Love Trumps Hate: With Recs

I’m still continuing my steady stream of anime and manga rec, but in light of the recent events in Virginia, Minnesota, the ones we haven’t heard about, the ones I missed because I was trying not to listen to the news, the ones we were distracted by because our government is wanting us to be overburdened, burned out and distracted, etc, and because none of this is new, it’s just newly in white people’s consciousness…I’m going to add this extra post. It is not full of any kind of wisdom on my part. I am out of wisdom, if I ever had any. I am out of rants. I’m not much good for more than a few bursts on social media and then a flatten out. And even if I had a lot of fire in me, it wouldn’t be appropriate for this. There’s pretty much nothing you need to hear from a white lady right now. But what I can do is advise you on some great reads: Here are some recs of romances by women of color I know and love. I encourage you to give them a try.

I’m recommending these authors specifically today as women of color, but in no way do you need to be POC to enjoy these books. As white people, all too often we say we aren’t overlooking these books as “not for me” but we are. I am. I do. Or rather, I have had to work to overcome that muscle that the entertainment industry has trained me to believe that “white” is “normal” and “nonwhite” is for “nonwhite” and that we should use words like “normal” and “nonwhite” and I am still working because there is so much whiteness around me. It’s so easy for me to reach for white works and only consume white story. It’s an old habit and without consciousness, almost impossible to break, because the industry isn’t breaking it for me. It really sucks, too, because it’s made me miss out on a lot of great books for a long time.

There are a lot of people who try reading/viewing challenges for periods of time where they deliberately consume nothing but POC entertainment during that time. You might consider doing the same. Bonus points for you if you can get queer POC in there at the same time.

You can find all kinds of great POC books and recs, but these are the people I know and read and recommend and who are literally lying around my desk and desktop/kindle at the moment. There are others I will later go, “crap, I can’t believe I forgot them” but there’s not much to do to help that. Happy one clicking.

Rapt cover by Cremant

Laurel Cremant

Jessica Sinclair has spent the last year tip toeing around her new boss Lucas Wright. She wants him and he knows it, but she has no intention of giving into temptation. She’s always enjoyed a little pain with her pleasure, but she never thought denial could feel so good. Every meeting drives her to a sexual edge and yet they’ve never shared a simple kiss. Resisting him has become a delicious game.

Lucas Wright has enjoyed playing the waiting game with Jessica. The sadist in him enjoys every quip and parry they share. But every man has his limits and he’s officially reached his. He’d never thought that he would find his perfect match in a woman as stubborn as Jessica, but every teasing encounter has convinced him it’s time to put an end to their games and show her just how sweet surrender can be.

Discount on author’s website. Also so many other books, including shifters. Go get yours.

A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev

Born to her parents in Mumbai as a result of prayer, pilgrimage, and every fertility treatment known to modern medicine, Kimaya is the first of her mother’s babies to survive after seven miscarriages. Needless to say, her parents treat her like the miracle she is, and short of putting her in a bubble they protect her from anything outside their mansion at the top of Pali Hill in Mumbai overlooking the ocean. But she develops a rare form or aplastic anemia at the age of ten that severely compromises her immune system and requires her to be isolated in a Laminar airflow room.

Trapped in her ivory tower with nothing more than the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company, she befriends the boy who shows up to wash her windows when he makes the math homework that befuddles her magically easy to understand with his brilliant mind.

Rahul Savant was thirteen when his father died in his arms after taking a bullet for Kimi’s politician father. Rahul was left to take care of two younger siblings and his mother. He accepts Kimi’s father’s mentorship on the condition that he works off the charity by being a servant in his home. As he struggles to take care of his family in his poverty-ridden, crime-ridden neighborhood he loses his beloved younger sister to illness and learns that blocking out his emotions is the only way to survive loss. He believes staying detached is staying strong and it’s the only way he can be focused enough to keep his loved ones safe. But his friendship with Kimi is something he can restrict to the few hours he spends with her across the plastic curtain of her isolation room.

As the years go by Rahul and Kimi develop a unique and deep friendship. He becomes her eyes to the outside world and she becomes his refuge in a cruel world. With Kimi’s encouragement, Rahul makes his way into the extremely selective Indian Civil Services Police Cadre. When Kimi is given a new lease on life via a life-saving procedure, she and Rahul must navigate their undeniable attraction, their lost friendship, complicated family dynamics, and a web of lies that cut too close to home to learn the real meaning of courage, loss and love.

A Distant Heart is up for preorder now but everything Sonali writes is amazing. See my Sweet Spot review with Damon Suede for an extensive report on Dev or try her out yourself.

Love's Changes by Laquette

Laquette

A near-fatal shot through his chest teaches Lieutenant Bryan Smyth of the NYPD two things: He wants to live to see more days and he wants to spend them with his estranged husband, Justice.

Poor decisions made under the strain of grief split the seams of their marriage. Now it’s up to Bryan to show Justice there’s still enough of their love left to salvage from the ruins, still something worth the battle ahead.

Bryan’s shooting has opened Justice’s eyes to new lessons too. The first, tomorrow isn’t promised, the second, life’s too short to live in misery. Justice has watched Bryan shuffle back and forth attempting to balance the man he is at home and the man he has to be at the precinct for too long. Now, he’s done. The only problem is, Justice’s heart is having a hard time adhering to the exit strategy in his head.

I love Laquette and her books too–start anywhere, try everything.

The Sweetest Taboo by Harper Miller

Harper Miller

Like many single women who reside in the city that never sleeps, Micah Foster has had numerous encounters with undesirable men that make her want to renounce love. Just when she’s on the verge of calling it quits in her quest to find love and a sustainable relationship with a Dominant man, her friend Kisa requests her company for a girl’s night out at Spanxxx, a local fetish club. Both Kisa and Micah are seasoned submissive players in the BDSM lifestyle. Micah has been involved in the scene since her early twenties, but she has yet to meet a Dominant she meshes with and takes seriously. Now, at age thirty, she continues to search for a connection that repeatedly eludes her. Under duress, she crosses paths with Dominant Rick Thomas. Unusual and dire circumstances bring the pair together, and he’s exactly what Micah has been searching for

Harper likes it hot, and Harper keeps it real. Give her a spin.

Lock and Key

Sasha Devlin

Shane Willet has been crushing on his roommate Jake for as long as he can remember with no relief in sight. But as studious as Jake is explosive, Shane has given up hope of catching his friend’s eye. In an effort to get over him, Shane allows Jake to drag him to a Key Party—a sex party where men are thrown together by chance. Shane can only hope that hot sex with a virtual stranger will help him forget.

Key Parties are nothing new to a player like Jake Ritter, but tonight he has his own agenda. It involves leaving all other men behind and finally getting Shane in bed. Unbeknownst to Shane, Jake’s rigged the party for them to end up together. Under the cover of darkness, he will indulge in every kinky act that he’s been imagining over the past few months in a bid to bind Shane to him with sex.

Reality more than lives up to fantasy, and both men are left raw in the aftermath of their night of pleasure. Jake may think he knows all there is to know about men and sex, but Shane is going to teach him a thing or two about love…

I dare you not to one click that. I dare you.

Melissa Blue Bluest of Blue

Melissa Blue

When her ex shattered her privacy, revealing all of her secrets to the world, Sophie Lake made a few unspoken promises to herself:

1. Never have sex with a client. Again.
2. When a man tells you who he is, believe him.
3. Never give a man the power to break you.

For two years she’s managed to live by those rules. She has a career to focus on. Celebrities reputations to fix, and her newest client may be her biggest PR challenge. Promoting an observatory should be a cake walk and would be but for Dr. Wade Addison. The former boy genius is prickly, impatient…handsome…sexy as sin… more interested in how her legs look in heels than in pretending to be a people-person.

Asshole, F**ker, Pain In The Ass…

Wade Addison considers those fairly accurate alternatives to his name. He’s not normal, he’s an outsider and he prefers it that way, which is why Sophie is his own personal hell. She wants to take all his knowledge and quirks and turn him into a sound bite for the observatory. She’s his nightly wet dream. The sound of her voice can get him off. He hates her—her wit, her smile, her legs, her kissable mouth.

Hate turns to lust and lust turns into an affair, but the skeletons in both of their closets start to rattle. And they refuse to be ignored.

Give Melissa and her books a try!

The Betting Vow by KM Jackson

KM Jackson

Leila Darling is past done with the supermodel thing, especially the mega-parties and high-profile flings that have done nothing but leave her alone and jaded. She’s got the talent to be a serious actress, but the industry sees her as a high-maintenance, impulsive party girl with a reputation for leaving men in the dust—especially TV producer Carter Bain.
 
Carter’s had his eye on Leila for years, so when a bet gives him a chance to get close to her, he accepts. With the goal of getting Leila the image makeover she needs and Carter the star he desires, the game is on. Get married and stay married for six months. If Leila lasts, she gets her pick of his A-list roles. If Carter wins, she’ll take the hot sidekick part he’s offered.
 
But as their “I do” turns up all kinds of heat, Leila and Carter find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Are these two prepared to put business aside and surrender the ultimate prize, their hearts?

You cannot go wrong with Jackson. Give The Betting Vow or any of her books a try!

Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins

Everything Ms. Bev writes is wonderful. You can’t pick a bad book. It’s not possible, and there are so many books to choose from. But you can also support her in an extra way by donating to the cause to get one of her books turned into a movie. Talk about a gesture that would mean a lot more than ever right now.

Take the Lead Daria

Alexis Daria

Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He’s handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.

Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.

When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.

I can’t wait for this book. Alexis is fabulous and I’m sure her book will be even better.

Brenda Jackson Locked in Temptation

Brenda Jackson

Police detective Joy Ingram’s connection to elite security expert Stonewall Courson is instant. Undeniable. Electric. But her commitment to protect and serve has always come first. Everything else is secondary—especially when she uncovers an underground surrogate baby-making ring. Joy can’t risk a distraction during the most important case of her career, not even one as sexy as reformed ex-con Stonewall. 

There are few things Stonewall values more than a strong woman. But when Joy’s investigation draws her into a deadly conspiracy that goes deeper than she ever imagined, he must convince her that he’s the best man to protect her. And while he puts his life on the line to save hers, the insatiable attraction between them becomes the one danger neither of them can escape.

Jackson has so many books covering so many great tropes. You can’t go wrong. Pick up anything and dig in.

Her Secret Lover Covington

 

Robin Covington

Forbidden fruit is the sweetest. . . .

Kelsey Kyle will do whatever it takes to get into the management trainee program at the casino where she works. So when she’s given the opportunity to get a VIP customer’s endorsement for the program, she jumps at the challenge. All she needs to do is arrange a one-on-one fan experience with the woman’s favorite author, tall-dark-and-intense Micah Holmes. 

An entire week at a Vegas romance readers’ convention, surrounded by hundreds of people, is Micah Holmes’ idea of hell. But one look at Kelsey, his assigned hotel concierge, and the attraction is immediate. Maybe this week won’t be so bad after all…

Anything beyond a “strictly professional” relationship will get Kelsey fired, but she needs to get close to Micah to get the super fan experience her client wants. Hot sex in her apartment pool begins a game of “undercover lover” that quickly escalates to something more. But when Micah discovers her secret agenda, all bets are off.

Robin is such a wonderful woman. I love her to pieces, and her books too.

Piper Huguley

1935. Champion Bates left poky old Winslow, Georgia when he was seventeen years old. He had promised to elope with his childhood sweetheart, but pressured by other influences, he took an earlier train leaving his Delie behind. The pain at leaving her behind has tormented him for the seven years he fought as a ham and egg boxer, trying to make himself worthy of her. He had no chance for the big time until now. He has a fight with a contender boxer–a white man. However, he has been told more fighting will possibly blind him.

Back in Winslow, Cordelia “Delie” Bledsoe is out of luck. A teacher in the local school, she has the care of several children who have been abandoned by their parents. She’s offered $200 to take the children out of Georgia. She wants to take them to her family in Pittsburgh to live on a family farm, but Champion Bates shows up, insistent on helping her. She does not want to trust her old love, but has little choice.

Champion wants to redeem himself with his former sweetheart and doesn’t expect much, but the hair and eyes of one of Delie’s young children tugs at his heart. In this story of sacrifice, Champ and Delie struggle to learn about love and both must grow A Champion’s Heart.

I love everything Piper writes. This book is particularly great–I need to schedule a reread of it soon.

Fast Forward Xio Axelrod

Xio Axelrod

As a nineteen-year-old, wunderkind doctoral candidate, Ian Waters had little interest in social interaction. Books were his companions, and that had suited him just fine. Then a hurricane named Jessen Sørensen blew into his life, throwing Ian off his axis.

On the cusp of rock stardom, Jessen had burned brightly, and Ian had fallen heart-first under his spell. But Ian soon learned he was only a temptation, a pit stop on the road to the rocker’s dreams, and Jessen was gone as quickly as he’d come. Ian buried his heartache in academia, the only home he’d ever known.

When Ian encounters Jessen at a party, the seven-year separation seems insurmountable. There’s too much pain, too much distrust. But Jessen declares he has a new dream, and that’s a life with Ian.

Again, nothing from Xio is anything but a fantastic ride. Pick this and everything else up from her today.

Farrah Rochon

Farrah Rochon

Trust doesn’t always come easy…

As the maverick of the New Orleans City Council, Mackenna Arnold has spent the last four years dismantling the council’s “politics as usual” mentality. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Mack now has her sights set on an even bigger prize: the mayor’s office. But only when the time is right. And only if she can get the pesky freelance journalist hell-bent on investigating her for corruption—who just so happens to be one of the sexiest men alive and her best friend’s younger brother—off her back. But when Mack suspects that her longtime mentor and the city’s current mayor is up to no good, she must convince Ezra Holmes to help her investigate the mayor’s office.

Ezra can admit to having had a thing for Mackenna in his younger days, even though she barely knew his name back then. But his past feelings for Mack have nothing to do with why he’s so committed to exposing her. He suspects she’s used her influence as a public official to cut private deals, and breaking this corruption story would be just the thing to jumpstart his fading career. But what is Ezra supposed to do when he discovers Mack isn’t the one who’s a crooked politician? There’s only one thing he can do: join forces with the woman he’s been crazy about for far too long.  

Farrah’s books always feel like a cozy blanket to me. Danger, excitement, sensuality, but they always feel so safe and cozy and full of community. However you enter her world, you’ll leave feeling happy and wonderful.


So now that I’ve impoverished you…you’re welcome.

One Comment on “Love Trumps Hate: With Recs

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