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The Allure of Romance Novellas: Big Love in Small Packages

Updated: Feb 24

Some people might think that romance novellas are the poor cousin to a juicy, full length romance novel. But that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm here to convince you of the magic of these fabulous books that might be short on words, but are big on feels...

I've been in a terrible reading slump recently. Not the normal type of slump where for a couple of weeks you can't find anything that grabs your interest. No. This has lasted for months and months. On average, I tend to read about three books a week. More recently, weeks have gone by when I've read nothing at all, or started a book, and been unable to finish it. DNF could become my middle name...

Usually, romance novels are my escape, my inspiration and my reward. In trying to get back my reading mojo, I’ve found that whilst I couldn't even stick with books of 50,000 words, short stories and novellas have become my go-to.

Now, just because the story is short doesn't mean it doesn't pack a whole lot of punch. The thing about novellas is that every word's important. Because each word has to carry a meaning and add to the story rather than take away, since the author has so few words to work with. In romance, especially, that can really amp up the emotion (and spice!).

Given I’ve been reading a few novellas recently, I thought I’d share some of my faves, and they’re all little gems. Each one is packed to the brim with everything you'd love from a full-length romance novel; the emotion, some spice and a giddy, deeply satisfying happily-ever-after…

The Wedding Bait by Adele Buck

I can't remember how I first came across The Wedding Bait. I think it was shouting to the universe and anyone who'd listen about Amanda Cinelli’s cover for The Billionaire's Last Minute Marriage, which has a silver fox hero with whom I'm totally obsessed (the UK cover is to die for).

Whilst extolling his silvery, foxy virtues on social media, Adele popped up on my Twitter feed and said, “Hey, I've got a book that also features a silver fox hero if you're interested.” I was.

It's a little masterpiece. I've read it more times than I can count. If I'm in a slump it's one of the first stories I go to.

Tove is a woman whose daughter (and only child) is getting married. Her ex-husband, who's onto his sixth supermodel (and much younger) wife, has been invited to the wedding. No one expected him to come, yet he agrees.

Tove is a driven, successful businesswoman in her own right but she does NOT want to face her husband and his new wife, who's no older than their daughter. Her BFF suggests Tove hire someone “professional” to accompany her to the wedding.

Patrick's a successful businessman who was an escort in his past life. Even though he’s officially retired, he takes on the occasional job that might interest him. When Tove’s enquiry crosses his desk, he’s immediately intrigued. Tove needs company and sex isn’t necessarily part of the deal between them, but is on the table should she want it. At first she’s hesitant, but Patrick soon breaks through the hard veneer she's shellacked over herself.

Reading this book, it feels like you're immersed in a full length novel even though when I asked Adele, she told me it was only 25,000 words! It's astonishing how fully developed this story is and how wonderfully the relationship between Patrick and Tove develops into a gloriously happy ending, with satisfying spice. There's a scene where you want to cheer, because Patrick clearly has Tove’s back. It's when she finally realises that she doesn't always have to rely on herself anymore, but can allow herself to trust another person again.

The other thing about this story is that Patrick and Tove are both in their 50s. I love that aspect because I'm in my 50s too. And whilst I've found my happily-ever-after, it's awesome to read love stories with people my age, experiencing the giddy thrill of new love. Please do give this book a try. It's a joy.

Crazy Stupid Sex by Maisey Yates

I came to love Maisey's work the moment I read my first Harlequin Presents of hers, A Royal World Apart. That was the first book which had me hooked. Of course, I now devour every one of her glorious Presents/Modern Romance. You also need to check out her cowboys too, if you haven't already (swoon!)

Maisey is an incredibly versatile author, but what I love most about her writing is the delicious humour and fabulous banter. Crazy Stupid Sex is a re-release of a Cosmopolitan Hot Reads short story (from 2014), after Maisey received the rights back. When I first picked it up, I had no idea what to expect.

Maisey's books are usually steamy, but this is a book you'd class as spicy. Evie is a self-made app developer. She's been asked to put together a dating app with tips on sex and love for a magazine, Flirt.  The problem is she’s just come out of a deeply, sexually unsatisfying, ten-year relationship, so she doesn’t feel particularly flirty or fun. As for sex? She’s been in the erotic wilderness for the whole of her failed relationship.

Caleb is a confirmed bachelor and a player (he has good reasons for why he is the way he is). He's just the man to help Evie with a sexual awakening. So, Evie agrees to some hot, no strings nights, which might help in the development of her app.

This book is full of the typical delicious Maisey Yates banter and internal monologue I adore:


It was his voice again, and she couldn't not go to him. Even if she should ignore him. Even if she should throw live lobsters on him and hope they pinched dangly bits.

I mean, who hasn’t hoped for a man’s dangly bits to be pinched by lobsters, at least once in their life?

Once again, this story is short, but feels full length. The emotions are big. Caleb is cynical and broken, avoiding relationships and love. Evie leaps into her sexual awakening with almost indecent enthusiasm. I love that she's a businesswoman in her own right. She's made millions, and know who she is and what she wants, but has this beautiful vulnerability about her. This story is one which will absolutely stay on my keeper shelf!

Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder

Last, but NO MEANS least is Suleikha Snyder’s outstanding novella, Tikka Chance on Me. I adore Suleikha’s writing, from her paranormal romance to her spicy shorts under the pen name Kali Decker. Suleikha’s books are funny, snarky and intelligent.

 Tikka Chance on Me is another novella that I've read more times than I can count. It proves the power of love finding a way in seemingly impossible circumstances.

Pinky Grover has returned home to help in her family's Indian restaurant after her mother's cancer diagnosis. She's had to leave behind the degree she was studying, and she misses that life. Whilst Pinky loves being home in the embrace of her parents (because she adores her family – no traumatic backstory there) she's beginning to feel trapped in her hometown, surrounded by concerned relatives who worry about her being single (or more’s the point, unmarried).

Trucker Carrigan is the unfairly gorgeous enforcer of a local biker gang. He and the gang come to Pinky’s parents’ restaurant once a week for the food, particularly the samosas. They never create trouble, but this gang is right into crime. There is no sugar coating what they do. They're not trying to clean up their act.

Pinky knows she shouldn't be attracted to the giant of a man that is Trucker Carrigan, but attraction’s attraction and she can't help herself. She also can’t help thinking there’s more to the man than meets the eye.

When Pinky bumps into him at a shopping centre and sees him wearing a Captain America t- shirt she realizes that this hint of nerdery is at odds with his tough guy persona. Things happen between them. They can't be together, but for how long can they keep their relationship based on the physical alone, and how soon will reality and their emotions intrude?

I won't give too much away. There's intrigue in this story and I don't want you to miss out on the thrill of discovery. If you haven't read this absolute gem, I implore you to grab a copy and dive right in. You won't regret it, and I'm sure you’ll be thanking me.

Showers of gold, chocolates and/or flowers gratefully appreciated…

So what do you think about novellas? Have you read any of the ones I've mentioned? Do you have any favourite novellas yourself? You can let me know here or on social media, because I need more fabulous stories on my go-to list!

Anyhow, that's it for me! There might be a little delay on the next blog, because I have to go away for for the day job (sigh). So, until next time, stay safe and sparkle! Love, Kali.

(P.S. If you want to keep up with my writing, books or life generally, you can check out my Newsletter, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram)


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