These Books Are So Sexy They're Basically Erotica

From Hausfrau to Tools of Engagement.

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Pure smut has its place on your bookshelf, but sometimes you want a steamy read with a good plot to go along with it. If you're looking for books that are basically erotica, then you're in luck, because there are plenty of sexy reads on the market that you won't be embarrassed to be seen with in public.

Not that you should ever be embarrassed to read a book in public. There's absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in some erotic literature. But if you want to keep that your reading to yourself — and away from your fellow commuters — there are plenty of alternative options.

And that's where these books come in. The 14 titles on the list below run the gamut from contemporary romance novels to modern literary classics. They're basically erotica but you can read them in public without fear:

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Sep. 22

Sparks fly when two rivals decide to renovate a house together in this enemies-to-lovers rom-com from the author of Fix Her Up and Love Her or Lose Her. Bethany and Wes' romance could have played out in private, but a camera crew filming their efforts for a house-flipping reality show could broadcast their entanglement to the world.


Nov. 10

If you love the fake-dating trope, you won't want to miss Written in the Stars. Tired of failure-to-launch dates, Darcy lies to her brother about her date with his colleague, Elle. Elle knows the date was a stinker, but when Darcy asks her to fake being her girlfriend in order to get her brother off her back, what can she do but go with it?


A fantasy classic, Kushiel's Dart centers on Phédre: a young woman whose cosmic, masochistic gift makes her the perfect courtesan. Trained as an entertainer and spy, she finds herself in all manner of intriguing situations in Jacqueline Carey's beloved novel.


Anna is bored. Bored in her life, in her marriage... just bored. As the American expat searches for fulfillment in Zürich, she falls in and out of lust with several paramours in Jill Alexander Essbaum's Hausfrau.


A married British nurse finds a magical portal to 18th-century Scotland in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. Distrusted by the highlanders who take her in, Claire marries Jamie, an inexperienced Laird with a bounty on his head, in order to protect herself from the encroaching British forces.


The book that inspired Secretary, Mary Gaitskill's collection of steamy stories is an exploration of the unspoken — and shameless — desires of the United States' underclasses.


The follow-up to Talia Hibbert's Get a Life, Chloe Brown, this new novel follows its eponymous heroine as she embarks on a fake relationship with Zaf: the sexy rugby player turned security guard who works in her office building. When the two of them go viral, Dani is forced to play along as Zaf's fake girlfriend in a bid to earn money for the charity he sponsors.


A West Indian teenager comes to North America to work as an au pair for a seemingly perfect-but-crumbling family in this coming-of-age novel from Annie John author Jamaica Kincaid.


A "fallen woman" with a passion for activism, Seraphina plans to publish the salacious details of her life in order to fund a suffrage movement. Her month-long affair with Adam is supposed to be all fun and games... but what happens when a rakess catches feelings?


Sep. 29

Leela's love affair with the handsome stranger was supposed to be a one-night-only event. She never intended to see him again. But surprises come in all shapes and sizes, and this one's a doozy. The man she spent the night with is her stepdaughter's betrothed.


A woman wrestling with sexual addiction takes center stage in this novel from the author of The Perfect Nanny. As the orbit of her life shifts from her husband and son to her lovers, Adèle finds herself running out of breathing room in Leïla Slimani's tense, sexy book.


The first installment of a new spin-off series from paranormal romance author J.R. Ward, The Jackal takes readers inside an underground prison system where one woman's last hope of finding her sister resides, and where the eponymous hero has been jailed for as long as he can remember.


You might already be familiar with this saucy, Sapphic classic from the author of The Paying Guests, but now's the perfect time to give it another go. Tipping the Velvet centers on Kitty and Nan — a Victorian male impersonator and the woman who attends to her — as they embark on a backstage romance for the ages.


A young woman raised as a man deflowers a virginal princess with a tulip in this often-overlooked novel from the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. It's by far the strangest — and possibly sexiest — moment in The PowerBook, but this whole book will leave you breathless.

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