Less Than Three by Maggie Dallen

Less Than Three Cover

Review of audiobook version of PG, New Adult, romantic comedy

Less Than Three (Starting from Zero #1) by Maggie Dallen

Reading Level: Adult Romance (New Adult)
Release Date: May 15, 2016
Pages: 166 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Twenty-something Lacey Ames, a theater major who struggled for several years to find any work beyond waitressing after graduating from college, is delighted with her current career. She provides public speech training to corporate executives and, after only six months on the job, is thrilled with her biggest assignment to date. Her client is Lawrence Newsom III, an executive from the upper echelons of an aeronautics corporation. Unfortunately, the same day she is scheduled to meet Newsom in person for the first time, her fancy new cellphone betrays her. Due to its hypersensitive touch screen, she accidentally dials Newsom. Fearful of making a fool of herself in front of this important client, when Newsom picks up, she impulsively hangs up on him without identifying herself. Then, to her utter dismay, she accidentally dials him again in the same manner, and hangs up on him again. When he calls her back several times and texts her, she rejects all of his calls and does not answer his texts.

When that same day Lacey arrives at the airport for a private flight on a jet belonging to her client’s corporation, she is immediately attracted to the gorgeous pilot, a man named Alex. He is around her age, and he seems as interested in her as she is in him. Just before their scheduled takeoff, they learn that they are stranded for the night due to a storm that has grounded all air traffic. Unfortunately, they are forced to stay at a hotel with only one room with one bed available, and no other rooms are available in any of the other hotels in the whole town.

Alex and Lacey become quite convivial in the hotel bar while they consume together a string of alcoholic drinks, to the point that Lacey is blatantly tipsy. In the course of hours of laughing and talking, she relates to Alex the embarrassing story of her butt-dialing and hanging up on her new client, and they laugh about her mishap together. Alex’s charming companionability, in combination with his devastating good looks and their mutual booziness, proves to be an irresistible temptation for Lacey and, completely out of character for her, she instigates a one-night stand with him. Fortunately, the two of them retain enough mental capacity for Alex to ask Lacey multiple times if she is positive she wants to have sex with him, and for her to give verbal consent.

Lacey does not discover until the next morning that her one-night fling is actually Lawrence *Alexander* Newsom, and she is outraged. It is clear that Alex knew all along who she was, and she feels humiliated and used. As an act of self-preservation, she calls her boss, claiming that she has a family emergency and cannot fulfill her assignment. He explains to her that Lawrence Newsom just called him a little while ago and stated that he wants no one but her as his coach, and she is forced to continue with the assignment, which is to last for the next two weeks.

This cute, New Adult, romantic comedy contains a quirky and enjoyable amalgam of multiple popular, romance-genre tropes, including: mistaken identity, stranded travelers who must share the last available hotel room which has only one bed, drunken confessions, a jealous and vindictive ex-girlfriend, and a one-night stand that leads to love. Lacey and Alex are sympathetic protagonists, and there is plenty of romantic conflict in the form of multiple antagonists to insure that their road to true love does not run smooth.

This novel is basically PG. There is some sex in it but there are no graphic or crude descriptions. There is no foul language. There is, however, heavy drinking to the point of drunkenness, and the romantic protagonists engage in sex while both are drunk. There is also an additional, dubious ethical taint to that sexual encounter in that Alex is under the mistaken impression that Lacey is an engaged woman, and she does not correct his misapprehension. These issues may concern some romance readers and not bother many others.

I experienced the audiobook version of this cute novel. Lauren Fortgang does an excellent job as narrator. She acts out all the parts convincingly and is quite skilled at portraying both male and female characters of all ages.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, entertaining romance, this fun, New Adult romance is an excellent choice.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Subcharacters: 4

Romance Plot: 4

Audiobook Narration: 4

Writing: 4

Overall: 4

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