7 Must-read Contemporary Romance Books

7 Must-read Contemporary Romance Books

Contemporary romance is a genre that proves that love can be found everywhere. Through compelling stories and deep emotions, these books prove that there is no exclusivity to falling in love. You can fall in love literally anywhere. It could occur in a high school classroom, a hospital, or even a mortuary!

For some, contemporary romance simply means any romance set in the present time. It could be a romantic comedy, a dark mafia romance, or an emotional book. The term “contemporary” just refers to the time period of the story, not its specific themes or genres. In a way, most romantic comedies are also contemporary romances, and there might be historical ones that fit the bill, too (and maybe even paranormal or fantasy genres).

So, are you a long-time fan of the genre or simply looking to dive into contemporary romance for the first time?

Well, whichever category you fit in, this list of seven must-read contemporary romance books is sure to have something that resonates with you.

1. The Hating Game

Sally Thorne’s first book, “The Hating Game,” is a workplace love story that is filled with tension and humor. As the novel begins, we are introduced to Lucy Hutton, a quirky and kind executive assistant who works at a publishing company. 

Hutton shares her office with Joshua Templeman, a cold and intimidating colleague. The two have a long-standing rivalry and play a series of games to annoy each other. Their games range from being as stupid as staring contests to as extreme as making HR complaints.

As they compete for a promotion, their animosity gradually transforms into an irresistible attraction. Despite their constant arguing, Lucy starts to find Joshua intriguing and begins noticing his occasional acts of kindness. Joshua, too, becomes interested in Lucy’s personality, and lo and behold—they form a romantic relationship—all while trying to find a balance between love and hate.

2. The Kiss Quotient

Another refreshing take on the contemporary romance genre is Helen Hoang’s “The Kiss Quotient.” This contemporary romance book features Stella Lane, a protagonist who is on the autism spectrum.

Stella finds comfort in mathematics and sees it as a universal language. Her job involves using algorithms to predict customer purchases, which has made her financially successful. Still, there is one problem: her lack of dating experience.

Adding to her list of problems is Asperger’s, which makes French kissing uncomfortable for her. To gain confidence in dating and intimacy, she hires an escort, Michael Phan. Little did she know that what had started as a professional arrangement would soon develop into a deep and emotional romance.

3. The Unhoneymooners

Another fun enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance book that you must read! In this story by Christina Lauren, the protagonist, Olive Torres—who seems to have a complicated relationship with bad luck—is forced to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan. Now, Ethan is the best man at her sister Ami’s wedding. 

Olive prepares herself for 24 hours of wedding chaos before she can go back to her usual, unlucky life. But then, things take a steep turn! Everyone except Olive and Ethan gets food poisoning from bad shellfish at the wedding ceremony.

Is Olive’s bad luck finally taking a fresh breath? With her and Ethan being the only ones unaffected by the food poisoning tragedy, suddenly, there’s a free honeymoon (or “Unhoneymoon”) trip to Hawaii up for grabs. 

Olive and Ethan now have to put their mutual dislike aside for the chance of a free vacation. Although they are determined to avoid each other as much as possible, fate is sure to have its way. As they deal with mishaps, an unexpected chemistry occurs, and their fake relationship starts to feel surprisingly real.

4. The Bride Test

Helen Hoang makes it to the list yet again! “The Bride Test” is another heartfelt contemporary romance book by Hoang that introduces us to Khai Diep and Esme Tran.

Khai Diep struggles to connect with emotions beyond simple ones like irritation or contentment. It is highlighted that he believes he’s defective because he can’t feel emotions like grief or love. His family understands that his autism affects how he processes emotions. When Khai begins to avoid relationships, his mother goes to Vietnam to find him a suitable bride – Esme Tran.

Esme Tran, a mixed-race girl from the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, seizes the chance to meet a potential husband in America to help her family. But her attempt to win over Khai, her potential match, backfires. Despite trying to teach Khai about love, Esme ends up falling for him. Khai, on the other hand, believes he can never love her back.

5. The Bromance Book Club

In this contemporary romance book, we meet Gavin Scott, a baseball player for the Nashville Legends. When Gavin finds out that his wife Thea has been faking pleasure, it causes their marriage to crumble. In a final bid to save their relationship, Gavin turns up at an unexpected place: a private book club for guys called the Bromance Book Club, where they read romance novels. With their help, particularly from their current book, “Courting the Countess,” Gavin learns how to improve as a husband and regain Thea’s trust.

6. The Flatshare

In this contemporary romance, author Beth O’Leary explores a common question: What if your roommate is your soulmate? Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey find an unconventional solution to their problems: Tiffy needs a cheap flat, and Leon needs extra cash. 

They agree that Leon will occupy the flat during Tiffy’s work hours, whereas she can have it to herself when he’s not there. Of course, they face skepticism from friends. They also face challenges such as Tiffy’s obsessive ex-boyfriend, demanding work, and Leon’s wrongly imprisoned brother.

Surprisingly enough, they have never met in person, but soon they discover unexpected outcomes. Their arrangement starts to challenge the idea of what we call a “home.”

7. Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now

As our list of must-read contemporary romance novels reaches an end, we have a profound revelation! We kept the best for the last! That’s right!

In this romance novel, Rich E. Shaw narrates the story of Carissa, who is torn between two worlds. She must choose between a life where she hides her true self, living lavishly with a rich man, or embracing her flaws and pain, living simply with her family. 

Based on true events, this novel explores themes of life, love, and self-acceptance. Shaw crafts a tale filled with life lessons and unexpected twists that prompt us to question our own choices in love and life. Ultimately, it emphasizes the importance of exploring life, making tough decisions, and living with the consequences.

At first, Carissa faces a dilemma in finding the right partner. She has a long list of criteria for her ideal match, such as being good-looking and having a nice smile. 

Carissa’s father, however, tells her that he wants her to focus on her own life instead. He assures her that when she falls in love, she will know.

But when she finds herself the perfect match, the question arises: Does she? Does she know that she has fallen in love?

Is she willing to sacrifice a life of authenticity (where she can accept herself with all her pain and flaws) for a life of luxury where she has to mask her true self and pretend to be just a shell?

Find out in “Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now”!

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