Cowboys, bodyguards, billionaires, and rock stars... Contemporary romance can cover a lot of territory, and sometimes it's a challenge to figure out which novel to pick up next.
Talented contemporary authors Donna Grant, Alisha Rai, Maisey Yates, Brenda Jackson, and Christina Lauren (all of whom have appeared on our best romances of the month lists) offer their own recommendations based on the novels that won their hearts this year.
Steal by Rachel Van Dyken - One of my favorite contemporary romances of 2017 is Steal by Rachel Van Dyken. This book had it all. Two wounded characters, a past twisted with betrayal, loyalty, rock stars, and second chances. A retired lead singer of a boy band and an actress struggling to make a comeback star in this deliciously addictive, cry-your-heart-out redemption book.
Under Pressure by Lori Foster - I love connecting books, and for me the best book in 2017 that immediately comes to mind is Under Pressure by Lori Foster, which is part of her Body Armor Series. I love a great romance story with an alpha man and plenty of action. Leese Phelps was a hot hero and Catalina a sexy heroine. Their adventure and steamy romance kept me turning the pages. Under Pressure was everything I needed to escape into a great romance novel. It was worth the time I took to squeeze it into my busy writing schedule. Now I am ready to read the next book in the series.
The most recent novel in Brenda Jackson's action-packed Protectors series is Locked in Temptation.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - A sweet contemporary romance that will knock you on your butt with adorable. Dimple is independent and has more interest in computer coding and a career of her own than she does in talk of settling down. Rishi believes firmly in tradition, is excited to meet his future wife, and more than anything, he wants to make his family proud. Both their parents want them to marry eventually . . . so why not move it along now that they're enrolling in the same summer program? Told in alternating POVs, this is an adorable opposites-attract romp that left us with the best, tingly smiles.
Forged In Desire by Brenda Jackson - This book starts off on a sprint and doesn't let up: the heroine Margo Connelly is on a jury for a high profile case—and a hit man has been hired to take out everyone in court. Lamar "Striker" Jennings comes in to protect her and...let’s just say there's, ahem, chemistry. We loved Striker's attitude and Margo's no-nonsense backbone, but there was so much here to love: Brenda Jackson masterfully ties the character arcs together, she lays out endless twists and turns (Lauren actually shouted while reading this), and, oh yes, Ms. Jackson knows how to write a sex scene.
A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev - A Rapunzel and her unlikely prince get a contemporary twist in this romantic, sweeping, and suspenseful tale. As a child, Kimi's illness requires that she be confined to a sterile tower in her family's mansion, but her world is forever changed when she befriends a young boy who happens to be washing her windows. Told through brilliant twin narratives, the story spans the entirety of Rahul and Kimi's unconventional relationship, from childhood friendship to adolescent crush to adult love—and the final page left me sighing in satisfaction for their hard-fought happily ever after.
Alisha Rai's most recent novel in her contemporary Forbidden Hearts series is Wrong to Need You.
Want You More by Nicole Helm - Nicole has a fresh, contemporary voice, and writes wonderful, deep romance with a great dose of family drama, plus my favorite outdoorsman heroes. Want You More is no exception. With the Rocky Mountains as a stunning backdrop, this emotional romance between two best friends who need a second chance at love will make you want to go glom Helm’s entire backlist.
The Wicked Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden - Jackie is a master of emotionally wrenching romances that are guaranteed to leave you with that wonderful, book hangover feeling, and in The Wicked Billionaire she’s at the top of her game. A forbidden love story between a former SEAL and the woman he’s sworn to protect—his best friend’s widow—the heat between Grace and Lucas is incendiary. Lucas is an amazing damaged hero, and his journey to a happy-ever-after is one of the most rewarding I’ve ever read.