Fave Romances with Queer Disabled MCs

This post gives a rather long list of my favorite romances with queer disabled MCs. It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but there is a smattering of fantasy, YA and historical romance too.

I am grouping them by theme. Many could belong in more than one category. I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those.

I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions, which is a new thing for me. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.

For folks looking for books with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description.

Geeky Romance

  • Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans. (m/enby with trans hero) I love so much about this moody contemporary meet-cute romance, including the fact that they bond over watching bad monster movies, and the incidental disability rep is great (both MC’s are amputees). One of my favorite trans romances ever. (Rep: Amputee POC MCs, one is a trans man, one is non-binary. Genderqueer author.)
  • Sated by Rebekah Weatherspoon. (m/f) The hero Daniel is bi and an amputee; incidental representation for both. Kinky, funny, geeky, my fave by an author I adore. Switch MCs, one of whom is experienced and one a novice. (Rep: Korean American amputee bisexual man MC. Black woman MC. Black queer woman author.)
  • Friends That Have Sex series by GL Thomas. (m/f ) Both leads are bi. The heroine in these books has cancer. The first book ends on a cliffhanger, the second brings the characters back together, the third books is about later challenges in their relationship. I fell so hard for the heroine in these books, and especially appreciated her geekiness. (Rep: Afro-Cuban bisexual woman MC with cancer. Bisexual man MC. Genderfluid minor character. Queer Afro-Cubanx authors.)

Chef/Baker MC

  • Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai. (m/f) Bi heroine who has anxiety. I liked the mostly incidental anxiety rep. Angsty romance with lots of family drama, a lovely femdom dynamic, and a hero who has pined for her forever. (Rep: Bisexual Pakastani American heroine with anxiety. Japanese American & Native Hawaian biracial hero that I read as autistic. Desi author.)
  • The Second Mango by Shira Glassman. (f/f , m/f) Jewish secondary world fantasy romance. Lesbian queen w/celiac, her bi chef girlfriend (who she rescues) and her demisexual bodyguard, who reconnects with her wizard first love. Comfort read. (Rep: Jewish secondary world, all characters are Jewish. Lesbian MC with celiac and other food allergies. Chubby bisexual MC. Demisexual MC. Chubby man MC with a magical disability. Bisexual Jewish woman author.)
  • The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish. (m/m ) Beautiful rather angsty romance with so much baking, a lovely Chanukah feast, and characters that stole my heart and gave me so many feels. I especially appreciated the autistic artist MC, and the kink, and also the dogs. (Rep: Jewish gay MC. Gay autistic MC.)
  • Any Other Love by Elizabeth Barone. (f/f) This has a central romance arc, but reads a bit more like the journey of a spoonie towards a diagnosis and a hopeful vision for the future. The heroine, Amarie, is lovely, and so much about the spoonie experience described in the story resonated with my own. (Rep: Dominican bisexual spoonie MC. Lesbian MC. Queer spoonie author.)

Speculative Fiction

  • Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb. (m/m with two trans leads) This YA romance between two trans boys is one of the standout books in my reading of 2017. One of the MCs has depression and at various points in the story is suicidal. It’s also a tremendously hopeful book. (Rep: Jewish trans boy MC. Trans boy MC. Lesbian secondary character. Lesbian trans woman secondary character. Jewish bisexual non-binary trans boy author.)
  • Survival Rout by Ana Mardoll. (m/f/enby) MC w/scoliosis kidnapped by faeries & put in survival situation with no access to meds. Scoliosis rep is ownvoices and wow does it show. The chronic pain rep resonated, felt intensely real. There is a moment where the MC with scoliosis expresses a decision to pursue a magical cure. Which is such a common desire. And was hard for me as a reader. That said, as someone who lives with chronic pain (and trauma, as this char did) I know how deep this desire can be and I get the fantasy in that. This book unpacks rape culture. (Rep: Queer woman MC with scoliosis. Japanese American genderqueer demigirl MC. Bisexual ace-spec autistic demigirl author with scoliosis.)
  • Peter Darling by Austin Chant. (m/m with trans lead) This queer trans retelling of Peter Pan blew me away, and is in my top three trans romances ever. It’s seriously brilliant and I hold it close to my heart. Peter’s love interest (James Hook) is an amputee, incidental disability rep. (Rep: Queer trans man MC. Amputee queer man MC. Queer trans man author.)

BDSM Romance

  • Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper. (m/m) Grumpy novice dominant with MS. No pity. No cure. No bravely enduring. No perfect patient. I liked how his love interest was hands off, no rescue, or telling him how to manage. Have heard others wanted him to be more compassionate. I really enjoyed this one. (Rep: Gay man MC with MS. Gay man MC. Black queer woman secondary character. Genderqueer author.)
  • The Girlfriend by Abigail Barnette. (m/f) Bi hero (heroine comes out as bi later in the series). Hero has cancer and PTSD. This is a book that really centers his cancer and treatment, and the impact on their BDSM relationship. Second in a series following the same couple. (Rep: Bisexual man MC with cancer. Bisexual woman MC. Bisexual woman author.)
  • Risk Aware by Amelia C Gormley. (m/m) Masochist MC with hemophilia. Had so many mixed feelings about the intersection of disability and BDSM in this book that I wrote an essay about it. (Rep: Gay MC with hemophilia. Gay MC.)

Artist/Musician MC

  • The Companion Contract, by Solace Ames. (m/f) Non-traditional romance arc with two heroes and a complex dynamic that includes an m/m/f scene. Bi albino hero with limited sight. Bi hero with addiction. Also has a questioning sex worker heroine who I completely adored. BDSM romance centered around getting a band back together. I found the disability representation complex & matter of fact. Love the slow burning D/s dynamic. (Rep: Columbian American immigrant bisexual man MC with limited sight. Questioning Japanese-Filipinx biracial immigrant woman MC who is a sex worker. Bisexual man MC who is dealing with addiction. Columbian American trans woman secondary character. Asian American woman author.)
  • Small Change by Roan Parrish. (m/f ) Prickly queer heroine who I read as neuroatypical, and who I fell for really hard as a character, right alongside the hero. She owns a tattoo shop that feels like a lovely queer space. (Rep: Queer heroine that I read as neuroatypical. Trans and genderqueer secondary characters. Secondary character with depression.)
  • Maxx Neon by Lina Langley. (m/enby) The rock star MC, who I fell hard for, has chronic back problems. I appreciated the back pain representation, which mostly resonated with my own experience of chronic back pain. (Rep: Afro-Latinx disabled queer man MC. Non-binary queer love interest. Queer Latinx enby author.)

Online Relationship

  • Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell. (m/m) MC w/social anxiety, core arc abt it. Geeky. There’s a hint of cured by love, but its not v strong. I liked that it shows how anxiety can be deeply impairing. Ownvoices for anxiety rep. (Rep: Gay MCs. Author with anxiety. Bisexual man author.) (For information about why I deleted this entry, see this post.)
  • Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde. (m/enby with trans hero) Online BFFs to lovers romance set at a sci fi convention. I really liked the anxiety rep in this sweet swoony geeky romance. (Rep: Sri Lankan-American bisexual non-binary MC. Bisexual trans man MC. Non-binary trans author.)
  • Connection Error by Annabeth Albert. (m/m) MC with ADHD. Amputee MC with mobility disability. This geeky romance is so compelling to me, particularly because of the moments of access intimacy between the disabled chars and the way they navigate the changing nature of their disabilities with regard to their sex lives. Naked twister for the win! (Rep: Gay man MC with ADHD. Gay man amputee MC with a mobility disability.)

Polyamorous Romance

  • The Submission Gift by Solace Ames. (m/m/f) MC w/back injury from a car accident. Chronic pain rep felt real & resonated w/my own experience. Kinky. Sex worker MC. (Rep: Disabled Mexican American bisexual man MC. Mexican American woman MC. Bisexual man MC who is a sex worker. Asian American woman author.)
  • Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto. (m/m) MC with PTSD, representation of that felt very realistic to me. Easily in the top three of any BDSM romance I’ve ever read. The BDSM was gorgeous and deeply realistic and just a tremendous joy to read. Lovely polyamory rep; I loved that this was a polyamorous romance that depicted open polyamory and focused on one couple. (Rep: Bisexual man MC. Gay man MC. Bisexual woman secondary character. Mexican American woman author with dysgraphia and phonological dyslexia.)
  • Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi. (f/f/f) MC has fictional chronic pain condition that resembles fibro (ownvoices). So much about the rep of chronic pain felt so real here, & resonated so deeply. & this MC is highly cure-seeking. It drives the story.  Lovely f/f.f polyam romance storyline complete with happy ending, and also a really sweet romance between the MC and the ship. (Rep: Black queer woman MC with a chronic pain condition. Queer woman love interest. Japanese American autistic polyamorous ace-spec bi queer woman author with fibromyalgia and PTSD.)
  • Poison Kiss by Ana Mardoll. (f/f/m) MCs have escaped faerie captivity and have PTSD. I liked the PTSD rep, it resonated for me, and avoided some common pitfalls. This is a book that focuses on how survivors band together to create queer chosen family, and it felt both lovely and complicated, the way chosen family often does. (Rep: Bisexual woman MCs with PTSD. Bisexual ace-spec disabled non-binary author.)

Meet Cute

  • Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon. (f/f) NA butch/femme romance between two college students. The butch character is middle class and has depression and attempted suicide in the past. The femme character is a sex worker and is working class. This has a lovely meet-cute and a romance arc that’s a lot about class differences. (Rep: Black lesbian MC with depression. Black lesbian MC who is a sex worker. Black queer author.)
  • Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall. MC with a stutter; that rep was mostly incidental, and worked for me. Gorgeous moody romance w/central grief arc. One of my fave m/m romances. (Rep: Gay man MC with a stutter. Gay man MC. Queer man author.)
  • The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea de Salle. (m/f) MCs both have PTSD. Pansexual billionaire heroine. Balances humor, heat & hard stuff very well. I especially love the scene where the heroine supports the hero through a panic attack. (Rep: Hero with PTSD. Pansexual heroine with PTSD and anxiety. Hispanic and Romani biracial bisexual fat author with PTSD and anxiety.)

Historical

  • In Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan (in the collection Hamilton’s Battalion). (m/m) Complex, resonant historical romance. I read the MC Henry as having ADHD, and appreciated this characterization, which felt complex and like so much of it was about coming to self-acceptance and unpacking the ableist messages he’d been raised with. (Rep: Gay MC with ADHD. Black gay MC. Bisexual hapa woman author.)
  • The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian. (m/m) I really liked this enemies to lovers m/m historical romance. I especially appreciated the disability representation in this story (MC with a mobility disability and PTSD), and the complexities of how the MC’s fell for each other. (Rep: Gay MC. Gay disabled MC with PTSD.)
  • An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles. (m/m) I fell incredibly hard for the autistic & dyspraxic MC in this kinky m/m historical romance. I especially appreciated the pacing, the beautiful writing, and the depiction of D/s in this story. (Rep: British Indian dyspraxic autistic gay man MC. Gay man MC.)

Spec Fic With Romantic Relationships (not precisely romance but I couldn’t leave it out)

  • Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (f/enby) I loved this YA with a genderfluid thief turned assassin who has PTSD. I found the descriptions of trauma intrusion very resonant, as a trauma survivor with PTSD. These moments in the text were especially intense to read, and I felt that they were presented in a careful way that felt quite real to me. (Rep: Genderfluid MC. Queer woman MC. Aromantic secondary character.)***
  • A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power by Rose Lemberg. (enby/enby) MC with PTSD. This non-binary centered novella has supermages and spies and ghosts and I adore the ways those things are interwoven into a narrative that is so much about consent and kink and trauma. My favorite 2017 book. Resists common trauma survivor narratives. (Rep: Queer non-binary bigender MC. Queer immigrant non-binary MC with PTSD. Multiple non-binary secondary characters. Queer Jewish immigrant, autistic disabled trauma survivor, bigender non-binary trans author.)***
  • Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley (m/m, m/m) This novel centers a young gay man artist with epilepsy, and is about him navigating early adulthood and making bad choices. He has two romantic relationships with older men, one his former professor, the other his boss. It’s not a romance, and I’m glad of that in a lot of ways because I thought these men were wrong for him. It is very much about his disabled life and him trying to figure out how to be independent when he doesn’t have a lot of tools. (Rep: Gay man MC with epilepsy. Black gay man MC. Bisexual man MC who is dealing with addiction. Queer Latinx enby author.)

On My TBR

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