Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of September 1st

Contemporarily Ever After: Top Picks for the Week of September 1st
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I hope everyone had a fabulous three-day weekend and was able to indulge in plenty of rest and relaxation, which, hopefully, including reading. I know I did, but, of course, my to-be-read pile never seems to go down with new releases like these every week, so I am already looking forward to the next holiday.

❤ Indicates the books that I have read and recommend.

The Debt by Jackie Ashenden (Sep. 1)

Jackie Ashenden’s latest, The Debt, is a quick and sexy page-turner featuring one of her signature broody, hot alpha-heroes. Ash is a successful businessman, who finds himself captivated by his sassy chauffeur, Ellie, while in Paris. He’s slightly baffled by her but also attracted to her and doesn’t want to say goodbye. So, when she asks him for mercy for her family’s debt, he agrees, but only if she will pretend to be his girlfriend for a business trip to Dubai. These two are perfectly-matched opposites with scorching-hot chemistry, and I loved watching them fall for one another in this fun and steamy romance.

Black Tie Billionaire by Naima Simone (Sep. 1)

(Blurb)

He’s everything she wants…and shouldn’t have.

His smile was slow, deliberate…sinful.
Has she just made a deal with the devil?

During a blackout at a black-tie gala, Shay Neal says yes to one night with billionaire Gideon Knight…not knowing he’s her brother’s enemy with plans for payback! Now, to save her brother, Shay must pretend to be in love with Gideon. But playing his game means resisting the very real desire that could destroy them both…

Work for It by Talia Hibbert (Sep. 3)

(Blurb)

Between men like us, trust doesn’t come easy.

In this village, I’m an outcast: Griffin Everett, the scowling giant who prefers plants to people. Then I meet Keynes, a stranger from the city who’s everything I’m not: sharp-tongued, sophisticated, beautiful. Free. For a few precious moments in a dark alleyway, he’s also mine, hot and sweet under the stars… until he crushes me like dirt beneath his designer boot.

When the prettiest man I’ve ever hated shows up at my job the next day, I’m not sure if I want to strangle him or drag him into bed. Actually—I think I want both. But Keynes isn’t here for the likes of me: he makes that painfully clear. With everyone else at work, he’s all gorgeous, glittering charm—but when I get too close, he turns vicious.

And yet, I can’t stay away. Because there’s something about this ice king that sets me on fire, a secret vulnerability that makes my chest ache. I’ll do whatever it takes to sneak past his walls and see the real man again.

The last thing I expect is for that man to ruin me.

This is Love by Natasha Madison (Sep. 3)

(Blurb) 

Vivienne

Never fall in love.
That was my motto, and I was sticking to it.
Having my heart broken once was enough, and I never wanted to do it again.
He was supposed to be a one-night stand, the only thing I do.
One rule shouldn’t be so hard to follow, but then I went back for seconds, then thirds. 

After that, I lost count of the number of times I lost myself in his arms.
When I wasn’t paying attention, my guard slipped.

Mark

They call me Private Mark for a reason—my whole life is a secret.
For two years, we danced around each other until I got her right where I wanted her … under me.
Now that I had her, I wasn’t letting her go. I thought we were on the same page.
I thought we were building something great.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

I had no idea that while I was falling in love, she was trying to convince herself we were temporary.
She thought I’d walk away.

She was wrong.

Now it’s time to convince her she wants us too and to show her that the crazy, wild thing we have … This Is Love.

Hitched by Pippa Grant and Lili Valente (Sep. 3)

(Blurb)

She’s the last woman on earth I’d marry….again.
Yet here I am.
Saying my vows. Again.
To save an alpaca.
At least, that’s my story.
But the truth might be a little more complicated.
I didn’t want to let her go the first time. But now I have a second chance to win over my wife.
We’re older. Wiser. And hornier.
This time, I won’t fail.

Hitched is a red hot, enemies-to-lovers laugh-a-palooza featuring a girl in need of a marriage of convenience and a man in need of a cold shower to keep from falling for his fake wife. They say opposites attract, but with Blake and Hope, they also combust…

Well Met by Jen DeLuca (Sep. 3)

(Blurb)

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?  

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Grit by Elizabeth Hunter (Sep. 3)

(Blurb)

He’s been patient; she’s been busy.
Patience is running out.

Melissa Oxford is a widow with a ranch, an orange grove, a goat-obsessed ten-year-old, and not enough time. She doesn’t have time to make friends. She doesn’t have time to stop and chat, and she definitely does not have time for a boyfriend.
Which is fine, because Cary Nakamura is far from being a boy. Cary’s the man who helped Melissa plant her trees. The friend who keeps offering advice, even when she’s is too stubborn to take it. 
He’s also the man who kissed Melissa in broad daylight on a sidewalk in Metlin, California, smack in the face of God and everyone.
But while Melissa may spend a little too long dreaming about Cary from a distance, she knows the kind of passion he promises is more than she can handle. 
She just doesn’t have the time.
But sometimes, no matter how busy you are, life makes you stop. It pulls you up short and makes you see things a little more clearly. Things like…
The people you can count on.
The dreams you keep pushing away.
And the passion that can’t be denied.

Best of Me by L.K. Farlow (Sep. 5)

(Blurb)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the dark to my sister’s light—the awkward loner to her social butterfly. Growing up, she had it all: our parent’s unyielding approval, perfect grades, a permanent spot at the popular table, and the attention of the hottest guy ever—Duke Kincaid. 

After eighteen years of living in her shadow, I couldn’t wait to escape—to finally be my own person. Yet here I am, I’m back in my hometown, once again in Valorie’s shadow. Only now, it’s eternal. 

I had life all planned out: join the force, marry Valorie Parsons, and start a family of our own. I have the job, but the girl and all my dreams died before my very eyes.

Finally ready to move on, I agree to a blind date. Imagine my shock when I arrive and find, Valorie’s twin sister, waiting across the table from me. Mallory should be a reminder of all that I’ve lost, but instead she feels like my redemption . . . like maybe life’s giving me a second chance. 

But, how can I be enough for her when I’ve already given her sister the best of me?

The Hardest Hit by A.S. Teague (Sep. 5)

(Blurb) 

My friends used to tell me ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Clearly they lied, because there was no way the chemistry I had with Mel could ever be left behind.

However, my children, her career, and nine hundred miles between us meant that for seven years, Melanie Holstein was the one who got away.

I was Aiden Shaw, first-round draft pick turned the best quarterback the league had ever seen. I worked hard to secure my position in football history while balancing life as a single dad. Through it all, my Vegas spitfire was never far from my mind.

And considering her best friend was now with my best friend, it was pure and utter torture.

When my career took a devastating turn, Mel was the first person at my side. I was broken and defeated, but that stubborn woman was determined to piece me back together.

I liked to pretend Mel and I were destined for greatness, but Lady Luck had never been on our side. And the tragedy that followed might have been the hardest hit of all.

Sweet Talker by Robin Bielman (Sep. 5)

Sweet Talker is the second, standalone book in Robin Bielman’s American Royalty series, and it’s a swoony and sexy second-chance romance. Ethan and Pascale had a summer fling ten years ago that left a permanent impression on both of their hearts. They are reunited when she’s hired as the new general manager at his uber-successful restaurant, but she’s there under false pretenses. Unbeknownst to him, she was contracted by his family to serve as an undercover bodyguard after he received a few threats from a potential stalker. As they rekindle their relationship, Pascale tries to hide her role, stay unemotional and protect Ethan, but she’s having a hard time not falling for the charming, swoon-worthy restaurateur. With its sizzling chemistry, endearing characters, snappy humor and dash of intrigue and suspense, Sweet Talker is a sigh-worthy romance that you do not want to miss.

One Shameless Night by A.M. Hargrove (Sep. 5)

(Blurb)

The line between love and hate has never been so explosive.

The first time I saw Alessandro, two things came to mind. 
Sexy and naked. 
You get the idea.
Thanks to him, my flight from hell became the best one I’d ever been on. 
Turned out, the engaging, gorgeous passenger, was my new professor…and the ultimate jerk.
Rude, prick, cocksucker, were a few choice names I’d love to call him.
How was this offensive man the same human I’d met on the plane? 
His soul must’ve been invaded by demons after leaving the airport.
To think I’d almost joined the mile high club with him. Almost.
Everywhere I went he was there raining more insults on me. 
Until I saw him with his adorable mini look-alike. 
That charming little boy melted my heart. 
Before I knew it, I’d accepted his son’s invitation to play soccer.
What the hell was I thinking? 
I hated that man.
But naked and sexy had gotten me into this mess.
And not even hate could get me out.

Jock Road by Sara Ney (Sep. 5)

Sara Ney is back with another laugh-out-loud, swoon-worthy college romance — Jock Road. Charlotte and Jackson don’t have a meet-cute but rather a meet-hilarious. Jackson does a couple of endearing but slightly oafish things that get on Charlotte’s last nerve, and she tells him what she thinks. He’s charmed by her fire and brimstone and thoroughly enjoys annoying her, and he cannot resist her. Jackson has always focused solely on succeeding at football and ignored the social aspects of his life, but discovers he wants to make time for something more than the game for the first time in his life. He and Charlotte are absolutely adorable together as they bicker and flirt their way to friends, developing a genuine connection that gives their eventual romantic relationship real emotional depth. Jock Road is a thoroughly entertaining, seriously sexy and lighthearted romance with a ton of heart.

Finding Storm by Samantha Towle (Sep. 6)

(Blurb)

The son of an icon. 

He was a legend. Rock royalty.

A man I never met.

But I’m measured against him in every aspect of my life.

The only time I feel like me … the real me … is when I’m onstage with my band. But the more we grow in popularity, the more people compare me to him.

I’m not him. And I never will be. If only everyone could figure that out for themselves.

I need a break from it all. 

Then, a confrontation has me jumping in my car, putting LA in my rearview mirror. And a stupid mistake ends up with my car on the side of the road. And straight into the path of a girl who is the exact opposite of everyone else in my life. 

She’s like everything I used to know.

And she has no clue who I am.

Even if she did, I don’t think she’d care.

She thinks I’m cavalier. 

I think she’s intriguing. And hot. Let’s not forget hot.

I’m stuck in this town overnight while my car is being fixed. But I’m thinking I’m gonna stick around a bit longer.

I’m Storm Slater, lead guitarist in Slater Raze and the only child of the late, great Jonny Creed. But, here, right now … I’m nobody. Just a regular guy. 

I’m liking it a whole lot. 

And I’m liking her even more.

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