I’ve spent a lot of time talking about historical novels over March, so I wanted to mention a couple contemporaries I’ve enjoyed recently.
Stefanie London launches an intriguing new series with her recent release (3/6), Bad Bachelor, which revolves around a NYC dating app that goes viral almost as soon as it appears.
Everybody's talking about the hot new app reviewing New York's most eligible bachelors. But why focus on prince charming when you can read the latest dirt on the lowest-ranked "Bad Bachelors"—NYC's most notorious bad boys.
First off is Reed McMahon, the PR exec who has a playboy reputation but is really just protecting his heart. Unfortunately the new dating app has set him up as the worst womanizer in the city. All bets are off, though, when he meets sexy librarian Darcy Greer, tasked with helping her revitalize her library’s brand and do some fundraising. Darcy tells herself that Reed is the worst possible person to be attracted to, but working together proves he’s a great guy, and entering into a secret no-strings affair is a temptation neither can resist. The professional stakes are sky high, however. His company doesn’t like the negative press he’s getting from the app, and suddenly his job is on the line. Yet whether or not he’ll change his ways remains to be seen.
London creates exquisite sexual tension and conflict—and writes a sizzling sex scene—while secondary characters and an explosive secret close to home only enhance an already smart, compelling storyline. Contemporary romance fans will certainly be drawn in to Reed and Darcy’s story and will come back to find out who’s next on the Bad Bachelor radar. (Kirkus liked it too! Review is here.)
I hope you’ve discovered Tessa Bailey’s Academy trilogy, which wraps up with this month’s release, Disturbing His Peace. Three roommates attend the NYC police academy and fall in love. The last one to succumb to Cupid—kicking and screaming, mind you— is Danika Silva. She’s been attracted to Greer Burns since the first time she laid eyes on him, but he is completely off limits. Not only is he her instructor and her roommate Charlie’s brother, he’s also made it clear to everyone who’s met him that he’s emotionally unavailable. Yet something about him sets off every sensor in her body, and he clearly responds to her as well. Danika has always been career-focused and the one everyone can depend on—to solve problems, create solutions and take care of details most people don’t even consider. She can admit that her attraction to and fascination with Greer goes beyond the physical. She loves the fact that he both respects her intelligence and competence, but is also the only person in her life who wants to take care of her. Even as she chafes against his protective attitude, she appreciates his desire to take care of her and is drawn to his own struggle in dealing with the trauma of losing people close to him, which has taught him to keep everyone at a distance.
As the two give into their attraction and inch into a relationship they can’t seem to deny, their student/teacher dynamic has to be addressed—he’s far too much of a rule-follower to move forward any other way—and her penchant for problem-solving becomes a problem when some neighborhood bullies escalate their threat toward her family after she stands up to them.
Bailey is a master of sexual tension and romantic conflict, and this series’ engaging characters offer her a perfect canvas to explore those elements and many more, including friendship, loyalty, honor, family and devotion. I’ve truly enjoyed this series and am curious to see where this talented, winning author will take us next. (Kirkus also liked this one. Review here.)
Any great contemporary titles you’ve read recently, or are looking forward to this month?