3 Sweet Reads For August's Hot Days We're sweating toward the end of summer, and that calls for a romance binge. This month, we've got some suspense, a road trip — destination love — and a gritty look at Regency England.
NPR logo 3 Sweet Reads For August's Hot Days

3 Sweet Reads For August's Hot Days

Summer is still in full swing, and that calls for binging on totally absorbing and heartwarming romances. These three novels — full of mystery, adventure and love — deliver a perfect escape and a satisfying happy ever after.

It's happened to so many women: they have a fantastic connection with a guy and then he disappears. No calls, no texts, just ... gone. Rosie Walsh's Ghosted takes this premise and refuses to let it go, in a gripping and surprising romantic suspense story.

Sarah and Eddie meet on a remote country road in England and connect instantly. They share one perfect week together, and then he vanishes — he's ghosted her. Despite her friends' skepticism, Sarah is certain that 1) what they shared was real and thus 2) something happened to Eddie. First, the clues start appearing — Eddie's presence on social media, warnings from his friends and a few weird appearances from a mysterious stranger. Then, the story takes a surprising turn. This novel is, at heart, a love story between a man and a woman, between families struggling after tragedy, and the truth that connects them all. You won't want to put it down.

For a sweet friends-to-lovers road trip romance, don't miss The Long Way Around by Quinn Anderson. Sam Cooper and Wesley Reed met as roommates freshman year of college and their ongoing friendship has been a testament that two gay men can be just friends ... Until Sam has to return home to Montana for his sister's wedding — and face his parents after calling off his own wedding at the last minute. (Just a little nerve-wracking!) Of course his bestie, Wes, will be by his side, vintage car and all, for the great American road trip.

It's not a question of if but when these guys will get together. Their chemistry is undeniable, and their story gets very sexy in the parking lot of a brewery outside of Atlanta and takes a turn for the serious somewhere around Texas. It's not an entirely smooth road; Wes has a secret that will put their friendship and their budding romance to the test. A lot of growing up happens on the way to the wedding — and their happily ever after.

Christi Caldwell's The Vixen shows readers a darker, grittier version of Regency London than most romance novels. Ophelia Killoran and Connor Steele have a long history together — ever since they were both children trying to survive on the streets. After a lucky twist of fate, Connor was taken in by a wealthy earl who gave him a life of ease and privilege. When he runs into Olivia again as an adult, he's investigating the disappearances of a peer's son and she — still haunting the streets — possesses information he needs.

Whether in back alleys or London ballrooms, Ophelia and Connor keep running into each other, and romance starts to blossom in spite of devastating secrets, being on opposite sides of the law and some majorly devious family meddling. Caldwell's more realistic version of London is a particularly gripping backdrop for this enemies-to-lovers romance, and it's heartening to read a story where love triumphs even in the darkest places.

Maya Rodale is a best-selling romance author.