Apple picking, pumpkin carving, sipping warm cider and eating donuts—fall never fails to make us feel warm and cozy. Sure, the days aren’t as long as summer’s, but that just means we can head inside and curl up with a good book even earlier in the evening. This season, the table next to your favorite armchair is sure to be overflowing with new titles from Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, and Lisa Kleypas. Plus we’ve chosen some sizzling picks from Christina Lauren and Leah Raeder that are so hot you’ll believe summer never truly left. So treat yourself and satisfy all of your romantic cravings this season with these must-read titles.
Can you unzip me?
Seasoned romance readers are no stranger to Erica Jong. In 1973, her book Fear of Flying rocked the world with its depictions of casual sex and launched Jong from author to feminist figure (although lately, that’s been up for debate). Jennifer Weiner even cites her as a literary influence. Decades later, she’s leaving one taboo for another. Her sequel explores the sexual life of a 60-year-old grandmother who is seeking no-strings-attached sex on a site called zipless.com (sound familiar?). “There is this giant void in the culture about women in that age group as heroines, as romantic beings, as sexual beings and as creative begins, and there’s not that void for men,” Jong told the New York Times. “Women don’t stop being all those things as their lives continue.” We couldn’t agree more. Longtime readers will be excited to see a cameo from Isadora in this new novel, while newbies are in for quite the ride.
On shelves: September 8
Superman seeks Lois Lane
Christina Lauren is back with another sexy and wild romp. This series follows the relationships of three couples who all got married after a drunken night in Vegas: One couple remained married, another annulled the marriage only to fall in love in book two, and the third annulled their marriage and have remained close. Lola and Oliver have become best friends, thanks in part to the fact that they never consummated their short marriage. But normal best friends probably don’t secretly have feeling for each other—feelings that go beyond lust and into love. Oliver is willing to take things slow to be with Lola, but her career is skyrocketing and Lola suddenly feels like she’s being spread too thin to make all of her dreams come true. This romance between a comic book store owner and a graphic novelist is geek love at its finest.
On shelves: September 15
All’s fair in love and journalism
Los Angeles Times reporter Thomas Cleary started from the bottom and now he’s here: rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s rich and famous as he gathers quotes for the obituary of a studio executive. The elite are charmed by Thomas, who grew up in a working-class family and made it through Harvard on an athletic scholarship. They invite him to an event at the Duplaine estate, which is here he meets Matilda—the daughter of media mogul David Duplaine. Matilda tells Thomas that she’s spent her entire life on the luxurious Bel-Air estate, and he’s completely entranced by this beautiful girl and the secrets she carries. But his journalistic instincts can’t be repressed and Thomas’ digging uncovers a story that could ruin everything he’s built with Matilda.
On shelves: September 22
The truth will set you free
As a teenager, Vikram watched the love of his life turn her back on him in exchange for the fame and fortune of Bollywood. He’s rebuilt his life, but nothing could prepare him for seeing Ria again at her cousin’s wedding. Even after 10 years apart, everything Ria ever felt for Vikram comes rushing back the moment she returns to Chicago and sees him. Vikram wants nothing to do with her, and she had thought she was content to let him believe she chose her career over him—a lie she once told in order to protect him from a shameful secret. But now she wonders if it’s finally time to come clean and risk everything for a shot at real happiness.
On shelves: September 29
You can’t talk about romance novels without talking about Nicholas Sparks, an author known for writing heart-wrenching stories that can’t be put down. His latest focuses on a couple who find each other one rainy night in North Carolina. Colin Hancock is getting a second chance and he isn’t going to waste it. He’s made bad decisions in the past, but now just wants to complete his teaching degree and focus on staying in line. Then he meets Maria Sanchez, a lawyer and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Colin isn’t the only one running from his past though, and when Maria’s secrets begin to surface, it threatens to tear them apart. Sparks has been criticized in the past for exclusively focusing on white protagonists when telling American love stories, so we’re very excited to see that he’s taken the comments to heart and is making a change. Will true love conquer all? Will we need a box of tissues to make it through the ending? Knowing Sparks, the answer to both questions is yes.
On shelves: October 13
Pick up the phone
Molly O’Keefe is new to the erotic romance genre, though you wouldn’t know it. The first in a steamy series, this novel is perfect for those who want tantalizing romance building between a couple who haven’t even met yet. Annie McKay needs to start over, and fast. She’s trading in her family’s Oklahoma farm and her abusive husband for a trailer in North Carolina. She doesn’t think much of the items left behind by the previous tenant, until a discarded cell phone starts to ring. She answers and quickly hits it off with Dylan Daniels. Their phone calls turn hot and heavy quickly, letting Annie explore her desires in a way she hasn’t been able to in years—while also allowing her to feel safe. When their connection becomes too strong to ignore, they agree to meet. But Annie’s still married and wracked with guilt over her feelings for Dylan. Plus, her husband isn’t ready to let her go just yet.
On shelves: October 13
This land is your land, this land is my land
Devon Ravenel is more than happy to avoid responsibility at any cost. So he’s less than thrilled when his cousin Theo dies and he inherits Theo’s estate and the title of earl. Devon intends to sell the place for as much as he can, but something changes in him once he sets eyes on the land and feels an unfamiliar stir of wanting to make a place his own. It helps that Theo’s widow, Kathleen, has been keeping Eversby Priory running smoothly since her husband’s death. Kathleen is competent, beautiful, and unlike any woman he’s ever met before. If he wasn’t determined to never marry, he’d strongly consider courting her. And even though she’s in mourning, Kathleen knows that if he tried to win her heart, he could do it easily.
On shelves: October 27
First comes sex, then comes marriage
Minerva Dodger—daughter to Jack Dodger from Between the Devil and Desire—is done with the search for love. Six dreary and fruitless seasons have left her exhausted and preferring spinsterhood over continuing to comb through suitors. But being a spinster doesn’t mean she has to abstain from all of love’s pleasures. She begins to frequent the Nightingale Club, a safe place where ladies wear masks to protect their identities and have their pick of lovers. Minerva’s pick is the handsome Duke of Ashebury, Nicholas. But spending only nights with Minerva isn’t enough for Nick. He isn’t sure how to woo a woman he’s already seduced, though he’s willing to try anything if it means making her his completely.
On shelves: October 27
Catch a falling star
Three goddesses of the moon created three stars (fire, ice, and water) that fell to Earth and must be retrieved by a chosen group of six: a seer, a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, and a loner. Sasha (the seer) has been having visions she has been turning into paintings. She and the other five are lured to the Greek island of Corfu to retrieve the fire star. She recognizes the others immediately for they’re the people she’s seen in her dreams and drawn. To reach the star they must all work together, though Sasha finds herself drawn to Bran Killian (the magician). This is the first in a new fantasy series from Nora Roberts that mixes her trademark romance with a dramatic quest to save the world.
On shelves: November 3
Take it off
Fans of Leah Raeder’s Black Iris will love her latest new adult romance. Vada Bergen’s dreams were shattered after an accident on an icy road. Her aspirations as an artist ended due to an injury; and her best friend (with benefits) Ellis refuses to talk about it and eventually she just fades away. In need of money and distractions, Vada becomes a cam girl—a job that requires stripping via webcam and accepting the tips that come in. It’s through the job that she connects with Blue. He’s generous with his tips and their online chatting quickly turns personal. She shares details of her life and he helps her to begin to mend her wounds. But Vada wants more than the internet romance they’re developed; she wants to meet him. Blue agrees, but there’s one condition and it could ruin everything. For those craving a romance that explores gender and sexuality freely, this is an early Christmas gift.
On shelves: November 3