Let’s talk second chance love and all the reasons why this particular read loves it…
Angst? Check! a grovel oftentimes being one of the best I’ll read? Double check!
There’s plenty of reasons I love this particular trope, but not all second chance romances are cut from the same cloth. Some are swoony, some are rip your hair out angsty. Luckily, I’ve been able to compile (what I think) is a balanced combination of both! As always, the books on this list are those that I have personally read and loved. If there are any favorites that you see missing, please drop me a rec in comments! I love to hear from you guys and you know I love me my book recs <3
If you’re new to my blog, this a monthly feature I do on the last Saturday of each month! Check out the previous features here:
But now, without further ado, let’s get to my list. These are in no particular order…
WILD CARD by Lora Leigh
It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong…and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.
Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is…even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?
What kind of list would it be without my very first erotic romance book? It also just so happens that it had the delicious second chance love romance in the shape of husband coming back form the land of the dead to woo his wife back while pretending to be another man. Is your head spinning yet? Don’t worry, it’s not as complex as I make it sound. But if you like uber alphas and super hot sex with dirty talk galore all wrapped around a second chance romance I’m not sure why you haven’t read this book yet!
LOVELY TRIGGER by R.K. Lilley
“Love doesn’t let you walk away clean. Love is messy. Love takes a fucking piece of you before it’s done.”
Sweet mother of angst! I have no freaking idea how I survived this trilogy with even half my sanity intact…. or did I? *babbles incoherently*
But seriously though, it’s not often that a trilogy manages to suck me in as much as this one had. My book ADD typically kicks in right around book two with a major case of feeling-like-book-filleritis. But something about this one just worked for me. The angst, the hate, the lies, all of it built up into this amazing conclusion of one hell of a second chance romance! If you haven’t met Tristan and Danika yet, you’re in for one hell of a ride!
A HUSBAND’S REGRET by Natasha Anders
Revenge, they said was a dish best served cold. He’d been waiting for two years. And how much sweeter the payback would be no that he had her very firmly within his grasp.
OK, so this is not your typical second chance romance because the hero isn’t exactly groveling back right away. Let’s just say there are some assumptions and he wants revenge on his wife that he kicked out two years ago. But when he finally understands the enormity of his mistake? Second chance grovel goodness!
BELONG TO ME by Shayla Black
She’d never required someone for her next breath the way she did Logan in that moment. God, she’d been hoping to bring them both closure, but now he felt like a part of her… so necessary to her existence.
Uber and super possessive alphas, BDSM, and a hot lot of smexy? This series has it. Belong To Me was probably my favorite in the series and two words why: Second. Chance.
The main couple were high school sweethearts that were torn apart by a dangerous secret, to be reunited as adults. Yumminess ensues.
UNLAWFUL CONTACT by Pamela Clare
“No, Hunt, it’s simple. If right now is all we have, if this is all we get, then I’ll grab it with both hands and take all I can.”
Firstly, if you haven’t met Marc “Hunt” Hunter, you haven’t lived. No really. Trust me on that.
Sophie and Hunt were childhood sweethearts. She was the good girl, he was the elusive bad boy. Now he’s the elusive escaped convicted murderer that’s taken her hostage. Sound delicious? Because it totally is!
NO CHANCE by Christy Reece
“Sometimes she wondered if those who felt too deeply were the ones who, when hurt, shut down their emotions even tighter than others.”
If you’re a fan of steamy romantic suspense, you need to read Christy’s Last Chance Rescue series. No Chance is book 4 in the series, but it’s easily read as a standalone. I highly recommend reading the entire series because I loved it!
Here’s the book blurb to entice you further:
DO OR DIE
Skylar James told a lie to the man she married, and eight years later she still bitterly regrets the deception. Unknown to Skylar, her husband, Gabe Maddox, now lives in the dangerous shadows of elite operatives who rescue victims. When Skylar tries to save a naïve young beauty, kidnappers come after her. For Gabe, Skylar had been his last shot at trust and love. But news of her disappearance battens down his anger and launches him into action. Saving Skylar is Gabe’s only chance for peace and his last chance for happiness.
THE DARKEST HOUR by Maya Banks
GOODREADS | AMAZON
“She laid her head against his collarbone, and he kissed her temple. To her shock, she felt a shudder roll through his body about the same time she registered wetness against her skin. Tears. His tears.
She started to turn around, but he tightened his grip.
“Stay,” he said in a choked voice. “Just let me hold you, baby. Just let me hold you.”
A wife he believed is dead for a year is very much alive and ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly will stop at nothing to get her back. But when he does, the battle for her heart and memories might be even harder than the battle to rescue her! What a swoony read this was. Don’t expect Maya’s typical erotic romance with this, because this was more mild on that scale. But boy the feels of it all!
NOW AND THEN by Mira Lyn Kelly
GOODREADS | AMAZON
There was something primal about the way he felt with her. It was unreasonable. Irrational. And he didn’t fucking care, because that feeling was so good, the only thing that mattered was making sure he got more.
Does the title not give it away? Because it totally should! If you haven’t read the fun and steamy Dare to Love series by Mira Lyn Kelly, then get yourself some. The book before this one was a great friends-to-lovers! And each book is easily read as a standalone.
There’s one author that’s given me plenty of favorite second chance romances and that’s Kristen Ashley. I should really just dedicate a list just for her…
GOLDEN TRAIL by Kristen Ashley
Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.
Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.
Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.
As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped… at all costs.
And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won’t get himself dead.
PLAY IT SAFE by Kristen Ashley
No connections. Play it safe. These were the rules Ivey lived her life by.
Until she hit Mustang, Colorado, a perfectly imperfect town where the citizens were welcoming and one of them included the tall, beautiful, macho man rancher cowboy, Grayson Cody.
On the run for a decade, Ivey knew she was supposed to play it safe. But she was tired of being on the run. She wanted a normal. She wanted real. She wanted a home.
And she wanted Grayson Cody.
And Grayson Cody wanted Ivey.
No one who looked at them couldn’t see they belonged together. There was one man in this world for Ivey and one woman in this world for Grayson Cody.
So they fell in love.
But just as quickly as they fell together, they were betrayed and torn apart. Separated for years, Ivey was certain her life would not include her rancher cowboy. Until the town of Mustang reached out to her when Gray was in trouble. Even though she thought he broke her heart, she charged in to help. Then Gray and Ivey discovered they were betrayed and, not only that, Gray had an enemy who would stop at nothing to defeat him.
CREED by Kristen Ashley
Way too young, eleven year old Tucker Creed and his six year old neighbor, Sylvie Bissenette, find they have something awful in common. Creed then decides he’s going to do everything in his limited power to shield his Sylvie from her ordeal. So he does and Creed and Sylvie form a bond that grows and blossoms with their ages.
They plot to leave their lives behind, the town they live in that will hold them down and the histories they share that, unless they break free, will bury them. Sylvie goes to their special place, Creed never shows and she doesn’t see him again until it’s too late.
With Creed gone, Sylvie is forced to endure a nightmare and do the unspeakable to end it. To deal, she develops a hard shell with sharp edges that very few can break through. So when Creed again finds his Sylvie, he discovers the girl he loved is locked away and he has to find his way back into her heart without getting shredded in the process.
ROCK CHICK RECKONING by Kristen Ashley
Stella’s the lead singer and lead guitarist of The Blue Moon Gypsies and Stella used to be Mace’s girl. Mace broke up with her, though, and the loss of him rocked her world. But Stella gets a call, late at night (again) from one of the members of her crazy band. She has to go play clean up (again) and runs into Mace and a shed load of police, and ends up getting shot.
Mace finds he doesn’t like it much that his ex-girlfriend got shot right in front of him but it’s worse. A very bad man has thrown down the gauntlet and all the Rock Chicks are in the firing line. Stella doesn’t want Mace to be the one to keep her alive, but she has no choice. Mainly because Mace isn’t giving her one.
WALK THROUGH FIRE by Kristen Ashley (and holy ugly cry, batman!)
The flame never dies . . .
Millie Cross knows what it’s like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn’t be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie’s chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can’t ignore. And this time, she won’t let him ride off . . .
Bad boy Logan “High” Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she’s just a ghost of her former self. High’s intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn’t want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie’s betrayal, he’ll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man…
And now back to regularly scheduled programming with the rest of my list!
REKINDLE THE FLAME by Kate Meader
Nine years on, and nothing had changed. Beck Rivera was still the boy who heated her from the inside out….
Don’t let the slightly cheesy cover fool you, this book is super steamy and super fun! If you follow my reviews, you already know my love for this author. If you’re looking for a taste before you jump into her entire backlist, this novella is the way to go 😉
Did I mention the hero is a smokin’ hot fire fighter? No pun intended. Ha! Who am I kidding? It totally was
FIGHTING TO BREATHE by Aurora Rose Reynolds
I wanted her fifteen years ago, and I still fucking want her now. There isn’t a single part of me that doesn’t know she’s my future…
Aurora Rose Reynolds is a total guilty pleasure read for me. Her uber OTT alphas and swoony and sexy romances seem to hit the spot for me every time. They’re nothing crazy and the stories aren’t exactly something I haven’t read before…and yet? They seem to do it for me every time.
UNTIL LILLY by Aurora Rose Reynolds
“I’m going to make you fall in love with me again.”
This has to be one of my favorite books by this author to date. While it’s book 3 in her Until series, it’s also easily read as a standalone. Nothing like those Mayson brothers and their Boom. If you want a good dose of sexy alpha, this is a go-to.
ONE MORE SHOT by Victoria Denault
Hockey was the only thing in my life that made me feel right. It used to be hockey and Jessie, but then I lost Jessie. It had been hockey and only hockey ever since.
Hot hockey player? Check! Friends to lovers turned second chance romance? Check! Angst? Check and double freaking check!
FISHER’S LIGHT by Tara Sivec
I’m going to fix this. I have to fix this… I hate every moment that I’m away from her, but I will do whatever it takes to find the man she once loved and bring him back to her.
Oh the swoons! Oh the feels! Oh mylanta! Gawd but this book packed a hell of punch…straight to the mother effin feels! I adored every single wonderful page of it. The hero is suffering from crippling PTSD and the crumbling of his marriage to his beloved wife. Now he wants to fight like hell to get his woman back and he’ll stop at nothing for that second chance.
How about some rockstar second chance romances now? You can never go wrong with rockstars!
FOREVER MY GIRL by Heidi McLaughlin
I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.
I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.
And now I’m going back.
After ten years.
I hope I can explain that after all this time.
I still want her to be my forever girl.
ROCK HARD by Olivia Cunning
An ultimatum can break your heart…
Every night lead singer, Sed Lionheart whips thousands of women into a frenzy with his voice alone. But the stage is the only place Sed feels any passion since he lost Jessica…
If you’re not willing to break all the rules…
It shattered her heart, but law student Jessica broke off her engagement to Sed, determined to be successful on her own terms. But no other man can ever hold a candle to Sed…
Then a chance meeting and tortuously close quarters lead to uncontrollable flares of passion and rediscovery of their unique penchant for public encounters. Now, in addition to the risk of mutual heartbreak every time they get together, they’re in danger of truly scandalous public exposure…
TORN FROM YOU by Nashoda Rose
Love is like an avalanche. It hits hard, fast and without mercy.
At least it did for me when Sculpt, the lead singer of the rock band Tear Asunder knocked me off my feet. Literally, because he’s also a fighter, illegally of course, and he taught me how to fight. He also taught me how to love and I fell hard for him. I mean the guy could do sweet, when he wasn’t doing bossy, and I like sweet.
Then it all shattered.
I was alone and fighting to survive.
When I heard Sculpt’s voice, I thought he was there to save me.
I was wrong.
And now back to regularly standard programming with the rest of my list…
SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE by Monica Murphy
*Sequel to the USA Today Bestseller ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND*
New Adult Contemporary
Lost. That one single word best describes my life at this very moment. I lost the last games of the season and both my team and my coach blame me. I lost the last two months because I drowned in my own despair like a complete loser. And I lost the only girl who ever mattered because I was afraid being with me would destroy her.
But now I realize how truly lost I am without her. She has become my story…and even though she acts like she’s moved on, I know she still thinks about me just as much as I think about her. She’s beautiful, sweet–and so damn vulnerable, all I want to do is help her. Be there for her.
If only I could convince Fable to give me a second chance. Then I wouldn’t feel so lost anymore, and neither would she. We could be found together.
AXEL by Harper Sloan
Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.
Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.
For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.
When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.
Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.
How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?
THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE by Jane Harvey Berrick
“Caro… I don’t understand – why do you love me?”
“Just because… because the sky is blue and the sea is green.”
One of the most memorable and emotional second chance romances I’ve read, and it’s not available in one single edition for only $3.99. This is a duet that begins with The Education of Sebastian. The heroine is older, and trapped in a loveless marriage. The hero is just 17 at the time. Their love story truly takes off in the second book which takes place ten years later. This was the book that first made me fall in love with this incredibly talented author.
Cassie used to make me feel. She also used to keep me from thinking straight. Some things didn’t change.
This is a duet about love, second chances and forgiveness. It’s more emotional than steamy with a healthy amount of angst thrown in.
This was my chance- our chance- to make things right. I’d made a promise to Cass and damn it all to hell, I’d never break it.
Book 3 in the series, You Turn, is another great second chance romance with a different character that was first introduced in the duet. I highly recommend that one as well.
ALL I WANT by J. Daniels
“It’s possible to hate someone, to look at them and wish you weren’t aware of their every move, and to want them more than you’ve ever wanted anything in your life.”
Luke *pervy sigh*
If you follow my reviews you already know I’m obsessed with all things J. Daniels and her Alabama Summer series just so happens to be one of my favorites. While Luke and Reed from When I Fall are my top 2 favorite heroes she’s written, there’s just something about Luke that makes him my number one. Maybe it’s the addition of hate/lust in this book in addition to the second chance romance? Whatever the reason is, this book and this series are an absolute must read!
CROSSING THE LINE by Kele Moon
Every story had an innocent beginning, even theirs, and Tabitha found herself wishing she had a chance to go back and relive it one more time, because she didn’t want to let go any more than Wyatt did.
Speaking of authors I’m obsessed with, Kele Moon is at the tippy top of that particular list. I stalk the loving hell out of the poor woman and she still puts up with me. She’s a saint on top of an incredibly talented author, clearly. But I digress…
Crossing The Line is book 3 in her Battered Hearts series, and while you technically could enjoy it as a standalone, I highly recommend reading this amazing series in order…and quickly following that up with her Untamed Hearts series (anti-heroes FTW). CTL was an incredibly emotional and erotic second chance story and to this day continues to be one of my all time favorites.
LOVE AND LET DIE by Lexi Blake
He was going to kill her. He was going to wrap his hands around her pretty throat and squeeze. Except the minute he had the vision of killing his back-from-the-dead wife, she was suddenly naked and he wasn’t thinking about throttling her anymore. Maybe he could fuck her to death. That would be a better way to go.
Since we’re on the subject of series/authors I’m obsessed with, we need to talk about Lexi Blake and her Masters & Mercenaries series because OMG! I lurve this series so freaking hard, it’s not even funny. Now this is definitely a series I highly recommend reading in order because while each book is a different couple, at times there’s a plot arc that continues through several books. Love and Let Die centers on my favorite Dom and his reunion with the wife he thought was long dead and still mourning. Oh yeah. It IS as good as it sounds!
BLIND FAITH by Rebecca Zanetti
He was an experiment created in a test tube, maybe without a soul, perhaps without any hope. But for a brief time, with this woman, he’d felt whole. Real. Good. Even if they just had the night, he wanted that feeling again.
Blind Faith is book three in Rebecca’s Sin Brothers series and easily my favorite since…second chance and everything. Nate reunites with the one woman he gave his heart too that also happens to be the daughter of his mortal enemy.
Based on a band of brothers who carry unnatural powers genetically engineered into them by a black ops military unit, the series has a little PNR twist to it, but mainly it’s pulse pounding romantic suspense. I recommend reading these books in order for maximum effect 😉
THIN LOVE by Eden Butler
“You were mine and I never loved anything more. I never wanted anything or anyone like I wanted you. Like I still want you. My always, Keira. You’re still my always.”
Sweet mother of angst! The angst! All of the angst! It hurt so good. If you want a book that will rip the heart out of your chest through your throat and then slowly put it back together, this is the book you NEED to read. Man on man but I loved it. It’s told it two parts; the first being when the H/h meet and fall in love when they’re younger and the story of what leads to the falling apart of their relationship, and the second part is their reunion. Both parts are equally amazing and if you read one book from my list, this should be at the very top!
HARDER by Robin York
“Because I love you. I don’t want to, okay? I think there are some things that are so hard, you shouldn’t have to do them, only no one can take them from you. There are feelings so sick, so obviously unhealthy, you shouldn’t have to feel them. But there they are. I still love you, and I’m not ever going to see you again, not ever. You did that to us. Not your dad or your family. just you. So I could hit you. I could rage at you right now, and call you every ugly name I know, and I know a lot. I could tell you how much I’m hurting, or I could get out of the car, slam the door, hitchhike to the airport because fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, West, how could you do this to me? How?
Speaking of angst….this book got it. In spades! Holy shit but it has it! And it’s utterly delicious. This is book two in a duet and must be read after DEEPER.
POWER PLAY by Mallery Malone
This was much more than she remembered. He was much more than she remembered.
Firstly, if you’re looking for a deliciously smutty and yet well developed series of novellas, you need to check out the entire The Billionaire’s Club.
Power Play is a a super sexy second chance romance about rich MMA playboy and the woman from his past that he never forgot.
THIS HEART OF MINE by Brenda Novak
She’d wanted him so badly seventeen years ago. And now that he wanted her, regardless of what anyone said, she wouldn’t come near him.
I can’t describe to you just how much I loved this crazy emotional romance of redemption and second chances. The heroine has spent years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit and now she’s back in town where everyone hates her and her high school sweetheart and father of her son is at the top of that list.
This book had everything; the feels and the swoons. And one of the most unforgettable stories of redemption I’ve ever read.
FORGETTING AUGUST by J.L. Berg
“Loving me destroyed you…”
“Loving you brought me back to life.”
A woman trying to move on from a man that shattered her. A man that wakes up from a coma not remembering who he was or how he ended up there. What do they have in common? A turbulent and unforgettable love. This is not the typical second chance romance but man I loved this. August, the hero, has amnesia. And the heroine is engaged to a different man now. But there’s a magnetic force that still draws them together while August struggles to regain his memory.
MY ONE AND ONLY by Kristan Higgins
“COME ON FLOREANCE !” I yelled out of the window. “CAN YOU MOVE IT?”
The driver of the car extended and arm….and a finger.
It was a male arm and a finger.
And then the car door opened,with my ex husband stepping out.
If you want sweet and funny, and I’m talking laugh out loud kind of funny, this book is a must read. Simply a must read for any contemporary romance fans.
TAKING FIRE by Cindy Gerard
And there they stood, locked in an embrace of emotions that bound them together with a common history, a common fear, and a common goal.
Romantic suspense with a sexy hero and an amazing kick-ass heroine? Oh yeah! This book definitely had it! It was also a wonderful second chance romance as well. The hero first meets the heroine on a mission overseas and they share one steamy night between the sheets…only for him to wake up the next day and realize her betrayal. Now six years later, love throws them together again with one hell of an explosion…both literally and physically!
If you haven’t read any books by this author, you’re seriously missing out. Taking Fire is book four in her One Eyed Jacks series, but also easily read as a standalone.
PAPER HEARTS HEARTS by Claire Contreras
“Some say I loved her to the point of madness, bordering on obsession. She said I put her on a pedestal that her real self couldn’t attain. Perhaps they’re all right. Perhaps I am mad. And if that’s the case, to be frank, I don’t give a damn. What I know is that she sets me on fire, and if you were to perform an intradermal test on me, you’d know when she was in it because you’d see the trails of blaze she left behind. Because that’s what I feel at the mere thought of her, and I’d rather live my life in flames than be numb without her.” He paused, and I let out a breath, but then he said one last thing. “Come back to me, my little Road Runner, my world is cold and boring without you.”
Easily one of my favorite second chance romances I’ve read to date. Period.
That’s about it for my list. But I’d like to do something different this time around, and also include some recs from fellow readers in my DGR’s Den of Iniquity group for this trope! Thank you Maria, Emma, Seyna, Carolin, and Jennifer <3