Reviewing: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole

Content warnings: Immigration issues, imprisonment. 

My rating: 5 books out of 5

Highlights: 

  • Likotsi is a dapper butch queen and I love her
  • Right person, wrong time hurts SO GOOD
  • Alyssa Cole is just so good at making political points within these wonderful romantic storylines, she’s just so good guys. 
  • “When she’d seen Likotsi’s photo—a woman in a dapper suit with a bearing that made her think of royalty and a mouth that made her think of worship—a flash of desire had zipped through her body” – I MEAN COME ON HOW GREAT IS THE WRITING OF THAT ONE SENTENCE

“She’d thought that Fab had smashed their connection like a smartphone beneath a car tire, but all their data had been saved on a cloud drive somewhere, it seemed, and was happily downloading and ready to resume where they’d left off.”

Alyssa Cole has done it again, and with another f/f novella no less. Vintage Sapphistication readers, or people who are fond of reading my backlog, will know that A Princess in Theory was kind of my gateway drug into romance fiction, and boy have we come a long way since then. My kindle is full of romance novels, and many of them are written by Alyssa Cole. Read as part of last year’s Heaving Bosoms Reading Embrace, I was super excited to get back into the world of the Reluctant Royals with Likotsi’s very own novella. 

As she assisted the quite literally royal pain in her ass in wooing his intended throughout A Princess in Theory, Likotsi began and ended her own love affair – one that ended far less happily, and has remained with her ever since. Fabiola captured her attention and her heart in a short period of time, and then disappeared from her life without a trace with no explanation. Back in New York on business, Likotsi seeks to rid herself of the lingering regrets and move forward with her life – when she sees Fab again. Logically she should bring things to a close and leave, never to see Fabiola again. But this is one of the very few things in life that render Likotsi completely illogical, and so she consents to one day together. One last hurrah. Perhaps she will get answers, closure. More likely she will get herself into trouble falling head over heels again for the woman who ghosted her once before. 

Fabiola, of course, has her own version of events and her own reasons for stepping back when all she wanted to do was run to Likotsi. Her life is not one of palaces, but one of fighting to hold on to those she loves. One phone call on one day set her life on a path totally different to the one she wanted and when she sees Likotsi again, Fab can’t help but grasp onto the chance of one more day of happiness together. And it’s just so cute.

Alyssa Cole is just such a fantastic writer, her books are vivid and powerful and her characters are so well put together that you’re never left wanting. Fabiola’s reasons are revealed slowly in this non-linear narrative, and the whole concept of finding the right person at just the wrong time tore me apart and then the reunion put me back together and I just fell head over heels for this series all over again. I will be reviewing the entire thing, just so you know. 

I wasn’t left feeling like I needed a novel to complete the story as I often am just a teensy bit with novellas, this second-chance narrative was pulled off so wonderfully and completely in this short story – Cole knows how to pack a punch into her short stories as much as she does the novels, trust me – and it blended seamlessly into the larger narrative. Of course I would love to see a full f/f novel, but in terms of fulfilling their story in terms of the bigger picture this novella was just perfect. Honestly, it was an easy 5/5 rating for me! 

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