Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of August 18th

Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of August 18th

This third week in August is fairly quiet as far as the number of new contemporary romances coming out this week, but there are still more than enough choices to ensure you have plenty to read.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

The Day He Came Back by Penelope Ward
The Day He Came Back by Penelope Ward (Aug. 19) 

Penelope Ward’s latest, The Day He Came Back, is a sexy and emotional second-chance romance that you’ll be thinking about long after finishing it. Gavin and Raven fell for one another when Gavin was twenty-one and Raven just eighteen and while she worked for his wealthy and powerful family during the summer. They are forced to go their separate ways in true star-crossed lovers fashion, and although their time together was brief, it was potent and made a lasting impression on both of their hearts. When Gavin returns home ten years later, their feelings are just as strong, but a reconciliation will not be easy. They have to excavate their past and deal with their current circumstances, but their hard-fought happily ever after is absolutely swoon-worthy.

Pervade Montego Bay (Pervade Duet #2) by Vanessa Fewings (Aug. 18). Not a standalone.


For every patch of sun, there’s a pool of shadows. For every stretch of paradise, there’s a stain of secrets. 

Montego Bay offers everything the heart desires…and the soul fears.

Emily Rampling once again finds herself in the throes of unforgettable passion and irresistible power as she dives deeper into the love of two men and the dangerous world they inhabit. James Ballad and Xavier Rothschild are not yet done with Emily. Not by a long shot. 

But somewhere on the island of his birth, James is hiding something, a personal secret he seems to be guarding with his life. Emily becomes obsessed with finding out the truth, but the discovery that awaits her is something she couldn’t have foreseen. 

I Hate You by Ilsa Madden-Mills (Aug. 18) 

No one does college sports romance like Ilsa Madden-Mills, and her latest, I Hate You, is another utterly unputdownable story. Blaze broke up with Charisma in a very public way, and she’s still reeling from his rejection months later. But she also can’t stop feeling drawn to the magnetic football player, especially when she sees him around campus and finds herself sitting next to him in class. When Blaze offers her a truce and charms his way past her defenses, they cautiously form a friendship. They slowly discover that they both use bravado to mask deep emotional wounds, and as they truly get to know one another for the first time in their relationship, they develop a deep connection that is breathtakingly romantic. You cannot help but root for these two endearing characters, and I Hate You is the perfect combination of funny, sexy and sweet with just enough angst to ensure you feel absolutely everything.

Hard to Love by W. Winters (Aug. 20). Not a standalone.

Hard to Love is the beginning of a suspenseful and epic romance that will have you holding your breath and turning the pages as fast as possible. Seth and Laura are from the same tumultuous neighborhood that is ruled by unlawful power and unrestrained greed. They’re young and deciding whether or not this kind of life — the one they’ve always known — is the one they want for their future. Their love is all-consuming, but their choices have consequences that drive a painful wedge between them and could destroy their happily ever after. *insert cliffhanger* I am dying for more of Seth and Laura’s enthralling story and am impatiently waiting for the next book, Desperate to Touch, which releases October 8th.

Dangerous Desires (Dangerous Beauty #2) by J.T. Geissinger (Aug. 20). Not a standalone.


He’s everything she has ever desired. But there’s only one way to keep her man alive: let him go.

With Nasir’s life on the line, Eva makes a deal with the devil. She slips away to return to Dimitri, the mob boss who held her captive for years, only to step into a new world of trouble. Abducted by one of Dimitri’s most cunning adversaries, Eva finds herself an unwitting pawn in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

When Eva disappears, Naz is prepared to do anything to find her. Tracking her to the remote regions of Portugal is just the beginning of the hunt. Bewitched by Eva’s beauty, the darkly seductive spy who abducted her now has more than business on his mind, but the only way for the trio to defeat Dimitri is to work together…despite the explosive desires threatening to consume them.

With a game so deadly and the stakes so high, Naz and Eva’s love will be tested in ways neither of them could foresee…or perhaps survive.

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci (Aug. 20)


When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.

The Candle Palace by Devney Perry (Aug. 20)

Devney Perry delivers all the feels in the sixth, standalone installment of the Jamison Valley series, The Candle Palace. This intensely emotional and deeply affecting love story is captivating from the first page to the last. Milo was severely burned while working as a deputy sheriff, and he’s recovering from his emotional and physical wounds in the hospital when he meets Sara, who is one of his nurses. She brings him hope when he had none, and he fills her days with quiet joy. Their relationship’s slow-burn evolution is beautiful, tender, heartrending and moving — the ultimate love story.

The Last Post by Renee Carlino (Aug. 20)


 “See you on the other side.”

Laya Marston’s husband, Cameron, a daredevil enthusiast, always said this before heading off on his next adventure. He was the complete opposite of her, ready and willing to dive off a cliff-face, or parachute across a canyon—and Laya loved him for it. But she was different: pragmatic, regimented, devoted to her career and to supporting Cameron from the sidelines of his death-defying feats.

Opposites attract, right?

But when Cameron dies suddenly and tragically, all the stages of grief go out the window. Laya becomes lost in denial, living in the delusion that Cameron will come back to her. She begins posting on his Facebook page, reminiscing about their life together, and imagining new adventures for the two of them.

Micah Evans, a young and handsome architect at Laya’s father’s firm, is also stuck––paralyzed by the banal details of his career, his friendships, and his love life. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, only that there is someone out there who can bring energy and spirit to the humdrum of his life.

When Micah discovers Laya’s tragic and bizarre Facebook posts, he’s determined to show Laya her life is still worth living. Leaving her anonymous gifts and notes, trying to recreate the sense of adventure she once shared with her late husband, Micah finds a new passion watching Laya come out of the darkness. And Laya finds a new joy in the experiences Micah has created for her.

But for Laya, letting another man in still feels like a betrayal to her late husband. Even though Micah may be everything she could wish for, she wonders if she deserves to find happiness again.

Broken Knight by L.J. Shen (Aug. 18)

 I don’t usually cover Young Adult romance in Contemporarily Ever After, but I simply couldn’t not recommend L.J. Shen’s Broken Knight. While the lead characters are young adults, the story covers much more complex and mature issues than typically found in this subgenre. There are also adult secondary characters from Shen’s beloved Sinners of Saint series that play major roles, so it’s hard to put any label on Broken Knight. It’s a singular reading experience that is in a category of its own.  


Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna. 
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.

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