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Saturday Smutty Six: Sizzling Contemporary Smut with Relationships That Don’t Make Me Want to Scream

These books might be tropetastic, but they also handle the tropes with aplomb. And avoid ridiculous angst and miscommunication, because the characters talk to each other like adults. 

Click on the book title to go to the book’s Amazon page. Yes, these are affiliate links.

A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

Let’s start with: these two protagonists have ignored each other for years and then decide to have a fake relationship, so the only way for them to go is up. What with court(ish) intrigue and a fake relationship, there’s plenty of room for these protagonists to jump to conclusions and have misunderstandings, but they don’t. They demonstrate trust and kindness all the way through. It’s heartwarming and steamy.

Break the Rules by Roxie Noir

Yes, it’s a best friend’s sibling, small town romance, but Break the Rules digs deep to take us past all the standard romance noise and get the protagonists to ask the question: Is this relationship important enough to me that I stop thinking about what’s good for “me” and start thinking about what’s good for “us”? And I mean that in a healthy, relationships-take-compromise way, not in a subjugation way. Also, the sex scratches on his back are what give it all away to his brothers. Yowza. 

Swing Batter Swing by Zaida Polanco

Age gap romance is generally an Erin thing, because she likes paternalistic heroes, but Holly really enjoyed this one – mainly because the (much younger) heroine called out the (much older and also more powerful) hero on his paternalistic bullshit all the time. Especially when he thought he was “acting in her best interest.” Watching these two fight their lust for each other, and then build a true partnership among equals despite their different socio-economic and cultural statuses was deeply satisfying. And very very sexy. 

Love Hard by Nalini Singh

These two protagonists have some not great history, but the way they get to know each other again as adults is delicious. Both protagonists have some emotional baggage, but they manage to communicate with each other and not jump to wild conclusions when the going gets tough, which was lovely to read. Also, when they finally hit the bedroom, I was DED.

First and Only by Allie Winters

Eden is extremely sheltered and has had her entire life controlled by her father. So when she trades tutoring for lessons in seduction from the steamiest guy in class, one would THINK Eden would be in for a world of trouble–and a broken heart. But no. Not from sexy, swoon-worthy, thoughtful, supportive Jake. This book is a delicate, slow burn of appreciation for unappreciated skills and open communication. You’re going to think it’s almost TOO relaxing and enjoyable, but don’t get too comfortable–these lessons will get your heart racing.

A Good Man by Rosanna Leo

Here we have a sexy and complicated book featuring a SUPER sexy reality TV show carpenter who is also trying to figure out how to deal with PTSD after a traumatic incident, and a chef who is trying to rebuild her life after getting her hiney handed to her in a break up. Sounds like a hot mess, right? Well, yeah. Kind of. They are a mess, but they’re also human beings who are thoughtful and self-aware and who melt the walls with their chemistry.

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Saturday Smutty Six: Halloweekend

It’s Halloweekend! We had a fun few minutes talking vampires and witches and demons (oh my!) on our text chat, so we thought we’d share some fun, possibly suspenseful, probably delightful, definitely a little bit ridiculous, but not especially spooky books today. If you’re in the mood to read for the holiday, we present The Smut Report’s 2020 Halloween recommendations without further ado.

As usual, clicking the title will take you to the Amazon page…


The Demon Always Wins by Jeanne Oates Estridge

Belial knows that he’d be a natural as the Chief Executive Demon of Hell…all he has to do to prove his worth to Satan is sway God’s chosen one to the path of darkness. Easy, right? Wrong. Dara immediately knows that Belial is not really a sexy doctor. The back and forth between Belial and Dara as they navigate the path between good and evil makes for a really satisfying romance. Bonus points for a hilarious depiction of hell as the worst corporation ever.

Necromancer Rising by Ashton Abbott

This is a classic, sexy fated mates but with lots of corpses and limbs being torn off and blood squirting and stuff. There’s a sort of mystical world being built here with plenty of interwoven backstory and darkness, but there’s also a lot of rebirth and love. If you like everything paranormal and adore your happily ever after with a side of despair and a sprinkling of neck snapping, you’ll love this spooky, sexy story.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti’s lack of a soul has always been a real trial to her, in no small part because it keeps her under the eye of Lord Maccon, gruff and messy alpha of the local werewolf pack and head of BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry). When a vampire tries to bite her without consent, violating all the rules of appropriate vampire etiquette, Alexia finds herself in the middle of a BUR mystery. Read for the most nonsensical and entertaining voice in a steampunk Victorian world. 


The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

If you’re curious about the Immortals After Dark series but aren’t ready to commit to a full-length book, start with this one! It’s book .5 in the series and features a vampire who really wants to find his bride (who will start his heart beating again) and a valkyrie who kills vampires as a hobby, so she’s got no problem getting all the sexytimes she needs from him and then ending him (maybe literally?) when the time comes. Things get spicy when immortal takes on immortal.

Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score

So this one isn’t your usual ghosts and goblins type fare, but we do have a book packed full of absurdity and steamy scenes. Riley is divorced (and completely screwed over), living in a house with a bunch of elderly roommates. Plus, one of her elderly roommates gets murdered, and here’s where it gets absurd–she’s psychic, and because she tried to warn the guy AND the police, she’s now on the murderer’s radar. Enter Nick Santiago, private investigator. (I so want to make a joke here, but I’m a very strong woman.) Nick’s job is to solve the case, but he can’t really do it without Riley’s help–and he ONLY works solo. This book is absolutely hilarious, and so well done…it’s a completely fresh and sexy romance packed full of wild capers, perfect for a stress-free Halloween.

Tall, Dark, and Kilted by Allie Mackay

This book is utterly ridiculous. The hero is a ghost named…HARDWICK DE STUDLY. And he makes a deal with the devil that means he can finally rest from his hundreds of years of haunting the earth, if and only if he can manage to not get a single boner for a year and a day. Too bad Cilla shows up at the castle he has decided to haunt. Is this book very silly? Yes. Are there glaring plot holes and bits of complete nonsense? Yes again. Has Holly been using it as an in-joke with her husband for the past five years because it is just that delightful? Yes, yes, YES!

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Saturday Smutty Six: Voting Inspiration

If you’re feeling election fatigue…we get it. 2020 has lasted approximately a million years, which means that the 2020 election has lasted approximately two million years. But it’s not over til it’s over, so if you’re feeling the need for some inspiration to get more involved in participatory democracy…We made a smut list for that! 

But first, a personal note. 

Why we vote

Holly: The first election I was really aware of was 2000 – and boy, was it a doozy. So my sense with electoral politics is not only that it’s outrageously important but that you might have to fight like hell to get your voice heard. I honestly can’t imagine not voting. 

Erin: My mother taught me to take it seriously. When I was really young, I learned that my Grandfather lost a local election by a super small margin, which taught me that every vote really does matter. I also was made aware very young that there are many countries in the world where people don’t get to vote, or if they do, the government is so corrupt that it doesn’t matter. My whole family takes voting super duper seriously. So I vote because it’s my job as a citizen to do so.

Ingrid: I also have to say that my earliest memories of voting involved my Grandpa–really everyone in my extended family was raised with a strong conviction that serving the community is not an optional value and that voting is one of the best things you can do to serve your community. Also though–I vote because it feels good to do the right thing, and it’s satisfying to know you’re doing your part to help your community.


If those answers don’t sum up our personalities in a nutshell, we really don’t know what would. 

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite romances that get us in the mood to head to the ballot box. There are a lot of suffragette romances on this list. (As always, click on the titles to go to the book’s Amazon page.)

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

This is one of the most politically engaged romances Holly has ever read. Agatha and Penelope go to a peaceful protest, participate in a not-so-peaceful protest, print seditious pamphlets, and take on an anti-vice society. While also falling in love and spending a lot of time beekeeping.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

The entire Brothers Sinister series is rooted in Victorian politics, but The Suffragette Scandal in particular is aces because Frederica Marshall (who’s been a firecracker in other books, mistake not) is a wonderfully constructed political activist heroine. She runs a political newspaper and readily engages in protests, and is marvelously fierce. Although this lands her in hot water, the relationship drama stems from the fact that the hero meets her with a deception, not from Free’s activism.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Annabelle receives a scholarship to study at Oxford from a Suffragette society, and because of this, she’s required to participate in suffragette pamphleting and so forth. Ergo, Annabelle is an activist because she has to be, not because she’s all fired up to be, which is a fun take. Even beyond the suffrage aspect, this book is chock full of politics, and the way that Dunmore deconstructs class and feminism is also great.

Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale

Ok, so this is mostly about a Gilded Age Lady Boss starting a make-up company, but there’s a thread of activism running through the novel. Daisy Swan and her suffragette friends push the boundaries of woman’s space both literally (by going to lunch without a male escort) and figuratively (by mutually supporting each other in their goals of financial independence). Bonus points for a suffrage rally where everyone wears bright red lipstick. 

Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology

This anthology of black suffragette romance is awesome. It’s got great love stories, but it’s also really rooted in history. The authors tackle not just black women’s place in the struggle to win the vote, but also explore questions of race, passing, respectability, and intersectional politics. In a non-nerdy, absolutely swoon-worthy manner. 

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

A contemporary romance! McQuiston wrote this book after the 2016 election and filled it with people who are woefully underrepresented in our current political landscape. Alex Claremont-Diaz is the president’s son, and he plans to be elected to Congress as soon as he’s old enough. But the realities of ugly biases tarnish not only his dream, but his mother’s reelection campaign when he begins a same-sex relationship with a prince of England.

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Saturday Smutty Six: Seriously Exceptional Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon roll heroes are extremely popular, but so many cinnamon roll heroes are sweet and nice, but not the ooey gooey deliciousness of too good for this world that is the best cinnamon roll. They’re often also nice in a somewhat 2-dimensional way, without any of their own problems or baggage (or they’re AMAZING until the conflict arises, and they do something completely outrageous). 

These cinnamon rolls, on the other hand, have feelings and react to situations like real people, but holy moly do they take care of things, are willing to communicate and engage with their feelings and be an amazing partner. 

Thus, without further ado, we present you with this Saturday Smutty Six list of seriously exceptional cinnamon roll heroes:

Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon

If anyone puts together a cinnamon roll list WITHOUT Rafe on it, you should probably back away, because that person is not to be trusted. Rafe doesn’t have a ton of baggage, though he is working through whether being a professional caretaker for the rest of his life is really for him when he accepts a job taking care of Sloan’s twins. Let’s start with the obvious: every parent deserves a nanny as good as Rafe in their life. He cooks. He enjoys spending time with kids. He does laundry. But also, when he finds himself attracted to Sloan, he goes with open and honest communication. And keeps up the open and honest communication when her ex starts the drama. In short: Rafe is the best. 

Salt+Stilettos by Janet Walden-West

Yum, yummy, yum, Will is a chef from American Samoa and is just…healthy, sexy, vulnerable, gooey, goodness. Brett is in PR and is helping pull off the launch of his new restaurant, but she’s also dealing with nearly debilitating PTSD. Will provides a safe, healthy, nurturing connection she can count on. One thing I loved about this book is that Will deals with things men in the real world deal with–he’s self-conscious about gaining weight, and doesn’t always feel like he’s top-dog (even though he’s incredibly talented and well-respected in his field). And the way this is written shows how sexy it is for a man to be strong, vulnerable, and REAL.

The Boyfriend Project by Farah Rochon

The big problem in this book is that Daniel is deceiving Samiah, and he’s deceiving her because he’s an undercover agent for the Treasury department. Even though he really knows he shouldn’t, he can’t help but keep seeing Samiah, who’s going through her own drama. His empathy and support are lovely, and he takes time to listen to her and understand her. Totally a book boyfriend.

Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday 

Jake takes care of things. Your porch is broken? Jake will fix it. You need some dinner? Here’s Jake, with a pizza (ham and pineapple, aka the best toppings). He helps deliver a baby in the middle of the town square. Note that this strong-and-silent hero has some serious emotional baggage that keeps him from toppling into white knight territory. 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Red is always a caregiver because his mother is diabetic, so when he really gets to know Chloe after thinking she’s nothing more than a frosty rich girl since they met, he immediately demonstrates that he understands she only has so many spoons, and he’s more than willing to share some of his to make their time together better. He’s just a genuinely nice man, even if his life is still sorting itself out.

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller 

Sam is the sunshine to Ava’s grumpy, and he is just so thoughtful and charming and optimistic that you can’t help but love him, even if he can’t remember to tie his own shoes.

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Saturday Smutty Six: Latinx Books We Loved

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we’re highlighting awesome romances by Latinx authors that also feature Latinx characters. For the record, some of these books are our all-time favorites, and should be read any time you can get your hands on them. 

Book titles link to Amazon. 

Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera

Julia’s family is warm and loving and supportive…but they are far away in NYC when she is dumped in Texas after moving there with her then-boyfriend. At least she has her job–until the foundation’s future is put at risk by corporate cuts. Rocco is the consultant responsible for evaluating the foundation, and can easily see the enormous benefit to the community. However! If he votes to save the foundation, he loses his job as a consultant. This book features just a ton of healthy and truly sexy dynamics and the writing just leaps off the page. 

Rep: Afro-Dominican author, Dominican-Puerto Rican heroine

Lush Money by Angelina M. Lopez

Roxanne Medina needs to be in control. After all, that’s how she pulled herself from her humble beginnings and became a billionaire. But she also wants a baby, and she doesn’t want that baby to be saddled with all the baggage with which her childhood saddled her. What’s a billionaire to do? Buy a prince to use as a stud, of course! Lopez plays with gender roles and creates really interesting dynamics as these protagonists fall for each other and also rescue the hero’s bankrupted country. 

Rep: Latinx author, heroine with Latinx heritage, hero from Spanish-speaking European monarchy

Swing Batter Swing by Zaida Polanco

In the mood for a sexy work romance? Look no further! Marty and Jay have explosive chemistry, which they valiantly try to fight…until they don’t. There is a definite power differential between the protagonists (in terms of race, gender, class, and age, so we’ve got pretty much the whole shebang), and Polanco handles their negotiation of this dynamic particularly well. 

Rep: Afro-Dominican author, Afro-Dominican heroine

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Lina is doing just fine after being left at the altar, but she’s still a small business owner with small business owner concerns. So when the opportunity arises, she sets aside her antipathy toward her proposal partner – the almost-brother-in-law who she thinks convinced her fiance to bolt – in hopes of getting something better for herself when she wins the job at the end of the proposal. Little does she know that she’s also in the running for a totally awesome HEA. Also, there are a gazillion awesome Brazilian cultural references in this book.

Rep: Afro-Brazilian author, Afro-Brazilian heroine

PS: We seriously love us some Mia Sosa – here’s a quick and dirty primer we wrote about her books

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

As many of Zapata’s heroine’s are, Sal Casillas is a hardworking woman from humble beginnings, the child of blue collar immigrant parents, but she’s also the best women’s soccer striker in the United States. When her childhood crush becomes her coach one season, she goes from unable to talk to him, to enraged by everything about him (talk about being let down by a personal hero!) to his best friend. Sal is fierce, and following her romance is kind of awesome.

Rep: Mexican-American author, Latinx heroine

PS: Mariana Zapata is the queen of slow burns. If slow burns are your jam, here’s more info on Zapata’s other books

A Summer for Scandal by Lydia San Andres

To round out our list, here’s a historical romance! Emilia Cruz, suffragette, helps to support her family by writing sensational stories under a pen name. Ruben Torres, rising literary star, pays the bills by running a gossip paper and writing mean literary reviews under a pen name. Of course, he is dying to expose the true author of these very naughty stories that have taken the island by storm…that is, until he actually gets to know Emilia (and gets over the fact that she has a tendency to push him into nearby bodies of water). Of course there are some shenanigans as everyone’s secret identity is revealed, but the characters and setting really shine.

Rep: Set on an imaginary island in the Spanish Caribbean. Latinx hero and heroine. 


Looking for more Latinx romance? We kept this list to six, because of alliteration, but we made a longer list at Bookshop.org.

Do you have a favorite Latinx romance novel? Let us know what it is – especially if it’s not on our list! We’re always looking for recs!