Books that will make you blush

Irresistible sexual tension and gasp-worthy sex scenes. Find that elusive chemistry with our suggestive suggestions.

A glance. A look. An accidental touch. Will they, won’t they?

From Romeo and Juliet’s eyes meeting across a crowded party, to Mr Darcy’s declaration of love for Elizabeth Bennet, to Rupert Campbell Black shagging his way across Rutshire before falling for the sweet Taggie, to long haired, leather trouser wearing love god Luke Costello caring for addict Rachel Walsh, every generation has a couple they’ve championed and a love interest they’ve fallen for themselves.

What is it about sexy novels that gets us hooked? Why do we root for characters to get it on, invested in their every meeting, move and misstep until they reach that satisfying climax?

Well, like every good romance, it’s complicated. It’s the meet cute when we know they’re destined to be together, even if it’s hate at first sight or there’s an impossible obstacle in their way. The settings, whether they’re exotic locations we wish we could visit or the everyday office that could be our own. The sensual descriptions of the food the characters eat or the way they dance that make our mouths water and our bodies imagine the heat of theirs.

It’s the triggering of that feeling we all know, the one where we have a crush on someone, whether it’s someone in the public eye or that person we see on the train every morning. The way we’re allowed to live through the rollercoaster of feelings, arriving at the joy of true love, believing that this could happen to us too.

And what’s most exciting about more recent romance novels is the recognition that you don’t have to be straight, white and skinny for sex and love to come your way. There’s a wealth of steamy books incorporating LGBTQIA+ characters, disabled characters, people of all races and body sizes, all having fun times with their person – which means more hot novels for all of us. Bring it on.

One Last Stop

by Casey McQuiston

No one needs love or friendship or any of that baggage weighing them down, do they? Not at least according to amateur detective August Landry who moves to NYC with her life’s possessions in five boxes. But then she repeatedly meets a woman on the subway and, as the heat in the city increases, so does the attraction between them. Jane is a time-traveler from the 70s, stuck on the Q Train, with little knowledge of who she is. Can August’s detective skills free them both?


by Raven Leilani

When the opening line of a book is ‘The first time we have sex, we are both fully clothed, at our desks during working hours, bathed in blue computer light’ you know it’s going to be a ride (pun intended). Edie’s in a relationship with Eric, a white middle-aged man in an open marriage. Things get complicated when Edie ends up moving into the family home and helping to raise their adopted Black daughter. A transformational experience for Edie and the reader.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

by Talia Hibbert

Book cover for Get a Life, Chloe Brown

After a near death experience, chronically ill Chloe Brown comes up with a plan to help her get a life, including having meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex. But Chloe needs help to become the carefree woman she imagines. The solution? Recruiting tattooed biker Redford ‘Red’ Morgan. Just for fun though, right?


by TJ Klune

What if you met a friend who turned out to be both a werewolf and the love of your life and then, just when you’ve realised how much he means to you, he leaves to hunt an enemy and you’re left pining? Ox has been told he’s worthless by his abusive father but then he meets Joe, and his family provide him with a home. Now he has to learn how to survive while he waits for Joe’s return.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

by D. H. Lawrence

So filthy it was banned in several countries and became the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. Brooding, aloof gamekeeper Mellors keeps to himself until wife of the manor, Connie Chatterley, comes calling. Feeling abandoned by her intellectual husband, she experiences a personal and sexual revolution in Mellor’s arms, finding freedom across the class divide.

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

by Andrea Lawlor

The vibe is 90s San Francisco: Levi 501s, mixtapes featuring the latest indie bands, an LGBT bookshop, and a protagonist who can shift genders at will. Paul is on a voyage of discovery as to the person he wants to be. It’s a journey that will take him through the city and beyond, taking in a number of steamy encounters along the way.

The Atlas Six

by Olivie Blake

Competing to join a magical secret society, with the knowledge that one of you isn't going to make it, certainly ramps up the tension, sexual and otherwise. Double it if you’re six hot twenty-somethings. Whether it’s Libby and Nico’s intellectual rivalry, Nico and Gideon’s devotion, Tristan and Callum’s connection or Parisa, Tristan and Libby’s loss of inhibitions via a bottle of Absinthe, you’ll find your favourite sexy vibes right here.