Chick with a Charm
I wanted to like Chick with a Charm so much more. I’ve liked Thompson in the past, and I do occasionally enjoy the witchy end of the paranormal – as long as it’s not too silly. This was only a little silly. But I couldn’t get past my conviction that the heroine was unethical, and I couldn’t convince myself that the hero and heroine shared enough common ground to support a relationship or a marriage.
Lily Revere is a talented witch who earns her living as a bartender. One particular happy hour customer has caught her eye: Griffin Taylor. Griffin comes in nearly every night with his lawyer buddies/colleagues, and it’s obvious from his appreciative glances that he thinks Lily is attractive. But not only won’t he make a move; when Lily asks him out for coffee, he turns her down. Lily decides to take some drastic measures to get his attention, and brews an adoration potion that transfers feelings from her adoring golden retriever, Daisy, onto Griffin (via a spiked Harvey Wallbanger). The potion is almost instantly successful; Griffin runs several miles from his apartment back to the bar that night, determined to get Lily into bed.
Lily’s sister Anica (heroine of the previous book, Blonde with a Wand, is against the spell from the start. She experienced some difficult magical side effects with her own relationship, and she’s eager for Lily to avoid a similar mistake. Lily’s hormones are too strong to ignore, so when Griffin seduces her she gives in – even though she promised Anica that she would limit their encounter to coffee. The potency of the spell increases with every sexual encounter, so Griffin is soon addicted to Lily’s company. He doesn’t want to go home, he forgets important commitments at work, and in general behaves like a love slave should. His friends have his back, though. They notice something’s up and do a little research. Griffin begins to take steps to counteract the spell, but neither of them really want it to be over. Griffin’s crazy in love, but he likes being crazy in love. If he gets rid of the spell, he might ruin his sex life. Lily is not exactly brimming with self-esteem. Although she is wracked with guilt for taking away Griffin’s free will, she doesn’t want to lose him either. She’s not sure a witchy bartender can hold a high class lawyer’s attention.
This book has some things going for it. Thompson writes some hot sex scenes, and manages to do it without overblown language. Lily and Griffin share a white hot interlude in the bar’s stockroom that manages to be both sexy and funny. I also liked Griffin’s friends – and liked that he had some. If you like guy-speak, you definitely get that here.
But I just couldn’t get past the unethical nature of Lily’s spell. I had thought it would be something that perhaps enhanced his feelings enough that he had sex with her once – and then the relationship could develop (or not) from there. When he started missing work obligations, I became so nervous for him that I really couldn’t enjoy the book any more. And when he started proposing Vegas weddings and unprotected sex, all because he was under the influence – well, that just doesn’t spell romance to me. Coercion, more like.
When Griffin eventually does break the spell, I still wasn’t satisfied that their relationship had any chance of success. He’s supposed to provide the structure and the common sense in the relationship, and she’s supposed to provide the spontaneity and fun. But I wasn’t convinced they had anything in common beyond sexual compatibility and a fondness for golden retrievers. I just don’t see that as a basis for a marriage. Go ahead and call me a cynic (or call me someone who’s been married for over twenty years).
Ironically, while I was reading Chick with a Charm my daughter was reading Blonde with a Wand – which she loved, and thought was completely hilarious. So on the strength of her recommendation, you might want to check that one out. I’d give this one a pass, unless you’re sure you can stomach the heroine’s choices.