Self-published author Jess K. Hardy says that Gen X, of which she’s a proud member, is like any other readership: “We all want to be seen in the books we read—especially in romance.” Her novels, taglined “romance, aged up,” include 2023’s Come as You Are, which launched her Bluebird Basin contemporary series. PW’s review said, “Hardy does a great job creating characters at midlife; the older protagonists are refreshing—and their sex scenes are hot as hell.” She’s part of a wave of self- and traditionally published authors whose new books embrace romance in life’s second and third acts.

Is She Really Going Out with Him?

Sophie Cousens. Putnam, Nov.

Elder millennial divorcée Anna Appleby eschews online dating, but when her job as a columnist is on the line, she makes a pitch to her editor: she’ll go on seven dates, all found offline by her two young children. She dates a mailman, chases her celebrity crush, and waltzes at a Regency-style ball; ultimately, it's the least likely suitor who has more in common with her than she ever would have thought. 

Lips Like Sugar

Jess K. Hardy. Pinkity, out now

When 50-something Mira Harlow boldly kisses aging punk drummer Cole Sanderson to rile up an ex, and then propositions him to play her long-distance boyfriend for the weekend, Cole is game. Their short time together reaps real connection, and when Cole returns to Seattle, Mira has to decide: settle back into life in small-town Montana or take a risk for true love.

Napkins & Other Distractions

M.A. Wardell. Self-published, June

This third book in Wardell’s Teachers in Love series pairs 40-year-old Vincent Manda, who fears his severe OCD is a turnoff, with 50-year-old Kent Lester, a grandparent and bisexual divorcé who’s eager to date men. After an awkward, but sexually satisfying, date, Vincent is assigned to oversee a software install in the school where Kent teaches; the two butt heads while learning more about themselves and each other. 


Nicolas DiDomizio. Sourcebooks Casablanca, May

It was love at first sight when polar opposites Ray Bruno, a social media–loving millennial journalist, and Kip Hayes, an introverted Gen-X doctor, met six years ago. On a pre-wedding getaway to a coastal New England resort, a series of miscommunications involving another couple threatens their holiday, and their impending nuptials, and they begin to reconsider whether they’re really ready for the big day. 


The Undermining of Twyla and Frank

Megan Bannen. Orbit, July

Bannen follows the 2022 fantasy rom-com The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy with a friends-to-lovers romance likewise set in the magical kingdom of Tanria. Twyla Banneker, a middle-aged widow, joins forces with Frank Ellis, her neighbor and best friend of a similar vintage, to uncover who—or what—killed a fellow Tanrian marshal. Amid glitter-spewing beasts and talking hedgehogs, and discussions of menopause and retirement plans, Twyla and Frank have to address their unresolved feelings for each other. PW’s review said, “This cozy, humor-filled romp celebrates the enduring magic of love at any age.”

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