Contemporary New Adult novels are topping the romance bestseller lists right now—for good reasons. They're hot and steamy, filled to the brim with emotional angst, and still delivering on the happily ever after romance readers expect. Some of the best ones in February feature good girl heroines attracted to bad boy heroes with tattoos, piercings, and even drug addictions. Emotionally torturous love triangles and smoldering sex scenes also seem to have captured readers' hearts.
In If You Stay by Courtney Cole, bad-boy hero Pax Tate numbs his emotional pain from his troubled past with drugs and women until he meets good-girl heroine Mila Hill, a talented painter who is still reeling from the tragic death of her parents. She's drawn to Pax despite—or perhaps because of—his flaws, and they begin to fall in love. Unfortunately, Pax knows his personal demons will destroy their relationship if he doesn't change. While both Pax and Mila struggle with serious psychological issues, their chemistry is undeniable, and Cole provides readers with a satisfying, happily-ever-after ending.
Collide by Gail McHugh also includes a grieving heroine and a sexy bad-boy hero. The heroine, Emily Cooper, is a recent college graduate who's reeling from her mother's death. She moves to New York City to be closer to her boyfriend Dillon Parker, a good guy who wants to take care of her; however, her path soon “collides” with Gavin Blake, a rich, sexy playboy whom readers have compared to Christian Grey. Gavin sets about seducing Emily despite her not-quite-single status. Emily resists, even though Dillon might not be as good as he seems. The cliffhanger ending had some readers up in arms, but Collide is the first in a two-part series, with the sequel scheduled for release in 2013.
Metamorphosis by Erin Noelle is about a sheltered young woman named Scarlett MacGregor who finally rebels against her overbearing parents when she moves away to college. She reinvents herself and begins to date three different guys—Ashton, Dylan, and Mason. Dylan is a handsome frat boy with secrets. Mason is a tattooed rocker who fulfills Scarlett's sexual fantasies. And Ashton is a college playboy who's afraid to take things to the next level with Scarlett because he doesn't want to hurt her—and because he's in danger of falling in love with her. A life-changing event forces her to choose one of her men, however, before she loses her chance to be with any of them. Like Collide, this steamy story has a cliffhanger ending with a sequel scheduled to be released later this year.
Like Metamorphosis, Torn by K.A. Robinson features a heroine who goes away to college, meets a tattooed bad boy, and endures a love triangle. Chloe flees her abusive mother for college in West Virginia where she meets Drake, a sexy rocker with some interesting piercings and a tortured past. The chemistry between them is undeniable, but she also has feelings for her friend from high school, Logan, who has always been there for her. When he admits his love for her, Chloe is torn between the boy who has always cared about her and the man she can't seem to keep her hands off of.
In Ruining You by Nicole Reed—the second book in the Ruining series—the troubled heroine Jay is finally leaving three months of inpatient treatment for her depression and grief over the death of a loved one in the previous novel. She's not sure she deserves to be happy again, but with the help of her new friend Eli, whom she met in treatment, she sets about trying to piece her life back together. She's torn between sexy rocker Rhye, who still cares about her, and sweet bartender Kane who's tired of waiting for her to get her act together—but one of them will end up stealing her heart.
Haven't had enough bad boy rockers? Then read All Over You by Emily Snow, a steamy novella that precedes the events in her novel Devoured. Good girl Sienna gets hired as a wardrobe assistant for domineering Lucas Wolfe and his band. He's instantly attracted to her submissiveness and decides he must get her into his bed, where he intends to thoroughly “devour” her. The ending, which is a bummer, sets readers up for the events of Devoured.
Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.