Buzzy Contemporary Romance Picks for May

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If you’re looking for contemporary romance, you’re in the right place!

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

In trouble and on the run…

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.” 

With a trunkful of emotional baggage…

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel. 

The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling… 

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn—or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past?

This is set in Florida and is the perfect beach read. As a Floridian I think it perfectly captures the essence of a beachtown and even the local Publix. Letty is on the run from her sister’s boyfriend and Maya’s father and only had the chance to grab Maya before fleeing as far as she could. Down to Flroida she went to blend in with the locals. She ends up in a motel that houses a lot of “snowbirds” that are an eclectic band of characters. As Letty begins to let her guard down with the local sheriff, will he be able to help her or turn her in? This was honestly one of my favorite reads and I highly recommend it. 

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. 

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. 

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. 

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

This is a love letter to traveling. Our protagonist has the dream job of travelling and blogging for work. It jumps time periods between the past and present to show us how these two best friends started these summer travels. This is a sloooooow burn of a novel and if you’re ready to take a leisurely ride around the world be prepared for witty banter and travel lust. 

The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax 

On paper, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara have little in common – they’re very different people leading very different lives. And yet at book club meetings in an historic carriage house turned bookstore, they bond over a shared love of reading (and more than a little wine) as well as the growing realization that their lives are not turning out like they expected. 

Former tennis star Jazmine is a top sports agent balancing a career and single motherhood. Judith is an empty nester questioning her marriage and the supporting role she chose. Erin’s high school sweetheart and fiancé develops a bad case of cold feet, and Sara’s husband takes a job out of town saddling Sara with a difficult mother-in-law who believes her son could have done better – not exactly the roommate most women dream of.

With the help of books, laughter, and the joy of ever evolving friendships, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara find the courage to navigate new and surprising chapters of their lives as they seek their own versions of happily-ever-after.

With an author’s note that pulls at your heart strings, The Break Up Book Club is a journey of different members of the local club. We experience these very different women go through life-changing moments, all supported through their friendships formed through their love of reading. This story weaves an intricate story of friendship and second chances. 

Legacy by Nora Roberts

Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her—before her mother, Lina, stepped in.

Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents’ house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend—and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend’s ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.

A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial—as long as neither crosses the other.

But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving—the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins…

Nora Roberts is always a summer must. A suspense romance, Adrian and her mother Lina have always had a complicated relationship. However, when Adrian follows in her mother’s footsteps with a fitness empire, sinister threats are uncovered and Adrian must confront her past. I don’t want to spoil it but you can never go wrong with Nora with a fast-paced novel and a plot that hooks you in. 

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent 

Birdy has made a mistake. Everyone imagines running away from their life at some point. But Birdy has actually done it. And the life she’s run into is her best friend Heather’s. The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. 

The summer job at the highland Scottish hotel that her world class wine-expert friend ditched turns out to be a lot more than Birdy bargained for. Can she survive a summer pretending to be her best friend? And can Birdy stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked, but who thinks she’s someone else?

One good friend’s very bad decision is at the heart of this laugh-out-loud love story and unexpected tale of a woman finally finding herself in the strangest of places.

Birdy has never had steady work nor a steady partner. Coming from a difficult background, it was too easy for her to keep on the move and find something new to do. Heather is the only long lasting relationship she has and somehow she ends up taking over Heather’s job and pretending to be her. What ensues is catastrophe after catastrophe while Birdy learns how to be a sommelier on the fly. A baptism by fire, it’s a learning experience for us as well, I learned so much about wine and about the hills of Scotland. It’s set in Scotland and is so descriptive.

Fallen Jester by Devney Perry

Leo Winter loves his life. He works when he needs money. He rides when he craves freedom. He frequents the local bar when he wants a good time. The Tin Gypsies might be a memory, but the bachelor life he lived with his motorcycle club still suits him fine. So when a one-night stand surprises him at a family barbecue and claims she’s pregnant with his child, he’s certain he’s died and gone to hell.

Cassandra Cline took one night off from her structured life. One. And now her wild fling with the local bad boy has turned her life sideways. Her dreams and academic career are circling the drain, and none of it would have happened if she’d stayed far, far away from Leo. 

Except avoiding him is impossible, especially when she’s forced to move home to Clifton Forge, Montana. And he refuses to leave her side when a series of strange accidents put her and their baby at risk. But are they accidents? Or is she standing in the middle of a battlefield she doesn’t understand?

Her only allies are people she barely knows. And a man who has the potential to steal her heart.

If only he’d stop playing the fool.

Leo’s story is one I’ve been waiting for! He’s the playboy that refuses to settle down and never remembers name. Drifting from girl to girl at The Betsy, He finally meets his match in Cassandra. The beginning starts off a little rocky but this harrowing story of redemption gives a completel, well-rounded look at how love can evolve. Leo fights for his chance to win back Cassandra and the baby he didn’t know he needed.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall 

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory.  Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

Rosaline has always tried to meet her parent’s toxic and unattainable standards. I appreciate Rosaline because there is genuine character development as a single mom who wants to make everyone happy. She realizes she has to be happy first. There’s baking, a love triangle, queer representation and my personal favorite, a fantastic best friend to guide Rosaline to a better her. 

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren 

Single mom Jessica Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely. 

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. 

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: one of GeneticAlly’s founders, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond Match” that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated

This was everything I’ve been waiting for from Christina Lauren. A very well paced romance with a cynical single mom and a scientist that believes in love on a textbook level. This book was also packed with chemistry from textbooks to real life relationship chemistry. I really enjoyed the journey of Jessica and River especially with the cast of characters. Jessica’s grandparents, best friend and daughter add a levity to the development of Jessica and River’s relationship. I laughed with Fizzy, loved watching Juno interact with River and Jessica’s grandparents were the kind of support anyone would wish to have. It’s a fun, science based dating experiment with plenty of banter, that shows that love is always the answer. 

What are you diving into this month?

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