Searching for a great contemporary romance read? Whether you’re new to the genre or looking for an awesome love story you might have missed, these 11 contemporary romance novels—plus four bonus contemporary novellas—will give you plenty of swoon for your buck. Forbidden romance, hockey romance, red-hot stories of long-lost lovers getting a second chance to make it work...no matter your pleasure, there's a contemporary romance out there that will scratch your itch.
Dating You/Hating You
Named on several 2017 best romance lists, Christina Lauren’s sweet and sexy romance between two Hollywood agents is also very timely: the heroine, Evie, has to deal with a sexist boss as she competes for the same job with fellow agent Carter—the guy she’s been dating. The two ambitious agents have undeniable chemistry, but the merger of their two firms threatens to drive a wedge between them, particularly when Carter can't recognize the way in which their boss is manipulating them.
Tell Me a Story
Romance doesn’t get much sexier than this standalone novel about Emma, an Orlando bookshop owner who falls for successful businessman Caleb after he comes to her with a deliciously dirty proposition. Their romance is dramatic and passionate, and the story has one huge twist in the middle you won’t believe. As Emma struggles to keep her beloved bookstore afloat, she can't help succumbing to the pleasure of spending time with Caleb...but their lust may come with unexpected strings attached.
A Princess in Theory
Alyssa Cole’s latest novel centers on Naledi, a grad student who falls for a man she thinks is an ordinary guy—not realizing he’s actually a prince in disguise ... and her intended husband. Prince Thabiso relishes the opportunity to live without the pressure of his royal title for once. But when the truth comes out, will Naledi trust their chemistry enough to accept the crown? Cinderella has never been so fun!
Act Like It
If you’re looking for a contemporary romance that will make you laugh, this story of theater actress Elaine engaging in a fake relationship with her grouchy castmate Richard to improve his image will keep you giggling all the way until the two enemies become lovers. Two West End London theater stars, Richard is a renowned playboy whose image gets a much-needed makeover with Elaine's help. But they may be playing their off-stage roles too well...
A winner of a 2016 RITA award and a great pick for sports fans, Him is a sexy hockey romance between Jamie and Ryan—two former best friends. The pair haven’t spoken in years, since an unexpected hookup that left them both reeling. Now, they're on opposing teams, but coaching together off the ice at the hockey camp they both used to attend. Not surprisingly, once the skates are off, the two begin to explore a connection that's hot enough to melt ice.
One Hot December
Tiffany Reisz is known for her sharp wit and erotic stories, and this Harlequin Blaze shows both to full effect. The heroine, Veronica — aka "Flash" — is a welder/artist who had one hot night with her wealthy boss, Ian Asher, before he ended things. But the holidays brings them a second chance even hotter than the first, as Ian tries to convince Flash that the sparks between them haven't gone away.
Seared teases on the edge of taboo as step-siblings Naya and Lachlan reunite after a decade. Lachlan’s father is now dead, but the passion between Naya and Lachlan is anything but. Bonus: Lachlan is a renowned chef, for those of you who like your sexy romance paired with food porn.
This L.H. Cosway novel is not only wonderfully written, but unusual in that the hero, Nicholas, is a cabaret performer who dresses in drag. He’s also sexy and funny and catches the eye of his neighbor, Freda, a baker from Dublin who is swept away in their one-of-a-kind romance. After watching Nicholas perform, a curious Freda agrees to be his assistant, and finds herself drawn into a world she never could have imagined — and falling for her magnetic new boss.
Way Down Deep
Stein and McKenna both write love stories that are super sensual and gorgeously written, and their pairing in Way Down Deep is perfection. In this story, told entirely through text messages, Malcolm and Maya are two strangers who meet through a mistakenly sent message and wind up becoming intimate in more ways than one.
Under Her Skin
Adriana Anders’s debut romance is the emotional story of Uma, a woman fleeing her abuser and hiding as a live-in housekeeper. Ivan is the gruff-but-tender bearded neighbor she comes to trust, desire, and love—and a man readers will find impossible not to fall in love with. Ivan thought his chances for romance were behind him, but when he meets the enigmatic Uma, he discovers a reason to hope once more.
Unbuttoning the CEO
Warm and funny, Unbuttoning the CEO pairs nonprofit head Graciela with Ethan, a CEO sentenced to community service at her organization—in disguise. Secrets sizzle in this debut, but so do the sparks between Graciela and Ethan, two good people who are perfect for each other. As Ethan falls for his community service boss, Graciela finds it harder and harder to guard her heart from the steamy attentions of her new employee.
Cath Yardley’s geeky romance novella, the first in her Fandom Hearts series, is a romance between Tessa, who wants to become a video game engineer, and her roommate Adam, who’s helping her … and starting to think of her as more than a friend. You’ll laugh and swoon through the awkward rom-com encounters and abundant geeky references.
Apples Should Be Red
This hilarious novella is a love story between older characters served on a big ol’ Thanksgiving platter. Though their kids may be married, 62-year-old curmudgeon Tom and uptight 59-year-old Bev are opposites. But when they’re stuck together alone one holiday, they start to appreciate one another ... and more. Turkey Day was never so titillating.
Knit One, Girl Two
Knit One, Girl Two is one of the most delightful romance novellas you’ll read. Clara is an independent yarn dyer who finds inspiration—and romance—in brash artist Danielle. If only the two Jewish women could take a chance on each other … set in South Florida, this sweet f/f romance is the perfect quick read for when you want a happily ever after in a hurry.
Waiting for the Flood
Alexis Hall writes beautiful, poetic lines, and Waiting for the Flood is a gorgeous, emotional novella set in a flood zone in England. You can’t help but root for Edwin, a painfully shy man nursing a heartache, to finally get together with Adam, the environmental worker trying to keep down the flood waters around his home.