Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of December 1st

Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of December 1st
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It is hard to believe that we are entering the last month of 2019, but here we are. As the year winds down and the holiday season ramps up, there’s no shortage of great contemporary romances to read.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

Enemies by Tijan (Dec. 2) 

(Blurb)

Stone Reeves was my neighbor, and I’ve hated him since sixth grade. 

Gorgeous and charismatic, he became the town’s football god, while I became the town’s invisible girl. 
He went to a Division 1 school for football, while my father was fired by his father. 
His team won the National Championship, while my mother died the same day.

He was a first round pick for the NFL … …while I made the worst decision of my life.

Now I’m in Texas trying to pick up the pieces of my life. 
But, Stone is here. 
Stone is everywhere. 

It doesn’t matter that disaster has struck my life again. 
It doesn’t matter that he’s the one trying to console me. 
It doesn’t matter that he’s the nation’s newest football obsession.

Because for me, he always has been and always will be my enemy.

A Fairbanks Affair by Katy Regnery (Dec. 2) 

(Blurb)

Three nights. Two of us. One bed. Zero chance at love.

Boston businesswoman, Faye Findley, has devoted the last decade of her life to work, leaving no time for romance. Tired of being a 30-year-old virgin, Faye answers an ad in The Odds Are Good magazine, hoping to turn over her v-card to a sexy Alaskan she’ll never see again. 

Successful distillery owner, Trevor Starling, was left betrayed and broken-hearted when his brother and fiancée had sex the night before Trevor’s wedding. Anticipating a lonely New Year’s celebration, he places an ad in The Odds Are Good for a no-strings attached weekend of hot sex. 

Though mistaken identity threatens to derail everything, the chemistry between Faye and Trevor turns out to be stronger than either could have imagined. And what started out as a one-and-done mission becomes much more complicated.

The Virgin Gift by Lauren Blakely (Dec. 2) 

(Blurb)

I might be a virgin, but I know what I want in bed. It’s just that I haven’t found him yet.

So I’m stunned when charming, laid-back Adam volunteers to work through my wish list. That’s when I discover the voracious, commanding man in him, my next door neighbor. And I’m enthralled — in and out of the bedroom.

Every night we explore my fantasies, and every morning I try harder not to want more from him. Because there’s no item on my list about falling for the guy. Besides, we agreed to the last item already — when we’re done we walk away.

But every fantasy unlocks another. Each hotter than the last. Until I discover there’s one last thing on my to-do list to check off. One so daring I can’t figure out how to ask him or what it might do to my heart…

Blitzed by Alexa Martin (Dec. 3)  

I adored the first two, standalone books in Alexa Martin’s Playbook series, so I eagerly awaited the third installment, Blitzed. I am thrilled to say that it did not disappoint. It’s an entertaining and heartwarming slow-burn romance featuring a quietly charming, smart and sexy football player, Maxwell, and a feisty, vibrant and hilarious business woman, Brynn. He patiently and sweetly pursues her, and I love that they develop a genuine friendship before things turn romantic between them. Alexa Martin’s dry, sharp wit is present on every page and will have you laughing to the point of tears, and you’ll adore the cast of strong secondary characters who are Brynn’s loyal girlfriends. Blitzed is a funny, feel-good sports romance that you do not want to miss.

Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec & Andi Arndt (Dec. 3) 

(Blurb)

Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when I decided to entertain my drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, I never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that I admitted my huge crush on my sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s how my podcast, Heidi’s Discount Erotica, was born.

Now I, Heidi Larsen, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, I find myself embracing my new alter ego more and more. Now I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and do things I never would have dreamed of – like kissing my neighbor.

Look out, Waconia, because Heidi’s on the loose! She’s in your ears, in your hearts, and down your pants…wait, that didn’t sound as good as it did in my head. Well, you get the picture, don’tcha know!

Reckless with You by Carrie Ann Ryan (Dec. 3) 

(Blurb) 

Professing her love to her best friend while wearing only her favorite panty set and coat probably wasn’t the best decision Amelia Carr has ever made. In fact, it’s perhaps the worst. But when her family becomes their overprotective selves while encroaching on her life, she makes a rash decision: her brother’s best friend will just have to be her beard. Too bad, he has no idea what he’s in for.

Tucker Reinhard loves women, and they tend to love him even more. Despite the love, he never would have expected Amelia to come up with the plan she poses to him. He’ll go along with it, but only because he doesn’t want to see her hurt—even if that means fighting his best friend.

In the midst of her scheme, Amelia realizes she doesn’t know Tucker as well as she thought. And neither of them are prepared for what happens when they let the façade go and see what truly lies beneath.

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson (Dec. 3) 

(Blurb)

Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.

Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.

But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

Defending Everly by Susan Stoker (Dec. 3) 

(Blurb) 

As tough as Everly Adams may be, the Colorado Springs SWAT officer is near a breaking point. Her fifteen-year-old half sister, Elise, has disappeared from Los Angeles without a trace, and the window to find her is closing fast. Committed to the search is Mountain Mercenary Kannon “Ball” Black. He and Everly already have a history—of rubbing each other the wrong way.

Still, Everly has to admit the man is heart-stopping. His brash alpha swagger takes her breath away. And most importantly, as a former Coast Guard first responder, Ball has what it takes to bring Elise home.

Nobody’s buying the LAPD’s “runaway” theory. And the fear that Elise is the victim of a human trafficking ring is a gut-punch that Everly and Ball can’t ignore. If only the trail were that clear cut. Because the one they’re following is more insidious and intimately dark than they could have imagined.

Now as the bond between Everly and Ball grows stronger, so does the heat. And as the stakes rise, so does the danger.

Holiday Ever After anthology by Kimberly KincaidAmy Andrews, Kate Canterbary, J.H. Croix, Erika Kelly, Maria Luis, Natasha Madison, Erin Nicholas, Lucy Score, Lili Valente, Willow Winters (Dec. 3) 

 I’ve read two of the short stories in this holiday anthology — Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Red Bikini Trouble by Amy Andrews and Professional Development by Kate Canterbary — and loved both. The anthology is free and will only be available for two weeks, so grab it ASAP.

(Blurb)

Eleven sweet and sexy holiday stories from New York Times and USA Today best-selling authors! Grab a cup of cocoa and curl up with this collection that will warm your heart and curl your toes.

Each story is a new standalone contemporary romance set within popular series, with no spoilers, no cliffhangers, never-before-featured couples, and hot happy endings. This anthology of quick reads (each can be read in an hour or so) will only be available as a collection for a very limited time. Naughty never looked so nice!

Kiss Me with Lies by S.M. Soto (Dec. 3). Not a standalone.

(Blurb) 

Two sisters. One unsolved murder. A sickening plot for revenge.

When Mackenzie Wright attends her first real high school party, held somewhere deep in the woods of her small California town, no one expects to wake up the next morning to news of a gruesome murder. Especially not her own sister’s. 
No suspects.
No motive.
No convictions.
Just one unsolved murder and whatever’s left of the now deserted town. 

Mackenzie has spent years with her sister’s death weighing heavily on her shoulders, but it isn’t until she stumbles across a photograph that changes everything for her. The memories, everything from that night, come flashing back in high-speed technicolor and Mackenzie soon finds herself obsessed with the truth. 

Determined to find out what really happened to her sister, Mackenzie relies on that one photograph to give her the answers she needs by embedding herself into the lives of five of the wealthiest men in Los Angeles. Consumed by her need for revenge, Mackenzie infiltrates the world of the rich and elite, only to come face-to-face with an alluring complication in the form an elusive playboy. 

When enemy lines are drawn, Mackenzie has to choose between her loyalty to her sister and the man who has stolen her heart.

This Is Love by Melissa Foster (Dec. 3) 

(Blurb) 

Actress Remi Divine is sick of bodyguards, sick of stalkers, and sick of feeling like she is always under a microscope. But this movie star isn’t helpless by any means. She’s got a rebellious streak, and she knows how to use it. First order of business: getting rid of the overbearing bodyguards who are sticking to her like glue.

Mason Swift has made protecting others his life, and when Remi ditches his two best men, he takes over and gives it everything he has. Having grown up in the foster-care system, and as a former special operative, he knows all the tricks. Nothing gets by him, especially not gorgeous, sneaky Remi.

He thinks she’s a diva. She thinks he’s arrogant. But when sparks turn to flames and their walls come down, their true hearts are revealed, and their connection is unstoppable. And when tragedy strikes, Remi realizes that being protected isn’t the worst thing in the world—but losing Mason just might be.

Landon & Shay: Part Two (L&S Duet #2) by Brittainy C. Cherry (Dec. 4). Not a standalone.

(Blurb) 

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a boy.
A beautiful, broken boy who had his own world of struggles. 

People warned me against our love, but I didn’t listen.
We looked weak. 
Young, foolish. 
Dangerously in love. 
We didn’t care.

In order to keep our hearts protected from the opinions of others, we became each other’s secret. 
We shared stolen moments. Tender touches. Secretive embraces.

It was our twisted love story, and it worked for us up until our lives changed forever.

The boy I loved became Hollywood’s newest golden boy. 
His career blossomed as mine stalled. 
He found massive success as I discovered multiple failures. 
He made something of himself, while my dreams never came true.

We moved into different realms where our pieces no longer fit together.

In the fairy tales, love conquered all.
In reality, love was the main reason empires began to fall.

I always knew Landon belonged in my story. 
He was my beginning, middle, and end.
The only problem? I wasn’t certain I still belonged in his. 

The Lineup by Meghan Quinn (Dec. 5)

(Blurb)

Want to know a secret?

It’s about that girl over there.
Don’t look, but she’s the one in the power suit—with the long, black hair and the serious expression, the one I’m about to go on a date with . . .

Yeah, according to her, she “accidentally” donated an obscene amount of money to my charity — The Lineup — to win said date but I found out the truth. Miss. Button Up Blouse has a secret, passionate crush on me. 

I didn’t know her name until two days ago, despite the friends we have in common. 
Was I oblivious? Probably.
Was I blind to it? Definitely.

But I’m no fool, I see it now. The High Heel Harlot wants more than just a date with Jason Orson, she wants to be able to claim the best butt in baseball as hers. 

Here’s another secret . . . she has no idea I know.

Ring Ready by Cary Hart (Dec. 5)

(Blurb)

 “I do.” Two little words I’ve always wanted to say…

You know before I turned into a perpetually single, TV-dinner-eating party of one with thirty cats and a worn-out BOB. Wink. Wink.

I’ve swiped left, right, up, down. I’m over it! Now I’m taking matters into my own manicured hands and changing the dating game with my guaranteed to set a date love app.

The only thing standing in my way? Owen Decker. And his huge…ego.

With his perfect hair, perfect teeth, and less than perfect proposal. Not the down-on-one-knee kind. Oh no! A business proposal to merge my dating app with the Hotline Hookup brand. 

What harm could it do? Owen is the last person I would walk down the aisle to. After all, he’s my brother’s best-friend and business partner. 

Been there. Done that. Literally.

I guess you can say we’re frenemies with benefits. 

But I’m looking for the one. And this app is going to help me find him. Just not in the way I’d planned.

It’s easy to fall for the enemy when you’re ring ready!

Gilded Lily by Staci Hart (Dec. 5)

(Blurb)

They say there’s no such thing as perfect.

But I’ve built my life to perfection—the perfect boyfriend, the perfect apartment, the perfect career planning celebrity weddings. My job—my only job—is to make sure every event is absolutely and completely perfect.

What’s not perfect? Kash Bennet. 

And I wish I didn’t find that so appealing. 

I could have told you every perfectly imperfect thing about the gardener at Longbourne. Like his hair, lush and black and far too long. Or his nose, the flat bridge of a Greek god, bent a little like it’s been broken. Or his size. Beastly. Roped and corded with muscles, gleaming with sweat and peppered with dirt. 

There’s no escaping him, not if I’m going to use his family’s flower shop for my events.

But nothing is what it seems. And in the span of a heartbeat, my perfect life is turned inside out. 

They say the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody new. When Kash offers his services to the cause, it sounds like the perfect plan.

What’s not part of the plan? Falling in love with the gardener.

But they were right—there’s no such thing as perfect. 
And I’m the fool who finds out the hard way.

Interpreter by Kristy Marie (Dec. 6)  

Oh. My. Swoon. Prepare yourself, because Kristy Marie’s Interpreter delivers all the feels. I’ve loved the previous three, standalone books in the Commander in Briefs series, but this latest installment is my favorite. (Although it is hard to choose!) Tim is a former Marine, who lives in a group home for veterans who are trying to get back on their feet. They’re his family in every way except blood, and they push him to get a job teaching at a school in order to help pull him out of the depression that he’s been dealing with since permanently losing his hearing. He’s grumpy and a little surly, and he clashes with his co-teacher, Milah, when he first meets her. Well, they clash in the best, sexiest way possible. They have explosive chemistry, and Milah is fascinated by Tim and begins to chip away at his defenses. They develop a genuine connection, and she helps Tim come to terms with his deafness. I was captivated and deeply affected by his journey, and I was rooting for him every step of the way. Milah is his perfect match — challenging him, supporting him, and loving him when he needs it most. Interpreter is a captivating, emotional and swoon-worthy romance with so much heart, and it will have you laughing, crying, smiling, blushing and most likely swooning.

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