These books are specifically New Adult; for a list of bi guys in Contemporary Romance, click here.
Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins
Hold Me by Courtney Milan
Out of Frame by Megan Erickson
F*ths by G.L. Thomas
Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
It’s Pride Month, which means a whole lot of LGBTQIAP+ books are on sale! (And some of them are just cheap year round. Basically, this post is a collection of stuff that’s under five bucks.)
Due to my personal life being a little hectic right now (*insert wave from very cute new baby*) I’m just throwing all categories and genres together in one post, but hopefully that’ll inspire people to find something brand-spankin’-new they might not have checked out otherwise!
(Please note I’m assembling this post nearly a week in advance of its going up. It’s possible some of the sale prices will no longer apply. Sorry about that if so.)
(Just about all links are Amazon Affiliate. Money earned via these links goes back into the site.)
Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver (f/f/f fantasy, $0.99)
Plastic Wings by C.T. Callahan (ace-spec Dystopian, $0.99)
In Memoriam by Nathan Burgione (m/m Fantasy, $0.99)
Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver (f/f Fantasy, $0.99)
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (f/f YA fantasy, $1.25)
Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee (bi contemporary MG, $1.99)
The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles (m/m historical romance, $1.99)
Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman (contemporary f/f Romance, $1.99)
HeartShip by Amy Jo Cousins (m/m Romance, $2.99)
Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole (m/m Post-Apocalyptic Romance, $2.99)
The Noble of Sperath by Siera Maley (f/f YA fantasy, $2.99)
Safe in Your Fire by Darien Cox (m/m PNR, $2.99)
Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde (contemporary m/nb romance, $2.99)
Wild by Hannah Moskowitz (bi m/f contemporary YA, $3.99)
Autumn by Cole McCade (m/m contemporary romance, $3.99)
Bliss by Fiona Zedde (lesbian erotica, $3.99)
Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler (pan f/f contemporary NA, $3.99)
A Hundred Thousand Words by Nyrae Dawn (m/m contemporary NA romance, $3.99)
Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen (m/m contemporary romance, $3.99)
Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (f/f historical fantasy, $4.99)
Small Change by Roan Parrish (bi m/f contemporary romance, $4.99)
City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault (ace fantasy, $4.99)
Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell (contemporary m/m romance, $4.99)
The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper (contemporary f/f romance, $4.99)
Documenting Light by E.E. Ottoman (trans m/m romance, $4.99)
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon (contemporary f/f NA romance, $4.99)
Takeover by Anna Zabo (contemporary m/m romance, $4.99)
Poison Kiss by Ana Mardoll (f/f/m PNR, $4.99)
Hello World by Tiffany Rose and Alexandra Tauber (ace sci-fi, $4.99)
If you’ve literally never been to this site or its associated Tumblr before, you might not know that I am a huuuuge fan of Santino Hassell and his fantastic Five Boroughs series of m/m Romances, so, lemme set that record “straight” (heh) – I am a huuuuge fan of Santino Hassell and this wonderfully written, emotional, inclusive, hot-as-hell series, and I’m thrilled to have him on the site today in honor of the release of its fifth book, Concourse. It’s a sexy new friends-to-lovers romance that can be read independently of the earlier books, although I promise you are seriously missing out if you skip over the others.
Here to talk about Concourse and five of his fave friends-to-lovers Romances, please welcome Santino Hassell!
It’s no secret that I love the friends-to-lovers trope. In Five Boroughs, my queer romance series set in NYC, mostly every relationship has initially stemmed from friendship or a strong bond. Concourse, my newest standalone novel in the series, is not much different.
Ashton Townsend, a former model loved by the paparazzi falls for his best friend (who also happens to be the son of his former nanny) Valdrin Leka. They’ve supported each other emotionally in a friendship that has spanned over a decade, which gives them a solid foundation to overcome all the barriers I threw at them in the book.
The bedrock of friendship, no matter how long, is the perfect jumping off point for a romance, so here are my top five recs for queer romance novels where a strong connection came first:
Roller Girl by Vanessa North is one of the most uplifting stories I’ve read in a long while. Not just because of the romance itself, but because the characters are surrounded by supportive people. There are already strong friendships built into the story, so when Tina and Joe connect, it’s one of many positive relationships, which is excellent. Once Tina joins Joe’s roller derby team, camaraderie and attraction leads to sex hidden from their teammates, but I’ll let you pick up the book before I tell you more.
Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen is the story of two boys who were raised in a cult. That’s right. A cult. They’ve barely experienced the outside world and the only source of joy in Josh’s small world has always been his best friend, Caleb. He kept his feelings a secret for years until they eventually escape the cult and run away together. It’s only then that their strong friendship blossoms into romance and even then, it’s a very slow burn. Their priority is always preserving their friendship as they get through the difficult transition from cult-world to the real world, together.
Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish is a great tale of a connection that blossomed over a long period of time. We first meet Will and Leo in the first book of the Middle of Somewhere series when Leo is a teenager still figuring out who he wants to be, and Will is the surly ex-boyfriend of one of the main characters. The transition to kid-sorta mentor, to crush-sorta friend, to the third book when Leo is older and wanting to pursue a romantic relationship, is spectacular.
Bend or Break by Amy Jo Cousins is a series full of awesome tales of people who forge strong bonds leading to intense physical and romantic relationships. Off Campus, the first book, will always be my favorite, because of the emotional support Tom and Reese give each other as Tom hides from an infamous scandal and Reese recovers from a traumatic assault. However, The Girl Next Door is a close second. You first meet Steph and Cash in book 1, and you instantly grow to love them both. Steph is a queer confident badass, and Cash is the dudebro you just want to hug because he is so damn sweet and likeable. Pick up this series!
Housemates by Jay Northcote is a series packed full of friends-to-lovers stories. What I really love about this series is that the characters are always wary of messing up their friendships because of the value they place on them. The friendship dynamics of everyone in the house is very realistic, and you come to love all the characters. Again—check out this whole series! You won’t regret it.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
Psyched to have Romance author Amy Jo Cousins on the blog today, who’s not only one of the most prolific, supportive, and delightful people in all the land, but also wrote my #1 recommendation for “I need something short and absurdly hot.” (I’ll give you a minute to buy “Callie, Unwrapped.” You’re welcome in advance.) She’s got a brand-new m/m Romance out called HeartShip (more on that below), and a whole lot of wisdom and recommendations to share, so please welcome Amy Jo!
The response has been terrific, mixed with a dollop of “Ugh, what?” But that’s okay! New things always get a bit of a side-eye, right? And when the series first came out, very few people were mixing it up with different pairings in their series. It was a philosophical decision for me, though, to include all kinds of relationships in my series under one pen name. I wanted my writing to reflect my life and my community, and in my world, friendships and relationships and social circles are complicated and expansive and full of beautiful and every-changing variety. So yes, I occasionally get protest emails from readers who don’t like that I have a m/f or f/f books included with m/m stories, but this is more than just my writing. It’s my life. So there’s always going to be the full rainbow! The vast majority of readers I speak to are 100% supportive, especially my fans who are gay men. They read it all and love Cash and Steph as much as they love Tom and Reese or Vinnie and Bryan, which just makes me happy beyond all words.
I’m writing my idea of a fantastic baseball organization, which is of course heavily influenced by the kindness and sense of play driving Joe Madden and my beloved Cubs, with the added influence of my imaginary team having the owner’s lesbian daughter in a power position in operations. She’s all about acquiring hot talent that other teams have passed up, especially if it’s because the player is queer. So we’ve got two gay rookies in book one coming up from the minors who’ve been best friends and rivals since they were kids, the rebellious rock star pitcher and the not-quite-good-enough for the majors utility player who’s brought up with the rock star to keep him in line. Of course, they start crossing all of their personal friendship boundaries immediately, both publicly and privately and the pressure creates all kinds of chaos for them.
Then I’ve got a center fielder who’s got issues with the journalist breaking stories about the various players’ private lives, the rising star sports agent who can’t stop arguing with the team owner’s daughter even while she’s flirting with her, the near-retirement catcher and the young guy eager to replace him, and a first baseman who’s a total player on the social scene who gets in over his head with a movie star and his brilliant wife. Sooooo, yeah. 🙂 I’ve got some awesomeness coming!
I love how prolific you are, not just with full-length novels, but novellas and short stories, too. How do you decide on the right length for a story, and what are some of your favorite of your contributions to anthologies?
Deciding on the right length for a story is mostly a function of the plot, and also the constraints of whatever I’ve agreed to do. Which has occasionally meant that a story I planned on writing for an anthology doesn’t work out, because it’s just too much story for a short form. Or the short story I write has a very HFN ending, as opposed to a HEA, which is fine, of course! HFNs, especially for stories about younger characters, are frequently what I write. But then I’m always tempted to revisit them down the line and give them a more solid HEA.
When I write about people in their early twenties, I almost always feel as if, when the story ends, I’m giving them the happiest ending I can and hoping they make it in the long run. Because it’s not a given that a relationship that starts at that age lasts forever. I mean, it’s not a given for relationships at any age, right? But especially when people are still exploring themselves, their lives, and their worlds. So I really do enjoy revisiting characters like Tom and Reese, who had 100k+ words in Off Campus to get their relationship settled! But they were still finishing up school, and hadn’t met any challenges of the “real world” yet, so adding a 45k novella to their story (in Real World) and getting them settled for good with a solid HEA was important to me.
I just released a book called HeartShip too, which started as an 18k word short story called “The Christmas Ship” in the Wish Come True charity anthology. That story covered forty-eight hours, and was sweet and lovely, but it was just the jumping off point for those two after their long internet friendship! So turning that beginning into a longer novella that gives them a more solid relationship in HeartShip was fun. Mostly I think I don’t like letting go of my characters. LOL. So I’m always thinking about what’s happening to them now and when readers nudge me to write more, I’m terrible at resisting the temptation.
If you were helming a new anthology or series right now, what would the theme be and who would you love to bring on board as contributors?
As it turns out, I am working on a new story for an anthology that just came together a few days ago via the magic of Twitter. A bunch of us who are pretty passionately into politics started joking around about rogue park rangers/White House tweeters, and who you might confess your love to/bang athletically if you seriously thought the world might be ending soon, and all the romance that could happen in The Resistance. Now we’ve got a cover and a tentative production schedule, so you should keep your eyes peeled this summer! We’re having the most fun.
You’re an avid supporter of LGBTQ Romance, which is so wonderful. What are some authors and titles that are always on your rec lists?
Oh, so many! I’ve been rec’ing Kris Ripper nonstop lately, because I love how ze writes these big, beautiful queer communities with the same mashup of relationships and friendships that I enjoy writing in my own. Zir Queers of La Vista and Scientific Method series are my favorites. KJ Charles is always on my rec list for gorgeous m/m historical and paranormal. EE Ottoman’s steampunk Mechanical Universe series is lovely, as is Alexis Hall’s Prosperity series. Both involved amazing worldbuilding and deeply realized characters. I’m also constantly rec’ing Santino Hassell and Annabeth Albert’s contemporaries, Solace Ames’ kink, Josh Lanyon’s mysteries, Keira Andrews’ Amish series, JA Rock’s everything, and Lyn Gala’s SFR. In 2017, two of the best books I’ve read, Peter Darling by Austin Chant and A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson, are also topping my rec list.
As I may have mentioned a thousand times, I’m a huge fan of Callie, Unwrapped, and I’m delighted to see there’s more coming with those characters! Can you give us some idea of what’s to come in the Play it Again series?
I am finishing up final edits/proofreading on book two as we speak! Or, you know, type. Email. LOL. Callie focuses on some serious kink exploration to avoid feeling how instantly reactivated her attachment to Gabe was by the night she spent with him and Kate. But despite her intentions, Gabe ends up…shall we say…intimately involved in those explorations. And this is going to bring up a lot of conflicting emotions for Callie, who is trying to reconnect with her sexuality and her sense of adventure, not turn around and immediately fall for the guy she couldn’t find a happy ending with all those years ago. And then I meant to wrap up Callie #3, which pulls everything together, but it turns out that I’ve got a Kate story almost complete instead. Because Kate walked away from that night with Gabe and Callie with a serious crush on Callie that made Kate think, for the first time, that maybe she’s more into women, romantically, than she thought. So she takes a Gabe-break and tries to figure that out. My current working title for that ms., with massive subtlety, is: Kate Likes Girls.
What’s something you’ve seen in LGBTQIAP+ lit that’s really stuck with you, for better or for worse?
Just the amazingly wide range of stories we have to celebrate these days. I started reading LGBTQIAP+ stories in SFF and mystery, then literary fiction, back in the ’80s and ’90s. Now I also read them in romance and YA, of course. For so many years–for most of my life–almost everything I read that featured queer characters was tragic. Beautiful books, but so unbearably sad, almost always. I remember reading Rita Mae Brown’s Venus Envy in college in 1993 and just being so damn happy that the lesbian lived! And had a new girlfriend, and her family (almost all of them, at least) loved her! That was great. But still, most of my non-romance LGBTQIAP+ reading still featured a lot of unhappy endings. So when I finally found queer romance novels, I was beyond thrilled. Happy endings galore! Thank. God. Because I needed those HEAs, man. Like water, or air, I needed them. Now it gives me constant joy to see the genre expand its boundaries so all kinds of readers can find themselves in stories. We’ve still got plenty of work to do, but I love that we’re seeing a lot more trans and ace/aro and demi and bi characters. Yay for all the stories to come!
What can we hope to see down the line from you that I haven’t covered yet?
I just started reading this fun interactive fiction (The Eagle’s Heir) from Choice of Games after a reader recommended it to me on FB. Then I ran into a lovely representative from CoG at the NECRWA conference and learned a lot about their company (which prioritizes LGBTQ and nonbinary diversity, yay!) and the whole interactive fiction market. So now I’m getting all sorts of ideas about some fun story ideas that might work for that kind of narrative that allows so much reader participation. It’s fascinating! Who knows what could happen…
Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series again.
A&B by JC Lillis (YA, f/f, B)
Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack (YA, f/f)
Stygian by Santino Hassell (m/m)
One Kiss with a Rock Star by Amber Lin and Shari Slade (m/f, B)
True Brit by Con Riley (m/m)
Double Bonus: Not a Romance, but Another Word For Happy by Agay Llanera has a gay main character who’s a piano prodigy
All links are Amazon Affiliate links; proceeds go back into LGBTQReads.com. All works on this list are from 25-150 pages, for your quick-reading pleasure! (With thanks to the Tumblr Asker who inspired this post and the SFF novella post to come!)
Fearless by Shira Glassman ($1.29, f/f, 30 pp)
Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans ($1.99, m/nb, 44 pp)
What Happens in Berlin by Jen McConnell ($1.99, f/f, 100 pp)
Spice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder ($2.66, m/m+, 114 pp)
The Belle vs. the BDoC by Amy Jo Cousins ($2.99, f/f, 89 pp)
The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis ($2.99, f/f, 104 pp)
Second Kiss by Chelsea M. Cameron ($2.99, f/f, 59 pp)
Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde ($2.99, m/nb, 65 pp)
Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon ($2.99, m/f, 100 pp)
Full Exposure by Amy Jo Cousins ($2.99, m/m, 97 pp)
Whiskey Business by Avon Gale ($3.52, m/m, 117 pp)
Coffee Boy by Austin Chant ($3.99, m/m, 89 pp)
If you shop for f/f Romance a decent amount, you’ve probably noticed that it tends to be waaaay pricier than m/m or m/f, so, in yet another round of helping you queer up your shelves (or your Kindle) on a budget, here are ten f/f Romances (NA and up; you can find YA here) that are all under five bucks (with thanks to Vanessa North for the help and the inspiration!):
The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins ($2.99)
Roller Girl by Vanessa North ($3.99)
The Final Rose by Eliza Lentzki ($3.99)
Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler ($3.99)
The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer ($3.99)
Something True by Karelia Stetz-Waters ($3.99)
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon ($4.99)
The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper ($4.99)
Such a Pretty Face by Gabrielle Goldsby ($4.99)
Top to Bottom by Delphine Dryden ($4.99)