Malachi is a thief. He’s good at it, too. But one night, as he is supposed to steal something from a house, he ends up witnessing a murder. Dr. Owen Yates is a straight-laced policeman, working for the MWP (Metropolitan Witch Police). He helps make hexes and is good at it. When Mal and Owen’s paths cross due to the murdered millionaire, they must put aside their differences and work together to figure out who killed the wealthy man. And why. As they work, their feelings for one another get in the way of the case, Owen must confront his feelings, or deny them, like he’s done so far in his adult life.
Hexmaker is an adventure, a murder-mystery, and something of a coming out story. While Owen knows he’s gay, he’s denied himself taking pleasure in it. His wealthy family wants him to marry a well-off young woman, someone who will make the family proud. Owen, who doesn’t want to marry the girl as much as she doesn’t want to marry him, feels the obligation to his family pulling him in the wrong direction.
Working with Mal, and discovering his attraction towards the fox shifter only complicates things. When the two start having sex, in which Mal is the dominant one and Owen the submissive one, the complication only gets to become an even sticker situation (no pun intended). Owen enjoys having someone take charge in the bedroom, because he doesn’t feel like he has much say in what his life should be like outside of sex with Mal. He still feels like he must marry Edith, even though he is so much happier with Mal in his bed.
As the son of a wealthy family, Owen feels the pressure to uphold the family name, especially after his brother had an “accident” with a gun, in which he shot himself on purpose. Surviving the incident, his older brother now spends his days in assisted living, but still mostly aware of what’s going on around him. When Mal and Owen visit him, his brother Peter acts oddly, panicking and gesticulating wildly at the window. When Owen reassures him that it’s only Bertie, a familiar–a person who can shift into animal form–who works for the MWP.
At Owen’s wedding to Edith, Bertie betrays the MWP, revealing that he’s in liege with the organization that believes that familiars should be free from working alongside normal, wealthy people, chaos reigns. Because tons of wealthy people have attended the wedding, Owen’s life is in sudden danger. Mal, who had something of a falling out with Owen, left his witch’s side, and didn’t bother attending the wedding. Learning that Owen is in danger, he quickly makes up his mind to save the man he loves so dearly.
Dr. Owen Yates is an interesting character, someone who can be identified with: his family doesn’t respect his job, they think that he should do his duty to their family, therefore denying himself the real joys he gets out of his work at the MWP, and therefore stay in the closet. In today’s society, where in many states in the U.S. it’s still frowned upon to be openly gay, this is something that hurt me as I read. It hurt that Owen was being forced to choose the path his parents wanted for him, which sounds just awful to me. While I do not know what it would feel like to have parents want me to marry someone else, thus keeping me in the closet–because I am straight–I do know the opposite of having parents who pull you away from your dreams.
I’m extremely lucky that my parents respect and understand my decision to pursue my English degree; my parents have supported and encouraged my love of literature and creative writing from the beginning. I take pride in my creative craft, which I’ve worked very hard to hone over the years. I went through a period where I struggled with getting anything down on the page, whether it was to write a poem, or to write prose. I worried I might not be able to write again, due to the state of my mental health at the time. Now, a few years later, I’m back at it, and feeling relief and gratitude for getting the proper medication that’s helped turn my life around.
I cannot imagine what Owen is going through in this novel, but I sympathize with his plights. I respect his decision in the end to stay with Malachi, who is a good fit for him. I understand his growing affection and his adoration for Mal, someone who fulfills the need to feel loved and respected. In the bedroom, their dynamic of the role of Owen as the submissive one helps him, I’d like to think, relieve himself of the stressors placed on him by his family and the murder case.
Hexmaker is a really good book, one that grips you from the first page to the very last, keeping you on the edge of your seat with moments of danger as well as steamy sex. If you’re interested in historical paranormal romances, then Hexworld this is the series for you.