sierra's RECOMMENDED READS
An ongoing list of books I love.
(in no particular order)
Ice Planet Barbarians
by Ruby Dixon
I'm dead serious about my IPB. I've read every single one (and the spinoffs) and loved them all. Ship full of fertile human women crashes on a planet populated by seven-foot-tall men who purr when they fall in love with you. Very light, very fun romantic sci-fi. M/F.
How Not to Fall
by Emily Foster
Smart beyond belief, fatally swoony. Dr. Charles Douglas will peel you right open, and you'll also learn lots of new vocab words! M/F.
by Tamsen Parker.
BDSM meets faith as an Orthodox Jewish women navigates an arranged marriage to a stoic, hunky butcher. Unforgettable. BDSM. M/f.
The Rogue Not Taken
by Sarah MacLean
A lady fleeing London in a footman's clothes, a cynical marquess convinced she's trying to trap him into marriage. Come for the chemistry, stay for the banter. Historical. M/F.
by Kennedy Ryan
The (free!) first in a stunning series about love, success, race, family, police brutality, loss, and desire. Flow introduces us to fledgling rapper Marlon (Grip) and tough-as-nails Bristol. Their chemistry is undeniable...and so are the reasons they should stay apart. Interracial. M/F.
by Tiffany Reisz
My favorite of all the Original Sinners stories! (Not enough exclamation points in the world for this forking book!) Eleanor Sutherlin meets Father Marcus Stearns as a rebellious teen, priestly and kinky and FORBIDDEN tension ensues. Painfully good; the closing argument for why erotic romance should exist. Book Five in a series. BDSM. Chiefly M/F.
by Tiffany Reisz
You have to start with The Siren, which is also amazing, but The Prince is a serrated, nearly mythological whirlwind of boarding school lust and kink out of control. Soren is the sword we all want to fall on. Book Three in a series, BDSM, chiefly M/m.
Monster in his eyes
by J.M. Darhower
Naz is wrong. Everything about this book is wrong. And it's one of my top five erotic romances of all time. Along with book two, which is even wrong-er, even sexier and even bloodier. Mafia. M/F.
by C.D. Reiss
She wants to leave her husband. He wants thirty days. What happens next is why this book is one of my top five erotic romances of all time. BDSM, M/f.
by Alexis Hall
A RITA-award winning erotic romance about a young Dom and a world-weary sub. Unbelievably raw, detailed, and...yes...real. Insanely sexy as well. BDSM, M/m.
by Melanie Harlow and David Romanov
An agonizingly sexy tale about self-acceptance and love, Strong Enough follows brooding alpha Derek and young idealist Maxim as they slowly realize they need each other. M/M.
That thing you do
by Kayti McGee
In order to wriggle free of her friends' designs, Greta pretends to a date a sexy DJ...who happens to insist on dating her for real. Sparkling humor, deep female relationships, and delicious chemistry--all the things that make McGee queen of the quirky rom-com. M/F.
by Cara McKenna
One of the best consensual non-consent romances I've ever read. McKenna uses her infallible zoomed-in lens to show Laurel's freedom and ecstasy when she plays Flynn's game. Dub-con/consensual non-consent. M/F.
by Joey W. Hill
One of the best male sub books ever. Cop and alpha sub Mac is investigating a series of BDSM related murders, which brings him to Violet, a Mistress who will crack open his tough shell to the soft, gooey, hero heart underneath. (She cracks him open with kinky sex, in case you were wondering.) . BDSM. m/F.
by Nana Malone
Abbie is running from a dangerous past. So is Alexi. They meet in London as Abbie pursues her dream of being a photographer and Alexi struggles to break free of his family. Money, secrets and sex about--not to mention the gorgeous London scenery. Interracial. M/F.
The Day of the Duchess
by Sarah MacLean
MacLean takes the villain from The Rogue Not Taken, and crafts him into a complicated, regretful alpha feminist. Seraphina is a pure joy of fire and independence, and Haven is unbelievably swoony, powerful, and tender beyond belief. Historical. M/F.
by C.S. Pacat
OMG. This series. I don't know what to say about it, except that there's a hunky, stoic prince (he's the captive one) and a cold, handsome Draco Malfoy-esque prince (he's the one holding the stoic hunky one captive), and in the most delightfully fanfiction-like way, they hate each other and then obviously want to have sex with each other. Light fantasy. M/M.
by Jana Aston
Sophie the college student barista has a massive crush on one of her customers...a hot older guy named Luke. And then she meets Luke outside the coffee shop...while she's on her back in a paper gown and he's snapping on the rubber gloves. It's all so wrong...and yet so right. M/F.
by Whitney G.
No one does alphaholes like Whit G, and Turbulence is a singing example of the magic of a jerk, crazy chemistry, tons of banter, and off-the-charts sex. M/F.
by Christina Lauren
THE ENEMIES TO LOVERS.
The Theory of Attraction
by Delphine Dryden
Camilla just wants her hunky scientist-neighbor to notice her--but when he does, he wants to play by his rules (spoiler alert: they're kinky). Nerdy, sexy, perfect fun. BDSM. M/f.
by Jade West
They come together or not at all. A menage with amazing heat, amazing characters, and a page-turning story. MMF.
by Cara McKenna
A virgin hires a male escort to have sex with her. He's French and agoraphobic and beautiful and the zoomed-in lens is intimate and sexy and perfect. Erotic romance at its finest--an examination of how sex and love intertwine and change people for the better. M/F.
by Nikki Sloane
She's wanted Luka for years, but one terrifying night steals her virginity, her freedom, and ultimately her heart. Complicated, erotic, genius. (TW for non-consent.) Dark, captivity. M/F.
by Charlotte Stein
Letty was bullied by Tate in high school, and when he turns out to be a student at her college, she's wary and doubtful. The tension, sex, and swoons then proceed to go off the charts. Another example of how a zoomed-in, intimate lens can create an obsessive, life-changing read. M/F.
by Alexis Hall
All of Hall's Spires stories deal with class, but Glitterland's examination of class in the nexus of economics, culture and education is superb. Not to mention Ash's struggle with mental illness--as the daughter of a bipolar woman and as someone with OCD, I valued how much care was layered into Ash's voice and perspective. But most importantly, the sex, affection and growth between the two characters transforms this romance into a work of art. M/M.
An Extraordinary Union
by Alyssa Cole
Elle, a former slave returns to the South to spy for the Union Army, and Malcolm is infiltrating a Rebel stronghold. Danger, secrets and a sizzling attraction make this one a page-turning, riveting delight. Historical. M/F.
by L.J. Shen
I highly recommend every single one of Shen's Sinners of Saint books! They are all ridiculously addictive and sexy AF. However there's something about stoic alphahole Trent and barely legal Edie that made Scandalous my absolute favorite of the series! Fourth in a series (but can be read alone.) Interracial. M/F.
Call Me by Your Name
by Andre Aciman
I talk a lot about intimate and zoomed-in lenses, I know, but this one is the grandmaster of intimacy. Capturing the intensity and confusion of first love, and unbearably beautiful, this book is Sexy Canon. M/M.
by Alisha Rai
Rana is her family's black sheep, and Micah is a tortured artist neighbor who catches her staring in at him through the window. They agree to a sex-only relationship...and well, we all know how those turn out! RT Award winner for best Erotic Romance of 2015. Interracial. M/F.
Asking for it
by Lilah Pace
Vivienne is in thrall to a powerful need, and when Jonah Marks finds out, he offers to help her. What follows is a relationship as twisted as it is beautiful. Consensual Non-Consent. M/F.
Everything I Left Unsaid
by M. O'Keefe
One of the mostly deeply erotic books I've ever read, at first the main characters only know each other by voice. Their relationship unfolds into a deliciously sexy and heartfelt union, and the setting is a real and vivid force. Perfect for fans of erotic slow burns. M/F.
Beg For It
by Megan Hart
Reese was the first man ever to submit to Corinne...and the last. Now he's a millionaire come back to buy her company, years later, and kinky sparks fly. Male sub. m/F.
by Nana Malone
Sexy prince Sebastian has gone missing, and it's up to brand-new Royal Guard Penny to track him down and bring him home. Power, sex, and laughs abound--not to mention angry kissing!!! Interracial. M/F.
Think of England
by KJ Charles
War vet Archie Curtis comes to an isolated manor house to uncover evidence of treason and murder. He meets another guest, Daniel da Silva, whom he distrusts and resents (and obviously things heat up between them in the best kind of way...) Historical. M/M.
The Satin Sash
by Red Garnier
This one's a bit older, but plenty steamy and delicious. When wealthy businessman Grey catches his girlfriend and his business partner dancing together at a gala, he decides to give the three of them a single week to clear the desire out of their systems. Predictably and wonderfully, nothing goes to plan. MMF.
Shame Me Not
by Fiona Cole
I'm not a big friends to lovers person, but this book really redeemed the trope for me! Best friends Kevin and Ana discover kink together in high school, kicking off a sexy, angsty journey. BDSM. M/F.
by Nicola Rendell
Ivy League meets teacher kink in this fun, sexy romp. All of Rendell's books are a delight, so start here and work your way through. M/F.
by Jo Raven
Bookshop girl and blogger Candy has been nursing a crush on hotties Joel and Jethro for a very long time. When they fall for her, they're also forced to concede the burgeoning attraction between them, and the bisexuality is organically and thoughtfully handled. Sexy and fun! MMF.
by Saffron A. Kent
Age gap, cheating, teacher/student...Kent breaks every rule in this edgy, twisted tale of love and obsession, and you'll thank her for it by the end. M/F.
By Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine
Hollywood action hero plus gorgeous male model plus off the wall chemistry. A sizzling romp with the perfect balance of fun and feels. M/M.
By Jana Aston
Funny as hell and sexy as fuck, Good Girl is about Lydia (literally a Girl Scout until high school) and Rhys (a billionaire and now casino owner). After a couple goosebump-inducing kisses, Lydia decides the best way to get Rhys to notice her is by auctioning off her virginity. What follows could only happen in Vegas…and the hilarious and smutty confines of Jana Aston’s mind. M/F.
By Victoria Dahl
Sometimes books come into your life in the oddest ways. Harlot was a slim paperback I found in the goody room at the RT Convention and just knew I wanted. When I finally read it a month or so later, I found my instincts had been right. Caleb returns from California ready to marry his angel of a sweetheart, Jessica. But when he comes back, he discovers that she’s become an honest-to-goodness whore. Angry and bitter, he decides to pay for what she sold while was gone. Dahl pulls no punches in depicting exactly how crippling misogyny and poverty were in the American West…but this is not a depressing book, I promise! I tore through it like a cyclone. Historical. M/F.
By Rainbow Rowell
Okay, real talk. Being a working mother is sometimes like being pulled apart into little shreds like string cheese, and sometimes it takes a miracle—or a magic phone--to put the shreds back together again. Rowell makes a laugh-out-loud, heartrendingly sweet second chance romance with a busy working mom and her adorable husband. Straddling the boundary of women’s fic and romance, perfect for buddy reads and book clubs. M/F.
3 2 1
By JA Huss
321 is the kind of dark menage that tickles all my id buttons. There’s the forced proximity, the power and fear, and the delicious navigation of bisexuality and bi-romance, and where that intersects with fraternity and loyalty. Dark. MMF.
Giving It Up
By Audra North
SWAT officer Warren doesn’t have time for a real relationship, not with how much his parents and his sister’s kid need him. But he still *needs.* And what he needs is something very specialized…
Beatrice has zero experience being a Domme, but for hunky Warren, she’s going to give it a try. Kink. Alpha male sub. m/F.
Fire in His blood
By Ruby Dixon
OKAY I KNOW I ALREADY TOLD YOU TO READ ALL THE ICE PLANET BARBARIANS BUT ALSO READ THESE, OKAY? The drakoni males are war-crazed until they stumble upon a mate, and once they find their mate, all they want to do is helpfully drop fire-roasted food at her feet and protect her. Oh, and sex her super good. They’re like cats, if cats were six-foot-tall sex maestros who are obsessed with you. Fire in His Blood is the first in the series. Dragon shifter. M/F.
By Tiffany Reisz
An unfiltered fever dream of kink, fantasy and art. A straight up lesson from the Queen of Erotica, Tiffany Reisz. Subgenre: Bonkers. Primarily M/F.
Beck and Call
By Emma Holly
Mia and Jake have to pose as a sub and Dom in order to investigate mysterious billionaire Damien for their PI firm. But what starts as pretend soon becomes very real… MMF.
By Anne Calhoun
Divorcee Lacey is eight years older than cocky cop Hunter, but a chance encounter at a bar sends them both reeling through the steamiest, most intense relationship of their lives. Cop, age gap, just GOOD erotic romance. M/F.
By Tessa Bailey
Teresa has to cut a dangerous deal with an evil man to save her brother—find the evil man’s son and bring him home, by any means necessary. (Sex of course!) One of the most genuinely sexy and dirty books I’ve ever read, the chemistry on the page is BANANAPANTS. M/F.
Lord of Scoundrels
By Loretta Chase
I came to this party way too late, but damn. DAMN. Consistently voted as the best romance ever written, Lord of Scoundrels has all the swoons and one of my favorite heroines of all time. Required reading. Historical. M/F.
By Kayti McGee
McGee is always bitingly hilarious, but nowhere else as much as in this millennial fairy tale of an artist and an academic, deciding to bone up on their sex skills together. (Yes, I used that pun on purpose.) Funny, sexy, adorkable. M/F.
After WE Fall
By Melanie Harlow
Harlow at her deliciously tragic best. Widowed farmer Jack has no interest in vivacious city girl Margot, no matter how much life she stirs in his wounded heart. The angst and sex are perfectly balanced, and Harlow delivers a master class in contemporary indie romance. M/F.
By Julie Murphy
Seventeen year old Ramona has always identified as a lesbian, so when her childhood friend Freddie returns to her Katrina-ravaged Mississippi town, their charged connection forces Ramona to examine queerness, labels, and desire. This is the book that I as a bisexual teen needed desperately to read, and is a literary, hauntingly written addition to the queer YA canon—one that is essential for bi and pan teens. Young Adult. Interracial. Queer M/F.
The Queens of Innis Lear
By Tessa Gratton
A wild island of magic and power is ravaged by greed, ambition and obsessive love. This feminist retelling of King Lear cracks apart the crumbling power structures of men and puts agency back in the hands of Lear’s daughters. Plus Ban the Fox and Mars are HOT AF. Fantasy.
By Mia Hopkins
Thirsty is one of those books that’s hard to capture in just a few sentences, because so much of the magic is in Sal’s character. This book is the perfect example of how setting can create voice, and how a deft hand can create characters so lifelike that you’ll forget you’re reading fiction at all. M/F.
Flowers From the Storm
By Laura Kinsale
Another classic I only found just recently! Jervaulx is an extravagantly arrogant duke—the best kind—and Maddy is a Quaker. When the duke suffers from a stroke and is thrown into an asylum, he’s abandoned and mocked by everyone he used to hold close—except for sweet, prim Maddy. For some reason asylum and neurodivergent historicals do it for me, and this is a rich example. Historical. M/F.
By K.A. Linde
In dire straits, Reyna has no other option than to become a blood escort for a vampire. She’s given to Beckham—cold and disdainful, and who has many dangerous secrets…
A sexy vampire tale that doesn’t skimp on blood, desire, and a version of a Vampire Illuminati! PNR. M/F.
By Monica McCarty
I LOVE THIS SERIES AND I’VE READ EVERY SINGLE ONE AND YOU SHOULD TOO. It’s Highlanders but like Navy SEAL-esque Highlanders. They’re fighting for Robert the Bruce and they’re all husky, stoic men in kilts who fall HARD for the ladies, and they’re super good at sex. Start with The Chief and work your merry way down, lass. Historical. M/F.
One Is A Promise
By Pam Godwin
The FREE start to a riveting trilogy that I binged in a day and a half. Danni thinks her handsome rebel Cole is dead, and two years later, meets billionaire Trace and falls in love. Except, of course, Cole isn’t dead, and now it’s time for angsty love triangle sex. First in a series, love triangle with a hint of menage. MFM.
By Joanna Shupe
NEW YORK CITY GILDED AGE! Shupe delivers a compelling baron hero and a heroine who wants nothing more than to be taken seriously in the stock market. Sexy, smart, and Shupe is now one of my auto-buys. American Historical. M/F.
The Bird and the Blade
By Megan Bannen
Jinghua has lost everything, forced into servitude by a khan from a neighboring kingdom. When enemies overrun her new home, she’s forced to flee with the handsome Prince Khalaf, who wants only to marry the beautiful princess Turandokht—if he can answer the princess’s three riddles correctly. I picked up the book having no idea what was going to happen, and what unfolds is a heartbreaking tale of bravery and love. YA historical fantasy. M/F
Wicked and the Wallflower
By Sarah MacLean
Felicity Faircloth is on the shelf—but king of the London criminal underworld Devil is willing to show her how to land a husband. Perfect banter, perfect characters, and as always, a hero who knows how to undo a heroine (and a reader) with The Swoons. Historical. M/F.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
By Jennifer Ashley
Another neurodivergent historical that totally enthralled me! Young widow Beth has led a respectable life, until she meets Lord Ian Mackenzie. Ian is an autistic hero, and Ashley navigates Ian and Beth’s path to an HEA without erasing Ian’s autism but also without making the HEA feel like it’s *despite* his autism. Historical, neurodivergent. M/F.
By Kerrigan Byrne
Kerrigan Byrne writes books that are BANANAS and un-put-downable. The Hunter is about an assassin and his mark, and it’s just as unsafe and intense as you would think. Argent is in the book boyfriend hall of fame. Historical. M/F.
By Natalie C. Parker
This isn’t a romance (although I have the mega-hots for the villain, it’s a weakness of mine), but it is a fierce tale of sisterhood, seafaring and adventure. Think Mad Max but pirates, and think of the most badass heroine you’ve ever read and then add ten more badass points and you have Caledonia Styx. Young adult.
By Katie Porter
Okay, I’ll admit it. Generally military men aren’t my thing, despite being married to a cop and all, so when a friend recommended this series to me and led in with “Vegas fighter pilots”, I was like Hard. Pass. But then I found out they were KINKY, and well, that was it for me. Start with Double Down, and then make your way here, to a tough, newly sober female pilot and her years-ago fling who’s now the new kid in the squadron. Alpha Male Sub. m/F.
By Katie Porter
Man, I love me some good dub-con. Sunny tells husband Dash that she wants a divorce, and basically Dash f*cks the divorce right out of her. It’s consensual and complicated and raw and nuanced as hell, and it’s so real about marriage and sex and the struggle of really knowing someone you’ve pledged your life to. Glorious. Consensual non-consent. M/f.
The opening to Black’s latest saga of magic, power, and family has my absolute favorite heroine of 2018. Jude is tough, stoic, relentless, clever. And the Cruel Prince himself is unforgettable. Watching these two strong and tortured souls clash and (yes, kiss) is the treat of a lifetime. M/F, YA fantasy.
The delightfully sparkling and also rawly emotional tale of a rake and his best friend capering their way through Europe. The catch? That rake is in love with his best friend, and trouble is on its way (pirates too)… M/M, YA Historical.
PRISON!!! PLANET!!! ROMANCE!!! Strength is the only law on the prison planet, and Riana has to find the strongest convict in the joint and hope he’ll be her protector. Very sexy, very f***nuts (which is how I like my romance) and later on in the series there’s a caveman planet book, so obviously I’m into that. Sci-Fi Romance. M/F.
This series grips you by the throat and refuses to let go--and you'll be begging for more the entire time. If you like your romances with teeth, if you like your love stories laced with pain, power and raw, elemental connection, then you need Caden and Greyson in your life. A singing testament to love and the searing, electric thrill of being human. Kinky but not in the usual ways. M/f.
There’s some debate about where this epic series actually starts (what Amazon has labeled as Book Two, A Hunger Like No Other, was the original Book One) but this is where I started and got hella addicted to Cole’s irresistible world of deadly valkyries, well-dressed vampires, and hunky, grumpy werewolves. Each book is better than the last, and all of them are just sexy, fate-laden fun. Paranormal. This title is M/F.
The heroine, Briar, is a nurse working at the local prison, and the hero, Knox, is A PRISONER THERE!!! ((jumps up and down with clappy hands*) If you like your heroes all gruff and stoic and whatnot, then you’ll die for Knox, who’s all gooey goodness underneath the grump and prison muscles. Contemporary. M/F.
Those who know me know that it takes a lot for me to enjoy a friends-to-lovers tale. It’s not a trope I normally dig. BUT in Hibbert’s talented hands, it becomes a rich journey of self-discovery, raw emotion, and potent desire. Heroine Jasmine is complicated and struggling—and sexy, sexy Rahul is done being patient and done picking up the pieces of her self-destruction. Together they unravel and find a way to weave a new life. Contemporary, IR. M/F.
I’m putting the bundle here as a favor to you, because once you read the first one you won’t be able to stop. It’s about—I know this will surprise you—kinky bank robbers. Our heroine is a bored teller, working for a boss she hates, and when three hotties show up to rob her bank, she decides to help them—on the condition that she gets to join them. Contemporary, reverse harem. M/M/M/F.
This book wrecked me. Like straight f***ed me up for days. DAYS. Solene is my perfect heroine—smart, dignified and elegant, and honestly, I didn’t think I was going to like this hero because he’s in a boy band but OMG HAYES CAMPBELL. For sure one of my top three reads this year. Contemporary, Reverse Age Gap, Women’s Fic. M/F.
One of things I both adore about and professionally envy about Charlotte Stein is how her books defy easy description or easy categorization. They are intimate and complicated. Sexy and revelatory. This isn’t a love triangle story at its heart, but Stein uses the sexier possibilities of the love triangle trope to heighten Gabriel and Madison’s journey. Contemporary, Erotic. Kinky energy, if not with the usual trappings of kink. Male sub energy too. m/F.
Rich boy? Check. Clique of jerky private school boys? Check. Plucky poor girl? Check. This book is all teen angst and desire and class politics set against the backdrop of private school hallways, beach parties and luxurious mansions. Contemporary, New Adult. M/F.
A delightful take on the daddy-kink trope—Kate is a perky, chipper engineer who likes to bake and wear cute cardigans, and her boss Tyler is all surly and closed off. Neither of them has had the chance to truly indulge their deepest desires, and when they discover it’s a desire they share, things get dirty and kinky real fast. Contemporary, Daddy Kink. M/f.
KINKY HISTORICAL YAY!!! SUBMISSIVE DUKE YAY!!!!! This marriage of convenience trope is deployed with an independent, driven heroine and an aloof, broody duke…and a dose of the gothic. Historical, lightly kinky. Alpha Male Sub. m/F.
Academy recruit Charlie has the perfect setup with sexy caterer Ever—all sex, no attachment. Except when Ever decides she wants attachment and, knowing Charlie wouldn’t be interested, releases him from their arrangement. And Charlie of course realizes he’s a lot more attached than he thought… Contemporary. M/F.
Heroine is a girl who plays as a ‘worthless slave’ and our hero is an art dealer who doesn’t waste his time on worthless things. Bettina’s master gets off on loaning her out, except when she gets loaned to Mark, he decides she’s a loan he doesn’t want to return. Contemporary, Kinky AF. M/f.
As a thirtieth birthday present to herself, spinster author Amanda decides to hire herself a male escort to relieve her of her virginity. A mischievous madam sends her Jack instead—Jack, the incredibly powerful businessman who wants to be her publisher. Sexiness and romance of course ensue, BUT the humor and the banter and the richness of both of these characters is what sets this book on the top shelf. Historical, M/F.
Elijah Montgomery Du Pont, future mayor, is left at the altar and sexy troublemaker Addison is the one who helps him flee the embarrassing scene until he can figure things out. No one can do dirty talk and breathless tension like Tessa B, and Getaway Girl crackles with electric heat. Plus the characters are so richly drawn that you wish you could live inside the book with them forever. Contemporary, M/F.
I don’t even know if I have to words to describe this story, except to say that I fangirled so hard at Annabel when I met her in person that I think I worried her a little. Our heroine, Chere, is an escort with big pain and even bigger dreams, and our hero W is…well, he’s an asshole. The way Joseph writes stands alone in the erotic genre—raw but restrained, punch-in-the-gut but also with a magnetic humanity. It’s a story that’s provocative and at times uncomfortable, but always, always addictive. Book one in a trilogy, graduate level kink. M/f. Trigger warning for a nonconsent scene.
Snyder spins a sexy, delicious (literally) tale of a post-grad-school heroine stuck between helping her family at their restaurant and finding her own path, and a bad boy (who’s not really a bad boy and looks a lot like Chris Evans.) Though short, this novella is a perfect swirl of sweet, hot, nerdy, and best of all, people just being good people. Contemporary, Indian heroine, M/F.
TABOO! STEPBROTHER! SEX!
Cypress and Jude are stepsiblings who haven’t seen each other since they were kids, and after a chance meeting, they tumble into a hot, HOT, hot sexytimes scene that leaves them both craving more. Of course, once they discover they’re related by marriage, they can’t have more. Or can they? (THEY CAN!) . Contemporary, taboo, M/F.
This book started as a commentary on #cockygate, but it’s so much more than that. McCade flips the usual Dom/sub power dynamic by having a billionaire sub and a valet Dom, and the way Brand’s dominance expresses itself through traditionally subservient activities is nothing short of revelatory and a clear case for the incredible potential and scope for kinky romance. Contemporary. M/m.
Historical cowboy Daddy kink. I’ll say no more.
Actually, I’ll say more! Horne takes the Daddy kink trope and drills deep (heh) into the psychology and desire that fuel the Daddy dynamic. I’m neutral on Daddy kink as a trope—sometimes I love, sometimes it doesn’t work for me—but Horne accomplishes something spectacular here, and with the running-from-his-past, impulsive Jesse and the lonely, reserved Will, she creates two characters that not only thrive with a Daddy/son dynamic, but also require it in order to flourish and grow. As a friend of mine said, if you don’t understand Daddy kink after reading this book, then I’ll accept that it’s truly not for you, because no one does it more sensitively than Horne. American historical, M/m.
Nordbak takes her time as a Dominatrix/Switch in LA and gives us a glimpse into a world few are privileged to see. Here we see people being their best, worst, perviest, dirtiest, most vulnerable selves. In other words—being fully and entirely human. With dry humor and a keen perception into the complicated snarls of human desire, Nordbak creates an unforgettable tale of sex, power, and how those two things forge meaning and connection for us all. Non-fic, memoir.
“You are mad!" she snapped, her chest heaving. "And you are a devil!"
"And you, my dear," Royce imperturbably replied, "are a bitch." With that, he turned to the horrified friar and unhesitatingly announced, "The lady and I wish to be wed.”
I feel like you either read this quote and go, “Ugh, fuck that,” or you say, “Yes, I would like to fuck that man immediately.” If you’re up for a sweeping medieval tale of a scowling English knight and a spunky Scottish lass—if you’re not deterred by some kidnapping and good, old-fashioned hauling-you-over-my-knee-for-a-spanking—in other words, if you like the old-timey romances with the all the wacky stuff that comes with them, then you’ll love this. I did.
I don’t put a lot of stock in the “this is unlike anything I’ve ever read” idea, because I don’t think it’s that important (or even possible?) for things to be incessantly innovative. However, I will say that Briarley is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a Beauty/Beast retelling set in the English countryside during WWII—Beauty is a country parson and Beast is a playboy from a bygone era forced to live as a dragon man. The parson is caught plucking a rose for his daughter, and the master of the house demands he send his daughter to him in payment for the rose…which the parson refuses, electing to stay himself. What follows is a delicate examination on the nature of love and humanity, and a sweet, slow-burn romance. Historical, M/M. Very, very chaste romance.
I got this book the last time I visited the British Museum and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with something I’ve gotten at a gift shop. It’s a beautifully photographed and formatted tour of some of the British Museum’s queer objects, coupled with commentary on what we know (or don’t know) about their origins and purposes. While so much of the vocabulary around same-sex or fluid desire is modern, there’s something intensely powerful about seeing queer desire and companionship reflected in the art and material culture from the prehistoric past to the present. Non-fic, history.
Ryan creates rich and deeply human characters to weave together a story of raw desire, profound pain, and the healing magic of love...and she does it using language so beautiful I could weep (and did.) The story follows Lotus, a fashion maven who’s experienced childhood sexual trauma, and Kenan, a basketball star currently tangled in the messy, post-divorce life of being a single dad, and how they find love through it all. Sexy, SEXY, hot sex ensues. The best romance of 2019. Contemporary, sports romance, Black hero, Black heroine, M/F.
Believe all the hype! The Kiss Quotient packs humor, feels, and heat into an unputdownable package. The killer premise: Stella, an autistic statistician, wants to get better at sex. her solution? Hire an escort! Enter Michael Phan, deliciously handsome and sUPER GOOD AT THE SEX. Their relationship is going to be purely impersonal and educational and transactional, right? (NAH, they’re going to fall in love, obvi.) . The secondary characters are just as good as the hero and heroine, and this story will leave you begging for more Hoang, ASAP. Contemporary, autistic heroine, half Vietnamese hero. M/F.
I know I rant about how friends to lovers is an impossible trope for me, but Simone takes a trope I struggle with and turns into into a delightfully steamy and emotional journey between two driven people. Tenny has loved quarterback Dom forever—bending her life around his, even working as his PA—and she realizes one day that he’s really never going to love her back and she has to learn to live her own life. Away from him. Page one, she quits, page two - the end is Dom waking the eff up and realizing just how much he craves her after all. Contemporary, sports romance, IR. M/F.
This Magic Mike XXL-inspired romp gives us scattered teacher Robyn and her sequin-thong-wearing neighbor Zac coming together in this treat of a book. Castile doesn’t shy away from the challenges of sex work—even male revue sex work—complicated female friendships, drugs, family, and thwarted dreams, but she also delivers laugh-out-loud one-liners, swoony scenes, and Ferris Wheel fooling around. And there’s dance scenes, of course there are, and they give you everything you could ever want. Contemporary, Latinx heroine, M/F.
WOW WOW WOW this is a short, sexy AF, WACKADOODLE RIDE but I unhinged my jaw and swallowed it whole because it was amazing and did I mention SEXY AF??? Mila is an eighteen year old filled with burning needs she doesn’t understand, Joseph is the town preacher with secrets he can’t share. There’s immediate stakes, immediate conflict, and then boning until kingdom come. Contemporary, taboo, some Daddy play. M/f.
Arranged marriage in contemporary is tricky, but Lilley sells it (and then some.) Noura has pragmatically chosen to be the bought bride of a disinherited billionaire. Banks is pure alpha-hole (I mean, really, really alpha-holish. It’s an id for me, but be warned if it’s not an id for you.) The angst, heat, possession and jealousy between these two scratches all my itches. We love the alpha-holes because we love watching them get wrecked with love. (forever and ever amen.) Contemporary, arranged marriage (so vaguely tabooish? idk?), M/F.
A heartless, assassin antihero, a broken-hearted but dignified heroine, some blood, some sex, some bloody sex—yeah, this one scratches all my itches. It opens with Tristan, our antihero, getting ready to execute a hit on Isabel—when he walks in on her getting it on with herself and moaning his name. He can’t kill her because she’s just too pretty when she comes. HOW GREAT IS THAT!!! M/F, romantic suspense, first in a series.
Samantha Brooks is a brilliant musician about to go on her first world tour—and she hasn’t even turned eighteen yet. An orphan, she’s been under stern and hunky Liam North’s care since she was twelve, and before she goes, they’ll have to confront this terrible, delicious desire brewing between them now that she’s grown. *cues Britney’s “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman* M/F, guardian/ward, Indonesian heroine, first in a trilogy.
A hopeful but also unflinching examination of love, racism, homophobia, community, and family, Herrera gives her readers a powerful story that manages to be sobering and joyful all at once. Nesto is a city guy coming upstate to start his dream of running a food truck, and Jude is the adorable NPR-listening librarian who can’t get enough of his food (and him.) What follows is sexy, delicious, and sweet beyond belief. M/M, hero from the Dominican Republic, contemporary.
Another contemporary take on arranged marriage! Esme is working as a maid in Vietnam when she’s chosen by Khai’s mother to marry her son, who is autistic and uninterested in marriage and dating. Hoang once again proves herself the goddess of contemporary by weaving together chemistry, heart, examinations of autistic life, single motherhood, immigration, and culture shock. Esme and Khai’s story is as tender and sexy as you’d expect after The Kiss Quotient, and will leave you hungering for more of Hoang’s genius. M/F, Vietnamese hero and heroine, contemporary.
After a passionate affair that had promise for more, Fab abandons Likotsi with nothing more than a text. Determined to forget her months later, Likotsi returns to New York on a mission to forget Fab—which of course is when she and Fab meet again on the subway. What follows is a sweet second-chance story of family, sacrifice, and love. F/F, contemporary novella.
Another second chance romance! When prosecutor Camden comes under attack, it’s up to cop Elijah to protect him—which would be fine, except that Camden nailed and bailed on Elijah five years previous. What follows is some very tasty tension, heat, sweaty sex, and couch snuggling (yes, even the couch snuggling is tasty!!!!) I devoured this in just a few hours because I could not get Camden and Elijah out of my head. M/M, IR, contemporary.
THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE!!!! I’m just warning you now, this is the exact opposite of a romance. This book will hurt you. This book will take a piece of you with it. It’s beautiful and terrifying and unforgettable. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, except I will say that Jude will break your heart. Literary fiction, content warnings for every imaginable trigger.
One of my fave reads of 2019, this is a sexxxxy take on a familiar story. We have Daddy Dom Jafar and a rebellious Jasmine, tons of tension, tons of kink, and a sprinkling of dub-con and captivity. Basically this book scratches my every itch, and I think every pervy, kinky reader like me should have it on their kindle. M/f, kinky, some dub-con and captivity scenes.