Oh, I love me some holiday romances. I’ve already made one list of some fabulous books in the category for my REAL WORLD blog tour stop at All About Romance. In “Santa Baby, Bring Me a Love Story,” I recommended some of my favorite stories, both hetero and LGBTQ, in the subgenre. From Regency romance to contemporary New Adult, from kinky ménage to Jewish m/m historical to a book about a lost Dickens Christmas story, those books are some of the best.
Problem is, it killed me to stop after half a dozen books! So, because this is my blog and here I can be over-the-top with my book rec lists and if I look ridiculous, no one but me looks silly…
Here are some more holiday romances! I’ve got het and LGBTQ, m/m and f/f and more ménage, Thanksgiving and Christmas and Chanukah and New Year’s Eve stories, historicals and contemporaries and even two books about Santa’s elves. Enjoy!
Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell is a super sweet story about a boy who is rejected by his family after coming out and finds a new family to welcome him when his college roommate takes him home for the holidays. This story embodies so much of what I love about holiday romance: the sweetness, the security of being surrounded by those who will take care of you, the magic of falling in love.
Amy Lane’s Christmas Kitsch is one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time, and her Christmas with Danny Fit is right up there at the top of the list too. Kit Allen is a pudgy accountant who starts working out to his Danny Fit DVDs, in the (undeclared even to himself perhaps) hopes of impressing his new assistant Jesse. As Kit gets a grip on his fitness goals, he starts making changes in the rest of his life too, including moving out of his chain-smoking mother’s home for the first time, and Jesse (it turns out) is dying to help him figure it all out. This story is absolutely charming.
Heidi Cullinan’s Minnesota trilogy started with my favorite trope, snowbound together, in Let It Snow. Sleigh Ride has a town librarian and the gruff man who makes kinky holiday love to him. Winter Wonderland is the final book in the trilogy, about the one guy in town who wants a relationship, so is of course the last one to find it. Two words for you: snow penis.
Discovering Caro Carson was my absolute win from judging the RITAs last year. After having a terrible streak of luck with some bad category romances, she saved the day with The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride. The Maverick’s Holiday Masquerade is Carson’s holiday romance about a Montana woman looking for a cowboy, not a city slicker, and the high-powered lawyer she doesn’t realize she’s fallen for. (As a side note, Carson is a totally kickass West Point graduate, whose stories about meeting the first women to graduate from Ranger School this year were fantastic.)
You absolutely cannot go wrong with an Eli Easton holiday romance. Blame It on the Mistletoe, about a college jock and his brilliant but socially oblivious roommate and best friend, is a book I reread all the time. Easton has a new holiday romance this year, Midwinter Night’s Dream, that comes out on 11/25 and I’ll be setting aside time to read that book immediately. They play Spin the Bottle! I’m totally in.
Vincent’s Thanksgiving Date is typical of the totally charming R. Cooper, and is my one Thanksgiving romance! Cooper writes brilliantly about characters who are oblivious to those who are interested in them, and this story is a delightful example of that. Cory’s persistence in helping Vincent, and asking for his help in return, leads to a holiday shared with Cory and his friends, and Vincent’s gradual getting of a clue. And this one’s only 99 cents!
I’ve got another R. Cooper rec in the Christmas category. Casper Gets His Wish (also 99 cents!) is a story about two of Santa’s elves, one creative genius in the toy shop and one uptight accountant who feels out of place everywhere at the North Pole. I love this story! It’s delightful. And there’s more! Piper Vaughn’s The Working Elf Blues is about an elf who abandons the North Pole for a boy (now a man) with sorrowful eyes.
All I Want For Christmas by Clare Lydon is a lesbian Christmas romance about Tori, who’s given herself a month to find the girlfriend of her dreams for the holidays. I just picked up after nabbing Lydon’s London Calling when it was on sale. F/f holiday romance for the win!
Men Under the Mistletoe is a m/m holiday romance collection from Carina Press that includes stories by Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, Ava March and KA Mitchell. This quartet was one of my earliest m/m reads and it introduced me to four authors whose books I still read to this day. In this anthology, you get Regency romance, a literary researcher reliving an Arthurian legend, a ballet dancer who was once in love with a Texas Ranger, and a contemporary story with all the Christmas trappings. It’s a terrific collection.
Harper Fox’s Nine Lights Over Edinburgh is the story of a Scottish Detective Inspector on a downward spiral and the head of security for a visiting Israeli ambassador who helps catch him. I first read this story in His For the Holidays, another Carina Press collection that also includes the terrific Icecapade by Josh Lanyon. Icecapade features a reformed jewel thief and the FBI agent who chased him for years without ever catching him, despite some major teasing by the thief. It’s delightful to see these two come together again at the holidays.
In An Improper Holiday by KA Mitchell, two friends who were lovers meet again after five years separation at a Twelfth Night house party. Ian is a soldier wounded in the Peninsular War and Nicky is the friend who was left behind, now determined to win Ian back after their disastrous parting. I have a thing for holiday historicals, and this one is a favorite.
Riptide’s O Come All Ye Kinky is a collection of all kinds of LGBTQ holiday romances, from the sweetly silly to the serious, including a lesbian New Year’s Eve story about a sub and her Ma’am by Katie Porter, and a ménage romance with a trans character. There’s something for everyone.
Holiday Escort by Julia Lynda is a f/f Christmas romance about a talented personal assistant who is hired to manage high-powered executive’s holiday social calendar and to pose as her girlfriend for the season too. A shared love on tango leads to some unexpected romance.
In If Only in My Dreams by Keira Andrews, two ex-lovers are stuck driving across the country together at Christmas. Andrews’s Kick at the Darkness was my favorite road trip romance (in the middle of the zombie apocalypse!) this year, so I’m totally on board for If Only in My Dreams.
A Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner is one of my favorite reads of this year actually. Set at Annapolis in 1948, where every midshipman wants a date with the Admiral’s daughter in the hopes of advancing his career, this book is wonderful. The era it’s set in allows for an exquisite awareness of every touch, even through her very proper gloves.
A Twitter conversation about our love for Lisa Kleypas’s Devil in Winter (one of my favorite redemptions of a rake ever) and the rest of her Wallflowers series reminded me of another old favorite, A Wallflower Christmas. An American hero with a wild reputation is supposed to fall in love with a proper English heiress, but it’s her commoner cousin whom he can’t resist.
I’m a total Charles Dickens fan, so as soon as I heard that Joanna Chambers was writing a retelling of A Christmas Carol, I was ready to throw money at her. Humbug is a contemporary retelling of Dickens’s story about a workaholic reconsidering his life choices. (Chambers’s new book in her Enlightenment series, Unnatural, is out today too! Yay!)
Indra Vaughn The Winter Spirit is the story of a lonely B&B owner and the ghost who likes to tease him, while hoping to overcome the curse that keeps him lingering. I love the sound of this story and downloaded it the day it went on sale.
Devin in December by Kate McMurray doesn’t come out until December 23rd, but I’ve had it on my TBR ever since I heard about it. The story of a flight attendant and a Hollywood star who get snowed in together at LaGuardia, I’m thinking this will be the perfect Christmas Eve read, after I finish wrapping the last of the presents after my kid goes to bed!
Friends to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes. In Jay Northcote’s What Happens at Christmas, Sean offers to pose as the new boyfriend of his best friend (and longtime secret crush), Justin. But pretense blurs into reality with a kiss on the dance floor (as it always does, which is why we love it!) and when these two guys are both stuck in London for the holidays, they give into temptation again. And again…
And, of course, there is Real World! I knew I wanted to write a story about Tom and Reese from Off Campus and what their relationship looked like a few years after graduation. I also knew I wanted to give them a big, swoony HEA, and a Christmas story let me do both, while bringing together their friends and family too.
Want to strangle me yet? 🙂 Don’t forget to check out my All About Romance post for the rest of my favorite holiday romances! And give me your recs for the best holiday stories on your bookshelves, physical or electronic please. I’m always up for more love at the holidays!
ETA: I just remember Riley Hart’s Return to Blackcreek is a holiday collection too. High fives for catching up on what your favorite couples are up to down the line!
ETA Part Deux: And Annabeth Albert’s upcoming Status Update in her Gaymers series is a holiday story too! Holidays and geeks and another cross-country drive? CAN’T. WAIT.
ETA #3, AKA Stop Laughing At Me, I Can Stop If I Want: Jody Wallace wrote Claustrophobic Christmas, a “trapped in an ice storm” holiday romance about a claustrophobic travel agent and a globe-trotting photographer. I MUST HAVE IT.
ETA #4: A friend on Twitter rec’d Tamara Morgan’s In the Clear for the “best beta hero losing his shit *ever*.” This book opens with the lines: “For a full twenty seconds, Lexie thought the vibrator in her purse had managed to turn itself on. Again.” That purse also holds “at least three unpaid parking tickets, a tube of lipstick she’d accidentally stolen from the drugstore and meant to return, a tiny bottle of vodka for emergencies of a social nature.” So clearly I bought this book immediately. 🙂
ETA #5: I can’t believe I forgot this one: Anne Calhoun’s Breath on Embers is my favorite book by this amazing writer. The one is all about grief and numbness and slowly coming back to life through the warmth of someone who loves you. It’s a marvelous book.
ETA #6: I just found out about Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories, by Megan Hart, KK Hendin, Stacey Agdern and Jennifer Gracen. KK’s This Much Space was one of my favorite reads this year, so I’m looking forward to reading this holiday anthology too!