There’s nothing like a summer romance—which is why we’re especially drawn to reading about them when the days are long and the nights are hot. These 12 breezy novels are packed with serious swoon potential, and are perfectly suited for wherever you find yourself this season. So pour yourself a tall, cold glass of lemonade (or maybe something a little stronger), and prepare to feel weak in the knees.
If you like your romances filled with drama and second chances, Sweet Promise should be your poolside pick this summer. Texan Erica has moved on with her life and found a great guy, but she’s still drawn to her ex-husband, Rafael de la Torres. Passion, along with Erica and Rafael’s second chance at love, makes this a sizzling beach read.
Hours to Cherish
Cat is a young widow on the island of Tiger Cay whose late husband perished on the sea. But when she’s offered the chance to find a shipwrecked boat containing a fabled buried treasure she’s always dreamed about, she rises to the challenge and ends up discovering passion with a sailor as they work together to find it. For those who love stories on the sea, this novel promises a unique, exciting, and emotional read.
The Harder They Fall
With her trademark humor and heat, Jill Shalvis is a queen of contemporary romance. This short book—perfect for an afternoon at the beach—pairs a feisty lingerie shop owner and responsible doctor, making for an enjoyable story. If you haven’t experienced Jill Shalvis yet, this is a great place to start!
My Heart's Desire
The sole Regency romance on this list, My Heart’s Desire is still a great addition to your beach bag—especially since it’s set on the high seas! Lady Alexandria should be getting married to a proper suitor, but she wants adventure. She finds one with the ship’s captain, Drake, who takes her on a wild ride she didn’t expect.
Welcome to Temptation
Jennifer Crusie is classic in the romance genre, and this romance is both hilarious and very sexy. Sophie travels to the small town of Temptation—aptly named, if you ask us—to help her sister film a movie that turns out way more racy than she anticipated. There, Sophie butts heads with the mayor, Phin—but she’s also incredibly attracted to him. Nobody does romps like Crusie, and this one delivers plenty of opportunities to laugh and sigh throughout.
Romances centered on food are doubly indulgent, and this one, the first in Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series, is about a private Hollywood chef who returns home to upstate New York and falls for a local farmer who brings her organic walnuts. The other titles in what is currently a three-book series are very tongue-in-cheek (Cream of the Crop, Buns), which gives you just a taste of how unbelievably fun they are to read.
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The Hand I Fan With
This love story conjures up not only the South in summertime, but a 100-year-old ghost that romances the heroine of the story. Lena is a successful woman who’s holding together her small Georgia town. She’s also psychic. And lonely. When a male ghost appears and sweeps her away, it’s both strange and incredibly steamy…not to mention a story you’ll remember for summers to come.
Sweet Filthy Boy
If you’re dreaming of flying off to Europe, you couldn’t do better than reading Sweet Filthy Boy on the plane ride there. The romance between Mia, a recent college grad, and Ansel, the man she has a steamy affair with in Vegas, goes international when the two decide to spend the summer together in France. If you like your love stories full of steam and sweetness, stow this one in your carry-on.
The Lucky Charm
For the sports fans out there, the baseball romance The Lucky Charm is a great one to read between games. Izzy is an inexperienced major league reporter who meets Jack, a second baseman who catches her eye—and eventually her heart. The combo of love story and America’s favorite pastime makes this a perfect summer beach read.
The Tin Star
If western romances are your thing, this contemporary story between two men will certainly heat up your summer. James is a recently-outed ranch worker who’s in love with an older friend of his brother’s, Ethan—who owns Tin Star Ranch. Along with the sultriness of a ranch in summertime, the book packs a wallop of feels as the two men fall deeper for each other.
Ride With Me
Ride with Me has a great setup—perfect for days of endless sunshine and blue sky. After placing an ad for a cycling buddy, Lexie ends up stuck with Tom, a hot loner with a bad attitude, as they bike across the TransAmerica Trail together. This enemies-to-lovers tale is smart, amusing, and seriously hot. Plus, there’s a great scene involving hot sauce in which Lexie and Tom communicate a lot without saying a word.
The newest book on this list, this Ricki Schultz romance tackles contemporary dating dilemmas when teacher Rae is pressured into online dating…and stumbles onto the profile of a fellow teacher. This romance has many laugh-out-loud moments, and there’s no better way to spend your summer than cozied up with a romantic comedy.
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