Posted by Savanna, Assistant Editor on January 08, 2019
Every month, we review the hottest new romance releases in our Romance column. But why let the print books have all the fun? In Digital Dalliances, we highlight digital-only releases guaranteed to heat up your eReader.
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
Avon Impule • $1.99 • ISBN 9780062931863
Publication date: January 8, 2019
Alyssa Cole’s prose is so good, so pithily precise, it almost makes you angry while you’re reading it. Her ability to sketch out a character within a few pages is astonishing, and it is on full display in her new novella Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.
Dapper, supremely competent personal assistant Likotsi frequently stole the spotlight from the main pair of Cole’s 2018 novel, A Princess in Theory. Once Ghosted fleshes out Likotsi’s backstory, in which she fell head over heels for and was dumped by the glamorous Fabiola, and intertwines it with Likotsi’s return to NYC and reunion with a more subdued, but no less alluring Fab.
That’s right. Within 160 pages or so, Cole dances between two seasons and two encounters, all while constructing two equally moving character arcs. That would be a tricky structure for a novel, and Cole executes it within a novella, like an Olympic gymnast sprinting towards the vault. The two halves are perfectly balanced: The first euphoric scenes are set during New York’s balmy spring, suffused with the swooping adrenaline of first love; and the second half follows Likotsi and Fab’s second chance at love as they wade through the slushy grossness that is winter in the city.
My love for Likotsi was very strong while reading A Princess in Theory, and it grew to nearly uncontrollable proportions while reading Once Ghosted. She is a dapper delight—completely straightforward about her feelings and a total catch. I am now so enamored with her that I found myself fantasizing about a spinoff series in which she and Fab are adorable together while addressing state crises. Or maybe solving mysteries while taking the reader on a culinary tour of NYC? I’m not picky.
If an almost three-hour adaptation of a very depressing Murakami short story exists, then I can surely have a film based on such a delicious novella. In a perfect world, a Before Sunrise-style adaptation would already have been greenlighted. I suppose I’ll just have to read this five more times instead.
This was probably a terrible idea, but then again, Likotsi didn’t believe in coincidences. She’d made a vow to let Fab go, and then Fab had appeared, as if the goddess herself had conjured her.
The very practical side of her saw this for what it could be, without the chest fluttering—a reconnaissance mission. She’d spent months creating a shrine to Fabiola in her mind and her heart, extolling all the woman’s perfections and lamenting the loss of them. She’d taken a negligible number of interactions and turned them into some divine experience that she would never be able to re-create with another.
She would follow Fab’s lead. She would remember that Fab was a woman like any other, and that what they had shared was nice enough, but certainly not worth any further lamentation. Who knew? Perhaps she would find Fab to be utterly dull—as dull as the commonplace winter hat she was currently wearing. Everyone of the platform was moving except Fab, a dollop of frozen relief. She seemed shocked that Likotsi had actually joined her. Then the right corner of her mouth kicked up.
“Took you long enough,” she said, finally.
Somewhere, the polite part of Likotsi’s mind chided her for blocking the flow of pedestrian traffic, but she didn’t start walking. She slowly adjusted the lapels of her coat and then the hem of each cuff.
“Well. I’m certainly worth the wait.”