These romance novels are about to turn the temperature up on your summer.
The below batch of books, all published in 2023, offer an array of love stories, including Emily Henry’s character-filled latest, a book set an an adult sleep-away camp and another in a Lifetime-ready small town.
While reading these books on the beach — or anywhere in public — prepare yourself for arriving at that part, where you nervously glance around and attempt to hide your blush. Because while all of the books on our roundup contain moving and redemptive love stories, they also bring the heat.
Have it all — swoon and steam — with 2023's new romance novels.
"Happy Place" by Emily Henry (April 25)
With a dreamy coastal Maine setting, a leading man who knows exactly how to love and a summer that’s primed for nostalgic fun, Emily Henry’s latest is the perfect beach read. Bittersweet and grappling with the idea of breakups, it’s not your traditional romance. Protagonist Harriet is just as determined to maintain the illusion she’s still engaged to her ex-fiancé, Wynn, as she is with holding on to her dearest friendships, introducing us to an imperfect group of characters that will also vie for your heart.
Following her excellent debut "Every Summer After," Carley Fortune brings us a second summer love story that takes readers on another journey back and forth in time. Here we meet Fern and Will, who. eight years prior, spent 24 blissful hours together in Toronto. Fern was convinced they were soulmates, but he didn't hold up his end of their pact to meet exactly a year later. A decade passes before they meet again. Grief and years of things left unsaid make for an awkward re-introduction, but undeniable attraction has a way of overcoming the worst situations.
Adriana Herrera’s second novel in her Las Leonas series is a steamier than steamy historical sapphic romance set in the vibrant queer community of late 19th century Paris. After being invited to show her paintings at 1889s famed Exposition Universelle, heiress Manuela del Carmen Caceres Galvan wants a final carefree summer before heading, eyes open, into a loveless marriage. She soon meets Cora, Duchess of Sundridge, who typically puts money and power above all else. However, their shared passion leads to an affair that threatens to start a scandal.
In the wake of her shocking divorce, Garland and her sister Dara set out to have the summer they never had as kids, escaping to their friends’ adult sleepaway camp tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Soon after arriving, Garland’s lively new roommate Stevie literally falls on-top of her in a delightfully cliché meet-cute. But it also so happens that Stevie’s brother, Mason, is the guy Garland dubbed the man of her dreams after a chance meeting years prior. Despite this, a confused Garland is drawn to the joyful Stevie as it becomes clear she’s been gifted with an unexpected second chance at love.
"Love, Theoretically" by Ali Hazelwood (June 13)
No author combines STEM and romance quite like Ali Hazelwood. In her latest, the worlds of two rival physicists, Elsie Hannaway and Jack Smith, collide and make for what may be the best couple yet in Hazlewood’s Love Hypothesis series. Elsie is an underpaid adjunct professor by day who’s taken up a side-gig as a professional fake girlfriend, while Jack is the hot but arrogant head of MIT's physics department. Due to his dubious scholarly past, Elsie doesn’t think highly of Jack. But he’s a broody hunk who lets her be her quirkiest self and works hard to show that he’s changed. It soon becomes clear that they’re meant to be.
From the author of "Weather Girl" and "Ex-Talk" comes what many fans are calling Rachel Solomon’s steamiest book yet. The novel follows ghostwriter Chandler Cohen who had a less-than-satisfactory one night stand with C-list actor Finn Walsh. When she’s tasked with writing his memoir, the two reunite. You won’t be able to put this one down as you race to find out exactly how their story ends.
"The Duchess Effect" by Tracey Livesay (July 11)
Duchess and Prince Jameson, an American rapper and a British royal, fell each other in Tracey Livesay's "American Royalty." Now, all eyes are on the duo after they take their relationship public. Both are faced with a level of fame they’ve never dealt with, as their relationship is now the subject of widespread international interest. Duchess’ budding skin care line threatens to be overshadowed by her new beau, and Jameson is let go from his university job. Plus, the queen has discovered the lovebirds are more of an advantage to the crown than she thought. Eventually they’re forced to decide if loving each other out loud is worth the pressure and scrutiny that comes with it.
"The Art of Scandal" by Regina Black (Aug. 1)
Rachel Abbott’s mayor husband sends her an NSFW picture … which was meant for his mistress. Divorce isn’t an option amidst his reelection in their idyllic D.C. suburb, so they strike a deal: She keeps the house and he gets a scandal-free campaign if they stall their split. But then Rachel meets sexy, attentive artist Nathan Vasquez, who is 10 years her junior. Their affair reconnects her with the creative, lively woman she once was before shaping herself into a stiff trophy wife, and she doesn’t want to go back. "Scandal" meets Kennedy Ryan, Regina Black’s can’t miss debut will pull you into a world of power, sex, and secrets that’ll hook you from the first page.
In this twist on Shakespeare’s play "Much Ado About Nothing," the pressure is on Bobbi Kaur to plan the perfect wedding for her best friend, while also proving she can take over the family’s event planning business. Enter hot chef Benjamin “Bunty” Padda, who’s also the groom’s best friend. Bobbi and Bunty fail to fight their attraction amidst the chaos of wedding planning and a mysterious saboteur who wants to tank the nuptials. A delicious follow-up to "Chasing Dr. Dill," Nisha Sharma’s take on the irresistible enemies-to-lovers trope will keep you on your toes.
"Mixed Signals" by BK Borison (Aug. 1)
Though it was technically released last year, this August made way for "Mixed Signals’" official paperback release. We’re back in charming small town Maryland where baker Layla Dupree is forever unlucky with love, and Caleb Alvarez is always willing to mend her broken heart. He proposes they date with no strings attached. A surprise to no one? Their sizzling chemistry is off the charts and keeping things casual becomes impossible for them both.
Tucked among the book's the pages is a sweet, small-town Georgia romance that puts a successful obstetrician Imani Kemp at its center. She rushes back to her hometown when her mom reveals she’s marrying a man she met via dating app just months before. In her efforts to stop the wedding, Imani meets and falls for none other than the groom’s son Cyril, who’s determined to see his father happy.
"Knockout" by Sarah MacLean (Aug. 22)
Any historical romance penned by the great Sarah MacLean is a page-turner, and the third and final installment in her Hell’s Belles series is no different. In her latest, the honorable Det. Thomas Peck is tasked with ensuring the chaotic, explosive-loving vigilante Lady Imogen Loveless keeps her nose clean. But the brilliant and gorgeous Imogen soon proves to be too irresistible, and Thomas can’t help but fall hard as he’s pulled into her alluring world of secrets.
Successful OBGYN Janelle is used to putting others before herself. And that’s exactly what she does when she’s reluctantly maid-of-honor as her sister marries her ex. The wedding party spends a stressful week in Tulum before the nuptials. To blow off some steam, Janelle secretly hooks up with seductive best man Rome, who knows her exact wants, needs, and desires. With some seriously spicy hookups and a confident, full-figured female lead, you won’t be able to put this delectable book down.
Cassie Greenberg knows that the $200 a month apartment she found on Craigslist in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is too good to be true. But desperate to avoid eviction from her current place, she swiftly moves in, gaining a new strapping, but odd, roommate who seems to be stuck in time. Frederick J. Fitzwilliams’ texts are oddly formal, his clothes are dated, he sleeps at odd hours, and he really likes a dark room. Yes, Frederick is a vampire, but Cassie is pulled-in by his chivalry, charming naivety, and sweet handwritten notes as she attempts to help him adapt to the modern new world.
KJ Charles, who specializes in queer historicals, lets into the world of Major Rufus d'Aumesty, who inherits a secluded manor after unexpectedly becoming Earl of Oxney. He faces many threats to his newfound position, including infamous smuggler Luke Doomsday. However Charles finds an ally — and a lover — in Luke, but unsavory secrets may force them apart.