Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of October 20th

Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of October 20th
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Well, I legiterally (Yes, this is a real word ever since Jana Aston introduced it in Good Time.) have no words for all these releases this week. This is a record number, and I tried hard to pare down the list. It was impossible, friends, impossible.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

Delicate Promises by Kelly Elliott (Oct. 18) 

Delicate Promises is the second, standalone book in Kelly Elliott’s Southern Bride series, and it’s a swoon-worthy combination of friends-to-lovers, second-chance and enemies-to-lovers. Kynslee and Miles were best friends growing up, and in high school, they promised to marry each other if neither were married when they turned thirty. But their relationship became more complicated after their vow, because they crossed the line and became lovers intermittently throughout the subsequent years. As they enter their third decade, Kynslee is angry with Miles and no longer plans to adhere to their childhood agreement, but Miles does. You’ll fall hard for these two as they stumble and kiss their way to a reconciliation, and Delicate Promises is an adorably sexy romance with endearing characters, small-town charm and all of the feels.

Half Truths by Claire Contreras (Oct. 21)

I seriously could not put Claire Contreras’ Half Truths down, and I devoured this suspenseful romance in one sitting. It’s dangerous, intriguing, smart and sensual with compelling twists and unexpected turns, and you’ve probably never read anything quite like it. You want to go into this book completely blind, so my lips are sealed. Trust me: You want this book in your life. Now.

Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans (Oct. 21)

(Blurb) 

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with. 

From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats — which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

Wanderlove by Rachel Blaufeld (Oct. 21)

Rachel Blaufeld’s coming-of-age, New Adult romance, Wanderlove, is a compelling, unpredictable and emotional story bursting at the seams with feel-good, steamy romance. Emerson and Price are both on a journey of self-discovery when they meet in New York. They clash at first but are also inexplicably drawn to one another, although neither is looking for a relationship. Price is swoon-worthy when he decides he wants more with Emerson and pursues her, and he convinces her to give him a chance. They form a partnership that allows both of them to come into their own while falling deeply in love. Theirs is a beautiful and affecting romance with a few unexpected twists to ensure you’re turning the pages late into the night.

Before You by Marni Mann (Oct. 22)

Marni Mann continually astounds me with her cleverly-plotted, unique and sexy romances, and Before You is another draw-dropping, unforgettable love story with twists, turns and brimming with the unexpected. Billie and Jared’s lives are forever intertwined after they share a near-death experience and survive a plane crash together. But is this singular event the beginning of an epic romance, or is it a once-in-a-lifetime moment shared between strangers? You need — and I literally mean need — to read Before You to find out.

Happy Trail by Daisy Prescott (Oct. 22) 

I absolutely adore Daisy Prescott’s Happy Trail. It’s entertaining, charming, unique, fun and utterly sigh-worthy. Olive is more a socialite than a hiker, but she’s quasi-hiking The Appalachian Trail with her boyfriend…until they suddenly break up and he abandons her. She decides to continue onward by herself and walk the trail for real, and she sets out on an incredible journey of self-discover and self-realization. She meets Ranger Jay along the way, and he’s an integral part of her experience. He’s like no one that she’s ever met before, and he ends up being exactly the person she needs. Their gorgeous, slow-burn romance will give you butterflies in your stomach and have you grinning from ear to ear with a full heart. Prescott’s vivid depiction of hiking the trail may also motivate you to do a little hiking of your own. I know I am thinking of pulling out my boots and walking sticks. Happy Trail is truly a gem and the perfect feel-good read.

Beautifully Broken Spirit by Catherine Cowles (Oct. 22) 

Beautifully Broken Spirit is the third, standalone book in Catherine Cowles’ captivating Sutter Lake series, and it’s a beautiful, emotional and memorable friends-to-lovers romance with a dash of intrigue and suspense that ensures you stay on the edge of your seat. Tuck is Jensen’s brother’s best friend, and they’ve also always had a close relationship. He’s been there for her as a supportive friend during her most trying times, but he’s also very attracted to her. He has reasons — other than being her brother’s best friend — that have held him back from pursuing more with her, but his longing for her is palpable. She has a disheartening romantic history and no longer trusts love. They’re both lonely hearts, who do not realize how absolutely perfect they are for one another. Cowles does a brilliant job of seamlessly giving them that nudge to cross the line and evolving their relationship in a believable, compelling manner. You cannot help but become wholly invested in Tuck and Jensen. Their love story is truly an epic romance brimming with tender, steamy and swoon-worthy moments. Don’t miss Beautifully Broken Spirit.

Tempt the Hookup by Natasha Madison (Oct. 22) 

(Blurb) 

Eliahn
Getting pregnant after a booze cruise hookup was not what any parent wanted to hear, so I picked up my entire life and moved to Paris to start over. Six years later, I was ready to go home. 

I was a single mom and the only thing I knew about my son’s dad was his name—Luca. I didn’t need to know anything else.

The universe had other ideas because on our second day back home, the man came crashing back into my life.

Luca 
Attending a welcome back party for my boss’s daughter wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Sunday. But walking in and seeing my hookup from a cruise six years ago knocks me on my ass. 

It was a weekend of fun and now I’m seeing a pair of eyes, identical to mine, staring right at me. The boy standing next to her is my son. 

Now we’re living next door to each other and attempting to co-parent something that would be easy to do if the pull that brought us together wasn’t still there making things more complicated.

For six years she haunted my dreams, now she’s haunting my every waking moment.
I let her get away once, now I want to make her mine. 

This time, permanently. 

Only one thing left to do. I have to tempt the hookup.

Kiss Me Again by Emma Hart (Oct. 22)

(Blurb)

WANTED: ROOMMATE. Must be tidy, polite, and absolutely not my brother’s hot as sin best friend.
I have no idea why I said yes.
Maybe I’d had one too many wines. Maybe I’d done it accidentally. Maybe I’d been sleep-texting.
One thing I know for sure is this: I absolutely do not want Ethan Hawkins in my apartment, up in my business, taking over my space.
Yet he’s here. Moving his stuff into my spare bedroom. Sending a wave of panty-melting, musky man-scent my way every time he walks past me.
Here’s the thing.
We don’t get along–at all. We never have, and I don’t think we’re going to start now that we’re under one roof.
There’s also that little issue where I’m kinda, sorta, totally in love with him…
 
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Uh-oh.

Just Ten Seconds by Jeannine Colette (Oct. 22)

(Blurb)

Just Ten Seconds
That’s all it took for my life to change forever.

I left my posh life in Manhattan and escaped to the Hudson Valley in hopes of a fresh start. It wasn’t until I happened upon a bereavement group when I finally found a place I felt understood. I told them my husband was dead when, really, I was the one who had died inside. It was also where I saw the smoldering gaze of Dean Delgado, the single father whom I’d helped just days before.

Just Ten Seconds
That’s all he wishes he had with his late wife.

Despite Dean’s widowed status, he has a robust thirst for life. He’s a protector and a giver. A man who fixes things with his hands, is devoted to his child, and wants to spend his days with me. I try to avoid him, knowing a woman with my past has no business being in this man’s life. With every run-in, he makes me laugh. With every touch, he ignites me. And with every second, he makes me feel like myself again.

Just Ten Seconds
That’s all it took for me to fall in love with Dean Delgado.

I’m in too deep and my secrets are about to be exposed. I only hope he can forgive me for the lies I never meant to tell. 

Famous by Marie Force (Oct. 22)

(Blurb)

 Marlowe
I’ve planned this night for weeks, down to the last detail. I want it to be perfect. Bringing someone new into my private life is not something I do lightly, having learned the hard way over the years that celebrity has a dark downside that I go out of my way to avoid whenever possible. 

But he is different. We’ve been together for months and the time is right to take this next step with him.

It doesn’t take long for me to realize I’ve made a huge mistake trusting this man. 

Before things go from bad to worse, I have the presence of mind to know I’m in big, big trouble.

Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen (Oct. 22)

Only in my family could a professional hockey player earning seven million dollars a year be considered a slacker.

I’m at the height of my athletic career. Yet my arrogant brother is always trying to recruit me into the family business: a global security company so secretive that I don’t even know its name. 
Pass, thanks. I don’t need a summer job. 
But the jerk ambushes me with a damsel in distress. That damsel is Alex, the competitive, sassy girl I knew when we were kids. Now she’s a drop-dead gorgeous woman in deep trouble.
So guess who’s on a flight to Hawaii?
It’s going to be a long week in paradise. My job is keeping Alex safe, while her job is torturing me with her tiny bikinis. Or maybe we’re torturing each other. It’s all snark and flirting until the threat against Alex gets serious. And this jock must become her major league protector. 

Forged by Sacrifice by L.J. Evans (Oct. 22)

(Blurb)

What would you sacrifice for love?

Leaving his Navy career and his assignment at the Department of Defense behind, Mac Whittaker is ready to join his family on Capitol Hill. He’s just missing one thing―a woman he loves at his side. 

He wants the American fairy tale.

Georgie Astrella has put her life’s goals on hold for way too long. She’s finally putting away her cutting shears and curling iron to bury herself in justice and the law.

She certainly isn’t looking for love.

Fate has other ideas… throwing them together until neither of them can walk away from the attraction that thunders across their souls… from the truth of how their hills and valleys fit perfectly together.

But her family’s past would make his future an impossibility.

Will Mac give everything up for her? And more importantly, will Georgie let him?

London Royal (London Royal #1) by Nana Malone (Oct. 22). Not a standalone.

(Blurb)

Rich. 
Entitled. 
Possessive pain in my ass. 
I know exactly what I don’t want. 

I escaped to London under the cover of night, never thinking I’d run smack into a man who would turn me inside out. 

I had a plan. Simple, really. 

Step one: Follow my dream, away from from the demons of my past. 
Step two: Land on my own two feet, preferably far, far, away from the man who hurt me and broke my heart. 
Step three: Live a little and avoid all men with dark secrets. 

So far, I’m not doing so hot. 

He’s a royal amongst peasants, and the last kind of trouble I need–a filthy rich alpha who can see straight into my soul. Our secrets hold us both captive.

Something tells me I’ll be powerless to stop his magnetic pull, especially when he tells me I’m going to be his, damn the consequences. 

Love in Due Time by L.B. Dunbar (Oct. 22)

(Blurb)

Naomi Winters will be forty—soon-ish—and she’s only been with one man. One night. One time. Long ago. She believes everything happens for a reason, and the universe spoke about Nathan Ryder.

Nathan Ryder isn’t the same man who hightailed his bike out of Green Valley eighteen years ago. As a rule breaker, women are one area he acts a fool. Case in point…the local librarian. He can’t get a read on her, but she’s one risk he’s willing to take. Again.

What do an eccentric librarian and a sexy silver biker have in common? More than you think.

The due date on their love might not be expired after all.

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (Oct. 22)

(Blurb) 

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

Taming My Whiskey by Melissa Foster (Oct. 23) 

Melissa Foster returns to her world of the Whiskeys with Taming My Whiskey, the sixth installment in her beloved series. While you do not have to read the previous books, but if you have, you’ll recognize many of the characters, including Jace and Dixie, and enjoy catching up with them. They’ve been friends for years and immensely attracted to each other, but they’ve always held back. Their relationship begins to shift when Jace convinces Dixie to model for his new motorcycle calendar, and she gives the gruff, sexy alpha-biker a run for his money, which is just what he needs.  They are incredibly likable, have explosive chemistry and prove to be perfectly-matched equals, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of their playful, tender, steamy and entertaining romance.

Heartless Hero by Mary Catherine Gebhard (Oct. 24)

(Blurb)

There are rules to being Abigail Crowne’s bodyguard, rules to watching the infamous billion dollar heiress otherwise known as the Reject Princess.

Love is off limits, but no one said anything about hate.

Have you…

The Sinclair Heir (The Feud duet #2) by Eliot Scott (Oct. 24). Not a standalone.

(Blurb)

Everyone knows when a Sinclair boy loves a Wallace girl people die. 

The first time JoJo Wallace smiled, she had my heart. When we kissed, she owned my soul. And when she gave me her everything, I took it…consuming her when I had no right. 

At first, we were just kids falling in love. We didn’t know about the generations-old feud between the Wallaces and the Sinclairs. I also couldn’t imagine Jojo’s destruction had been planned by my father when we were babies. To Father, the feud came first. I was simply bred to participate. My love for Jojo became his weapon, and to keep Jojo alive, I became the perfect son.

I never thought Jojo would come back after Father’s death. Never thought she’d smile at me or kiss me again–or that I’d let her. She’s the last woman I should ever touch. Only Jojo’s relentless. She’s no longer a child that can be frightened away. She’s made me dream again…made me feel. But before this goes too far, I need to get her away from this town and the rest of the Sinclairs who would see her dead.

Why? Because she’s a Wallace and I’m a Sinclair. She’s someone I’d kill for, and I’ll hurt her again. It’s what I do. But Jojo Wallace, she’s impossible for me to resist.

Fallen Prince (Fallen Kingdom #1) by Mia Asher (Oct. 24). Not a standalone.

(Blurb)

Two brothers. One girl. A tragic love story.

Twelve years ago I met them—the Van Buren Princes. 

One was dazzlingly handsome.
Radiant like the sun. 
The perfect knight in shining armor. 
It was so easy to be blinded by him. 
Blinded by his warm touch and kisses that tasted like summer. 
It should’ve been so easy to fall in love with him … 

The other was mercilessly vicious. 
The most beautiful fallen angel. 
Born with a bulletproof heart. 
It was so easy to hate him. 
Hate the captivating smiles hiding a broken soul and his cruelly stolen kisses. 
He broke my heart in two. 

But I should’ve known my place. 
Girls like me don’t get to love the Van Burens without paying a price—‘an eye for an eye, a heart for a heart,’ he said. 

Now I know better. 
I’ve come back to where it all started that summer. 
Back to that gilded hell. 
The only difference is … 

This time I am just like them.

Never Got Over You by Whitney G. (Oct. 24)

(Blurb) 

Nine and a half years ago, you married a man who wasn’t me. He wasn’t even half of me…

Nine and a half hours ago, you walked through the doors of my billion-dollar boardroom for a job interview. 

Although every person at the table fell for your charm and applauded, I didn’t dare. I couldn’t help but notice your bare ring finger. Couldn’t help but notice that you were even sexier now than you were on the night we first met.

I honestly didn’t want to hire you, but I had no choice. (I was outvoted 16-1, but trust me, you got this job by default.)

When you signed the papers and we shook hands, I didn’t bring up the fact that you didn’t “wait for me” like you promised to years ago, or that you just moved on with your life like what we had meant nothing. Instead, I insisted that we keep things one-hundred percent professional.

So, for the record: I’ve long forgotten about you and all the times we shared. (This includes the way your body feels under mine, the way your laughter used to make me smile, and the way you used to breathlessly say my name for hours at a time.)

I’m definitely not in denial, this is all one hundred percent true. You’ll never hear me say that you still have an effect on me, that you’re still the best I’ve ever had, or worse, that I never got over you…

One Week Stand by M. Mabie (Oct. 24)

(Blurb)

Was it too much to ask for one wild week away from college, away from the cold weather, and away from my classmates? That’s all I wanted. A spring break vacation where I could live my best life with my friends and get a little crazy for once. Possibly, drink too many cocktails on the beach, wear the skimpy bikini I bought, and have a no-strings-attached, tropical escapade with a co-ed. 

Sounds perfect, right?

Well, it didn’t happen because my dumbass missed the nonrefundable flight.

And if it wasn’t bad enough that I was stranded on an empty, snow-covered campus over my senior year spring break, it was about to get a whole lot worse…because he’s still here too.
The tall, dark smart ass. The cocky classmate I’ve been rolling my eyes at since freshman year. The annoying internet star who everyone thinks is hilarious. Julien Carson.

So you know what? Screw it.

It’s just a few days, and nobody has to know. Plus, I guess he’s not so bad to look at when he’s saying all the right things and making all the right moves. Maybe I don’t have to fly thousands of miles for a spring fling because I can’t come up with a single reason why Julien shouldn’t be my… One Week Stand.

Breaker by Harloe Rae (Oct. 24)

Harloe Rae’s Breaker is a swoon-worthy, sexy and deeply emotional friends-to-lovers romance that will steal your breath and your heart. Grady is Sutton’s brother’s best friend, and she’s loved him for as long as she can remember. When she attempts to seduce him before leaving for college, it goes all wrong and damages their relationship. While Grady would like nothing more than to be with Sutton, he doesn’t feel he’s worthy of a girl like her. Now, Sutton has returned home after college, and Grady is in an even darker place than when she left. Slowly, with her unconditional support and quiet affection, he begins to realize that he’s more than his past and that his dreams are obtainable. You cannot help but feel for Grady and his plight — it’s raw and heart-wrenching — and this makes his and Sutton’s happily ever after all the more romantic and deeply satisfying. Breaker is the kind of romance that you don’t want to end and you have a hard time letting go.

Girl in Luv and Boy in Luv (Luv Duet) by Jay Crownover & Rebecca Yarros (Oct. 20)

(Blurb)

Girl in Luv

Langley Vaughn is in desperate need of a date.

But not just any date.

She’s looking for a date to the wedding from hell. It isn’t every day you’re forced to be in the bridal party while your first love marries your arch nemesis… otherwise known as the world’s worst stepsister. The entire situation is a nightmare, and Langley is sick and tired of taking orders and forcing a fake smile. She’s done being the bad guy when she was the one who was wronged.

 She needs to find a date who’s not afraid of her family’s money and someone who is willing to shake things up. She needs someone outside of her normal social circle, someone ready to go to war with the well-to-do. She needs someone who won’t back down. Someone willing to play the complicated game of tug of war she’s been engaged in with her family for years.

Never in a million years did she think she was going to stumble across her very own heroic heartthrob when she set her crazy plan in motion.

Not only does Iker show up for her time and time again, he also forced her to finally fight for herself.

He says he’s only there for the money… but his actions speak so much louder than his words. 

Iker Alvarez would do anything and everything to get his hands on some quick cash.

Not just any cash, but enough to make sure his younger brother gets into the college of his dreams. 

Thank goodness for a desperate, pretty little rich girl with too much money and her heart set on an outrageous scheme. Being in the right place at the right time might just be the answer to both of their prayers — and this smart soldier has never let a golden opportunity slide by. 

Iker doesn’t mind coming to Langley’s rescue and being her plus-one… as long as the price is right.

Only, he didn’t plan on liking the blonde socialite as much as he does. He is totally unprepared for the pull he feels toward her, coupled with his growing desire to protect her from the vultures and villains living under the same roof.

He wants to be the guy who keeps her safe and gives her the courage to fight back that she obviously needs… But someone else, someone far more powerful and influential than Langley’s wealthy family, has dibs on Iker’s time and on his future. He knows he isn’t the guy Langley can count on in the long run, but damn if he doesn’t want to do everything in his power to be that man.

Boy in Luv

Distance sure as hell made his heart grow fonder… But it shattered hers into a million pieces.

Langley Vaughn knows she’s never going to make the same mistake again. 

Who falls head over heels in love in a week? Langley did, and she’s regretted it every day since she handed her heart to a boy with too many secrets and too much baggage. Iker doesn’t fit into Langley’s world, and he made it clear he doesn’t want to. He left before she even got a chance to try and change his mind or to prove to him how good they could be together. Langley’s spent the last nine months healing her heart and making big plans for the future. Plans that absolutely don’t include Iker… even though he’s back, looking better than ever, and saying all the right things. 

Iker Alvarez knows he made the biggest mistake of his life.

At first, the pretty blonde in the red dress was nothing more than a means to an end. But, she quickly became so much more. As soon as Iker walked away from Langley, claiming it was for her own good, he knew he screwed up. He left her so she wouldn’t worry about him when he deployed, so she wouldn’t waste her time waiting around for a guy who was never going to be good enough for her. Only, nine months and a deployment later, Iker still can’t get Langley out of his head… and he totally underestimated the hold she has on his hardened heart. He’s a guy who’s not sure how love should work, or how to go about winning his girl back…he’s about to get a crash course in both.

Wild Open Hearts by Kathryn Nolan (Oct. 25)

I am loving every installment in the Bluewater Billionaire series, including the third, standalone book, Wild Open Hearts. Luna is flower-child, vegan, billionaire, Instagram star and the CEO of Wild Heart cosmetics. When scandal knocks on her door and threatens everything she’s built, she turns to charity work to rehab her image. She meets the grumpy, sexy Beck where she volunteers, and the sparks fly. He grew up in a notorious biker gang, but he cut ties years ago and is now trying to lead and grow a nonprofit that rescues dogs. He doesn’t trust Luna’s motivations and is not happy with her involvement, but he cannot deny that there’s something special about her and that he’s seriously attracted to her. These opposites are so entertaining as they dance around one another and slowly discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Wild Open Hearts is a five-star romance — charming, witty, delightful and utterly sigh-worthy.

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