#BookReview: Can't Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

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?

Reggie is battling with a case of insomnia which is messing with her work. She can't have that so she decides to take care of it, and the only fail-safe cure is the soothing voice of a man she met online. I wondered why she didn't just take a pill, since nothing was said in the story about allergies or anything, but hey it's fiction. Anyway, Reggie's sister is able to track down the voice, whose name turns out to be Gustave (Gus). As it turns out, Gus has also not been able to forget about Reggie. Their interaction is quite sweet and had me smiling quite a bit as I read.

Reggie is a very strong female, who despite (or maybe because of) being wheelchair bound, is determined not to give off any weakness vibes. There were a few times I had to role my eyes, but I guess she had a reason for being constantly on her guard. 

Gustave has autism, which makes him quite observant and very intuitive. He is quick to note Reggie's need to not ask for help etc. Together, they make a cute couple. 

Being that this is a novella, not much happens beyond them meeting and getting together. Gus happens to be working on a project for which he needs Reggie's knowledge. Given how pivotal that was to their romance, I expected a bit more closure there. 

To be honest some of my favourite parts were where scenes in this story overlaps with scenes from A Duke By Default (Reggie's sister, Portia's story). In fact, at one point, I went back to A Duke By Default to re-read that scene. This story also gave Reggie's side of the relationship with her sister. (PS. you do not have to have read A Duke By Default to enjoy Can' Escape Love).

This is a great story for readers looking for some diversity. Not only does it feature people of color, but also brings in various conditions and disabilities which remind us that everyone can and deserves to find love. Precisely, because of this, I hope Ms Cole considers doing something like this for a full-length novel where she can fully explore the characters and plot.

This is a quick read, a sweet romance that you can enjoy on the go. Just go in with the mindset that this is a short story!


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