Romance is one of the most popular genres of the century, so there’s nothing better than getting to witness the genre shift into a more diverse landscape filled with works from and for audiences of all different colors, sexualities, and preferences.
In this article, we’ll specifically be taking a look at the 20 best romance books–from the old classics to the fabulous new additions–by Black authors.
From steamy and erotic, drama-filled thrillers that promise to turn up the heat to sweet and cute, lighthearted contemporary romances that will have you squealing and kicking your feet, here are 20 must-read Black romances for you to dig into!
About The 20 Best Romance Books by Black Authors
Whether you’re a newcomer or a well-seasoned romance reader, this article has something for everybody. Sweet and swoon-worthy moments, angsty dramas with happily ever afters, passionate and steamy romance that will surely leave you feeling warm and fuzzy–for whatever reason that may be…
This list is a small compilation of both the bestselling classics from the familiar authors that we all already know and love to the recent debut novels from the fresh voices of up-and-coming authors.
In the mood for science fiction, fake dating, historical romance, marriages of convenience, reality tv couples, royals, or cowboys? Ask and you shall receive. Keep reading to find your next favorite romance!
Top 20 Romance Books by Black Authors
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Starting with a classic, Indigo is an excellent novel for those who are fans of historical fiction, forbidden love, and second-chance romance.
Taking place in 1859, the story follows Indigo, a former slave who is now the owner of a successful saloon in the frontier town of Henry Adams. She is proud of her new independence and has no intention of giving up her long-sought-after freedom to any man.
However, when a successful attorney by the name of Marcus Garret arrives to help create a new settlement for freed slaves, she is just as drawn to Marcus as he is to her.
Racism and prejudice threaten to keep the two of them apart–the town’s residents are not happy to see them together–and Indigo’s reluctance to give up her independence along with Marcus’ loyalty to his friends creates even more problems.
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Sapphics, a plus-size main character, family, and friendships–this story really has it all! If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted contemporary romance with friends to lovers and fake relationship tropes then you will love following along with D’Vaughn and Kris’ wedding planning adventures!
From zero to one hundred real quick–D’vaughn has refrained from coming out to her mother for years now, but in six weeks she’ll be having a splashy wedding with her friend on a reality TV show–If they can make it that far. If anyone guesses that their relationship is fake, they’re out of the competition!
But soon, the competition–and its prize money–is the last thing on D’Vaughn and Kris’ minds.
Real feelings are simmering beneath the surface of a fake relationship, but the challenges that come along with being on reality TV don’t exactly make it easy for Kris and D’vaughn’s feelings to bubble over and spill out into a solid relationship.
Their fake wedding threatens to ruin their newfound romance before it can even truly start, but will they be able to fix things before it’s too late?
You can find D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding here.
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
In the mood for a contemporary romance with a little something more? When No One Is Watching is the perfect pick! Along with romance, this novel provides a psychological thriller with social commentary and all kinds of twists and turns.
Conspiracies, betrayals, mystery, racism, and gentrification–this Brooklyn-based novel follows Sydney Green, a gentrification watchdog who’s keeping a close eye on her ever-changing neighborhood.
Strange things begin happening in her apartment building and soon, her neighbors begin disappearing. Filled with suspicion, she teams up with a new neighbor, Theo, to unravel the truth while also confronting her own bias.
You can find When No One Is Watching here.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory’s romance debut, The Wedding Date, is another book with all our favorite tropes–Meet cutes, fake dating, second-chance romance, and opposites attract! This super-steamy romance follows a successful publicist named Alexa Monroe as she attends a friend’s wedding with a handsome stranger, Drew.
The two of them enter a fake relationship and–naturally–fall for each other for real, but is their budding relationship strong enough to withstand their insecurities, differences, and disapproving families?
You can find The Wedding Date here.
I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson
A swoony rom-com with fake dating, but with queer black boys. *Chef’s kiss*.
Aspiring journalist Kian Andrews hasn’t heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, since they broke up months ago, but the two of them end up meeting again in a café after Hudson sends Kian an urgent text.
As it turns out, Hudson wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town since he never told them about their breakup. Hudson can’t afford to make another mistake when reputation is everything to his wealthy family, and Kian agrees to go along with it since it could lead to the big break that he needs to really get the ball rolling with his career.
But when old feelings begin to stir up, both men are forced to address their feelings head-on.
You can find I’m So (Not) Over You here.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
This is a classic contemporary romance novel for a reason!
Stella Payne is a forty-two-year-old single mother and majorly successful investment analyst who decides to take a vacation to Jamaica on a whim.
There, she meets Winston–a Jamaican man half her age–and begins a long journey of growth and self-discovery as she is forced to confront the reality of her and her beau’s age gap, her passions, and her rapidly changing ideas about life and the way it should be lived.
If you need an emotional and heartfelt story that follows an older woman then you better not miss out on reading this one!
You can find How Stella Got Her Groove Back here.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
A mushy and humorous read with plenty of steam, Act Your Age, Eve Brown follows Eve Brown, who has been disowned by her wealthy family due to her impulsive recklessness (and a horrible incident at an expensive wedding).
Somehow, after being turned down for the chef position at his bed and breakfast and then proceeding to (accidentally–allegedly) run him over with her car, Eve ends up living in the perfectly put-together Jacob Wayne’s spare bedroom.
Opposites really do attract, and the heat between the two of them is too hot to ignore, so sunny and chaotic Eve finds herself entangled with cold, perfectionist Jacob. Fans of interracial romance, forced proximity, and enemies to lovers are going to love this book!
You can find Act Your Age, Eve Brown here.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Another charming rom-com by Talia Hibbert, Take a Hint, Dani Brown sees Danika Brown, an academic who wants nothing more than a friends-with-benefits type of relationship, get rescued from a workplace fire drill gone wrong by an ex-rugby player, Zafir Ansari.
When a video of the heroic act goes viral, Zafir begs Dani to go along with the public’s favorable perception of them since their fake relationship will draw more attention to Zafir’s sports charity. Dani agrees after coming up with a plan of her own; Fake date Zafir in public, and seduce him in private.
But things get complicated when outwardly grumpy Zafir turns out to be a hopeless romantic, and the no-strings-attached sex that Dani had been hoping for is seemingly destined to be much more.
You can find Take a Hint, Dani Brown here.
The Outlaw’s Claim by Brenda Jackson
A passionate Western romance novel, The Outlaw’s Claim follows the charming Maverick Outlaw and his longtime friend, Sapphire Bordella after a short fling that results in Sapphire’s pregnancy.
In addition to the accidental pregnancy, Sapphire’s father is expecting her to marry some other man, and now Maverick is forced to confront his strong feelings for Sapphire despite not quite being ready to give his heart away.
The Outlaw’s Claim can be read as a standalone, but if you’re a fan of Black romance in the Western genre, you’ll love the Westmoreland Legacy: The Outlaws Series.
You can find The Outlaw’s Claim here.
You can find Westmoreland Legacy: The Outlaws Series here.
Milk in my coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey
This interracial romance follows Jordan Greene, who moves out of the deep south and into New York City where he meets an ebullient white woman named Kimberly and falls for her–hard.
The problem is, he already has a (Black) girlfriend, J’nette, and though their brief relationship is already practically over, J’nette is pregnant and Jordan’s friends and family aren’t too happy about his newfound relationship with his white girlfriend.
On top of all that, Kimberly tells Jordan that she’s single and has never dated a Black man before, but the truth is a little more complicated than that.
Will their love be strong enough to overcome the obstacles in their budding relationship?
You can find Milk in my coffee here.
The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams
Britta Colby works for a lifestyle website and is asked to write about her experience with a popular new body-positive fitness app that includes personal coaching. It’s her opportunity to prove that she can write for the site full-time, so she snatches it, but things get complicated when she meets her new coach.
Wes Lawson–CEO of the FitMe app–takes Britta as his first client after getting back to coaching. Feeling unfulfilled and isolated, he decides to return to doing the one thing that he’s always loved, but Wes isn’t supposed to be training clients.
To make matters worse, there’s a clear spark between the two of them which prevents them from keeping a professional distance. Britta’s credibility is at risk of being diminished if word gets out about her practically dating the CEO of the app that she’s reviewing.
A lot is on the line, but is their love really worth the risk?
You can find The Fastest Way to Fall here.
The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley
A must-read for fans of regency romance, The Bittersweet Bride’s summary speaks for itself.
“Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.”
Marriage of convenience, second chance romance, and royals all in one? It can’t possibly get any better than this!
You can find The Bittersweet Bride here.
A Cowboy Kind of Thing by Reese Ryan
If you’re in the mood for more drama, you need to read A Cowboy Kind of Thing! Hollywood meets Texas when Dionna Reed travels to Texas to help plan her superstar best friend’s wedding, but when the bride and groom bail, Dionna is forced to plan the wedding with the super hot best man instead.
Tripp Noble is determined to convince Dionna that Texas is the perfect place for the wedding, but the cowboy is a little distracted by trying to somehow manage to keep his hands off Dionna…
You can find A Cowboy Kind of Thing here.
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
In the mood for a Science Fiction Fantasy with Queer Black leads? You need to read A Taste of Honey ASAP.
For the first time, Aqib bgm Sadiqi’s heart has been stolen–by a gorgeous Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. The fourth cousin to the royal family and the youngest son of the Master of Beasts, Aqib ends up in a forbidden whirlwind romance that is threatened by the abundance of hardships that the world throws at them.
You can find A Taste of Honey here.
Intercepted by Alexa Martin
A sports romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Intercepted follows Marlee Harper, who discovers that her NFL football player boyfriend of ten years has been cheating on her despite the fact that she’s been nothing short of the perfect girlfriend. She vows to never date an athlete again.
Enter Gavin Pope.
An old fling and the new quarterback who happens to be determined to win Marlee over. Will he? Or will the publicized drama created by the team wives tear them apart before the season ends?
You can find Intercepted here.
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons
Another heartwarming sports fiction, The Passing Playbook follows Fifteen-year-old trans athlete, Spencer Harris. After transitioning, he moves to a new school to escape bullying at his old one and things are off to a great start!
He has awesome new friends, a chance at the starting position on the boy’s soccer team, and what seems to be a little more than just a friendship is blooming between him and one of his teammates.
But when Spencer’s new coach is forced to bench him after finding out about his transition, Spencer has to choose between publicly fighting for his right to play soccer and coming out to everyone–even the guy that he’s falling for–or cheering the team on from the sidelines instead.
You can find The passing playbook here.
The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson
Talented photographer and proud plus-size Black woman, Cassie Harris, ends up modeling in front of the camera for her best friend’s lingerie line. It might’ve been fine if not for the fact that her long-time rival, photographer Reid Montgomery, was the one working with her for the shoot.
Now she’s forced to face the facts–the two of them have undeniable chemistry and the intimacy of the photoshoot makes it impossible for the two of them to hide it.
You can find The Accidental Pinup here.
Cheeky King by Nana Malone
Another book for those that can’t get enough of royals, drama, and mouth-watering erotica, Cheeky King is a fast-paced mystery with an intoxicating mix of love and murder.
In the second book of the Royals Undercover series, Sebastian is now king and he’s still fiercely in love with (yet pissed at) Penny–a commoner and Royal Guard–despite her not being his to keep. Penny avoids him at all costs as he makes her life miserable and soon runs off to live in New York to escape his mistreatment, even if she does think that she deserves it.
But what’s a King without his Queen? Sebastian is on the hunt for her, determined to right his wrongs after coming to his senses much too late.
You can find Cheeky King here.
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Samiah Brooks finds out that she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk from a live tweet that’s gone viral. Samiah, London, and Taylor–the other girls–make a pact to spend the next six months taking care of themselves, no men allowed.
Putting herself first leads to Samiah finally taking the time to develop the app that she’s always wanted to, but through her work, she soon meets the seemingly too-good-to-be-true, ultra-sexy Daniel Collins.
A humorous contemporary romance that you won’t be able to put down for even a second, The Boyfriend Project is a delightful, easy read!
You can find The Boyfriend Project here.
Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
Jordan Collins’ book club, The Meet Cute Club, is on its last legs. If he wants the club to continue to blossom, he can’t afford to turn away any new members, which is why he agrees to let the seemingly obnoxious and stupidly good-looking Rex Bailey join despite his constant trolling.
As it turns out, judging a book by its cover truly is never a good idea. The two soon end up hitting it off as they set out on a mission to resurrect the dying book club, and it makes for a very cute and cozy read!
You can find Meet Cute Club here.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a classic romance novel or searching for a recently written masterpiece, an interracial romance or a story of Black love, or simply a book that includes all your favorite tropes–and more–to read, I hope you found what you were looking for in this article!
What is a black romance novel?
The African-American Romance genre includes sexy, heartfelt, and romantic stories that reflect the values and dreams of African-American culture.
Who was the first black romance writer?
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was, arguably, the first Black romance writer.
What was the first black romance novel?
Elsie B. Washington released Entwined Destinies in 1980 under the pen name of Rosalind Wells, creating what is widely considered to be the first Black romance novel. However, Rubie Saunders, who is less known, published her Nurse-Doctor romance novel, Marilyn Morgan, R.N., in 1969 and Frances E. W. Harper wrote what was arguably the first African American romance novel, Iola Leroy, in 1892.
Maya Angelou is, arguably, the most popular Black author.
What was the first best-selling novel by an African American?
Home to Harlem was the first best-seller by an African American.
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