This Spells Love

A Novel



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December 5, 2023 | ISBN 9780593790267

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About the Book

GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • “A romcom-meets-magic delight!”—Sarah Adams, New York Times bestselling author of Practice Makes Perfect

A young woman tries to heal her heartbreak by casting a spell to erase her ex from her past, but she wakes up in an alternate reality where she’s lost more than she wished for in this witty, whimsical friends-to-lovers debut.

What if one little wish changed everything?

When Gemma gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, she reacts the way any reasonable twenty-eight-year-old would: by getting drunk with her sister, kooky aunt, and best friend, Dax. After one too many margaritas, they decide to perform a love- cleansing spell, which promises to erase Gemma’s ex from her memory. They follow all the instructions, including a platonic kiss from Dax to seal the deal.

When Gemma wakes up, she realizes that this silly spell has worked. Not only does it seem that she never dated her ex, but the rest of her life is completely unrecognizable. The worst part: Dax has no idea who she is.

To reverse the spell and get back to her old life, Gemma must convince her once-best-friend-now-near-stranger to kiss her. But as she carries out her plans, she finds herself falling for him—hard. Soon, Gemma begins to wonder whether she even wants to go back to the way things once were. What if Dax was The One all along?
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Praise for This Spells Love

This Spells Love is a romcom-meets-magic delight, and absolutely perfect for the friends-to-lovers enthusiasts who are looking for something unique! Dax is my new book boyfriend, and no one else can have him.”—Sarah Adams, New York Times bestselling author of Practice Makes Perfect

This Spells Love is a delightful debut! Kate Robb’s writing is as smooth as an oat milk latte and sweet as a donut, giving us characters to love and to root for, no matter which timeline they’re in. While Gemma gets to explore life if she had made different choices, love in all its forms—family, sisterly, romantic—remains a constant. We should all be so lucky if we get the chance for a do-over!”—Jen DeLuca, national bestselling author of Well Met

“Kate Robb’s enchanting debut, This Spells Love, hits all the right beats for a can’t-put-it-down romcom: sparkling humor, satisfying heat, and characters you’ll fall in love with. This book was a joy to read!”—Karma Brown, #1 internationally bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

This Spells Love is the smart, funny, spicy, heartfelt romcom I’ve been waiting for. Kate Robb’s writing is a delight, her pacing is perfect, and she has created an unforgettable romance that gave me all the feels. This novel is a feat. Emily Henry and Mhairi McFarlane fans take note: You will be utterly charmed by this marvelous debut!”—Marissa Stapley, New York Times bestselling author of Lucky

“I am absolutely in love with this book. An addicting page-turner, I could not put it down until I knew how Gemma’s journey ended—I feel like my heart was in my throat the entire time. A brilliant, moving, masterfully-plotted friends-to-lovers romance (Dax is EVERYTHING) with a splash of magic, Robb’s debut is definitely going in my All-Time-Favorites pile.”—Sarah Hogle, author of Just Like Magic

“Utterly enchanting and deeply romantic, This Spells Love gripped me from the very first page. Kate Robb is a romance voice to watch.”—B.K. Borison, author of Lovelight Farms

“Offering a satisfying slow burn that transforms into delightful heat, the dazzling chemistry in this life-altering romcom shows how love that transcends dimensions is worth the risk. This debut is an essential purchase for romance shelves.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Robb’s enchanting debut offers an endearing heroine a second chance at picking a path in life. . . . The spell gives Gemma the chance to reevaluate her life and the effect she has on others, and she learns that bad decisions and past failures often prepare one for something better. It’s a valuable lesson, enhanced by indomitable Gemma and swoonworthy Dax’s undeniable connection.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A sparkling, winsome debut.”Booklist

“A quick-witted friends-to-lovers exploration with just the right touch of magic.”Kirkus Reviews
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This Spells Love

Chapter 1

“So, are we solving the day’s problems with sugar or alcohol?”

It’s a great question. The same one I’ve been debating for the last eighteen minutes, standing on the exact spot on the sidewalk that is equidistant from the front door of Nana’s Old-­Fashioned Doughnuts and the liquor store.

“You look better today.” My older sister, Kiersten, tucks a strand of strawberry-­blond hair behind my ear. I’d argue that the hair wasn’t out of place, seeing as the best I could do this morning was an intentionally messy bun, but Kierst is used to acting like a mama hen, given our ten-­year age difference.

“I feel good,” I lie. She knows it, I know it. But to be fair, today, I’m showered, dressed, and wearing clean underwear, a significant improvement from the last three stinky, wallowy, underwear-­optional weeks.

“I think Nana’s is probably the right life choice.” I step toward the clear glass door of the doughnut shop. Kiersten follows behind me. As the door swings open, we are blasted with the sweet scent of sugar and yeast and happiness. Yes. This is the exact type of comfort I need.

We take our place in line behind a handful of other hungry Hamiltonians who have excellent taste in morning pastries and eye the double-­wide glass case hosting dozens of artisanal doughnuts handcrafted with Nana’s love.

“What are you getting?” Kiersten nudges me with her elbow as her eyes lock onto a row of Coconut Dreams. Her question is more of a formality. A Wilde sister ritual. To say we come here often is an understatement. A gross understatement.

“Half a dozen Classic Fritters,” I tell both Kierst and the little old lady working the cash register, who is not the real Nana. It’s my order. The one I give every Saturday morning when we meet for our weekly walk-­and-­talks, or on a random July Monday when my life has fallen apart.

Beside me, my sister sighs.

“You could branch out, you know.” She points to a pink-­frosted doughnut. “That one says Wine and Sunshine. Try it with me? I’m conducting serious doughnut research.”

She looks over at me with a hopeful raise of her brows. Still, I shake my head and take my doughnut box from the cashier, who gives me a polite smile before reaching for another box and filling it with Kiersten’s signature order of Surprise me.

The cashier hands the box to Kiersten, who doesn’t even bother to wait until we’ve paid to bite into a dark-­pink one and moan. “Oh sweet baby J, this thing is better than an orgasm. You have to try a bite.” She holds the cream-­filled confection up to my mouth.

“I’m good.” I hold up my doughnut box. “Team fritter, remember?”

She takes another big bite and, after yet another head-­turning moan, rolls her eyes overdramatically. “I would never knock Nana’s fritters. But aren’t you ever worried you’re missing out on something incredible?”

I’m not.

Or at least not worried enough to order anything but my tried and true.

“Fritters are delicious,” I tell her. “They’ve never left me disappointed.”

My intention was not to use my doughnut-­purchasing habits as a metaphor for my life. But at the word disappointed, something clicks in my brain, and the tears that I have managed to keep inside since the thirty designated minutes of cry-­time I allow myself every morning make an unscripted appearance, rolling down my cheeks like midsummer raindrops.

“Stuart was supposed to be my apple fritter.” My heart squeezes at the mention of my ex. Why did I go and do that? Say out loud, he who shall not be named? It’s the catalyst that turns my cute summer tears into an ugly thunderstorm. And it takes all of my self-­restraint to stand there, avoiding the pitying looks of the cashier while Kierst pulls out her Visa card and pays. The moment the receipt is in her hand, I bolt back out to the sidewalk, where a real-­estate-­flyer box gives me enough support to close my eyes, turn my head to the sun, and try to forget the clusterf*** that is my love life.

“You okay, Gems?” My sister’s hand finds the small of my back. This time, I don’t mind so much the motherly circles of her palm over my denim jacket.

“He was supposed to be my future,” I say between sobs. “We were gonna get a dog. Maybe a house. Or at least a really great condo with a walk-­in closet. And now . . .”

Now he’s my ex. An ex that didn’t even have the common courtesy to give me the it’s not you, it’s me speech. In fact, he cited me and my dying enthusiasm for our relationship as the number one reason for ending the four years we invested in each other, surprising me in a way I didn’t think he was capable of.

“I know this part really sucks.” Kiersten wraps her arm around my shoulders and pulls my head to her boobs. “And aside from pumping you full of sugar, there’s absolutely nothing I can say or do to make you feel better. But when your heart has had the chance to heal a little bit, I think you’re going to see that Stuart was . . .” She hesitates for a moment. “Well, he kind of had the personality of a cardboard box, and you’re way better off without him.”

I’m about to defend my newly ex. Or maybe myself for staying with him for so long. But my phone vibrates in my pocket. And when I check the screen, the little dark cloud that’s been following me around for the past three weeks is cut by a bright ray of sunshine.

Dax: Cool if we push back our hangout by an hour tonight? Got someone coming by. Kind of a big deal.

My heart gives a weird twitch.

Me: Date with the vet?

There’s a long string of seconds before my phone pings back.

Dax: Nope canceled that so we could hang. Big client. At least I think it is. It’s all very vague. I’ve been talking to his people all week.

Me: Your client has people? Look at you go!

Dax: Yeah. Maybe after we wallow for a bit tonight we can celebrate

Me: You get enough wine into me, I’m up for almost anything

I watch as three dots appear in our conversation bubble, disappear, then reappear and disappear again. When he does finally message back, all I get is a party hat.

My sister leans in, resting her chin on the little dip of my shoulder.

“If you’re texting Stuart, so help me god, I’m taking back the pity fritters.”

I hold up my phone as evidence. “Not Stuart. Just Dax. We’re hanging out after work.”

At the mention of Dax’s name, Kiersten’s eyebrows hitch up a good inch. “I thought you told me Daxon had a date tonight. With the vet?”

“She’s a veterinarian’s assistant,” I counter. “And Stuart picked his stuff up today. Dax offered to cancel and hang out because he thought I might be upset.”

Kiersten responds with an mmmm-­hmmm, and I prepare for some sort of follow-­up comment. Instead, she turns away, and we walk in silence in the direction of my condo. By the third block, I assume the subject has been dropped. Then she stops and fishes out a second doughnut from her box, but before she takes a bite, she pauses. “It was the third date if I recall. That’s the sex date. He canceled his sex date for you.”

“It’s not that big of a deal.”

Kierst bites into her doughnut, watching me.

“Stop giving me that look.”

She holds up her hands. “This is how I look at everyone. If you are interpreting anything other than sisterly concern, that’s on you.”

My phone vibrates. It’s Dax again. I ignore Kierst and text him back, letting him know he can come over whenever he finishes. The entire time, I can feel her eyes on me.

“You know what I think you should do tonight?” she asks.

My text whooshes out into cyberspace. “I have a very good idea who you think I should do.”

Kiersten shrugs innocently. “He canceled his date for you. Plus, he’s a total babe. I’d be all over that if I wasn’t married.”


“Seriously, the man wears jeans that leave nothing about that ass to the imagination.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“It means instead of waking up tomorrow morning to your three alarm clocks, you could be waking up with whisker-­burned thighs.”

I don’t know how to respond. So I stand, mouth still open in shock, as she licks a smudge of abandoned pink frosting from the corner of her lip and starts walking. Her extra three inches in height require me to run-­walk to catch up.

“He’s my best friend,” I tell her, waving my hand in front of my currently non-­whisker-­burned region. “Doing that is not a friend activity.”

About the Author

Kate Robb
Kate Robb is the author of This Spells Love. She dated a lot of duds in her twenties (amongst a few gems) all providing excellent fodder to write weird and wild romantic comedies. She lives just outside of Toronto, Canada, where she spends her free time pretending she’s not a hockey mom while whispering “hustle” under her breath from the bleachers, a Pinot Grigio concealed in her YETI mug. She hates owls, the word “whilst”, and wearing shorts and aspires to one day be able to wear four-inch heels again. More by Kate Robb
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