49 Steamy Romance Novels You Need to Add to Your TBR Immediately
We love an addictive page-turner. A book you simply can't put down that ends up stained with coffee and torn up from the beach wind. Sexy romance novels are a great option for any season, not just because of their inherent steaminess but also because they're fun — and who doesn't want a bit more fun in their life? The right romance novels can inspire you to fantasize about far-off time periods or give you a few ideas for how to spice things up in your own life (or both), but one thing's for sure: they'll definitely hold your attention.
The following list of spicy books has options for everyone: the "Fifty Shades of Grey" fanatics, the traditional romance novel fans, those of us who enjoy a good enemies-to-lovers twist, and readers who spend their days stalking BookTok for their next erotic fiction read. Whether you're partial to tear-jerking and heart-wrenching star-crossed-love stories or interested in a compelling, super-sexy read but would prefer to start off with something, ahem, closer to the lighthearted and sweet end of the spectrum, trust that there's something here for you. One thing all these books have in common, though, is they all feature truly great writing, examine sensuality in innovative ways, and will make you want to buy all the novels ahead ASAP.
Keep scrolling for our picks of must-read sexy books.
— Additional reporting by Alexis Stackhouse and Sabienna Bowman
"Before I Let Go" by Kennedy Ryan
Kennedy Ryan's "Before I Let Go" is the definition of true love always prevails. This somber romance novel follows the story of Yasmen and Josiah, soulmates and parents of three who thought their marriage would last forever until two tragic family losses forced them to divorce. The book picks up years after their split when Yasmen finally gets back on her feet after losing their youngest son mid-pregnancy. Just when the divorcees find themselves getting over their painful breakup, old feelings and wounds resurface — and one steamy night alone in a hotel turns their worlds (and love lives) upside down. If you're looking for a scorching novel to get lost in and rattle your heart, Ryan's powerhouse book is definitely one to add to your reading list.
"The Perfect Find" by Tia Williams
Before Tia Williams gifted us the riveting "Seven Days in June" (more on that ahead), she wrote an equally captivating novel about the bounds of forbidden love. In "The Perfect Find," 40-something fashionista Jenna tries to pick up the pieces of her life after a nervous breakdown and ugly breakup run her out of New York City. Amid her comeback era, she begins a fling with a young man named Eric, though unbeknownst to her, he's her new coworker at their fashion outlet — and also the son of her arch enemy and boss, Darcy. What transpires between the two is the ultimate workplace entanglement — complete with sneaky office hookups and rounds of hot (and we do mean hot) sex in their lovers' nest — as they collaborate on their brainchild, the "Perfect Find" series. But what happens when their addictive romance becomes too powerful to hide? Trust us, you won't want to put this sexy page-turner down until you find out.
Don't forget to watch the film adaptation with Gabrielle Union and Keith Powers if you want to see some steamy scenes come to life.
"King of Wrath" by Ana Huang
If you loved Ana Huang's Twisted series, you'll love Kings of Sin as well — her series of seven standalone, yet interconnected, books following seven billionaires who are all guilty of one of the seven deadly sins. Each of their worlds is rocked when love gets in the way of business.
The series kicks off with "King of Wrath," which follows billionaire CEO Dante Russo, who's blackmailed by Francis Lau, the CEO of Lau Jewels, into an arranged marriage with his unsuspecting heiress daughter, Vivian. Although Dante — who hates not having control of any situation — has every intention of breaking off the engagement as soon as he can get rid of the dirt Francis has on him, he soon finds himself inexplicably drawn to Vivian. As Dante's wrath draws him closer to getting revenge on Vivian's father, he must decide whether revenge is worth ruining the deep (not to mention steamy) connection he's built with Vivian.
"Dirty Talk" by Lauren Landish
"Dirty Talk" centers on Derrick "The Love Whisperer" King, a radio host who gives sex advice, and one of his listeners, Katrina Snow. After her boyfriend cheats on her, Katrina calls into Derrick's show, and they have an instant connection. They slowly get to know each other off the air, embarking on a sensual adventure that turns into a true old-fashioned romance while Katrina finally learns how to own her sexuality. Lauren Landish's novel is perfect for lovers of old-fashioned romance in wolf's clothing.
The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy Box Set by Anne Rice
Now considered a book series that was ahead of its time — and a precursor to "Fifty Shades of Grey" — Anne Rice's The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy is tinged with BDSM and kink, set in a medieval fantasy world. First published in 1983, the book reimagines Beauty's age-old tale with an erotic, liberated twist, describing female sexuality in a way that was almost unheard of at the time. In the first novel, Beauty is awakened from her famous hundred-year sleep by the Prince, but, uh . . . it's not exactly with just a kiss.
"Her Aussie Holiday" by Stefanie London
So about that beach read — this novel is a perfect sexcapade-meets-romance summer read, centering on the protagonist, Cora Cabot, who lands in Australia after house swapping with a friend for the summer. The catch? Her friend's brother is staying in the house, too, and both would have preferred some privacy. But things begin to change after games of beach cricket, beer, and late-night cooking. "Her Aussie Holiday" by Stefanie London is a true sizzling summer romance that will have you exploring house-swap options yourself.
"King of Wall Street" by Louise Bay
For those who are interested in a truly steamy option, this is the one. "King of Wall Street" by Louise Bay revolves around a high-profile Wall Street banker who quickly falls for new junior researcher Harper Jayne. He's a power-hungry single dad who mostly cares about winning, and she's passionate, angsty, and ambitious. As their worlds collide, sparks fly both in and out of the boardroom.
"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon
Now a Starz series by the same name, "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon is a time-traveling fantasy series that spans two different time periods and two different lovers. Claire Randall, a World War II nurse from 1945, is transported to 1743 Scotland when she touches a boulder in an ancient ruin. As she learns to defend herself in a new land, she also falls in love with Scottish soldier James Fraser, who is adventurous yet innocent, strong yet sweet. Pro tip: watch the series, too. You'll go for the real-life history blended with magic and fantasy but stay for the spellbinding sensuality.
"Beauty and the Billionaire" by Lauren Landish
Another winner by romance-novel master Lauren Landish, "Beauty and the Billionaire" tells the story of Thomas Goldstone, a billionaire in custom-tailored suits and with a steely smile, whose demons make him both arrogant and controlling. But his employee Mia, a pink-haired data analyst who is a self-considered geek, slowly spots signs of a heart of gold hiding underneath it all. A dirty fairy tale that mixes business with pleasure, romance with definite twists, you won't be able to put it down.
"Dating-ish" by Penny Reid
For anyone interested in a mix of rom-com and sweet sensuality that has incredible fireworks bubbling beneath the surface, "Dating-ish" by Penny Reid is the perfect solution. Journalist Marie Harris is so fed up with online dating that she considers paid services to replace all the "pros" of having a boyfriend: professional cuddlers, life coaches, and more. But then a past, very bad date resurfaces in techie Matt, and it turns out that beneath his apathetic exterior there is just so much more than meets the eye. "Dating-ish" is the sixth book in Reid's Knitting in the City series but can also be read as a stand-alone book (although they're all great reads).
"Craving" by Helen Hardt
As the first book of the Steel Brothers Saga by Helen Hardt, "Craving" is a tale that centers on Jade Roberts as she heads to her best friend's Colorado ranch seeking comfort after being left at the altar. She is immediately attracted to Talon Steel, her friend's brother, a fragile yet strong cowboy who is emotionally broken from childhood trauma. As he brings passion into her life, a terrifying, roller-coaster love story blossoms.
"Call Me by Your Name" by André Aciman
Fan of the critically acclaimed movie "Call Me by Your Name"? And by that we mean, are you still completely heartbroken, in love with everything Italy, and obsessed with Timothée Chalamet after watching it? Then it's time to try the 2007 novel by André Aciman that inspired it. It is everything the film is and possibly even more.
"A Sport and a Pastime" by James Salter
A classic work of erotic fiction where the prose is just as good as the sex scenes, this book is for anyone who's interested in erotic literature but doesn't want to sacrifice the intellectual appeal of a great novel. This 1967 novel by James Salter is OG erotic fiction, and it really is a classic for a reason. Set in provincial France in the 1960s, "A Sport and a Pastime" traces the passionate romance of a Yale dropout and a French girl, and it's perfect for Francophiles.
"Fling" by Jana Aston
As the third installment of Jana Aston's Wrong series, "Fling" is perfect for those interested in something short and sweet. At just 80 pages, this novella is still as gripping and fully formed as a full-length novel and deeply dives into the characters' psyches. Tracing the budding chemistry between a woman and her boss's best friend, Gabe Laurent, it's sexy in a very "off-limits" way.
"A Wish Upon Jasmine" by Laura Florand
Bestselling author Laura Florand followed up the first book of her La Vie en Roses series with "A Wish Upon Jasmine," which explores the romance between Jasmin Bianchi, a famous perfumer, and Damien, a wealthy, merciless businessman. After a night of passion, Jasmin finds out Damien stole her company, and a story of pure heat, love, and hate ensues.
"The Wedding Date" by Jasmine Guillory
A book that New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay referred to as "a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel . . . one of the best books I've read in a while," "The Wedding Date" by Jasmine Guillory follows Alexa Monroe as she agrees to go to a wedding with Drew Nichols, a guy she got stuck on an elevator with. They have more fun than they ever thought possible as a fake couple and soon enter a crash course in long-distance dating . . . if only they can stay on track.
"Act Your Age, Eve Brown" by Talia Hibbert
"Act Your Age, Eve Brown" is a heartwarming, witty, and incredibly steamy novel that follows a charmingly volatile young woman named Eve and an uptight bed-and-breakfast owner as their worlds collide — quite literally. Riddled with passion, humor, excitement, and heartbreak, this story will take you on a wild ride you'll need to fasten your seatbelts for.
"The Unhoneymooners" by Christina Lauren
A sexy beach read for anyone who has felt unlucky in love, "The Unhoneymooners" by Christina Lauren is equal parts hilarious, sentimental, and sexy. It's basically the perfect rom-com. Olive Torres is the "unlucky twin" in comparison to her sister Ami, who makes Olive her maid of honor at her wedding. Soon enough, her absolute nemesis Ethan, the best man at the wedding, is winning a free honeymoon. They call a truce and decide to split the prize, and the romance that suddenly appears for them in Maui, HI, takes everyone by storm, making Olive think she might be pretty lucky after all.
"Off the Clock" by Roni Loren
Roni Loren's third book from her A Pleasure Principle series, "Off the Clock" is, like, really sexy. Perfect for those interested in true erotica, this book explores the contrast between studying sex and well, having it. Marin Rush is a researcher at a sex therapy institute with no, ahem, hands-on experience in the field, so her new colleague, Dr. Donovan West, takes matters into his own hands, so to speak. It is quite the page turner.
"The Name of the Game" by Jennifer Dawson
As book three of the Something New series, Jennifer Dawson's "The Name of the Game" tells the story of a baker named Gracie Roberts and James Donovan, a professor of forensic anthropology and self-classified "reasonable" person. The dynamic between responsibility and adventure, health and indulgence, and discipline and pleasure are all examined in this book that is funny, smart, and sensual.
"While We Were Dating" by Jasmine Guillory
"While We Were Dating" is a sizzling rom-com that tells the story of Ben, an agent at an advertising company, and Anna Gardiner, an esteemed movie star, who try their best to keep their relationship with one another professional. As life would have it though, their harmless, flirty dynamic takes a turn for the serious after the two address a family emergency together. This novel creates a dreamy universe with glitz and glamour, intensely high levels of chemistry, and romantic twists and turns. Not to mention, there's an added layer of depth that focuses on normalizing mental health!
"The Dating Plan" by Sara Desai
Daisy, who's much more dedicated to her work than the prospect of a man, decides to ask her childhood crush, Liam, to act as a decoy fiancé to get her matchmaking relatives off her back. What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, when Liam finds out that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he sees Daisy as the solution to his problem. Though sparks may fly between them, this roller coaster of a relationship makes "The Dating Plan" an outrageous, heartwarming, and truly sexy read.
"Accidentally Engaged" by Farah Heron
With a passion for baking and parents who consistently try to hook her up with potential husbands, Reena decides to take one of her parents' selections up on their offer — for the sole purpose of entering a couples' cooking competition with a once-in-a-lifetime prize. "Accidentally Engaged" is a captivating read that's equal parts sweet and spicy.
"One Last Stop" by Casey McQuiston
"One Last Stop" chronicles the story of August, a cynical 20-something who's simply trying to get by in NYC, as she pieces together that Jane — the subway crush she encounters on her daily commute — is literally displaced in time. This dreamy, thoughtful, swoon-worthy novel is definitely more on the romantic end of the spectrum, but don't worry; it's also very sexy.
"Second First Impressions" by Sally Thorne
"Second First Impressions" is a hilarious, sexy, and compelling read. The story follows 24-year-old Ruthie, who is fully committed to her job at a retirement village and doesn't make much time for anything outside of work. When seemingly-selfish rich kid Teddy joins the retirement village staff, Ruthie is less than impressed. But Teddy may just surprise her.
"Take the Lead" by Alexis Daria
A reality dance competition sparks real chemistry between the leads in Alexis Daria's spicy rom-com "Take the Lead." After four seasons on "The Dance Off," Gina Morales is ready to win. Thankfully, she has been paired with Stone Nielson, the star of an Alaskan wilderness show, who also happens to have serious moves on the dance floor. However, when the producers reveal they want the gorgeous duo to engage in a showmance, neither of them want any part in their plan. However, the more they dance together, the clearer it becomes to everyone that there's nothing fake about the chemistry that's brewing between them.
"The Ex Talk" by Rachel Lynn Solomon
"The Ex Talk" is an innovative, sexy take on the standard "forced proximity" love story. When a struggling radio station needs a new show concept, co-workers Shay and Dominic, who already don't like each other, are forced to pretend that they're exes who deliver relationship advice to listeners on the air. The show grows in popularity, and the co-hosts' relationships begins to develop into something much more than what meets the eye (or ear, in this case); however, they're playing a very dangerous game in an industry that values truth.
"The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang
Violinist Anna Sun finds herself burned out and struggling in her career. Throw in the fact that her longtime boyfriend has just announced he wants an open relationship, and that's enough for a fed-up, emotionally exhausted Anna to embark on a string of one-night stands. After an attempted one-night stand with a certified bad boy (or so she thought) turns into something more, Anna's confronted with a series of life events that may just be more than she can handle. "The Heart Principle" is a heartfelt, vulnerable romance story with more twists and turns than you can imagine — undeniably hot and [emotionally] heavy.
"The Soulmate Equation" by Christina Lauren
Jess, a single mom and numbers-fanatic, has no desire to step foot in the dating world. That is until GeneticAlly — a trendy new matchmaking service that bases compatibility off of DNA –– gives her more confidence in the whole thing. Her test shows a wildly high percentage of compatibility with a man she already knows and, in fact, strongly dislikes. Though Jess is skeptical, she's in no position to turn down the money the company's offering her to simply try getting to know him, so she goes for it. Is there more to the science behind a soulmate than she thought? Start reading "The Soulmate Equation" today, and you won't regret the wild journey it takes you on in finding out the answer.
"A Dash of Salt and Pepper" by Kosoko Jackson
Cooking is undeniably sexy. Just ask the characters in Kosoko Jackson's slow simmer romance "A Dash of Salt and Pepper." First up, there's Xavier Reynolds, whose life has fallen apart so spectacularly, he has to return to his small hometown to work as a prep chef. Then there's Logan O'Hare, the owner of the restaurant where Xavier is reluctantly working, and a single dad who is doing his best to keep the kitchen running smoothly. The two men couldn't be more different in their attitudes or the way they approach life, but after spending a little bit of time together, it becomes clear that they're better suited than either of them could have ever imagined.
"Full Exposure" by Thien-Kim Lam
Set against the backdrop of Mardi Gras, "Full Exposure" by Thien-Kim Lam is an atmospheric, super hot, and delightful read. Josie Parks is a boudoir photographer who never takes vacations. But when she loses her inspiration to take photos, she heads to the Big Easy for a little rest and rejuvenation. It's here that she quite literally collides with Spencer Pham, a man who is working on a documentary about his family's role as the first Vietnamese Mardi Gras krewe. The two artists quickly strike up a romance, but they can't help but wonder if they'll still make sense once Mardi Gras comes to an end.
"The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen" by KJ Charles
"The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen" is a swoony, LGBTQ+ regency romance. Gareth Inglis has led a lonely life full of heartbreaks, and his fortune doesn't look like it's changing when his father dies, leaving him a massive house in the dangerous area known as the Marsh. Enter Joss Doomsday, the head of a dangerous smuggling clan, and Gareth's ex. When Joss finds out Gareth is set to testify against his sister, he decides it's time to reintroduce himself to his former lover. And while things are tense at first, it doesn't take long for old sparks to rekindle.
"Honey and Spice" by Bolu Babalola
Bolu Babalola's debut novel will blow you away. Not only does "Honey and Spice" more than live up to its title, it's also an evocative story of a Black British woman discovering true love for the first time. Kiki Banjo is an expert at guarding her heart. She doesn't do relationships, and she wants the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University to follow her lead. But when she kisses a man she once dubbed "The Wastemen of Whitewell," she has to enter a fake relationship with him to preserve her reputation.
"Twisted Love" by Ana Huang
Ana Huang is another author who is a perennial TikTok favorite. "Twisted Love" illustrates why she's a become a must-buy among steamy romance fans with its complicated characters and perfectly crafted sex scenes. Alex Volkov isn't a nice man. He's ruthless, power hungry, and never satisfied with his life. But when he takes care of his best friend's little sister, Ava Chen, his ice cold heart suddenly begins to melt.
"An Extraordinary Union" by Alyssa Cole
Alyssa Cole's "An Extraordinary Union" is a powerful, historical romance that focuses on former slave-turned-spy Elle Burns. When she meets Malcolm McCall, a Pinkerton agent who is on an undercover mission to infiltrate a rebel enclave, her life changes forever. Together, they uncover a plot that could change the tide of the Civil War. Soon, these two undercover agents are working side-by-side, and falling hopelessly in love with one another along the way.
"Ice Planet Barbarians" by Ruby Dixon
If you're just beginning to dip your toe into the erotic romance genre, then this is not the book for you. Everyone else, prepare to become obsessed with "Ice Planet Barbarians." In this wild and next-level sexy book, Georgie Carruthers is abducted by aliens who take her to an icy and inhospitable planet. Once there, she takes it upon herself to help them survive by enlisting the assistance of a blue horned alien named Vektal, who declares her his mate.
"Seven Days in June" by Tia Williams
This stunning book is both beautifully written and full of scorching hot scenes. In "Seven Days in June," single mom and erotica writer Eva Mercy reconnects with award-winning writer Shane Hall at a literary event. No one knows they once spent a magical week together as teens, and they decide to keep it that way. But after the event, they discover the spark between them has only grown now that they're adults, and they decide to devote themselves to getting reacquainted during seven steamy days (and nights) in Brooklyn.
"Hooked" by Emily McIntire
You'll never look at your favorite fairy tales the same way after diving into Emily McIntire's Never After series. While all of her books are dark and sexy, "Hooked" is a standout for the way it completely upends the classic "Peter Pan" story. In this tale, Hook is James, a man who will stop at nothing to destroy his enemy, Peter. That includes using Peter's 20-year-old daughter Wendy to hurt him. However, what James never expected is that he would find himself falling for Wendy for real.
"Ana María and The Fox" by Liana De La Rosa
Liana De La Rosa's historical romance novel "Ana María and The Fox" is downright enchanting. Powerful heiress Ana María Luna Valdés is sent to London during the French occupation of Mexico for her own safety. Now she's getting her first taste of freedom as she enters London's society scene and meets Parliament member Gideon Fox. At first, Gideon does his best to stay away from the heiress who is turning heads in every ballroom she walks into, but then a nobleman with dangerous intentions begins to pursue her. Gideon quickly realizes he has no choice but to protect Ana María by offering her his hand.
"It Ends With Us" by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is the queen of BookTok for a reason: she's a master at mixing heartbreaking romances with so-hot-they'll-make-you-swoon sex scenes. "It Ends With Us" might just be her most popular book to date. The story follows Lily, a woman who built her business from scratch after college, and her distant neurosurgeon boyfriend, Ryle. Just as Lily and Ryle are starting to share their complicated histories with each other, her ex and first love, Atlas, reenters her life and leaves her questioning everything.
"The Love Hypothesis" by Ali Hazelwood
Scientists discovering their very real chemistry via a fake-dating relationship? Yes, please! "The Love Hypothesis" takes readers inside the labs of third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith, and professor Adam Carlsen. When Olive impulsively kisses Adam to convince her best friend that she has a boyfriend, she doesn't expect him to go along with her plan. However, that's exactly what the arrogant scientist does. From there it doesn't take long for their fake romance to blossom into a real one.
"Secretly Yours" by Tessa Bailey
The cover may be cute, but no one does rom-com spiciness quite as flawlessly as Tessa Bailey. In "Secretly Yours," Hallie Welch gets a second chance at wooing her childhood crush whom she almost kissed when she was 14. Unfortunately for Hallie, the once irresistible Julian Vos is now a stuffy professor who also happens to be her complete opposite. From the moment he moves back to town, the unlikely pair clash, but all of that fighting is just a front for some serious sexual tension that's begging to be resolved.
"Things We Never Got Over" by Lucy Score
Lucy Score's mixes small town tropes with steaminess to create unforgettable romance novels like, "Things We Never Got Over," the first book in her Knockemout series. Score introduces readers to the town of Knockemout via Naomi, a runaway bride, who comes to her twin sister's rescue only to end up taking care of her 11-year-old niece when her sister ditches them both. It's there that Naomi meets perpetual loner Knox. Soon Knox and Naomi find themselves breaking down all of the barriers they've built up to keep people at bay as they discover they simply can't stay away from each other.
"Neon Gods" by Katee Robert
"Neon Gods" is hot as hell. The modern day retelling of Persephone and Hades wastes no time in turning up the steam as Persephone Dimitri leaves everything behind after her mother forces her to become engaged to Zeus. Instead of marrying a man she doesn't love, Persephone heads to the undercity where she makes a dangerous bargain with Hades — a man who is awfully irresistible for someone who isn't supposed to exist.
"People We Meet On Vacation" by Emily Henry
In this New York Times Bestseller, Alex and Poppy — two drastically different ex-best friends — decide to go on a vacation together in hopes of restoring a once-happy friendship. With feelings left unsaid between the two and a burning desire to make things right, "People We Meet on Vacation" is a relatable whirlwind of emotion, adventure, and (of course) romance.
"Unmasked by the Marquess" by Cat Sebastian
Perfect for lovers of the traditional romance genre, "Unmasked by the Marquess" by Cat Sebastian is the first book in her series, The Regency Impostors. It's the tale of a housemaid named Charity Church who hides her true self with the ultimate masquerade: pretending to be Robert Selby, a rich man looking to find a match for his sister. Then she meets Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, and the rest is history . . . but nothing is what it seems.
"Headliners" by Lucy Parker
The ultimate enemies-to-lovers romance, "Headliners" by Lucy Parker is about two feuding TV presenters who are forced to host a live morning show together, much to their chagrin. Set in London, both Sabrina and Nick find themselves falling for each other, and their intense hatred soon turns into a whole different kind of passion.
"The Bride Test" by Helen Hoang
Helen Hoang's novel "The Bride Test" is another romantic novel that's more rom-com than total eroticism, but is still really sexy in a sweet way. Khai Diep thinks he has no feelings due to his autism, which makes him process his emotions differently. Then his mother goes to Vietnam to find him a bride, and she returns with Esme Tran, who's always felt out of place. She becomes smitten with Khai, but he can never truly return her affection. But soon enough, they find there are different ways of loving. This is great for anyone interested in a totally unique story within the romance genre.
"Someone Like You" by Lauren Layne
Part of the bestselling Oxford series, Lauren Layne's novel "Someone Like You" follows the romance between Lincoln Mathis and Daisy Sinclair, and it's full of witty back-and-forth banter. As New York's most-eligible bachelor and playboy, Lincoln hides a tragedy from his past that traumatized him. Daisy, a bridesmaid he meets at his best friend's wedding who just went through a terrible divorce, falls under his spell. As they both heal and destroy each other, they realize they will be entwined forever.