BEST OF 2022: Top Picks by Trope

Who doesn’t love a good trope? Everybody’s got a favorite, from tense enemies to lovers reads to playful fake relationship romances. I’ve always got certain expectations when I start reading a story that plays up a trope, and the books on this list all exceeded those expectations. 

I’ve selected the two books that I think best represented each trope in 2022 – at least out of the nearly 200 romances I’ve read this year! I also tried to limit myself to sticking to one trope per book, even though some books would be perfect for a few. I’ve got links to my review for each book below, as well as the blurb and links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection. They’re all 5-star contemporary romance novels that fulfilled my trope-tastic cravings.


FRIENDS TO LOVERS

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Fabulous Friends to Lovers Romance Novels here.

Funny Feelings by Tarah DeWitt

When falling in love is the punchline…

Farley Jones is being forced to date Meyer Harrigan, the man she has come to love, in order to make all of her stand-up dreams come true.

It’s agony— a tragedy, even. In lieu of flowers, please send cash…

Meyer and his daughter Hazel have been everything to her since they came into her life three years ago. So, all joking aside, the stakes are especially high when it’s not only her career, but both of those relationships on the line.

A former stand-up star himself, Meyer has been vital to the trajectory of her career since he began managing her… Since he became her closest and most treasured friend, in the process.

This friendship is the only reason why, when the biggest opportunity of Farley’s career includes thrusting him back into the spotlight to stir up publicity, he agrees— in spite of his grumpiness, his protectiveness over Hazel, and his disdain for public attention.

It doesn’t take long for their act to bring all those other funny feelings out into the open, and, like most matters of the heart, it quickly begins to feel like anything but a joke.

Funny Feelings is a swoony story about friendship, love, and looking for the laugh in life. It touches on the creative spirit and all that comes with sharing that gift, and how oftentimes the comedians in our lives are the most sensitive, or struggling. It features two friends, one incredible little girl, and a kaleidoscope of feelings along the way.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PPco40

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time—in bed and out—and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. 

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3h7UMRf


ENEMIES TO LOVERS

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 of My Favorite Enemies to Lovers Romance Books here.

Talk Flirty to Me by Livy Hart

I’ve got ninety-nine problems and my brother’s snarky, smart-mouthed best friend Sam is tangled up in every last one of them.

When it comes to firefighter Sam O’Shea, absence—and a regime of tactical avoidance—has been working for me juuust fine. But when the audition of a lifetime falls in my pathetically broke lap, and he’s the only one who can help me land the job, I’m willing to make a deal with the devil if it means I can kickstart my career as a narrator for audio books. 

The problem? We’d have to actually do the job. Together. And then we’re told it’s for an erotic romance. Narrating steamy lines in a tiny studio with a man who lights a fire under your skin? An occupational hazard. Accidentally inciting a town scandal when your erotic audiobook clips wind up on the radio? A crisis. And falling for the one man I promised my brother—and my heart—I wouldn’t touch?

A disaster—and temptation—I can’t resist.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gWhJda

The Devil You Know by Elizabeth O’Roark

There’s a devil on my shoulder, and every Monday morning she announces herself. She’s this delicious flame in my chest, a flurry of whispered suggestions in my ear. Suggestions I ignore…because every single one of them is about Ben Tate.

Ben—Stealer of Clients, Evicter of Homeless Women, Nemesis. Sitting across from me every damn Monday with his lovely, smug smile and his too-perfect teeth, the living symbol of everything I hate.

It’s been my policy to avoid him, but when a case comes into the firm—one that could change his career and mine—I make an exception. It means weekends and evenings by his side. It means enduring his smirk and his smart mouth and never taking the bait.

Until the night Ben says “Beg”…and that devil on my shoulder decides to make a few demands of her own.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3usLXHk


SECOND CHANCE

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Second Chance Romances (That I Actually Liked) here.

The Co-op by Tarah DeWitt

They say love and construction don’t mix. 
By that logic, hate and construction may as well be condemned.


LaRynn Lavigne and Deacon Leeds had one short and contentious summer fling when they were teens. 
Certainly nothing to build a foundation on. 
But a decade later, when their grandmothers have left them with shared ownership of their dilapidated Santa Cruz building, they’re thrust back together and have to figure out how to brace up the pieces. 
LaRynn has the money, but to access her trust, she has to be married. 
Deacon has the construction expertise, but lacks the funds. 
A deal is struck: Marry for however long it takes to fix up the property, collect a profit, and cut ties. 
Thrust into a home without walls, they quickly learn that it’s easy to hide behind emotional ones, even in a marriage. But, with all the exposure and pitfalls that come with living with the opposite sex (and none of the perks) they’ll also have to learn what it means to truly co-operate as a team.

The Co-op is a steamy story about restoration and renovation, and uncovering all the things that build character within ourselves. It’s about the never-ending construction project that partnership is, and finding enjoyment at every stage.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LLA6fV

Untying the Knot by Meghan Quinn

A spin-off from the #1 Amazon bestsellers, A Not So Meet Cute and So Not Meant To Be, USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn brings you a heart-warming, yet hilarious full-length novel on what life is like after the happily ever after.

Ryot Bisley is my husband. 

Yes, the former third baseman for the Chicago Bobbies and absolute heart throb of the Windy City. That Ryot Bisley.

The first time I ran into him, he was grumpy, a horrific host, and left me on his sofa with nothing but a nylon baseball flag to use as a blanket.

The second time, he reluctantly bought me dinner, stared at my chest the entire night, and still sported that permanent frown.

The third time . . . well, that was a game changer. His smile captured me, his teasing charmed me, and his touches excited me.

So when he was called up to the majors that didn’t stop us from knocking it out of the park and all the way down the aisle.

Eleven years later…I’d love to say we’re happy as ever but the man who sent me dirty text messages every day is long gone and Mr. Frowny Face is back.

He’s so focused on trying to build a life after baseball that he doesn’t see the life we’ve already created together. . .so I make the hard decision and serve him divorce papers.

Problem is…my husband refuses to accept those papers. Instead, he has a new game plan that makes untying the knot of our marriage a little tricky. And just when I thought I wanted to be traded . . . he’s slowly, tantalizingly roping me back in.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3U18Tcy


BROTHER’S BEST FRIEND

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Brother’s Best Friend Romances here.

Those Three Little Words by Meghan Quinn

I knocked up my best friend’s sister.

Figured I would get straight to the point because how it happened is a mere snippet of the story I have to tell. The real meat and potatoes is what happened after.

Let’s start with how she decided to inform me and Pacey the news . . . together. Imagine that nightmare. I was going into what I thought was a hockey marketing meeting and then BAM! I’m going to be a dad and my best friend/teammate is attempting to imprint my face with his fist.

It wasn’t pretty.

Threats were tossed around, friendships were revoked, and then I was marched up to her apartment, suitcases in hand, and forced to live with her so I could take care of her every need. Given how much I’ve pined for the girl, you would think that wouldn’t be a hardship. Wrong.

This is my one shot to win my teammate back. Pacey is the only family I’ve got, so hooking up with his sister isn’t a mistake I can make twice . . . despite the fact that she’s pregnant with my child.

But with every mood swing, every pair of pants that doesn’t fit right, and every late night run to find the perfect donut, I’m finding it harder and harder not to fall for my best friend’s little sister. 

Especially when she kisses me…

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3twxyux

Finding Gene Kelly by Torie Jean

When five-year-old Evie O’Shea married her next-door neighbor in the wedding of the century, she had no idea she was swearing an oath to love the man who would grow into the bane of her existence until the end of time. Or that in ten years time, she’d start a long and winding journey to an eventual endometriosis diagnosis.

Now, aged twenty-six, Evie O’Shea lives in Paris, balancing precariously close to her Charlotte Lucas birthday. A burden to her parents, with no prospects and no money, Evie’s humdrum life needs a shake-up.

Enter Liam Kelly, the man Evie married at the age of five and promptly divorced at seven when he had the audacity to throw a muddy football at her while she was reading Eloise in Paris. Clad in a Henley and equipped with toned forearms and eye crinkles that rival Gene Kelly himself, Evie is determined to keep her ultimate temptation at a distance while she flails wildly navigating life, love, and endometriosis on the banks of the Seine.

But when a family announcement shakes up Evie’s world weeks before her brother’s wedding, Evie seeks Liam’s help to get through the wedding with some semblance of sanity intact.

Her request? Fake date.

Making a deal with the Devil always comes with a cost, though, and when Liam’s conditions which include elaborate backstories and practice dates, reignite passions her disease smothered long ago, Evie has to learn to fight for her dreams and break free from her life measured in ibuprofen pills and heating pad settings. Or else risk being alive but never truly living.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3f2cOWY


FORBIDDEN

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Fiery Forbidden Romance Novels here.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth O’Roark

You don’t really know a guy until you’ve vacationed with him…

When Drew Wilson’s ex-boyfriend Joel “Six” Bailey asks her to go on his family trip to Hawaii with him just as her life is falling apart, she decides it’s the perfect time to give him another chance.

The hitch? The Bailey family includes Six’s rude older brother, Joshua–a hot-nerd doctor who has hated Drew since the moment they met and once suggested she’d steal the family silver.

Drew is determined to win the Baileys over and give this thing with Six a fair shot…but Joshua is making that difficult. Not simply because he is in her way at every turn, but because–as one tropical adventure leads to the next–she’s beginning to wonder if obnoxious, odious Joshua might be the brother she actually belongs with. 

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3HANt07

Heartless by Elsie Silver

Working as a nanny for the world’s grumpiest single dad should have been simple. Except I can’t keep my eyes off him. And he can’t keep his hands off of me.

Cade Eaton is thirteen years older than I am and barely looks my way. Until I get him into the hot tub one night for a game of truth or dare. Then all bets are off—and so are our clothes. 

He’s gruff, a little rough around the edges. But broad-shouldered ranchers with calloused hands and filthy mouths are this city girl’s kryptonite. So who am I to resist?

But it’s in our quiet moments together that he softens. It’s when he takes care of me that I realize his hardened exterior is just a façade. It’s when I watch him go all sweet with his little boy that I really fall for him.

Someone convinced him once that his best wasn’t good enough. But I’ve never felt more cherished than I do in his arms.

My contract may say this arrangement is only for two months.

But my heart says this is forever.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3DgYgwN


FAKE RELATIONSHIP

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sexy Fake Relationship Romance Books here.

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend by Penny Reid

Winnifred Gobaldi and Byron Visser are not best friends.

Yes, they’ve known each other for years, but they’re not even friendly. Winnie considers them more like casual, distant acquaintances who find each other barely tolerable, especially when he’s being condescending (which is all the time).

The truth is, they have nothing in common. She’s a public school science teacher with stars in her eyes, and he’s a pretentious, joyless double PhD turned world-famous bestselling fiction author. She loves sharing her passion for promulgating women in STEM careers and building community via social media, and he eschews all socialization, virtual or otherwise. She’s looking for a side hustle to help pay down a mountain of student debt, and his financial portfolio is the stuff of fiduciary wet dreams. So why are they faking a #bestfriend relationship for millions of online spectators?

When a simple case of tit-for-tat trends between nonfriends leads to a wholly unexpected kind of pretend, nothing is simple. Sometimes, it takes a public audience to reveal the truth of private feelings, and rarely—very rarely—you should believe what you see online.

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend is a full-length, complete standalone, adult contemporary romantic comedy.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/37AVQv0

Honestly, I’m Totally Faking It by Amanda Gambill

Rach is a down-on-her-luck, happy-go-lucky kind of lady … Sure, she may be an assistant to personal assistants, crashing on her ex-boyfriend’s couch, and have a whole secret past, but mostly, things are great.

Until she:

  • Meets Pres — an aspiring politician, certified Capricorn, and a definitely “unlikable” dude (He knows, he had a poll done on it), and
  • Accidentally goes viral at the same time. (The internet is calling it “Boobgate.”)

His PR person says they should capitalize on the fame. Pres only wants to win an election. And Rach, well, she really just wants to keep her job.

Now she must decide if she can be herself and get the guy, too, or if faking it until you make it is all it’s cracked up to be…

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3A1EmDu


OPPOSITES ATTRACT

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Awesome Opposites Attract Romances here or my list of 15 (More) Grumpy/Sunshine Romance Books 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

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PP9XNV

All Downhill With You by Julie Olivia

The moment we meet, it’s all downhill.

My job is providing happiness and smiles at Honeywood Fun Park, and Emory Dawson is the frown our park didn’t ask for.

When our star roller coaster malfunctions with me on board, the manufacturer’s heir and lead engineer, Emory, vows to renovate the attraction. So instead of having a fun summer season as Marketing Manager for Honeywood, I’m now saddled with playing host.

Wonderful.

Emory is the opposite of a good time. He’s the grump that won’t stop grumping, and our arguments escalate quicker than my heart rate after a roller coaster’s fall.

He knows I can see right through his broody gaze and big ideas. Repairing the coaster? More like overhauling his own company’s reputation, regardless of whether it helps our local theme park.

But when our firm handshakes start lingering too long, or when his muscled thighs rest against mine under the table, I’m thrown for a loop.

Most roller coasters are fun, but I’d like to get off this emotional one, please.

All Downhill With You is a stand-alone romantic comedy. This book is an enemies-to-lovers, grumpy/sunshine romance with laugh-out-loud theme park moments, a cozy small town, and sizzling spice!

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3GSqddY


FORCED PROXIMITY

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Fantastic Forced Proximity Romance Novels 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

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3onzLoK

King of Wrath by Ana Huang

She’s the wife he never wanted…and the weakness he never saw coming.

Ruthless. Meticulous. Arrogant.

Dante Russo thrives on control, both personally and professionally.

The billionaire CEO never planned to marry—until the threat of blackmail forces him into an engagement with a woman he barely knows.

Vivian Lau, jewelry heiress and daughter of his newest enemy.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful or charming she is. He’ll do everything in his power to destroy the evidence and their betrothal. 

There’s only one problem: now that he has her…he can’t bring himself to let her go.

***

Elegant. Ambitious. Well-mannered.

Vivian Lau is the perfect daughter and her family’s ticket into the highest echelons of high society.

Marrying a blue-blooded Russo means opening doors that would otherwise remain closed to her new-money family.

While the rude, elusive Dante isn’t her idea of a dream partner, she agrees to their arranged marriage out of duty.

Craving his touch was never part of the plan.

Neither was the worst thing she could possibly do: fall in love with her future husband.

King of Wrath is a steamy arranged marriage billionaire romance. It includes explicit content and profanity. Recommended for mature readers only.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3UK0LNT


STRANGERS TO LOVERS

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sensational Strangers to Lovers Romance Novels here.

Say It’s Forever by A.L. Jackson

From NYT and USA Today bestselling author A.L. Jackson comes a close proximity, single-parent stand-alone romance about a woman on the run and the man who will do anything to save her…

Jud Lawson found me stranded in the rain.

Broken down on the side of the road in a deserted neighborhood with my piece of crap car.

I wasn’t looking for a hero, and definitely not one who looks like him.

An obscenely hot, mountain-of-a-man who screams danger.

But I have little choice other than climbing onto the back of his bike.

One look at Salem Aguilar, and I’m hooked.

The girl is devastation wrapped in a black, seductive bow.

A knockout.

A dream.

Turns out, she needs a job, and I need the help.

Now I have a vixen strutting around my shop, and I’m the fool who’s itching to reach out and take what he can’t have. 

But neither of us can ignore the burning attraction.

The fire that leads to a kiss.

A kiss that has us falling into my bed.

The connection that has me wanting the one thing I’d never thought I could have again.

Because monsters like me don’t deserve love.

Only Salem has a secret, too.

She’s been running for years, and her past just caught up to us…

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uwyZZm

My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey

An all-new, spicy murder mystery from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer…

It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in sweet, sunny Cape Cod—just me and my beloved brother—but discovering a corpse in our rental house really throws a wrench into our tanning schedule. Now a rude, crude bounty hunter has arrived on the back of his motorcycle to catch the killer and refuses to believe I can be helpful, despite countless hours of true crime podcast listening. Not to mention a fulfilling teaching career of wrangling second graders.

A brash bounty hunter and an energetic elementary schoolteacher: the murder-solving team no one asked for, but thanks to these pesky attempts on my life, we’re stuck together, come hell or high tide.

I’m just here to do a job, not babysit an amateur sleuth. Although…it is becoming less and less of a hardship to have her around. Sure, she’s stubborn, distracting and can’t stay out of harm’s way. She’s also brave and beautiful and reminds me of the home I left behind three years ago. In other words, the painful hunger and protectiveness she is waking up in me is a threat to my peace of mind. Before I sink any deeper into this dangerous attraction, I need to solve this murder and get back on the road. But will fate take her from me before I realize the road has been leading to her all along?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LACeWe


SPORTS

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sexy Sports Romance Novels here.

Consider Me by Becka Mack

Carter Beckett is the NHL’s resident bad boy, top player both on the ice and in the bedroom, and quite possibly the sexiest man to ever grace my field of vision. But worst of all? He knows it.

He’s arrogant, self-centered, and the man doesn’t seem to know what a filter is, let alone how to use one. He’s had everything served to him on a silver platter, including endless strings of women, and apparently, I’m up next.
His only problem? I have no intention of falling for his shi—um, charm.

I have the solution to all my sexual frustrations in a drawer at home, and it’s far less complicated than Carter Beckett. Sure, he may be pretty, but he’s also a walking, talking reminder for you to wrap it before you tap it.

But then I start letting my guard down, and he starts showing me pieces of himself I had no intention of seeing. The bricks surrounding me may be tumbling down one by one, but I’m not sold yet, which means for the first time in his life, Carter’s the one begging.

For my time, my trust, for a single chance.

For me to just…consider him.

Consider Me is book #1 in the Playing For Keeps series, a series of interconnected standalone mature hockey romance stories that contain lots of heat, swoon, laughs, and a ride on an emotional rollercoaster!

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xQXGlx

Mile High by Liz Tomforde

Zanders

Chicago hockey isn’t complete without me—everyone’s favorite player to hate. I know my role, and I play it well. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy spending the majority of my game time in the penalty box before leaving the arena with a new girl on my arm each night.

What I don’t like is the new flight attendant on our team’s private plane. She works for me, not the other way around. But I’ll be sure to remind her of that, and I can guarantee, by the end of the season, she’ll be begging to quit her job.

But every road trip blurs the lines, and I can’t quite figure out if I keep pushing that flight attendant call button in order to push her buttons or if it’s more than that.

Stevie

I’ve been a flight attendant for years. I thought I’d see it all, but when my new job lands me onboard working for the most egotistical and self-righteous diva in the NHL, I start to second guess everything. Including the promise I made to myself of never hooking up with an athlete again…no matter how annoyingly tempting he may be.

Evan Zanders is unfiltered, unapologetic, and too attractive for his own good. He loves his image, but I hate everything about it.

Everything but him.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3YlLaGH


OFFICE / WORKPLACE

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sexy Office Rivals Romance Books here or 15 Sexy Office Romance Books here.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis comes a new STEMinist rom-com in which a scientist is forced to work on a project with her nemesis—with explosive results.

Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project—a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia—Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school—archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it’s her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas…devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3a4oYfe

Rival Radio by Kathryn Nolan

These two on-air enemies can’t stop rubbing each other the wrong way in the booth…and the right way in bed. 

Theo
Whoever said “keep your enemies close” never had to share a small, dark sound booth with her. Daria Stone is the infuriating host of “Choosing Yourself.” The name is almost as ridiculous as the concept. Permanently single? Please. The woman’s made a career out of rejecting everything I stand for.

I’m looking for the one. The right woman who’s ready for marriage and a lifetime together. Not some sultry, stubborn vixen who makes my life a living hell and insists a husband can be replaced by a curated collection of bedroom toys. And I know she’s wearing those skin-tight leather pants just to annoy me.

Daria
Dr. Theo Chadwick is a professional pain in my…workplace. Sure—on the outside, the man is gorgeous. But he’s also obsessed with finding his better half and getting his radio show, “True Romance,” syndicated so he can give false hope to lovelorn listeners everywhere.

He keeps pushing my buttons with his arrogant “expertise” about how wrong I am. I just want to see him snap. Maybe that’s how I ended up here, pinned against a wall with my legs wrapped around his waist…whoops…

Can these enemies put their feud on hold and play nice in a shared timeslot to save their popular beach town radio station? Or will their sparks burn everything to the ground?

Author’s Note: One-click if you love forced proximity, breakroom bickering, “we’re just getting it out of our system” one-night stands, a rag-tag crew of DJs, and beachy, retro boardwalk magic.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wEbkXV


SINGLE DAD

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sexy Single Dad Romance Books here.

Good Vibrations by Kayley Loring

A former model, a grumpy lawyer, and a single dad walk into an audition for a children’s musical… They’re all Miles Brodie. It’s only cute if you aren’t the director who’s being bribed to cast his daughter. 


DEAR MS. CROSS,

Re: Our discussion


1. True. Casting my daughter as the lead in your musical could be considered bribery if people find out I’m investing in it, but no one needs to know.
2. I only want to hire you as Macy’s singing coach so her vocal skills will improve.
3. Maybe if you’d spent less time surfing and more on your singing career, you wouldn’t be in this financial predicament.
4. Re. your living situation—my neighbor has a guest house. If you cast Macy as Alice, I will pay for your first three months’ rent.

Do we have a deal?

Best regards,
Miles Brodie


DEAR MR. BRODIE,

1. It absolutely is bribery, but I absolutely need that money for my production. Thanks!
2. It is very cute that you will do anything to get Macy this part, but I would only coach that sweet child as a favor to all mammals with functional hearing.
3. If I spend less time surfing, will you spend less time jogging on my beach with your shirt off?
4. You want to pay me to live next door so you don’t have to drive anywhere to frown at me?
5. I have another condition for casting Macy as Alice—you have to perform the part of the Cheshire Cat.

Purrrrrrr,
Aria


* This is a 70,000 word standalone steamy romantic comedy novel.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/39Gc7zE

Last on the List by Amy Daws

Only a bad nanny knows what it’s like to kiss the boss.

CEO millionaire, Max Fletcher is a single dad in desperate need of a nanny.

Cozy Barlow is in the middle of her self-appointed “gap year” and doing everything she can to detach from her past.

But when her sister begs her to interview for the nanny position of a high maintenance client, she doesn’t have a good enough reason to say no.

And when Max locks eyes on the twenty-something in a tie-dye sweatsuit who pitches the idea of daydreaming all summer—he prepares to give this bad nanny the boot.

One problem: Max’s little girl thinks this plus-sized in body and spirit nanny might be her new bestie, so she hires her on the spot.

Now Max is stuck with this bizarre woman who hates everything he represents—corporate greed, money, status, power.

But one stormy night when the power goes out, he discovers Cozy doesn’t hate him. In fact, he’s the leading role in her fantasies. 

Fantasies, he would very much like to make a reality.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3lkDlOZ


SINGLE MOM

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sexy Single Mom Romance Novels here.

Meet Me Halfway by Lilian T. James

Madison gave her heart to a boy at the age of sixteen, but all she got in return was a broken heart and a swollen belly.

Alone with a baby and desperate for the love she hadn’t found, she turned to a man who sealed his claim of devotion with a diamond ring.

He promised her a family. A life. A future. But his lies had only been a cover for the personal hell he introduced her to daily.

Now, at twenty-five, Madison has long since stopped believing in love. Balancing single parenthood, three jobs, and online courses, she doesn’t have the time anyway.

So when the broody neighbor living in the other side of her duplex leaves a rude note on her door, she’s not interested.

Not in his dark hair, not in his physique, and definitely not in the dimples she’s only seen a hint of. She’s one hundred percent, absolutely, not interested.

Not even a little.

**Author’s Note: This novel is for readers age 18+ and contains sensitive content that some readers might not wish to read. Please head to the author’s website for a more detailed content description.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3MLDXIT

Juniper Hill by Devney Perry

From USA Today bestselling author Devney Perry comes a small town, neighbors to lovers romance.

Memphis Ward arrives in Quincy, Montana, on the fifth worst day of her life. She needs a shower. She needs a snack. She needs some sanity. Because moving across the country with her newborn baby is by far the craziest thing she’s ever done.

But maybe it takes a little crazy to build a good life. If putting the past behind her requires a thousand miles and a new town, she’ll do it if it means a better future for her son. Even if it requires setting aside the glamour of her former life. Even if it requires working as a housekeeper at The Eloise Inn and living in an apartment above a garage.

It’s there, on the fifth worst day of her life, that she meets the handsomest man she’s ever laid eyes on. Knox Eden is a beautiful, sinful dream, a chef and her temporary landlord. With his sharp, stubbled jaw and tattooed arms, he’s raw and rugged and everything she’s never had—and never will. Because after the first worst day of her life, Memphis learned a good life requires giving up on her dreams too. And a man like Knox Eden will only ever be a dream.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uf9Z98


MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Marvelous Marriage of Convenience Romance Books here.

Terms and Conditions by Lauren Asher

Declan
I’m destined to become the next CEO of my family’s media empire.
The only problem? My grandfather’s inheritance clause.
Fulfilling his dying wish of getting married and having an heir seemed impossible until my assistant volunteers for the job.
Our marriage was supposed to be the perfect solution to my biggest problem.
But the more we act in love for the public, the more unsure I feel about our contract.
Caring about Iris was never part of the deal.
Especially not when breaking her heart is inevitable.

Iris
My plan to marry Declan was simple in theory.
Move in together. Throw a wedding. Have a baby.
We set rules to prevent any kind of issues.
Ones that were never meant to be broken, no matter how much Declan tempts me.
But what happens when our fake relationship bleeds into our real one?
Falling in love was never an option.
At least not for me.

Terms and Conditions is the second book in a series of interconnected standalones following three billionaire brothers.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vywHLf

Brutal Vows by J.T. Geissinger

An Irish mobster with a brutal grudge.
An Italian mafia princess with a dark secret.
Two enemy empires joined in sacred marriage vows.
Let the hating games begin.


Reyna

If this arrogant Irish mobster my brother sold my niece to thinks I’m going to play nice over this arranged marriage BS, he should think again.
I don’t care if this match with the Mob will make my brother capo of the Five Families.
I don’t care how much money, territory, or power it will gain us.
I especially don’t care that the Irishman is the sexiest man I’ve ever seen.
I won’t allow my innocent niece to suffer the same way I did.
Even if I have to kill him.

Spider

I’m supposed to marry sweet, beautiful Lili. So why can’t I stop thinking about her swamp witch of an aunt?
Reyna who hates me. Reyna who challenges me. Reyna with the guts of a Viking, the body of a fertility goddess, and the attitude of a feral cat.
Nothing good can come of what I’m feeling for a woman who’s not the one in the wedding contract I signed.
A woman I want so much, I’ll have to burn the whole world down to get.
If she doesn’t kill me first.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3BaAcIN


SMALL TOWN

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Sweet & Spicy Small Town Romance Books here.

Mixed Signals by B.K. Borison

Layla Dupree has given up on love.

She’s waded through all of the fish in the sea, each one more disappointing than the last. Apparently owning the bakery at Inglewild’s most romantic destination does not help one’s love life—despite her best efforts. All she wants is a partner who gives her butterflies, not someone who ghosts her at dinner and leaves her with the check.

Good thing Caleb Alvarez has the perfect solution.

After saving Layla from another date gone bad, he has a simple proposition: One month of no-strings dating. He’ll do his best to renew her faith in men while she rates his dating game. It’s a win-win situation. All the benefits of dating, without the added pressure of feelings and unmet expectations.

But there’s one ingredient they haven’t considered. The chemistry between them is red hot and the urge to take things to the next level is more tempting than Layla’s double fudge mocha brownies.

Will the heat between them boil over? Or will it be another case of mixed signals?

Mixed Signals is a sweet and steamy small-town romance. Our story features a bashful man who can rock a Hawaiian shirt, a hopeful and dreamy bakery owner, enough sweets to give you a cavity, and your favorite Inglewild residents. Mixed Signals is a standalone romance and the third book in the Lovelight series, a collection of interconnected novels.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wVdhAq

Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon.

Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.

Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way…with fists and beer. Usually in that order.

Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.

There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.

At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3A537gI


FLING TO MORE

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Spicy Hookup to HEA Romance Books Released in 2022 here.

In the Weeds by B.K. Borison

Evelyn St. James isn’t the kind of woman you forget.

Beckett Porter certainly hasn’t. One incredible weekend in Maine, and he’s officially a man distracted. He’s not unfamiliar with hot and heavy flings. He knows how it goes. But Evie wove some sort of magic over him during their tumble in the sheets. He can’t stop thinking about her laugh. Her hand pressed flat against his chest. Her smiling mouth at his neck.

Also, her eyes. And her legs.

So when she suddenly appears on his farm as part of a social media contest, he is … confused. He had no idea that the sweet and sexy woman he met at a bar is actually a global phenomenon: social media influencer Evelyn St. James. When she disappears again, Beckett resolves to finally forget her and move on.

But Evelyn St. James has a problem.

Feeling disconnected from her work and increasingly unhappy, she’s trying to find her way back to something real. She returns to the last place she was happy, Lovelight Farms and the tiny town of Inglewild.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the hot farmer she spent two incredible nights with.

Nothing at all.

In The Weeds is a sweet and steamy second-chance romance about finding your happiness. It features a grumpy farmer, a no-nonsense social media influencer, a small town of busybodies, and four very cute kittens. This is the second book in a series of interconnected standalones following the three Lovelight owners.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3KsSYQi

Last Resort by K. Bromberg

I was never supposed to see him again. Him being the man wearing the perfectly tailored suit who oozed an intoxicating mixture of wealth, rebellion, and sex appeal.

One night.
No strings.
No names.
Great sex.

Still riding the high from last night, I walk in to meet my new client, and he’s wearing that same dangerous smirk that reeled me in hours ago.

Yes, I’m consulting for Callahan Sharpe. And yes, he’s that Callahan Sharpe.

Billionaire heir apparent who abides by no rules, bucks convention, and is determined to complete one final project to honor his late father’s legacy before walking away from the family business for good. Luckily and unluckily for me, I’ve been tasked to go to the Virgin Islands to help accomplish his goal. Callahan has no problem breaking his company’s no fraternization rule, but not me. There’s too much at stake.

What could possibly go wrong when you’re forced to work—and live—side by side with a man you can’t resist?

Are you ready to fall for the Sharpe brothers in K. Bromberg’s sexy, contemporary, billionaire romance series? These books can all be read as standalones, but can be enjoyed as a series as well . . .

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rij407


WOMEN’S FICTION CROSSOVER

Like this trope? Check out my list of the 12 of the Best Women’s Fiction/Romance Crossovers I’ve Read in 2022 here.

Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan

From the author of My Oxford Year, Julia Whelan’s uplifting novel tells the story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel.

For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger. 

On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her. 

As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.

If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3IbDA9G

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3RVn2at

ROOMMATES

Like this trope? Check out my list of 15 Unexpected Roommates Romances here.

Lease on Love by Falon Ballard

Beach Read meets The Flatshare in this warmly funny and delightfully sharp debut rom-com about a down-on-her-luck young woman who turns an innocent mix-up between a dating app and a roommate app into a new chance at love.

She wasn’t looking for love until it landed on her doorstep.

After getting passed over for an overdue—and much-needed—promotion, Sadie Green is in desperate need of three things: a stiff drink, a new place to live, and a one-night stand. When one drink turns into one too many, Sadie mixes up a long-ignored dating app for a roommate-finding app and finds herself on the doorstep of Jack Thomas’s gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone. Too bad she’s more attracted to his impressive real estate than she is to the man himself.

Jack, still grieving the unexpected death of his parents, has learned to find comfort in video games and movie marathons instead of friends. So while he doesn’t know just what to make of the vivaciously verbose Sadie, he’s willing to offer her his spare bedroom while she gets back on her feet. And with the rent unbeatably low, Sadie can finally pursue her floristry side hustle full-time. The two are polar opposites, but as Sadie’s presence begins to turn the brownstone into a home, they both start to realize they may have just made the deal of a lifetime.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/30dwdNi

Next of Kin by Hannah Bonam-Young

Two bickering strangers, Chloe and Warren, are partnered by Child Protective Services to qualify for next of kin fostering of their younger siblings.

When people-pleasing Chloe learns that her birth mother has unexpectedly had another baby, she doesn’t hesitate to become a next-of-kin guardian. But when she fails to pass Child Protective Services’ financial evaluation, she is faced with a choice: see her baby sister placed in foster care or participate in CPS’ new initiative, TeamUp.
Enter Warren, a surly mechanic’s apprentice attempting to get custody of his deaf fifteen-year-old brother after failing CPS’ housing evaluation. The two strangers immediately clash but agree to live together until Warren can find housing elsewhere and Chloe can further grow her freelance career.
As their lives intertwine, Chloe and Warren both realise that they’re far more similar than they could have imagined. What started as forced begins to feel natural—and far less lonely. Chemistry soon intensifies beyond what either of them can stand, but they must each decide if what burns between them is worth risking their arrangement.

With banter, heart, and steam that will have the reader blushing, NEXT OF KIN is a true underdog story of two young adults redefining what family can look like.
Content Warnings:
For adult readers only due to explicit (consensual) sexual content, child abandonment (referenced in memory), substance abuse and addiction (referenced, not described), foster care and adoption (theme throughout), references to anxiety (brief description of a panic attack), and death of a parent (referenced in memory).

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3J0MDe8


MORE OF THE BEST OF 2022 ROMANCE

Best Romance Books I Read in Kindle Unlimited (2022)

Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2022


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