✭ NBJ TOP RECOMMENDATION
The night Luke Rosen met Scarlett Marks was the only time he’s regretted becoming chief of police. One horrific night of blood and death, and now she’s living under his roof—all because he swore an oath to serve and protect.
Scarlett is stubborn and infuriating. She has no respect for the order in his structured life, and she never does anything she’s told. Worse, she doesn’t seem to care that the information she has on a motorcycle gang means she might end up dead. But her unwavering strength, her courage and tenacity and beauty, makes it impossible for him to abandon her.
If Luke is going to keep her safe, he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life. He can either honor his values as a cop, knowing Scarlett is unlikely to survive . . . or he can break all the rules and protect the woman who’s invaded his home and his heart.
This is the fourth book in the Clifton Forge series of standalone novels with interconnected characters.
Series recommended reading order: Steel King | Riven Knight | Stone Princess | Noble Prince | Fallen Jester (18 May 2021) | Tin Queen (14 Sep 2021)
With a baseball scholarship to Easton University and awesome family and friends, my life is pretty golden. Except, things have never come together for me in the romance department. Until Kellan Crawford walks onto the field as the team’s newest bat boy. Bells and whistles go off in my body, and just like that, I’m totally crushing on a guy for the first time in my life. Too bad he’s the coach’s son and officially off-limits.
I’m working toward my statistics degree, so landing the bat-boy position with the Easton U Pirates is right up my alley. It keeps me close to the action on the field, even if that means hauling equipment, picking up sweaty jockstraps, and putting up with the players’ antics. My dad’s the coach, and his number-one rule is never to play favorites…which probably includes getting too friendly with the team captain. But Brady Donovan’s annoyingly perfect smile and protective nature are making that nearly impossible.
When something shifts between us at an away game, everything is thrown off-kilter. Donovan’s never been with a guy before, and I certainly don’t want to be his test case. But I can’t seem to help myself. He’s sweet and hot and somehow charms the baseball pants right off me. If Coach ever catches wind of this, he’ll bench us both. Disappointing my dad might kill me, but so would losing the guy who makes my heart pound harder than a home run in the bottom of the ninth.
So much for not playing favorites.
This is a standalone novel.
FRIENDS TO LOVERS + SECOND CHANCES
Choices. Everyone makes them. From mundane to unimaginable, one choice can change the trajectory of your entire life.
My mother’s choice was to abandon us with our abusive father.
My brother’s choice was to go to prison for killing the boy who assaulted his soulmate.
Camden Cole’s choice was to fall in love with a shattered girl who had absolutely nothing to offer him but heartbreak.
It was one summer beneath the trees, but with Camden, I had a place where I belonged.
A friend who was always waiting for me.
A boy who I caught staring at me more often than not.
He was mine, but when the world closed in and secrets exploded all around us, it was my choice to let him go.
Choices. Everyone makes them.
But mine would ruin us all.
This is a standalone spin-off novel from Release.
As the only female civil engineer in her department, Grace Hudson needs space from men. Her last love interest traumatized her in ways she never saw coming; with that behind her, she is determined to focus on her career. Even so, a little flirting with a handsome stranger over coffee can’t hurt, right?
In their short interaction, Grace dazzles Dameon Locke. But he’s focused on his newest development project and keeping his company afloat after his biggest investor pulled out. So during the planning huddle with the city board, he’s stunned to find the petite spitfire he met at the coffee shop running the show.
Grace can’t ignore Dameon’s charm, but when a disgruntled developer accuses Grace of taking bribes, her world is upended. Worse still, something much more important than her job may be in peril.
With her career in shambles and her life in danger, Grace turns to Dameon…but will she risk putting him in danger too?
This is the third and final book in the Creek Canyon series of standalone novels with interconnected characters.
Series recommended reading order: My Way To You | Home to Me | Everything Changes
Who is this guy?
Sophia Mason’s junior year of college isn’t exactly off to the best start. The semester has just begun, and the president of her sorority has already ousted her from the house. With nowhere else to turn, she ends up at her brother’s apartment—only to find it inhabited instead by a handsome stranger.
On paper, Drew Nolan doesn’t have much going for him as an uneducated bartender from a sketchy family. But when a spoiled rich kid asks Drew to take over his life so he can travel around Europe instead of attend classes, Drew sees the opportunity to get the college education he’s always dreamed of.
Forced into a cover-up under the same roof, Sophia and Drew forge an unlikely friendship. As the two grow closer, lines blur and boundaries stretch, and they find comfort in living the lie they’ve adopted. But reality comes knocking all too soon, and Sophia and Drew will have to weigh what’s worth fighting for and what should never ever have been.
This is the first book in The Love Game series.
Series reading order: Never Have You Ever | Truth or Dare You (24 Nov 2020) | Two Truths & a Lime (8 Dec 2020)
Sabrina Harrison hates being famous. She walked away from show business, from the flashing bulbs and prying eyes years ago, and is happy in her rural Oregon home, dedicating her life to her non-profit.
Until Hollywood calls, offering her the role of a lifetime. In more than ten years, she’s never felt the pull to return to the business that shunned her, but this role is everything Sabrina’s ever longed for.
Now she has to get in shape for it.
Benjamin Demarco’s gym, Sound Fitness, continues making a name for itself in Seattle. And now, he finds himself with the task of training Sabrina, getting her in shape for the role of her life. He’s trained hundreds of women. This is his job. So why does he suddenly see Sabrina as more than just another client? His hands linger on her skin, his breath catches when she’s near.
He knows better. Soon, she’ll be gone, living her life. A life that doesn’t include him.
This is a standalone novella in the With Me In Seattle series.
Series recommended reading order: Come Away with Me | Under the Mistletoe with Me (novella) | Fight with Me| Play with Me| Rock with Me | Safe with Me | Tied with Me | Breathe with Me| Forever with Me | Easy with You(novella) | Stay with Me | Indulge With Me (cookbook) | Love with Me | Dance With Me | Wonder With Me(novella) | Dream With Me | You Belong With Me | Imagine With Me | Shine With Me (novella) | Escape With Me (19 Jan 2021)
Camille Douglas has one last article to write for the travel magazine she works for before officially retiring and becoming a full-time novelist. She’s tasked to cover her editor’s favorite spot on the east coast: Hope Lake, PA. Of course, she’s heard the stories and seen the pictures, but she’s doubtful it looks that idyllic in person.
She decides to make the cross-country trip right before the holidays. Snow-covered treetops, Christmas lights a plenty, and an adorable town square decorated in all its holiday glory. The minute she sets foot in Hope Lake she is inspired. It also doesn’t hurt that she is charmed by Dr. Maxwell Reese. The stunning, and single, doctor who has settled down in Hope Lake after traveling the globe. With Max’s help Camille discovers the delights of small-town life—especially during the holidays.
This is a standalone Holiday novella in the Hopeless Romantics series.
To the outside world, my life is perfect.
I’m young and rich, and some may even say I’m beautiful. But I would give anything to be somebody else because after being extraordinary all my life, all I wish for is…silence.
My name is Lola Van Allen, and there’s no easy way to say it, but…I’m dying.
When my doctors reveal all hope is lost, I decide to spend the time I have left sharing my experience at Strawberry Fields, a summer camp for terminally ill children. No matter my fate, I yearn to make a difference.
Things are quiet and slow-moving until I meet him.
Dr. Roman Archibald.
From the moment our lives entwine, he pushes me until breaking point. But for someone who has nothing left to lose, I push back twice as hard. Roman challenges me in ways I never imagined, revealing things aren’t always what they seem.
This is my story…and how I got a second chance at life.
This is a standalone novel.
A desperate passion, a dangerous love story…
Eleanor Cole had no idea that when she met the charmingly irresistible Becker Hunt, she was putting her life on the line. So when she discovers his secrets, escape seems to be her only option – but Becker isn’t ready to let Eleanor go.
She knows better than to fall into his corrupt world again, but how long can she resist when he’s stolen her heart?
Eleanor must make a choice, to stay and follow Becker into the heart of the danger…or risk losing him forever.
This is the second and final book in The Hunt Legacy duet.
FRIENDS TO LOVERS
He wants her, but he can’t have her.
She wants him even though she doesn’t know who he really is.
Storm Hardy left Ocean Beach to pursue a career in the music industry
Lotus Irving stayed behind, her world rocked by one terrible tragedy after another.
What if all your best memories are behind you? What if you lost the one friend who understood you better than anyone else?
What if your greatest wish is to recreate the past instead of imagining a brighter future?
This is a standalone novel.
“Did you have relations with my brother…”
I’d like to preface this by saying it was never my intention to ever get involved in a workplace romance, let alone get involved with the most surly, agitating, and pompous man I’ve ever met who just so happens to be my new friend’s brother.
My intentions were to show students how English and reading books could actually be fun and make a new life for myself in the suburbs of Chicago.
But so far, I’ve managed to be called into the principal’s office.
Coerced into participating in the teacher’s badminton league.
And instigated into passionate fights with Arlo Turner over education and decorum while losing my underwear at the same time.
Known as Mr. Turns Me On, he’s the reason I might get fired from my first ever teaching job.
This is a standalone novel.
Seth Loveless has been my weakness since I was sixteen years old.
Two years ago, I moved back to my hometown. I started a business, bought a house, took up yoga, and went on hiatus from dating. Life is good.
If I never had to see Seth, it would be perfect.
After all, my history with my ex-boyfriend is anything but simple. It’s taken us years, but we’ve finally learned to live in the same town without killing each other.
Is there an elaborate set of rules governing our every casual interaction?
Do I still think dirty, off-limits thoughts every single time I see him buying apples at the grocery store?
Of course. I’m only human, and Seth and I are practically experts at the two F’s: fighting, and…
Still, we’re managing just fine.
He shows up at my sister’s wedding. The man looks like pure sex in a suit, handsome as the devil himself and twice as charming.
Worse, he claims he’s my date.
We break every one of our carefully-crafted rules, and we… should stop.
Too bad I’m having the time of my life.
I know I should end it. After all the heartbreak, hurt, and anger we can’t be more than enemies.
But Seth asks me for one more night.
Just one night.
Then, we’re back to being virtual strangers to each other.
I know I should turn him down.
I know this ends with my heart shattered into a million pieces.
I know lunacy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
But I’ve always been bad at resisting a weakness.
This is the fifth and final book in the Loveless Brothers series of standalone novels with interconnected characters.
Two brothers. One small town. A lifetime of dark secrets.
Roy has never left the quiet mountain town he grew up in, unlike his little brother Carl who couldn’t wait to get out and escape his troubled past. Just like everyone else in town, Roy believed Carl was gone for good. But Carl has big plans for his hometown. And when he returns with a mysterious new wife and a business opportunity that seems too good to be true, simmering tensions begin to surface and unexplained deaths in the town’s past come under new scrutiny. Soon powerful players set their sights on taking the brothers down by exposing their role in the town’s sordid history.
But Roy and Carl are survivors, and no strangers to violence. Roy has always protected his younger brother. As the body count rises, though, Roy’s loyalty to family is tested. And then Roy finds himself inextricably drawn to Carl’s wife, Shannon, an attraction that will have devastating consequences. Roy’s world is coming apart and soon there will be no turning back. He’ll be forced to choose between his own flesh and blood and a future he had never dared to believe possible.
This is a standalone novel.
My new family is dangerous. I’ve heard the whispers. I’ve seen it firsthand. And my new last name puts me in danger too.
The only thing keeping me in this city is Matthew Caldwell. If I didn’t love him, I’d be long gone. But he says I’m changing. That I’m becoming the thing I hate. And I’m worried he might be right. What if I’m actually the dangerous one?
Because all I want to do is prove I belong here just as much as anyone else. I’m going to become one of the elite. I’m going to live like an Untouchable. And no one will be able to break me. Ever. Again.
But while I’m focused on fitting in to this new world, I forget that the stakes are so much bigger than who’s the most popular at Empire High. I’m playing with life and death.
I should have seen it coming. After all…I betrayed everyone to get to where I am. It makes sense that one of them would betray me too.
This is the third book in the Empire High series.
Series reading order: Empire High Untouchables | Empire High Elite | Empire High Betrayal
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A consistent powerhouse in the small-town romance subgenre, Devney Perry delivers another riveting tale that is full of tenderness and heart as she takes us back to Clifton Forge, Montana with the story of a young woman desperate to make sense of her life after escaping a perilous situation following a lifetime of abuse. She finds safety in the home and arms of a man who is willing to risk everything for her, helping her see that true strength and bravery come from the heart. It’s another perfect addition to a well-layered, emotionally charged series that continues to strike the perfect balance of emotion, setting, and plot.
I honestly can’t believe that one of the BEST, most thought-provoking books I read this year is not even a romance. A failed bank robbery turns into a hostage situation at an open house, but when the hostages are eventually released, the robber is nowhere to be found. Through police interviews and flashbacks, we get to know not only the quirky hostages, but also the two policemen trying to solve the case, and as more and more puzzle pieces curiously fit together, we begin to piece together a breath-taking tale of life, love, death, marriage, parenthood, and compassion. Packed with both moments of laugh-out-loud humour and heart-piercing honesty, I found myself having to put this book down more than once, desperate to fully absorb each scene and process the sheer genius of it all. Fredrik Backman is a wonder, a brilliant storyteller and a keen observer of human nature, and this book is the rarest of gems. And the audiobook is simply OUTSTANDING.
Kerrigan Byrne returns to her sublime Devil You Know series with another breathtaking love story that is ripe with intrigue, sexual tension, and feminist strength. By consistently delivering tales that are anchored by fiery, resilient, unapologetically brazen heroines, Byrne continues to reach new depths in her portrayal of women who are unwilling to let anyone else dictate their own destiny, and this book is no exception. It’s the story of a young mathematician whose scandalous inheritance makes her the target of a man who’s made it his mission to close down all of London’s most notorious dens of vice, but their attraction burns far brighter than their immediate differences, and as danger begins to stir, they must work together to bring their enemy into the light. Byrne infuses her characters with self-awareness and agency, gently probing questions of patriarchy and internalized misogyny in them, thus delivering a tale that remains true to its characters while also dazzling with its romantic plot and sensuous writing. A real treat!
Devney Perry continues the Hush Note series with a hopeful, heartfelt tale that shows it’s never too late to rewrite one’s own story, or give true love a second chance. After years of chasing her dreams and clawing her way to the top of the music scene, Hush Note’s star drummer returns to her childhood home and to the man she left behind, forcing her to confront all she thought she had to give up in order to live life on her own terms. A romance that is imbued with a decade’s worth of hurts, regrets, and unsaid emotions, but that somehow manages to make us feel incredibly optimistic from beginning to end, this was EXACTLY the kind of escapism I am looking for right now.
With a deceivingly simple premise at its core—a romance author and a literary fiction writer swapping genres for the summer to break out of their writing ruts—this is the kind of story that packs an emotional punch even in its softest moments, flourishing as it unfolds, and just like its two leads, manages to be both romantic and reflective, and even sharp and biting in parts. In this marvellous tale of love, family, and overcoming grief, Emily Henry captures so much of the human experience in a brutally honest and beautiful way, and proves to be not only a gifted storyteller, but also a thoughtful one. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Just like its marvellous predecessor in the series, Bringing Down the Duke, this novel is set against an important historical backdrop of political activism and change in Britain—the women’s suffrage movement—and it offers a compelling perspective on what it truly means to be equal partners in life, both in and out of the bedchamber. The true beauty of this story, to me, however, lies in the fact that besides its fiercely feminist subplot, it’s really about a woman who learns that, despite what the world has told her all her life, being opinionated and outspoken does not make her any less worthy of being loved and treasured by a good man. Like her heroine, Evie Dunmore blends the passion, spirit, and progressive idealism of the time with a love story that is hopeful and grounded, delivering another unputdownable romance that leaves us wanting more.
An all-new single dad, brother’s best friend romance is coming later this month from author Melanie Harlow, and we have the gorgeous cover.
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