Romantic, but not quite there...
November 23, 2012 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me some seriously good romance/erotic romance fiction?

I'm an adult and I love romance fiction. I love a good love story with a corny fluffy ending. On the other hand, I also love erotic fiction, and I especially love romance plots which develop into the characters having sex at some point.

What I'm having trouble with is consolidating both of these. Either the fiction I've read has heart-warming, delicious romance but is lacking on the sexually explicit part, or has the hottest sex, but I feel like murdering the characters and the story itself for being so dumb (and/or badly written, as has happened with some of the e-books I've bought before).

So my question is, is there any great erotic romance out there that I haven't heard of? I've tried reading some of the internet's favorites (ala '50 shades of gray') only to be completely and utterly turned of by it; so much that I stopped reading after 3 chapters, or whereabouts.

PS. I dislike/am not looking for D/s fiction, or any story with a 'dominant' male and a sub female/sub male (or a variation). I prefer equality.
posted by anonymous to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

Have you tried Herotica?
posted by bunderful at 4:56 PM on November 23, 2012

Jennifer Crusie is the gold standard for romance for me. She not only writes excellent, witty, funny, believable characters, but has a deft hand with sex scenes. They run along the lines of just explicit enough, I think. Plus, she has a lot of different kinds of sex - occasionally it's awkward, sometimes a kink unexpectedly surfaces in the middle of things, sometimes it's hot in unexpected ways.
posted by PussKillian at 5:09 PM on November 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon?
posted by pised at 5:14 PM on November 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by b33j at 5:29 PM on November 23, 2012

Came in to mention the Outlander series as well. It certainly isn't erotica, but there are some pretty juicy sex in there. And for historical romance, the writing is refreshingly good.
posted by Specklet at 5:37 PM on November 23, 2012

My tastes run to the paranormal but I'd recommend Dana Marie Bell's Gray Court series. Not so fluffy but lots of romance and sex. The second books is mmf.

More generally I'd recommend Eve Langlais, Shelly Laurenston and G.A. Aiken for paranormal and Emma Holly who does contemporary and paranormal.
posted by bluesapphires at 5:42 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Raymond E Feist's Faerie Tale is a very good read. It isn't quite a romance or erotica but it does provide a well crafted tale with a nice dash of what you ask for.
posted by pdxpogo at 5:53 PM on November 23, 2012

Yes. Jennifer Crusie is the gold standard, I agree, if you like real human characters, sharp humor, good plots, and hot heat. Start with Agnes and the Hitman or Faking It.
posted by anonnymoose at 5:57 PM on November 23, 2012

Some of my favorite authors: Kristen Ashley (her books are like crack), Victoria Dahl, Lorelei James (if the cowboy thing appeals), Jill Shalvis, Lisa Kleypas (a little tamer, but so well done) and I'll throw in Cherise Sinclair despite the no D/s request because I think she writes some seriously hot books.
posted by cecic at 6:15 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is not, strictly speaking, erotica, but it gets sensuous in places.

John Fowles's The Magus also deserves a place on your bookshelf.
posted by Nomyte at 6:16 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been on a Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle binge lately and like her books because they're smart, well-written, negotiate issues of consent nicely (the female characters don't get pressured or coerced into intimacy, they choose it), and the sex scenes are pretty hot. She covers a number of time periods (historical , contemporary, and future) and genres (straight romance, fantasy-scifi-romance, mystery-thriller-romance).

And I recently came across Mary Jo Putney and am enjoying her books so far too. Smart, compelling, often funny, and with characters one doesn't want to smack…
posted by Lexica at 8:29 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Disrec Outlander like whoa. Lots of rapey consent issues going on there, and after the author's over-the-top response to fanfiction (she compared them to raping her children, iirc) I'm disinclined to send any new readers her way.

And if I remember, Julia Quinn has excellent Regency romances that also have some sexyteims in them.
posted by Tamanna at 9:22 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

A. S. Byatt's Possession, Morpho Eugenia and Djinn in the Nightingale's eye.
The second through fifth of the Earth's Children books
posted by brujita at 9:59 PM on November 23, 2012

I also disrec Outlander for the same reasons as Tamanna. Also, her research is really bad; I have a Scots friend who read excerpts of it to her mother as a joke. So yeah.

For romances that I actually love, here's a list of recommendations I wrote on my old blog. (I'm not sure if this is kosher, so if by any chance this comment is deleted, I'll just write the list of the recs in another comment.)
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 1:02 AM on November 24, 2012

As Meat Loves Salt. It's m/m, you haven't mentioned a specific preference, and it's just a beautifully written story with flawed and complex characters. The erotic stuff is mostly offstage/fade to black but the tension that you have to wade through to get there is... damn. It's definitely the most erotic book I've ever read.

And seconding Jennifer Crusie. Love her!
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:43 AM on November 24, 2012

My favorite authors: Lisa Kleypas (historical and modern), Nalini Singh (for her paranormal Psy/Changeling series), Thea Harrison (paranormal), Ilona Andrews (paranormal Edge series, hot but limited sex scenes). Those authors also almost always explicitly make sure each couple is in an equal relationship.
posted by ethidda at 9:34 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like Kathleen O'Reilly and Leslie Kelly for sexy stories about characters I don't hate.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2012

Susan Elizabeth Phillips tops my list of favorite romance authors. Kate Angell, Jaci Burton, Shannon Stacey, and Lori Foster are other authors whose books I've devoured.
posted by stampsgal at 11:28 AM on December 1, 2012

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