Romance novels can be a lot of things: some of them are very sweet, and some of them are a little bit saucy, and some of them are even rather sad — but only a select few romance novels are steamy as hell. Some of these books are so sexy they should come with a warning label: "not fit to be read in public." Even if you read them on your Kindle, even if you put a very demure dust jacket over the top, if you try to read these books on your morning commute, you'll be blushing so hard that everyone will know. Nope, these books are for the privacy of your own bedroom only.
Here at Bustle, we're celebrating romance novels all throughout the month of August. Did you know that romance novels made up a whopping 29 percent of the entire 2015 fiction market? Yeah, romance novels have a huge audience, so it's time we cleared their bad reputation and celebrated just how beautiful and compelling these books can be.
So draw your curtains, light some scented candles, pour yourself a glass of something bubbly — and settle down with your pick from this ultra-sexy selection.
1. Willing Victim by Cara McKenna
Laurel White is nearly 30, living with two roommates and working as a waitress — and life is feeling pretty dull. But when she meets the hulking, uber-masculine Flynn, a spark begins to awaken... Soon, Flynn has introduced Laurel to the world of rough sex and even rougher role-play. Consent is brought to the foreground (as it well should be) — which makes the thrilling sex scenes even sexier. Flynn is firm with Laurel: he's not a mind-reader, so he needs her to tell him what she wants. "This is important to me," he says. "Should be to you too." With consent front and center, Flynn takes Laurel on a journey of sexual exploration that will leave you all hot and sweaty too...
2. Laid Bare by Lauren Dane
Todd and Erin, the clean-cut police officer and the rocker chick next door, had a smoking hot fling ten years ago — and now their lives have brought them back together. While they're struggling to make things work where they failed before, an unexpected turn brings Todd's best friend Ben into their bed. Now that there are three of them in the relationship, will it finally be enough?
3. Veiled Desire by Alisha Rai
Mason and Leyla have known each other since they were next-door neighbors as kids, but now that they're adults, Leyla's feelings for the gorgeous Mason are becoming somewhat less than sisterly. One night, Leyla secretly spies on Mason in his underwear while she talks to him on the phone — and gets a little (or rather big) clue that the attraction might be mutual.
4. What Not To Bare by Megan Frampton
What Not to Bare is a historical romance about Lady Charlotte Jepstow — whose infamously terrible dress sense is a shield to protect her from the attentions of suitors. But when she meets Lord David Marchston, she may just be tempted to shed the clothes entirely..
5. Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines
Blaire has spent the last three years taking care of her sick mother, and after her mother passes away, she is left naïve, innocent, and forced to move in with her father, his new wife... and her sexy stepbrother. Rush is gorgeous, spoiled, and definitely trouble — but it doesn't look like that's going to stop Blaire.
6. Beauty from Pain by Georgia Cates
Jack McLachlan is rich, successful, and one of Australia's most eligible bachelors — but he just can't be dealing with the hassle of a relationship. Instead of trying to navigate the choppy waters of the dating world, Jack keeps things simple: three-month flings, no strings attached, no real names. But then he meets Laurelyn. And he starts breaking his own rules...
7. Promises by Marie Sexton
In a small mountain town in Colorado, Jared doesn't think he'll ever meet another gay man — but he can't imagine living anywhere else, either. When he befriends the dangerously handsome Matt, however, he gets a glimpse of hope. There's only one catch: Matt says he's straight. Can Jared convince Matt to give things a go? There's only one way to find out.
8. The Companion Contract by Solace Ames
An unusual contract: sex companion for a rock star. But to Amy Mendoza, who has been working in porn since she was 18 and is looking for an escape, it's an intriguing suggestion. The job is easy, and she soon falls into an easy routine — and into bed with her client's lead guitarist, Emanuel. (Whoops.)
9. Spice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder
Bollywood actors Avi and Trishna have the perfect marriage: their adoring public sees them as Bollywood's sweethearts, and their open marriage allows them to explore all manner of forbidden fantasies. Spice and Smoke is sexy, it's queer, and it's kinky as hell.