Fiction Five: Fun new romance
Not surprisingly, you'll find lots of romance books released in February. You'll find richly drawn characters and humor in my top five new reads.
At First Spite by Olivia Dade
As the title suggests this rom-com focuses on enemies to lovers. Athena just moved into the spite house after her fiancé ended their relationship. She bought the house, built as a brick middle finger to the neighbors, as a wedding present for her now ex-fiancé, Johnny. Unfortunately, Johnny's house is attached to the spite house and his brother Matthew is her neighbor on the other side. Matthew also happens to be the person who convinced Johnny to end his engagement to Athena.
Broken-hearted and angry, Athena decides to live up to her house's name and be the worst neighbor possible. This includes playing her erotic audiobooks at full volume with her windows open.
Matthew feels bad for Athena, even though he knows ending the engagement was in his brother's best interest. To ease his guilt, Matthew decides to be the best neighbor possible. He helps Athena move, listens to her problems and even helping her find work.
Matthew's sure Athena will never forgive him. However, the more he gets to know her, the more he thinks she might be the right one for him. How could this ever work – dating the woman he encouraged his brother to leave?
"Olivia Dade never fails to make me laugh, blush and feel like I'm being wrapped in a warm blanket. Cannot recommend enough!" –bestselling author Katee Robert
The Catch by Amy Lea
Dive in for an entertaining fish-out-of-water, fake dating romance. Mel is a Boston fashion influencer who is on the brink of losing her followers. She decides a trip to a small Canadian fishing villiage will be the change of pace her fans will want to follow. The only problems are Mel's dislike of nature and the burly and unfriendly bed and breakfast owner, Evan.
Mel's plans get more off course when Evan ends up unconcious in the hospital after a boating accident and his quirky family mistakes her for his fiancé. When he wakes up and explains his family's fued over the B & B, Mel agrees to play his fiancé for a week if he'll help with her social media content.
Amid long hikes and campfire chats, reeling in their budding feelings for each other proves more difficult by the day. But is Mel willing to sacrifice her picture-perfect life in the city for a chance at a true, unfiltered love in the wild?
Sex, Lies and Sensibility by Nikki Payne
This new romance is a deliciously spicy novel inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
"At their father's funeral, Nora and her sister learn the shocking and humiliating news that their mother was his mistress, and they were his hidden family. Their father's other family spitefully gives them 30 days to vacate their lifelong home. Their only inheritance is an isolated house in rural Maine. But there's a catch – they have to find a way to make it a profitable inn, and fast, or they'll lose it. When they arrive, they find the house is beyond dilapidated and needs substantial work and money to be habitable.
"Luckily, Nora meets Ennis 'Bear' Freeman, a local and member of the Abenaki tribe. Bear is struggling with financial woes of his own that threaten to ruin him and his entire community, yet he is still eager to help Nora reach her goal. However, shameful secrets from Nora's and Bear's pasts are now making it difficult for this budding relationship to become serious.
"VERDICT With super-sexy scenes, deeply emotional storylines, and strong Black and Indigenous characters, Payne's (Pride and Protest) modern retelling of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility will appeal to readers who enjoy multicultural, smart, and highly entertaining contemporary romances." –Migdalia Jimenez, Library Journal
“Nikki Payne skillfully spins the tale of a well-known Jane Austen classic and makes it entirely her own. Thoughtful, hilarious, and smolderingly steamy.”—Kristina Forest, author of The Neighbor Favor
A Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williams
In this enchanting love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Seven Days in June, a free-spirited florist and an enigmatic musician are irreversibly linked through the history, art and the magic of Harlem.
Ricki is the impulsive, artisitc daughter of a powerful Atlanta dynasty. She's the opposite of her famous socialite sisters. Ricki is looking for a different and more exciting life.
She leaves her family's wealth behind and moves to a Harlem borwnstone for her chance of a fresh beginning – opening a flower shop. Ricki discovers the music, stories and drama of the Harlem Renaissance still simmer in her new neighborhood. She also encounters a hansome stranger who knocks her world off balance.
"Funny, sexy, and breathtakingly romantic. This is the kind of book you wish you could slip bodily into, live within its warm and magical world for as long as it would have you. Another rapturous knockout from Tia Willams." – Emily Henry, bestselling author of Happy Place
Girls With Bad Reputations by Xio Axelrod
Get ready for a rockin' romance. All her life, Kayla heard the same refrain: Don't be so loud. Don't act so wild. Don't take up so much space. Now she's the beating heart of an up-and-coming rock band.
As a kid Kayla was desperate to get away from her controlling mother. Playing the drums helped her find her own way and find a new home with her band.
Things were simple when they played at local dive bars. But now they are on a real tour and there are lots of new worries. Kayla find solace in their quiet tour bus driver Ty. They bond over a shared love of books and their connection quickly turns romantic.
Will the increasing scrutiny that comes with fame destroy Ty's newfound peace and Kayla's carefully guarded secrets? Will she pursue her dream and ignore the risks, or lose her chance at becoming the person she wants to be?