I got a wild hair recently (because I just had to know), and I asked a group of Romance Authors what their favorite reads of 2017 were. Great authors, most of which are members of the RWA (Romance Writers of America), and many of which are Best Selling Authors of varying degrees!
And let me be the first to tell you, picking just one is no easy feat. There’s so many great books out there… how can anyone ever choose just one? Well, it may be a woman’s prerogative to be indecisive, and a writer’s prerogative to change up the story however she so chooses, but this group of Romance Authors rose to the task and managed to deliver. I think you’ll be glad they did!
So without further delay, and in no particular order, here are the 15 Favorite Reads of 2017, Straight From Romance Authors.
Wren Ballard is trying to find herself. She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.
Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.
Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost. He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.
Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.
Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.
Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.
But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.
I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. He was, in fact, the perfect man. That he was fictional hardly entered into it…
On the cusp of thirty, Emma Sheridan is desperately in need of a change. After a string of failed relationships, she can admit that no man has ever lived up to her idea of perfection: the Scottish fictional star of romantic fantasies the world over—James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.Her ideal man might be ripped from the pages of a book, but Emma hopes that by making one life-altering decision she might be able to turn fiction into fact. After selling all her worldly possessions, Emma takes off for Scotland with nothing but her burgeoning travel blog to confide in.
But as she scours the country’s rolling green hills and crumbling castles, Emma discovers that in searching for her own Jamie Fraser, she just might find herself.
Justine Montgomery, daughter of a divorced beauty queen and TV magnate, is a tabloid disaster after her infamous sex tape. She’s so desperate to help save her family’s home she turns to her deal-making dad. Can she prove to him she’s cut out for a career in television or will she lose it all?
Sawyer has his own past and a successful career is his only goal. Seeing Justine fail would mean the promotion of a lifetime, but things get complicated when he develops feelings for her. Suddenly, the lines between work, life, sex, and love are blurry.
They will have to overcome the bitterness of a rejected ex, the controlling actions of her father, and the half-truths they’re telling one another to forge a lasting partnership both on the job and off the clock.
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.
She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.
That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.
Vicious a complete standalone and a part of the Sinners of Saint series
How far would you go to get over a guy?
When Grace Emerson’s ex-fiancé starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she’s seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up.
Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor, Callahan O’Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.
Whoa. No. Callahan O’Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right?
A sex demon and a preacher’s kid? Heaven forbid!
Technology whiz Bailey Brown is one of two humans alive who knows a very important secret: that humanity has shared their planet with paranormals for millennia. When an obsessed hacker from her past threatens to expose the secret, Bailey and her Sebastiani Security colleagues must use every weapon at their disposal to stop him. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and she can’t let herself be distracted by her boss’s gorgeous brother, even if he is temptation incarnate…
Incubus sculptor Rafe Sebastiani hasn’t produced a decent nude in over a year, since he made the most selfish mistake of his life: sleeping with Bailey Brown. Now, with a deadline looming, his cranky muse has finally allowed him to express his memories of that incendiary night in clay. But when his brother asks him to pose as Bailey’s lover to provoke her dangerous ex, he jumps at the chance…to sculpt her, to protect her, and to earn the right to tempt her—and only her—for the rest of their lives…
Iris Eliot has survived a lot in her twenty-seven years but refuses to be labelled a victim. Now in her final year of graduate school, her dream is within reach. She’s ready to put the past behind her and embrace whatever the future brings.
Until the future brings him.
Professor James Beckett, internationally bestselling author and award-winning poet, is the new head of the Creative Writing Department at her university. Brilliant and obnoxiously sexy, he’s more dangerous than Iris knows.
When Beckett sets his sights on Iris, it’s not just her heart on the line, or her academic and professional careers. Surrendering to the way he makes her feel will rewrite her past.
A genius with a terrible loss…
Gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland, has little interest in his father’s obsession to see his sons married, and instead pours passion into his music. But when Val loses his music, he flees to the country, alone and tormented by what has been robbed from him.
A widow with a heartbreaking secret…
Grieving Ellen Markham has hidden herself away, looking for safety in solitude. Her curious new neighbor offers a kindred lonely soul whose desperation is matched only by his desire, but Ellen’s devastating secret could be the one thing that destroys them both.
Together they’ll find there’s no rescue from the past, but sometimes losing everything can help you find what you need most.
Choose the one guy you can’t have . . .
As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.
Fall for him—hard . . .
Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.
And then tell him the truth.
Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .
New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again…
Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options.
Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs.
As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for.
When the topic of grandchildren comes up during a weekly sewing circle the matriarchs of the founding families seek out the witch Elder to scry to see if their sons have mates. They are shocked to discover that many of their son’s mates are out in the world and are human!
Fearing that their future daughter in laws will end up dead before being claimed and providing them with grandchildren to spoil, they convince their own mates that something must be done. After gathering all of the warriors together in a fake award ceremony the witch Elder casts a spell to pull the warrior’s mates to them, whether they want it or not.
Aiden McKenzie is adamant that he doesn’t need a mate and that she would only get in the way. He doesn’t have time to coddle a female. He likes his world run with military precision. Little does he realize, Fate is sending him his mate first! He meets his destined mate Meryn Evans and things go downhill from there. She is the embodiment of chaos. In the first twenty-four hours she kicks, screams and knocks her bear shifting mate unconscious.
Eventually they discover that life before finding each other may have been good, but life afterwards is perfect, even if it involves super soaker battles and accidentally discharging hand grenades. Unfortunately the joy of their mating is overshadowed when Aiden and Meryn find themselves embroiled in a missing persons case assigned to Aiden by the Lycaonian Council. By assisting Aiden, Meryn finds herself the focus of a demented killer.
Can Aiden and the elite warriors from the Alpha Unit keep Meryn safe? Or did Fate bring her to Lycaonia to die?
Three very different Latina sisters. Three dazzling talents with ambition—and passion—to burn. And in this warm-hearted, sexy new series, three chances to figure out if the path to success can also lead to lasting love . . .
Ad executive Tomás Garcia shouldn’t even be thinking about his daughter’s alluring dance teacher, Yazmine Fernandez. Burned by a shattering divorce, he’s laser-focused on his career—and giving his young daughter, Maria, the secure home she deserves. Plus, he’s certain that with her talent, Yaz will be leaving Chicago and heading back to Broadway as soon as she can. But Yaz’s generous spirit and caring concern are sparking a desire Tomás can’t resist—and doesn’t want to let go . . .
For Yaz, good-looking workaholics like Tomás simply can’t be part of her life ever again. She owes it to herself to get back her confidence and fulfill the dreams her papá could not. She’s glad to spend time with Maria—and taste the family life she feels she can never have. And she’s sure that she and Tomás can keep their attraction under control because there’s so much at stake. But each unexpected intimacy, each self-revelation, makes the fire between them grow hotter with every step—and every risk to their hearts . . .
Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?
Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.
And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.
Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?
Likely, the last thing you expect.
‘Beard Science’ is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.
Blessed or cursed with a connection to the souls of others, Sloan Jordan can see the best in people…and the worst. With nothing more than a glance at a photograph, she can judge the living from the dead and the good souls from the evil ones. For twenty-seven years, she’s kept her ability a secret, but eleven young women have been murdered in the mountains of North Carolina, and Sloan may be the only hope of finding their killer.
She has just agreed to help Detective Nathan McNamara with the case, when a stranger–who is as alluring as he is terrifying–shows up at her doorstep with a dark past and another puzzling mystery: she can’t see his soul at all.
Now Sloan is on the hunt for a deadly psychopath with two irresistible men. One of them would die for her, and the other would kill to keep her safe.
Did you see your favorite read from this year on this list? If not, which books should have made the cut? What book would you have added? Do any of these surprise you? Tell me in the comments below!