The best sizzling small town romance novels

Who am I?

I grew up in a small rural town and I’ve always been a romantic at heart. I discovered small-town romance as a subgenre not long after I got my first kindle and I felt like I’d found my happy place. I binged dozens of them, some lighthearted or funny, others darker or suspenseful. I love visualizing the towns, getting to know the community members, and becoming so immersed in the worlds that picking up a new book in the series felt like coming home. Over the past few years, I’ve written approximately 20 small-town romance stories of various shapes and sizes and I have many more to come. 


I wrote...

Let Me Love You

By Alexa Rivers,

Book cover of Let Me Love You

What is my book about?

Mikayla Talbot has been in love with her boss for years, but when she humiliates herself in front of him, enough is enough. Determined to move on, she retreats to a beachside cottage to lick her wounds and finds herself intrigued by her surly neighbor.

Anderson Gray’s time in Hollywood is long behind him. A traumatic event scarred his soul, and now he barely manages to get through each day. When a beautiful but bossy woman moves in next door, he isn’t sure whether to hold her close or push her away. Gray doesn’t believe he has anything to offer, and Mikayla is wary of jumping into a relationship when her confidence has been knocked. Can these two cautious hearts risk everything for love?

The books I picked & why

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Beard Science

By Penny Reid,

Book cover of Beard Science

Why this book?

Beard Science manages to be laugh-out-loud hilarious, thought-provoking, and utterly charming at the same time. Cletus Winston is one of those characters who’s stayed with me. He’s quirky and devious but has a heart of gold hidden beneath his bushy beard. He’s always overlooked Jennifer Sylvester, which is why it’s so perfect that she’s the one who challenges his view of the world. 

Jennifer has been living in the image her parents molded for too long, and when she decides enough is enough, she blackmails Cletus into helping her break free. Her story is one of self-discovery, and it’s uplifting to see her self-confidence grow until she knows she’s capable of standing on her own two feet. As a couple, Cletus and Jennifer are zany, endearing, and totally perfect.

Beard Science

By Penny Reid,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Beard Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for Best Romance *
*Amazon Top 10 Romances of 2016*
*AAR Top 10 Romances of All Time*

From the NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, & USA TODAY bestselling series.

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…


Hidden Miles

By Claire Kingsley,

Book cover of Hidden Miles

Why this book?

This is a heartwarming, emotional small-town romance with a wounded hero (Leo) and a gamer girl heroine (Hannah). Leo and Hannah meet through their online alter egos and I love the fact they were able to develop a beautiful friendship that’s free of the complications of real life (where Leo is afraid to leave his family’s winery and Hannah is in an abusive relationship). 

When their online and actual lives meet, Leo busts free of his comfort zone to help Hannah. Their love story is real, raw, and uplifting. They help each other grow, which left me feeling warm on the inside. The ensemble cast (primarily Leo’s family) is enchanting and funny. Hidden Miles is a perfect blend of emotion and humor.

Hidden Miles

By Claire Kingsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hidden Miles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“I wasn’t ready for this. Hannah deserved a man who was whole, not a broken shell. But I couldn’t resist her. Couldn’t resist this. It felt too good.
And would that be so bad? To have something that felt good for once?”

Leo Miles came home broken—wounded and scarred. It’s been five years, and he hasn’t left his family’s land. Not once. It’s not much of a life, but the way he looks now, he prefers to stay hidden.

His only reprieve is her voice. He puts on his headset, logs in to his game, and she’s there. They talk…


Tease

By Melanie Harlow,

Book cover of Tease

Why this book?

I relate to the characters in Tease so much. Hutton is a billionaire with social anxiety. People think he’s aloof, but in reality, he’s never sure what to say. As someone with mild social anxiety myself, I loved seeing my own experiences reflected in his struggles. Not to mention, he’s a sweet, good-hearted man. 

Felicity is the kind of heroine you can’t help but like. She’s a bit of a hot mess, but she’s endearing and tries really hard. She also has a habit of stress-cutting her hair. As someone who currently has bangs because I got stressed out earlier in the year and took a pair of scissors to my hair (never a good idea!), I felt both seen and called out by this character trait.

Tease

By Melanie Harlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tease as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I didn’t mean to say I was engaged to a hot billionaire–it just slipped out.

In my defense, I’d had a really bad haircut, a really strong drink, and I was trying to save face in front of the Mean Girl at my high school reunion.

Lucky for me, I happen to know a hot billionaire. Hutton French and I have been friends forever, and even though big social gatherings are not his thing, I called him from the coat closet and begged him for a favor–show up and play my fake fiancé for the night.

Except that word of…


Meant to Be

By Melody Grace,

Book cover of Meant to Be

Why this book?

Meant to Be is the book that made me decide I wanted to write small town romance novels. Reading it somehow felt simultaneously like coming home and going on a beachside vacation. 

When Poppy goes to her aunt’s cottage in Sweetbriar Cove, she’s seeking a solution to writer’s block, but instead she finds friendship, community, and love with the gruff contractor next door. 

Cooper is that thing many romance readers (including me) seem to love: a big old grump with a marshmallow heart he’s trying to protect from the world around him. 

While the romance between Poppy and Cooper is lovely, it’s the side characters, charming village, and heart-warming sense of community that make this book one of my top five picks.

Meant to Be

By Melody Grace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meant to Be as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If you like Sweet Magnolias and Virgin River, you'll fall in love with Sweetbriar Cove!" Escape to Cape Cod with this feel-good contenporary romance!

Poppy Somerville believes in happily-ever-after. It's the reason her romance novels have won devoted readers all over the world - and why she's broken off her engagement just weeks before the wedding instead of settling for less than true love. Escaping to her aunt's beach cottage in Sweetbriar Cove, Poppy is looking for inspiration to end her writer's block and finish her new book. She just wasn't counting on the handsome, gruff contractor making such a…


Wrecked Palace

By Catherine Cowles,

Book cover of Wrecked Palace

Why this book?

In Wrecked Palace, Catherine Cowles has created the type of characters you can’t help but adore. Caelyn dropped everything to raise her three younger siblings after her mother was arrested and her father disappeared. She’s loving, optimistic, and I’d love to have her as a friend. 

Griffin also experienced a traumatic event that changed his life, during which he lost his family. He’s determined to lock himself away from everyone and everything. His pain is so well written that my heart hurt for him.

Caelyn can’t stay away from any wounded creature, and it’s absolutely beautiful to see Griffin open up to her and her siblings. On a side note, Caelyn’s siblings are wonderful all on their own.

Wrecked Palace

By Catherine Cowles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wrecked Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One night was all it took for everything to change.
From college student to guardian in a single breath.
My siblings became my world.

No time for date nights or romantic dreams.
I traded quiet weekends for sleepless nights.
Giving my all to make sure they were cared for.

But Griffin had a brokenness that called to me—one that mirrored my own.
Gruff and just a little bit reckless.
He was the last thing I needed. But everything I wanted.

Only someone isn’t happy about this new life I’m building.
Deciding to set fire to everything I hold close.
And…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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