When we meet, and marry our mate, it’s with the idea that we want to spend the rest of our lives with them. We have idyllic ideas about spending every minute together. Our plans extend long past the honeymoon, to rocking together in matching chairs on a front porch somewhere down the line, comfortable in our dotage. But, life and schedules get in the way, and before you know it, you and your husband are but ships passing in the kitchen on your way out the door, before you both head to work, or before daycare drop-off. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle-bustle. It can be a fight to get time with your husband, but there are ways to make it happen, even if on a budget, and even if time-pressed.
- Evening Snuggles
The easiest and quickest way to connect and bond with your spouse is simply to touch each other more when you’re doing what you’re already doing. Change your evening veg session, in front of the television, into a cuddle session. If you’ve got a television in your bedroom, move your evening binge watching to the bedroom, so you can make sure you are laying on his chest, or spooning. Simply, make a physical connection. It doesn’t have to be sexual, just intimate. Even just holding hands, across the couch, instead of having your hands in the potato chip bowl, or fighting over the remote, can bring a sense of intimacy to your marriage that might, otherwise, be missing.
- Date Night
We all want date night. We’ve all heard of it, like a mystical beast in the forest. But, how often does it actually happen? There’s the baby-sitter to arrange, getting dressed up, and then you have to pay for the whole ordeal too. If you find all of that overwhelming, just forget it and do it at home. Roll out a blanket on the floor, put out your best grocery store candles, some juice glasses of wine, and some cheese crackers. The act of simply being together, celebrating your relationship as a couple, is enough.
- Book Club
Establish an exclusive husband/wife book club. Choose and read a book together and make a big deal out of your book club meetings. Pull out all the stops: snacks, wine, cheese. If you and your husband are into comic books, then pick a comic book, or graphic novel; if you are into romances, pick a pulp novel to turn up the heat between you two. There’s no pressure to become the next lit major here. Just pick things that will bring you closer together and read things you enjoy. As you are both reading, you can text updates to one another, spoilers included. It’s a mini-bond that only the two of you are sharing.
- A Pet
Imagine a reason that you have to walk in the moonlight every night, hand-in-hand with your hubby, or even as the sun rises, all the while taking care of a fuzz-ball that you will come to love more than you dreamed possible. With teamwork as a goal, you will come to enjoy the chores that are associated with a pet, rather than thinking of them as a reason to fight over whose turn it is to scoop the poop. Enjoy spoiling your fur-baby, because there’s nothing like nurturing something together. Before you know it, texts and photos will be flinging through the air between you, because who can resist the sweet face of your puppy, or kitten?
- Take a Class
Most community centers offer low-cost extension courses in everything from cooking to archery. There’s a subject to interest just about anyone, even so-called useful topics, like computer programming or medical billing. Sign up together for an evening or weekend course that interests you both. Aside from learning a new skill together, and spending loads of time together, study sessions with your beau will send you both to the head of the class. Imagine learning to whip up new pastries, how to throw pottery (a-la Demi Moore in Ghost–sexy time), or even how to fix a carburetor, all with your husband. If both of you enjoy the idea, you could take turns choosing, opening one another’s minds to each of your interests, bringing you closer together.
- Try Something New Together
There’s something innately bonding about stepping into a new, scary experience together. When you are both nervous about putting your feet into the water, how about learning to jet ski? Or, if you’re both terrified to jump out of a plane, learn to sky dive. You’ll have each other to lean on or to look to for laughs. There will never be anyone you’ll want to tackle scary life with more than your husband, and the same goes for him. So, why not face something that’s actually quite scary together? It doesn’t have to be a daredevil event. It can be something as simple as public speaking.
- Get Up and Run!
Pick a distance, like a 5K, or go big like a marathon, and train together. The satisfaction of training for, and completing an athletic goal is second to none; doing it with your husband, is unparalleled. No one says that you have to win, or break a land-speed record. Just do your best. Training, especially if you are new to running, or even walking, can mean spending lots of time with your husband. It’s a great way to connect as you chat, catch up, and log miles. Wear matchy-matchy shirts on race day, and get your camera ready to take shots through the whole route and at the glorious finish!
- Volunteer Together
Talk about the things you care about in the world and that are bigger than the two of you. Then, do something about it together. Spend some time in the soup kitchen or at the animal shelter, or even cleaning up your local park. When you do something to help others, you help yourself. And when you do it with someone you love, you reap the rewards double. It’s an amazing way to feel good about the world, yourself and your marriage, all at the same time.
- Home Improvement
There’s a million jokes about how marriages that survive home renovations are the ones that are meant to last. Pick up a project and complete it together. If you hate your kitchen, your bathroom or just the finish on your desk, take a trip to Pinterest and then to the home improvement center together. There’s nothing like working together, not bossing about, and watching a project come together. Every time you sit at that newly finished desk, you’ll enjoy the memory of working together. Every time you prepare a meal together in your new kitchen, you’ll remember the heart you sketched, in pencil, under the fresh paint. Make a point of enjoying your projects, and you’ll have fun with every moment!
- Plan Ahead
If you like to organize an annual or semi-annual “big” connection event for the two of you, like a short trip or a big date, make sure to plan ahead so that you can pocket your pennies and be ready for the cost, and to make arrangements for child-care if necessary. You can make the plans together, so that you can look forward to it together. You can have monthly planning meetings, thinking about your spa vacation with couples’ massages, walks on the beach and romantic breakfasts in bed. If you’re actively planning an annual event, you’ll avoid that feeling of disconnect and be ahead of the game. You’ll have something to look forward to so that when the time for your event comes around, it’ll feel like a romantic bonus!
There’s an abundance of romance novels out there to choose from, but it can still be difficult sometimes to pick a good one. Selecting a book that keeps you turning the pages and that makes you fall in love with the hero and heroine is key to enjoying adult romance books. Ideally, you want a book with an interesting plot, great characters, passion, and sensuality. Moreover, you want the heat of the story to capture you and make you forget everything around you, as if you’re right there in the world the story has created, seeing the characters as though they’re standing right in front of you. The top ten list below provides a selection of best selling romance books that will meet anyone’s taste, from moms to housewives to the busy professional. There’s hot romance books here that will appeal to just about anyone−I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
#10 Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
While there’s nothing overtly original about Crusie’s plot−a boy takes a bet about dating a girl−the characters, especially the main ones Min(erva) and Charlie, make Bet Me a truly glorious adult romance book. Min has sworn off men after a recent break-up, and decided to, instead, enjoy a life of delicious food. Meanwhile, Charlie has decided to enjoy a life of serial dating. Alas, they are destined for one another, they just don’t realize it yet. The fantastic humor provided by a cast of characters and silly happenings that include a jealous ex-boyfriend, aptly nick-named Krispy Kremes, an array of meddling friends, a ridiculous wedding cake, and a crazy cat, Bet Me is a story of how our lives are made by the people in them. For a literally sweet romance (enjoy all the food!), Bet Me, is a sure bet.
#9 Beautiful Life by Brynne Asher
Beautiful Life is like the calm after the storm. Leigh is facing life after divorce, and not just any divorce, but a messy one. Leigh has lost a child at the hands of an abusive husband, and just wants to get away. Enter Tony Carpino, a high-powered lawyer who saves Leigh in more ways than one. His firm takes on her divorce and rescues her from her dangerous marriage. But more importantly, he sees a sparkle in her that he wants to nurture back to life. His gentle, patient hand guides her back to herself, and gives her the space to learn not only that she can love again, but that she can love herself again. This adult romance book is a story of healing, rest, and recovery. It is a love story in the truest sense, one of peace, protection and learning to accept grace. It’s the second in a series of best selling romance books, called the Carpino series, so, if you prefer, you can read Overflow first, and Athica Lane next.
#8 Dragon Knight’s Shield by Mary Morgan
Time travel, magic, swords, fairies and mists: Dragon Knight’s Shield is not only an adventure story, but also one of those hot romance books for adults that have it all. Angus MacKay is a Highlander, devastated that he failed his brothers upon the death of his sister. But in addition to that, he is worried that resisting his captive, Deidre, is going to be the most challenging battle he’s ever faced. Deidre wields a sword as well as any man, and she’s ready to join him in a fight against the coming evil. But can they do it together? Deidre, a mystery writer who stumbles onto a time-gate while wandering through Scotland, couldn’t be any less of a likely match for rough Angus. Yet, their love story unfolds before our very eyes. Angus is part of an order of knights, part human, part fae, given holy relics and mystical powers to help him with guardianship over dragons. As part of a series, Dragon Knight’s Shield, is sure to take its place amongst one of the best hot romance books for adults.
#7 Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor
Abby Davis, a single mother with four children, takes a beach vacation, hoping to relax and reconnect with her kids. Her husband has just died, and left her not only a single mother, but a single, pregnant mother. She’s definitely not looking for love, but it only takes one week to change the course of her entire life when she meets Matt, a former Navy SEAL recovering from an injury, at the same beach. Matt has reached a point in his life where he’s grown tired of that kind of woman, the one with only one thing on her mind. Even though they both vow that it’s only for a week, their hearts have other plans for them. The first book in a series, Worth the Fall, is passionate, and at times, soft and charming, incorporating themes of renewal, family and trust. But, don’t be fooled, this sweet story of family and renewal is plenty full of heat, making it one of those true hot romance books.
#6 Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
Whiskey Beach is a romance novel, but it’s full of secrets. Eli Landon escapes his city life for refuge in Bluff House, a landmark at Whiskey Beach for over a hundred years. The house itself, standing atop a cliff overlooking the waves, is so old that it stands in as a character itself, locking away secrets and protecting family lies that stand to ruin, or save, Eli’s family. Eli choses this place to escape the scrutiny of a murder investigation surrounding the death of his soon-to-be ex-wife, a crime he was never arrested for, but has been accused of. Meanwhile, Abra, a complex character who seems to be a Jacqueline-of-all trades, as a yoga instructor, gardener, chef and all-around handy-woman, believes in Eli’s innocence. Their growing connection may be the thing that saves him as the house’s secrets unfold and threaten not only his reputation, but his very life, and hers. Whiskey Beach is a suspenseful adult romance book, but also a tender story of repair and renewal.
#5 Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin
We all wonder about the ones who got away, the ones we simply cannot forget−even if they would have been bad for us. How would life have been with them? In Giffin’s Love the One You’re With, Ellen lets us face this question vicariously, through her. She runs into Leo, her bad-for-her ex-flame, as she settles into her first year of a perfectly happy marriage. His reappearance throws her heart into turmoil, forcing her to question everything she thought she’d put away and everything she thinks she now holds dear. Giffin manages to make heartbreaking questions about our deepest emotions both poignant and funny and asks us if we truly can let go, and love the one we’re with. Love the One You’re With is both tender and steamy, making it one of the best adult romance books out there.
#4 Into the Whirlwind by Kate Martin
When Megan O’Brien’s three-year-old son is kidnapped, she has no one to turn to. She knows that Dirk, working with the bodyguards of BOSS Inc., can help. But she also knows that he may not have forgiven her for the way she left him, breaking his heart. Dirk, a gruff but soft-on-the inside bodyguard-come-investigator, refuses to let his damaged heart show. Their hunt through a tangled web of international crime, watching him risk it all for her and her son, opens her eyes and her heart to a side of Dirk that she never knew existed. A romance built on trust, healing, deep affection, and of course, adventure, Into the Whirlwind is a page-turning hot romance book for adults.
#3 To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne
Weddings are fabulous, and starting a romance novel with the premise of them is brilliant. Lauren Layne’s To Have and to Hold follows Brooke, a wedding planner, who tries to start her life over in New York after an embarrassing almost-trip down the aisle in L.A., and Seth, a wealthy businessman, who is paying for his sister’s wedding. Intrigue and romance ensue, as Seth hopes to meddle enough in his sister’s wedding to prove that her fiancé is up to no good and stop the wedding. Meanwhile, his meddling brings him ever-closer to Brooke. But as Brooke and Seth grow closer, her job gets in more and more jeopardy. Will she be helping or hurting herself by opening her heart again? To Have and to Hold is a funny, charming, and sweet adult romance book that will have you hoping for wedding bells…or not?
#2 Ruthless: A True Brothers MC Novel by Gillian Archer
Women love bad boys and secretly wonder if they are the one strong enough to tame him. In Gillian Archer’s Ruthless, Jessica Miller lets us live out that hot, romantic fantasy, as we watch her tame the baddest of them all: Zag. Filled with swoon-worthy action from the outset, as Zag swoops in and rescues her from a handsy first date, Ruthless is a passionate page-turner packed with action. Zag runs with a tough motorcycle gang and is the last kind of man that sweet, docile Jessica would go for. She’s afraid of him, and afraid of the feelings she has for him. On the inside though, she wonders if he’s soft enough to love her…and if she can love him. Ruthless is a hot romance book in every way, passionate and electric, and packed with excitement.
#1 Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
Two adult romance book powerhouse authors have teamed up to write a perfect male lead, Carter Clynes. Carter is a playboy pilot, a world class lothario, whose reputation precedes him. Kendall is a woman on a mission: She has to decide what’s more important to her, her money, or finding love. On a journey to discover herself, she runs into Carter in an airport lounge, where they get into a heated conversation. Thinking that’s the last of him, she finds him to be the pilot on her flight. Thus begins a tale of globe-hopping romantic trysts and wondering if she’s falling in love, and if he’s capable of it. A hot romance book, and a tale of world adventure, spliced with humor and genuine romance, Playboy Pilot is a perfect pick.
Bonus Selection: Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
Available in October, Punk 57 promises to be filled with suspense and readers are already eagerly awaiting it. Pen pals Misha and Ryen, assigned by chance, know little about one another, including their gender. But, they know one another. Their letters come with persistent regularity, for seven years. Then, one day, Misha abruptly stops writing. He/she has disappeared. Can Ryen help? If so, how? What would Ryen say? What’s happened?
These reads are sure to please just about any romance fan. They are hot, full of mystery and passion, and they are loaded with characters that connect. Happy reading!
The more I learn about publishing romance, the more intrigued I am by it! And I’m not the only one. Romance is a genre that women flock to and that features, and even celebrates, emotion and sentimentality. That’s not everybody’s cup of tea (unfortunately ;). But it is mine!
Romance novels have been gaining popularity (and criticism) since almost the beginning of novel writing itself. But there have certainly been changes in the types of romance novels that are popular. One of the genres that I publish in and that is really popular at the moment is adult contemporary romance, which was “born” in the 1950s. I remember being quite puzzled by the label of “contemporary” at first. What does that even mean? As it turns out, it simply means that these stories are romance stories set in “today’s” time.
Adult contemporary romance books are the highest selling subgenre of adult romantic fiction and they top the charts for Kindle romance new releases. There’s a lot of things that make contemporary romance books stand out from all the other romance subgenres. I’ve compiled a list of 10 of those things for you; walk through it with me.
1. It’s by far the largest genre
Adult contemporary romance has been the largest subgenre of all the romance subgenres almost since its inception as a category. When people talk about romance novels, they are generally thinking about adult contemporary romance books. This is most likely because they are highly relatable because they are set generally in the now, in a time that is most relatable to contemporary readers. As of 2014, adult romance books in the adult contemporary romance genre made up 41% of overall readership for print books, and 44% for eBooks. The romantic suspense subgenre led the numbers in both categories; but, the majority of suspenseful romances are technically contemporary romances. The subgenres tend to have a lot of overlap, with contemporary romance sometimes involving suspense or paranormal elements as well as elements classified as erotic fiction.
2. The stories always take place after the 1950s
Adult contemporary romance stories are romantic novels or novellas set after World War II, with some specifying 1950-present day as the contemporary time period. Most romance novels that are set before World War II are classified as historical romances or historical fiction. Many romance novels lose popularity with the changing times and become dated. However, some historical romances do stand the test of time, with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen remaining perhaps the most popular romance novel in the English-speaking world. Austen’s storylines not only inspired other female and romance writers, they have also been reimagined and used as the skeleton for contemporary stories and movies, like Bridget Jones’ Diary.
3. They reflect the period they’re set in
Contemporary romance novels tend to reflect the time period’s trends as well as the political and social environments of that time. As was typical before the 1970s, romance heroines from the time would quit their jobs (if they had one) when they got married so that they could focus on their husbands and children. After the 1970s, it became more typical for the heroines to maintain their careers even after marriage and family. The 1970s also saw a boom in romance novel popularity, with the influence of the sexual revolution driving more and more people to read, and publicly enjoy (!), contemporary romance and erotic fiction. In 1980, the first romance novel was published with a heroine who was not a virgin at the beginning of the book: The Tawny Gold Man by Amii Lorin. That was a big thing at the time! The 1980s also saw more heroines in traditionally masculine jobs, like working on an oil rig (like in Rapture of the Deep by Margaret Rome) and by the 1990s heroines were allowed to be older than they ever had before, with novels featuring women well into their 30s and 40s.
4. They’re all about romance, romance, romance
Contemporary romance writers are primarily focused on the romantic storyline (versus suspense romances that also have a strong focus on the mystery elements of the story). In comparison, historical romances, like Austen’s work, focus strongly on family life and relationships and the social rituals of the time.
5. Characters are more important than the plot
Adult contemporary romance books are character driven, meaning they focus on the wants, conflicts and movements of the main character (or characters) rather than the plot. For example, romantic suspense books, though still generally placing the romantic storyline at the heart of the novel, are plot driven, with the suspense and mystery acting as tools to reveal the hero’s personality so that the heroine can fall in love with him (usually). For this reason, contemporary romance writers tend to use more intimate and emotional language, reflecting the inner life of the character and the feelings developing and flowing between the two main characters; suspense, on the other hand, use less emotional and flower language because they are more focused on moving the mystery plot along.
6. They’re set in the real world
Contemporary romance books are rooted in the real world, with the most popular ones tending to be set in today’s times. Other subgenres may utilize elements of the real world while mixing in elements of fantasy and science fiction, or they may solely focus on the supernatural world. Paranormal romances can involve mystery and suspense, as well as historical ones, and also tend to be more plot-driven. The majority of paranormal romances are set in contemporary times, however; and while they do focus more on the world and the plot than contemporary romances, they tend to focus more on the unfolding relationship than other science fiction or fantasy stories, where the romance is generally secondary.
7. Adult means Adult
Adult contemporary romance stories tend to hint at, or describe in detail, erotic content. They’re not necessarily erotic, but they tend to not be chaste, as are those novels written in the inspirational romance subgenre. Inspirational stories tend to have Christian themes, focusing on purity, with sex never explicitly described, even if the characters are married. While contemporary romances can revolve around a love triangle (in menage stories), they’re usually solely focused on the monogamous relationship between one man and one woman. This is true of inspirational romances, but, to a degree, they incorporate a “love triangle” element because the relationship often tests the heroine’s faith and relationship with God.
8. No lessons involved, just enjoy!
While stories in all genres and subgenres tend to teach the reader a lesson or give them a theme to ponder, contemporary romances are primarily focused on the journey of the two lovers. This sets the subgenre apart from its fellow subgenres like inspirational romance and mystery or fantasy romance. Inspirational romances are often heavily focused on strong themes (commonly Christian ones like faithfulness to one’s partner and God, or forgiveness) and lessons that the leader can learn through the pure love story. Fantasy and mystery subgenres incorporate not lessons to learn, necessarily, but a focus on elements outside of romantic emotion. The general rule for a mystery romance is that each development in the mystery affects the relationship. With contemporary adult romance, it’s the characters themselves who are the main focus.
9. The fun little sister: Chick Lit
Adult contemporary romance includes another subgenre which emerged in the late 90s and early 00s: Chick Lit. Chick Lit invited younger readers (women in their late teens, early twenties) into the romance world. These novels are fast-paced and fun, with humor and action turning them into lighthearted, RomCom-esque stories, instead of the more heavy sentimentality associated with traditional contemporary romances. The women in these stories are professionals, with independence and an air of glamor. Bridget Jones’ Diary is credited with inspiring this genre in the United States, with big romance publishing houses latching onto the style in order to draw in more 20-something readers. Traditionally, romance readers tend to be middle-aged women and above. Chick Lit took the contemporary adult romance into the 21st Century and the hearts of millennials.
10. This is what we want!
Overall, in 2013, adult romance books earned a total of $1.08 billion, a whopping 13% of total adult fiction stories sold. The average age of romance novel purchasers was 44 in 2013; in 2015 the average age was 42, and there were a lot more readers in the “coveted Millennial demographic,” according to Nielsen. Smashwords reported that 89% of their eBook sales in 2015 were in the fiction genre, with 50% of that going to romance plus another 11% going to erotica. Romance eBooks jumped 42% in sales in 2015, in part because their prices are dropping! That’s great news for readers.
Those figures alone are enough to shun every critic of the romance genre. These books make us happy; they give us an escape, a dream, a version of our world laced with what so many of us crave: romance. And they give us that through heroes and heroines we can relate to. Contemporary romance writers give us stories about our time, our technologies and social climates, with characters who could very well be us. I know that’s what I want!
Hey lovely readers!
I’m so proud to present our new website to you! It’s been a lot of work putting it together but I’m so happy with the end result. I will keep this website up-to-date with new books so that you are always up-to-date with what’s going on on my end.
Just a couple of my favorite features:
– There’s a list of last week’s most popular books in the sidebar which will be updated every week
– Here‘s a contact form where you should always feel free to let me know any random or non-random thoughts you may have
– And if you haven’t signed up for our e-mail list yet, you can do so here.
We have a couple of really hot romance stories coming out soon, including an alien romance, a new vampire story, a basketball romance and a cowboy story. LOTS to look forward to!
Working for you guys and hearing your thoughts about our books is one of the things I love most about my job. To make it even easier to interact, connect with me through my newly set up social media channels:
– Join my group on Facebook:
– Follow me on Twitter:
– Pin me on Pinterest:
Looking forward to hearing from you!