For Valentine's Day this year, we asked Victoria Dahl, author of Close Enough to Touch, as well as many other romance novels, to pick her favorite romance books with a more sinful side. Read on for her recommendations.
I have a confession: I’m a romance writer and I don’t love Valentine’s Day. Compulsory declarations of love and scripted gestures just don’t do much for me, but I will admit to an appreciation for the more sinful side of the holiday. I’ll take pink cocktails and decadent chocolates over a card and flowers every single time.
That’s no surprise to those who know me. I appreciate the more sinful side of everything: Tumblr, Twitter, movies, friends. And definitely books. For me, a big dose of sexual tension and some gorgeously dirty words up the ante of a love story.
If you think of the romance genre as the flowery, scripted Valentine’s Day of books, I hope you’ll try one of these reads and see what you’ve been missing.
1. Dirty by Megan Hart – A rich, dominant business man and an unassuming, submissive woman… Sound familiar? Not the way Megan Hart writes it, believe me. This is vulgar, intelligent prose and a heart-wrenching romance all wrapped up in one. It’s one of my favorite recent reads.
2. Willing Victim by Cara McKenna – I’ve read a lot of Cara McKenna books and loved them all, but this one is my favorite. That’s probably because it was my first McKenna book, and I read the whole thing with a hand pressed to my mouth in shock. This story is brusque and real and explores some of the darker sides of sexual fantasy, so proceed with caution.
3. Deep Desires by Charlotte Stein – A tale of two damaged undesirables who want everything from each other, first from a distance, and then from much closer. This novella is full of heartache and lust. Truly raw and lovely.
4. Crooked Hearts by Patricia Gaffney – For those of you not into the erotic, this historical romance is sinful in a different way. I read it for the first time many years ago and it blew my mind. The hero and heroine are both con artists. She’s pretending to be a nun raising money for kids. He’s masquerading as a blind man and is a coward around knife-wielding villains. It’s not raunchy, precisely; it’s just wrong, wrong, wrong and so perfectly right.
5. Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha – I’m a huge fan of dystopian settings, and this story pushes all my buttons. A broken down society, a sweet, sudden attraction, and my favorite treat of all: a place where women are admired for deep, dark sexuality as much as the men are.
6. The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt – If you’re a reader of traditional historical romance, this book will be a shocker, because it’s a relationship you don’t normally see: a love affair between a woman of nobility and her male servant. He’s not masquerading as a servant. He’s not the secret bastard of a duke. He’s her land steward, and every stolen moment feels honest and forbidden.
7. Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden – A funny, nerdy erotica. Yes, I said nerdy erotica. The heroine is a computer programmer and the hero is an astrophysicist with no social skills. Kink mixed with Minecraft jokes. It’s pure, raunchy fun.
8. Laid Bare by Lauren Dane – A hot romance between reunited lovers that later evolves into a loving ménage. This is emotional, sweet kink even before the hero’s best friend enters the picture. I loved the complexities the characters navigate to find their happy ending.
9. Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione – I love all the books in this series, but you’d better start with the first. It’s a fascinating, sexy story about a demon-slayer and the delicious demon she falls in lust with. Larissa Ione’s writing is sensual action adventure, and I can never get enough.
10. Natural Law by Joey W. Hill – I heard talk of this book for many years before I actually read it. What an amazing read, and a bit of a twist in today’s erotica market. The hero is a big, strong cop who dominates his world in every way, but he’s the sexual submissive in this story. The reader gets to be the voyeur in this delicious exploration of his heart and body.
Victoria Dahl is the author of twenty-one hot romances and one dirty erotic novella, “The Wicked West.” You can read the first chapter of her latest release, So Tough to Tame, at www.VictoriaDahl.com.