I was blessed over the Winter Break to take a wonderful road trip to Yosemite. You know one of the many things I love about road trips? Eating. I love a good roadside diner or small town cafe. A lot. Drifts of to dreams of food...
Here are some wonderful diners in Contemporary Romance. My lists are never in any particular order!
1. Defying the Odds (Battered Hearts Book 1) by Kele Moon
When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.
The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.
Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.
Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.
2. The Firefly Cafe: The Billionaire Brothers by Lily Everett
Pull up a seat at The Firefly Café and fall in love with the first novella in Lily Everett’s heart-tugging “Billionaire Brothers” trilogy!
For years, the Harrington family has dominated the business world. Gorgeous billionaire brothers Dylan, Logan and Miles Harrington command the family empire, which has given them everything they could ever want…except the one thing that matters most. Now they’re about to travel to the windswept refuge of Sanctuary Island, where they’ll discover that fortune, fame and power don’t mean a thing without someone to share it with.
Dubbed “the Bad Boy Billionaire” by the tabloids, Dylan Harrison’s playboy lifestyle is starting to lose its appeal. When he hops on his motorcycle and drives to Sanctuary Island, he’s looking for time alone to get his head on straight. Instead, he gets pulled into the warm friendliness of the island—and an intense attraction to Penny Little, waitress at the Firefly Café and caretaker of his family’s vacation home. Trouble is, Penny doesn’t realize he’s a Harrington brother…and he wants to keep it that way until he’s sure he can trust her with his heart. But Penny has a secret of her own, and when the truth comes to light, will they still have a chance at love?
3. Dog Days by Elsa Watson
In Elsa Watson's Dog Days, struggling café owner Jessica Sheldon volunteered to be the chairperson of Woofinstock, Madrona’s annual dog festival, to overcome her reputation as “number one dog hater” in her dog crazy Northwestern town. Determined to prove her dog-loving credentials, Jessica rescues Zoe, a stray white German shepherd— and in the process the two are struck by lightning.
Jessica wakes to discover paws where her feet should be, and watches in horror as her body staggers around the town square…. Zoe and Jessica have switched bodies. Learning to live as a dog is difficult enough, but Jessica’s real worry is saving her café from financial ruin. To complicate matters, she’s falling hard for Max, the town veterinarian.
It’s clear that Zoe is thrilled to live life on “human terms,” thoroughly relishing all of the fun and food Woofinstock has to offer. But Zoe is also anxious to use her new human skills to find her missing family—who may not want her back. And Jessica needs to confront a complicated figure from her past before she can move on with her life.
Jessica and Zoe will need to learn from each other to set things right, and possibly find acceptance and love in the bargain.
4. All He Ever Needed: Book Four of The Kowalskis by Shannon Stacey
He won't stay put for a woman, and she won't chase after any man...
Mitch Kowalski lives out of a suitcase—and he likes it that way. Traveling for work has the added bonus of scaring off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. But when he's called home to help with the family lodge, he's intrigued by the new girl in town and her insistence that she doesn't need a man. If there's one thing Mitch can't resist, it's a challenge.
After a nomadic childhood, Paige Sullivan is finally putting down roots. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she lives by the motto "Men are a luxury, not a necessity." But when Mr. Tall, Dark and Hot pulls up a stool in her diner and offers her six weeks of naughty fun with a built-in expiration date, she's tempted to indulge.
They're the perfect match for a no-strings fling. Until they realize their sexy affair has become anything but casual...
5. The Double Heart Diner (A Route 66 Romance Book 1) by Annie Jones
he newest series to join the humor-filled Time for Laughter romance line, the ongoing tale of the Double Heart Diner begins with the story of a very different man and a woman who set out on their own personal quests, only to find that the treasure God plans for them is worth far more than they ever dreamed.
All Jett Murphy wanted to do was purchase a piece of land on the Texas panhandle, clear it of the crummy diner in the middle of it, and make a bundle by selling the property to a land developer. Instead he?s captured?in more ways than one?by a redheaded whirlwind who?s determined to make him see the error of his ways, even if she has to drive him clear from Chicago to Texas to do it!
Georgia Darling?s mission seemed simple: Save the Double Heart Diner. But things have gotten more complicated since sophisticated Jett entered the picture. She likes him, maybe too much, but it?s clear she can?t trust him. Can she save the diner?and her own heart?before it?s too late?
6. The Second Chance Café: A Hope Springs Novel, Book 1 by Alison Kent
Growing up, Kaylie Flynn was shuffled from foster home to foster home before being welcomed into Winton and May Wise’s family. It was May who taught Kaylie the comfort of home, and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie. Years later, May leaves Kaylie the money she needs to open her own café in the charming Victorian house they once shared. Now back in Hope Springs, Kaylie’s determined to finally make all her dreams a reality—and unearth answers to lingering questions about her past.
Soon, however, Kaylie’s carefully laid plans take an unexpected turn. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, is proving to be a very handsome and very unneeded distraction from her quest to uncover the truth about her parents. When a crisis threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build, Kaylie must decide where her heart lies: with the ghosts of her past or the love and promise of her future.
7. Burning Down the Spouse by Dakota Cassidy
After discovering that her famous chef husband was cheating, Frankie Bennett lost her mind-on live TV. Now Frankie is broke, unemployed, and hiding out in her aunt's retirement village. That is, until Maxine Henderson-Barker-reformed trophy wife and owner of Trophy Jobs Inc. employment agency-arrives to give Frankie a much needed kick in the pants.
Soon, Frankie lands a job as a prep chef at a Greek diner in New Jersey, home to the world's best meatloaf and an owner who resembles an exquisitely chiseled Greek statue. Falling into bed with Nikos isn't the best idea, but after years of living in a man's shadow, this ex- trophy wife is ready to get busy cooking...
8. Rough Tumble (The Roughnecks, 3) by Keri Ford
Having her fiancé confess through email that he married another girl while away was humiliating enough. Telling the small town she lived the truth was something Tonya just couldn’t face. With her ex in the military, it seemed easy to let everyone think they were still together. Just for a little while. Except a little while snowballed into a huge lie she didn’t know how to get out of.
Fast-forward through time and Tonya’s restless, lonely, and unsure how to fix her lie. To add to that, she’s finding her best friend, Trent Iverson, more and more attractive.
When Tonya confesses the truth, Trent feels like his life is finally on the right path. The girl he’s admired and secretly wanted for so long is single. Just one problem. After a past filled with lies, Trent isn’t sure if he can look beyond Tonya’s deception so they can have a future.
9. White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert
Cass Daniels isn’t waiting for her knight in shining armor. She knows that girls like her don’t get a happily ever after. Not if you live in a trailer with your mom, work at a greasy spoon diner, and get leered at by old men. Maybe that’s why she puts up with Jackson—her poor excuse for a boyfriend, who treats her like dirt. Cass has learned to accept her lot in life. That is, until he walks into her diner. . . .
His name is Tucker White, and he’s different from any man Cass has ever known. Tall, tattooed, and bad-ass gorgeous, he’s the lead singer of the rock band Damaged. From the moment they meet, Tucker sees something in Cass he just can’t shake. Something beautiful. Something haunted. Something special. And he’s determined to find out what it is—if only he can get her to open up and let him in. .
10. The Early Bird Cafe by Carrie Aulenbacher
For years, Jim and Eve have shared breakfast every morning at the Early Bird Café. Their constant friendship, however, is thrown into chaos when Jim begins writing his second novel. Their friendship strained, the novel takes all of Jim’s focus, and a grievous string of events coupled with Jim’s manipulative new lover put their friendship to the ultimate test.
As Jim struggles with the darkness in his own life, Eve attempts to negotiate her feelings for Jim and their strictly platonic relationship. In the midst of the turmoil, both find themselves wondering if their feelings for each other actually run deeper than the friendship they thought they once had.
Do you have a favorite diner/cafe set romance? Let me know!
Go to my list on Goodreads to vote for the best of the best: Spoon: Diners in Contemporary Romance