Among the best new romances of September are stories in which a wolf of Wall Street clashes with a PR fixer, a hot mess meets her neat-freak soul mate, and a seamstress discovers a duke wants to pay off his debt by marrying her. Prefer dark, angsty romance? There's something for everyone this month in our top picks below.
The Governess Game: Girl Meets Duke by Tessa Dare
Tessa Dare is at her best in her funny and sigh-worthy new historical novel about a down-on-her-luck young woman and a duke who needs a wife after his former fiancée bowed out. When Emma shows up demanding payment for the ex-fiancée's unused wedding gown, the Duke of Ashford sees an unconventional way of achieving his goal: marry the brash young seamstress. Ash's war-scarred face hides his vulnerability; Emma's forthright ways hide her hurt at being thrown out of her parents' house. Dare brings out the best of both of them as they clash, laugh, and heal.
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
"Hot mess" is an oft-applied description of wild—and wildly optimistic—Hazel, and she's fine with that. What she's not fine with is the long line of guys who like her wild at first and then think that maybe she'd be better (for them) if she were a bit more domesticated. Only Josh, who is a neat-freak and highly responsible, seems to accept that Hazel is who she is. But when Hazel moves in with Josh while her apartment is being renovated, can their friendship survive close quarters? And does either one want to remain just friends? The writing duo Christina Lauren peels back the layers of a slow-build relationship that hits a bajillion hilarious potholes along the way, showcasing modern true love.
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Crew by Tijan
A crew isn't—quite—a gang, but what it definitely is is found family who will have your back no matter what. Bren, the only girl in the small but feared Wolf gang, has already proven herself to her crew, to her family, and to her high school classmates as no one to mess with. But when a guy from another town and his jerk cousin start messing with Bren, hallway fist fights quickly turn into something more deadly, with Bren's best friend Cross in the thick of things. The violence in Crew might shock some; others might be turned off by the protagonists' young age. But those who fondly remember The Outsiders and who enjoy riptide, angsty emotions will find that Crew hits their sweet spot.
The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne
Although humorous historicals are all the rage now, Byrne sidesteps the laughs to plumb the darkest depths of the heart with her damaged heroes and strong women. Youngster Lorelai rescues a naked, almost-beaten-to-death young man from expiring in a ditch by the road. Twenty years later, on the eve of her unwanted wedding, he reappears as the Rook, one of the most feared ship captains on the seas. And then he kidnaps her. Readers who love broken alpha males will take to the Rook, while Lorelai herself is no frail pushover, as she proves over and over again. A good match for those who like to read Katharine Ashe or Eloisa James's fiercer romances.
Intercepted by Alexa Martin
You don't have to be a fan of sports romances or of football to enjoy Intercepted. Longtime girlfriend of an NFL player, Marlee has never quite fit in with the team's pack of wives. And when she leaves her boyfriend upon learning he's been cheating on her, the last person she wants to date is another football player. Too bad the hot new quarterback Gavin Pope is such a good guy and so hard to ignore…. The spouse of a former NFL player, Martin weaves a clever, nuanced, and deeply funny story about fighting to be strong among a group of guys who live by their muscles.
Don't Close Your Eyes by Christie Craig
Detective Mark Sutton snagged Annie Lakes's attention with his looks but kept her attention when he bought coffee for people just to brighten their day. When Annie begins remembering details of a childhood camping trip that might have ended in murder, she contacts Mark, who is in charge of cold cases. Sometimes at odds, sometimes on the same team, Annie and Mark search for the truth even as the long-ago crime reaches into the present. Both Mark and Annie are scarred by events that have made them cautious of others, and they have to learn to put their fears aside and trust each other in this atmospheric romantic thriller.
Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
While a bad-boy reputation used to be cheered on Wall Street, these days it turns off clients. Photographed with a stripper during a bachelor party in Vegas, Matt Cannon has to fix his reputation fast by getting a steady girlfriend… without actually getting a steady girlfriend. His solution is Sabrina Cross, a onetime-fling who is, more important, well connected among the Manhattan elite. And—most important—he knows that Sabrina hates him and would never accidentally fall for him. This modern enemies-to-lovers romance hits the heart hard in all the best ways.
See the best romances of the month for all our picks, and also check out new heartfelt fiction on the same page.
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