30 Best Romance Novels for Adults

Romance books probably make up 40% of my brain at this point because of the love I have for them. Ever since I started reading adult romance novels, I have been changed. The romance genre slowly became my favourite, surpassing my love for fantasy.

It doesn’t matter what you’re in the mood for or what emotion you’re going through, romance books have you covered. There is always a great book to read. And that is the energy I’m bringing to this list.

This is a list of the best romance novels for adults including several kinds of romances. No matter what you’re looking for, you will find a recommendation here. It is also a great place to start if you are new to adult romance.

Steam levels explanation:

 None – no explicit scenes.

 Low – one or two steamy scenes.

 Average – few detailed explicit scenes.

 High – good amount of/regular detailed steamy scenes.

1. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

the flatshare book cover

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

Quick selling points:

  • Epistolary love. The cutest notes left all around the house!
  • They meet only after falling for each other, despite sharing an apartment and a bed.
  • Opposites attract.
  • Very interesting characters.

Steam level: Low.

Trigger warnings: Emotional abuse.

2. Marriage For One by Ella Maise

marriage for one book cover

Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love. 

Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part. 

It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself. 

I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time. 

It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own. 

One second he was no one. The next he became everything. 
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine. 
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie. 

After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?

Quick selling points:

  • Marriage of convenience.
  • Man fell for the woman the first time he saw her.
  • Whipped man with a broody personality and soft ambitious woman.
  • Features the building and running of a coffee shop.
  • He helps her with her coffee shop dream.
  • Grumpy and sunshine trope.
  • Slow burn romance.

Steam level: Average.

3. The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

the cybernetic tea shop by meredith katz

Clara Gutierrez is a highly-skilled technician specializing in the popular ‘Raise’ AI companions. Her childhood in a migrant worker family has left her uncomfortable with lingering in any one place, so she sticks around just long enough to replenish her funds before she moves on, her only constant companion Joanie, a fierce, energetic Raise hummingbird.

Sal is a fully autonomous robot, the creation of which was declared illegal ages earlier due to ethical concerns. She is older than the law, however, at best out of place in society and at worst hated. Her old master is long dead, but she continues to run the tea shop her master had owned, lost in memories of the past, slowly breaking down, and aiming to fulfill her master’s dream for the shop.

When Clara stops by Sal’s shop for lunch, she doesn’t expect to find a real robot there, let alone one who might need her help. But as they begin to spend time together and learn more about each other, they both start to wrestle with the concept of moving on…

Quick selling points:

  • Asexual engineer main character.
  • 300+-year-old humane robot main character.
  • Talking robot pet bird.
  • Dystopian setting.
  • Features a tea shop run by the robot.
  • The softest ace romance.
  • Approaches emotional connection and grief in a new way.
  • Comforting.

Steam level: None.

Trigger warnings: Grief, vandalism.

4. Drag Me Up by R. M. Virtues

drag me up book cover

They say he’s a myth…

And Hades prefers it that way. He may do all the work, and Zeus may get all the credit, but at least it allows Hades to preserve the one thing he truly cares to have: his solitude. The mere mention of the Wraith of Khaos Falls is enough to keep order, and he is rarely forced to leave the shadows of Casino Asphodel.

She belongs in the spotlight…

And Persephone clawed her way out of Demeter’s shadow to reach it. Now she’s lead in Calliope’s Cirque production but not without great cost, and there is not enough money in the world to pay off the debt accrued for the simple mistake of trusting Zeus. Though it’s easier to ignore the bars when she still has room to fly.

Landing a residency at the legendary Casino Asphodel is everything she trained for. Meeting a man she’d been convinced didn’t exist? She could never be prepared for that. Hades isn’t prepared for her either, but it’s soon evident they’re a force when together. He gives her a soft place to land, and she makes him want to reach for the stars. But when Zeus ups the stakes, they must be willing to go all in, even if it means coming down from the sky. Or stepping into the light.

Quick selling points:

  • Hades and Persephone retelling.
  • Inspired by Greek myth.
  • A modern, darker setting.
  • The politics, history and relationships truly emulate the complex interwoven Greek myths.
  • Amazing & hot romance.
  • Trans main character.
  • Black couple.
  • Almost all-Black cast.

Check out my review of Drag Me Up.

Steam level: High.

Trigger warnings: bomb blast, mentions of stalking/harassment, manipulative familial relationships, violence.

5. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

the bromance book club book cover

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends’ second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major-league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner-hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Quick selling points:

  • Men reading romance.
  • Main guy fixes his marriage by learning from romance books.
  • A great guy group who talk about serious topics and support one another through everything.
  • Rom-com.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Bullying, emesis, fatphobia.

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Quick selling points:

  • Fictional historical biography.
  • Sapphic romance.
  • Set in Hollywood with all the drama.
  • Immersive and addicting writing.
  • Woman taking over and doing what she can to succeed.

Steam level: None.

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse, cheating, homophobia, biphobia, alcoholism, mentions of suicide.

7. Juniper Hill by Devney Perry

juniper hill by devney perry

Memphis Ward arrives in Quincy, Montana, on the fifth worst day of her life. She needs a shower. She needs a snack. She needs some sanity. Because moving across the country with her newborn baby is by far the craziest thing she’s ever done.

But maybe it takes a little crazy to build a good life. If putting the past behind her requires a thousand miles and a new town, she’ll do it if it means a better future for her son. Even if it requires setting aside the glamour of her former life. Even if it requires working as a housekeeper at The Eloise Inn and living in an apartment above a garage.

It’s there, on the fifth worst day of her life, that she meets the handsomest man she’s ever laid eyes on. Knox Eden is a beautiful, sinful dream, a chef and her temporary landlord. With his sharp, stubbled jaw and tattooed arms, he’s raw and rugged and everything she’s never had—and never will. Because after the first worst day of her life, Memphis learned a good life requires giving up on her dreams too. And a man like Knox Eden will only ever be a dream.

Quick selling points:

  • Single parent romance.
  • Riches-to-rags single mom.
  • Grumpy chef.
  • Small town romance.
  • Best bonding scenes.
  • Domesticity.
  • Small danger element.
  • No third act breakup.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Threats, running away, kidnapping.

8. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

you deserve each other book cover

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

Quick selling points:

  • The story of a couple finding their way back to each other while fighting to break up.
  • A unique book written in an engaging way.
  • Love to hate to love romance.
  • Hilarious rom-com.
  • I read this when I was in the hospital after a surgery and finished it in one day even with a muddled brain and loved it. So you should read it.

Steam level: Low.

Trigger warnings: Fatmisia & body shaming, toxic mother-daughter relationship, cheating mentioned.

9. True Love by Jude Deveraux

true love book cover

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.

Quick selling points:

  • Age gap romance.
  • Set on an island with two architects.
  • Broody hero.
  • There’s a friendly ghost in the house!
  • The plot has a reincarnation concept.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Death.

10. Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

battle royal book cover


Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, colorful creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, the hottest pastry chef in London. When her glittery unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has managed to use her fame to help fulfill her dream of opening a bakery, Sugar Fair. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.


Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker, the go-to for sweet-toothed A-List celebrities, and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that the irksome Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.


When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they’re both determined to come out on top.

The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection. In this royal battle, can there be room for two?

Quick selling points:

  • Business rivals to lovers.
  • Opposites attract.
  • Hilarious and comforting.
  • Two bakers competing to make a cake for a royal wedding.
  • Lovely cast of characters.

Steam level: Low.

11. The Love Game by Emma Hart

the love game by emma chase

His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.
Her challenge? Play the player.
Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he’s everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, why doesn’t she say no? She doesn’t know either.

Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her – and he’d do anything to have her, hence why he’s agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it’s the only way he’ll get what he wants. Sex.

But, as Braden discovers, there’s more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined – and he can’t help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.

Maddie finds Braden isn’t just a walking erection – he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don’t exactly hurt. That means trouble – but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realises Braden and Pearce aren’t so alike anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, they’re exactly what each other needs.

Quick selling points:

  • Both are secretly fake dating but assume the other is genuine.
  • Dating on dares.
  • Hate to love.
  • Don’t plan to fall in love but fall hard.
  • College romance.

Steam level: Average.

12. Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern

where rainbows end book cover

From naughty children to rebellious teenagers, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But just as as they’re discovering the joys of teenage nights on the town and dating disasters, they’re separated. Alex’s family move from Dublin to America – and Alex goes with them. For good.

Rosie’s lost without him. But on the eve of her departure to join Alex in Boston, Rosie gets news that will change her life forever – and keep her at home in Ireland.

Their magical connection sees them through the ups and downs of each others lives, but neither of them knows whether their friendship can survive the years and miles – or new relationships. And at the back of Rosie’s mind is whether they were meant to be more than just good friends all along. Misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck have kept them apart, but when presented with the ultimate opportunity, will they gamble everything for true love?

Quick selling points:

  • A classic must-read romance book.
  • Epistolery format—the story is told through corresspondences between various characters.
  • The slowest burn.
  • Miscommunication for years.
  • Childhood best friends to lovers.
  • Was made into a movie but the book is way better.

Steam level: None.

13. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Cecelia Ahern

josh and hazel's guide to not dating book cover

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

Quick selling points:

  • Best friends to lovers romance.
  • Opposites attract.
  • Korean main character.
  • Comforting read.
  • Romantic comedy.

Steam level: Low.

14. The Predator by RuNyx

the predator by RuNyx book cover

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object in the field of death?

In the dark underbelly of the mob, Tristan Caine has been an anomaly. As the only non-blooded member in the high circle of the Tenebrae Outfit, he is an enigma to all – his skills unparalleled, his morality questionable, and his motives unknown. He is lethal and he knows it. 

As does Morana Vitalio, the genius extraordinaire daughter of the rival family. What Caine does with weapons, Morana does with computers. When a twenty-year old mystery resurfaces, Morana infiltrates Caine’s house, intent on killing him, unaware of a tie that binds them together. Hate, heat, and history clash together with unexpected sparks. 

But something bigger, something worse is happening in their world. And despite their animosity, only they can fight it down.

Quick selling points:

  • Real enemies to lovers.
  • Mafia romance.
  • He swears to be the one to kill her so he saves her from everyone else.
  • Mystery, crime, & thriller vibes too.
  • Addicting romance.
  • Start of an amazing romance series.

Steam level: High.

15. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

long shot book cover


Think you know what it’s like being a baller’s girl?
You don’t.
My fairy tale is upside down.
A happily never after.
I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.
I was a fool, and his love – fool’s gold.

Now there’s a new player in the game, August West. 
One of the NBA’s brightest stars.
Fine. Forbidden. 
He wants me. I want him.
But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won’t let me go.

*Some aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

Quick selling points:

  • A darker, more serious, contemporary romance.
  • Romance book that highlights domestic abuse through the main character.
  • The couple meets but she’s in a relationship which turns abusive. She saves herself with help from the love interest.
  • Sports romance.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Violent domestic abuse, emotional manipulation, sexual assault, weapons, rape.

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16. The Forever Night Stand by Katie Golding

the forever night stand book cover

It’s no fun being a good girl…
Until you find the perfect bad boy.

Luke Kelly is a legend in the music industry. The Grammy-winning producer has amassed four gold records, a fortune that could buy and sell most of Malibu, and an arsenal of luxury sex toys. But he can’t seem to find a relationship that goes more than skin deep. 

Ari Reed has life color-coded on her bullet planner. For the book publicist, risks are calculated, and one-night stands happen absolutely never. But when a steamy stumble into Luke’s bedroom lasts an entire weekend, the last thing she expects is him asking her to stay… Forever.

Quick selling points:

  • Not much of a plot, only romance and sex.
  • HOT.
  • They intended to have a one night stand but never stopped.
  • Fell in love hard.
  • Domesticity <3

Steam level: High.

Trigger warnings: Mention of death of a parent.

17. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

act your age, eve brown book cover

In Act Your Age, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

Quick selling points:

  • Firstly, very cute.
  • Autistic main character.
  • Chaotic main character.
  • Grumpy and sunshine romance.
  • Bed & breakfast love story.
  • Great individual growth. Talks about finding your place in the world.
  • Comfort read.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Ableism, car accident, child neglect (past), parental abandonment (past).

18. Smut by Karina Halle

smut by karina halle book cover

What happens when the kink between the pages leads to heat between the sheets?

All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree, and take over his dad’s ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finally finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career.

What Blake and Amanda don’t want is to be paired up with each other for their final project, but that’s exactly what they both get when they’re forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is a pushy asshole (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her ass (though it’s a brilliant ass), they fight tooth and nail until they discover they write well together. They also may find each other really attractive, but that’s neither here nor there.

When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it’s not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Sure, they still fight a lot, but at least there’s make-up sex now.

But even as they start to fall hard for each other, will their burgeoning relationship survive if their scandalous secret is exposed? Or are happily-ever-afters just a work of fiction?

Quick selling points:

  • College romance.
  • Two college students anonymously co-write erotica book to make money. And they do it well.
  • As they write hot stuff, they get hot together.
  • They fall in love hard.

Steam level: Average.

19. Hold Me by Courtney Milan

hold me by courtney milan

Jay na Thalang is a demanding, driven genius. He doesn’t know how to stop or even slow down. The instant he lays eyes on Maria Lopez, he knows that she is a sexy distraction he can’t afford. He’s done his best to keep her at arm’s length, and he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

Maria has always been cautious. Now that her once-tiny, apocalypse-centered blog is hitting the mainstream, she’s even more careful about preserving her online anonymity. She hasn’t sent so much as a picture to the commenter she’s interacted with for eighteen months—not even after emails, hour-long chats, and a friendship that is slowly turning into more. Maybe one day, they’ll meet and see what happens.

But unbeknownst to them both, Jay is Maria’s commenter. They’ve already met. They already hate each other. And two determined enemies are about to discover that they’ve been secretly falling in love…

Quick selling points:

  • Online friends but hate each other in real life.
  • Romance between a popular blogger/student and blog fan/professor.
  • Trans main character.
  • Asian couple.
  • Story also highlights the “work hard and be the best” Asian culture.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: anxiety, panic attacks, death of a sibling, suicide, transphobia.

20. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

boyfriend material book cover

One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

Quick selling points:

  • Queer adult romance.
  • Fake dating.
  • Gay as heck.
  • Great characters.
  • Great banter.
  • A great queer friend group!

Steam level: Low.

21. The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

the gravity of us by brittainy c. cherry book cover

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

Quick selling points:

  • Single dad romance.
  • Grumpy and sunshine romance.
  • Opposites attract.
  • Slow burn.
  • Addicting and atmospheric.

Steam level: Low.

Trigger warnings: grief.

22. Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught

something wonderful book cover

The tempestuous marriage of Alexandra Lawrence, an innocent country girl, and Jordan Townsende, the rich and powerful Duke of Hawthorne, is about to face its ultimate test of tender loyalty. Swept into the endlessly fascinating world of London society, free-spirited Alexandra becomes ensnared in a tangled web of jealousy and revenge, stormy pride and overwhelming passion. But behind her husband’s cold, arrogant mask, there lives a tender, vital, sensual man…the man Alexandra married. Now, she will fight for his very life…and the rapturous bond they alone can share.

Quick selling points:

  • Historical romance.
  • Love after marriage.
  • A headstrong heroine.
  • A stubborn man used to having his way.
  • Opposites attract.
  • A+ chemistry between the couple.

Steam level: Average.

23. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone

this is how you lose the time war book cover

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

Quick selling points:

  • Science fiction with the most epic sapphic romance.
  • TRUE enemies to lovers.
  • Time travel!
  • Fast paced, yet slow burn romance.
  • The best romance quotes.

Read my review of This is How You Lose the Time War.

Steam level: None.

Trigger warnings: Animal killing, gore, rape (mentioned), self-harm, suicide (mentioned), torture, war/violence.

24. Restore Me by J. L. Seegars

Restore Me by J. L. Seegars book cover


Dominic Alexander is my late husband’s best friend and the last man on Earth that I should want. He’s arrogant, dismissive, and up until recently has only ever used those dark eyes of his to look right through me. For the last ten years, he’s taken a sick pleasure in making me feel paper thin, like my entire existence is of no consequence to him at all.

But now, things are different.

After one drunken night, and a surprisingly sexy act of heroism, he’s started to be…nice. Treating me like something other than the physical embodiment of his annoyance, which would be nice if it didn’t make me feel all the things I swore to never feel for another man after my husband died.


Sloane Kent is going to be my undoing.

What’s worse: I think I’m going to enjoy being unravelled by the gold flecks in her hazel eyes and the adorable little way she scrunches her nose up when we’re arguing, which we’ve done a lot of over the past decade. She thinks it’s because I hate her, and I’ve always let her think that because the alternative is…untenable.

But something is changing between us, and I don’t know how to stop myself from breaking every promise I’ve ever made to myself regarding my best friend’s wife. Promises that include never telling her that there’s a long list of things I feel about her, but hate isn’t one of them.

Quick selling points:

  • An explosive, obsessive kind of love.
  • Best friend’s widow whom he fell in love with first.
  • He fell in love with her the first time he saw her.
  • Barely friends with benefits which becomes so much more.
  • Hot sex.

Steam level: High.

Trigger warnings: Grief.

Read my review of Restore Me by J. L. Seegars.

25. Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Ardnt

Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words book cover

Nothing good ever comes from drinking a box of wine alone. So when I decided to entertain my drunken self by setting up some hand-me-down podcasting equipment and reading the steamy parts from romance novels, I never thought anyone would actually listen. The fact that I admitted my huge crush on my sexy next door neighbor made the whole thing even more mortifying. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s how my podcast, Heidi’s Discount Erotica, was born.

Now I, Heidi Larsen, a sweet former kindergarten teacher in Waconia, Minnesota, lead a scandalous double life reading erotic novels to the listening world. And with each episode, I find myself embracing my new alter ego more and more. Now I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin and do things I never would have dreamed of – like kissing my neighbor.

Look out, Waconia, because Heidi’s on the loose! She’s in your ears, in your hearts, and down your pants…wait, that didn’t sound as good as it did in my head. Well, you get the picture, don’tcha know!

Quick selling points:

  • A story about growing and becoming confident.
  • Main character quits as a school teacher and starts an explicit podcast.
  • Talks about the important of romance books, erotica, and smut!
  • Sweet small town romance.

Read my review of Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words.

Steam level: Average.

26. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

let's talk about love book cover

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Quick selling points:

  • One of the best adult romance books with an asexual main character.
  • Black, biromantic main character.
  • Tackles asexuality in romantic relationships.
  • Romantic comedy.
  • They meet at a library!

Steam level: None.

Trigger warnings: Ableist language, alcohol, acephobia, anxiety, assault, bullying, manipulation, microagressions, racism, sexism, sexual harrassment.

27. Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon

rafe by rebekah weatherspoon

All Dr. Sloan Copeland needed was someone to watch her kids. What she found was the man of her dreams…

After a nasty divorce and a thousand mile move, Dr. Sloan Copeland and her twin daughters are finally getting the hang of their new life in Los Angeles. When their live-in nanny bails with no warning, Sloan is left scrambling to find a competent caretaker to wrangle her smart, sensitive girls. Nothing less will do.

Enter Rafe Whitcomb. He’s all of those things, not to mention good-natured and one heck of a whiz in the kitchen. He’s also tall, and handsome, and bearded, and ripped, and tatted, wrist to neck. 

It doesn’t take long for the Copelands to invite Rafe into their home. Just as quickly, both Sloan and Rafe find themselves succumbing to a heady mutual attraction, neither of them wants to deny. With every minute they spend under the same roof, this working mom can’t help but wonder if Rafe can handle all her needs…

Quick selling points:

  • Underrated romance book.
  • Single parent romance book.
  • Two great kids.
  • Genius main character.
  • A tattooed buff male nanny/love interest.
  • Good mature communication!!!
  • Great chemistry.
  • Comfort read <3

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Emotionally abusive relationship recounted, physical assault.

28. Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

tempest by beverly jenkins book cover

What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.

Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul.

Quick selling points:

  • One of the best heroines, hands down.
  • Single parent romance.
  • Black couple.
  • Rich woman and poor man.
  • Mail order bride.
  • She shoots him when they first meet.
  • Headstrong woman and stubborn man.
  • Sparks fly like lit firecrackers.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Shooting, grief, racism, sexism.

29. Gild by Raven Kennedy

Gild by Raven Kennedy book cover

The fae abandoned this world to us. And the ones with power rule.


Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.

Even me.

King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.

Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.

Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged. And I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.

Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage. But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.

The myth of King Midas reimagined. This compelling adult fantasy series is as addictive as it is unexpected. With romance, intrigue, and danger, the gilded world of Orea will grip you from the very first page.

Quick selling points:

  • Fantasy romance series (currently unfinished).
  • Addicting, thrilling, amazing.
  • Easy to read, easy to love.
  • Great worldbuilding.
  • The villain is the hero.
  • Main character breaks out of Stockholm syndrome.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: graphic violence, captivity, kidnapping, non-consensual sex (rape).

30. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

the kiss quotient book cover

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Quick selling points:

  • Austistic main character who is a genius.
  • Charming male main character who is a sex worker.
  • She hires him to practice sex with, but they end up slowly falling in love.
  • Rom-com.

Steam level: Average.

Trigger warnings: Ableism (including Internal), anxiety, emotional abuse, rape, profanity, sexism, sexual assault, slut shaming, stalking (mentioned).

more romance novels for adults

Listen, it was SO HARD for me to stop the list at 30. So I’m sneaking in a few more adult romance recommendations as a bonus.

  • The Deal by Elle Kennedy.
  • From Lukov, With Love by Mariana Zapata.
  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai.
  • The Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon.
  • Cups of You by Karmen Lee.
  • Love at First by Kate Clayborn.
  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
  • The Marriage Game by Sara Desai.
  • Intercepted by Alexa Martin.