This post lists my favorite Valentine’s Day-themed romances I read this year. These recs definitely show my bias towards contemporary romance of all flavors; it includes erotic romance, Western romance, and romantic comedy. You may also be interested in my 2018 Valentine’s Day’s romance recs list and my 2019 list, which include other subgenres.
I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted content warnings, so you can easily find those. I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions. 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.
I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those. If I have not yet reviewed, I am using affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy more books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.
For folks looking for romance with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description.
Bringing the Heat
- Cowboy Valentine by Mia Hopkins (contemporary m/f erotic romance novella) So much heat and light kink are at the center of this novella, which begins with a meet cute at her job in an ice cream shop on Valentine’s Day after he got stood up, and includes a ticking clock as she is heading out to college in the fall. It seems like they couldn’t possibly stay together, but they can’t stop thinking about each other, so should they give it a chance? (Rep: Mexican American heroine. White hero. Filipina woman author.)
- A Tale of Two Cities: A Valentine’s Novella by Alexandra Warren (contemporary m/f erotic romance novella) This novella pours on the heat and the humor, and has a good portion of sweetness. The couple meet over Instagram when she slides into his DMs on a dare from her best friend, and have instant chemistry. It turns out that their NSA sexy Valentines weekend visit doesn’t just mean a hot time, as they both catch feelings. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
- All Mine by Savannah J Frierson (contemporary m/m/m/f romance novella) This novella revisits the foursome that emerged in Be Mine one year later when the heroine is about to open a new laundromat, is possibly pregnant, and the quad are coming up on their one year anniversary. It’s very much about the struggles of maintaining complex polyamorous relationships when life stress is going on, and I appreciated how real it felt. It’s also got some really lovely high heat scenes, just like the first book, and really wonderful fat rep. (Rep: Fat Black heroine. Asian American hero. White hero. Black hero. Fat Black woman author.)
- The Date by Annabeth Albert (contemporary m/m romance novelette) I really enjoyed this light kinky foodie romance between a food blogger and a Marine whose service had just ended, liked watching them build connection online as they planned a Valentine’s Day foodie date, and enjoyed the dynamic between them. (White gay men MCs. White bisexual woman author.)
- Just One More by Jodie Slaughter (contemporary m/f romance novella) This was my most eagerly anticipated Valentine’s Day read, which actually released on Valentine’s Day. I loved it. It’s got all the joys of a meet cute, one night stand to relationship story, with some lovely foodie elements thrown in. It’s intensely sensual as well as sexy and full of chemistry, the banter is wonderful, and I fell hard for both the MCs, and their unabashed love for the holiday. This is likely to be a yearly reread for the holiday for me. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
- Slant Rhyme by Sera Taino (contemporary m/f romance novelette) Oh this is a gem of a story. The writing is gorgeous, the meet cute is gloriously romantic, the chemistry between the MCs is glorious, the anxiety rep is wonderful. Its exactly right for the length, and a swoony Valentine’s Day romance. I loved it. Worth getting the collection for this story alone. (Rep: Puerto Rican heroine with anxiety. White hero. Puerto Rican woman author with anxiety.)
- The Last Drop by Layla Reyne (contemporary m/m romance novelette) A chef meets a bartender on the day his latest restaurant venture closes, and they have a perfect night together, inspiring his next restaurant. But can he lure the bartender into collaborating in that venture with him, and giving a relationship a chance? This alcohol-soaked foodie meet-cute will be especially delightful for folks who have read Dine with Me and might recognize a character or two. (Rep: White gay men MCs. White woman author.)
Sibling’s Best Friend
- Candy Hearts by Erin McLellan (contemporary m/m erotic romance novella) I really enjoyed this high heat low conflict low angst meet-cute romance that begins in a blackout, takes place mostly at a country getaway house party and culminates in a Valentines bachelor auction. I especially appreciated the ways that the sex scenes built intimacy and connection between the MCs. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but it worked for me. (Rep: Pansexual white man MC. Gay white man MC. White woman author.)
- A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day by Jackie Lau (contemporary m/f romantic comedy novella) This was the most romcommy of all the books in the series, I think, and it made me laugh quite a bit. In general, this NSA to relationship romance was my fave of the series, and is in the running for my fave of Lau’s books. The sex scenes have a lot of emotional depth and complexity, and are partly about really being seen and held in who you are by your partner, which is one of my personal favorite things in the depiction of sex. This was a lovely tropetastic take on a Valentine’s Day romance, where the day itself was rather a disaster, but one that pushed the MCs together, in the end. (Rep: Chinese Canadian hero. Biracial Chinese Canadian heroine. Chinese Canadian woman author.)