Everyone has an opinion about essential romance reads, books that they believe fans of the genre must have read. Ideally, these are stories that define the genre or the subgenre. They may not be the best or the most popular, but they should make readers think. And because this list is of essential erotic reads, they should be HOT, HOT, HOT!
This is a list of 10 erotic books that stood out to me from the moment that I first read them. Each one rates very high on my sexometer as well. Several even made my jaw drop.
1. Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James — Cowboys are very sexy, and Lorelei James knows how to get the most of them. In the first book of her Rough Riders series, James gives Channing Kincaid quite the ride with Colby McKay and his two bunkmates. While the HEA is with Colby alone, Channing gets more than her fair share of sexy times with these three high octane men.
2. Forbidden by Susan Johnson — Etienne, the Duc de Vec, is a notorious rake and libertine who is brought to his knees by Daisy Black in this historical erotic romance. As you might expect, the notorious rake has a voracious sexual appetite. Sex toys play a part in his very impressive repertoire, my first exposure to them in erotic fiction.
3. Colters’ Woman by Maya Banks — This erotic romance was my first introduction to the concept of brothers deliberately sharing one woman in a permanent relationship. Adam, Ethan, and Ryan know they want to share a wife, and they get the opportunity when Holly shows up on their doorstep. Three men definitely equals more sex and more highly inventive sex. The subgenre has since grown in popularity, but I think of this one as the original.
4. Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh — This is the first book in Lora Leigh’s long-standing Breeds series, and therefore the first introduction to the barbed shafts of the Breeds which locks into its mate and the overpowering mating heat that causes a sexual frenzy. Callan and Merinus are virtually helpless against their desire for each other even to the exclusion of whatever might be happening around them.
5. Simply Sexual by Kate Pearce — Lord Valentin Sokorvsky has an incredible need for sex from women or men, as the result of his years as a sex slave in a brothel. He doesn’t believe there is a woman that can handle his appetites until he meets Sara. Sara not only handles his desires, but gives Valentin free reign with them, even encouraging his liaisons with his closest male friend, Peter. Simply Sexual is a lusty masterpiece of historical erotic romance.
6. Gabriel’s Woman by Robin Schone — This historical romance is a darkly erotic story about a woman who auctions off her virginity. Gabriel, a brothel owner, buys Victoria’s virginity but not for the expected reason. Gabriel is an extremely tortured soul who is deeply attracted to Victoria. But his sexuality has been colored by years of abuse, and he demands everything that Victoria has to give.
7. Natural Law by Joey W. Hill — As far as BDSM books go, Natural Law is one of the steamiest and best femdom stories out there. Mac is a very alpha hero who is a cop on an undercover mission. This mission puts in in the path of Mistress Violet, and the two end up working together on the case. Along the way, Mac learns that submission does in fact turn him on.
8. A Shot in the Dark by Christine d’Abo — Two words: frozen peas. Carter, the Dom hero of this one, has to convince a wary Paige to submit to him. He uses the peas in a very inventive way during sex, making this a book I will never, ever forget. d’Abo pushes the erotic envelope in this story, but people should read it themselves in order to find out what Carter does with those peas.
9. Willing Victim by Cara McKenna — Flynn is a boxer in an underground boxing circuit. He is an intimidating bruiser of a man who likes rough sex that borders on non-consensual. When he meets Laurel, he finds a woman with compatible sexual desires. Together, they push their sexual boundaries, with eye-popping results. This one may be a tough read because it flirts with dubious consent, but it is a seriously steamy read.
10. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz — The start of a multipart series following the exploits of Dominatrix Nora Sutherlin. While this isn’t a traditional romance as it does not have a HEA, this is one of the most romantic and erotic novels that I’ve ever read. I believe this is because Nora is a woman who owns her kinky sexuality and expresses it with a refreshing boldness. It isn’t the sex that makes this one so hot, but the attitudes, openness and sexuality of its main characters.
Which of these have you read? What books would you add or subtract to the list?
+Check out more reading recommendation lists:
- 10 Contemporary Romance Novels You Should Read
- 10 Regency Romances 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
Extra: Find out about cool features like this and so much more from the H&H weekly newsletter. If you're not yet a member, sign up here and check “Yes” to receive the newsletter.