cover image The Kiss Curse

The Kiss Curse

Erin Sterling. Avon, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-302751-0

Bestseller Sterling returns to small-town Graves Glen, Ga., for this amusing but oddly paced sequel to The Ex Hex. While witch Gwyn Jones’s mother and cousin are away, Gwyn is left alone to manage the family magic store, mentor some younger witches, and somehow ignore how lonely she feels. Following the events of the previous volume, Gwyn’s family’s magic newly powers the town, making her suspicious when Wells Penhallow, the eldest son of their rival coven, returns to Graves Glen. As Wells works to build a life outside of his father’s shadow, he sets up a witchy store of his own across the street from Gwyn’s. The ensuing business rivalry turns abruptly steamy when the pair share a kiss under the influence of a love spell, sparking an unshakable attraction. But they’ve got bigger problems: there’s a strange new coven of witches in town, and Gwyn and Wells must work together to untangle their motives. The story moves at a slow crawl up until the unsatisfyingly quick climax, and the plot progression is often sidelined by flirtatious banter. Still, readers who fell in love with Gwyn in the first installment will be pleased to see her again. It’s not perfect, but it delivers the spooky atmosphere and sexy chemistry series fans expect. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Sept.)