Thanks to books like Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s been a huge boom in mainstream erotica novels. In fact, the popularity has birthed an entirely new genre, one that combines traditional romance novel tropes with steamy erotic situations. These new novels are called romantica — and we can’t get enough of them.
Like romance or erotica, romantica is mostly written by and for women. It also includes all kinds of sexy tropes, but the most common is definitely lite-BDSM. These are stories about powerful men dominating equally-powerful women who can hold their own both in and out of the bedroom. But unlike straight-up erotica, the man and woman also fall in love, creating a compelling romantic storyline as well as some sexy bedroom scenes.
Romantica started mostly as e-books by self-published authors, but more and more of them are creeping into mainstream publishing. Here are 15 recent romantica novels -– written entirely by women –- that are sure to leave you hot and bothered:
An Act of Obsession: Acts of Honor 3, K.C. Lynn (CreateSpace, July 1)
EFC fighter Kolan Slade is used to fighting his demons, both in and out of the ring. But when kind and beautiful Sophie Parish walks into his life, Kolan will do everything he can to protect her from both their pasts.
Walk: Gentry Boys 6, Cora Brent (May 22)
Brent’s Gentry Boys series is a must-read, and Walk, about mysterious bad boy Stone Gentry, is no exception. The ex-con falls hard for the passionate Evie, but the story of Stone’s dysfunctional relationship with his brothers is just as important as the romance.
Stone: Knights Corruption MC 2, S. Nelson (CreateSpace, June 28)
Stone Crosswell and Adelaide Reins are from two very different worlds, which makes their instant attraction that much more complicated. Thankfully, Stone is determined to overcome the odds and possess the woman he can’t live without.
Sacred Serenity: Lotus House, Audrey Carlan (Waterhouse Press, August 30)
It’s not often that we get a yoga-themed romantica novel, which is why we can’t wait for Carlan’s Sacred Serenity to hit shelves in August. It’s the second book in her Lotus House series, this time focusing on tantric yoga instructor Dash Alexander as he falls for and seduces virgin Amber St. James.
Holding the Cards: A Nature of Desire Novel, Joey W. Hill (January 14)
We’ve loved Hill since her Knights of the Board Room series. Holding the Cards flips the usual scenarios on its head with a sexually dominant doctor named Lauren who’s looking for a man who will submit to her every desire. She finds it in Josh, though the submissive has secrets of his own. This one is part of Hill’s Nature of Desire series, but look for the August 9 re-release of Board Resolution, a Knights of the Board Room Novella.
Obsession: The Steel Brothers Saga, Helen Hardt (Waterhouse Press, July 19)
Obsession continues the story of Talon and Jade, two lost souls who first find solace in each other in Craving, the start of Hardt’s Steel Brothers Saga. This time the couple is torn apart, though we can bet their mutual longing will soon have them rekindling their uber-hot romance.
Into the Fire: The Bridge Series, Meredith Wild (Waterhouse Press, June 21)
After Darren Bridge and Vanessa Hawkins meet at a wedding, they vow to stay away from each other. Only neither is quite ready to move past their mutual attraction. Knowing Wild, we can expect sexy chemistry and a swoon-worthy leading man from her latest in The Bridge series.
Raw Redemption: Crossing the Line, Tessa Bailey (Entangled, June 13)
When cop Henrik Vance goes looking for the daughter of a violent Chicago criminal, he doesn’t expect to meet the love of his life. Now his career and heart are on the line while Ailish O’Kelly has to decide if dealing with her dangerous father is worth protecting the man she loves.
Stealing Home, Nicole Williams (July 5)
Fans of sports-themed romances will love Williams’ latest, about athletic trainer Allie Eden, the only woman working for a professional baseball team. In order to be taken seriously, she tries to fight her attraction to number 11, Luke Archer, known for being a major player both on and off the team.
Filthy English, Ilsa Madden-Mills (CreateSpace, July 22)
Any book titled Filthy English has our attention, especially when it promises to be a steamy “modern love story inspired by Romeo & Juliet.” After Remi Montague’s fiancé dumps her, she takes off for England to start her freshman year and to drown her sorrows in tequila. Things get complicated when she wakes up next to sexy British bad boy Dax Blay — especially since the two are sharing a house together.
Until June: Until Her, Aurora Rose Reynolds (CreateSpace, May 16)
Before boot camp, Evan Barrister and June Mayson secretly get married, only to have it crumble while he’s deployed. When they run into each other again, June has to decide if she’s willing to forgive Evan, or if it’s time to finally move on.
No Falling Allowed: No Kissing Allowed, Melissa West (Entangled, July 11)
After an electric meeting, Grace Soaring takes bartender Noah Hunter home to her New York apartment only to have him run out on her early the next morning. Which is also the day she gets fired and has her life flipped upside down. Now by some cruel twist of fate, Grace is working as a wedding planner in Noah’s southern hometown. Can the two rekindle their earlier flame? Pick up this sweet and charming story to find out.
Last Kiss: A First and Last Novel, Laurelin Paige (St. Martin’s Griffin, June 14)
After falling for sexy hotelier Reeve Sallis in First Kiss, Emily Wayborn has decided to stop the games and fully submit to his dark desires. But she still can’t trust him, and the secrets of his past threaten to tear their tentative bond apart.
Spinning Out: The Blackhawk Boys 1, Lexi Ryan (CreateSpace, May 3)
This is the first book in Ryan’s new Blackhawk Boys series, about the love lives and struggles of a college football team. Spinning Out is Arrow Woodison’s story of trying to redeem himself after a semester of partying gets in the way of his dreams. But it’s difficult to do the right thing when Mia Mendez, the only girl he’s ever loved, is shacking up with one of his teammates.
Breaking Her: Love is War 2, R.K. Lilley (March 26)
Lilley concludes her Dante & Scarlett series with Breaking Her, the sequel to Breaking Him. After meeting Dante again, Scarlett vowed her revenge on the boy who broke her heart and killed her dreams. Only maybe he had reasons for his actions that she couldn’t begin to comprehend…