Erotic historical romance is a hidden gem in the romance genre, a niche so specific that it is woefully underpublished, but offers a combination of romance’s best qualities: rich historical detail and the romance we all love with hotter love scenes. As much as readers love historical romance, when the erotic component is added, it leads to a heightened version of an already great genre. Erotic historical romance is my favorite to read, and these are some of the best.
Top of my list of erotic historical romances is Sin by Sharon Page, the first in the Rodesson's Daughters trilogy. This tells the story of eldest sister Venetia who has bucked society’s norms and paints erotic pictures under a veil of anonymity. Her latest subject, however, Lord Marcus Trent, is not amused when he recognizes himself in her art. Someone is also blackmailing Venetia and her family, so she and Marcus head to a country orgy where they intend to confront the blackmailer and discover the sexual attraction burning between them. The suspense element gives the story a fast-paced appeal, and Venetia and Marcus’s developing relationship is red hot, set in the backdrop of the delicious wild house party. Despite her profession, Venetia is actually very innocent, and the scenes with Marcus in which he slowly educates her offer the budding of their relationship, in addition to scintillating passion. The sexual content here is high, but it’s always with the perfect blend of romance.
“You could – you could go inside me again.”
He knelt on the edge of the bed, beside her lovely, naked spread legs. Now he was exploring in a realm where he wasn’t an expert. He heard the seductive music of her quick, shallow breaths, and it called to him. Lured him. He could have lost her today. A second later –
Bracing his arms on either side of her rounded hips, Marcus ran his tongue over the bountiful expanse of her warm, soft ass cheeks. He licked them thoroughly, from the swell at the base of her spine to the sweet crease between her bottom and the backs of her shapely legs. She squealed and moaned and gripped the sheets. A glance down the length of lovely legs showed her toes curled into the mattress.
She wanted him, as much as he needed her. It was more than her innocence that spoke to his soul. He knew that now.
This is the ultimate in erotic historical romance, and books two and three, Black Silk and Hot Silk, in the trilogy are just as strong.
Another solid book in the genre is Kate Pearce’s Simply Insatiable, part of her House of Pleasure series, which is a fantastic nod to the erotic historical niche with a total of nine books in the series. Book five is my favorite, featuring the wonderfully popular estranged husband and wife theme and executing it beautifully. The hero, who is more like a villain initially, is true rakehell Lord Minshom who has had a secret wife in the country for ten years. Jane suddenly appears, asking for a child, and disrupts Minshom’s entire way of life.
“Do you accept the new agreement Jane? As soon as you are breeding, you tell me and I arrange for your immediate transportation back to Minshom Abbey.”
“And until then?”
He placed a finger under her chin and raised her head until she had to look at him. “I get to fuck you as much as I like, whenever I like and wherever I like.”
“You do realize it might take years for me to become pregnant?”
“I’m prepared to take the risk, and to be honest, the amount of time I intend to devote to filling you with my cum, you’ll be breeding within a month.”
The exchange between them makes this a very fun book, and the redemption of Minshom with the help of his sweet, but strong, wife is especially rewarding. Jane refuses to give up on Minshom, which makes us believe in him and the power of their relationship. This book really has that perfect balance of chemistry and sex that burns up the pages, and a very satisfying, emotional love story.
A delightful book in erotic historical romance that almost no one knows is Dangerous Desires by Julia Templeton. Arlie and Dominic are ward and guardian, that delicious forbidden love theme with a touch of May-December to add another element. When Arlie is left orphaned, she is sent to Dominic, who is dark, dangerous, and a rake of the worst sort. He seems to be cold and unemotional, but from the very first contact, the two are unspeakably drawn to one another. Dominic does everything he can think of to deter the desire he feels for Arlie, but she won’t take no for an answer. She challenges him for something more, something real. The build-up is really successful, and when they finally give in, it’s explosive.
“You’re a seductress and you don’t even know it. You stand there in breeches that hug your skin, every curve nestled against soft wool. Slender hips, tiny waist, flat stomach, and those long legs – legs that were made to wrap around a man’s waist. Your shirt is just thin enough to show the slightest hint of your rose-colored nipples. Your firm breasts strain against the material, taunting a man to feel their fullness in his hands, to taste their sweetness with his tongue until you’re begging for him to take you.”
Arlie’s pulse skittered alarmingly. She could not believe what she was hearing, and yet she was strangely excited by his seductive words.
He took the steps that separated them and stared down at her, his eyes dark. “When a man sees you, all he can think about is fucking you.”
If you’ve read historical romance for any length of time, it’s hard to miss the controversy and the popularity of Lisa Valdez’s Passion. Wickedly erotic, almost shocking, the buzz was that this book contained a power punch beneath its unassuming cover. And Valdez was lauded for her ability to portray a poignant love story that balanced the explicit sex. But I actually prefer the sequel and second book of the quartet, Patience. This book was infamous long before it hit the shelves, from its predecessor to the long delay in seeing it published. There is a heavy BDSM theme in this historical romance, but Valdez hits her stride much better in this book than in the first book. Hero Matthew is battling a difficult scandal after the truth of his illegitimate birth comes out and Patience has a dark past as well, one that has given her significant trust issues, so when these two come together, it's really rough. But I found there was a good balance of developing the romantic relationship while the sexual one became more and more intense. The character development was more polished and real this time around compared to Passion. And even better that the romance and chemistry between her romantic leads is becoming more natural and authentic, too.
Panting, Patience looked down. Matthew had pressed the thin batiste of her chemise against her and, through it, she could see her clitoris, plump and round. He pressed his finger gently against it and Patience jerked – first back and then forward.
“So pretty, Patience,” he whispered against her ear. His other hand slipped into the top of her corset. “That’s how I like see it – full and ready to burst.”
Patience gasped and moved her hips in tiny thrusts as he kept pressing it and stroking it gently. Then, shuddering, she choked back a groan as he pinched her nipple firmly between his fingers. He pressed and rolled the thickened nub harder and harder while he tenderly fondled the heart of her cunt.
Her mind reeled as the piercing sensation in her breast shot straight to her aching quim. They were connected – the feeling in one communicating to the other in a rapid pass of blood.
“This state – this heightened state of voluptuous readiness – is what you will learn to keep simmering at all time, Patience.” Matthew’s whispered voice spoke directly into her ear, overwhelming any other thought. “I shall help you, and soon you shall move through your days, doing all the things that normally fill your time – only you will do them with a swollen sex and a ready mind.”
I love that Valdez doesn't back down from writing those extreme love scenes she's becoming known for. Honestly, for me, without them I wouldn't find her novels nearly so unique or interesting. Regardless, you cannot really know erotic historical romance without reading Lisa Valdez.
What are your favorite erotic historicals?
+Check out more reading recommendation lists:
- 10 Romance Novels You Should Read
- 10 Contemporary Romance Novels You Should Read
- 10 Regency Romances You Should Read
- 10 Erotic Romance Novels You Should Read
- 10 Paranormal Romance Novels You Should Read
- When Historical Goes Hot: Best in Erotic Historical Romance
- 10 Fantasy Novels You Must Read
- Top 5 Sex Scenes in Contemporary Romance
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.