Something about small town romance novels just hits a little different – in a good way. While the stories still feel contemporary and modern, there’s often a laidback, easygoing feel or a cast of characters that make the setting feel more like a community. Whether the book is part of a series of interconnected standalones following family members or a true standalone, small town romances usually include more than just the couple at the heart of the book. Sometimes light and sexy, sometimes more intense and spicy, small town romances can have a variety of vibes. But at the end of the story, you’ll be left smiling and swooning.
There’s a little something for everyone on this list, and they’re all 4 or 5-star contemporary romance novels that kept me hooked while I was reading. There are several different tropes included, and very different reading experiences, from mostly sweet to super spicy. If I’ve reviewed a book, the link is included, as well as blurbs and links to Amazon for easy addition to your TBR. Happy reading!
Totally Folked by Penny Reid 🔥
One unforgettable night leads to an unlikely shared connection, and unlikely connections never go unnoticed by the good folks in Green Valley, Tennessee. . .
Jackson James follows the rules. He has to. He’s a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when getting laid starts to feel more like being waylaid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real?
Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. Studio execs, reporters, audiences, fans, lovers—no one can get enough of the smart, savvy, and sexy bombshell. But when “generous offers” begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.
When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Unfortunately, scandal and intrigue soon follow. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real.
TOTALLY FOLKED is a standalone, contemporary romantic comedy novel and book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series.
Read the audiobook review here
Flawless by Elsie Silver 🔥🔥
The rules were simple. Keep my hands off his daughter and stay out of trouble.
But now I’m stuck with her. There’s only one bed. And well, rules are made to be broken.
I’m the face of professional bull riding—the golden boy. Or at least I was, until it all blew up in my face. Now my agent says I have to clean up my image, so I’m stuck with his ball-busting daughter for the rest of the season as my “full-time supervision.”
But I don’t need a goddamn babysitter, especially one with skin-tight jeans, a sexy smirk, and a mouth she can’t stop running.
A mouth I can’t stop thinking about.
Because Summer isn’t just another conquest. She sees the man behind the mask, and she doesn’t run—she pulls me closer, even when she shouldn’t.
She says this means nothing.
I say this means everything.
She says there are boundaries we shouldn’t cross. That my reputation can’t take any more hits—and neither can her damaged heart.
I say I’m going to steal it anyway.
Read the review here
Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score 🔥
Can these opposites turn up the heat… without burning down the house?
House-flipping sensation and YouTube star Maggie Nichols can’t wait to dig into her next challenge. Arriving in tiny Kinship, Idaho, with only a cot and a coffeemaker, Maggie is prepared to restore a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. She has her to-do lists, her blueprints, and her team. What she doesn’t have is time for sexy, laid-back landscaper Silas Wright.
The man takes flirtation to a whole new level. And he does it shirtless…sometimes pants-less. He and his service school-dropout dog are impressively persistent. But she’s not interested in putting down roots. Not when fans tune in to watch her travel the country turning dilapidated houses into dream homes. A short-term fling on the other hand could fit nicely into her calendar. After all, Maggie remembers what fun is like. Vaguely.
As their summer gets downright steamy, Silas manages to demolish the emotional walls she’s spent years building, sending Maggie into a panic. He’s the wrench in her carefully constructed plans. With the end of the project looming, she has a decision to make. But how can she stay when her entire career is built on moving on?
Read the review here
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey 🔥🔥🔥
Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who’s cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong.
As seen on E!Online, PopSugar, CNN, EliteDaily, Vulture, Buzzfeed, Bustle, the Nerd Daily, PARADE, LA Magazine, Country Living, USA Today, and more!
Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.
Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.
Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.
Read the review here
Spare Me by Tara Sivec 🔥🔥🔥
Ryan Hutton has spent his entire life being the shy, nerdy, rule-following nice guy on Summersweet Island. He’s the high school bowling coach and algebra teacher who’s always predictable, and he’s always been fine with that… until a sexy, nut job of a stranger gives him the best kiss of his life in his favorite pizza place, and he suddenly doesn’t like being the quiet, obedient nice guy anymore.
When Danica Brewster first set foot on this beautiful island a few days ago, she just wanted a place to call home, far, far away from her family. A place where she could be wild and free without their judgment. When she finds out her new roommate is the stranger she kissed for free pizza, Danica knows this is a complication she definitely doesn’t need in her life right now.
But the memory of that kiss is making them both act out of character. Ryan and Danny soon realize you can’t ignore your problems and hope they’ll go away. Those problems will just come back with a vengeance, tossing everything into the gutter.
It doesn’t make sense for a nerd to fall in love with a nut job, but with the magic of Summersweet Island, anything is possible… especially if you have enough balls.
Read the review here
That Second Chance by Meghan Quinn 🔥
USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn delivers a smart and cheeky romance about love’s power to lift hearts…and curses.
It was supposed to be an innocent night, celebrating my brother’s birthday. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. We’d vowed to be on our best behavior after all…
But it only took one rowdy night with my brothers to flip my world upside down. One unlucky encounter saddled us with a family curse and the promise of doomed relationships. I laughed it off immediately. “Yeah, right,” I thought. “A love curse. Ha!”
Boy, was I wrong.
Word spreads quickly in a town like mine; rumors about that night soon made us the most eligible yet untouchable bachelors in Port Snow, Maine. As a subject of endless gossip and speculation, I could kiss my dating life goodbye.
It would have stayed that way if Ren Winters, the new girl in town, hadn’t crashed into my life. Brave, beautiful, and smart—her vivacious thirst for a fresh start has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can have one too.
Everyone wishes for that second chance…but could this really be mine?
Bet the Farm by Staci Hart 🔥
Olivia Brent has one summer to save the dairy farm she just inherited.
But there’s one problem, and it’s not her lactose intolerance.
The brooding farmhand has inherited exactly fifty percent of Brent Farm, and he’s so convinced the city girl can’t work the land, he bets she can’t save it in a summer.
Determined to prove him wrong, Olivia accepts what might be the dumbest wager of her life.
His strategy to win seems simple: follow her around, shirtlessly distracting her between bouts of relentless taunting. And it’s effective—if his dark eyes and rare smiles aren’t enough to sidetrack her, the sweaty, rolling topography of the manbeast’s body would do the trick.
What they don’t know: they’ll have to weather more than each other.
Mysterious circumstances throw the farm into disarray, and with the dairy farm in danger, Olivia and Jake have to work together. But when they do, there’s more to fear than either of them imagined.
Because now their hearts are on the line, and the farm won’t be the only casualty if they fail.
Read the review here
When in Rome by Sarah Adams 💋
Opposites certainly attract for the stranded pop star and small-town baker in this charming slice of romance from the author of the TikTok sensation The Cheat Sheet.
“This modern take on the Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday is a quick, fun, slow-burn rom-com.”—Abby Jimenez, bestselling author of The Friend Zone
Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her adoring fans, is burned-out from years of maintaining her “princess of pop” image. Inspired by her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, she drives off in the middle of the night for a break in Rome . . . Rome, Kentucky, that is.
When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn’t have the time or patience for celebrity problems. He’s too busy running the pie shop his grandmother left him and reminding his nosy but lovable neighbors to mind their own damn business. Despite his better judgment, he lets her stay in his guest room—but only until her car is fixed—then she’s on her own.
Then Noah starts to see a different side of Rae Rose—she’s Amelia: kindhearted and goofy, yet lonely from years in the public eye. He can’t help but get close to her. Soon she’ll have to return to her glamorous life on tour, but until then, Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she’s been missing, and she’ll help him open his heart to more.
Amelia can’t resist falling for the cozy town and her grumpy tour guide, but even Audrey had to leave Rome eventually.
When in Rome releases on September 20th!
Read the review here
Best Fake Fiancé by Roxie Noir 🔥🔥🔥
I told a judge I was engaged to my best friend.
Now we’re faking it.
How hard can it be?
My life has room for exactly two women: my daughter Rusty and my best friend Charlotte — known to everyone as Charlie.
One is a feisty, tomboyish firecracker. The other is my seven-year-old. I can’t imagine life without either.
So when my ex springs a custody hearing on me, I find myself telling the judge that I’m engaged to Charlie.
The only problem? I’m not.
Time to fake an engagement.
Pretending we’re a couple will be no big deal.
We’ve been friends for years. We used to sneak cigarettes behind the bleachers. We turned cans of hairspray into flamethrowers. We got drunk on stolen malt liquor.
She’s beautiful, vivacious, spontaneous, and she loves my daughter to death. It’s the perfect answer: we fake it for a few months, then go back to our lives.
Until we touch, and sparks fly. Until I can’t take my eyes off her. Until I can’t stop thinking about what she’s got on under her coveralls.
It takes one kiss.
One shared secret and suddenly, I’m not pretending anymore. I want her, I need her in ways I didn’t know I could.
But there’s a lifetime of friendship between us, and falling in love with Charlie could mean risking everything.
Best Fake Fiance is a standalone romantic comedy that will make you laugh, cry, and probably fan yourself with your kindle.
The Foxe & The Hound by R.S. Grey 🔥
When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.
It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.
That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.
With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.
Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.
It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.
It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.
Blurred Lines by Jessica Prince 🔥🔥
There was absolutely no way she was falling for her neighbor. No matter how gorgeous he was.
Aurora Keller thought she’d lucked out when she decided to put down roots in Redemption, Tennessee. She had a new business, new friends, and a picture-perfect little house. There was just one problem, and it came in the form of her six-foot-three tattooed, muscle-bound neighbor from hell, who just so happened to be her best friend’s future brother-in-law. It really wasn’t fair that Satan’s offspring was so nice to look at.
Callum Morrison wasn’t a good man. Or at least that was what he’d convinced himself. After a series of bad decisions that had resulted in the worst years of his life, all he was looking for was peace and quiet. Too bad he bought a house right next door to the one woman he wanted but could neverhave. That was enough to make any man grumpy.
What had started as a war against two neighbors turned into something so much more.
And if they aren’t careful, the fallout could destroy them both.
Read the review here
Book Lovers by Emily Henry 💋
An insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.
One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
Read the audiobook review here
One More Time by Aurora Rose Reynolds 🔥
Back in her hometown of Ruby Falls, Aria Heart is determined to find herself and the happiness that has always felt just out of reach. Something that would be a lot easier to do if her parents weren’t so close by, reminding her just why she left town as soon as she could, and if the house she just purchased wasn’t already giving her problems.
Just when Aria starts to second guess her decision, Tide Goodman knocks on her door and shoves his way under her defenses. Is it possible that the happiness she’s been searching for is attached to a man like Tide, the guy she crushed on in high school who didn’t even seem to know she existed? A man with an adorable daughter and baggage of his own?
In order to find out, she’ll have to put everything, including her heart, on the line one more time.
Read the review here
Drive Me Wild by Melanie Harlow 🔥🔥🔥
When Blair Beaufort literally crashes into Bellamy Creek wearing a ball gown and a tiara, I should have towed her car, said goodnight, and sent her packing.
I’m a mechanic, not a hotel manager. I’ve got enough on my plate trying to keep my shop from going under, my overbearing mother off my back, and my baseball team in contention for the league championship. I don’t have time for a former debutante with zero street smarts and a cash flow problem, even if she is crazy beautiful.
Problem is, she’s stranded in my small town, and I’m hiding a protective streak underneath my broody exterior that runs deep. So I offer her a place to stay and keep my hands to myself.
For exactly one night.
If only she weren’t so gorgeous. So funny. So eager to please. She’s a disaster behind the wheel, but she drives me wild without even trying–at work, at home, in the back of my truck . . . I can’t get enough of the way she makes me feel.
But I know better than to think it can last. She wants a fairy tale, and I’m no prince.
So when it comes time for her to leave, there’s nothing I can do but let her go.
No matter how much it hurts to say goodbye.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez 💋
The New York Times bestselling author of Life’s Too Short delivers a refreshingly modern fairy tale perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Emily Henry.
After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.
While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.
Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?
Read the audiobook review here
Want more romance recommendations? Check out some of my other lists!
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