Romance/Erotica

The Best New Romances Coming Out in May

It seems like every month, more and more romance novels are coming out — way more than we can keep track of. It’s always nice to know that book you’ve been waiting for which might have been announced years ago (or what feels like years, even if it’s only been a couple of months), is finally arriving — but it’s not always easy to know when that might be happening. Whether we’re looking for a specific title, or jonesing for a new book in a particular sub-genre or with a specific trope, there is some amount of sorting through every romance ever to find something you want to read. 

Good news! We’ve got a few romances that are releasing over the course of this month that might satisfy every bookish desire. Historical and contemporary. Hating-to-dating and off-road adventures. Instant pot romances and slow burns. There’s a little bit of everything! Some books are by familiar names, while others are much anticipated debuts. 

You’ll notice these are almost all books that will be published by big imprints like Berkley, Avon, Sourcebooks Casablanca, and so forth. While there are probably independently published romances that will be coming out this month, they tend to have a shorter lead time and might either only be posted for preorder a few weeks before their release, or get the Lemonade treatment and just drop whenever they want. Keep your eye out for those, too!

Here are a number of books I’m excited for (and you should be, too!) coming out over the course of the next month. 

Cover image of Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Nora is a book lover and a cutthroat literary agent. When her sister gets her to come on small-town vacation, the last person she expects to run into is editor Charlie, with whom she has had many run-ins in the city. But they keep running into each other…again. And again. Neither is looking for love — especially not the kind in books they deal in every day. But as they learn more about themselves and each other, that might all change. 

Release Date: May 3

cover of By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

This is the second book in Disney’s foray into the world of retellings for adults—this one a reimagining of the Beauty and the Beast story set in the world of publishing. Overworked and underpaid Izzy wants nothing more than to finally move up from her grunt job for a publishing house. When she hears that a reclusive author hasn’t submitted his manuscript, she goes to him. It can’t be hard to get him moving, right? Wrong. Beau is lost, and unmotivated. But Izzy’s presence in his life might loosen him up. 

Release Date: May 3

cover of Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky

Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky

Wren is a hopeless romantic who has never been kissed. He drunkenly emails a bunch of his previous crushes in the middle of the night, including his high school bestie slash crush Derick. The two end up working together to save a local drive-in, one of Wren’s favorite places in the world, and Wren gets to spend a summer figuring out what he really wants in life and why he deserves to get it. And of course, he gets to fall in love again. 

Release Date: May 3

cover of One Chance Only by Elysabeth Grace

One Chance Only by Elysabeth Grace

Dani doesn’t believe in second chances, but lets Jason get back under her skin and into her bed after a harsh betrayal — one he dearly regrets on all levels. When the pair keep getting thrown back into each other’s lives, the two realize they might not be able to escape what fate has planned for them. 

Release Date: May 3

cover of Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond

Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond

Susie is a Rioter! How exciting is that??? 

Set in the mid 2010s, this story centers Amy, a queer baker working for a conservative Christian business, who somehow ends up becoming a bridesmaid-for-hire. And then there’s Charley, smart, attractive, and new to town. Amy is finding her way, but she has a bit of a problem with trying to please everyone, even the people who would not be happy with her being out. So she has to decide: be liked by people who shouldn’t be able to control who she is, or be her true self, loved wholly by the people who matter? 

Release Date: May 3

cover of Rose and Wicked by Rebel Carter

Rose and Wicked by Rebel Carter

The seventh book in Carter’s Gold Sky series, Rose and Wicked brings us back to Gold Sky, where Rose Wickes-Barnes has wanted nothing more than to run off to New York City to make costumes for a prestigious theater company. And she’s on her way to achieving that life. But when her life there is thrown into chaos and she’s forced to marry Samuel “Wicked” Walker, she’s more interested in learning why the quiet gentleman who saved her life has such a nickname.

Release Date: May 3

cover of Chef's Kiss by TJ Alexander

Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander

Simone loves her job at a cookbook publisher, where she can experiment in the kitchen and work on the perfect recipe. When her employers decide to expand into video, they bring in a new test kitchen manager, Ray, who ends up going viral and turning Simone’s life a little topsy turvy. And to make things more interesting, Ray publicly comes out as nonbinary, which leads Simone to find the balance between the job she loves and the colleague who might be becoming something more. 

Release Date: May 3

Cover of Set on You by Amy Lea

Set On You by Amy Lea

Crystal Chen has made a name for herself as a fitness influencer who smashes stereotypes about the right kind of body. The gym is her happy place, where she goes to find solace after a recent breakup, but new gym goer Scott is messing that up for her. As their gym relationship builds into one of contention, they don’t expect to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party. And, you know, things go from there. 

More body positivity in fitness romances, yes!

Release Date: May 10

cover of The Love Connection by Denise Williams

The Love Connection by Denise Williams

In the first of her Airport Novellas, Denise Williams introduces us to Ollie, who owns an airport animal grooming company, and Bennett, the traveler she loves to watch every Tuesday during his layover. (It’s not as creepy as it sounds.) When a chance encounter actually allows them to meet, it’s impossible to say what might happen next. This is part of Berkley’s new audiobook first series, but they’re releasing them in ebook format around a month after each book.

Release Date: May 17 (Audiobook out now!)

cover of Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

In this second-chance romance, Lily Wilder uses the knowledge and name gained from her deadbeat adventurer father to lead treks into the Utah wilderness. But when once-lover Leo shows up out of nowhere seeking to get her back and move forward, she is not having it. She’ll act as the guide she’s being paid to be, but if he gets lost and falls off a cliff, she doesn’t intend to shed a single tear. But of course, like any good adventure, everything starts to go wrong, and it’s up to Leo and Lily to save themselves and each other. 

Release Date: May 17

Cover of A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

Using as a presumed death at Waterloo to begin her life anew, Viola Carroll starts fresh, planning to live her life for herself and no one else. But when she meets her old friend and confidante, the Duke of Gracewood, feelings once buried might try to force their way out. 

Release Date: May 24

Cover of You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi.

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Feyi is recovering from immense grief after the loss of the love of her life in a dreadful accident. But she’s taken the time to rediscover herself and remake herself in her own image. As she ventures towards the possibility of finding that perfect love again, she has to get out of her own way and let herself go for it. Akwaeke Emezi has written several books, and none of them have been in the same genre. This is their first romance, and it looks like they’ve approached it with the same cutting lyrical language they’ve used for all their other work.

Release Date: May 24

cover of Flirting With Fifty by Jane Porter

Flirting with Fifty by Jane Porter

Divorced college professor Paige loves her comfortable life. She has a good relationship with her mother and her three daughters, and loves the work that she can do. She’s even prepared to co-teach an international session, even if it might be with a man who uses Indiana Jones as a model for education. The pair have immense chemistry, but Paige isn’t ready to succumb to his charms.

Release Date: May 24

cover of A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera

Adriana Herrera’s first historical romance is set in turn-of-the-century Paris, where Luz is hoping to expand her family’s rum business. But when she can’t make arrangements with business owners who laugh at potentially working with a woman, let alone a Black one, she’s surprised by the offer of a marriage of convenience from a Scottish Earl. 

Release Date: May 31

Wow. This is a hell of a month! The May 3 releases are particularly extensive and exciting, if I say so myself. Note to self: leave enough money in my bank account for the mortgage.


Looking for more new romance recommendations? Be sure to subscribe to the Kissing Books newsletter and listen to the When In Romance podcast! And if you’re looking for more new books in general, you’re going to have a heckuva time with the weekly New Books newsletter!

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