Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of June 9th

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There are so many amazing romances out this week that I seriously considered dividing this post into two parts to prevent anyone from feeling overwhelmed by the number of reading choices, but I decided to embrace the problem of having too many books and too little time. If you see this and feel stressed because there are too many choices, just know that you are not alone.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Lauren Blakely (June 10)

Satisfaction Guaranteed is classic Lauren Blakely – sexy, witty, emotional and absolutely swoon-worthy. Seven years ago, Sloane and Malone spent a steamy, romantic week together, until they realized that Sloane is the daughter of Malone’s new partner at his veterinary clinic. He didn’t want to mix business with pleasure, so they went their separate ways but never forgot one another. Now, Sloane has started an animal rescue organization out of the clinic, and they are working side-by-side every day. Their chemistry is still explosive, their connection is easy and their repartee is flirty, but Malone has to decide whether or not he’s willing to risk it all to pursue his partner’s daughter. 

Man Fast by Krista Sandor (June 10)

I’ve only read 35% of Krista Sandor’s Man Fast, but I am loving this story and these characters. Colorado royalty and notorious playboy, Brennan, falls hard for a sweet and sassy elementary school teacher, who has just moved to Denver with a broken heart, but he has to convince her that she can trust in love again.

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey (June 11)

(Blurb)

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

Hide Your Crazy by Lani Lynn Vale (June 11)

(Blurb)

I’m kind of a lady, but definitely more of a weirdo. 

Hearing the woman at the table behind him say that to her friend should’ve turned Logan Gibbs off.

It doesn’t. In all honesty, it only makes him listen harder.

He’s had enough weird in his life to last a lifetime. The last thing his complicated life needs is a woman in it who has no clue what color you get when you mix yellow and blue together.

Yet, her obvious blonde moments aren’t enough to deter him. Nor is her lack of finger-painting skills.

I’m a cop, not a miracle worker. 

Hearing the man in the group behind her say that should’ve had Katy Roberts running away as fast as her feet would carry her. Katy’s father’s a cop, and it’s hard enough to live her life with Daddy trying to dictate her every move. She needs another cop in her life like she needs yet another thing to go wrong.

To add onto that, she can’t find a job, has no love life to speak of, and has to be the oldest known virgin in Kilgore, Texas.

Yet, when she sees his painting—a painting that resembles a piece of the male anatomy more than the lighthouse they were supposed to be painting—she knows that she has to give him a chance.

The very last thing the two of them expect is for her father and his boss to force them to marry after an eensy-weensy accident. An accident that, surprisingly, both of them want. 

Getting Played by Emma Chase (June 11). Audiobook only.

Prepare yourself to swoon when you listen to Emma Chase’s Getting Played, which is released exclusively in audio. (Print and digital editions will be available in October.) It’s a lighthearted, feel-good romance featuring an endearing single-mom, Lainey, and a charmingly roguish hero, Dean, who have a steamy one-night stand that neither can forget. Both regret never exchanging phone numbers, but fate brings them together again a few months later when they discover that Lainey is the newest resident in the small town in which Dean lives. Their romance is equal parts funny, sexy, sweet and moving and is superbly narrated by the well-matched team of Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber, who deftly portray the flirty, humorous banter as well as the more emotional dialogue and intimate moments. Getting Played pulled me in from the start and kept me thoroughly engaged and entertained until its sigh-worthy happily ever after, and this heartwarming audiobook is guaranteed to give the listener all the feels.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez (June 11)
(Blurb)

Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. 

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

Kickin’ It by Rachel Van Dyken (June 11)

Kickin’ It is the second, stand-alone book in the Red Card series, and it’s a unique, emotional, heartwarming and sexy sports romance with the heroine as the professional athlete. I repeat: The heroine is the professional athlete in this story! How awesome is that? Parker is a soccer player, who is fighting for a second chance to play professionally after she was fired for punching her coach, and she needs super-agent and former pro soccer player Matt’s help to make it happen. Here’s wary of working with Parker, but he soon finds himself equally awed, charmed and attracted to her. Rachel Van Dyken takes the sports romance and gives it an inspiring twist while also exploring weighty, relevant issues and delivering a heart-stopping love story.

Naughty Stranger by Stacey Kennedy (June 11)

Naughty Stranger is the first standalone book in Stacey Kennedy’s new series, Dangerous Love, and it’s a steamy and emotional romance with a generous dose of intrigue and suspense. Peyton was recently widowed and has moved to the small town of Stoney Creek to start over again. She shares an impulsive, passionate kiss with a stranger and discovers that he is her friend’s brother, Boone, who is a local detective. Although neither want a relationship, their chemistry can’t be denied, and when someone is murdered, Boone instinctually wants to protect Peyton. The unpredictable twists and turns of this story will keep you on the edge of your seat and rooting for Peyton and Boone every step of the way. 

Sexy Filthy Boss by Piper Rayne (June 11)

Piper Rayne is launching their White Collar Brothers series with Sexy Filthy Boss, and this enemies-to-lovers, workplace romance is an entertaining and upbeat read with an abundance of heart and a lot of heat. Annie is temporarily assigned to assist the blunt and demanding Enzo, and she’s not thrilled to call him boss. She goes toe-to-toe with him and quickly earns his respect, and their working relationship suddenly turns from antagonistic to flirtatious and sexually-tense. They have to navigate their office romance carefully, and there are some big minefields along the way but those hard-fought happily ever afters are always the most emotionally satisfying.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey (June 11)

Oh, how I adore Tessa Bailey’s contemporary romances! She always delivers, and Fix Her Up is another sigh-worthy, laugh-out-loud funny and uber-sexy romantic comedy that left me with a huge smile on my face. It’s the first standalone book in the Hot and Hammered series and features a feisty, endearing heroine, Georgie, who has always been in love with her brother’s best friend, Travis. He’s a former professional baseball player, who has been devastated by his forced retirement due to an injury, and he has moved back home to start over but has completely stalled out. Georgie is determined to get him out of his self-pity, grumpy funk, and she confronts and pushes him as no one else has. Travis is annoyed but it works, and he begins to notice her as more than just a pesky kid. Soon, their friendship gets a healthy injection of scorching-hot sexual chemistry, so when they decide to fake a relationship, Travis cannot ignore his attraction. Their relationship is both adorable and compelling as they deal with their rapidly evolving feelings, as well as their own personal identity struggles, and you can’t help but love everything about Georgie and Travis. Fix Her Up is a thoroughly entertaining, fan-yourself-worthy and hilarious romance that skillfully combines light-hearted ambiance with more reflective and emotional moments. 

Exquisitely Broken by M. Jay Granberry (June 11)

(Blurb) 

What happens in Vegas…?

Sinclair James wasn’t from my world.
She didn’t have my pedigree or family money.
She was everything I never wanted,
Everything I now realize I needed.
I loved her for six years, her soul, her body, her music.

Until I threw it all away.

One decision changed everything.
One decision destroyed what we had.

She slipped from my life as quietly as she had stolen my heart
But now she’s back.

Sinclair is still mine, she just doesn’t know it yet.
This time I’m not letting her go.

So, what happens in Vegas…?

A second chance to repair what was broken.

The Friend Zone by Sariah Wilson (June 11)

This is my first time reading Sariah Wilson, and I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet and sexy New Adult sports romance with its sassy heroine and swoon-worthy hero. Logan is a college football player, who was kicked off his Division 1 team and is now fighting to hold onto his dreams of the NFL by playing at a junior college. This is his final chance and he’s 100% committed to doing everything right, but he never expects to jeopardize his opportunity by falling for the coach’s daughter! The Friend Zone’s fun collegiate setting, endearing characters, witty banter, sizzling chemistry and punches of emotional intensity blend together to concoct a compelling, feel-good romance that you do not want to miss.

Take Me Down by Carly Phillips (June 11)

(Blurb)

Parker Knight was going through the motions… and then he met her. 

Parker Knight lived and lost his dream. Now he works for his family’s business, wearing a suit and pretending to be happy. A weekend away to plan a corporate retreat turns into a revelation when he lays eyes on Emily Stevens, the sexy owner of a small inn that’s seen better days. One look at Emily and the run down bed and breakfast and suddenly Parker has a purpose. He turns his short stay into a longer one, intending to act on the intense chemistry and desire that runs hot between them. While there, he plans to give Emily and her father’s inn a much needed infusion of cash and manpower.

Coming off an emotionally abusive marriage, Emily has an immediate bias against suave, city guys … But despite the slick exterior, Emily discovers Parker is sweet, charming and eager to help. And when she caves to their incredible passion, she discovers he makes her feel just as good in bed as out. Yet no matter how hot they burn or how well they mesh, Parker’s time with her has an expiration date. And Emily has an ex who refuses to accept that their relationship is over. 

Parker isn’t a man who gives up. Sweet, sexy Emily Stevens is his chance to reclaim his life. He wants to take care of this woman who makes him feel … everything. If only he could figure out how to merge his two lives, everything would be perfect. But when her ex makes his move, Parker realizes what’s important. He only hopes he isn’t too late. 

One Indecent Night by A.M. Hargrove (June 12)

(Blurb)

The day I saw Sylvie West standing next to the bride, 
something moved in me I was certain had died.
I’d known her since she was a pain-in-the-ass kid, but she was my best friend’s cousin, 
and off limits. 
He also told me he’d strangle me if I ever laid a hand on her.
When she downed tequila like water at the reception, and then danced on the table, all bets were off.
She was my kind of woman, and forbidden or not, I was going to make her mine. 
Only when morning broke, I woke up to a different Sylvie—one who didn’t remember a single thing about the passion-filled night we’d shared.
Now, I had to prove I was the one who was meant for her.
After she put up one obstacle after another, the time had come to pull every trick out of my hat.
And Sylvie had no idea I was one tricky bastard.
But the last thing I ever expected was for her to turn the tables and play the final trick on me.

The Marriage Effect by Karla Sorensen (June 12)

Karla Sorensen’s latest sports romance, The Marriage Effect, is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. It’s refreshing, tender, sexy and wonderfully entertaining with two romantic leads that you cannot help but love and cheer for. Logan is a professional football player, who quietly raises his four younger sisters. Paige blasts into his life at just the right moment, and they discover that they both reasons to enter into a fake marriage and they do. Their relationship of convenience quickly turns inconvenient for Logan as he tries to fight his attraction to Paige. He believes he should focus exclusively on his siblings and he sees her as a distraction they don’t need, but he soon discovers that there is so much more to Paige than a beautiful face. There’s a genuine sweetness to this love story that gives it an emotional punch and makes it a romance that you’ll still be thinking about days after reading it. 

The Man I Need (Ward duet #2) by Shanora Williams (June 13). Not a standalone.

(Blurb)

 There are things that women want, and things that women need. 
I know deep down, with every fiber in my body, that I need Mr. Ward. 

He started out as my landscape designer, but became so much more. 
Now, my life is on the line while living with the devil himself. I have been torn down and broken, and I don’t think I can take anymore. 

The man I need was never the one I married. 
No, the man I need is the one I was never supposed to have. He’s the one who showed me gentleness, kindness, and true love. 

Ward would put up a fight for me at any cost. 
I know for a fact, I could be so much happier with him… 
But when I come face-to-face with reality, I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to risk it all for someone I’ve just met, even if it seems like Mr. Ward and I are a match made in heaven.

On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner (June 13)

(Blurb)

Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild. 

And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble. 
Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble. 

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me. Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me. 

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted.  Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want. 

Everyone says Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.

Written with You (Regret duet #2) by Aly Martinez (June 13). Not a standalone. 

Written with You completes the second book in the Regret duet, and I am still speechless after finishing it a week ago. Aly Martinez has delivered a riveting, one-of-a-kind love story that takes the reader on a journey filled with breathtaking romance, jaw-dropping plot twists and real emotional depth. I can’t say more for fear of spoiling the story, so I included the blurb here.

When I was fifteen, a single bullet changed my life. I spent the next decade trying to outrun the devastation of my past, building an empire that would shield me from whatever life could throw at me.

But all the money in the world couldn’t help me when I found a screaming newborn abandoned on my doorstep.

I’d never wanted to be a father. Passing the sludge that ran through my veins down to an innocent child seemed like a tragedy. But there she was—pink cheeks, red hair, and mine.

Somehow, against all logic, that little girl became the best thing that ever happened to me. It was impossible to stay lost in the past when I was the only one who could protect her future.

Which is exactly why, when her mother came back four years later, I was ready for battle.

If only I could stop myself from falling in love with her during the war.

Jersey Six by Jewel E. Ann (June 13)

(Blurb)

How far would you go for revenge? 

A hit-and-run accident leaves Jersey Six orphaned and homeless on the streets of Newark, shattering her dreams of school dances, pink nail polish, and a diploma. 

Eight years later, a burn victim with amnesia wanders into Jersey’s barely-existent life. She resists his efforts to form a friendship until he reveals knowledge of the person responsible for derailing her future. Through their unusual friendship, she discovers a way to avenge the deaths of her foster parents. 

All she has to do is destroy the world’s biggest rock star. 

In the ultimate game of sex, lies, and manipulation, can Jersey discover the truth? Or will she be blinded by attraction, deceived by love, and destroyed by her past?

Stay by Tia Louise (June 13) 

Prepare to meet your next book-boyfriend in Tia Louise’s Stay. Stephen is a former Navy officer and tech startup guru, and he runs into his best friend’s little sister, Emmy, ten years after they had a passionate one-night stand that ended badly for Emmy. She’s not thrilled to be reunited, but Stephen is intensely intrigued by the sassy single-mom and wants to change her prickly attitude towards him. He’s swoon-worthy as he patiently pursues her and builds a heartwarming relationship with her son, who has been dealing with debilitating seizures and a jerky dad. The push-and-pull nature of Stephen and Emmy’s romance ensures your eyes will stay glued to the page, and this addictive, sexy and emotional romance left me feeling absolutely giddy.

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