11 Romance Novels That’ll Leave You Hot and Bothered Through the Holiday Season

At this point in the year, you may well be experiencing Christmas rom-com fatigue—so the prospect of heading home for the holidays to spend time with your family to play board games and probably watch even more wholesome flicks may leave you wanting…more. Well, you’re in luck: Endless bookshelves (paper and digital) are overflowing with steamy romance novels just waiting for your undivided, yearning attention.

So, grab an adaptogenic hot chocolate, curl up the by fire, and lose yourself in one of the following super-hot tomes. Reading should be for pleasure, right?

1. Darker, by E.L. James

If you’re panting for more Fifty Shades, fear not: The tantalizing series returns to the Red Room, this time through Christian Grey’s POV. Though his affair with Anastasia Steele has flamed out (sorry, spoiler!), the tormented billionaire still burns for her love—and will stop at nothing to bring her back under his dominance. You’ll bang this out in one sitting.

2. The Idea of You, by Robinne Lee

Sit back, and let your fangirl dreams come to life. After meeting backstage at a Las Vegas concert, divorcee Solene, 39, unexpectedly strikes up an intoxicating affair with British boy bander Hayes, 20. Don’t let his age fool you: This Harry Styles wannabe knows just what a woman wants—and needs. Their international trysts certainly satisfy. Even the prying paparazzi enjoy.

3. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The title doesn’t lie. London-based Indian immigrant Nikki is teaching a short-story writing class to a group of Punjabi widows. Totally PG, right? Well, when one of her students unearths a book of erotica, Nikki realizes these ladies are teeming with dirty thoughts and fantasies that are just waiting to be unleashed. Reese Witherspoon awards the liberating tome three fire emojis.

4. The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang

Stella is a brilliant programmer with Asperger’s who also happens to be completely and totally against dating. But, in an effort to please her nagging parents (very relatable), she gives it a go and hires a male escort to school her in Passion 101. No spoilers here, but let’s just say Stella aces the class, leading their deal to evolve into a hot romance that far exceeds her calculations.

5. The Red, by Tiffany Reisz

Mona Lisa made a vow: She would do absolutely anything to save her late mother’s art gallery. Anything. Even agreeing to serve as a mysterious man’s submissive in exchange for his fortune. The sexual encounters are creative, to say the least: Each is staged to mimic a famous piece of art.

6. My Favorite Half-Night Stand, by Christina Lauren

Millie was just fine being the perpetually single girl. That is, until her guy friends decide to score dates for an upcoming formal event, forcing her to take a stab at online dating—dick pics, creepy come-ons, and all. To truly let loose her inner sex goddess, however, she creates a fake profile, where she can be open and vulnerable. The problem? She matches with her best friend, who she’s also casually sleeping with.

7. I Never, by Laura Hopper

Think of it as a modern Forever by Judy Blume. 17-year-old Janey was once driven by homework and track practice. The standard teenage stuff. But after her parents announce their divorce, their innocent teen heads straight into the arms of a senior boy. Now, her new—and only—priority is hooking up. Remember, YA is just a genre. This love story doesn’t censor the details.

8. Open Me, by Lisa Locascio

Roxana’s dreams were crushed after a technical error landed her in Copenhagen and not Paris for her summer study abroad program. Her wallowing, however, is short-lived thanks to an irresistible grad student, who expands her world culturally and sexually. The climax is complicated—stay tuned.

9. Night shift: A Choose Your Own Erotic Fantasy, by Joanna Angel

It’s your turn to bring your desires to life. After graduating college, an uncertain Taryn finds herself working the night shift at a seedy sex shop in Florida. Who will she meet? Which toys are the most fun? Why is she being held at gunpoint? That’s for you to decide.

10. Holiday Spice, by Samantha Chase

When Darcy thinks of escaping the watchful eye of her five, overprotective brothers, she wasn’t imagining getting snowed in with brooding, wood sculptor Ben. But alas, here she is. You can guess what happens next.

11. Hurts to Love You, by Alisha Rai

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet certainly lacks this franchise’s heart-pounding lust. After a horrific tragedy, the Chandler and Kane families become sworn enemies, choosing to dissolve their co-owned grocery stores. The anger they build up over the years only creates sexual tension and forbidden love between three secretive couples. In the final installment, good-girl heiress Eve Chandler craves the touch of playboy Gabriel, who is part of the Kaneses help staff. Sure he may be off-limits, but that only adds to the fun.

Want more raunchy fun? Check out this app, which is basically the Headspace of erotica. Also, here's why the death of Tumblr porn is bad for women.

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