Happy cuffing season, readers. It’s the perfect time of year to cozy up with loved ones, and by loved ones we of course mean fictional characters. This season is delivering books packed with characters you won’t be able to get enough of, from a pair of double agents in the Civil War to a group of friends trying their hand at online dating. Here, we’ve rounded up ten must-read winter romance novels. These are the books we’ll be swiping right on, and we think you will too.
Five close friends take the plunge into online dating in this hilarious new novel from Christina Lauren. UC Santa Barbara staffers Millie, Reid, Ed, Chris, and Alex make a pact to join the IRL dating app to find plus ones for an upcoming event. When the guys rag on Millie for her closed-off profile (all too reflective of her personality), she decides to create a new account where she can push herself to open up. She’s shocked when she matches with her friend Reid, who she may or may not have recently started casually sleeping with. As Millie juggles both versions of herself, Reid starts falling hard for both women. Lauren explores the ups and downs of online dating in a story packed with memorable characters and a relatable heroine who is learning that it’s okay to be vulnerable. CLo’s done it again, readers.
On shelves: December 4
Roni Loren’s moving The Ones Who Got Away series follows the survivors of a mass shooting as they cope with grief, learn to move forward, and open themselves up to love. The third installment introduces readers to Taryn Landry, a psychology professor who lost her sister in the attack, and Shaw Miller, the killer’s brother. While Taryn has dedicated her life to preventing similar events from ever happening again, Shaw has done everything he can to leave the past behind. In the aftermath of the shooting, he lost his family and his Olympic dreams. He’s moved, changed his name, and altered his appearance. When Taryn and Shaw first meet, they don’t recognize their shared connection but they do notice the sparks flying between them. Even though they aren’t looking for love, it finds them. Series fans won’t want to miss this.
On shelves: January 1
Looking for an intergalactic adventure with your romance? Amanda Bouchet has you covered. Captain Tess Bailey and her crew steal to help those in need, but try telling that to the Galactic Overseer. The fact that the vaccines they stole are being delivered to an orphanage doesn’t matter to him or the army he’s sent to capture Tess. With a bounty on her head and a damaged ship on her hands, Tess takes her team to planet Albion 5 to hide out and work on repairs. It’s there she meets Shade Ganavan, the attractive and arrogant bounty hunter determined to turn her in to pay off his gambling debt. Can these star-crossed lovers find a way to work together? You’ll have to read the first book in the Endeavor series to find out.
On shelves: January 1
Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series wraps up with this seventh and final installment. Canaan Finley is a smoothie barista by day and a nursing student by night, and the highlight of each shift at the smoothie shop is serving Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi. The two have been innocently flirting for a while, but things heat up quickly when Canaan asks Renzo to pose as his fake boyfriend on a camping trip with his old bandmates. It starts as a way to stop Canaan’s friends from harping on his relationship status. As the trip goes on, however, the line between the lie and the truth begins to blur when real feelings start to develop.
On shelves: January 14
Soniah Kamal’s Pride & Prejudice retelling takes readers to modern-day Pakistan where Alys Binat is more focused on sharing her favorite literary heroines with her students than finding a hero of her own. But when her family is invited to a wedding, Mrs. Binat decides it’s the perfect venue for finding matches for her five daughters. On the first night of celebrations, Alys’ sister Jena is almost instantly scooped up by a handsome bachelor. If only his friend, Valentine Darsee, were as charming. Alys can’t stop thinking about his rude remarks, but readers know that she’ll soon see the good in him. This is a must-read for Austen fans.
On shelves: January 15
Raise your hand if Sally Thorne won your heart with her debut The Hating Game. This winter she’s back with her second novel, and we think it’s going to be every bit as addicting. Darcy Barrett has been in love with her twin brother’s best friend Tom Valeska for years. She’s always considered him to be off limits, but when Tom shows up on her doorstep, single for the first time in years, all bets are off. As they work together to renovate the house she inherited from her grandmother, sparks begin to fly and it’s only a matter of time before they give in.
On shelves: January 29
Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes and his father the Duke of Ilvar have a strained relationship at best. When Alec sees an opportunity to get back at his father, he takes it. After learning that the duke intends to give his duchess an invaluable set of diamond jewelry, Alec decides to steal it. To do that he hires Jerry Crozier, a criminal who offers to pose as a gentleman to gain access to the duke’s castle. Alec imagines that giving the duke his just desserts will be sweet, but he never dreams of how tempted he’d find himself by his partner in crime. Fans are already eagerly anticipating the book on Goodreads (“gimme gimme gimme” is a frequent refrain), and we can’t wait to meet the man that Charles calls “a more-sociopathic-than-usual hero.”
On shelves: January 30
Raina Anand is feeling pressured to find the one. When she isn’t listening to her nani bemoaning having a single granddaughter, Raina is helping her best friend prepare for her wedding, which just so happens to be on Raina’s 30th birthday. After holding out hope that things might still work out with her first love, Raina decides to move on and agrees to be set up. Her nani is all too ready to find her a find, catch her a catch. The only problem is that Raina isn’t interested in any of the eligible Indian bachelors that her nani lines up. Prepare for bad dates, family drama, and (of course) love and happiness.
On shelves: February 5
The fifth book in the Ravenels series offers a young widow a second chance at love. After the death of her husband, Phoebe couldn’t imagine romance coming back into her life—that is, until she finds herself charmed by a mysterious stranger at her brother’s wedding. Imagine her disappointment when she learns that he’s West Ravenel, a man who bullied her husband all through boarding school. Phoebe vows to write him off, but West isn’t letting her go easily. With Lisa Kleypas at the helm, you know this story will be as sparkling as the book’s cover.
On shelves: February 19
Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series transports readers to Civil War-era America and follows members of a Union spy organization as they fight to take down the Confederacy (and fall in love along the way). This third installment follows Daniel Cumberland, who readers met in An Extraordinary Union, and Janeta Sanchez. The two team up on a mission for the league, though they each have their own agenda. Janeta is hoping to free her father from prison, while Daniel is searching for way to let go of past hurts and anger through meaningful work. Just as sparks begin to fly, horrors from their pasts threaten their future happiness. Though the books can be read as standalones, we say, why deprive yourself of an excellent historical series? Start at the beginning now and be ready to dive into book three when it hits shelves later this winter.
On shelves: February 26