Author: Alyssa Cole
American release date: March 19, 2019
Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Contemporary Romance/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Regina Hobbs—Reggie to her family and friends—refuses to think of herself as disabled. She can do just about anything from her wheelchair that other people can, and some things a lot better. She runs her own nerd culture website, GirlsWithGlasses.com, after working for years as an analyst for her parents’ real estate investment fund, which she hated. Now she’s in her full glory, doing what she wants to do. So why is it hard to find someone to share her life with? She’s so stressed currently that she isn’t sleeping well at all. She needs help in the worst possible way. Remembering the voice from a podcast she’d once listened to on a regular basis, a man whose very fine voice had helped her sleep back then, she reaches out to him in desperation. The podcast is no more, and she isn’t at all sure he’ll acquiesce to her request—assuming he doesn’t dismiss it as utterly creepy. But Reggie doesn’t know what else to do.
When he responds and wants to actually talk on the phone because he has questions about what she wants, she has to wonder what she is getting herself into.
Gustave Nguyen—Gus to those who know him—is autistic and he loves puzzles, which is why he used to have his own podcast about them. But that’s over now, has been for a few years. Now he’s working on designing escape rooms. The email he’d received from 26InchRims—the only person who’d listened to his podcasts and even interacted with him—was surprising, to say the least. But he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about her a lot, especially after his last breakup. Dating isn’t exactly his forte, and he hasn’t had a relationship that lasted. And now the only person who’d ever listened to him had almost literally shown up on his doorstep.
His current project is an escape room that is turning out to be the most anticipated feature of the upcoming Anime Con, one that’s based on the popular anime Reject Squad Ultra. Gus had jumped at the opportunity without having seen a single episode of the show. And now that he’s started watching it, he doesn’t get it. What’s so romantic about this? How’s he going to make the escape room fun and believable for the fans if he can’t see what they do?
And what’s he going to do about the unusual request from 26InchRims—what’s her real name? Oh yeah, Reggie. When he tells her he has questions and wants to talk on the phone, is he being honest, or does he just want to hear her voice? Supposing she agrees to his request, where do they go from there?
I have to say I’ve enjoyed every single one of the books in the Reluctant Royals series, and this novella is no exception. Although it’s short, it packs a lot of story and heart into its pages. I like that the main characters are people you don’t normally find in romance novels. Reggie is in a wheelchair and Gus is autistic. Too many romances feature perfect people with perfect bodies who find each other and fall in love. It’s nice to see something different, more like real life.
Both Reggie and Gus are inspirational, and people I would like to hang out with. I loved watching them fall in love, once they got past themselves in order to do it.
I think the series is done now, although this novella actually comes before the last book, A Prince on Paper. I’ll miss these characters. Guess I’ll just have to re-read the series some day! If you enjoy romance and finding someone who is perfect for you, if you like people who are different and march to the beat of their own drummer, and yet have the same problems and family issues we all do, then give this novella a try. Read the whole series! You’ll be glad you did!