Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of July 21st

Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of July 21st

I always struggle to branch out and read new-to-me authors but I’ve made a concerted effort lately, and I’m thrilled to say this week’s recommendations includes two authors that I had not previously read. There are also books from some of my favorite authors, so I would call this week a big win for everyone.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

Lies by Kylie Scott (July 21)

You do not want to miss Kylie Scott’s Lies! It’s the most original contemporary romance that I’ve read in a long time, and I was thoroughly entertained to the point of giddiness the entire time reading it. It’s a fast-paced, unforgettable story that blends action, comedy, romance, passion and suspense with utterly endearing characters, masterful storytelling and clever plotting. I’ve never read anything like it and loved every minute.

Lake Redstone by J.D. Hollyfield (July 22)


Casey doesn’t have much luck in the dating department, so when her girlfriends ditch their girls only weekend for a couple’s retreat, she’s forced to take desperate measures.

Refusing to be the only single one, she does what any quick-thinking girl would do:

She lies.

It was almost too easy hiring a stranger to pretend to be her hot, rich, successful boyfriend. What she didn’t plan on was him being hot, successful, and way too much trouble for her liking.

Jim was in a slump in his everyday life. He was bored and needed something to spice up his life. Accepting a gig to play the perfect boy toy was not what he had in mind, but it was too good to turn down.

What he didn’t plan for was the smokin’ little spitfire who hired him. It’s a con, a job, a fraud. But the more she’s in his presence, the more he realizes she may be more than just a ruse.

Three days at a lake house.
Two strangers who cause a lot of mayhem.
One little lie.

What could go wrong?

Convict by A. Zavarelli (July 22)

Convict is the second, standalone book in the Sin City Salvation series, and no one does gritty, dark romance quite like A. Zavarelli. It’s a seriously sexy, emotional age-gap romance with intrigue and suspense that will tempt you to read the entire book in one sitting. Both Axe and Birdie have gut-wrenching, complicated pasts, and although they begin their unconventional courtship as enemies, they develop a connection that is deeply genuine. Their coming together and happily ever after is a testament to the idea that a true partnership, understanding and love can make the heart whole.

Million Dollar Marriage by Katy Evans (July 23)

Oh, how I love the second, standalone book in Katy Evans Million Dollar series, Million Dollar Marriage! This opposites-attract romance is nonstop fun, wickedly sexy and utterly swoon-worthy. Penelope is my kind of heroine — smart, sassy, witty and true to herself. She isn’t immediately charmed by the gorgeous, rough-around-the-edges, Luke, but he quickly proves himself to be the type of partner any woman would dream of, whether in a romantic relationship or as a partner in a reality TV challenge. This story is fast-paced and highly entertaining as Luke and Penelope work together to win the ultimate prize — a happily ever after.

All Roads Lead to You by Jennifer Probst (July 23)


All bets are off in this heartfelt romance by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

Happily single, Harper Bishop trusts in only one passion—her rescue farm and healing her thoroughbred, Phoenix. Her dream is to lead him to the Triple Crown. But how unreachable is it without experience or help? A handsome new guest at her family’s B&B has what it takes to make it come true. And with his irresistible brogue, warm smile, and soothing touch, he’s a major distraction.

After a bitter betrayal, horse trainer Aidan O’Connor has fled Ireland for a vacation in New York’s Hudson Valley. When he sees the horse with the fighting spirit, he’s inspired with a new goal: to train Phoenix to win. He’s also facing an unexpected new challenge: his feelings for Harper.

How can she dare to open her heart to a man who’ll be there only long enough to break it?

So Harper and Aidan agree: try to keep it professional, and focus only on Phoenix and the finish line. But along the way, they could also learn a few lessons in love, trust, and taking chances. And, as painful as it promises to be, saying goodbye.

Wait for Me by K.L. Grayson (July 23)


My life is a mess. Literally.

I’m a single dad, which means If I’m not cleaning up spilled milk or changing a diaper, I’m pulling gum from my daughter’s hair. I barely have enough time to eat—let alone sleep.

And women? Forget about it. That ship sailed two years ago along with my ex-wife. My brother says I need to get laid. I say, screw that. I’m content with my life, until pop star Nora Hayes walks through my best friend’s front door and flips my world upside down. 

She’s beautiful, famous, and completely off limits. 

My life is a headline waiting to happen. Literally.

It all started with fishnet stockings and ended with a baseball bat to my boyfriend’s Porsche, putting me on the front page of every newspaper and gossip magazine in the country. 

My life is spiraling out of control and I’m ready to make some serious changes. What I’m not ready for is a hunky man to strut his jean clad tush into my life. Grayson Calhoun is as rugged as he is sweet. He’s also way in over his head with his kids, and I have an offer I’m hoping he can’t refuse. 

What starts as an agreement, turns to a friendship, and quickly escalates to stolen kisses and heated nights spent wrapped in each other’s arms. What we have is temporary. I promise him that I won’t fall in love.

But I make that promise already knowing it’s a lie.

Bodyguard to the Billionaire (The Billionaire duet #1) by Nana Malone (July 23). Not a standalone.


It was supposed to be a simple job….Go to the Winston Isles, they said. Be a double for a billionaire, they said. Well nothing is ever simple.

I was supposed to collect my cash and go home. Easy right? Wrong!

When my carefully constructed plan goes awry, and my billionaire double goes missing, I have no choice but to hire a smart mouthed, tight assed bodyguard.

Zia Barnes is the last thing I need or want. Lord that woman has a mouth on her. She’s also determined, smart, and has no idea I’m an imposter.

Good thing I have no intention on falling for her, or else I’d be royally screwed.

Highball Rush by Claire Kingsley and Lucy Score (July 24)


 Gravel-voiced Gibson Bodine takes his lone wolf image seriously. The tough guy. The bad boy. He lives alone. Works alone. His one love—besides starting a good brawl—is sitting on a rinky-dink stage in a backwoods bar playing guitar and singing about things he’ll never have.

When a video of him playing goes viral, Gibson ignores the unwanted attention. He’s got bigger things to worry about. Like the bomb his half-brother’s mom just dropped on him. And the fallout from the memento he’s been carrying around for thirteen years. 

He doesn’t have time for fame… or love… or meddling neighbors stopping by with casseroles and questions.

But one night in a bar, fifty miles from home, he meets her. And she changes everything.

In Bootleg Springs—home of the best moonshine and nosiest neighbors in West Virginia—secrets don’t keep. When the truth about Callie Kendall’s fate brings danger home, it’s up to Gibson to step up and be the hero. And maybe find what he’s been missing all along.


Southern Gentleman by Jessica Peterson (July 25)


I know two things when I meet my new boss, Greyson Parker Montgomery III. 
One, he’s an egomaniac. 
And two, we’re going to get naked.

Something I didn’t know? That I’d end up pregnant.

No one is more surprised by our off-the-charts chemistry than me. I’m a free spirit with a passion for design and a taste for the bohemian. Greyson is a cocky venture capitalist who’s as soulless as his sharply cut power suits.

He owns half of Charleston, and has the other half at his beck and call. But the only place he owns me is in bed…or in the backseat of his car, boneless and begging for mercy. 

We argue over contracts and costs all day long. Behind closed doors, however, we engage in a different kind of business. The kind that has me surrendering to his unique brand of dominance.

Our no-strings attached arrangement suits me just fine. Until I wake up one morning with what I think is a wicked hangover.

Only it’s not a hangover.

I thought Greyson was a typical “greed is good” grump. But when he demands to be involved in the life we accidentally created, I start to see a different side of him. One that’s more gentleman than jerk.

Am I crazy to think we could be a family together? Or is making me fall for him just another one of his power plays?

The Tip-Off by Rebecca Jenshak (July 25)


 I’ve spent years hiding in the shadows. 

He’s spent his whole life chasing the bright lights of the NBA.

We have nothing in common, except for the fact our friends ditched us for spring break. 

I have a bucket list for my senior year at Valley U. 

He’s the only person I know on campus. 

I’m ready to start checking things off my list. 

Frat party: Check.
TP the baseball house: Check.
Goat yoga: Check.
Skinny dipping: Check.
Falling for Zeke Sweets, Valley U’s MVP: Not going to happen.

Game Changer by Sierra Hill (July 25)

Game Changer is the first standalone book in the Change of Hearts series and my first time reading Sierra Hill, and I thoroughly enjoyed this emotional, swoon-worthy single-dad romance. Garrett and his adorable son Caleb quickly won my heart, and Brooklyn was perfect infusion of love and understanding when she came into their lives. She helped Garrett heal and made their family whole again, and their happily ever after is the ultimate feel-good experience. Don’t miss this poignant, heartwarming, sexy and sweet romance.

Falter by Carrie Aarons (July 25)

I’ve loved every book in Carrie Aarons’ Nash Brothers series, and the fourth, standalone book, Falter, wraps up this heartwarming, family-centric series beautifully. There are so many feels in this must-read romance that deftly presents addiction realistically, compassionately and gracefully. You’ll fall hard for Ryan and Fletcher as they deal with their painful pasts while falling in love and building a future together. It’s an incredibly moving and deeply romantic story that you do not want to miss.

Defying Gravity by K.K. Allen (July 25)


Our greatest risk was the one we never took … 

It was an accidental spring fling three years ago—one week spent in the mountains of Big Sur and no one was the wiser. Ignore the fact that Tobias James was my neighbor and my best friend’s older brother. Or that upon our return his hoop dreams were waiting for him, robbing us of any potential future we could have shared. 

Now, I’m fulfilling my own dreams in L.A. and my biggest dream of all is about to come true. The last thing I expected was for my past and my present to collide.

Not now. Not here. Not him.

But he struts back into my life like he never even left. Unfortunately, I’ll never forget what happened after he did.

The ball is in my court, but Tobias isn’t below stealing—my power, my resolve, my heart… When he wants a second chance to reignite our connection, my answer is simple. We can’t.

Not unless we defy the rules our dreams were built on and risk everything. 

Where I’d Rather Be by C.R. Ellis

Where I’d Rather Be is my first time reading C.R. Ellis, and I adore this sexy enemies-to-lovers romance. Xander doesn’t appear to like Sophia when they first meet, but they have chemistry in spades that leads to an unforgettable one-night stand. Although he has reasons to try and keep her at a distance and guard his heart, Sophia is charming and irresistible, and she soon sneaks her way in. Their push-and-pull romance is sexy and captivating, and the story’s unexpected twists and turns ensures you won’t be able to put this book down.

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