Sexy romance novels are fun to read any day of the year, but they’re particularly satisfying on a chilly night. Add a cheese plate, a gin and tonic (or drink of choice), and a warm blanket, and you’ve discovered heaven on earth.
Here are 12 steamy picks we love — some new, some old — to get you through the last weeks of winter.
The list: Which books light our fire
- Romeo and Juliet made modern: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
- Sexier than it looks: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
- Historical romance that’s not Jane Eyre: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
- The start of a long, hot vampire saga: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
- Sappy but sweet: Glitterland by Alexis Hall
- Like an X-rated Hallmark movie: Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa
- When alpha females collide: Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden
- All the drama: Forbidden Promises by Synthia Williams
- Make it sexy and lol: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- Like 50 Shades, but better: Bared to You by Sylvia Day
- More than just hot sex (though there’s plenty of hot sex): Those Who Wait by Hayley Cass
- NSFW: Inappropriate by Vi Keeland
1. Romeo and Juliet made modern: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
A family scandal had originally driven these old flames apart. Now their path is colliding once again, but new startup founder Nicholas doesn’t want Livvy to distract him from his work. And anyway, getting together would go against all the rules. Still, he can’t get her out of his mind.
2. Sexier than it looks: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
OK, so the main character of this critically acclaimed book is a math geek who’s afraid of making out. But when she hires an escort to help her learn the ropes of dating, the flames of her passion are quickly sparked.
How many times will you read this book? The limit does not exist.
3. Historical romance that’s not Jane Eyre: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Yeah, there are other historical romance novels besides the ones by the Bronte sisters.
In this book, blackboard bestselling author Beverly Jenkins tells the tale of escaped slave and Underground Railroad member Hester, who’s charged with hiding a notorious conductor. Even though she can’t stand him at first, he knows he has to have her right from the start.
4. The start of a long, hot vampire saga: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Here’s one that’ll take you right back to your Twilight days. Pureblood vampire Wrath scares the bejesus out of Beth, but even so, she can’t resist him. Thus begins book one of a hot, 19-story series you won’t be able to stop thinking about.
5. Sappy but sweet: Glitterland by Alexis Hall
Former English lit star Ash is now a washed up pulp fiction writer going through a seriously dark period. He never would’ve thought he’d fall for party boy Darian — he’s got a fake tan and definitely isn’t a deep thinker. But it turns out that Darian is just the kind of star Ash needs to see the light.
6. X-rated Hallmark movie: Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa
After a public breakup with a celebrity, fitness trainer Tori heads to Aruba to regroup — and steer clear of guys. When she meets Carter, an actor who recently changed his appearance for a movie, he quickly decides she’s the one who can whip him into shape for his next role.
Even though she’s not looking for a guy, the sparks start flying… and things start to seriously sizzle.
7. When alpha females collide: Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden
Advertising execs Brooklyn and Jessica hit it off on an impromptu first date. Things are about to get steamy… until the two find out that they’re actually competing for the same client. The tension — and the attraction — mounts until it finally comes to a head in this sweet story that feels smart instead of cliché.
8. All the drama: Forbidden Promises by Synthia Williams
When India comes back to her hometown to help her brother run his political campaign, she runs into Travis — her sister’s ex-husband. India and Travis had a thing before India’s sister entered the picture, and now she can’t get the heart-pounding memory out of her mind.
9. Make it sexy and lol: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Alex’s mom is the President of the United States. Henry is England’s Prince of Wales. When the two meet — and instantly develop a thing for each other — the tabloids jump in, and everyone’s reputations end up at stake. But maybe love can save the world after all?
10. Like 50 Shades, but better: Bared to You by Sylvia Day
The first novel in Day’s addictively hot Crossfire series gets a lot of FSoG comparisons — but pretty much everyone who’s taken the time to review it says that it’s way, way better.
Sure, there’s the wannabe girl who meets the dark, overly possessive guy — but there’s more emotional connection, and the sex scenes are even hotter.
11. More than just hot sex (though there’s plenty of hot sex): Those Who Wait by Hayley Cass
Cass’s debut novel tells the story of Spencer and Charlotte, who meet on a lesbian dating app after Spencer comes to think that she might be bisexual. Their relationship heats up quickly, and the sex scenes are heartracing in all the best ways.
But it’s not just about what happens in bed. The book also explores everything from contemporary politics, the experience of coming out, and going after what you really want in life. So it’s like a romance book club book?
12. NSFW: Inappropriate by Vi Keeland
Ireland gets fired from her job of nearly a decade after a private video she made on vacation comes to light.
Beyond pissed, she fires off a letter to her former CEO telling him what she really thinks of the company, figuring he’d ignore it. Instead? He responds. The two end up sending sexy emails back and forth and the CEO reinstates her. But (could you guess?!) that’s not all he wants.