Pumpkin spice is everywhere, and it is another amazing week in contemporary romance. You can enjoy your favorite flavored latte while reading any of these top picks, and October might be my new favorite month.
❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.
Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely (Oct. 4)
Never have I ever been so infuriated by a man I wanted to kiss.
They say opposites attract, but I beg to differ. Combust is more like it. Because every single time I talk to Zach Nolan, I see red.
The too-good-looking, too-smart, too-effortlessly charming single dad who works down the hall from me has turned getting under my skin into a sport. Call it the battle of wits between the wedding planner and the divorce attorney.
Trouble is, when we’re forced into closer quarters planning an engagement party for our best friends, I start to see his other sides.
And I fear I’m falling for the enemy.
I’m not out to make friends. My goals are simple — fight till the end for my clients, and my family.
The last thing I need is a vibrant, outgoing, snarky, and surprisingly big-hearted wedding planner to spend my precious free time with…except, watching Piper bond with my daughter just might break down the cinder block walls I’ve built around my heart these last few years.
Second chances don’t come around for guys like me…or do they?
The Way We Fell by M.J. Fields (Oct. 6)
One brilliant smile, and my heart beat for what felt like the very first time.
One night as he held my sister and sang to her, it broke.
Years later, his smile is different, and I curse my heart when it beats in an all too familiar way, a way it’s only ever beat for him… again.
He was once hers, could he ever truly be mine?
Between Now and Forever (Forever trilogy #1) by Dylan Allen (Oct. 6). Not a Standalone.
He was searching for the truth.
I was living a lie.
Our paths should never have crossed.
Yet, when we kissed it felt like destiny.
Falling in love was messy
We broke rules we should have followed.
We made promises we couldn’t keep.
Forever felt impossible.
Heartbreak was inevitable.
Always would cost us everything.
What’s Your Sign? by Lila Monroe (Oct. 7)
I’ve never been the superstitious type. Black cats are made for snuggling, and broken mirrors just mean I can’t see today’s epic zit, but getting stuck in an elevator and accidentally making out with my handsome boss on his first day? I don’t have to read the tea leaves to know, this spells disaster for my dream journalism job. With the future of the newspaper in jeopardy, I’m next on the chopping block for sure… until I figure out our new CEO’s one weakness.
And it’s written in the stars.
Turns out, Justin is a major fan of the Gazette’s astrology column. And since our resident mystic has gone AWOL, guess who’s left secretly writing the forecasts? Me!
Soon, I’m using his star sign to nudge him in the right direction – and away from the pink slips. But as Justin and I grow closer, the chemistry between us is sizzling… and my little white lie turns into a galaxy-sized problem. I’m seeing stars – and not just when he kisses me.
The Play by Elle Kennedy (Oct. 7)
What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.
But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.
Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.
And she’s making a play for me.
Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.
Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.
❤ The Amendment (The Contract #3) by Melanie Moreland (Oct. 7). Semi-Standalone.
I just read the first book in this series, The Contract, and I now know what everyone has been raving about since it first released in 2016. Richard and Katy are everything! You do not have to read the prior two books before reading The Amendment, but I think you lose out on some of the reading experience if you do not. I wholeheartedly recommend this series, and I promise you will not regret diving in.
Richard VanRyan has it all.
A loving wife, a beautiful family, great friends, and a career he excels at.
He’s riding high on the crest of life.
What happens when the ride stops?
When the unthinkable becomes reality and life may never again be the same?
The Contract has changed.
Can Richard and Katy overcome The Amendment?
American Love Story by Adriana Herrera (Oct. 7)
No one should have to choose between love and justice.
Haitian-born professor and activist Patrice Denis is not here for anything that will veer him off the path he’s worked so hard for. One particularly dangerous distraction: Easton Archer, the assistant district attorney who last summer gave Patrice some of the most intense nights of his life, and still makes him all but forget they’re from two completely different worlds.
All-around golden boy Easton forged his own path to success, choosing public service over the comforts of his family’s wealth. With local law enforcement unfairly targeting young men of color, and his career—and conscience—on the line, now is hardly the time to be thirsting after Patrice again. Even if their nights together have turned into so much more.
For the first time, Patrice is tempted to open up and embrace the happiness he’s always denied himself. But as tensions between the community and the sheriff’s office grow by the day, Easton’s personal and professional lives collide. And when the issue at hand hits closer to home than either could imagine, they’ll have to work to forge a path forward…together.
❤ Down Too Deep by J. Daniels (Oct. 8)
Prepare yourself to feel absolutely everything when you read one of my favorite books of 2019 — J. Daniels’ Down Too Deep. You do not want to miss this emotional, sexy, and utterly sigh-worthy romance in which a tortured single dad, Nate, finds redemption and love again with an endearing single mom, Jenna, and her adorable twins. Their relationship begins when Jenna offers to help Nate by babysitting his daughter, and she’s a life raft to him. He’s been struggling to deal with guilt over his wife’s death two years ago while also trying to manage parenting by himself and running his busy restaurant. He and Jenna have an awkward beginning that quickly turns into an easy, supportive friendship, and although they are extremely attracted to one another, Nate is still holds back. But Jenna proves to be exactly the catalyst he needs to heal, and he is certain to be on a lot of book-boyfriend lists this year. Their three children add charm and a ton of heart to this absolutely captivating romance, and I cannot recommend Down Too Deep enough.
❤ Desperate to Touch (Hard to Love #2) by W. Winters (Oct. 8). Not a standalone.
Desperate to Touch is the second book in the Hard to Love trilogy, and you do not want to miss this epic, smoking-hot love story. The first book, Hard to Love, tells the story of how the hero and heroine fell madly in love when they were young and the events that tore them apart. In the second installment, they are reunited years later, but there is a lot of anger between them, although it is obvious they still love one another. As they try to reconcile, the past comes back to haunt them and could destroy any chance they have for a future together. Their story continues with Tempted to Kiss in January 2020.
Finn by Melody Anne (Oct. 8)
Finn Anderson is a loyal military veteran who has no desire to live a life of luxury and ease, but sometimes a person doesn’t get a choice. His life is flipped upside down when he and his four brothers learn they’re long-lost relatives of the absurdly famous and wealthy Joseph Anderson. The eccentric but generous billionaire puts the brothers to work building a new veterans center, and that’s not all: Joseph won’t stop until each nephew finds love.
Finn has never expected or wanted an easy life, and he struggles with his early retirement from the elite SEAL team. But when a very confident Brooke Garrison literally sweeps him off his feet during a self-defense class he’s teaching, he thinks less about his past and more about a brand-new future.
If Finn knows anything for certain, it’s that he can’t let this woman get away. Though Brooke is tough and compassionate, the loss of her brother has left her vulnerable. She isn’t sure she can risk loving and losing another person in her life, including a very determined ex-SEAL. Can the two of them look beyond their past wounds and embrace what they’re feeling?
Baking Me Crazy by Karla Sorensen (Oct. 8)
I’m Levi Buchanan, and until five years ago, I thought the legend of my family’s curse was a load of crazy, Southern nonsense.
No curse can make you fall in love at first sight. No curse can force a true, deep, passionate, all-consuming love that will haunt you all the days of your life.
Then I met Jocelyn Abernathy and I realized how completely wrong I was.
The problem is, Jocelyn guards her feelings like well-armed soldier. She’s the most beautiful, stubborn, infuriating woman I’ve ever met. Every time she talks, I want to kiss the living daylights out of her. But I can’t.
Because when we met, she didn’t need true love. She needed a best friend. And that’s what I’ve been to her… for five years.
But when Jocelyn meets a handsome stranger her first day working at Donner Bakery and she lets him buy her a dill pickle cupcake, I realize with ominous regret that I may have missed my window with my best friend.
If I can’t get her to see past our friendship, my new curse may be to watch the love of my life move on with someone else.
Sinners are Winners by Lani Lynn Vale (Oct. 8)
He saw her from across a crowded ballpark and knew she was about to change his life.
Yes, he realizes just how cliché that really is, but the moment his eyes locked on her, he knew that she was the one.
At least, the one that royally screwed him over. The one responsible for his demotion and the subsequent disciplinary action taken against him before he’d even gotten out of the probationary period with Kilgore Police Department.
It all started with a kiss.
Saylor Rae Spada tried to mind her business. She also tried to not get involved in petty disputes.
However, from the moment she saw him sitting next to her at a professional baseball game, a game she didn’t even want to be at but was dragged to by her blind date, she couldn’t look away.
Then the kiss cam came on, featuring none other than her and the handsome stranger.
Without missing a beat, he kissed her.
Then her blind date decided to pull a knife and try to stab him.
From that point forward, she’s done nothing but cause him trouble.
Trouble that he’s starting to find increasingly adorable.
❤ Getting Played by Emma Chase (Oct. 8)
I reviewed the audio version of Getting Played on Frolic on June 9. Getting Played this is equal parts funny, sexy, sweet and moving. It pulled me in right from the start and kept me thoroughly engaged and entertained until its sigh-worthy happily ever after, and this heartwarming romance is guaranteed to give the reader all the feels.
Faker by Sarah Smith (Oct. 8)
Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.
One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…
When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.
The Golden Hour by L.M. Halloran (Oct. 10)
My name is Finn McCowen, and I want my revenge.
Callisto Avellino was the heiress of one of the country’s most influential families. A delicate wildflower in a bed of thorns. And the daughter of the man who killed my father.
Six years ago, she disappeared.
She says she ran away to escape the poison of her corrupt family.
Money. Prestige. Power. Murder.
We have the same agenda – or so it seems: ruin the Avellinos at all costs.
And if I have to put her in harm’s way to get what I want?
So be it.
Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent (Oct. 10)
“You don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?
Even though that’s all you ever dream about.”
Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.
Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.
On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing a huge scandal in their sleepy suburban town.
Now everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.
But Violet is going to make it right.
She’s going to find him and bring him back.
No matter how cruel and mean he is, how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.
And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…
The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually – again.
Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?
Even though that’s all you ever dream about.
❤ The Mogul and the Muscle by Claire Kingsley (Oct. 11)
Claire Kingsley’s The Mogul and the Muscle is the second, standalone book in the Bluewater Billionaires series, and it is just as hilarious and swoon-worthy as the first installment, Lucy Score’s The Price of Scandal. Cameron is a wildly successful engineer and CEO, who suddenly needs the services of a bodyguard after some odd and disturbing things happen to her. The hunky ex-CIA Jude gets the job, and it quickly becomes apparent that these two are going to have a hard time not mixing business with pleasure. Their chemistry leaps off the page as they fall for one another while trying to unravel the mystery of who might be targeting Cameron, and you will be thoroughly entertained every step of the way.