Late Summer Seasoned Romance Round-Up
by Donna Soluri
Everyone deserves love, kindness, and romance: these are words I live by. I am new to the Book+Main family, but my love of romance spans a lifetime. I specifically love romance that involves characters closer to my age. The true definition of what makes a romance “seasoned” or “mature” is as hotly debated as what we call these books: “seasoned,” “older,” or “mature”! Some folks classify Seasoned Romance as 40 years old or older; others bump it down to include 30+. I’m not married to an age preference, I just want my characters to have some profound life experiences under their belts. And I want all women, especially older women, to feel empowered and to see themselves represented on the pages of the romance books we love to read.
I had a milestone birthday in July. I turned 50 in true 2020 fashion, with a touch of the COVID 19 virus. It was terrible, but it allowed me to lounge on the couch and read between bouts of fatigue and blinding headaches. Here’s a taste of some books I enjoyed. Check them out; you might enjoy them too!
This is the story of three women, their friendships, and their love lives throughout one exciting summer. We start with Renee and Clive. Renee is thrice divorced and pretty much done with men, especially her loud next-door neighbor and his granddaughter’s escape artist dog. In the true spirit of enemies to lovers, Renee and Clive end up being the yin to each other’s yang. In the beginning, his laid back demeanor grates on her ridged rules. The fun is peeling back the layers to discover why they each got to this place in their lives.
Our second couple is Adelaide and Hector. This is a second chance romance in every sense of the word. This divorced couple is thrust back into each other’s lives when faced with a family crisis. This new forced proximity makes both realize how much they missed all of their marriage’s good parts. There’s a lot of water under that bridge, but now they have the emotional tools needed to talk and really listen to each other and learn how to find that love they never truly lost again.
Finally, we have, in my opinion, the trickiest of the three stories, Jackie and Tyson. This is a second chance romance with a ton of obstacles and self-inflicted wounds along the way. Being older doesn’t always mean you’ve figured out all of life’s problems, especially when it comes to communicating. Have no fear, Jackie is a smart, successful businesswoman; she sorts it all out in the end!
Jane is a wealthy widow with adult children and non-existent sex life. After lamenting her lack of loving to her online widow’s support group, Jane finds herself selling her Florida home and moving to a quiet, gated enclave in Massachusetts. To say Jane is welcomed into this community with open arms would be a colossal understatement. She joins a mysterious sex club, encounters some very helpful handymen, and even makes friends with the neighborhood’s newest member, a psychology professor. It is safe to say, Jane definitely gets her groove back.
In fact, Jane’s new-found sexual empowerment is one of my favorite parts of the story. As Jane moves on from her past, she has to figure out what she wants from the new men…yes, plural, MEN in her life. It’s a fabulous story.
The first book in Hunt’s Mended Hearts series is short and spicy. It would definitely fall into a more erotic romance style category, which is not something you see every day with a mature heroine.
This is a compilation of three separate novellas. One, new, and the other two from previous anthologies. The first story, “Sweetest in the Gale,” is the story of two high school teachers thrust together on a poetry project. Griff has secretly admired Candy from afar for a while, but during this time working together, he notices a certain light is missing from Candy’s eyes. He recognizes this grief because he has his own loss that he needs to reckon with. Both parties have to learn to trust each other to heal their lonely hearts and find love together.
“Unraveled” is a fun and fast-paced opposites attract story. Calm, cool, uptight math teacher Simon is assigned to mentor a sharp, warm, and chaotic art teacher, Poppy. This frustrating woman is nothing short of torture for Simon, but the tag line says it best, “…the more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels…”
“Cover Me” deals with some very timely subject matter. Elizabeth and James have been friends for over twenty years, even through his divorce. When Elizabeth receives a dire health diagnosis, James offers her a marriage of convenience for health insurance. The undercurrents of attraction have been there from the beginning though neither ever acted on it. Now that he’s free, James realizes he needs Elizabeth as much as she needs him, and he will do everything in his power for them to finally have their chance together.
Reagan is a criminal defense attorney. Her confrontational ex is the new prosecutor, which naturally complicates things. And her new client is Callum, her brother’s friend, and a bounty hunter accused of sexual battery by a bail jumper he’s been chasing across the country. Reagan’s instincts tell her he’s innocent of the charges, so she sets about proving his case. It’s not long before they realize someone is out to take one of them down. Reagan’s ex is a powerful man eager to take her down, and Callum’s profession means he’s made plenty of enemies along the way. Solving the mystery, clearing his name, staying alive, and oh yeah, did I mention the intense sexual chemistry? Freya Barker is always good at spicing things up for our main characters!
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