The Reluctant Royals series is one of my favorite ever! I hadn’t read the novellas until this year because I decided to buy them as a treat to myself. Cole brings the descriptive characters and swoons in novella form. While they are technically 2.5 you can read them at the end like me. Keep reading this book review to find my two mini reviews!
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy
While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.
When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.
For everyone who wants a second chance at love, look no further. I think I read this novella in basically one night because I was so obsessed. A sapphic relationship set in NYC!? Past lovers meeting again and the lingering glances and unspoken silences? This dual POV novella allows you to not only witness where it all broke down, but how bridges can be mended. The situations and fears that stop love from taking off. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is about being vulnerable and taking chances. This was quick, full of swoons, and a perfect way to end the day.
Can’t Escape Love
Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She’s finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.
Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?
Can’t Escape Love has to be my favorite of the two. Featuring an interracial relationship, neurodivergent characters, and a disabled MC I was hooked. But what made Can’t Escape Love so precious were the characters. The way Regina realizes she has to succeed or others won’t have the chance. How she’s trying to succeed and feels like she has to keep hustling. The difficulties and complexities in her family which we read about in A Duke by Default from Portia’s POV.
At the same time Gus was such a softie. Being introduced into the world of fandom was so precious to witness. I adored all the fandom references. While I didn’t get to know as much about Gus as I would have loved, I enjoyed watching their chemistry unfold. Especially their past! Can’t Escape Love is about being afraid to let people in, to be vulnerable, to need to accept help, and to realize what it means to be partners.