Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of September 15th

Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of September 15th
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It is another epic week in contemporary romance!

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

Entice by Ava Harrison (Sep. 15)

Ava Harrison’s Entice is an absolutely captivating and seriously sexy age-gap romance with just enough taboo-factor to make it utterly unputdownable and unforgettable. River is twenty years old and has always had a crush on Grayson, who is not only sixteen years older than her but also her father’s estranged best friend. When Gray rekindles his relationship with her dad and meets River as an adult, their chemistry is sizzling-hot and unrelenting. River makes it known that she would welcome his advances, and the sexual tension is palpable. But he’s, understandably, tortured by his attraction to his friend’s daughter. As he finds himself continually drawn to her and unable to resist the pull between them, he realizes there’s more to River than youth and beauty. They forge a strong connection and supportive relationship, and their age difference doesn’t feel as significant any longer to him. But Gray has to decide if his feelings are strong enough to risk not only the wrath of his friend but also the judgement of others, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out. Entice is a sensual and provocative love story with real emotional depth, resulting in a moving and deeply satisfying romance.

The Lion Heart by Carrie Aarons (Sep. 15) 

The Lion Heart will have you feeling absolutely everything! I adore this sexy sports romance that packs an emotional punch. Poppy is a famous model, and Kingston is an infamous footballer and notorious playboy. Both have pasts that cause them to be guarded and hesitant to trust. When they meet, they are extremely attracted to one another, but Poppy isn’t impressed by Kingston’s bed-hopping ways and shuts down his advances. Kingston is captivated by her and the challenge that she presents, and fate throws him an opportunity to pursue her when he discovers they are neighbors. He’s pretty adorable as he does, and he soon reveals a gentler side that resonates with her. They find common ground as they share their most vulnerable selves, and I loved witnessing their evolution as individuals and as a couple. The Lion Heart has it all — humor, tenderness, passion and sigh-worthy romance.

Beard with Me by Penny Reid (Sep. 16)

Penny Reid warns readers at the beginning of Beard with Me that it is not a romance but a tragic story with triggers, and this dire prediction was almost enough to scare this angst-phobic reader away. But as a devoted fan of Reid and the Winston Brothers series, I knew my heart would be bruised but safe and that I wouldn’t regret reading it. I was right.

Beard with Me is an intense, unforgettable and deeply affecting journey that will leave you emotionally exhausted but also quietly content and achingly hopeful. This is the beginning of Billy Winston and Scarlet’s epic love story, and while it is a heartrending foundation on which to build a happily ever after, it is also a testament to the strength of the human spirit and its capacity to sacrifice and give love. The experiences that Billy and Scarlet share give way to the type of connection in which their souls have met and melded — their feelings transcend time and place — and I cannot think of anything more profound or romantic than that. While you’ll most likely ugly-cry while reading Beard with Me, you’ll also laugh, smile and be thoroughly entertained by Reid’s signature whimsical sense of humor and her ability to craft endearing and unique characters that burrow a place deep in your heart. This love story continues this fall in Beard Necessities.

Rustic Hearts by Amber Kelly (Sep. 16)

Rustic Hearts is my first time reading Amber Kelly, and I thoroughly enjoyed this fun and sexy enemies-to-lovers romance. Sophia is a successful businesswoman and proud New Yorker, who has no desire to return to the Texas small town where she spent the first twelve years of her life, especially because she has an estranged relationship with her father. When she is compelled to return, she’s resentful and feels like a fish out of water. She’s also not happy to meet the gruff but sexy cowboy, Braxton, who has had a loving and paternal relationship with her dad for almost as many years as she has not. As she navigates the turbulent emotions of coming home and reconnecting with her family, she finds herself gravitating to Braxton and discovers she not only is attracted to him sexually but also likes him. Although their relationship begins rocky and they appear to be opposites in many ways, Sophia and Braxton are well-matched equals and perfect for each other, and Rustic Hearts is absolutely swoon-worthy.

Vaughn by Ella Fox & Rochelle Paige (Sep. 16)

(Blurb)

Gorgeous, charming, and funny, Vaughn Corbett rose far above his less than optimal beginning to become a household name. Known for being a dynamic and unflappable interviewer, no one was more surprised than he when he got tongue-tied over a gorgeous blonde in the middle of a live interview.

Allie Henderson was so focused on her career that she rarely thought about men or dating. That all changed when she came across a silver-tongued devil on the red carpet. The moment his deep blue eyes met hers, something inside her shifted.

Allie was there to support her best friend. Vaughn was just doing his job. Neither of them expected the instant, magnetic attraction that couldn’t be denied.

Would a surprise that neither of them planned on end things before they really began?

Dine with Me by Layla Reyne (Sep. 16)

(Blurb)

Life never tasted so good.

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

Flame (Men of Inked: Heatwave #1) by Chelle Bliss (Sep. 17). Not a standalone.

Flame is a sexy romantic thriller in which an unforgettable one night stand becomes more complicated after Pike comes to work at the tattoo parlor Gigi’s family owns and where she also works. They cannot resist each other and are falling fast and hard for one another, but Pike’s mysterious past is coming back to haunt him. There’s a nail-biting cliffhanger at the end of Flame, and we will not get resolution until December 10th when the second book, Burn, comes out.

Fake Date by Monica Murphy (Sep. 17)

I am absolutely adoring Monica Murphy’s Dating series, and the second, stand-alone book, Fake Date, is a lighthearted and sexy enemies-to-lovers romance that checks every box on my must-read list: compelling characters, an interesting setting, top-notch banter, simmering sexual tension, fiery passion and plenty of sigh-worthy romance. Jared is a frequent customer at the lingerie boutique that Sarah works at, and they’ve always had a flirtatious but slightly antagonistic working relationship. When Jared suddenly begins to pursue Sarah outside work hours, she’s confused about whether or not she should trust someone who appears to buy a lot of different women underwear, but there is something she cannot resist about the broody, gorgeous and stoic businessman. Their journey to happily ever after is full of humorous, tender and steamy moments and leaves you feeling wholly satisfied.

The Love Trap (Quicksilver #3) by Nicole French (Sep. 17). Not a standalone.

(Blurb)

A vow. A contract. 
A marriage of fire and ice.
But just when Eric de Vries and I found our forever, the entire world conspired to keep us apart.

A kidnapping. A trial.
A madman bent on revenge.
Now caught in a web of our own passion and a father’s obsession, the harder we struggle, the tighter we’re caught.

They say love conquers all, but it feels like we’re the conquest.
As the walls close in, I have to wonder…
are we really meant to be? 
Or is this love just a trap?

Hated You Then (Love Hurts #1) by M. Robinson (Sep. 17). Not a standalone.

Hated You Then is the first book in M. Robinson’s Love Hurts duet, and it’s an unforgettable and captivating enemies-to-lovers story. Harley and Jackson have known and hated one another since they first met as children. Their parents are good friends, and they travel in the same social circles and see each other frequently. Their disdain seems to only be escalating as they grow older until Jackson goes through a gut-wrenching tragedy that brings out a softer side in Harley. They connect on a deeper level during this experience, and they question whether it is only hatred fueling their passionate feelings for each other. Hated You Then is bursting at the seams with laugh-out-loud humor, heartrending emotion and deeply-affecting tenderness, and it is the type of epic love story that you can’t put down and don’t want to let go. The final installment releases November 12, 2019 and that day cannot get here soon enough.

Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne (Sep. 17)

(Blurb) 

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…

Alphas Confess All Anthology (Sep. 17)

(Blurb)

Sometimes, all sin needs is a little confession.

And sometimes, those who need it the most have the highest walls, the darkest secrets…the dirtiest desires.

You’re obsessed with what he’ll do to you. How he’ll possess you in every way possible. Every naughty, forbidden way…

These heroes, created by ten of romance’s leading stars, are ready to step out of their shadows and confess all…to you. The wickedness of their world. The midnights of their fantasies. The forbidden fruit of their needs.

Are you daring enough to accept?

Once Upon an Alpha along with 4 Paws for Ability, and ten bestselling authors, bring you this page turning, limited edition, anthology that’s sure to keep you up well past your bed time and craving your own Forbidden Encounter.

The Billionaire’s Secret (Billionaire duet #2) by Nana Malone (Sep. 17). Not a standalone.

(Blurb) 

It was supposed to be a simple job. Go to the Winston Isles, stand in for my billionaire double for a few weeks.

But between the kidnapping attempt and accidentally falling in love with my bodyguard, things have been far from simple.

The good news, at least now the woman I love knows who I really am. The bad news is, no one else knows and someone is still trying to kill me. 

I came to the Winston Isles to save my mother’s life, now I’ve got so much more than I bargained for. The trick will be to hold on to my brand new life and not get killed in the process.

Boss of Me by Tia Louise (Sep. 17)

Tia Louise always delivers, and her latest book, Boss of Me, is a fun, sexy and sweet office romance. Raquel recently graduated with her MBA and is starting a new job when she’s warned that her boss Patton “is the devil.”  He does turn out to be quite the growly grump, but the feisty Raquel isn’t afraid of his bark. Patton is ex-military and is still dealing with the trauma that occurred during his service while also trying to support his comrades who are also struggling. The chemistry zings between these two as they bicker while they work, and their relationship evolves quickly into something more. Both Patton and Raquel are intensely likeable characters, so you cannot help yourself from cheering for them with each turn of the page. Don’t miss Boss of Me.

The Dugout by Meghan Quinn (Sep. 19)

(Blurb) 

Let me ask you a question: 

If someone is vying for your spot on a team and just so happens to injure you during practice, would you believe it was on purpose?

Word around campus is . . . it was no accident. 

That injury has cost me everything; my starting position, my junior year—and the draft. Now, I’m a senior fresh off recovery, struggling to find my groove, until the day I run into a nervous, fidgety, girl with freckles, in the dining hall. 

They call Milly Potter The Baseball Whisperer, The Diamond Wizard, and The Epitome of All Knowledge. She believes in baseball. She breathes it. She’s the queen of an infamous dynasty, but no one actually knows who she really is, and she plans to keep it that way. 

One mishap in the panini line, one miscommunication in the weight room, and many failed attempts at an apology equal up to one solid truth — Milly Potter never wants to speak to me again — no matter how good my forearms look.

Little do we both know, she’s about to become more than just my fairy ballmother.

Neat by Kandi Steiner (Sep. 19)

(Blurb)

My life is over.

I swore I would never work at the whiskey distillery with my last name on it, that I would never be a part of my father’s legacy. But when I graduated with my art degree and realized there were no jobs, the devil appeared, and I sold my soul, agreeing to work in the family business if he’d give me the art studio I’d always dreamed of.

It can’t be that bad, I thought. 

Until I realized my new boss was Logan Becker.

The Becker brothers have a reputation for being trouble, and since I love trouble, it’s no surprise to me that I’m infatuated by that forbidden fruit the first day I walk into the distillery. That lean, whiskey-eyed, too-hot-for-his-own-good man hates me — and I can’t blame him. His family has been at war with mine for decades, and for good reason.

The Beckers and the Scooters are the Montagues and Capulets of Stratford, Tennessee.

But if he’s Romeo, and I’m Juliet? Well… we all know how that story ends — and for that reason, I tell myself to steer clear. 

Because if my father finds out I’m falling for Logan Becker, my life actually will be over.

And Logan’s will be, too.

Desperately Seeking Househusband by Marika Ray (Sep. 19)

(Blurb)

 I’m fake dating my ex’s brother…all on national television.

Gabby

I just needed a fake boyfriend to be on the reality show Desperate Househusbands with me to prove once and for all I was over my evil ex and living my best life.

Too bad the only guy willing to do the job turned out to be my ex’s half-brother.

Dimples are my kryptonite and he’s got two of them.

Rhett

I was intrigued by her before I knew who she was.

And I admit, I signed up for the fake boyfriend position because I was curious how someone so successful could have dated my asshole brother.

Maybe it’s the way her edges soften at night when she cuddles up to me.

Or maybe it’s watching her rebuild her confidence brick by brick.

Maybe it’s just the goats stirring up repressed sexual desire.

Either way, I have feelings. Real ones.

Which is a bummer when my brother, the wrecking ball, comes back through the door, ruining everything we fought so hard for.

Where’s a goat to rekindle the flames when you need one?

Write You a Love Song by Fabiola Francisco (Sep. 19)

(Blurb)

What’s a girl to do after burning all of her no-good, cheating boyfriend’s belongings? Throw a dart at a map and start over in a new town.

I may be new to the small town of Everton, but I’m well aware that I now share a zip code with a celebrity. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know, Knox Bentley, one of country music’s biggest stars. 

When Knox wanders into my bar— careful brown eyes and broody attitude—I can’t tear my gaze away. A cheating scandal fresh on his heels is just one reason I should stay far, far away, but the closer we get, the more I realize he’s not at all what I imagined.

But being a famous musician comes with unwanted attention…the kind that tears people apart, and now it’s becoming too painful to stay by his side.

They say love is a choice, but so is leaving…

Decidedly by Chance by Stina Lindenblatt (Sep. 19)

Decidedly by Chance is the fifth, standalone book in Stina Lindenblatt’s By the Bay series and a truly unique and utterly swoon-worthy romance. Wes and Hannah are acquaintances through mutual friends and have always been attracted to one another but never acted on it. Their dynamic shifts when Hannah needs a temporary place to stay, and they become roommates. They are also both single parents or soon-to-be one. Wes is the guardian of his three-year-old adorable niece, Everly, after his brother passed away recently, and Hannah is pregnant through an egg donor and IVF. I love these twists to the story. They added complexity to the plot and also made it a more poignant and heartwarming romance. Lindenblatt delivers a truly memorable friends-to-lovers romance.

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