A friend asked me to recommend some romance and erotica. She’s a spoonie, and specifically requested shorter forms because pain and low spoons makes reading novels challenging. So I put together a list of a few of my faves. I’m going to start with novellas and novelettes, grouped by type.
Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon: Geeky BDSM m/f contemporary romance with a physically disabled bisexual MC. One character is experienced, the other one is a novice, both are switches. I adore this book.
Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde: Friends to lovers trans m/non-binary romance with a character who has anxiety. Longtime online friends meet up at scifi convention & fall for each other. I have a soft spot for this book.
Challenge Accepted by Annabeth Leong: BDSM f/m contemporary erotic romance. Novice submissive man works to prove he’s up for a date with a dominant woman who’s wary and has been burned too often. The BDSM in this book is delicious.
Coffee Boy by Austin Chant: Workplace m/m romance between a campaign strategist and an intern that’s full of sparks and grumpiness and (possibly) unrequited crushes. One of the love interests is trans, and one of the main threads in the story is about being out as trans in the office. (I’m in the middle of this book now and totally hooked.)
Beyond Solitude by Kit Rocha: Post apocalyptic BDSM boss/employee m/f romance with a physically disabled MC and a trauma survivor former sex worker MC. This is part of a series, but stands alone well. (You can get the whole series in a bundle right now for $9.99, and I recommend that. Feminist characters and themes, smoking hot D/s with an emphasis on consent. Polyamory for the win.)
Be My Fantasy by Alisha Rai: Smoking hot erotic m/f BDSM romance between two characters with longtime attraction to each other. He can’t resist the bosses daughter anymore, not after he realizes how kinky she is.
With a Bit of Melancholy Mixed In
Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall: Very British, beautiful, rather quiet and melancholy m/m contemporary romance. The main POV character has a stutter, and it runs through the way he thinks in every interaction in this way I really appreciated.
Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun: a kinky m/f contemporary romance that is very much about sex as a resource for managing emotional pain. This one has a Christmas theme, by the way.
The Dark Collector by Vanessa North: m/m BDSM romance with a grief centered storyline that beautifully depicts the way BDSM can create catharsis. Gently challenges the idea that being submissive means not being your own person.
Opening Act by Suleikha Snyder: Lovely friends to lovers m/f contemporary rock star romance.
Full Exposure by Amy Jo Cousins: Delicious rock star BDSM m/m romance where the rock star is the submissive in the D/s dynamic (which I especially appreciate).
Sway by Lauren Dane: Meet-cute D/s-oriented m/f contemporary romance. Especially enjoyed the friendship circle, and fell hard for Daisy. The meet cute in this one is old-school Hollywood.
Looking for a Complication by Tamsen Parker: Meet-cute swoony f/f butch/femme contemporary romance. One character is bisexual and just coming out. This meet cute is classic queer.
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon: Meet-cute f/f butch/femme contemporary NA romance. Sex worker MC, MC with mental illness. I adore the meet-cute in this one so much.
Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan: Historical m/f romance between a rake and a woman who’s serious about astronomy. Yay for women characters in STEM! (Milan has written several.) I really enjoyed the pace of this one.
Star Dust (free right now!) by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner: Quietly lovely historical m/f romance centering an astronaut and a divorced mom. I find this series especially soothing to read. I liked them all, but this is my fave.
Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole: Beautiful historical m/f romance between two civil rights activists. This is worth reading for the Chanukah scene alone.
Which brings me to…
(After all, it is December.)
Christmas Stockings by Teresa Noelle Roberts: Nerves before her dominant’s workplace Christmas party spark this BDSM m/f erotic romance novella. I especially appreciated the nuerodivergent submissive character, particularly the way she navigates the party and her POV of the BDSM elements.
Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell: Chanukah themed m/f romance between two old Jewish camp buddies, with themes of grief woven in beautifully.
Tis the Season by Sommer Marsden: Christmas themed m/f contemporary romance between neighbors. Marsden shines in characterization here, per her usual, with the touch of comic goofiness and smoking hotness that I especially enjoy in her stories
While I’ve Got You Here…
I want to mention a couple serials, because they are broken into readable chunks. Cecilia Tan has two free online serials going. Darron’s Guitar Chronicles and The Prince’s Boy. (for the latter you have to scroll through the Circlet serials). Alchemy by Tamsin Flowers is finished and available for purchase.
And, while I am at it, I am going to mention a few of my favorite single author erotica collections: Boy Stories by Benji Bright, Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords by Cecilia Tan, Blood and Silver by Patrick Califia, Overflow by Miel Rose, and Robotica by Kal Cobalt.
A list of my favorite erotica anthologies would be a whole other post, so I’m going to hold off on that. For themed erotica recs, look to the left column on the site.