The 25 sexy contemporary romance novels on this list demonstrate that not all love stories are the same. They might share story elements that meet reader expectations, but they don’t follow a formula.
Each book celebrates the sensual aspect of a romantic relationship. However, the heat level can range from steamy to scorching. Depending on the author’s storytelling, the sexual attraction might be instantaneous or a slow burn.
All of the books listed have won at least one award from media outlets, booksellers or the Romance Writers of America.
Advanced Physical Chemistry by Susannah Nix
Can a nurturing woman who goes all-in with romantic relationships have a no-commitment fling? Penny thinks she can even when she has no empirical evidence to back up that hypothesis. But she’s determined to change her dating habits—and she really wants to explore the chemistry she has with Caleb, the hot barista she’s been crushing on. When she discovers that Caleb is leaving town in a month, she has to break out of her comfort zone and make up for lost time.
This delightful romantic comedy is written almost entirely in Penny’s point of view. Readers will love the funny and adorable heroine!
Bad Blood by M. Malone
Betrayed and humiliated by her ex-fiancé just moments before her wedding, Georgie is ready for some revenge sex. Not only will it help her get over the groom, but she might find out just how good sex can be. She wants one night with Jamie, her brother’s best friend who helped her escape her wedding, and then she’ll return to her prim and proper life.
Jamie is willing to risk everything for a secret affair with Georgie, but is he just a convenient man for her to indulge in some revenge sex? This novella is filled with a fast-paced story, fascinating characters and a romance about two people who can bring each other both happiness and hurt.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Minerva knows Calvin asked her to dinner to win a bet. There’s no chance of this date turning into something more but Min has her reasons to accept this no-risk proposition. Cal just wants peace and quiet but instead he finds Minerva. And yet, he’s reluctant to stay away from her. He wants something more with Min but he only takes a gamble on something he knows he can win. Minerva wants to believe she can have it all with Calvin but there’s no evidence to support it.
Bet Me is an offbeat romantic comedy about two cautious people who are surrounded by infatuated couples, weddings and fairytales. They think falling in love is the ultimate risk.
Between the Sheets by Molly O’Keefe
Shelby’s prim reputation is a cage that protects and confines her. It hides her dark side and it keeps people from getting too close. She’s not worried of getting hurt as much as hurting others. But Ty, the bad boy who just moved next door, doesn’t scare off easily. Shelby thought she could just have wild sex with Ty as a temporary escape, but he wants more. And the more she shows herself to him, the more he wants her.
Molly O’Keefe’s talent is stunning! She creates two characters weighed down from life and the biggest risk they can make is allowing someone to see beneath the facades. Readers will gobble up every moment of hope, pain and bittersweet beauty.
Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Conner is a grieving widower who is both comfortable and fed up with his loneliness. When his friend Felicity needs to temporarily move in with him, he starts having inconvenient feelings about her—and he’d rather be numb than feel anything. He doesn’t know if his desire for Liss has something to do with forced proximity or his years of celibacy, but he won’t act on these fantasies. He can’t wreck the friendship that has been his lifeline for so many years.
Brokedown Cowboy is an emotional and sexy western romance about a woman who has spent most of her life thinking she has to earn love and a man who understands the cost of love.
Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson
When Josie is invited to be a maid of honor for a horseback wedding, she accepts even though she has two big concerns. First, the best man is Jack, the wild cowboy she had dated before he abruptly dumped her. And second, she doesn’t know how to ride a horse! Jack offers to give her riding lessons as a chance to get over any awkwardness. He swears it’s not a step toward seduction but they can’t keep their hands off each other. Jack wants another chance but is she willing to open herself up to another fall?
This second chance love story offers readers a hot cowboy, a romantic western setting, and a persistent heroine who won’t settle for anything less than a love that will last a lifetime.
Count Valieri’s Prisoner by Sara Craven
Reminiscent of the Harlequin Presents from the 70s and 80s, Count Valieri’s Prisoner takes the reader into a mysterious world filled with illusion, secrets and intrigue. Maddie is weeks away from her wedding when she takes a work trip to Italy only to be kidnapped by the count. She’s taken because of her association with her future in-laws. Her fiancé’s delay in gaining her freedom is as stunning as the sexual desire she has for her captor. No matter how much she fights the attraction, Maddie knows she needs to escape before she succumbs to her enemy.
Written solely in Maddie’s point of view, Count Valieri is just as enigmatic to the reader as he is to the heroine. The author creates a memorable love story.
Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe
Maddy, a host for a popular morning TV show, is known for her cool professionalism and poise under pressure. Until Billy, her ex-husband and hockey’s bad boy, appears on her show for a month-long makeover segment. Billy wants a second chance and this is his opportunity to fight for her.
This sexy love story is about regrets, reinvention and second chances. Deep down, Maddy and Billy are fighters. Not only did they fight for their dreams that got them out of their old neighborhood, but they used to fight each other’s battles. Now anger defines them and it’s going to take more than love and old loyalties to bring them together.
Doukakis’s Apprentice by Sarah Morgan
Polly and Damon are pitted against each other as they protect their families in this revenge romance. While the two are polar opposites, it becomes clear that they both will do anything to take care of their own. Damon’s protective instincts might go overboard but there are times when Polly wishes she had him in her corner. The fast-paced romance is set in sophisticated and luxurious locations but the real draw is the verbal sparring between the billionaire and his beautiful adversary.
First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Cooper is a retired football player who is still driven to win in any situation. Piper is a private investigator trying to prove herself and can never back down. She’s hired to follow Cooper but soon she finds herself protecting him from harm, sabotage and zealous fans. Their relationship is shaped by challenge and competition when they need to work as a team. First Star I See Tonight is a steamy and fun read. When Cooper and Piper are together, the sparks fly as fast as the wisecracks.
Insatiable by Leslie Kelly
Damien spent the wildest one-night stand with Viv, not realizing this sexy stranger had been fired from one of his offices that day for being a “distraction” to her male colleagues. He wants to take care of her and make things right, but deep down Viv doesn’t think she’s good enough for Damien. Maybe good enough for a brief fling, but she’s not the kind of woman he could care about. And when she discovers he’s the CEO of her company, she has to wonder if Damien swept her off her feet to keep her in line.
If you love bad girl heroines and the strong heroes who challenge and encourage them to go wilder, then you need to read this hot and vibrant romance.
The Nanny Plan by Sarah M. Anderson
Nate is a tech billionaire and instant father to his orphaned niece. He desperately needs help and hires Trish, a woman who has raised her brothers and sisters from a young age. They seemingly have nothing in common, but everything feels right in the world when they’re together.
The heat level in this story is a slow burn. Nate is considered the most eligible bachelor but a past betrayal makes him reluctant to date. Trish understands the consequences from passion and she doesn’t want to become physically intimate with anyone—until she meets Nate.
A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan
Snowbound in his English castle on the anniversary of a personal tragedy, Lucas is in a dangerous mood when his plucky assistant Emma shows up. There has never been any sexual attraction between them but everything changes in just one night. They want the relationship to go back to the way it had been, and yet they yearn for more than one night of passion.
The complex bond between Emma and Lucas sparks with heat and unexpected moments of humor. It might be a boss and assistant relationship but the two are evenly matched. Emma’s tenderness can pierce through Lucas’s grief while he can disarm her sensible attitude with one sexy look.
Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson
Adele hasn’t had a good date in three years and she’s beginning to think she’s cursed. When she goes back to Texas to help out her sister, her luck doesn’t improve. Then the Fates seem to level up their special brand of torture when she bumps into Zack, her first love who broke her heart in college. He has improved with age and she’s far more interested in him than any man she tries to date. When Zack pursues her, Adele decides that she won’t fall in love again with the same man who doesn’t love her in return. But the Fates haven’t finished messing with her.
The author’s clever storytelling and sassy insights about a football loving community makes this sexy romance a fun and relaxing treat.
One Hot December by Tiffany Reisz
This opposites attract romance is very sexy (and explicit!) love story between a blue-collar welder and her white-collar boss. They slipped up one night and had the best sex ever but he had to immediately dump her because of the potential legal ramifications of a workplace romance. He can’t pursue a relationship with her while she works for his company. But once she gives her two weeks’ notice, nothing’s going to hold him back from winning her over.
The chemistry between the main characters is so fun that you’ll have a goofy smile on your face while you read this book.
One in a Million by Jill Shalvis
Callie is a virtual wedding planner and designs wedding websites but she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-after. Years ago she had been left at the altar and she’s not interested in love, knowing that it doesn’t last. But it’s hard to remember that whenever she’s near Tanner, a smoking hot single dad who takes care of everyone in his life. Callie doesn’t want a relationship and swears falling into bed with Tanner—again and again and again—will not change her mind.
One in a Million is a funny and heartwarming small town romance. Everyone from the matchmaking friends to the troublemaking grandmother adds another level of entertainment to this sexy and romantic story.
Playing With Fire by Kate Meader
Alexandra is a firefighter who has had many confrontations with Eli, the sexy mayor. He’s a smooth talker and she’s known for her sassy mouth. They don’t see eye-to-eye on many things, but after saving each other during a fire, circumstances require them to fake a relationship before the next mayoral election.
Playing with Fire is part of Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series and this story is all about the dialogue. The chemistry crackles between Eli and Alexandra. Don’t miss this one!
Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO by Catherine Mann
Amie can’t explain the scorching attraction she has for a man she sees at her cousin’s engagement party. But it doesn’t stop her from having a one-night stand with the handsome stranger in a coat closet moments after meeting him. Then she discovers he’s the new CEO for her family’s empire. How can she work with him every day? And how is she going to tell him that she’s pregnant with his child?
Readers are going to love the older hero. Protective and haunted by his mistakes, family means everything to him.
The Real Rio D’Aquila by Sandra Marton
Rio is a self-made man who transformed himself from a vulnerable street rat to a powerful billionaire. But when he meets Isabella, she doesn’t know who he is and her lack of deference is refreshing. Rio knows the desire between them is honest and real but will it continue when Isabella discovers he’s the infamous Rio D’Aquila?
The sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine is instantaneous in this mistaken identity romance—and it just keeps getting hotter right to the end.
Rock Hard by Nalini Singh
After surviving a horrific attack, Charlotte is a timid woman with a very small comfort zone. She just wants to be invisible but that’s almost impossible when her new boss, ex-rugby star Gabriel, challenges her every step of the way. Gabriel is a force of nature. His larger-than-life body and personality both intimidates and fascinates Charlotte. At first Charlotte thinks of herself as a mouse against a T-Rex but it turns out she’s more of a T-Rex tamer.
The romance is a slow burn with a satisfying pay-off as Charlotte transforms into a confident woman. You will care deeply about the characters as they fight hard for their happily-ever-after.
A SEAL’s Seduction by Tawny Weber
Love steamy romances about heroic men in the military? Then you need to read A SEAL’s Seduction by Tawny Weber.
On leave while grieving the loss of his fellow Navy SEAL, Blake meets Alexia and can’t control the ferocious sexual attraction. At first he thought their one-night stand would be the best distraction but it quickly turns into a wild weekend that he wants to extend. But Alexia has her reasons for not dating military men. When she discovers he’s a Navy SEAL, she ends the fling. Blake doesn’t think he’d get a second chance until he’s given an assignment to extract Alexia from danger.
Seduce Me, Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Hayley is the perfect good girl. However, she hasn’t lived a full life while demonstrating good behavior and she needs to shake things up. But who is she if she doesn’t follow the rules? It takes meeting Jonathan Bear to help her figure it out. Hayley has never wanted anyone or anything badly enough to take a risk. She wants Jonathan more than she wants to feel safe, but will this man, who doesn’t think he’s worthy of love, take a chance on her?
If you love virgin heroines and bad boy heroes, give this story a try. The Western love story shows two people struggling to find the courage to love and be loved.
She’s Got It Bad by Sarah Mayberry
Years ago Liam rejected Zoe. He loved her but he was no good for someone so pure and sweet. However, his rejection set off a chain of events that changed the course of their lives. When Liam sees her again, Zoe is untamed, brash and hardened by life’s disappointments. The lust between them is as raw as ever and no matter how much they try to deny it, they can’t keep their distance.
This scorching romance will sweep you away in an unforgettable emotional journey. The vulnerable and tortured characters will linger in your mind long after you read the last page.
Temporarily His Princess by Olivia Gates
Vincenzo has been given a royal command to marry. He blackmails Glory—his ex-lover who betrayed him years ago—to accept his proposal for a temporary marriage. As a prince, world-famous scientist and international playboy, Vincenzo could have any woman as his bride, but he still wants Glory. One year with her and he will get her out of his system. But Glory fights him every step of the way. She doesn’t want to marry a man who didn’t value her when they were together and she’s not going to fall for him again.
Filled with high emotions and lush sensuality, this romance should be read when you need a few hours of escapism.
Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
Family means everything to Sadia. She understood why Jackson, her best friend and her husband’s brother, left town a decade ago under a cloud of scandal. But she’s angry that he vanished without a trace and didn’t come back when the family needed him. Now he has returned. Sadia, widowed and a single mom, shouldn’t be attracted to Jackson. He’s off-limits. She definitely shouldn’t share her problems with him. How can she rely on someone who didn’t stick around for her the first time?
Filled with family drama, hot sex and painful secrets, this story has it all.