Genre Guide: Romance

Key Titles

Bet Me

by Jennifer Crusie
Bet Me is a modern Cinderella story of mistaken impressions, chaos theory, and doughnuts. When Min overhears a bar bet—involving her!—between her ex and another man, she responds with her own simple plan for revenge. But thwarted by fate, which seems determined to throw her together with Cal—acknowledged player and participant in the infamous bet—Min finds herself falling for the enemy. This is a smart and funny romantic comedy that ranks high on many romance aficionados’ all-time favorites lists.

Fifty Shades of Grey

by E.L. James
College student Anastasia Steele is just filling in for her friend and roommate when she meets and interviews powerful businessman Christian Grey, and it turns out to be a highly awkward and embarrassing experience. But when Christian seeks her out on her home turf then warns her away, Ana can't help but be intrigued by the undeniable attraction they share. Soon, Ana learns that any relationship with Christian will be far different from her expectations, as he has a taste for bondage, dominance, and punishment—and Ana must decide if she can be the submissive he needs.

Lord of Scoundrels

by Loretta Chase
Jessica Trent arrives in Paris determined to save her brother from the influence of the infamous Marquess of Dain. Dain mocks her, infuriates her—and attracts her, despite her better judgment. Meanwhile Dain is equally baffled by his feelings for the strong-willed Jessica. These two have some epic clashes in their journey, and Dain’s difficult past provides an additional obstacle.


by Diana Gabaldon
THE quintessential time-travel romance, Outlander introduces Claire, a married World War II nurse, and Jaime Fraser, a young soldier in 1743 Scotland. With the discovery of an ancient stone, Claire finds herself suddenly in a past where the Scottish clans are embroiled in a bitter fight against her husband’s unsavory English ancestor. Believing she will never again return to her own time, Claire teams up with Jamie to fight against the unscrupulous Englishman and to forge a new life for herself.

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen
Probably Austen's best-loved work, this is the classic tale of five sisters and their mother’s desire to get them married. Of course, the book centers around spirited Elizabeth’s romance with the taciturn Mr. Darcy.

Contemporary Romance

Crazy for You

by Jennifer Crusie
When her live-in boyfriend takes her new puppy to the pound, it is the last straw for high school art teacher Quinn McKenzie. Tired of always doing what’s expected of her, Quinn decides it’s time to shake things up a bit. Pretty soon, the entire town is in an uproar, including Nick, Quinn’s good friend—and ex-brother-in-law.

Flat-Out Sexy

by Erin McCarthy
Single mother Tamara Briggs is not looking for love from NASCAR driver Elec Monroe. Even after an impulsive night of passion, she thinks he’s too young and worries about his dangerous job—the same job that killed her late husband. Then there’s the complicated history between her late husband’s family and Elec’s. This is a fast-paced, sexy read with heart. This is the first book in the Fast Track series.

A Place to Call Home

by Deborah Smith
As children, Claire (the feisty, protected daughter of the town’s leading families) and Roan (the withdrawn son of the town drunk) had a bond that no one else in their small town understood. When they were separated by a near tragedy, neither was able to let go. Twenty years later, they are reunited, but family obligations and secrets from the past threaten their relationship.

Smooth Talking Stranger

by Lisa Kleypas
Living a life of pleasure and zero commitments, millionaire Texas playboy Jack Travis confronts responsibility for the first time in his life when an enraged aunt and the abandoned infant of one of Jack's former lovers appears on his doorstep.

Something About You

by Julie James
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde isn’t happy to be relegated to the role of witness in a high-profile murder investigation, and things go from bad to worse when she discovers that Special Agent Jack Pallas is assigned to the case. Now the man who blames her for nearly ruining his career three years ago is in charge of her protection, and the tension is running high. This novel is full of James’s trademark witty banter, excellent secondary characters, and sizzling suspense.

This Heart of Mine

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
After Molly Summerville gives in to one of her rare (usually disastrous!) impulses, she finds herself stuck at a run-down resort with footballer Kevin Tucker for the summer. Phillips tackles some seriously touchy ethical and emotional issues in this one, but her deft humor and strong characterizations make for a fun and engaging read.

Virgin River

by Robyn Carr
When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees the ad for a doctor’s assistant in a remote mountain town, she quickly decides that Virgin River could be the perfect place to heal. But when she arrives, she discovers treacherous roads; a filthy, dumpy cottage; and a resistant, cantankerous doctor. She’s ready to give up on small-town life when a baby is left on the doctor’s doorstep. Melinda’s midwife instincts kick in and she agrees to stay until a home can be found for the infant. Meanwhile, Melinda gets to know some of the quirky characters of the tight-knit community, including former Marine Jack Sheridan, who has a knack for making Melinda smile again.

Erotic Romance

Bared to You

by Sylvia Day
Eva Trammel, plagued by her own insecurities, is drawn into an intense, obsessive relationship with the wealthy and arrogant Gideon Cross. This is the first title in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, which is a must-read for E.L. James fans. Sequels include Reflected in You and Entwined with You.

Behind Closed Doors

by Shannon McKenna
Seth Mackey has made it his mission to catch millionaire Victor Lazar, one of the men he holds responsible for his brother’s murder. Then he gets sidetracked by Lazar's girlfriend Raine Cameron, a woman with her own reasons to pursue Victor. This is a twisty, erotic tale of romantic suspense and the coming together of two damaged souls. Book one in the McCloud Brothers series.


by Megan Hart
A successful New York accountant, Elle embarks on a passionate love affair with a man she encounters in a candy store, but things become complicated when Dan begins to fall in love and Elle refuses to allow herself to feel anything for him but sexual attraction.

Wicked Burn

by Beth Kery
Rescuing his gorgeous neighbor from an overly aggressive suitor, Vic Savian embarks on a passionate, uninhibited love affair with Niall Chandler, until her past comes back to haunt her, threatening her growing love for Vic. This book gets off to a fast and steamy start, but deeper emotions and themes common to women’s fiction come into play later in the book.

Historical Romance

American West

Early Dawn

by Catherine Anderson
A broken engagement and damaging rumors lead a young woman to Colorado, but her journey is cut short when she is kidnapped by a group of outlaws. Matthew Coulter, still grieving and angered by his wife’s murder, witnesses the attack and takes action. Soon, they are both on the run for their lives.

For the Roses

by Julie Garwood
Mid-19th-century Montana comes to life in this beloved tale of family secrets, mismatched brothers, and a sister’s romance. When Mary Rose, the sheltered sister of four older brothers, meets up with an out-of-his-element Scotsman, she is determined to protect him from the dangers of America—never guessing that he is far more capable than he seems. He also carries a secret that could shatter her perceptions of herself and her family. This is a novel full of quiet humor, adventure, and family feeling.

Nobody's Darling

by Teresa Medieros
Esmeralda Fine plans to murder gunman Billy Darling when she reaches Calamity, New Mexico, but she meets a handsome outlaw and hires him to find her missing brother instead. This is a fun, adventurous Western romance.

The Outsider

by Penelope Williamson
Rachel Yoder, a religious young single mother in 1880s Montana, is struggling to keep her sheep ranch afloat. Then an injured gunfighter arrives on her doorstep, and Rachel nurses him back to health. An attraction develops, but Rachel is torn between her family and community and Cain, who is an outsider to her faith and insists his soul cannot be saved.

The Promise of Jenny Jones

by Maggie Osborne
When a desperate and dying mother takes Jenny Jones's place in front of a firing squad, Jenny, a female mule driver, agrees to personally shepherd the woman's hellion daughter to her father in California. The trip out of Mexico is hard enough even without the interference of the child’s uncle Ty, who is determined to deliver Graciela to his brother himself. This is an adventurous historical romance full of heart and humor.


The Bride

by Julie Garwood
At the request of the king, Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must wed an English bride. He chooses Jamie Jamison, a feisty young beauty who refuses to succumb to the barbarian she is forced to wed. Thus ensues an epic battle of wills and a passion that becomes undeniable.

A Kingdom of Dreams

by Judith McNaught
In this beloved medieval tale, an enterprising Scottish beauty is abducted from a convent and forced to marry her family’s enemy, the Duke of Claymore, aka “The Wolf.”. This is a perennial favorite of romance readers, full of heart-twinging moments before reaching the requisite happy ending.


Dreaming of You

by Lisa Kleypas
In regency England, a headstrong yet shy country bluestocking determined to become a writer meets up with the cynical proprietor of a gambling house. This romance-reader favorite is steeped in hard-fought emotions, betrayal, and redemption.

The Duke and I

by Julia Quinn
Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings, will stop at nothing to hold the matchmakers of the Ton at bay, even if it means pretending to be engaged to his best friend’s sister, Daphne Bridgerton. If you enjoy upbeat, historical romances with lots of humor and snappy dialog, Julia Quinn is a must-read author.

Goddess of the Hunt

by Tessa Dare
Lucy, headstrong and tomboyish, is in love (or so she believes) with her brother’s roguish pal Toby. Toby is toying with the idea of marrying Sophia, whom he believes to be the perfect, ladylike ideal. So in order to convince Toby that she’s his perfect match before it’s too late, Lucy naively decides to hone her seductive skills on Jeremy, another family friend whom she has always enjoyed needling. Throw in a few more characters, set them all up at a house party in pastoral England, and stir.


by Carolyn Jewel
Rather than ballrooms and gossip among the Ton, Indiscreet offers an exotic locale, kidnapping pashas, and a cross-dressing heroine, old-school style without the non-PC behavior from the hero. The characters are smart and dynamic, the prose lovely, and the dialog absorbing. A balance of external adventure and internal characterization make for a very satisfactory read.

A Kiss at Midnight

by Eloisa James
Miss Kate Daltry has no desire to pose as her silly stepsister at a ball, but her stepmother insists that Kate fill in for the spoiled Victoria, who cannot attend and must obtain the prince’s permission to wed. Kate reluctantly accedes, but the evening is a disaster as she and Prince Gabriel become enmeshed in a battle of wills and mutual dislike. That is, until a kiss at midnight changes everything.



by Ann Stuart
A ruthless aristocrat and member of a club for indulging carnal pleasures falls for an innocent, impoverished lady in this emotionally intense story of love and salvation. This is the first title in the House of Rohan series, which follows the passions of the notorious Rohan family from the Georgian period into the Victorian era.

Thief of Hearts

by Teresa Medeiros
After being kidnapped by Captain Doom, admiral’s daughter Lucinda Snow remains fascinated by her father’s mysterious nemesis. Combining regency ballrooms with high-seas adventures, this is a wonderful historical romp featuring secret identities and laugh-out-loud humor.


The Duke of Shadows

by Meredith Duran
Beginning in the colorful, tumultuous world of 1857 India and culminating in England four years later, this dark historical romance is made unforgettable by its gorgeous, evocative language and powerful imagery. Emma is is haunted by tragedy; already touched by tragedy when she meets Julian Sinclair, a social outcast due to his mixed British-Indian heritage. When the native Indian soldiers finally revolt against the occupying British army, Emma and Julian are bonded and then separated in the violent uprising.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

by Jennifer Ashley
Only recently released from the asylum to which he was committed as a child, Ian Mackenzie suffers from what modern readers may recognize as Asperger’s Syndrome. When widow Beth Ackerly first meets him, she is fascinated—and then so unsettled by their attraction that she runs off to Paris, Ian in hot pursuit. Their courtship is further impeded by the fact that Ian is suspected of multiple murders.

Secrets of a Summer Night

by Lisa Kleypas
In this first book one of Kleypas's popular Wallflowers series, four new friends in early Victorian England make a pact to help the others snag a husband. It should be a snap to find a weealthy, aristocratic husband for the beautiful Annabel, but Simon Hunt—a nouveau riche businessman who wants Annabel but refuses to consider marriage—is determined to foil their plans.

Paranormal Romance

Kiss of Midnight

by Lara Adrian
The Order is a band of formidable vampire warriors determined to protect humans and their own race from the Rogues who are feeding and killing indiscriminately. In book one, a human woman witnesses a Breed altercation outside of a dance club and Lucan Thorne must take her under his protection to keep her safe. Midnight Breed series #1.

Pleasure Unbound

by Larissa Ione
Demon-slayer Tayla Mancuso dreams of finding the ultimate passion and finally finds it in the person of Eidolon, the doctor who saves her life in a hospital run by demons in disguise. But to prove her loyalty to her peers, Tayla must betray her lover. This the first title in the Demonica series, which are steamy paranormal romantic suspense titles with plenty of action and well-developed relationships. There is also a spin-off series, Lords of Deliverance.

Romantic Suspense

Black Ice

by Anne Stuart
Chloe Underwood, an American book translator in Paris longing for some excitement, gets more than she bargains for when a new assignment immerses her in a deadly world of murder and illegal arms, forcing her to go into hiding with a broody, mysterious stranger.


by Julie Garwood
When a psychopath confesses his homicidal fantasies to a priest—the brother of the confessor’s obsession—the panicked priest calls in a childhood friend to protect this sister Laurant. The story focuses on FBI agent Nick Buchanan’s hunt for the creepy villain, but the romantic developments between Nick and Laurent and interesting secondary characters add depth. This is the first title in the Buchanan-Renard series; titles do not need to be read consecutively.

Naked in Death

by J.D. Robb
J.D. Robb’s In Death series offers a solid mystery, gritty settings, and spicy romance. The series begins with Naked in Death, in which New York City police lieutenant Eve Dallas first meets Roarke, a mysterious bad-boy multi-billionaire, while investigating a murder case.


by Linda Howard
Forced to relocate her once-flourishing camping and tour guide company after a new competitor comes to town, Angie Powell decides to organize one last trip into the wilderness before leaving town. But the trip turns unexpectedly treacherous, and Angie must battle nature, a killer, and her unwanted attraction to her rival if she plans to survive. This intense, fast-paced novel from the “Queen of Romantic Suspense” doesn’t disappoint.

Unsung Hero

by Suzanne Brockmann
Struggling to regain his memory after a near-fatal head injury, Navy SEAL Tom Paoletti must try to stop an international terrorist with the help of Dr. Kelly Ashton, his childhood girlfriend who is now all grown up. This is the first book in Brockmann's popular Troubleshooter series.

Time Travel

A Breath of Magic

by Teresa Medeiros
Accident-prone, wannabe witch Tabitha Lennox is stunned when she is suddenly ripped from a very precarious situation in seventeenth-century Massachusetts into the hurly-burly world of the twentieth century. There, she meets an intriguing billionaire who refuses to believe in magic.


by Beatriz Williams
Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson is mystified and intrigued when billionaire Julian Laurence begins pursuing her at first sight. But their love story is not an easy one: Julian seems to blow hot and cold despite their irresistible attraction, and he also seems to be keeping secrets. Interspersed with this tale are scenes from 1916, in which the modern-day Kate has somehow traveled to the past on a mission to find Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, who in modern times is a celebrated war poet and military officer.

If you would like to request that your favorite romance novel or author be considered for inclusion on this list, please e-mail Tracy at [email protected].

See Also:

BCPL Pathfinders & Author Guides

J.D. Robb
Nora Roberts

BCPL Pinterest Boards

50 Shades Readalikes