Oct 24 2016 3:00pm

Heartbeat Not Required: Zombie and Zombie Apocalypse Romance

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It’s Halloween, which means lots of bats, witches, pumpkins, and my favorite part: candy. Between all the haunted houses, corn mazes, costume balls, and apple-bobbing contests, I hope you’re still finding the time to curl up on the couch with a mug of cider and a good romance.

Some readers like their books to match the season; beach reads and adventure romance for the summer, snowbound cabin books and all the holiday reads will get you through the winter. Fall makes me want to pick up farmer and back-to-school books, until October hits and the stores are stocked with costumes, candy, and truly bizarre yard decorations.

While there are Halloween romances, I’m more inclined to head for the supernatural for my seasonal fix. I could go shifters or witches, but this year I’m heading off the beaten path for something a little less…alive and hunkering down with some zombie and zombie apocalypse romances.

Zombies may not seem like a logical choice for romance, because let’s be real, they’re creepy AF. But there’s something about peril that sets a tone for convincing, light-speed romance, and you have to offer a hardy salute to any author who can make a romance work between the undead and the not.  

So I’m going to go ahead and say that zombies and romance go together like peanut butter and bacon: at first you might wrinkle your nose, but once someone convinces you to taste it, you’re all


I’m pretty sure those aren’t brains he’s chowing down on?

Anyway, without further ado, here are some zombie and zombie apocalypse romances to get you through the holiday and beyond.

Reawakening by Charlotte Stein

Reawakening by Charlotte Stein:

Three words: Zombie. Apocalypse. Ménage. You heard me. This was my first zombie-related romance, and I loved it. Ménages aren’t easy to pull off—sometimes the heroes are hard to tell apart, sometimes it seems more like a love triangle than a triad, and sometimes you feel like the relationship would be better off being a bicycle than a tricycle. However, this one really worked for me. The very real sense of danger and the feeling of being possibly the last people left on earth created circumstances under which I was able to buy into this threesome’s romance.

Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews:

This book not only has zombies (well, not technically zombies, but close enough), but it comes with a bonus shifter! Because why settle for the disturbing AF flesh-eating infected horde when you can have a werewolf too? If you’re a fan of New Adult m/m or road trip romances, you should add this to your TBR. It also comes with a heaping dose of care-taking, which is kind of my crack. And if you enjoy it, there’s a second book!

Love with a Chance of Zombies by Delphine Dryden

Love with a Chance of Zombies by Delphine Dryden:

One part badass heroine with a hot pink rifle, one part scientist hero who’s under the (literal) gun to save his own life, and of course one part sexy times. This is a short and easy read, so if you’re just dipping your toe into the zombie romance waters, this might be a good place to start.

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel:

This isn’t a straight up romance—with five POVs and too much else going on, it can’t be. What it is, though, is a delight. The world-building was excellent, and our (undead) hero, Bram, is utterly charming. If you like YA, steampunk, unique dystopian settings, and, well, zombies, then Dearly, Departed (and its sequel, Dearly, Beloved, which I didn’t get to) is likely right up your alley.

Strain by Amelia Gormley:

TW for a small amount of racist and homophobic language. So, this book isn’t technically zombie apocalypse romance, but has all the hallmarks of one and so I’m including it here. This m/m romance starts as dubcon, so if that’s not your jam, I’d steer clear. However, if you’re a fan of kink, physically mismatched heroes (including one who does not want to feel the feels), and, um, a plague that turns much of the human race into pseudo-zombies, then have at it.

Bonus Rec! Warm Bodies (the movie): It’s not what I would call a work of cinematic genius, but if you’re in the mood for a funny, sweet zombie romance, you could do a lot worse. The soundtrack is good, there are girls who aren’t afraid to use fire power, plus R, the hero, is adorably awkward, and more thoughtful than a lot of guys with a pulse. Also, you get to find out what happened to Rob Corddry after he left the Daily Show.

Other recommendations I received:

  • Waking Up Dead and Waking Up Alive by Emma Shortt
  • Hungry for Love (Anthology)
  • Dead Sexy by Aleah Barley
  • Flesh and Skin by Kylie Scott
  • Darkness After Dawn by Devin Harnois
  • Night Whispers by Alisha Rai
  • Zombie Wonderland by Piper Vaughn
  • Meteora Trilogy by Evelyn Shepherd
  • Fatal by TA Brock
  • Mordacious by Sarah Lyons Fleming
  • Midnight by Megan Derr
  • Blood Bonds by Kayla Bain-Vrba
  • Less than Dead (Anthology)
  • Josh of the Damned by Andrea Speed
  • Half a Million Dead Cannibals by Kari Gregg
  • Savage by Jade C Jamison
  • Iron Seas by Meljean Brook

So tell me, did I miss any? What are your favorite zombie and zombie apocalypse romances and what do you like about them? 

Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:

Reawakening by Charlotte Stein
Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews
Love with a Chance of Zombies by Delphine Dryden  
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Strain by Amelia Gormley

H&H Editor Picks:

A Crash Course in Zombie Romance

’Til (After) Death Do Us Part: Shipping in The Walking Dead

October 2016 Romance New Releases






Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, USA Today bestselling erotic romance writer by naptime. She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.

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Dr. Opossum
1. Dr. Opossum
One series that I like that isn't a romance is Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. It is an adventure-horror series but there is a gradual romance between the two main heroes, a Superman good guy type and a lady Batman type. While set in a post-apocalyptic world, the heroes have a fair number of victories, so it isn't a bummer to read like some zombie books.
2. TamsenParker
@Dr. Opossum: Oh, that sounds great! And I think maybe that's what I like about zombie romance--I love the worldbuilding of zombie apocolypses, but not so much the doom and gloom of them. With the romances, you're guaranteed at least one big bright spot : )
Melissa Keith
3. MelK
The White Trash Zombie Series by Diana Rowland is brilliant! Angel is my favorite heroine. CHECK THEM OUT!
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