is a sweetheart, but Cicero stole the show with his sassy attitude and complete lack of candor. If you haven’t discovered Jordan L Hawk, then you’re in for a treat because I haven’t found a Hawk book that I didn’t like. In fact, I like their books so much that I’ve been slowly rationing them so that I don’t run out!