I loved this one almost as much as I loved the last novella, and I’m just so happy that Alyssa Cole WROTE these novellas so some of our favorite side characters could get their happy endings too. This time it’s Regina Hobbs, Portia’s twin sister, who gets to find her happy ending. I also loved that this story was happening in a parallel time frame as Portia’s story in Duke by Default.
In Can’t Escape Love, Reggie is being plagued by the one thing she can’t seem to fight on her own – insomnia. And she used to have this online friend whose voice comforted her to sleep. Except he took down all the recordings she used to listen to, so she doesn’t have access to his voice anymore. So after many sleepless nights, she does something absolutely desperate – she emails him. She asks if she can pay him for more recordings of his voice.
What she wasn’t counting on was that he missed her online company too… and was willing to turn it into an in-person thing. Gustave Nguyen is trying to plan an escape room for a nerdy con that’s coming up, but he doesn’t understand the show that it’s based on. After getting a weird email from his former online acquaintance, he realizes that not only is it her favorite show, but they live in the same city. So they start meeting in person so she can help him understand the essence of the show and he can complete his escape room… and so they can get to know each other a little better too.
3 Things I Loved
- Reggie. She’s been a badass since she was introduced in A Princess in Theory, and I absolutely loved seeing her own love story play out. It was also really interesting to see the other side of the Portia and Reggie dynamic after spending a novel in Portia’s head.
- Gus. What a delight! He’s not the typical hero in that he’s not super charming or experienced or grumpy. He’s just a nerdy dude who likes puzzles and Reggie, and I loved that.
- Reggie’s independence streak. How real was this? Not only did Cole seem to nail Reggie’s disability, but she also made it super clear that Reggie can fend for herself. She doesn’t NEED a man. She just happens to want this one. I loved that.
I thought all the dynamics of this story were handled pretty well, even though I’m far from an expert on disability rep in romance. Since I am no expert, I did some due diligence and looked through reviews on Goodreads, and it looks like the disability rep was as good as it felt to me! Cole nails it. Reggie is a well-rounded, smart, independent character without being a fetish for anyone in the book, and her disability was discussed on the page. Plus, the racial/ethnic diversity was fun to see – why is it that every other time I’ve read a biracial romance it’s between a black person and a white person? There are other races and ethnicities! And I’m happy to see that represented here.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
While I loved everything about this, parts of the actual romance fell a little flat. It was cute, but it wasn’t steamy like the other installments in the series. So I’m going to give Can’t Escape Love a GREEN rating. I just want a little more chemistry, is all!