The Best Contemporary Romance Books of 2016

Written by Silke, updated 08 Jun 2021

The year is ending soon and people start asking about gift ideas - so we thought that it would be the perfect time to reflect back and think which new releases made us really really happy.

  • #1 The Hating Game - Sally Thorne

    The Hating Game - Sally  Thorne

    funny contemporary friends to lovers enemies to lovers strong heroine

    Best romantic comedy

    Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love. Lucy Hutton is charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual... more

  • #2 Bossman - Vi Keeland

    Bossman - Vi Keeland

    contemporary strong heroine friends to lovers billionaire alpha male

    Best friends to lovers romance

    The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn't exactly make a good impression. I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date. He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice. So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date. What were the chances I'd run into him again in a city with eight million people? Then again.. more

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  • #3 It Ends with Us - Colleen Hoover

    It Ends with Us - Colleen Hoover

    new adult contemporary cruel hero / bully angst love triangle

    Best new adult sobfest

    With this bold and deeply personal novel Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all too human characters, “It Ends with Us” is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price... more

  • #4 Bounty - Kristen Ashley

    Bounty - Kristen Ashley

    contemporary cruel hero / bully small town alpha male friends to lovers

    Best alpha male

    Deke Hightower lost everything at the age of two. He lost it again at fifteen. His life has not been about bounty. It’s been about learning to live with less, because there’s no way to get more. Deke’s also watched all his friends go down to the women who gave them what they needed. He wants that for himself. But he knows that search isn’t going to be easy because he’s a rider. When Deke meets Justice, he knows she’s not that woman. She’s cute. She’s sweet. And she’s into him, but she’s got it all and Deke knows he won’t fit into that... more

  • #5 The Player - Kresley Cole

    The Player - Kresley Cole

    erotic romance bdsm contemporary spanking anal sex

    Best erotic romance

    In the City of Sin, Dmitri Sevastyan finds her , Victoria Valentine - sexy, vulnerable, and in need of a protector. Obsession takes root deep inside him. Despite a history tainted with violation and betrayal, he will stop at nothing to possess her. Descended from a long line of con artists, twenty-three-year-old Victoria, a.k.a Vice, needs the score of a lifetime to keep her loved ones safe. She sets her sights on gorgeous and rich Dmitri Sevastyan. Even as the irresistible Russian toys with her body and mind, he tempts her heart... more

  • #6 The Beast - J.R. Ward

    The Beast - J.R. Ward

    vampires paranormal alpha male urban fantasy fantasy

    Best revisitation of old friends

    Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series “so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of [it]” (USA Today). For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving... more

  • #7 The Score - Elle Kennedy

    The Score - Elle Kennedy

    athletes funny new adult contemporary sports

    Best college romance

    Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands... more

  • #8 Sidebarred - Emma Chase

    Sidebarred - Emma Chase

    funny contemporary mature couple working class hero possessive hero

    Best novella

    There was a time when Jake Becker had it all together. He was controlled, driven, ruthless—in and out of the courtroom. Then, six irresistible orphans and their heartbreakingly beautiful aunt crashed into his perfectly ordered life. They changed everything. They changed him. Now he’s a husband, an upstanding member of society, a father figure—a family man. Sure, he has to referee sibling smackdowns, re-learn algebra, ensure his clients stay of jail, and keep his wife happy—but it finally feels like he’s got it together again.... So, of course something has to screw it all up. It’s huge. Life-changing. Kind of terrifying.. more

  • #9 The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana Zapata

    The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana Zapata

    athletes contemporary strong heroine marriage of convenience alpha male

    Best sports romance

    Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary. But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked... more

  • #10 Protecting His Own - Cherise Sinclair

    Protecting His Own - Cherise Sinclair

    contemporary bdsm erotic romance alpha male abuse

    Best kinky romance with heart

    Landscape designer, Beth King survived an abusive husband and built a new life for herself with the help of Master Nolan, the strongest, most protective man she has ever known. She loves him with all her heart, but the one thing he wants, she can’t give him. To her grief, the damage from her abusive first marriage means she can’t bear him children.. more

  • #11 Us - Sarina Bowen,Elle Kennedy

    Us - Sarina Bowen,Elle Kennedy

    athletes m-m (gay) contemporary forbidden love friends to lovers

    Best M-M lovefest

    Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice... more

  • #12 Some Kind of Perfect - Krista Ritchie,Becca Ritchie

    Some Kind of Perfect - Krista Ritchie,Becca Ritchie

    new adult contemporary strong heroine

    Best series finale

    The conclusion to the epic ten-book series about the unbreakable strength of family, friendship, and love. Lily & Lo are back one final time. Childhood best friends and soul mates. Ryke & Daisy are back one final time. Wild risk-takers and flirty adventurers. Connor & Rose are back one final time. Genius rivals and intellectual teammates. Ten years of laughter. Of heartache. And love... more

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