To Have and To Hold: A Witch Central Romance by Debora Geary
This book takes us back to the year 1997, the start of the computer age, on line multiplayer role playing games with graphics, and coding is a major pastime a new hobby. Nell and Jamie Sullivan have taken over their parents Enchanted Realm game and expanded it, giving it a whole other level for witches only with spell code. Witches have learned to encode spells in regular code and create real magic in their game.
Nell is a fire witch, twenty-seven and a math geek that loves her game, it is her baby. She is the middle child of seven, triplet brothers grown and living in Boston, triplet brothers younger than her. When she was born Retha Sullivan her mother saw what she and husband non-witch Michael call The Prophecy, Nell’s life and the fact that she would be the mother of the strongest witchling in five generations. They never told Nell about this, wanting her to make what she would out of her life, but now Retha knows that her destiny is near.
Daniel Walker is a hacker; he is a brilliant coder and has his own business because working for someone else was too slow with all the meetings and endless delays. Now he spends a few hours in the morning getting his work done and then has the rest of his day to himself. So he starts hacking Enchanter’s Realm, he makes it beyond the Tower Door, only witches are supposed to be able to that, and runs into code he doesn’t know what to do with, he doesn’t know about spells – he is not a witch. But he still manages to fight Nell’s Mage to a draw without using magic.
Nell sets Jamie to figuring out who this hacker is, she has a best friend to help get married, and a life to try to keep on keel while Sammy makes plans to move from Berkeley to Texas (and take her incredible cookies with her). Jamie finds him, and offers him a job, figuring if he can code as good as he does and break through their firewalls as easily as he did, they could use him. Daniel is drifting after college; he had been on the fast track for a pro-baseball career which had gotten sidetracked, he has nothing else to do, so he goes to the meeting.
Nell has never met a man with will not back down from her temper, and she has no idea that Daniel is not a witch until one day he is trying to find a program crash problem in the Realm and points out all the dead code – spell code to a witch – and doesn’t know what they mean when they say to use magic to finish it. Can these two pull it together with advice freely given by friends, and family? Can Nell get past the pain of losing her best friend to see what is right in front of her?
This has all the love, sense of community and fun that you associate with the A Modern Witch Series and Ms. Geary has done it again. This is another five star read, I was caught from the beginning and all the magic of the series kept me enthralled until the end. If you are reading this series, you must pick this one up.