I’ve attended so many digital meetings lately, and I’m sure if you’re working from home, you are doing the same. My digital social life is busier than my actual one used to be, BC (Before Corona). I’m not complaining. I’ve had several great digital chats with friends and colleagues about romance lately, which is an undiluted pleasure.

In my recent romance chats, it really shook me when numerous people mentioned that it’s hard to focus enough to read. Life is too fast-paced, too different, too stressful. They just can’t sit and read … yet. And usually the second thing they said was, But I’m listening to a lot of audiobooks. To which I say, Great! Let’s create some listening bridges between new titles and familiar favorites with these four romance match-ups. Go ahead and listen — it’s a delightful way to be kind to yourself in jarring times.

STRONG NARRATORS, DIVERSE CHARACTERS AND HEAT

So I was really tempted to say, if you liked Adriana Herrera’s other titles, just keep listening with American Sweethearts (Harlequin Audio). But where’s the fun in recommending something so obvious?! So instead, I’m going to match you up with The Kiss Quotient (Dreamscape) by Helen Hoang, based on the likability factors it shares with American Sweethearts — strong narrators; unique, diverse characters; and a beloved quality that has listeners gushing long after they finish listening. The two audiobooks also share a similar “heat” level — steamy hot!

HISTORICAL ROMANCES AND FORMIDABLE WRITING

With this pairing, I am matching you up somewhat by genre — Brit-storical and the presence of dukes — but also by formidable writing style. Both Loretta Chase and Sabrina Jeffries research the heck out of their 19th-century settings, and their detailed writing and use of humor are made more enchanting by appropriate narration. Loretta Chase’s A Duke in Shining Armor (Harper Audio) received AudioFile’s Earphones Award for Kate Reading’s measured, commanding, and yes, sexy reading of a duke’s encounter with a runaway bride. In The Bachelor (Recorded Books), you’ll get to enjoy the epic versatility of narrator Beverley A. Crick as she shifts between Lady Gwen and her rough-and-ready bodyguard, Joshua.

KNIGHT-IN-SHINING-ARMOR PLOTS AND EXCELLENT NARRATION

Did I match these two titles because of their sexy covers? Maybe, but really this match-up is all about the narrator. John Lane is a must-listen when he narrates Rhenna Morgan’s steamy contemporaries like His to Defend (Harlequin Audio), so try his new title, Discretion (Brilliance Audio) by Karina Halle, narrated with Summer Morton (another listener favorite!). Both titles are also a knight-in-shining-armor plot for good measure.

AWKWARD AND ADORABLE COMEDIC ROMANCES

There’s a delightful romance sub-genre of “awkward” where the characters are caught in a series of embarrassing or clumsy encounters that produce comedy and, subsequently, romance. There really could not be two better narrators for this than Emily Woo Zeller, who manages to sound both believable and adorable in Ruby Lang’s second-chance romance House Rules (Brilliance Audio), where former spouses end up as NYC roommates, and January LaVoy, whose suave reading of Alexa Martin’s popular sports romance Intercepted (Penguin Audio) is filled with humor. You can’t go wrong with either (or both) of these fun listens.

This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile. It first appeared on AudioFile’s website.