Dixon Penn has always had a way with words, and he (along with everyone else) assumed he would one day take his place in the family business as a Scrivener, or spell writer. Unfortunately, Dixon failed his Spellcraft initiation exam and now he is scraping by as a delivery driver. When he sees a contest hosted by a local greeting card company offering $1000 for writing a catchy Valentine’s Day card, Dixon can’t resist entering, as he can really use the money.
Dixon is thrilled to be called into Precious Greetings for a follow up meeting and things seem to be looking promising, but despite a tentative job offer, Dixon never hears back from them. He is persistent, however, despite the CEO’s big bodyguard, Yuri, warning Dixon it’s in his best interest to stay away. But the job would be perfect and the money much needed, and Dixon can’t quite bring himself to stop emailing and stopping by the office, despite Yuri’s warning. It doesn’t take long, however, for Dixon to realize that there is much more going on at Precious Greetings than some simple card making and now he may have landed himself in quite a bit of trouble. But with Yuri’s help, as well as some quick thinking on Dixon’s part, they may just make it out safely after all.
Quill Me Now is part of the four-book Bad Valentine collection, a set of standalone stories by different authors that are all built around the same opening line (for more details on the collection, check out this post). What really sold this story for me is the creative world building. I loved the idea of magic as a two-part process between the Scrivener who writes the words and the Seer who draws the accompanying image. In this world, magic is a wily thing and the magical message must be carefully worded to avoid unintended consequences (such as the restaurant where the Spellcraft made it so inviting, they can’t get their customers to ever leave). There is just a great sense of cleverness here and I love how the story plays with words, as well as how Dixon uses them so perfectly to get himself out of tricky situations. For a shorter story, I think the world is well developed and it presents a really unique take on magic. The lead up here takes a little long to set the stage, but overall it’s a really fun story with a bit of mystery and suspense along the way.
From a character and relationship end, things are not quite as well developed. We get to know Dixon fairly well, as he is our primary POV character. Yuri does get a bit from his POV, but we really get to know next to nothing about him. The men don’t really build a relationship as much as have a few exchanges when Dixon is at Precious Greetings. There is one intimate scene (though the action is very non-explicit), but these guys don’t really spend much time together or interact enough to really build anything. Mostly it comes across as some attraction between them, combined with the fact that they are both nice guys and determined to help one another. I don’t think the story tried to portray some mad, passionate love between them, which is good, because that would be hard to believe. But there is enough here to see affection and attraction and to give them a nice HFN with a hope for more. As the end of the book indicates more stories to come for these guys, we leave them in a good place.
So this is a fun, clever story that has an unique take on the magical world. I particularly enjoyed the word play aspect of it and found a nice sense of humor and fun to it all. I am glad to hear there is more to come for Dixon and Yuri and I am looking forward to reading.