Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of May 19th

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Summer is fast approaching, and I am already organizing my to-be-read list, and I’m including a few of the many amazing releases from this week that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. So many books, so little time.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

Unexpected Love by Kristin Mayer (May 17)

I recently discovered Kristin Mayer, and I’m loving everything I’ve read of hers, including her latest contemporary romance, Unexpected Love. Addilyn is disillusioned about love after her ex-husband’s devastating betrayal, and she’s moved to New York City to begin a new phase of her life and a new job. She’s on a dating app for work and meets Mystery_Man, aka Lucian, and connects with him instantly, but she quickly puts him in the friend-zone. When they meet in person through a twist of fate, she discovers he’s even more appealing in person. She’s extremely attracted to him but still hesitant to date, but Lucian wants to pursue something with her, although he’s also been burned previously. He’s absolutely swoony as he convinces her to give him a chance, and this sweet and sexy romance delivers all of the feels.

Undeniable by Melanie Harlow (May 19)  

Melanie Harlow is an auto-buy author for me, so I’m always ecstatic when she has a new release. Undeniable is the beginning of a new series, Colverleigh Farms, and it’s off to a swoon-worthy start. Oliver and Chloe have a complicated history. Their families have always been extremely close, and they’ve been friends since they were practically born. Their relationship has gone from childhood playmates to competitive frenenemies to passionate lovers to bitter enemies. Oliver broke Chloe’s trust and her heart years ago, so when he suddenly bursts into her life again with a business proposition, she’s understandably hesitant to work with him. But Oliver is adorably sexy and undeniably charming, and she’s soon working beside him and falling for him again. But they have to deal with their messy history, and Oliver has to atone for his mistakes and convince Chloe that she can trust him. You’ll be captivated and rooting for these two as they repair their relationship and fight for their happily ever after. Undeniable is breathtakingly romantic and truly has it all.

Arrange Us (The Arranged Duo #2) by Katy Regnery (May 20)

(Blurb) 

My name is Courtney Jane Salinger…
and I just got married.


I was sick of Netflix and chilling, hanging out, catfishing, ghosting, break-ups, make-ups, and games. 

So, what did I do?

I signed up with a married-at-first-sight matchmaking service, 
and I married the man who was waiting for me at the altar.

We did it.
We’re married.
He’s mine.
I’m his.
Man and wife.
Missus and Mister.

Except…
We barely know each other.
We’ve never lived together.

Turns out I’m an early bird, and he’s a night owl.
He works nights and I work all day.
His parents keep asking when we’re having kids, 
while mine keep emailing me the names of divorce lawyers.
Women everywhere want to get in his pants, including
his omnipresent ex … and my newly-single boss can’t seem 
to get the hint that I am off the market.

No one thinks we can make it.
And now I’m starting to wonder too.

Being arranged was just the beginning.
Is happily-ever-after even possible?

Choose Me by R.C. Boldt (May 21) 

Oh. My. Swoon. Choose Me is a friends-to-lovers romance that will have you laughing, smiling, sighing, crying and cheering from beginning to end, and it’s a book you’ll be tempted to read again and again. Hollis and Magnolia met as children and quickly formed a steadfast friendship, and they’ve been through life’s ups and downs with each other. When their feelings evolve romantically over the years, it complicates their relationship and threatens to destroy their years of history. Hollis is burdened with self-doubt that prevents him from believing he’s worthy of a future with Magnolia, and he has to overcome his deeply-seated fears if he doesn’t want to lose her to another man. It’s an incredibly moving love story that will evoke the gamut of emotions and leave you an exhausted and deeply satisfied mess.

The Assistant by Marni Mann (May 21)

 Marni Mann is an evocative, powerful storyteller, and she’s once again blown my mind with The Assistant. It is an absolutely riveting, complex and unforgettable story of a wife, mother and successful entrepreneur, who is now working less and focusing on her beloved family. Her love for her husband and children leaps off the page, and her journey is intensely emotional and deeply affecting. I don’t want to say any more about it, except that you should clear your schedule because you will not want to put The Assistant down. And you’ll be thinking about it long after finishing it. It’s simply brilliant and will undoubtedly be at the top of my Best of 2019 list.

Ice Cream Lover by Jackie Lau (May 21)

(Blurb)

 I hate ice cream. Ever since my fiancée left me at the altar and skewered me in her bestseller “Embrace Your Inner Ice Cream Sandwich: Finding the Positive You in a World of Negativity,” I haven’t been able to stomach the stuff.

Unfortunately, my five-year-old niece is a budding foodie and her favorite place in the world is Ginger Scoops, a cutesy Asian ice cream shop. Since I’ve been looking after my niece a lot lately, I’ve spent too much time there, sipping black coffee, refusing to eat ice cream, and trying not to look at the owner, Chloe Jenkins. Chloe is obnoxiously cheerful, and I can’t stand her. 

Naturally, I end up kissing her.

But I’ve sworn off women after the fiasco with my ex-fiancée, and I’m convinced I’m no good at relationships. Still, with Chloe I’m tempted to do the impossible: give love and ice cream another chance…

Holding Out by Serena Bell (May 21)

(Blurb)

His friend’s little sister has just asked him for a BIG favor. The trouble is, once won’t be enough … for either of them.

The answer has to be no, of course. No way Griff Ambrose is going to help Becca Drake solve her inexperience issues. Not only is she his friend’s sister, but Griff doesn’t do commitment–not since the day he came home from war to find his house empty and his wife gone.

But he can’t get Becca’s request–or pretty much anything else about her–out of his head. What can it hurt, anyway? If it’s awkward afterwards, they can just avoid each other. Right?

Becca Drake has turned her life around, and she’s proud of how much butt she’s kicking. The shy girl with the self-esteem problem has been shown the door, and New Becca’s in the driver’s seat. There’s just one more demon she has to exorcise. Her lack of experience is messing up her romantic life. Guys who might be okay with giving her a test drive act like they’re being auditioned for marriage when they find out exactly what she’s never done.

Griff is the perfect candidate to do the deed: He’s her friend, he’s hot as heck, and neither of them wants anything serious.

Then Becca’s job goes belly up and she takes a temporary position at the veterans’ retreat where Griff works. Now she and Griff can’t stay out of each other’s way–and their entanglement keeps getting messier–and hotter. Worst of all, it’s getting harder and harder for Becca and Griff to lie to themselves about what they really want…

A Love Like Yours (Love Story duet #1) by Robin Huber (May 21). Not a standalone.

Robin Huber is a new-to-me author, and I’ll definitely be reading more from her. A Love Like Yours is an emotional, captivating second-chance romance and the first book in the Love Story duet. Sam and Lucy share a heartbreaking, beautiful history, and although they parted ways under painful circumstances, their hearts still ache for one another. Lucy is on the cusp of marrying another man, but when she seems Sam again, it’s obvious their love story isn’t finished. This moving, unforgettable journey will leave you begging for more as you wait for the second book, A Story Like Ours, which, thankfully, releases soon on June 18. I absolutely cannot wait for more of Sam and Lucy.

Falling For You by Jennifer Van Wyk (May 21) 

(Blurb)

Fake it ‘til you make it has been the motto I live by since my mother died.
I’m also doing a really bad job at the making it part.
The night we met, I was at my lowest.

But you gave me a reason to feel happy again.

For the first time in over a year, I was optimistic.

You and I? We’re the same. Don’t form attachments.
Follow the rules. Don’t dream of a future. 
Too bad our hearts wouldn’t listen.
And this storm we’re going through? The one that threatens to rip us apart?
It doesn’t care that I’m falling for you.




To Tame a Wild Cowboy by Lori Wilde (May 21)

 (Blurb)

What would it take to tame a wild cowboy?

One minute, Rhett Lockhart is a love ‘em and leave ‘em bull rider with a slow, sexy smile, a swagger, and not a care in the world. The next, he learns his free-wheeling days are over: a baby has been abandoned in the hospital, and there’s no question: he’s the father. But from the first moment he gazes into his daughter’s eyes, he knows the moment has come to say ‘no’ to no-strings. It’s time to grow up. 

Standing in his way is the baby’s foster mother, Tara Alzate, who doesn’t quite believe Rhett is ready to change his ways. Still, she’s not not immune to his considerable charms. So when he proposes a marriage of convenience and shared custody, against her better judgement, she says “I do.” Can Tara tame this wild cowboy and make her own, long-buried dreams come true?

Twisted (Tangled Web #1) by Aleatha Romig (May 21) Not a standalone.

(Blurb)

The underworld of Chicago is far from forgiving. It’s a world where knowledge means power, power money, and money everything. 
While I paid the ultimate price to have it all, it wasn’t my decision to give my life.. 
That doesn’t mean I ceased to exist, only to live.
Going where the job takes me and living in the shadows, with deadly accuracy I utilize the skills inherent to me, not knowing from where they came, not recalling what I’d lost. 
And then I saw her.
Laurel Carlson.
I shouldn’t want her, desire her, or need her, yet with each sighting I know she is exactly what I have to have. Laurel has the ability to do what I thought was impossible. She sees what others don’t. 
My gut tells me that it’s a deadly mistake to change my plans and open my world to her. My mind says she’ll be repulsed by my twisted existence. 
None of that matters, because my body won’t take no for an answer. 
I’ve made dangerous mistakes before.

Starfish by Lisa Becker (May 21) 

 (Blurb)

Ambitious graduate Marin Collins accepts a four-month internship at a prestigious public relations firm to work on a tech account, but her plans are derailed when she’s assigned to go on the road with touring rock band Kings Quarters, hailed by Rolling Stone as the next big thing.

Enter Brad Osterhauser, the reluctant rock star who would rather be coding computer games than penning Grammy-nominated songs.

Traveling by bus, city to city with a group of practical joking bandmates and a greedy manager, Marin and Brad forge a friendship and forbidden romance over a shared love of Seinfeld episodes, stolen moments and Red Vines.

But when Marin’s accused of betraying her company and the band, will Brad come to her defense or believe she was disloyal to him for the sake of her career?

Told in alternating perspectives of Marin and Brad, Starfish is a contemporary romance of unexpected love, the redemptive power of music and hogging the bed

Written with Regret (Regret Duet #1) by Aly Martinez (May 23).  Not a standalone.

Aly Martinez is a brilliant storyteller, and she always writes the most unique, unpredictable and poignant love stories that you simply cannot put down. So, I was not surprised that I was enthralled by Written with Regret, the first book in the Regret duet, from the very first page. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, and this beautiful, nuanced journey positively overflows with tenderness, passion and raw emotion that will threaten to steal your next breath. I’m purposely not summarizing the plot, because I think it’s best to go in completely blind. I’m positive that you’ll thank me for recommending this book! The second installment, Written with You, releases on June 13, and it can’t get here soon enough.

Seducing the Billionaire’s Daughter by Marquita Valentine (May 23)

(Blurb)

Despite the prestige of his last name, Sawyer Taggart clawed his way to the top. As the illegitimate son the Taggarts can no longer ignore, he wants what’s rightfully his–control of the security firm that’s worth billions. But first, he has to take out the competition. 

London Montgomery refuses to use her last name to get ahead. As the only girl in the trio of billionaire Montgomery siblings, she’s a prime target for fortune hunters. To keep herself safe and please her family, she stays on the straight and narrow… until she meets Sawyer Taggart. No matter how many roadblocks she throws in his way, the darkly seductive businessman continues to ruthlessly pursue her. 

The Red Zone by Amie Knight (May 23)

Amie Knight’s The Red Zone is a feel-good sports romance with so much heart, and you’ll fall in love with these endearing characters and emotional story. Lukas is a professional football player, who switches teams in order to move home and raise his sister Ella. He’s tormented with worry that he’ll make colossal mistakes parenting the sweet teenager, who has Down Syndrome, and he’s somehow managed to blunder and irritate her beloved teacher. When they come face to face, he discovers that she’s actually his former high school friend and tutor, Scarlett, and he’s elated to reconnect with her. Unfortunately, Scarlett doesn’t feel the same, because, unbeknownst to Lukas, he broke her teenaged heart when he left for college. She’s standoffish and prickly, but he’s irresistible, sexy and downright swoon-worthy as he chips away at the walls guarding her heart. The Red Zone is a beautiful, moving story of familial love and breathtaking romance that will warm even the most stone cold heart.

Baby Yours (Roommate Duet #2) by Kennedy Fox (May 23). Not a standalone. 

(Blurb)

The worst day of my life happened when Brandon died. 
We had our entire future mapped out. 
Careers, marriage, kids—in that order. 
Then the universe threw a curveball and ended it all. 

As I come to terms with everything, I learn I’m carrying his baby. Now I’m living with his roommate, the guy who’s made my life a living hell the past two years. Hunter’s now the one to hold me up when all I want to do is fall. 

Knowing my religious parents will never accept the pregnancy out of wedlock, Hunter offers to be my fake husband. While I think he’s gone crazy, it’s the only plan that’ll keep them in my life. So I do whatever it takes to make our relationship believable—kissing, touching, even letting him hold me when we sleep. The lines are so blurred neither of us want to admit we’re no longer pretending. 

The guilt of what we’re doing eats me alive as I struggle to deal with my emotions. I push him away, but he pulls me closer, showing me how he’s always felt.  

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