A small-town romance offers readers a chance to escape into a familiar and comfortable world. The quaint villages or the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it whistle-stops feel cozy instead of claustrophobic. There’s a gentle rhythm of daily life on Main Street. The townspeople know everything about each other—the good and the scandalous—but the dynamics are much more complex than that of a family drama.
However, the books in a small-town series are often sweet instead of spicy. More heartwarming than hot. Where can fans of sexy contemporary love stories find small-town romances?
Start with the Private Pleasures series by Samanthe Beck. While each scorching hot love story has a fun and sexy premise, they also offer the cast of lovable characters living in a tight-knit community.
These stories also offer relatable heroines who enjoy living in Bluelick, Kentucky. The women are known for respectability (or notoriety!), but they’ve outgrown the labels. The heroines face challenges, celebrate successes and understand the power of a reputation in a small town.
Sometimes it’s not even the main character’s reputation that triggers a life-changing decision. For example, in Private Practice, the first book in the series, Ellie overhears a piece of gossip about the one man she always wanted who is finally single.
Rumor has it he’s sexually adventurous, so Ellie needs to become a wild woman before someone else catches his eye. Fortunately, local bad boy Tyler owes her a huge favor. His sexual prowess is legendary and he will be the perfect tutor to give her hands-on lessons.
Tyler isn’t sure how he gets into these situations. And why is it that when he finally wants more than a brief fling with a woman, all she wants from him is sex? He needs to change Ellie’s mind about her goals—and about him—before their lesson plans are over.
The romance heroes in this series are not white-collar professional. Oftentimes they’re men in uniform. The hero is roughneck, uncivilized and can dirty-talk a woman’s pants off, but he’s not insensitive. He cherishes the heroine, which he demonstrates in and out of bed. Sure, he doesn’t feel worthy of his fantasy girl, but he soon discovers that she has the same insecurities about him.
This is what happens in Light Her Fire, the second book in the Private Pleasures series. Fresh off a breakup from a long-term and lackluster relationship, Melody wants to know what it’s like to be truly desired. Josh, the sexy new guy in town, can’t hide his interest in her. He’s definitely a player but he won’t make a move. She needs to make it very clear what she wants—in explicit detail.
The chemistry they share is wild. Melody loves the raw honesty in Josh’s dirty talk, but the two want very different things in life. Their fling can’t last, so they have to make the most of it.
Not all the women in Bluelick are good girls. Ginny, the heroine in Falling for the Enemy, is considered a good-time girl and a gossip. That’s not a problem until she decides to run for mayor. Ginny decides to go on a sex hiatus until after the election. The townspeople know her history, but she’s not going to let her opponent use her reputation as a talking point.
The sex hiatus falls apart in spectacular fashion when she finally gets alone with the town’s new mystery man. Unfortunately, Shaun turns out to be the current mayor’s son. Ginny knows she shouldn’t become this intimate with the opposition, but she can’t stay away from him. Yet Shaun isn’t prepared to be her dirty little secret.
Most of the people in Bluelick have known each other all their lives, but not everyone in this series was born and raised in the area. They all don’t carry the curse of a family name, or the weight of an obsolete reputation, but neither do they get the benefit of the doubt.
In Wet and Reckless, the fourth book in the series, Roxy travels to Bluelick because of a faint family connection. She’s looking for somewhere to belong, but deep down she knows it’s not going to work. With her checkered past, disreputable looks and vagabond lifestyle, she was born to be an outsider.
Being on the road is where she’s most comfortable. She can handle being lonely—relying on someone else is usually where she gets into trouble. That is, until she meets West, a by-the-book lawman.
The connection they share is instantaneous and explosive, and West wants Roxy to keep moving past the city limits. He considers her chaos when he wants control. Roxy is reckless and he’s all about the rules.
It doesn’t take long for Roxy to understand that West cares for people more than his beloved rules, and that he’s also looking to be part of a community.
The community of Bluelick plays an important role in all the stories of this series. They have an impact on the main characters’ choices. The townspeople have a tendency to misjudge but, ultimately, they take care of each other. Readers know at the end of each book that the couples will find compassion, support and love in this small town.
To find out more about Samanthe Beck and her Private Pleasures series, visit her website!