I’ve been regularly posting adult romance book recommendations on this blog. And since Pride month is almost here, of course, I have some queer adult romance books that you HAVE to pick up.
LGBTQIA+ books are still not as common to see compared to books with cishet characters. There are many queer books being actively promoted in the Young Adult category (compared to the last decade) but I don’t see the same in the Adult category. And sometimes, we adults just want to read romance books about queer characters falling in love. So hopefully, this list helps!
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 Love Study by Kris Ripper
- 1 1. The Love Study by Kris Ripper
- 2 2. That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert
- 3 3. Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
- 4 4. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
- 5 5. Drag Me Up by R. M. Virtues
- 6 6. The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz
- 7 7. Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon
- 8 8. Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox
- 9 9. Baker Thief by Claudie Arsenault
- 10 10. On The Square by Brenda Murphy
- 11 11. Sweethand by N. G. Peltier
- 12 12. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
- 13 13. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
- 14 14. Before You Say I Do by Clare Lydon
- 15 15. The Bachelor’s Valet by Arden Powell
- 16 16. Hold Me by Courtney Milan
- 17 some more queer adult romance books
Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.
And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.
When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.
The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.
Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.
This is a classic romance story but only with queer people—which makes it much better. The story focuses on personal growth, commitment, and love. It is low on queerphobia. And it’s definitely a great queer romance pick.
On-page queer representation: Non-binary & genderqueer main character, pansexual, bisexual, and non-binary supporting characters.
Steam level: None.
2. That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert
She wants a fake relationship. He needs something real.
If there’s one thing Rae can’t stand, it’s pity. She’s forty, frazzled, and fed up—so attending an awards ceremony alone while her ex swans about with his new wife? Not an option. To avoid total humiliation, Rae needs a date of her own. And her young, hot-as-hell new best friend is the perfect candidate…
Zach Davis, king of casual hookups, has a secret: the notorious womaniser craves emotional connection, and anonymous encounters leave him feeling hollow. After years of performance, Zach’s desperate to be himself. So why does he agree to play Rae’s fake boyfriend? And why does it feel so easy?
When the line between pretence and desire blurs, Zach’s forced to face an unexpected truth: there’s nothing phoney about his need for Rae. But the jaded divorcée’s been hurt by playboy men before. Can a weekend of faking it prove that Zach’s for real?
It’s an age-gap romance with an older woman, with the fake dating trope! There is slow relationship growth and the book delves into Zach’s feelings about his sexuality.
On-page queer representation: Demisexual main character.
Steam level: Average.
3. Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
Jordan Collins doesn’t need a man.
What he needs is for his favorite author to release another one of her sexy supernatural novels and more people to sign up for the romance book club that he fears is slowly and steadily losing its steam. He also needs for the new employee at his local bookstore to stop making fun of him for reading things meant for “grandmas.”
The very last thing he needs is for that same employee, Rex Bailey, to waltz into his living room and ask to join Meet Cute Club. Despite his immediate thoughts—like laughing in his face and telling him to kick rocks—Jordan decides that if he wants this club to continue thriving, he can’t turn away any new members. Not even ones like Rex, who somehow manage to be both frustratingly obnoxious and breathtakingly handsome.
As Jordan and Rex team up to bring the club back from the ashes, Jordan soon discovers that Rex might not be the arrogant troll he made himself out to be, and that, like with all things in life, maybe he was wrong to judge a book by its cover.
Set in a small town, the book follows Rex and Jordan who get off on the wrong foot but slowly fall in love. Jordan is a huge romance book lover so we have some talk on the romance genre too. The story has a classic three-act structure and is a quick read.
On-page queer representation: Bisexual main character, gay main character.
Steam level: Average.
4. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.
A soft sapphic romance with science fiction elements and a heist! One Last Stop is a book that you SHOULD NOT miss. The found family in this book is also very precious. Read my full review for more.
On-page queer representation: Bisexual main character, lesbian main character, trans supporting character, and other queer supporting characters who are not labelled.
Steam level: Average.
5. Drag Me Up by R. M. Virtues
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.
This is one of THE BEST romances I’ve read. Drag Me Up is a Hades and Persephone retelling in a modern setting. The romance is all-consuming and very hot. The author has also brilliantly woven in all the Greek gods as supporting characters—with very complicated relationships as in the myths. Read my full review to know more.
On-page representation: Trans main character, demisexual main character, queer supporting characters (often not labelled).
Steam level: High.
6. 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 fulfil 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…
A romance where one of them is a 300+-year-old robot! Very very soft sapphic love that has great relationship growth, set hundreds of years in the future. It is just 65 pages but manages to be a whole romance book.
On-page queer representation: Asexual main character.
Steam level: None.
7. Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon
She just wanted to claim her inheritance. What she got was a husband…
Xeni Everly-Wilkins has ten days to clean out her recently departed aunt’s massive colonial in Upstate New York. With the feud between her mom and her sisters still raging even in death, she knows this will be no easy task, but when the will is read Xeni quickly discovers the decades old drama between the former R&B singers is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Secrets, lies, and a crap ton of cash spilled on her lawyer’s conference room table all come with terms and conditions. Xeni must marry before she can claim the estate that will set her up for life and her aunt has just the groom in mind. The ruggedly handsome and deliciously thicc Scotsman who showed up at her aunt’s memorial, bagpipes at the ready.
When his dear friend and mentor Sable Everly passed away, Mason McInroy knew she would leave a sizable hole in his heart. He never imagined she’d leave him more than enough money to settle the debt that’s keeping him from returning home to Scotland. He also never imagined that Sable would use her dying breaths to play match-maker, trapping Mason and her beautiful niece in a marriage scheme that comes with more complications than either of them need.
With no choice but to say I do, the unlikely pair try to make the best of a messy situation. They had no plans to actually fall in love.
A marriage of “inconvenience” romance book where they slowly fall in love. In order to get her inheritance after her aunt passes away, Xeni has to get married to a hot plus-sized guy who is very soft at heart.
On-page queer representation: Two bisexual main characters.
Steam level: High.
8. Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox
Absence is as crucial as presence.
The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.
Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.
When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.
An opposites-attract romance with a mystery element. They are opposites in personality as well. Vaughn is more calm, controlled, and happy while Jonah is curt and grumpy. As Jonah and Vaughn work to find out who is stealing paintings from the art gallery, they reluctantly fall in love.
On-page queer representation: Asexual main character, queer sex-positive main character who is not into monogamy and whose sexuality is never labelled.
Steam level: None. There are some descriptions when one character engages in sex outside of the main relationship.
9. Baker Thief by Claudie Arsenault
Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker.
Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.
When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship.
Quoting the author, Baker Thief is meant to reframe romance tropes within non-romantic relationships and centring aromantic characters. This is not a typical romance.
This is an enemies-to-lovers romance between a police officer and a so-called thief. There is also magic and other fantasy elements with very interesting world-building.
The book fully goes into aromantics being in relationships and the feelings surrounding that. There’s a lot of focus on gender fluidity as well.
On-page representation: Allosexual aromantic genderfluid main character, demisexual main character, agender, non-binary and other queer supporting characters.
Steam level: None.
10. On The Square by Brenda Murphy
Dropped from her television show after a very public split with her cheating ex, celebrity chef Mai Li wants nothing more than to reopen her parents’ shuttered restaurant and make a fresh start in her former hometown. So what if twenty years of neglect has left the building in need of a major renovation?
Seduced by Mai’s charm and determination, hard-edged contractor Dale Miller agrees to take on her renovation project.
After a spring storm causes significant damage to the building and renovation costs exceed Mai’s budget, Dale offers her a deal, but is it a price Mai is willing to pay?
This is a small-town butch-femme lesbian single parent romance with a softer butch character! As my first lesbian romance with main characters older than college students, it was really nice.
One of the main characters is a single mom with three sons, so that was new as well! I really liked how family played into the romance. There is slow relationship growth which took the family into account too. Loved that.
On-page queer representation: Lesbian main characters.
Steam level: High.
11. Sweethand by N. G. Peltier
After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.
When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.
Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.
Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.
When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.
Sweethand is a dislike-to-love romance in a dreamy setting. If you like messy characters who have history to get over in order to fall in love, this is the book for you. There is banter, food descriptions that will make you drool, and supporting characters you will love.
On-page queer representation: bisexual male lead.
Steam level: Average.
12. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
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.
Honestly, The Boyfriend Material is kind of a staple queer adult romance to read. It is popular and totally worth the hype.
This opposites-attract fake-dating romance has ALL of the expected feels in store, and more. Luc and Oliver think that they do not make sense for each other but they clearly do. Watching their relationship bloom is an experience.
One of my favourite parts of the book is the queer friend group. They are GOALS and I wish I was a part of the group.
On-page queer representation: gay leads, queer supporting characters.
Steam level: Average.
13. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.
Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever Afterexpects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.
As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.
Imagine The Bachelor but, by the end, everyone turns out to be queer. That is The Charm Offensive. It is a romance between the “bachelor of the season” Charlie who is NOT like most men in limelights and his stage manager Dev. Dev is cute, chaotic, and full of life. Their romance is rife with chemistry and the best getting-to-know-each-other timelines.
The setting is dramatic and interesting, the characters are messy and endearing, and the romance is swoony. Pick this up!
On-page queer representation: gay men as leads, lesbian supporting characters.
Steam level: Average.
14. Before You Say I Do by Clare Lydon
What happens if you fall for your bridesmaid?
Abby Porter has a high-flying job and the perfect fiancé in Marcus Montgomery.
But Abby’s world turns on its head when he hires a professional bridesmaid to help her in the run-up to the wedding. When Abby meets Jordan, she can hardly breathe.
Marcus is oblivious.
The wedding is weeks away.
Now, the only question is: will Abby make it to the altar?
The concept of Before You Say I Do is one that will happen only with a queer romance. A bride and her fake bridesmaid fall in love! Doesn’t that sound amazing? Of course, things get messy and people get duped but that is the charm of this book.
I loved the main characters. Seeing them fall in love, and seeing Abby accept that she is lesbian, was a lovely journey. I was rooting for Abby and Jordan so hard.
On-page queer representation: lesbian leads.
Steam level: Average.
15. The Bachelor’s Valet by Arden Powell
Alphonse Hollyhock is blessed with wealth, class, and more beauty than brains. Though he hasn’t got a lick of wit or magic to his name, he’s perfectly content living life as an airheaded bachelor with his valet—the clever, unflappable Jacobi—by his side to ensure everything runs smoothly. All he lacks, according to his mother, is a wife.
Despite Alphonse’s protests, he’s to marry Aaliyah Kaddour: a bright, headstrong young woman who would probably be charming company if she didn’t threaten everything about Alphonse’s way of life. Marrying means giving up his fashionable flat, his fast car, and, worst of all, it means losing Jacobi.
Perhaps most distressingly, this talk of marriage is bringing all sorts of confusing feelings to the forefront. Because rather than falling for the beautiful girl being pushed into his arms, Alphonse seems to be falling for his valet. Except a man can’t fall in love with another man. Can he?
Meanwhile, Aaliyah has plans of her own. She’s as devious as she is pretty, but if Alphonse wants to get through this marriage business in one piece, he’ll have to trust her. Her and Jacobi, and, most dangerously, his own feelings.
The Bachelor’s Valet is a delightful, chaotic, queer adult romance book with LOADS of yearning. The book’s main character is a rich, oblivious gay who PINES for his smart and proper valet. This is also a highly underrated romance book that deserves way more attention.
If you want an entertaining book, read this. If you want a funny book, read this. If you want a comfort book, read this.
On-page queer representation: gay leads, lesbian supporting characters.
Steam level: None.
16. 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…
If you like romances where the character bond over the internet or written correspondences, this is a great one. The main characters are absolutely nerdy and fall in love with each other’s brains through the internet. But in real life, they start off on the wrong foot.
It has flawed characters who learn and grow and apologize. I really like how the book dealt with femininity in STEM through the main character without using them being trans as a point. Also, the female lead is absolutely awesome and you should read this book for her.
On-page queer representation: trans main character.
Steam level: average.
some more queer adult romance books
Have you read all of these and are craving more? Here are some extra queer adult romance books that you can check out:
- Hold Me by Courtney Milan
- Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
- Red, White and Royal Blue by Casie McQuiston
- Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
- Keep me Close by R. M. Virtues
- Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake