[written for Vibrant Nation in January. Worth reprinting now that we’re officially into fall.]
I’m an expert in cold nights, and in ways to keep warm during them.
A fire in the wood stove.
Irish coffee made with Jameson’s.
Hugh Jackman on the television screen.
Any one of those’ll get the job done.
So will any one of these ten books.
Enjoy. And, you know, maybe keep a fan handy…
1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
There has never been a hero the equal of bonnie Highlander Jamie Frazier, never a heroine so worthy of him as WWII nurse Claire Beauchamp, and never a time-traveling relationship with more sizzle.
2. It Had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Phoebe Somerville inherits a football team, along with its coach, Dan Calebow.
She’s not the ditz she looks, he’s not the neanderthal he seems, and the resulting steam will fog up your glasses.
3. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey.
Telepathically enhanced sex, with dragons. One of the longest periods of foreplay in fictional history, and I’m still mad at F’lar for not telling Lessa what was going to happen. Oh, but she makes him pay…
4. Crocodile on a Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.
Egyptologists Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson fight their way through every tomb in Edwardian Egypt. The sex here is demure, discreet, and deliciously arousing.
5. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.
Werewolves in heat. I wouldn’t mind running into Clayton in the woods…and speaking of Hugh Jackman, perfect for the part.
6. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll.
I admit, I was a little shocked the first time I read this novel. Darcy’s pent-up desire for Elizabeth results in a post-wedding debauch that singed my eyebrows, and made me laugh.
7. Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase.
Too many romance novels sacrifice dialogue for sex. Not this one, or its three (so far) sequels. Mirabel Oldridge challenges the Honorable Alistair Carsington mentally, emotionally, socially, politically, and when he finally manages to get his hands on her, physically. One of the few novels you will read where the topic of canals leads to seduction.
8. Death Masks by Jim Butcher.
The fifth in the Harry Dresden series. Butcher doesn’t write sex often, but when he does, zowee. Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan returns to Chicago, and there hasn’t been anything like it since Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over the lamp.
9. Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas.
Lord and Lady Tremaine have the most successful marriage in London, primarily because Lord Tremaine lives in Paris. Then Gigi decides she wants a divorce, and Camden comes home. One of the sexiest denouements in modern Regency romance fiction.
10. No list of this kind would be complete without one book that included sex with vampires, and for this I am delighted to direct you to the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
My favorite (so far) is Dead to the World, where sexy vampire Eric, proprietor of fangbanger bar Fangtasia, loses his memory. And Sookie? Oh my, does she take advantage of it.