Best Romances of October: 7 Top Picks

Adrian Liang on October 25, 2018

Seven excellent romances rose to the top of a very large pile this month, with suspicious fires, dukes and magical shortbread, fights over first-class seats, and a shadowy cult making our heroes' and heroines' love lives very, very difficult.

So wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket, light some candles, grab your favorite beverage, and get ready for the always entertaining roller-coaster of love with these six new novels and four new novellas.

Consumed by J.R. Ward

Sparks fly (hee hee!) in Ward's new suspense novel featuring two firefighters—one who is forced to leave her job after being hurt in a warehouse fire; the other suffering deep guilt from being unable to save her. But Ann Ashburn is possibly the toughest hero you'll find in fiction this year, and when she decides that there's something suspicious about a series of fires, there's nothing that will stop her from pursuing it, even if it means teaming back up with her old colleague and one-time lover. Ward's kinetic writing style pairs well with romantic suspense, delivering an emotional wallop. I'm very much looking forward to the next novels in this brand-new series.

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

As the very essential office manager of Hunt Investigations, Molly gets plenty of respect from the investigators, but what she really wants to do is handle an investigation herself. When a bad Santa makes it on her radar, she reluctantly enlists hot colleague Lucas to help her with the investigation. Lucas has always been thrown off-kilter by Molly and her sassy smarts, but a night he can't remember that ended with her in his bed keeps him on his toes…especially since she refuses to tell him what happened. Mostly playful, zinging with sensual tension, and threaded through with past hurts, Hot Winter Nights is classic Shalvis.

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

A fight with an irritating Scotsman over the last remaining first-class seat turns into a hot one-night stand for Ava Breevort—but she'd much rather never see him again, thank you very much. But Caleb has business in Boston, where Ava lives, and when their paths keep intersecting, they decide that maybe one night could become just a few more…. What lifts this contemporary romance to the top of the pack this month is Ava's emotional maturity in the face of a whole lot of immaturity from those around her. She's already had her heart and her reputation kicked around and stomped on, and now she gets a chance to put the life lessons she's learned into practice, even if it means being vulnerable again. Plus, the hotness level of Fight or Flight is pretty darn high.

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America's Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

Jax and Allie had been high school sweethearts, and she was the only girl he'd ever loved, but her dreams of Hollywood and his need to stay in Ohio and work the family business split them apart. Ten years later, a scandal sends Allie back to her hometown to keep a low profile, and Jax has to figure out if putting his heart on the line again for just a few weeks with her is worth the inevitable pain. The first half of America's Sweetheart is almost entirely from Jax's point of view, and Allie is, frankly, fairly unlikeable. But a timely point-of-view switch reveals more information, and you'll be cheering them on by the end.

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How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology by Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe

Christmas stories by four of my favorite historical romance authors? Bring it on! Each author plays to her strengths in these novellas that center on Christmas and shortbread but range from Scotland to New York to London. I'm a fan of the novella—in this short format, authors don't have time to create a long, creaky backstory and are forced to toss you right into the romantic action—and these four pack an emotional, holiday-themed, rum-spiked punch.

Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne

Readers love Thayne's Haven Point, a small Colorado town where everyone knows each other's business but everyone also has enough of their own secrets to be discreet. Dani Capelli—city girl and mother of two—hopes she's found a new start in Haven Point with a job with the local veterinarian, but the mysterious death of her former husband makes her leery of forming real relationships. Unfortunately, the local whom she's most drawn to is neighbor Deputy Sheriff Ruben Morales. Ruben helps Dani create a better Christmas for her anxious kids, and in return Dani begins to trust again. Heartwarming and endearing.

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Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Zanetti's chilling romantic suspense novels keep me on edge until I've turned the last page, and Hidden, the first book in her new Deep Ops series, continues that winning streak. Pippa has been happy, or happy enough, with her life of isolation, but her handsome new neighbor is tempting her to cross boundaries she's set up for her own safety. Malcolm knows his pretty neighbor has some issues, but then again, so does he after coming off a two-year-long undercover investigation that left several people dead. Malcolm isn't pleased to be asked to go undercover again before he's even unpacked, but when he learns that Pippa has ties to a dangerous cult, he knows he'll do anything to protect her. Sizzling, dark, and sometimes creepy, this is a perfect read as the nights get longer and colder.

Click here to see all our Best of the Month romance picks, plus a handful of heartfelt fiction offerings that still tug at the heartstrings but won't tie anyone to the bedposts.

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