A few themes dominate the New Adult stories currently topping the bestseller charts. First, there are the bad boys. Readers of all ages seem to love tattooed heroes with bad tempers and/or reputations for womanizing. A propensity to gamble goes hand-in-hand with a tarnished reputation, and several new adult novels this month feature heroes who inadvertently bet on love. And then there are the tortured heroines, fleeing an emotionally turbulent past. Their reputations might not be as tarnished as the bad boys, but you can bet they’ve got at least one skeleton in their closet—or they will, once they let a troubled hero steal their heart and ravage their bodies.
Music of the Heart by Katie Ashley features a sweet, virginal country singer from a family of missionaries who falls for a tattooed bad boy rocker with a few too many notches on his bed post. Twenty-one-year-old Abby Renard is all set to spend the summer touring with her brothers’ Christian band to assess whether or not she wants to become their lead singer. Instead, she accidentally ends up on Jake Slater’s tour bus for his popular rock band Runaway Train. Thinking that she’s just another groupie when he finds her in his bed, he attempts to put the moves on her before she lets him know, in no uncertain terms, that she’s not that kind of girl.
Despite Jake’s many personality flaws, his charm and seductive skills cause Abby to reevaluate her stance on premarital sex, while her sweetness and purity make him change his opinion of monogamous relationships and the possibility of happily ever after.
In The Love Game by Emma Hart, eighteen-year-old Maddie Stevens is an innocent girl from Brooklyn with a troubled past who’s trying to start over at Berkeley College. Nineteen-year-old Braden Carter is a typical womanizing frat boy whose friends dare him to “hump and dump” Maddie in four weeks. At the same time, Maddie’s friends dare her to “play the player”—make Braden fall in love with her, sleep with him, and then dump him. Both of them accept the challenge, not realizing that they might actually fall in love. Readers enjoyed the dual point-of-view, the simple writing style, and the womanizer-with-a heart-of-gold hero.
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire—the much anticipated sequel to the bestselling Beautiful Disaster—tells the story of Abby Abernathy and Travis Maddox’s dysfunctional romance from Travis’s perspective. It’s really more of a companion novel than a stand-alone story because it follows the same chronology of events as Beautiful Disaster with scenes added that are purely from Travis’s perspective. The novel gives readers a chance to understand the tortured hero and his seemingly over-the-top crazy behavior. Just like The Love Game, this romance begins with a bet—which is appropriate, considering that Travis is a gambler.
Like Walking Disaster, Second Chance Boyfriend by Monica Murphy is a sequel told from the hero’s perspective. Rather than revisiting the same sequence of events, however, it picks up where the first novel, One Week Girlfriend, left off. Fable was a down-on-her-luck waitress struggling to raise her younger brother when Drew, a golden boy football player, offered to pay her to pretend to be his girlfriend for a week. He needed a buffer to protect him from his dysfunctional family during his Thanksgiving break. During that week together, they began to fall for each other, but then Drew self-destructed and lost everything. At the beginning of Second Chance Boyfriend, however, he’s reached rock bottom. He reaches out to Fable for help, and they begin to work on their issues together.
In Real by Katy Evans, the heroine Brooke Dumas graduated from college with a degree in sports rehab after her own Olympic dreams were crushed by an injury. Her friend drags her to an underground fight one night, and she locks eyes with Remington “Riptide” Tate, an up-and-coming fighter who asks for her digits and then promptly hires her as his physical therapist. She travels around the country with him and his team, and their relationship slowly develops. Some readers said Remy’s anger, possessiveness, and physical strength reminded them of Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster.
In Damaged by H.M. Ward, the heroine Sidney tries to flee her troubled past by starting over at a university in Texas. Her friend, who’s worried about her, sets her up on a blind date, but she accidentally falls into the arms of a mysterious man named Peter—who, unfortunately, happens to be her new English professor and her boss. Being a teaching assistant, Sidney’s forced to work in close proximity with Peter, who’s as damaged as she is in his own way. The chemistry between them cannot be denied, however, even as rumors begin to fly around the department about their forbidden romance.
As a teenager, Nell Hawthorne, the heroine of Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder, lost her first love Kyle Calloway in a tragic accident. Years later, she’s still grieving Kyle’s death when she reconnects with his older brother Colton in New York City. As a recent college graduate, Nell feels lost and purposeless, and Colton, a rugged bad boy with tattoos, teaches her how to handle her powerful emotions and how to love again.
What books are making you put all your chips in this month?
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.