Who can’t use more light and joy in their lives? Romance novels are perfect for upping your happiness quotient — after all, here the happily-ever-afters are practically required. They also deliver on the warmth, angst, passion, and love that make them such compelling reads. We’ve gathered together the romance novels we’re most excited about in the coming year, from tales about modern girls marrying princes to the latest installments of favorite series to comfort reads set in Regency England. Check out our list of the best romance books 2018 below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
A broken promise reveals a terrifying legacy in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of When All the Girls Have Gone.
A painter of fiery, nightmarish visions throws herself into the sea — but she’ll leave some of her secrets behind…
Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide — and her own past.
Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories — and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.
Love Me Like This by Bella Andre
Eight years have passed since Justin Morrison first laid eyes on Taylor Cardenes and fell head over heels in love with her, even though she could never be his. He’s tried everything he can to get over her — including moving to another country — but she’s still the only woman he’ll ever want.
Eight years is a heck of a long time to secretly love someone. Taylor knows all too well how impossible it is to forget a man as sexy, sweet, and brilliant as Justin Morrison. So when he turns up on the doorstep of her Napa Valley bed and breakfast, she can’t help but long for the happily-ever-after of her dreams.
As Taylor and Justin spend beautifully romantic mornings together watching the sun rise over the vineyards–and can’t help but fall into each other’s arms on wickedly sexy nights — it looks like they might finally get their chance at the love they’ve been waiting for. But will the secret Taylor has been keeping shatter everything in the end?
“If you love the Sullivans, make way for the Morrisons!” 5 stars from Pam
Love Me Like This is part of Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling series about the Morrisons. While it can easily be read as a standalone story, you’ll likely enjoy reading the other books too.
Release date: January 24
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in this fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century — or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…
Release date: January 30
Dark in Death by J.D. Robb
Lieutenant Eve Dallas returns in Dark in Death, by J.D. Robb, the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense, and takes on a case of death imitating art…
It was a stab in the dark.
On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.
Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime — from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.
The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama — and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.
From the author of Echoes in Death, this is the latest of the edgy, phenomenally popular police procedurals that Publishers Weekly calls “inventive, entertaining, and clever.”
Release date: January 30
Tempest by Beverly Jenkins
From USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins comes a new novel in a mesmerizing series set in the Old West, where an arranged marriage becomes a grand passion…
What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael — an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.
Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life — and in his arms — begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul.
Release date: January 30
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.
Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets — not all her own — that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?
Release date: January 30
After the Wedding by Courtney Milan
Adrian Hunter has concealed his identity and posed as a servant to assist his powerful uncle. He’s on the verge of obtaining the information he needs when circumstances spiral out of his control. He’s caught alone with a woman he scarcely knows. When they’re discovered in this compromising circumstance, he’s forced to marry her at gunpoint. Luckily, his uncle should be able to obtain an annulment. All Adrian has to do is complete his mission… and not consummate the marriage, no matter how enticing the bride may be.
Lady Camilla Worth has never expected much out of life — not since her father was convicted of treason and she was passed from family to family. A marriage, no matter how unfortunate the circumstances under which it was contracted, should mean stability. It’s unfortunate that her groom doesn’t agree. But Camilla has made the best of worse circumstances. She is determined to make her marriage work. All she has to do is seduce her reluctant husband.
Release date: February 20
Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of an unconventional beauty who finds passion with the spy who can’t resist her
A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man — why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.
A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.
Release date: February 27
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise…
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales… or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.
Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life — and love — without the burden of his crown.
The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
Release date: February 27
Best Laid Plans by Brenda Jackson
Love wasn’t supposed to be a part of the deal…
Even a famed matchmaker like Nolan Madaris’s great-grandmother can’t get it right every time. Nolan, the notorious fun-loving ladies’ man, could never connect with someone as straitlaced as tech whiz Ivy Chapman. Yet the scheme Ivy proposes is tempting — they can pretend to be a couple, just long enough to satisfy their families.
But someone forgot to clue in their hearts
What happens, though, when Ivy’s plan to get her relatives off her back has an unexpected side effect: getting her into Nolan’s bed? Houston’s number one womanizer may have found the only one who can truly satisfy him, body and soul. But with a man from Ivy’s past determined to be part of her future, both she and Nolan will have to decide what’s fake, what’s real and what’s worth fighting for…
Release date: February 27
High Voltage by Karen Marie Moning
Immortal Faerie and ancient feuds, secrets and sacrifices — a thrilling new chapter in the bestselling Fever series begins, featuring Dani, Ryodan, and other beloved characters, as they battle to save Dublin from the rising of a terrifying evil determined to enslave the human race.
There is no action without consequence.
Dani O’Malley was nine years old when the delusional, sadistic Rowena transformed her into a ruthless killer. Years later, Dani is tough and hardened, yet achingly vulnerable and fiercely compassionate, living alone by her own exacting code. Despite the scars on her body, and driven by deeper ones carved into her soul, no one is more committed to protecting Dublin. By day she ensures the safety of those she rescues, by night she hunts evil, dispensing justice swiftly and without mercy, determined to give to those she cares for the peace she has never known.
There is no power without price.
When the Faerie Queen used the dangerously powerful Song of Making to heal the world from the damage done by the Hoar Frost King, catastrophic magic seeped deep into the earth, giving rise to horrifying, unforeseen consequences — and now deadly enemies plot in the darkness, preparing to enslave the human race and unleash an ancient reign of Hell on Earth.
There is no future without sacrifice.
With the lethal, immortal Ryodan at her side, armed with the epic Sword of Light, Dani once again battles to save the world, but her past comes back to haunt her with a vengeance, demanding an unspeakable price for the power she needs to save the human race. And no one — not even Ryodan, who would move the very stars for her — can save her this time.
Release date: March 6
The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor — and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.
Release date: March 6
Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!
Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.
Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret… like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.
Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.
When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart… but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.
Release date: March 27
The Thief by J.R. Ward
New enemies rise and desire burns in the next thrilling novel of the #1 New York Times bestselling paranormal romance series the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
Sola Morte, former cat burglar and safecracker, has given up her old life on the wrong side of the law. On the run from a drug lord’s family, she is lying low far from Caldwell, keeping her nose clean and her beloved grandmother safe. Her heart, though, is back up north, with the only man who has ever gotten through her defenses: Assail, son of Assail, who never meant to fall in love — and certainly not with a human woman. But they have no future, and not just because she doesn’t know he is a vampire, but because he is not about to stop dealing arms to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Fate, however, has other plans for them. When Assail falls into a coma and lingers on the verge of death, his cousins seek out Sola and beg her to give him a reason to live. The last thing she wants is a return to her past, but how can she leave him to die?
As a lethal new enemy of the vampires shows its face, and the Brotherhood needs Assail back on his feet, Sola finds herself not only a target, but a mission-critical force in a war she doesn’t understand. And when Assail’s truth comes out, will she run from the horror… or follow her heart into the arms of the male who loves her more than life itself?
Release date: April 10
Someone to Care by Mary Balogh
Once the Countess of Riverdale, Viola Kingsley throws all caution to the wind when adventure calls in the form of a handsome aristocrat…
Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune — except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness — until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.
Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womanizer since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.
When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it…
Release date: May 1
The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Knew Too Much sweeps readers back to 1930s California — where the most dazzling of illusions can’t hide the darkest secrets…
After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.
Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.
In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they’re drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.
Neither Adelaide nor Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they’ll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be — and uncover the specter of a killer who’s been real all along…
Release date: May 8
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.
Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.
Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.
Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.
For her child.
For the world.
Release date: May 8
Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes Shelter in Place — a powerful tale of heart, heroism… and propulsive suspense.
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at video game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.
The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, helplessly clutching her cell phone — until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.
But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait — and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.
Release date: May 29
Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
New York Times Bestselling Author Eloisa James returns with the second in her fun and flirtatious Wildes of Lindow Castle series…
The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde — known to his friends as North — left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he’s notorious: polite society has ruled him “too wild to wed.”
Diana never meant to tarnish North’s reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child’s father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.
When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.
Yet North is returning a hardened warrior — and this is one battle he’s determined to win.
He wants Diana, and he’ll risk everything to call her his own.
Release date: May 29
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: There’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average 30-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
Release date: June 5
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into the mysterious, haunting world of the deep and into the heart of a love story that will change two peoples forever in this new novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series…
Release date: June 12
Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber
A seaside town and its eclectic community help one young woman reclaim the light after darkness in a brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.
Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.
Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks, in part, to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart — and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.
Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has longed for. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven — and the man — she’s come to call home.
In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.
Release date: July 17
The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
She was in the wrong place…
Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…
He found her at the wrong time…
Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real — and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her.
Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?
When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal — though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart… ?
Release date: July 24
Which of these books are you most excited to read? Tell us in the comments!