I love all of the tension and the emotional build that comes with a slow burn romance, but I also want there to be a payoff in the end. All of that chemistry has to combust at some point; crackling with electricity until it reaches its breaking point. The fifteen books on this list all make the reader wait until the perfect moment to get steamy, whether they’re a hot slow burn or the attraction is set to simmer. Each one has received a 5-star rating from me, and I recommend them without hesitation.
I’ve included the blurb as well as links to Amazon for each book so that you can get a feel for the story. From light to heavy, sexy to subtle, there’s something for every reader on this list. Just know that once things take a turn for the steamy, you may need to fan yourself!
Hard to Handle by K. Bromberg
New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg is back with an all new second-chance, standalone hockey romance.
At first, the request seemed simple—sign a new athlete to the agency.
Then I found out the new athlete was none other than the most wanted man in hockey today: Hunter Maddox
Gifted. Sexy. At the top of his game. And the only man who has ever broken my heart.
If signing him will help save our family business, I’ll swallow my pride and do what’s asked.
But when it becomes clear his uncharacteristic antics off the ice are a hint of something deeper, keeping things strictly professional between us becomes more than complicated. But I know better than to cross that line.
I’ll never date a client. Not even for him.
Win the Stanley Cup and do it before time runs out.
Not a small feat, but it’s what’s motivated me since the start of my career.
And time is running out.
Enter Dekker Kincade.
Feisty. Dogged. Damn gorgeous. The one I let get away.
I have no idea why she’s traveling with the team, but hell if resisting her is going to be easy.
But I have a job to do, and I refuse to lose sight of that end game. Even if she confuses me. Even if she sees parts of me I’ve hidden from the world.
I can’t lose focus. Not even for her.
The Penalty Box by Odette Stone
He’s a professional hockey player that lives on the edge. I prefer to play life by the rules.
I’m the personal assistant at a sports agency that no one notices.
Unless they need coffee.
I don’t like sports and I like professional athletes even less.
I’m indifferent to the mostly male clientele, except for one.
Mica “the savage” Petrov.
When it comes to wild antics, Mica is the biggest offender of them all.
He’s reckless, wild and carelessly charming.
I’m mortified that I find him attractive.
But it doesn’t matter because the guy hasn’t taken a second look at me.
Not once. In two years.
Mica’s career jeopardizing situation requires drastic measures to be taken to keep him in the game.
He’s got money, I’ve got debt and my boss has a crazy idea.
Which is how I found myself stepping up to save him from himself.
But at what cost?
How long can I keep fighting my attraction?
What ghosts from his past is he brawling with?
All I know is that I need to defend my heart before this big defenseman steals it away.
Can we win this game? Or is it too late for either of us?
Rush by Deborah Bladon
RUSH, a hot new standalone from New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Deborah Bladon.
I met Case Abbott when I was stepping out of the shower.
I had a towel wrapped around me.
He had his phone in his hand ready to call the police.
I snuck into my brother’s Manhattan apartment so I could surprise him.
Except, I was the one who was surprised. Not only was my brother out of town, but he didn’t own the apartment.
His best friend, Case, did and he had plans for the night that didn’t include me.
After I packed up my things so I could check into a hotel, Case had a change of heart.
He told me I could stay in his guest room until my brother came back.
I should have been hurrying back to my life in Seattle.
Case was needed in California, where he lived most of the time.
But our attraction was undeniable.
The rush I felt when I was with him was addictive.
My gorgeous temporary roommate proposed that we cross the line with the mutual understanding that when my brother returned to New York, we’d go our separate ways.
We both knew there was a risk that someone would get hurt.
Neither of us could have predicted who that would be.
Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken
They’re serving up some red-hot revenge. A sizzling series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel van Dyken.
Blaire has never quite gotten over Jessie Beckett, the ex–NFL star whose kisses were hot enough to ignite the entire Eastern Seaboard. When he chose work over her, Blaire was left brokenhearted. Why else would she have married a skeezy two-timer, just to divorce him less than a year later?
Now Blaire is getting even by becoming one half of Dirty Exes, a PI firm fully committed to humiliating cheating jerks. If only the new jerk she’s been hired to uncover wasn’t Jessie Beckett himself.
Exposing Jessie isn’t going to be easy, especially when she still daydreams about his sexy smile. Further complicating matters is Colin, Jessie’s best friend. He’s gorgeous, a little bit cunning, and willing to help Blaire get the inside scoop on Jessie—for a price.
Now caught between two men—one totally right and the other totally wrong—Blaire will need to decide just how much she’s willing to risk…and whom she’s willing to risk it for.
The Change Up by Meghan Quinn
BREAKING NEWS: The Bad Boy of Baseball, Maddox Paige, is totally and utterly whipped.
Okay, that might not be the headlines in the newspaper this morning, but it’s the reality of my current situation.
It all started a month ago when I received a call from my best friend, Kinsley. She got a new job in Chicago and needed a place to stay. I’ve known the girl since I was five, what harm would it be to have her stay at my place for a while?
Ha! Total disaster.
Now instead of going out every night with my teammates, I’m couch surfing and sketching endless photos of my best friend . . . but that’s the least of my concerns.
The disaster, you ask? I’m rapidly falling head over cleats in love with my best friend, my roommate, and my number one fan.
And she has no idea . . .
Charmer by Kayley Loring
She serves me coffee late at night when I come around to write lyrics,
but it’s not the caffeine I’ve gotten addicted to.
We’ve got the spark, but she’s the only woman in town
who seems to be immune to my charms.
When it’s time for me to leave for my cross-country tour,
I just can’t imagine not seeing her for months.
So I offer her a job on the road with me.
Everyone in LA knows that Nico Todd has a way with songs and with the ladies.
What he doesn’t know is that I would love to let him have his way with me.
But my life can only revolve around one infuriatingly cute guy—
the six-year-old that I live with.
Imagine my surprise when Nico finds out about my little boy
and tells me to bring him and my mom on the road too.
And imagine Nico’s surprise when he realizes my son
is the biggest charmer of them all.
Boss in the Bedsheets by Kate Canterbary
He’s a beast in the spreadsheets and a boss in the bedsheets
Despite the fact I’m currently living out of your guest room and sleeping with you most nights, I am writing to announce my resignation effective two weeks from today.
In other words, I’ll locate someone who is both obscenely overqualified and willing to devote their days to the handful of tasks you are able to wrench from your perfectionist, micromanaging grip. It may be difficult to find a Nobel laureate genius looking for basic filing work on such short notice, but I’ll do my best.
Don’t worry about your sister’s wedding this weekend. I still plan to attend as your date, assuming you’ve finished hating me by then.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Resignation not accepted.
I’ll see you at home.
Managed by Kristen Callihan
It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.
I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.
That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.
I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.
If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.
Let the battle begin…
You Can Have Manhattan by P. Dangelico
You are cordially invited to the worst wedding of the century.
Sydney Evans is no stranger to hard work. It’s the one constant in her life. And with no family or friends to speak of it’s been easy to pour everything she has into her career as general counsel for Blackstone Holdings.
She wants for nothing. Until her boss offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All she has to do in return is marry his good-for-nothing son.
Scott Blackstone used be a party whore. Pardon, party animal. He hasn’t been that guy in a long time though. Not since he moved to Wyoming, bought a failing cattle ranch, and turned it into a profitable business.
All is good. Until a phone call from his father threatens the quiet, simple life he’s built. Marry or lose everything. And to a woman who can’t stand him, no less. Well, Scott is not going down without a fight. He’s never going back to Manhattan. Not if he can help it.
Wylde by Sawyer Bennett
There’s a reason they call me Wylde and it’s not just because it’s my last name.
I might be one of the newest players on the Arizona Vengeance team, but I’m no stranger to the celebrity that goes along with being a professional hockey player. Whether it’s a fan seeking an autograph or a puck bunny looking for more, I’ve grown used to the attention. I not only thrive on it; I use it to my advantage. Let’s just say my bed is rarely empty.
When a quirky redhead at the local bookstore stops me dead in my tracks, I decide to pop in and turn on the trusty Wylde magic. As smart and strong-willed as she is beautiful, Clarke Webber isn’t swayed by my witty banter or charming good looks. And when she realizes who I am and the fame that comes along with it, she likes me even less. Thankfully, I’m always up for a challenge. The more I get to know about her, the more I know my playboy days are behind me.
If I’m going to capture Clarke’s heart, it’s time to be a lot less Wylde, and a lot more Aaron.
Sex and Other Shiny Objects by Lauren Blakely
A delicious new best friends-to-lovers stand-alone romance from #1 NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely!
The second the test-the-sexy-scenes offer landed in my lap, I said yes.
After all, I’ve been damn curious about a few things I’ve read in romance novels. Do buttons truly go flying across the floor when you rip off a guy’s shirt? Is staircase nookie hella hot or does it leave you with a big old bruise mark on your back? And don’t even get me started on all that panty shredding, and whether it even works.
Time to find out as I embark on Project Romance Novel Scenes Research, at the request of my hotshot book editor bestie.
All I need is a willing scene partner. Enter Tristan, my best guy friend. The witty, tell-it-like-it-is, bearded hottie volunteers for the experiment.
He’s also the guy who gave me the most devastating, toe-curling kiss of my life ten years ago. But nothing has happened since then.
And nothing will come between my panties and our friendship now since we have a plan to keep it PG.
But once the buttons start flying, all bets are off…
Darkest Sin by J. Saman
Everyone has an ex who haunts them.
Mine shot me in the arm and told me to run or he’d kill everyone I ever loved. And then he’d kill me.
Years later, he’s made good on that promise. I’m the only one left.
He’s got his sights set on finding me, and my options on places to hide are quickly running out.
Until I meet a gorgeous assassin with an agenda of his own…putting not only my life, but my heart in danger.
With piercing green eyes and irresistible confidence, Gavin tells me not to be afraid. Promises he’s on my side. Swears he’s here to protect me instead of doing what he does best…kill.
The desire to trust him is tempting. The passion between us, even more so.
But when everything I thought I knew is suddenly flipped upside down, and all that’s dangerous and forbidden comes to light, I have to make a choice.
Continue to run and hide…
Or risk it all, including the man who somehow captured my heart.
The Rival Roomies by Piper Rayne
I’ve loved him from afar.
Though most times he’s only a foot away.
I’m smart enough to know he’ll never be anyone’s forever.
He checks all the bad boy boxes. Tattoos. Check. Motorcycle. Check. Chip on his shoulder. Check check.
If he wasn’t my neighbor and friend I may have thrown myself at him. Okay, yeah. I wouldn’t. Because guys like Dylan don’t want a woman who writes kid’s math textbooks under him in bed. Instead, I pathetically savor morsels of moments where I have his sole attention.
That was until his archenemy moved in with me. Now suddenly, Dylan’s moving in too and warning off the first guy in a long time who’s showing me interest. Could he finally see me as more than a friend, or am I just a prize to win and show off to his enemy?
Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.
From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story that started with a boy and girl and heats up when the man and woman reconnect.
I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.
Marriage for One by Ella Maise
Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love.
Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.
It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.
It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.
One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.
After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?