Author Victoria Dahl starts her article with a confession, “I’m a romance novelist and I don’t love Valentine’s Day.” That’s not much of a confession, everyone hates Valentine’s Day. There’s either too much expectation if you’re in a relationship, or if you’re single, it’s further proof you will die alone. But this was written in February, so that’s to be understood. However, now that we’re practically in July we have loads of time before we have to deal with that nightmare. Instead, I have a summertime confession to make, I don’t like the beach. I hate sand, I hate every bathing suit I’ve ever bought (and trust me, they are like suits), and Jersey shore water is always freezing. None of these things used to bother me when I was a kid, but that was long, long ago.
So if you’re stuck laying on the beach wondering why you’re Irish and will never tan, or just tired of people-watching, here are some eye-opening beachy romance novels recommended by Victoria Dahl. Most of the covers are somebody tied up, or couples in the heat of passion, or slightly budding flowers looking like vaginas.
Covers with Flowers as Vaginas
“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.” I’ll have to take her word on it.
“Crooked Hearts” by Patricia Gaffney: “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.” Sounds like the perfect caper comedy!
Covers with Couples in the Heat of Passion
“Willing Victim” by Cara McKenna: “This story is brusque and real and explores some of the darker sides of sexual fantasy, so proceed with caution.” I guess this isn’t “Red Shoe Diaries” and yet – has there been something written about sexual fantasies that we haven’t already seen or heard of already? I don’t know, I guess I’m just let down by erotic boredom that is the “Fifty Shades” series.
“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.” Ugh, I can relate to this one.
“Beyond Shame” by Kit Rocha: Jeez, I’d hate to know what beyond shame feels like. According to Dahl the book is dystopian erotica set in”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.” That doesn’t sound like shame to me, but I’m not an expert here.
“Laid Bare” by Lauren Dane: Get it? Laid? Get it? Eh, Dahl says, “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.” Get it? Happy ending? Get it? Eh …
Covers with People Tied Up
“Theory of Attraction” by Delphine Dryden: “The heroine is a computer programmer and the hero is an astrophysicist with no social skills. Kink mixed with Minecraft jokes.” The cover has no one tied up but some kind of silk ribbon in a knot so I’ll put it in this category. But besides the cover, this is one I think I might like. (It makes me think of “Bing Bang Theory” and therefore “Big Bang” and then I’m giggling and oddly thinking of Carl Sagan.)
“Pleasure Unbound” by Larissa Ione: I’m not sure what’s happening on this cover but given the title I’ll also put it in this category. “t’s a fascinating, sexy story about a demon-slayer and the delicious demon she falls in lust with.” Delicious demons? Sold me. Quinlan’s pick of the week! (Q-PoW)
“Natural Law” by Joey W. Hill: The cover reminds me of an R-rated Tom of Finland drawing. (I once worked at a Barnes & Noble and people used to intentionally leave Tom of Finland books out all the time. Usually in the kids’ section.) “The hero is a big, strong cop who dominates his world in every way, but he’s the sexual submissive in this story.” Interestingly, I didn’t see any handcuffs.
Ye Olde Bodice Ripper
“The Leopard Prince” by Elizabeth Hoyt: “[T]his 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.” I dunno, sounds like Lady Chatterly’s Lover to me. Or this sketch from SNL.