Ali Reads... Seasoned Romance
This month, Ali Williams brings us a selection of her favorite Seasoned Romances, proving it's #NotTooLate to discover new authors and fall in love!
Remember, just click on the cover and a link will take you there.
Romance isn't reserved for the young.
More and more romances featuring older heroines and heroes (and I'm talking all the way up to those in their 70s and 80s) have been making their mark on Romancelandia and my TBR. It's fun to read books about people who have a slightly different outlook on life, especially as I get closer to 40 myself. It's important for everyone to see themselves in the books they love - and that counts for the older and the elderly, as well as the young.
I hope you find something among the books below to whet your appetite!
Absolution by J.L. Campbell
Dumped by her spouse of seventeen years, Annette McKellop has no choice but to adjust to life on her own. An accomplished social worker, she can't help but see the irony of treating clients who live parallel lives, disrupted by cheating men who leave broken families behind. Not that she intends to suck up her ex-husband's betrayal.
Her plans for revenge start out brilliantly, but instead of striking a blow for all wronged females, Annette's quest to get even with Xavier is all-consuming and leads down avenues where even the most reckless souls won't go.
Until she meets Roderick Minto—a man who is off limits. Her role as counselor to his daughter prohibits anything more than a platonic relationship, but Roderick has other ideas. As their relationship deepens and she does what is taboo, Annette questions the direction of her moral compass. Should she follow her heart and Roderick's leading? Is losing a second chance at love worth the relentless pursuit of a man who has moved on and isn't coming back?
Mrs Martin's Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.
Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.
Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.
If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.
Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff
Becca Thornton, divorced, middle-aged and trying to embrace a quiet life, discovers that there are still plenty of surprises to be had when her menopause kicks in with bonus lycanthropy. And she’s not the only one. The seemingly peaceful and dull town of Wolf’s Point has its own all-female werewolf pack and Becca has just become its newest member. But it’s not all protecting Wolf’s Point, midnight meetings at the Women’s Club and monthly runs through the woods. There are werewolf hunters in town and now they've got Becca and the Wolf’s Point Pack in their sights.
As if that wasn’t enough, Becca’s cute lesbian werewolf neighbor, Erin, is starting to haunt her dreams as well as her doorstep. What’s a newbie werewolf to do, between the hot flashes and the unexpected physical transformations? Can Becca overcome her fears and help the werewolves defeat their greatest enemy?
Black Rose by Nora Roberts
Roz Harper is a woman who has lived life on her own terms. She had dearly loved her first husband. After his death, she had thrown herself into raising their boys, and then into making a business out of her passion for gardening.
Roz likes her life just as it is, and it would take a very special man to convince her to take that leap of faith into love again. A man like Dr. Mitchell Carnegie, the genealogist she's hired to research the origins of the family ghost, known as the Harper Bride.
Mitch and Roz are drawn together from the start. But the Harper Bride is enraged by the sight of love, and though she may have brought Mitch and Roz together, she will stop at nothing to tear them apart.
Autumn by Cole McCade
There are worse things in life than loving a man who hates you. Unfortunately, Walford Gallifrey can’t think of many.
Ever since a ghost from his past kidnapped his niece, Willow, Wally’s life has been nothing but grief, turmoil, and loss. With no idea if Willow is dead or alive, Wally’s only comfort is in caring for his grieving brother-in-law and Willow’s father, Joseph Armitage. For the past twenty years, Wally has never hoped to be anything but the backdrop to Joseph’s life; between marrying Wally’s sister and decades of mistakes building walls of enmity and resentment between them, Joseph has been firmly cemented in Wally’s mind as unattainable.
But the pain of Willow’s loss forces them to face the demons sleeping between them, find common ground—and more. Together, they explore mutual grief. Shared memories. Quiet respect. Warmth. Camaraderie. The joy of learning to live again.
And an unspoken attraction, buried beneath the scars of hurtful words and terrible missteps.
Yet even as they work through the thorns and tangles of old wounds, Joseph has his own struggles to face. The struggle to leave his ex-wife in the past. To let his daughter go. And to trust Wally to love him, to see him as more than just his multiple sclerosis, when so many have treated him as less than a man. The only way forward for them both is forgiveness. Trust.
And a second chance to discover what it means, to truly be in love.
Engaging the Enemy by Reese Ryan
‘That's the deal, Take it… or leave it.’
Parker Abbott will do whatever it takes to be the next CEO of King’s Finest Distillery, even play fake fiancé to his childhood nemesis, Kayleigh Jemison.
Yet as he and the fiery redhead get reacquainted, sparks fly and real passion emerges.
At Your Service by Sandra Antonelli
After three years in the employ of a former British army officer turned Risk Assessment Specialist, widowed butler Mae Valentine is familiar with Major Kitt’s taste for scrambled eggs, bourbon, and brawling. Kitt knows of Mae’s fondness for order, her beloved dead husband, and the millions the man left her in trust. Their easy bond is tested the day Mae kills the man sent to murder her and the trust fund vanishes.
Soon, a volcano, a hand roasting in an oven, and a fish named Shirley accentuate sinister machinations that involve Mae and the missing money. To keep her safe from women in ugly shoes, homicidal bankers, and Mafia henchmen, Kitt risks exposing his true profession, which doesn’t trouble him as much as being in love with a woman who’s still in love with a dead man. If he can’t protect Mae, he’ll lose the best butler—and scrambled eggs—a spy ever loved.
Late Fall by Noelle Adams
This is life. After summer, the green leaves always change colors and fall off the trees. Dogs die, no matter how much you love them. Land is sold, even if you used to tell yourself you were going to die on the property. And people get old.
Ellie Davenport has watched the same valley change with the seasons since she was a child. A sharp and intelligent woman, she's enjoyed a stellar professional career, a full love life featuring interesting men, and a small but loving circle of family and friends.
Now she’s on the other side of the valley, retired, alone, and the view is much different. She wants to believe that it’s just as beautiful from this side, looking back at her life, but the self-sufficient resiliency she’s always depended on to keep her path straight and people at arm’s length isn’t as reliable in the crowded and socially uncomfortable microcosm of assisted living.
The discovery that her old work rival, Dave Andrews, is just down the hall, just as annoyingly handsome, and keeps showing up on her daily hike is most definitely a disaster and not at all interesting.
I would have thought that, living as long as he has, some of that arrogance would have been burned off through the fires of life, but evidently it hasn’t been. He’s still the same jackass who showed up in my office one day and told me my budget for periodicals would be cut in half starting immediately.
Dave isn’t just the same as he always was. Loss has a way of moving into the the heart and changing people. Except — sometimes a long walk with a smart woman can show you just how much room you still have left for love.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it, but telling yourself there’s nothing to hope for doesn’t ever work.
We’re human beings, after all. Hope is what we do.
Delicious by Sherry Thomas
He has risen from the gutters to become a powerful man--London's foremost barrister, Mr. Gladstone's right hand in the House of Commons. She is a woman who spends her days in the kitchen. A chance encounter changes both their lives, but she disappears at dawn, leaving behind no name, no address, and only a pair of muddy galoshes.
Ten years later, the last thing Stuart Somerset expects, as he arrives at his new country estate following the unexpected death of his elder brother Bertie, is to fall in love with the delicacies from the kitchen of Madame Verity Durant, Bertie's mysterious and notorious cook. Little does he know, Madame Durant and his lost beloved are one and the same, and he stands to lose his hard-won respectability were he to follow the yearnings of his heart.
Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin
When widow Talia Wasserman applies for a job with the local police department, she’s shocked to discover she’ll be working for Lieutenant Eve Poe, an officer she’d met — and been attracted to — during a long-ago citizen’s police academy workshop. Fifteen years later, the spark is still there, and no one’s currently in Talia’s life or in her bed. But there’s just one teeny, tiny problem. Eve is her boss, so she’s completely off-limits.
Eve feels a sizzling connection with Talia from the very first, but Talia works for her, and that’s just a bad idea. Besides, Eve needs to focus on the person sending disturbing emails to her office, and not on the woman who quickly makes herself invaluable to the department. It’s too bad her heart doesn’t agree with her.
Then Eve is badly injured in the line of duty, and Talia’s worst fears are realized. She may lose her chance at happiness with the woman she’s come to love, and she can’t survive that kind of loss twice in a lifetime.
Magic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price
Professor Topaz is tired of fending off advice that he should retire in Vegas where magicians his age have an easier time finding work.
Ricardo Hart's career has sunk so low, he's resorted to shaking his moneymaker at bachelorette parties.
But there's a casting call for a new reality show called Magic Mansion that could change everything for these two gay stage magicians, one recovering from the loss of his partner, and the other awe-struck by the presence of his idol. Each is poised for a critical second chance: at fame, and at love.
Who will win? Step into the Mansion, and find out....
Everything In Its Place by Evelyn Palfrey
Bobble Strickland, an Austin elementary school principal, didn't really believe ex-army officer Ray Caldwell was coming on to her. She wasn't a young girl anymore, and, besides, she had bigger priorities than a relationship -- such as fighting her own daughter in court for custody of her grandchild.
Yet, strong, honest Ray had the "right stuff" to make her feel like a desirable woman again. He had come back to Texas to heal, stunned by a divorce he never expected. Soon, he was entangled in Bobble's life, increasingly worried about the violence surrounding her daughter, Darlene, who was caught up in a web of drug addiction and secrets.
Neither Bobbie nor Ray guessed how desperately Darlene was fighting to escape the demons of her past...in a drama that would test the strength of African-American faith and family values and all the courage in a woman's heart.
Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie
When a down-on-her-luck divorcée meets a determined-to-dominate detective, they find out that falling in love can be murder...
Nell Dysart's in trouble. Weighed down by an inexplicable divorce and a loss of appetite for everything, Nell is sleepwalking through life until her best friend finagles a job for her with a shabby little detective agency that has lots of potential and a boss who looks easy to manage.
Gabe McKenna isn't doing too well, either. His detective agency is wasting time on a blackmail case, his partner has decided he hates watching cheating spouses for money, and his ex-wife has just dumped him...again. The only thing that's going his way is that his new secretary looks efficient, boring, and biddable.
But looks can be deceiving, and soon Nell and Gabe are squaring off over embezzlement, business cards, vandalism, dognapping, blackmail, Chinese food, unprofessional sex, and really ugly office furniture, all of which turn out to be the least of their problems. Because soon, there are murders. And shortly after that, Nell and Gabe start falling in love...
Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay
After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common.
Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?
Knocked-Up Cinderella by Julie Hammerle
I’m a walking contradiction.
School principal who liberally drops the F bomb.
Fiercely independent yet willing to auction myself off for charity.
Serial monogamist who’s down for a no-strings one-night stand.
Except now I’ve gone from one-working-ovary to co-parent in the time it took a stick to turn blue.
Ian Donovan may be a richer-than-hell venture capitalist, but he’s no Prince Charming ready to sweep me off my feet. Good thing I don’t need him. I’ve been doing fine on my own for forty years, and I’m not about to start changing that now.
Ultrasounds, swollen feet, midnight cravings? Bring. It. On.
But why is it when you finally swear off men, you meet one who’s too sexy—and determined we can make it work?