35 Best Steamy Romance Novels, From Historical Drama To Rom-Com


Every romance reader has their niche. Some love sweet, PG-13 romances, where any coitus is likely vanilla and minimal; others are happy with all porn, no plot. But for readers whose tastes sit somewhere in the middle — or drift toward the spicier end of the spectrum — Bustle has pulled together a list of 35 steamy romance novels.

Obviously, spice levels are subjective. One person’s three-alarm fire is another’s PG-rated rom-com. The books on this list all contain sex on the page, but the quantity, explicitness, and kinkiness of those scenes vary, and their genres span fantasy, comedy, and even intergalactic. You’ll find LGBTQ+ and polyamorous pairings below, as well as books with fat protagonists. So rest assured that there’s a book here for just about any reader.

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1

Can’t Resist Her

Summer and Aiko shared a kiss at their senior prom. It was romantic moment full of potential, but they haven’t spoken for years. Now Summer has come back to Austin, Texas, to teach, and she’s determined to save the local high school that her grandmother founded from being torn down. Aiko’s the woman responsible for the planned demolition, and she believes that tearing down the school is what’s best for the neighborhood. Sparks will fly when these two powerful, passionate women collide.

2

Not the Witch You Wed

The Supernatural Laws compel witches and shifters to find mates. Lincoln and Violet are not exempted, in spite of their prominent positions in supernatural society. Both have their own reasons for challenging the Supernatural Laws, but it looks like they’ll have to take the system down from the inside. Fake-relationship shenanigans abound in this paranormal romance.

3

It Happened One Summer

The Bellinger sisters have partied too hard, and in order to make his wayward daughters see the error of their ways, their stepdad ships them off to a coastal town in Washington where their late bio-dad owned a dive bar. It’s a far cry from Los Angeles, and a local seaman, Brendan, is certain the sisters won’t make it. But a brewing attraction between him and Piper Bellinger makes Brendan hope he’s wrong.

4

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Hart and Mercy are forced to do business together, but they don’t have to like each other. When the former kills the undead Drudges — again! — he delivers them to the latter at Birdsall & Son Undertakers for a proper burial. The loneliness of the job leads Hart to pen an anonymous letter to “A Friend,” and he’s pleasantly surprised to receive a response. What will Hart and Mercy do when they discover they’re pen pals?

5

The Romance Recipe

Sophie, a former finalist in a reality cooking competition, wants to leave TV and return to the kitchen. Her new boss, Amy, hopes that Sophie’s celebrity will draw diners to her restaurant. They’re still butting heads when an opportunity arises that could put Sophie back in the spotlight and save Amy’s career. Can they put on a friendly face for the cameras?

6

Up All Night with a Good Duke

Artemis, an unmarried schoolteacher who moonlights as an author, has resisted her aunt’s attempts to marry her off to a member of London society. When a good friend makes her debut, Artemis heads to London to help. She’s not totally opposed to romance — she needs money to realize her dream of opening a ladies’ college, after all — and her very own Byronic hero is ready to steal her heart.

7

Slippery Creatures

In the first novel in KJ Charles’ historical romance series, a decorated veteran returns home from serving in the Great War to find himself threatened by criminals and government agents. It seems connected to his new business, a bookstore formerly owned by his uncle, and he enlists the help of Kim Secretan to get to the bottom of it. But Kim has ulterior motives for the protagonist, Will, who has no choice but to work with a man he cannot trust.

8

How to Find a Princess

Makeda and Bez couldn’t have met at a worse time. Makeda had just been dumped and fired when Bez shows up at her door to take her to Ibarania, where Makeda could inherit the throne. The last thing she wants to do is head to Africa with a stranger and talk about her grandmother’s hookup with a prince. But it seems the only solution to save her grandmother’s career, so Makeda agrees.

9

Ship Wrecked

The third installment in Olivia Dade’s Spoiler Alert series finds Maria in an uncomfortable position when her new co-star turns out to be a former one-night stand. She ghosted him, and he’s never forgiven her. When they finally hook up again, it’s clear there’s still magic between them, but life is about to pull the actors in different directions. Can they manage to make it work, or are they doomed to be separated again?

10

Barbarian Alien

In this follow-up to Ice Planet Barbarians, one of the humans stranded on the cold, desolate planet of Not-Hoth plots her escape. Liz doesn’t want to spend a minute longer than necessary there, but Raahosh has other plans. Both he and her symbiont (the alien life-form she must bond with in order to live on the planet) believe Liz is destined to be Raahosh’s mate.

11

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris

When Luz Alana’s father dies unexpectedly, she’s left in charge of the family rum business. She sets sail for France’s 1889 World’s Fair to sell Caña Brava, but making Dominican rum the talk of Europe isn’t her only goal. She has to marry if she wants access to her trust fund. Cue a marriage of convenience to the only man willing to do business with her: a whiskey-distilling Scottish earl.

12

The Duke in Question

Billed as “James Bond meets Bridgerton,” Amalie Howard’s novel finds Valentine Medford, the Duke of Thornbury, hunting down his best friend’s sister, Lady Bronwyn Chase, who’s carrying a secret package to Civil War America to aid the Union. But as he keeps Bronwyn in his sights, he wonders if Queen and Country are the most important things to serve.

13

Twisted Love

Josh is going out of town for a while and needs someone needs to look after his troubled kid sister, Ava. His best friend, Alex, resents Josh moving in next door for babysitting reasons, but her undeniable attraction to the one guy she can never be with soon begins to outweigh any resentment.

14

Starry-Eyed Love

After a nasty breakup, London throws herself into managing the family business, a hotel and event venue called Spark House. A lucrative partnership could be just what she needs to secure the hotel’s future, but there’s one problem: London spurned the company’s CEO a few months ago. Will he hold a grudge for the rejection?

15

The Accidental Pinup

Boudoir photographer Cassie Harris specializes in making big, beautiful women harness their sexuality, so she’s the natural choice to help launch her friend Dana’s new lingerie company. But when circumstances force her to become the ad campaign’s primary model, Cassie must work with her main business rival to make the launch a success.

16

I’m So (Not) Over You

When Kian’s ex texts him after months of radio silence, Kian can’t help but hope that Hudson wants to get back together. And Hudson does want to reunite, but only temporarily. His parents are visiting, and he wants Kian to pretend that they’re still together for one family dinner. But when dinner begets a joint wedding invitation, they’re forced to keep up appearances for longer than anticipated.

17

Bad Girl Reputation

Gen and Evan used to have a lot of fun, but those days are long gone. The former party girl wants nothing to do with Evan’s bad-boy ways. She’s only in town temporarily anyway, to bury her mom and help her dad hire some new blood for the family business. Evan knows he can help Gen out, and he’s pretty sure they’d be good together if she’d try again. Convincing her will be the real challenge.

18

Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man

Vanessa has spent two years building a life of her own as a happily single divorcée. When a sheriff shows up at her door asking for her help to stop her ex-husband’s upcoming nuptials, she’s hesitant to get involved. But then she notices his new fiancé wearing her family’s heirloom, which her ex stole from her. Now Vanessa’s spoiling for a fight, and the sheriff’s got her back.

19

For Butter or Worse

Nina is determined to use her job, co-hosting a reality cooking show, as a vehicle to superstardom. It’s too bad she just cannot stand her co-host, the successful restaurateur Leo. He didn’t mean for one of his on-camera jokes to make her Nina her job. Now the Internet is convinced they’re in a secret relationship, and they have to pretend to be lovers if they want to salvage the show.

20

The Stand-Up Groomsman

Lindsay and Ryan’s nuptials are fast approaching, and they’ve placed responsibility in their maid of honor and best man, Vivian and Mel, whose love toward the happy couple only slightly overshadows their animosity toward each other. But the longer Vivian and Mel spend in close proximity, the more they wonder if they’ve misjudged each other.

21

Moth

Charlie hasn’t been freed from his enslavement for long before he’s forced to face his captors again. His ally in the fight is Moth, a human-monster hybrid and the most infuriating creature he’s ever met. So why is Charlie spending so much time pining for him?

22

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell

A string of misfortunes has left Savvy at rock bottom. She needs to give her life a facelift, starting with a much-needed home renovation. It’s a step in the right direction until she realizes she’s already pissed off the drop-dead gorgeous contractor in charge of the job. To make matters worse, she keeps crossing paths with her ex and the woman he left her for.

23

A Merry Little Meet Cute

Bee Hobbes is the new star of the Hope Channel’s latest Christmas movie. No one on set knows she’s already had a successful acting career as an adult film star… except for her co-star, Nolan Shaw, who subscribes to her ClosedDoors channel. As things heat up between them, it seems they’ll keep her secret. But then a nosy reporter arrives, and it’s only a matter of time before Hope Channel finds out.

24

Moon Blooded Breeding Clinic

In the follow-up to Morning Glory Milking Farm, which took BookTok by storm, author C.M. Nascosta focuses on Lowell, a werewolf photographer forced to return home to Cambric Creek when his career hits a snag. There, he takes a job at the eponymous clinic, where people struggling with fertility can get it on with a werewolf in the hopes of getting pregnant. The job has its perks, but getting into a relationship with a client isn’t supposed to be one of them.

25

The Companion

Madeline is an aspiring writer struggling to join New York’s post-war literati. She takes a job working as a companion to a reclusive writer. Victor’s only friend and confidante in his upstate enclave is Audrey, his fellow writer and erstwhile lover. So what will Madeline do when she realizes she’s falling for them both?

26

Court of the Vampire Queen

From the author of Neon Gods and The Dragon’s Bride, this polyamorous romance centers on Mina, a half-vampire who reluctantly enters into an arranged marriage to get out of her father’s house. Everyone thinks of Malachi as a vicious ruler, but it doesn’t take long for his new wife to glimpse his softer side. And once the newlyweds form a polycule with Malachi’s best friends, Mina seizes her chance to punish her father.

27

The Hookup Plan

At a high-school reunion, a pediatric surgeon ends the night in bed with her archnemesis. Sure, they’ve always been enemies, but he’s super hot. Plus she’ll never see him again, right? Wrong. Her one-night stand is back in Austin, and he holds the future of her hospital in his hands.

28

A Touch of Moonlight

Larimar works from home as a brand manager for a popular café chain, a job that gives her the flexibility to manage her transformations into a ciguapa: a Dominican cryptid widely believed to be an unlucky omen. She feels totally alone in the world until she meets the punk-rock baker Ray. Just when it seems things are finally looking up, she receives devastating news. Her company’s newest location is about to become Ray’s biggest competitor.

29

Things We Never Got Over

Naomi hasn’t spoken to her twin, Tina, in a while, but that doesn’t stop her from speeding to small-town Virginia to help her out — as a runaway bride, no less. But then Tina bails, steals her assets, and leaves Naomi with an 11-year-old niece she didn’t know existed. Along the way she meets Knox, a grumpy recluse who likes his life just fine without kids or messy familial situations. But for some reason, he just can’t turn away.

30

Dating Dr. Dil

In the wake of her father’s retirement, Kareena has just four months to find the love of her life if she wants to inherit her parents’ home. When an on-air argument between her and a popular love guru, Dr. Prem Verma, goes viral, they both need help. To fix Prem’s career, Kareena is forced to fake-date him, stymieing her own efforts to find a soulmate. But what if they should be dating for real instead?

31

Bet on It

Walker isn’t interested in staying in Greenbelt, South Carolina any longer than he has to. The minute his estranged grandmother is able to live independently again, he’s out. But he didn’t count on the very spicy chemistry between him and his grandmother’s much-younger bingo partner, Aja. The more time he spends with Aja, the more he questions his decision to leave.

32

The Wedding Crasher

This rom-com centers on Solange and Dean, whose fake relationship begins the moment she crashes his wedding to another woman. Solange was sure he was marrying the wrong person, but her revelation left him in a major bind, which could prevent him from making partner. Now she’s forced to pretend she’s his true love — a tall order, considering how little they have in common.

33

The Decoy Girlfriend

Mandi and Taft are the hottest celebrity couple, but their entire relationship is a PR stunt. When a video of Taft and someone who looks like Mandi goes viral, rumors start to spread. Their reputations hang in the balance, but there may be an easy fix: force the other woman to masquerade as Mandi for a month to give her a break and to restore public faith in the high-profile union. What could go wrong?

34

Do You Take This Man?

RJ is a divorce lawyer who moonlights as a wedding officiant. In her side-hustle, she meets the extroverted Lear, who puts his no-nonsense personality to work as an events coordinator. In spite of their professional similarities, she just can’t bring herself to like him, much to his bewilderment. But no one said she had to like him to be attracted to him.

35

Mistakes Were Made

When Cassie meets an older woman at a bar, their one-night stand is just what she needs to get through the pain of Family Weekend at college. The last thing she expects is to sit across from her friend’s mom the next morning, staring her sex partner in the face. As for Erin, she didn’t mean to sleep with someone her daughter knew, but she knows their chemistry wasn’t a fluke.



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