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Reluctant Royals #2.5

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy

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Alyssa Cole returns with a fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she's determined to rediscover her joy--so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

101 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 8, 2019

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About the author

Alyssa Cole

42 books5,340 followers
Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime or wrangling her pets.

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5 stars
1,028 (20%)
4 stars
2,162 (43%)
3 stars
1,554 (31%)
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34 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,069 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
February 24, 2019

#1.) A Princess in Theory ★★★★
#2.) A Duke by Default ★★★★

“Out of all the train cars in all the world you had to walk into mine.”

Oh my word, this was glorious. Alyssa Cole just keeps proving, over and over, that she is the queen of romance, and that the Reluctant Royals series is such a bright shining light for the romance genre. And I truly and utterly fell completely in love with Likotsi and Fabiola, and this is one of my new favorite f/f stories ever written.

Likotsi is the personal assistant to Prince Thesolo, who we get to know very well in A Princess in Theory! She is also Black, a lesbian, and (in my opinion) a sexual icon. Seriously, I haven’t swooned this hard over a character in a long time. But Likotsi finally has some free time and is planning on spending some time exploring the city, but technical difficulties make her train break down. But maybe fate is at play a little bit, when her ex spots her through the train window.

Fabiola is an up and coming jewelry maker, who is social media famous, bisexual, and is also Haitian and from a family of immigrants, who are having problems with deportation. This book is such a sexy second chance romance, but it really shines a spotlight on very real things that are going on here in America and weaves these important discussions into this beautiful story seamlessly.

But Likotsi and Fabiola decide to get some lunch together, which kind of turns into them spending the day together. And the chapters begin to alternate from the present, to them meeting on a Tinder-like app, and then to why they eventually called it quits eight months ago. And I was so damn enthralled in all the timelines. And the chemistry between these two? Out of this damn world.

Also, I just wanted to also say that this is ownvoices for the Black representation but also the queer representation! And if you all have time, you should check out this article from The Mary Sue because it is magnificent.

Overall, I hope Alyssa Cole never stops writing this series. I will honestly read ninety-nine more installments, with the biggest smile on my face. This series is the stuff that OTPs are made of and Once Ghosted, Twice Shy proves that the side characters are even equally as perfect. And friends, I don’t even have words for how excited I am for A Prince on Paper this April! Also, I totally think you could read this one without reading the previous full-length books in the series! And I completely recommend you do so, if you’re looking for something quick, steamy, and romantic.

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Content and trigger warnings for deportation and forced separation of families.

Buddy read with Kathy from Kathy Trithardt! ❤
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
August 10, 2019
“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.”

I really appreciated this short romance novella!! This follows two girls, Likotsi and Fabiola, as they spend a day in New York City catching up. Along the way, there will be misunderstandings, discussion of immigration, and a mystery about why one of the girls ghosted the other six months earlier.

Intrigued? Me too.

Let’s make this a quick, bullet-point ish review:
→Likotsi is super likable. A classy legend. I too have a crush on her
→Fabiola’s backstory was excellent and well-revealed, though the fact that it’s an element of tension as to whether Likotsi will react well is honestly odd, as all Likotsi wants is an explanation.
→Loved the emphasis on family!! And the idea of living with family as a social media influencer is so… god I love it what a concept
→There is apparently a backstory to this novella which I have not read, but I had absolutely no problem following this and loving my time reading it.

I always forget how fun romance is. People frame this genre as something meant to turn off your brain, but this didn’t turn off my brain — it just turned off the cynical part of my brain. Sometimes (always) an escape from cynicism into hope is exactly what I need out of fiction. This was so so cute and so so fun and if I ever choose to actually get into this genre (I've been saying I will for like, six months now) I'll read more by this author.

release date: 6 Jan 2019
💜Buddyread with the entirety of #SapphicAThon
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Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews192 followers
March 19, 2019
I know nothing about the trilogy of which Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is a spin-off, I read this novella just because it was a second-chance romance about two black women falling in love - and then falling in love again - in New York, and that premise was enough for me. And now I can say two things:

one: you do not need to have read A Princess in Theory to understand this or understand the characters;
two: you might want to read A Princess in Theory first anyway, because after reading this you'll want to read it for sure, Alyssa Cole's writing is amazing, and you might as well read things in order!

I loved this book more than I expected to, and with that premise, I had high expectations. The main reason it surprised me? The writing. All the descriptions - the sounds, the food, the clothes - were so vivid that I could picture everything effortlessly. It's a contemporary romance that is actually atmospheric, and I can't believe how rare that is. One of my main problems with American contemporaries is the way they never describe the setting, because they assume that you - the reader, who is of course American, because it's not like books written in the US are read (and translated!) worldwide, no - already know how it looks like. And I don't! I love when books don't assume I do.

I also loved the romance, of course. Fabiola and Likotsi had chemistry (these two!! I can't. They were adorable), the conflict was believable, the pacing was slow but not so slow that it became a problem for me (and this is why I prefer romance novellas to novels).
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is also a story that talks about some heavy themes - like deportation - without losing the lightheartedness that is typical of the romance genre, and it has, of course, a happy ending.

If you've ever wanted to read a story about a Haitian-American bisexual woman who dreams of making and selling jewelry falling in love with an African woman (from the fictional country of Thesolo) who is the assistant of a prince... here it is. It was everything I didn't know I wanted.
Profile Image for Natasha.
477 reviews381 followers
September 6, 2020
Review also on my blogTwitterBookstagram

SapphicAThon: Group book, WOC, cover love

Rep: Black sapphic main characters, f/f romance

I received an arc from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is a sweet and cute second chance romance. It's connected to Alyssa Cole's A Princess in Theory but isn't necessary to read.

The story is told as a non-linear narrative. There's the present day after their short fling, and the past where the characters meet and have their romance. It's simple, and we learn how they got together and why it ended. But also them reconnecting and Likotsi finding out why Fab had ghosted her. It was a pretty quick story but really enjoyable.

I liked both Likotsi and Fab but I did find that it was hard to tell whose POV it was. I think that was more on me if anything but the lack of chapter headers didn't make it easier.

I like romances with a history, so this made me like this more. I think the non linear narrative worked well as a way to tell this story. It was sweet and the whirlwind of it felt real.

This was a cute novella, and I definitely recommend it if you want something quick.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,915 reviews33k followers
October 10, 2019
3.5 stars

Likotsi and Fabiola's second chance romance was short and sweet and I enjoyed it lots! I listened to the audio (like all the other books in this series) and the narrator was fabulous as always. For some reason, I had trouble staying invested into the story but I think that's more my fault than the books... Either way, it was a great addition to this series!
Profile Image for mina reads™️.
544 reviews7,019 followers
January 23, 2019
4.5 stars

This was so well written, the angst and passion between the characters was very well done in this story. I think the author did a great job of showcasing chemistry and intimacy despite the brevity of their initial love affair. It was very sweet and honestly beautiful for me as a black bi woman to see two wonderful, strong black women fall in love. I wish it was longer, I truly don’t understand why the author couldn’t give this couple a full novel because there was so much emotion and circumstance there to unpack. Either way, great story; highly recommend it if you’re interested in something short, sweet and emotional.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
679 reviews3,948 followers
February 3, 2019
SapphicAThon Round Two: challenge one (read the group book) ✅

This was sooo freakin cute (but also sexy!) I loved the characters a lot, both Fabiola and Likotsi were so well fleshed out even though this book is short which I loved. Even though it's not necessary, I do wish I had read the other books in this world first because I felt like I missed some things.

I found this very whirlwhind and 'love at first sight' though, which is not my personal favourite so I feel for that I didn't like it as much as I could have - however this is very much a "its me not you" thing and I recommend if you want a short, cute second chance f/f romance with good sex scenes and characters! I liked it :)
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,114 followers
January 14, 2019
I always meant to try Alyssa Cole but never had - this came up in Edelweiss and I was happy to see two women on the cover. This is just a novella because they are side characters in the Reluctant Royals series. I think it's about time for non-straight characters to have their own series, and Alyssa Cole could be the author to do it! (But maybe not from a madeup African country, I'm just saying.)

It looks like this whole series would scratch the same itch as all the Netflix/Hallmark Christmas royalty type movies.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy.
Profile Image for CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian.
1,155 reviews1,463 followers
April 14, 2019
This book was just as cute as the adorable cover! So far I've liked both novellas by Alyssa Cole better than any of her novels I've read. Tbh I'm bummed her stories about queer and disabled characters only get novellas and the straight abled characters get the novels? Anyway, I really liked this story, which is told half in flashbacks of when the women first met and Fab ghosted Likotsi and when they meet again months later. If you're waiting for the sex scene, you just might have to wait until the end... Also, I want to marry Likotsi.
Profile Image for m ♡.
97 reviews76 followers
March 23, 2022
this was a great romance novel! it is about two woman named likotsi and fabiola who meet and have an instant connection during their brief affair. when fabiola unexpectedly ghosts likotsi and deletes the dating app where they met, they are forced to spend several months apart.

they unexpectedly meet again when likotsi comes back to new york months later. likotsi is still heartbroken by the ghosting, and fabiola is also dealing with own struggles and hardships.

the book is told through two timelines: the first time likotsi and fabiola met, and when they reunite months later.

despite its short length, once ghosted, twice shy is still able to create a tangible chemistry between the two main characters. the conflicts between them felt genuine and realistic

i wish this book had been longer because i am so invested in likotsi and fabiola’s relationship, but i had a great time reading it!

3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
876 reviews513 followers
May 12, 2021
Likotsi didn’t expect a fling to break her heart but a few nights with Fabiola were enough for her to be all in. Not Fabiola, though. A few months, chance brings them together again but for Likotsi, the fear of going through the same pain again is overwhelming.

After I read Alyssa Cole’s soon-to-be released How to Find a Princess, I went back in time (I wish I could do that for real, I need more time to read) and read her previous f/f romance, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy so I could get a better feel of her writing.

I enjoyed this second chance romance a lot. I love novellas that manage not to feel rushed or too short, and this one hit the perfect balance. I liked both main characters, they’re very different, each with her own voice and personality, both very charming, and the chemistry between was strong and palpable. Visiting New York through their eyes was a nice bonus.

I’d been wanting to read Alyssa Cole’s books for a while, I’m definitely adding her to my must-read author list.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,498 followers
February 4, 2019
This was too freaking cute. I don't know why I've dragged my feet forever on Alyssa Cole, but this was a great one to start with, even if it came mid-series. A new f/f fave.
Profile Image for Taryn.
191 reviews214 followers
February 4, 2019
I am utterly obsessed with this cover and cannot wait for this!!!
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,770 reviews1,770 followers
March 28, 2019
I liked this little novella less upon finishing it than I do now. It's been a month since I finished it; should have written a review at the time. Story of my life, print it on a t-shirt. But in fairness to me, I was a bit distracted that weekend from the annual wonderfest known as the Tucson Festival of Books, a beautiful celebration of literacy and imagination and yummy food that is always held on or near my birthday, so happy birthday to me. And Alyssa Cole was there that weekend! So I got to meet her, and it was cool.

Side note, if you have a book festival (or a con) in your area, I highly suggest volunteering. Those types of events are ALWAYS looking for volunteers. For the price of my time and sore feet, I get to meet and escort so many cool authors* (and have actual conversations with them!) every year.

*P.S. Just so everybody knows, Charlie Jane Anders is actually one of the nicest people I have ever spoken with. One of those people who have the gift of making you feel they are genuinely interested in you (even if they are not). That may not sound like a compliment, but it totally is! She seemed very kind.

Anyway, Alyssa Cole is a total badass (she shaved her entire head! I'm in awe of people who can pull that off), and she was a highlight on both panels I saw her speak at. (Also she had a supercool Totoro phone case that both my sister and I were very impressed with.)

All that bragging to say, I don't really remember why this book made me so cranky when I read it? I think at the time I was annoyed at Fabiola's POVs. I think I also felt that they fell for each other WAY too fast. I love Likotsi so much, and have from the first book. Her POV had me so into this novella at first, wanting to kill Fabiola for breaking her heart, and then just casually sauntering back into her life like it didn't matter. The secrecy on her part was frustrating. After we found out what was going on with Fabiola, I forgave her a little, but she still seemed a little quirky to me, too underdeveloped. I think maybe this would have just been better as a full novel? Or at least, I would have liked it better that way.

I did enjoy the non-linear narrative, but as is sort of a pattern with her books, I didn't really enjoy the sex scenes. Some of the words she uses turn me off (total personal preference) and all the characters are super aware of their nipples at all times? I don't know.

I will continue to read her stuff in hopes of those times when everything lines up just right, because she's super cool and I want to support super cool, smart authors. I got my favorite book of hers, A Hope Divided, signed :) Love that book.
Profile Image for Brittany Lee.
Author 1 book113 followers
June 19, 2020
Female/Female romance. This was sweet, had heat and lovely romantic tenderness.

I loved the storyline and the setup, but this felt a tad incomplete. Add on 200 more pages of details and plot development and it would be a 5 star read for me. I wanted more back story or character development for the first and secondary characters. The secondary characters felt thrown in just to have something to base the story around.

The cover is absolutely stunning. What a cute couple and the colors of their clothes are like royalty. I really like how the theme of royalty continues throughout the series, makes sense with it being a part of the RELUCTANT ROYALS series. I've read book 1, this says it is book 2.5, I'm unsure if book 2 would help me out any but I'd be willing to check it out. The books with .5 after them are side-stories that I feel may not be as competed as the full numbered books, if that makes any sense. I think I'll be checking out her later books to see if they are longer or more developed.

I participated in a ten-day read-a-thon with the challenges being PRIDE (LGBQT+ Rep) and books by BLACK AUTHORS, this book fits both those descriptions. With the world up in flames right now, it has been my goal to read more books by authors of color.

Much gratitude to the Goodreads Giveaway Program for the early e-book copy I won. I was under no obligation to write a review, my honest opinion is freely given.
Profile Image for TL .
1,879 reviews53 followers
April 6, 2019
I won this via goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.

This was a really cute story that pulled at my heartstrings. I didn't want it to end and pouted when it was over. It was the perfect end to a long day :).

I wanted to hug the both of them for different reasons over the course of the story. My heart broke for Fab more than once too.

Will check out the others in the series someday soon hopefully *crosses fingers*
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,157 reviews161 followers
April 8, 2019
Listened to the audiobook via Scribd!

A dual POC F/F Romance in the heart of New York City? YES PLEASE! I was super delighted when the narrator for the audio, turned out to be the one who narrated A Princess In Theory (listening fans, stop by that audio ASAP) and so, my Sunday afternoon was spent listening to the novella. Do note that this is a companion novella to the main Reluctant Royals series. Personally, I would say that you can read this as a standalone. However, due to some past references mentioned to the earlier books, reading them in order may work best!

Main character Likotsi is back in NYC for the first time in weeks. She was in love with a woman called Fabiola at one point, but sadly got her heart broken. It is surprise however when they both bump into each other on a city subway train. The story flashes back to the past, as well as the present following both women spending time together... and apart. It was a fun listen, Alyssa Cole has that unique writing style that just hooks you in with a mixture of great dialogue and world-building. At moments, I did feel a little lost. However, this was a romance I would re-listen/re-read in the future!
Profile Image for Richelle Robinson.
1,197 reviews35 followers
January 4, 2019
After reading “A Princess In Theory” I always wondered what happened with Likosti and her mystery date. So it’s pretty much safe to say how excited I was to read this book!

“Finding a sexual partner is easy,” Likotsi replied. “Finding someone that makes you need to know more about them is not.”

The story was told in past and present tense which I really enjoyed. It’s nice to have a backstory and be “there” when the couple fall for each other. I loved the banter and chemistry between Likosti and Fabiola. They come from different worlds but they make it work.

With novellas it’s usually hard for me to feel a connection but Cole did an excellent job and I feel the attraction. I haven’t read that many f/f novels before and this wasn’t bad at all. I think I will start to branch out more in this area. I loved the fact that the novella didn’t have over the top drama and when everything unfolded it pertained to certain issues going on in the world right now.

I’m usually not a fan of novellas but this was a well written one that I was so sad to see end. I hope we see more of Likosti and Fabiola in “A Prince On Paper” and I can’t wait to catch up with the other characters as well!!

Shelly's Book Corner received a review copy from Edelweiss and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.
Profile Image for Charlie Marie.
187 reviews70 followers
May 29, 2020
Sweet, delicious sapphic goodness! This novella was a total treat!

Starring my fav supporting character from the Reluctant Royals series, this love story is told in alternating perspectives of the two rad, WOC leads: Likotski, a dapper and ultra-competent advisor to a prince, and Fabiola, a stylish femme accountant and jewelry designer.

It also alternates between the past, when they met, had a whirlwind romance, and then parted ways, and the present, where they reconnect after a chance meeting on the street. For a short work, this novella manages to fit in a lot of heart, and make the characters feel like real, complex people with full lives.

A delightful, queer addition to one of my favorite romance series!
Profile Image for a.
1,198 reviews
March 30, 2019
A really cute f/f second chance romance! I really like Alyssa Cole's writing and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Yes it's a bit insta-lovey but I liked the characters and liked their love story nonetheless.
Profile Image for Georgia.
347 reviews157 followers
June 29, 2020
“Out of all the train cars in all the world you had to walk into mine.”

3.5 stars


This was so cute! (And so sexy!) I loved the characters and the romance and the split timelines. It's essentially insta-love but I also fell into insta-love with them so that didn't bother me at all. I know this is instalment 2.5 in the series, and I picked it up having never read any of the others, and with no intention to -- but! I enjoyed it so much I may just have to go back and read the rest. A fun and quick little romance.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,069 reviews

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