If you love unexpected encounters between characters with a past together, these audiobooks are for you. These eight romances feature couples who knew each other when they were younger and find romance after time apart.
Author Nalini Singh loves to create long-term connections with her couples, and in STORM ECHO, read by Angela Dawe, telepath Ivan and animal changeling Soleil meet during a training exercise only to be separated under mysterious circumstances. Dawe plays up the deep longing of each character when their eventual reunion does not go as planned.
A shared past is not always a positive connection—pediatric surgeon London connects with her teenage rival Drew at their 15th high school reunion in THE HOOKUP PLAN by Farrah Rochon, read by Melissa Hampton. With a hint of the Texas accent the characters share, Hampton’s deep voice travels lightly and swiftly over the new, grown-up conflicts the couple must face.
In REMEMBER LOVE by Mary Balogh, Gwyneth Rhys, the earl of Stratton’s country neighbor, has loved the earl, Devlin Ware, since forever but family drama and the Napoleonic wars tore them apart. Narrator Rosalyn Landor’s contemplative, sometimes sorrowful, reading explores the possibilities of their building something new from the ravages of time and war.
A LADY FOR A DUKE by Alexis Hall, read by Kay Eluvian, also deals with the effects of the Battle of Waterloo. After the chaos of European battlefields, transgender heroine Viola lives on her own terms, but she misses her old comrade Justin de Vere and is appalled when she discovers his devastating mental condition after the war. Eluvian has a versatile voice that is expressive in dialogue while keeping the historical milieu alive for listeners.
In the only dual narration in the list, narrators Jason Clarke and Samantha Cook perform Carly Phillips’s JUST ONE DARE. Aurora and Nick reunite after five years apart with one major complication. Aurora’s daughter Leah was the result of their brief liaison. Both Clarke and Cook are superb at evoking the tense emotional drama of their chance reunion while providing excellent contrast for each character.
If you like complicated, you’ll love this next audio, a novella-length romance. Stuck in an elevator with the ex who loved and left her is the opening premise of STUCK WITH YOU by Ali Hazelwood, read by Meg Sylvan. Thrown together, New York engineer Sadie and ex Erik have no hope for any chance of immediate escape from the stifling, stilted atmosphere. Sylvan has a textured voice with lighter highlights that can dip from regret to sadness to hope with a lovely range, and she performs very different voices for Sadie and Erik.
Romantic reunions can happen when facing an unrelated personal crisis, the situation in TWICE A QUINCEAÑERA by Yamile Saied Méndez, read by Marisol Ramirez. Utah lawyer Nadia Palacio throws over her fiancé and decides to host instead her own double quince—a celebration of her thirtieth birthday. In an unusual coincidence, the venue owner is Marcos, her college sweetheart. Ramirez switches from Argentinian Spanish to English with ease, navigating Nadia through complicated family and personal issues to her big celebration and an accompanying romance.
Family pressure also features in our final audio selection. Writer Miranda Barnes heads home to Bard’s Rest, New Hampshire, host town to a summer Shakespeare festival in FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD by Jessica Martin, read by Gilli Messer. With a confident, theatrical voice appropriate to the story, Messer narrates Miranda's practical side—she focuses on her novel even as her mother volunteers her to direct Twelfth Night—and the side that's open to the hand of fate as Miranda wonders if she can trust Adam, the town vet, who broke up with her in high school. Listeners will have a great time with puns and literary allusions as well as pet-related fun.