35 Sweltering Tales of Summer Romance

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a romance at the beach—but if you can’t get there, these books will bring the beach to you. Can’t you just feel the ocean breeze in your hair, the sound of the waves and the seagulls, the warmth of the sun on your face, and the smell of sunscreen in the air? These books will make your temperature rise, so be sure to follow with a nice, cool dip in the pool.

Holding Hands


Downtown DevilDowntown Devil, by Cara McKenna

Nearing the end of her twenties and feeling unfulfilled, Clare is determined to have her own photo exhibition—but first she needs to find models who reflect her own mixed racial heritage. She finds the right model and so much more when she hooks up with barista Mica. What starts off as a summer fling soon veers into uncharted territory when Mica suggests a threesome with his roommate Vaughn. Scorching hot sex scenes are tempered by moments of introspection and self-exploration as Clare figures out what and whom she really wants. You will definitely need a dip after reading this one! Second in the Sins in the City series.  


The Duke Can Go to the DevilThe Duke Can Go to the Devil, by Erin Knightley

Buttoned up-conservative William Spencer—a.k.a. the Duke of Radcliffe—and fish-out-of-water free spirit May Bradford take the “I hate you, I love you” trope to new heights in this fun summer romance. Since her mother died, May has been staying with her aunt in London and having problems adjusting to the rules of society. When the very proper Duke meets May at a summer festival in Bath, he’s not quite sure what to do with her, since she’s totally unlike any woman he has met before. When these two stop trading barbs and start trading kisses instead, they might just realize the that they’re prefect for one another. Third in the Prelude to a Kiss series.


Once Upon a SummertimeOnce Upon a Summertime, by Melody Carlson

Set against the backdrop of New York City, the first book in Carlson’s Follow Your Heart series follows Anna Gordon, whose first job after college lands her back at home, living with her grandmother, and managing a Value Lodge stuck in the 80’s. Anna gets a break when an old friend tells her about a new boutique hotel opening in Soho. She doesn’t get the job she was hoping for, but she does get a chance to work with her childhood crush Sean O’Neal. Told from Anna’s perspective, the book does a great job detailing the ins and outs of the hotel industry and sharing touristy details about New York. Like a poolside piña colada, this is a sweet and frothy inspirational romance.


On the Island, by Tracey Garvis-GravesOn the Island

About to turn 17, T. J. Callahan is looking forward to spending the summer catching up with high school friends as he recovers from cancer. His parents have other ideas. Soon, he’s on a small plane headed to the Maldives with is a tutor his parents hired to help him catch up: thirty-year-old Anna Emerson, who’s happy to be newly single on an exotic beach. Things don’t always go as planned, however: When the pilot has a heart attack and crashes the plane in the Indian Ocean, T. J. and Anna find themselves on an uninhabited island. Over the next few years, their relationship progresses from teacher and pupil to friends, and finally to lovers. The biggest challenge comes after their rescue and return to the real world.


Summer NightsSummer Nights, by Susan Mallery

With one bad marriage behind him, rancher Shane Stryker is hoping to find a nice, quiet woman to settle down with. His mother thinks she has just the right woman in mind: librarian Annabelle Weiss. She sounds just a little too boring for Shane, who can’t seem to get the gorgeous redhead he saw dancing on a bar out of his mind. When Annabelle shows up at his ranch asking about riding lessons, he’s shocked to discover that the redhead and the librarian are one and the same. Annabelle is attracted to Shane, but she had a bad first marriage, too, and both have issues trusting others. Readers familiar with Fool’s Gold will love the chance to catch up on their favorite characters, but new readers won’t have a hard time figuring out who’s who.


That Chesapeake SummerThat Chesapeake Summer, by Mariah Stewart

Self-help guru Jamie Valentine has written nearly half a dozen books on the importance of honesty in relationships. When her widowed mother dies unexpectedly, Jamie is shocked to discover that her parents adopted her when she was only a few hours old. Stung by her parents’ betrayal and needing to know the truth, Jamie heads to Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point. Her search leads to more than she expected when she meets Daniel Sinclair, a widower with two children who has been running the family inn since his father’s death. For readers looking for a sweet small town romance series like Susan Mallery, Robyn Carr, or Debbie Macomber.


The Summer He Came Home

The Summer He Came Home, by Juliana Stone 

Crystal Lake, Michigan, was once home for famous rocker Cain Black, and now he’s returned to pay his respects at the funeral of a childhood friend. Maggie O’Rourke has brought her young son to Crystal Lake to escape an abusive relationship and start her life anew. When the couple is confronted with issues from their respective pasts, they must find a way to deal with them to create a future together. The first in Stone’s Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series will appeal to readers who like their romances to have an edge as well as a warm, small-town feeling.


Until We Meet AgainUntil We Meet Again, by Renee Collins

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra is spending an unhappy and bored summer at her family’s vacation house in coastal Massachusetts. Seeking adventure, she heads to a private beach, where she meets the mysterious Lawrence, who says he has come from 1925. Cassandra believes him, even though she knows it isn’t possible. Apparently, he was spending the summer with his family and somehow got stuck on the beach. When Cassandra does some research to see what happened to Lawrence and his family, she is horrified to learn he is going to be murdered. The rush to save him starts with enough to twists and turns in the time/space continuum to keep teen and adult readers on the edge of their seats. Will their love survive a 90-year difference? Will Cassandra find a way to save Lawrence’s long, long life?  


Some more hot summer reads:

99 Days, by Katie Cotugno

Barefoot by the Sea, by Roxanne St. Claire

Beach Town, by Mary Kay Andrews 

Before You, by Amber Hart

A Dangerous Kiss, by Francis Ray

Eversea, by Natasha Boyd

Fallen Too Far, by Abbi Glines

For You I Will, by Donna Hill

Forsaking All Others, by Kathleen Knowles

Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins  

The Love Shack, by Christie Ridgway.  

The Night We Said Yes, by Lauren Gibaldi 

No Tan Lines, by Kate Angell  

Off the Hook, by Laura Drewry

The Red Bikini, by Lauren Christopher

Second Chance Summer, by Jill Shalvis

Secrets of the Lost Summer, by Carla Neggers  

Silhouette of a Sparrow, by Molly Beth Griffin  

Some Like it Hot, by Susan Andersen

Somebody to Love, by Kristan Higgins

Suddenly Last Summer, by Sarah Morgan

The Summer of Me, by Angela Bensen

Summer of Secrets, by Charlotte Hubbard

Summer Vows, by Rochelle Alers  

Tempting Isabel, by Rissa Brahm

That Scandalous Summer, by Meredith Duran  

A Week to be Wicked, by Tessa Dare



About the Author:

Ilene Lefkowitz is a supervising librarian at the Denville Public Library in Denville, New Jersey. Along with C. L., co-author of Read On . . . Romance (2014). When she is not reading romances she can be found cooking up a storm or attempting to be crafty. Follow her on Twitter @ilefkowitz.C. L. Quillen is the director of the Spotswood Public Library. In her spare time, she likes to get creative in the kitchen, travel, and spoil her already very spoiled Siamese-mix cat. She is the co-author of Read On . . . Romance (2014). Follow her on Twitter at @cielle.

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