After reading my first Tracey Livesay romance novel, she instantly became an auto-read author for me. Her love stories are sexy, funny, and diverse. And she excels at writing strong, successful, and complicated heroines that I just have to root for. While a lot of contemporary romance feels like it’s drifting into a hybrid with women’s fiction (or what used to be called Chick Lit), her dual POV stories feel like they stay true to the romance novels I first fell in love with. But they also contain modern updates to talk about issues like interracial relationships, gender power imbalances, and emotional labor.
Tracey Livesay’s books take popular romance tropes and innovate on them to feel fresh and new. You might feel like you are over fake dating books or that amnesia romance novels always feel silly or overdone. But when you read these tropes in her books, they somehow feel completely original. Tracey Livesay’s books seem like they get talked about a lot on romance podcasts and online groups, but after reading her for the last six or seven years, I’m truly shocked she’s not more popular by now.
If she has been an under-the-radar romance writer for you, I highly suggest you give her a try by picking up one of these three books.
First up, I suggest reading this beach romance. It really is the fake dating trope executed at its best. Nicole is a rising star in her hospital’s surgery department. But her future success is jeopardized when she (rightly) reprimands an intern, who turns out to be the son of a big donor. She turns to her neighbor and best friend, Ben, for help. He comes from a powerful family who also have ties with the hospital. And if she comes on his annual beach vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and pretends to be his girlfriend to keep his social climbing ex away, then he’ll get his family to help Nicole get her career back on track. This is technically the second book in the Girls Trip series. So, if you have to start with book one, pick up Sweet Talkin’ Lover first. But I think you can begin with either story!
Next, enter a more royal world in this swoon-worthy story about a reluctant prince and an American rap superstar. Prince Jameson likes to live his life as out of the spotlight as possible as a professor. But when scandal after scandal plagues the royal family, the Queen asks him to organize a charity concert to generate some good press. Not knowing much about contemporary music, he chooses the rapper Duchess. The attraction between Dani and Jameson is instant and undeniable. But a real relationship would mean Jameson stepping into the spotlight and going against the Queen’s wishes. And for Dani, falling in love has harsher consequences that she expected.
Finally, if you love a secret baby romance (which I do), then this book is for you. It’s one of the older romance novels from Tracey Livesay, but it was the title that made me fall in love with her books, so I had to include it on this reading pathway. Four months ago, India and Michael had a two-day fling. Michael never expected to see India again. But then she calls him…from jail. India never planned to see Michael again or to tell him about her pregnancy. But he’s the only person she knows in San Fransisco who can bail her out. Michael insists India live with him until the baby is born. She’s free-spirited, and he’s a slightly uptight tech CEO. It shouldn’t work — but I think we all know where this is going.
I hope you do pick up at least one of these Tracey Livesay romance novels! And to get introduced to more of your new favorite romance authors, check out these Reading Pathways guides to Alyssa Cole books and Alisha Rai books.