6 Romance Novels with Swoon-Worthy Heartthrobs
Written by: Raina Mendonça
Published on: October 11, 2022
Our newest sex toy is called Heartthrob because we’re in love with its intense tapping feature and rumbly vibrations. (And it looks cute on a nightstand.)
In celebration of Heartthrob’s launch, we asked Leah and Bea Koch, romance-novel connoisseurs and founders of the Ripped Bodice, a romance-only bookstore in LA, to round up a collection of their all-time favorite bodice-ripper heartthrobs. These stories are sweet. Sexy. Fun. And the perfect starting place for a solo night in with a Heartthrob all your own.
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Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon
A recently divorced surgeon is looking for a fresh start in a new city. She makes the move to Los Angeles with her twin daughters. But with her demanding work schedule, she’ll need an extra set of hands. Cue nanny Rafe Whitcomb: tall, tattooed, hot, handy…
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
Presumed dead at the Battle of Waterloo, Viola Carroll let everyone think she was really gone. She forged a better, freer, more authentic life for herself as a trans woman. Years later, she reconnects with a cherished friend—a duke—who has yet to surface from the grief of her loss. “This queer, mistaken-identity historical is filled with struggles of identity and finding who you truly are—and finding love along the way, of course,” says Leah Koch.
Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter
Set mostly in a bingo hall in a small Southern town, Jodie Slaughter’s Bet on It is a love story with two strangers who keep crossing paths: Aja Owens and Walker Abbott. Aja’s mental health is a house of cards that’s close to crumbling. Walker, dealing with his own trauma, is eagerly waiting for the day he can leave town. But with chemistry neither can deny, they agree to a casual-sex pact to keep their budding feelings under control. (That’ll work, right?)
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Mika Moon is a British witch accustomed to hiding her powers and identity. In the videos she posts online, her magic looks pretend. But someone must have recognized how real it really was: One day she receives an invitation to stay at Nowhere House, where she finds belonging in a community of witches—and has hot run-ins with Jamie, the handsome house librarian.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
From bestselling author Casey McQuiston, I Kissed Shara Wheeler is a delicious high school drama with a mystery: Prospective valedictorian Chloe Green gets kissed by her rival, prom queen Shara Wheeler. Then Shara vanishes. It’s a funny, messy ride—with unexpected friendships, love triangles, and a happy ending.
The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Heiress Julia Wychwood is a socially anxious booklover who aches to escape her overbearing parents and the ballrooms of Victorian high society. She runs into the mysterious Captain Jasper Blunt—a war hero, a father, and the keeper of a haunted estate. They agree a marriage would be…mutually beneficial. With nods to classic “Beauty and the Beast” tales, author Mimi Matthews expertly balances suspense and tenderness in this passionate cross-class love affair.