I have been reading contemporary romance so often lately, like ever since last year, contemporary romance has just become my primary genre and I don’t really know why. Anyway, what that means is that I already have another ten books to talk about for you to hide from the world inside! I tried to prevent this list from just repeating several of the books I talk about in my Top Ten Contemporary Romances of the Year, but there’s definitely some overlap. There are also new books though so I hope you still find this list engaging!
At some point I should make an angsty contemporary romance post, but in the meantime, enjoy this one instead!
1. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory had me cracking up even while I was still fuming at TSA for confiscating my cleanser. Her books just work for me on every level and I love this one. It’s about a woman, Nikole, who is proposed to by her boyfriend after just a few weeks of casual dating on the jumbotron at a baseball game. Spotting the television cameras headed her way, Carlos and his sister leap to the rescue and whisk Nik away to safety. She finds his work email and sends him an email to thank him and things go from there. Carlos is a little over the top protective of his mom, his sister, and his cousin, but I was mostly able to let that go. Mostly. Nik is just an all around badass and I loved her friends so much. The two of them coming together is really, really cute and I liked that they were both pretty anti-relationship until they realized that they actually really wanted to be with the other person.
2. Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
Snyder’s novella has gained a ton of traction in romancelandia and I personally think it’s super well deserved. First of all, who doesn’t want more romance novels inspired by the Best Chris, aka Chris Evans? Secondly, if you, like me, live in a place with no Indian food, I hope you’re better at cooking Indian food than I am because I would have sold my soul for chicken tikka masala or butter chicken or omg, that butter chicken dosa at Tyson’s. Third, this novella is really, really great and you can listen to a whole podcast episode about it on Heaving Bosoms! Oh yeah, it’s about this woman, Pinky, who is at home working for her parents restaurant because one of them was having health problems so she came home to help out, but now they’re better and she just still hasn’t moved on. Anyway, she likes to have longing glances and sexy thoughts about Trucker, who is in a motorcycle club, and comes into the restaurant a lot. FINALLY, one day, they get it on and it is so good, y’all.
3. Dance All Night by Alexis Daria
It doesn’t matter that this is a holiday novella, you could read it any time and frankly, you should read this entire series promptly. I love Daria’s writing so much and I cannot wait for whatever comes next. Anyway, this book in particular is about Nik, a world traveling, never going to settle down type and Jess, who wants little more than to stay in Los Angeles, dance, and make this place her home. The two of them meet at a New Years Eve party and share a super sexy New Years kiss and then part ways for a year. When Nik returns to LA, the two run into each other again and Nik convinces Jess to give him three dates. Y’all. It’s amazing. I really, really loved it.
4. Beginner’s Luck and Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn
Y’all. I am in love with this series, which you know because I’m dragging my feet on reading Best of Luck because I don’t want the series to end. (WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU, KATE? I need to know so I can read the finale!) Anyway, Beginner’s Luck follows our heroine in STEM who buys a house that is very old because she really wants to be part of her small town community as that’s something that’s hugely important to her because of her childhood. Her hero, Ben, is a sweetheart who gets off on the wrong foot with Kat because he doesn’t think she’s who he’s looking for when he shows up to recruit her to work for his fancy private science company. Well, Ben is also the son of a man who owns some kind of shop that has lots of fixtures for her home and Ben is staying with his dad because he fell and sparks fly and I love them!
Luck of the Draw is more emotional, or at least it was for me, because it follows our lawyer, Zoe, and her attempts to make amends for some of the things she did in her private law firm. This winds up meaning she’s fakes being our hero’s fiancé and the two of them work through their own hang ups (never feeling good enough and grief) and I loved it so much.
5. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
My third novella recommendation and I’m only on number five? Who is she? Anyway, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is obviously a masterpiece because Alyssa Cole is brilliant and a word wizard. Word witch. WHATEVER. She can do no wrong, I’m pretty sure. This novella follows Likotsi, who you may recognize as Thabiso’s assistant in A Princess in Theory, and Fabiola. The two women fall in love during the events of A Princess in Theory, even though they really didn’t spend that much time together and then Fabiola just ghosts. Likotsi is on a mandatory day off and wandering the city trying to put Fabiola behind her when her subway gets stuck and lo and behold… Fabiola. I really loved this novella, which is short and sweet, but so, so good!
6. One and Only by Jenny Holiday
I’m torn between whether I loved this one or the third in Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series more, but regardless, I would recommend checking this out. I did have some issues with the second book in the series and I haven’t read the final novella, but mostly I absolutely adored this series and would highly recommend it! In this particular installment, Jane is tasked with babysitting the groom’s brother, Cameron. Cameron is a bad boy and was just dishonorably discharged (for an honorable reason, of course), but his brother doesn’t trust him not to screw up the wedding somehow. So in steps Jane, who finds herself taking adventures she never thought she would and challenging Cameron every step of the way. I loved the two of them finding their way to each other, but the dark moment made me want to scream at everyone. Fun things in this book include that Jane is a YA author of a fantasy series and she loves cosplaying.
7. Priest and Sinner by Sierra Simone
Y’all. First of all, these books are erotic romance so fair warning. Secondly, OH MY GOD, I did not know I needed erotic romance blended with theology for my spiritual life, but in fact, I do. Also, please note that these are probably Romance 400 level to use a Fated Mates analogy (maybe 300?). Anyway, the idea of a priest breaking his vows is understandably not for all of us, given the Catholic church, and what I found most interesting about this one is that Sierra gets that. That’s such a huge part of where the hero’s angst about moving forward with our heroine is coming from. And then the nun storyline in Sinner just blew me away. I loved both of these so much and I absolutely recommend them!
8. Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Rafe also has a pretty high heat level, I guess, but what has me recommending it here is that Rafe is soft and perfect and exactly the book you need when everything in the world feels wrong. Rafe is a buff male nanny as Rebekah makes clear and he becomes a nanny for Sloan when her nanny up and disappears one day leaving the kids by themselves. (Y’all. That lady.) Anyway, Rafe is great with the kids, but uh oh, big problem, the attraction between Sloan and Rafe is instantaneous. What takes a little longer is the two deciding they can act on it and then that it’s okay to have real feelings. I loved that this book never let the stakes get too heavy. This is definitely not a book you want if you’re in the mood for angst. If you need something soft though, this is absolutely for you. I will say that Sloan’s ex-husband is an asshole and there are some control dynamics that are sort of present in the scenes he’s in (though Sloan throws him off so don’t worry).
9. Untouchable by Talia Hibbert
If you haven’t figured out that I love Talia and would really recommend everything, allow me to fix that here. I love her and I really loved this installment in the Ravenswood universe. Hannah doesn’t lose her temper or her control over her filter very often, but when she does at the beginning of Untouchable, she quits her job after telling this “I want to speak to the manager” white lady off and then runs into her high school crush, Nate, and his two kids. Nate needs a nanny and Hannah misses working with children so she becomes their live-in nanny. The conversations about power here are excellent and I loved them a whole bunch. Also, Nate’s a widower and there is no belittling or demeaning his relationship with his first wife, which I really loved. Fair warning, Nate’s mom is ill in this so if that may be triggering for you, proceed with caution (or let me know if you need more info about whether you should steer clear!).
10. The Risk by Elle Kennedy
I really didn’t mean to buy and read this in February, but I just couldn’t resist. I read the first chapter in Elle’s newsletter and was like, “MUST HAVE THIS NOW.” Hockey sports romances are just a joy in my opinion. I can’t really explain it. Anyway, heroine is Briar U’s hockey coach’s daughter and she’s great. Well, the Captain of Harvard’s hockey team, Jake Connelly, shows up at the coffee shop Brenna is in and tells her to stop playing around with his teammate’s heart. The two of them have chemistry that SIZZLES.
There are some heavier topics in this book like drug use and miscarriage so definite content warning for those.
And there you have it, ten (okay, twelve) more contemporary romance novels to distract you from your bad days or life decisions you are like, expected to make. In summary, when adulthood is terrible, these books will help you feel better. Probably. They helped me feel better, anyway. What contemporary romances would you recommend to me?