I like reading about people falling in love and their personal journey towards their happy ending; that’s why I read romance in the first place. I don’t need serial killers, vampires or dukes to make my day—two regular people will do. So it’s no wonder that Contemporary Romance is my favorite subgenre.
Choosing my favorite authors is hard. So instead of talking about how much I love authors like Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I’ll talk about other writers who may not be that well-known or have written so many books, those whose careers are relatively new and yet have won me over to the point of considering them some of the best current contemporary romance authors.
I can’t say the word Contemporary without thinking of Sarah Mayberry. This Australian author has written about a diverse array of topics that go from alcoholism to Alzheimer’s, and she hasn’t failed to deliver yet. She’s particularly good at writing friends-to-lovers stories so if you’re a fan of the trope I would recommend Her Best Friend or, if you like steamier reads, Anything for You.
And speaking of Down Under: Karina Bliss’s books are beautifully written and touching. This New Zealand author knows all about angst. Second-Chance Family made me cry buckets, it has a painful subject and it wasn’t easy to read, but the journey was poignant and the ending perfect, and this applies to all of her stories.
Julie James, whose About That Night was just released, sure knows how to write likeable heroines, sexy heroes and hilarious situations. The first time I read one of her books I felt like I would never be able to stop laughing. If you’re new to her books, start with Practice Makes Perfect, about two lawyers battling it out to see who makes partner at the same firm. And if you like your books with a side of suspense, her FBI/US Attorney series should be perfect.
Is there anything sexier than a man who can cook? If your answer is no, you’re going to love Louisa Edwards. Her books are drool-worthy for several reasons: the covers, the heroes, and the food. She can make Brusselssprouts look good, especially if the person cooking them has a six-pack. And if you enjoy m/m romance, her first series has a romantic subplot involving two guys that was just as compelling as the main stories. Fans of Top Chef should love her Rising Star Competition series.
Small towns and contemporary romance are a match made in heaven—and in Jill Shalvis’s world, heaven is a lot like Lucky Harbor. Her stories are light and all about two people—and often their siblings in subsequent books—finding love, but there’s always a more serious undercurrent. My personal favorites are the Wilder Brothers series and her baseball books: Double Hit and Double Play. I love bromance, so series about brothers and teammates are the perfect setting for a lot a great interaction between guys.
If you like horses you must read Laura Moore’s books: Family drama, courageous heroines, temperamental heroes and lots of horses. She has a beautiful voice that makes you feel like you’re in the beautiful farms where most of her stories are set. My favorite books are Ride a Dark Horse, Chance Meeting and In Your Eyes.
I discovered Inez Kelley’s books last year when a book called Sweet as Sin caught my attention. It had a tormented hero, a heroine who was the owner of an adult candy shop, a story within a story and Chocolate Orgasms (it’s a brownie! Get your mind out of the gutter). Ever since then, I’ve been enjoying her stories and her ability to mix sexy playfulness with drama.
And last but not least, there’s Shannon Stacey. She writes hilarious family dynamics, interesting and relatable heroines, and heroes that are a bit rough around the edges but adorable enough to admit that they have broccoli-phobia. Her books all have great dialogue and funny banter.
All of these authors write about real people, women and men whom I would like to meet and be friends with, who have real problems and situations that make it easy for me to relate and connect.
I’m always looking for new contemporary romance authors, so I would love to know who would make your list. Tell me all about your favorite authors and what you think of my choices. Do you agree? Am I leaving someone important out?