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Dark and Stormy Romance
I’m a fan of romance novels—particularly New Adult romance. And admittedly, there are certain elements of the subgenre that keep me coming back. I know that when I open a NA book, I’ll likely find: a bad boy with tattoos, someone who dabbles in painting/poetry/music, a character dealing with abuse or addiction, a motorcycle or junky car, a chatty, vaguely-likable-but-one-dimensional roommate. Consider it literary comfort food. Just like we know a soap opera will feature jealous exes and cases of amnesia, we know NA romance features a bingo card of elements that readers can rely on.
That said, it’s the variables that keep fans coming back. And lately, I’ve been hooked on NA titles with a streak of suspense to them. I’m talking about suspense that’s driven by its characters and the secrets they keep. There’s a dangerous edge to all three books that will keep you turning pages.
I invite you to check out these swoon-worthy titles:
Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy
Crazy how eight years can disappear in an instant. One look at Katie Watts, and I'm a fifteen-year-old again—the one who risked everything to save a terrified girl from her twisted kidnapper. She's grown-up now—beautiful, quiet, composed—and telling her story to the world. A story that involves me in more ways than you can imagine. She used to call me her guardian angel. Sure, I risked my life, but she was worth dying for.
I need to make contact with her. Just to ensure that she's safe. Somehow we reconnect. We become friends . . . but I want more. I want to make her mine. And she wants me too. Does she know who I am? Has she figured me out? Not yet. But she will. In the meantime, I need to make sure that whatever hold that animal had on her is gone.
So, yeah, I'm stealing these moments with her. Savoring them. Knowing, dreading, that she'll soon find out who I really am. And everything will fall apart. All because of that twisted, perverted monster sitting on death row. Her kidnapper. A convicted serial killer.
Easy by Tammara Webber
Rescued by a stranger. Haunted by a secret. Sometimes, love isn't easy...
He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior...
The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he'd worked so hard to overcome, and the future she'd put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.
Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love. A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl's struggle to regain the trust she's lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.
For those of you who like a bit more of a literary read, I’m including this book too. Because if you like a good romance that involves a healthy heap of secret-keeping, this book is one of my favorites. It has also won several awards, including the American Library Association’s 2014 Alex Award.
Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.
Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett.
Josh's story is no secret. Every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. Everyone except Nastya who won't go away until she's insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she's been hiding—or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the mira¬cle of second chances.