Twice as Nice | Romance

Contemporary romance author Katelyn Doyle and historical romance author Scarlett Peckham are one and the same, with both a unique, sizzling second-chance rom-com and a sexy, bawdy, and fun historical romance coming out this summer.

Doyle, Katelyn. Just Some Stupid Love Story. Flatiron. Jun. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781250328090. $28.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Fifteen years ago, Molly ended a long-term relationship with her high school boyfriend Seth after witnessing her parents’ messy, painful divorce. Now that she writes rom-com screenplays for a living, she’s even more cynical about love. Seth, now a divorce lawyer, is, ironically, the exact opposite—he can’t wait to get married. He hasn’t had any luck finding a soulmate though and can’t seem to forget the girl who broke his heart in high school. At their high school reunion, Seth and Molly are seated at the same table, and the talk turns to the couples around them. Seth proposes a bet. They’ll pick out five couples and predict whether or not they’ll still be together at the 20th reunion. As the years pass, their hunches seem to be spot on. But what about Seth’s prediction that he and Molly will get together? The plot stretches Molly and Seth’s rekindled romance out over the years between reunions, following them through missed chances, crossed wires, and one-night stands as readers wonder if their lives will ever sync up. VERDICT Doyle, who writes historical romance as Scarlett Peckham (“Society of Sirens” series), pens her first contemporary, a unique, sizzling second-chance rom-com with an HEA that will leave readers cheering.—Heather Miller Cover

Peckham, Scarlett. The Mistress Experience. Avon. (Society of Sirens, Bk. 3). Jun. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780062935656. pap. $9.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

At a fundraiser for the Institute for the Equality of Women, Thaïs Magdalene, a well-known courtesan, auctions herself to the highest bidder for one month as his mistress. When Thaïs arrives at a secluded country cottage, she finds that her bidder hid his identity and is none other than Lord Alastair Eden. Alastair wants to improve his love-making skills for a future bride-to-be, so he hires Thaïs to teach him. Before Thaïs begins her bedroom tutelage in earnest, she and Alastair get to know one another. Despite this, Alastair has severe performance anxiety, but Thaïs is a kind and patient instructor. By month’s end, the two have developed a deep mutual trust, with Thaïs confessing her secret desire to marry and have a family. Alastair destroys that trust with an unthinkingly cruel remark rejecting her. When Thaïs and Alastair meet again in London to celebrate the marriage of their friends, Alastair is faced with his hypocrisy in caring what the London aristocrats think. Can he win Thaïs back? VERDICT Peckham pairs polar opposites in a sexy, bawdy, fun, and yet deeply compassionate romance. A fitting end (after The Portrait of a Duchess) to the “Society of Sirens” series.—Eve Stano

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