November’s contemporary romance recommendations are courtesy of Bree Testa from All The Books I Can Read and come to you all the way from Victoria, Australia. Over to Bree:
Here are some contemporary romances that have made it into my favorites list recently. Whether you like a good mystery or something more spicy hopefully there’s something for everyone. Enjoy!
Whiskey Beach – Nora Roberts
I’ve been reading Nora Roberts books for about as long as I can remember. This is one of her latest romantic suspense titles and adds in a little bit of mystery blended with romance. Eli Landon is a criminal defense lawyer but his career has hit a stall following the accusation that he brutally murdered his estranged wife. From a well known Boston family, Eli has retreated to his grandmother’s clifftop house in Whiskey Beach to take some time out and perhaps begin to write that book that’s been on his mind. There he meets his grandmother’s housekeeper Abra and is surprised by her constant appearance in his life as she brings nourishing meals, cleans and offers her expertise in various other areas, all designed to help Eli begin to heal and get his life back on track.
At first Eli is reluctant to have Abra around but she’s remarkably persistent and they develop a friendship – and an attraction. I quite liked their interactions together (Abra really is incredible at ignoring Eli and pretty much just getting her own way) and the setting was truly beautiful. It added a lot to the story as Eli takes long walks on the beach to help clear his head and the reader gets to feel as though they’re there walking along with him. The mystery part of this novel was really well done. Eli is falsely believed to have murdered his former wife and after a year, the police haven’t been able to come up with any evidence that they can make stick. As Eli begins to move on with Abra, he discovers that someone out there doesn’t want him to be happy and they’re going to do everything in their power to bring him down, if not for his former wife’s murder, then another one.
Whiskey Beach is one of those reads that feels familiar and comforting, but still holds your attention completely and gives you something new.
The Perfect Match – Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins has many devoted fans amongst romance readers and it’s not hard to see why. The Best Man takes readers back to Manningsport, New York in the second of her Blue Heron series, following the first book, The Best Man. We are re-introduced to 35 year old Honor, who has been told by her doctor that her clock is ticking if she wants to be able to have babies. Honor has been in love with her best friend for 12 years now but their relationship basically adds up to hooking up every 6-12 months. She decides to bite the bullet and suggest they get married….and it backfires horribly. Thanks to her meddling grandmother, Heron finds herself agreeing to meet a local college professor, Tom who needs an American wife in order to be able to stay in the country. Tom and Honor do not hit it off at first meeting but after that, they find that the chemistry is indeed there and Honor agrees to marry him – a marriage of convenience that suits them both. Tom will stay in the US and Honor will get a baby or two.
This book is hilariously funny and has made me an unabashed Higgins fan. There are so many fabulous moments and the relationships are first rate. Honor is part of a mad family (her sister is the heroine in The Best Man) and some of the conversations between family members make up the funniest parts of the book, especially when Tom and his sort-of stepson Charlie get added into the mix. Higgins not only writes believable and clever romance, but she extends her gift to writing so much more into the story. I can’t wait for the next Blue Heron book and getting to revisit this community once more.
Wallbanger – Alice Clayton
Caroline thinks her new apartment in San Francisco is perfect – until the nocturnal activities of her neighbour keep her up at night! After hearing three different encounters with three different women on three consecutive nights, Caroline has had enough and storms over to ask Wallbanger to keep it down, failing to realise that she’s still in her tiny pink nightie. And to make matters worse, Wallbanger (aka Simon) is smoking hot. Embarrassed, especially when her own fantasies about her neighbour start keeping her awake, things get even more complicated when Simon and his friends turn out to be friends with Caroline’s boss’s fiance and soon they’re all in the same social circle. Caroline and Simon are both attracted to each other instantly but they both want very different things and that’s a problem.
I adored almost every single bit of this book but what I loved the most was how long Clayton takes to develop a friendship between Simon and Caroline. I always appreciate a story where the author takes time to really have the characters get to know each other and Simone and Caroline spend a lot of time together before they give in to the sizzling chemistry. There is also a humorous little sub-plot featuring Caroline’s friends pairing up with Simon’s friends with the reader clueing into what’s happening way before pretty much everyone else does and that was lots of fun to read. Wallbanger is one of those books where I can see myself re-reading, and I don’t get much of a chance to re-read these days! I’m looking forward to reading more from Alice Clayton and I’d recommend this one to anyone who likes a bit of a sexy read filled with lots of humour.
Lick – Kylie Scott
Evelyn planned a big celebration for her 21st but those plans did not include waking up with a stranger and a ginormous diamond on her ring finger. It seems that Evelyn has married David Ferris, guitarist for the rock band Stage Dive. She has no recollection of doing this and although David does seem more in possession of his memory than her, he agrees to grant Evelyn a way out of the marriage swiftly, seeing as that is what she wants. However the press have gotten wind of it and soon the only person that can protect Evelyn is David himself as he flies her out to LA so that they can sort out the mess in private. However the more time Evelyn spends with David, the more she begins to wonder if a quick divorce or annulment is actually what she wants. The two of them spend some time together up at David’s private residence, away from the other band members and also away from the prying lenses of the paparazzi. Pretty soon Evelyn wonders if she might not be able to have her rock star…for keeps.
This book hooked me from the very first page! Kylie Scott is a master at both the steamy sex scenes and also scenes that are absolutely brimming with emotion. Evelyn and David have a lot to work through in this book, given they don’t know each other when they get married. Evelyn has been raised a certain way and no Vegas wedding to a rock star she didn’t know was in their plans and they don’t waste their time letting her know what they think of her various disappointments to them. David also has some past angst that he and Evelyn really have to deal with and Scott portrays both their pain and heartbreak perfectly. This book is a breathless read from beginning to end and the best bit? It’s the first of a series. The rest of the members of Stage Dive, including David’s brother who is tied up to the betrayal in his past, will all have their own books and I can’t wait to read them!
You won’t be disappointed with any of these books!
Bree is a prolific reader and blogger of romance and other fiction. She blogs daily at All The Books I Can Read. She loves the Sydney Swans (Aussie football team) and the Tottenham Hotspurs and fits her reading around two young boys. Say Hi to Bree on Twitter.