You are about to embark on a strange journey. The list below is the most randomly curated list. It's, simply put, a list of romance novels that every so often cross my mind for...a reason. This is not a list of romance novels I am necessarily recommending, although I do own every single one of them so maybe I am recommending them? But that's not what this list is. It's just a list of books with specific scenes that I think about years later for absolutely no reason at all. Could be cooking dinner, could be trying to fall asleep, could be grocery shopping. Doesn't matter. I'm thinking about them and I can't stop.
by Diana Palmer (2007)
Garon Grier is chasing down a child serial killer. But, in between digging up old child murder cases he comes across shy, inexperienced Grace Carver, a girl whose traumatic past has been kept secret by an entire town. She falls for Garon, but quickly finds herself tossed aside and accused of stalking him when she runs into him in town one too many times. But Garon has it all wrong and it turns out the woman he betrayed is the key to cracking his case wide open... if he can get her to trust him again.
The puzzle fell into place. Grace was innocent because she'd been abducted, assaulted and very nearly killed by a homicidal maniac. And he'd made light of her experience. Worse, he'd seduced her and then pushed her out of his life, like a man discarding a used towel.
God, Garon is such an asshole for the first 50% of this book. Half the book was spent wanting to reach through the pages and punch him in the damn face. That said, I got such a high from the big misunderstanding, foaming at the mouth for the moment he'd realize how big he fucked up. And it was good. So good. So much groveling. I loved knowing Grace's secret and just watching Garon dig himself a bigger and bigger hole and then watching him suck at crawling out of it. She does not make it easy.
I think about this book like once a week--no joke--and I read it over ten years ago. I don't know why it's stuck in me so deep but it freaking is. I don't even know if I'd recommend this book because honestly the hero is still kind of a dick at the end, but whatever. Can't stop thinking about it.
by Jayne Ann Krentz (1992)
Our hero Joel has spent ten years as a CEO, building the company up from nothing, with the caveat that the owner will sell it to him. But when the owner dies and bequeaths half the company to his niece he's left floundering, especially after she refuses to sell it to him. I'll be honest, the plot to this book is just so-so. I love it because Jayne Ann Krentz is my favorite author. But there's go-fuck-yourself scene in this book that GETS ME.
At that moment the office door swung open without warning. Letty froze. She knew with sudden icy clarity that she was fully visible from the doorway. "Oh, there you are, Blackstone," Philip said. "Your secretary isn't at her desk, but I thought I'd pop in anyway. I've got a couple things to discuss." There was a brief, shocked pause. When Philip spoke again he sounded as if he was strangling. "My God. Letty!" Joel's fingers stayed clenched in Letty's hair. "Good news, Dixon," he said quickly. "She doesn't need therapy."
Letty's ex-boyfriend is a total dick who breaks up with her because he can't please her in bed (what a piece of work). He has her almost convinced she needs to see a sex therapist, but in walks Joel. In this particular scene Letty takes it upon herself to give her man pleasure under the desk and in walks her ex-beau. The ultimate fuck-you revenge on an ex that we all dream about. I cracked up the first time I read it and every so often it drifts through my mind and I'm just like, "Yeah, you go girl." Makes me want my own bomb ex-boyfriend revenge moment but I actually like my exes, and I've been with my husband eight years so the time has probably passed.
London's Perfect Scoundrel
by Suzanne Enoch (2003)
This whole book is one of my absolute favorite romances because the hero is a selfish dick and the heroine is a selfless angel. Opposite attract though. Our hero, Saint, is set to destroy an orphanage, so the heroine kidnaps him and keeps him chained in her cellar and forces him to get to know the kids in the hopes that it might change his mind. Saint is a right butthead, but this scene shows his turning point and, damn, it's a good freaking scene. This is one of the first twenty or so romance novels I ever owned and it's one of the ones I reread the most. So hot.
She turned on her heel. "Fine. I'll have someone bring your dinner tonight." Breezing back out, she slammed the door behind her. Something tight and uncertain ran up from his stomach and tightened his throat. Dinner was a good six hours away. "Evelyn!" Her feet continued stomping up the stairs. Saint glanced at the candles. Two hours of light remained, at the most. "Evelyn, I apologize!" The top door squeaked open. "Evelyn, for God's sake, don't leave me down here alone again! Please! I'm sorry!" Silence. Cursing, he grabbed up the water bowl and hurled it against the door. It shattered, porcelain shards and water spraying everywhere. "Is that your lesson for today, then, that you get to do what you want to do, and I get to sit on my ass in the dirt, in the dark, until you decide otherwise? I've learned that one already! Teach me something I don't know, Evelyn Marie, damn it!"
Hear his panic?! Oh my gosh. This scene ends with some hot chained up sex in a dirty basement and it's probably one of the best sex scenes I've ever read. 'Nuff said. Teenage me was out there thinking, "How do I find a strong, redeemable man and chain him in my basement until he loves me?" Adult me is like, "Okay, no, seriously. What's the plan?"
by Christy Reece (2009)
Oh man, this series (about a secret organization that employs mercenaries to save the innocent) is heart-wrenching. In book three we meet our heroine Eden, formerly Devon, who, as a teenager, confessed her love to our hero Jordan only to be viciously rejected in a humiliating manner. She flees his house and straight into the arms of a group of men who rape her, disfigure her, and leave her for dead. Only she doesn't die. She's remade (literally remade through plastic surgery) into a bad ass undercover mercenary. When her paths cross with Jordan in the future he had no idea she's the girl he's been trying to track down for years...
According to the report, she'd been found the night of April 6 in an alley two blocks from his house. it had to have happened right after she ran out his door. After he'd hurled those vile, hideous things at her, she'd plummeted into an even more horrific nightmare. She hadn't just been attacked, she'd been brutally beaten and sexually violated for hours...tortured. How she must have hated him. If he'd listened to her, let her stay and explain. If he'd just called a cab, none of this would have happened.
THE TENSION. God. The tension of knowing for 85% of the book that she's the girl he's been looking for ever since she disappeared after leaving his home nearly killed me. I'm done in every time I think of this book. I didn't buy the series for myself (it was a gift), but the entire series is so good. That said, I've never been able to reread Rescue Me in its entirety--I'll flip through it in speed-read fashion--because of how much anxiety it causes me. I have never stopped thinking about this book though. It's really something else.
by Lori Foster (2013)
I don't know what it is about this hero that gets me. He's spent his entire life on the run, sleeping with a myriad of women, and now he's running a bar and... sleeping with, well, a myriad of women. I just love the below scene that occurs after our heroine, Avery, walks in on him getting a blow job in his office. I think maybe I am always thinking of this book because 1. Rowdy is nnnnnngggg so freaking hot and 2. because the heroine has to actually voice what she wants to get what she wants. He isn't waiting around pestering a woman whose turned him down.
"You want sex. Constantly." He glanced around, then took her arm and pulled her aside again. "Keep it down, why don't you?" Already on a roll, she continued. "With any willing woman. I'm not ready, so you--" "It's not like that." "No?" Just shut up, Avery. But of course she didn't. Around Rowdy, she lost much of her control. "Then how exactly is it?" He dismissed that question with a shake of his head and asked one of his own. "What do you mean you're not ready?...You haven't asked me to wait, Avery. Not once. All I've heard from you is a flat no."
Go Fetch by Shelly Laurenston (2004)
I adore shifters and I am obsessed with this particular alpha shifter who is hopelessly, madly in love with a woman who couldn't give too shits about him. Conall is the most adorable wolf-shifter and Miki, our human, is an awkward, genius with no filter. He's obsessed with making her his and she's obsessed with... getting her dissertation. If only the giant viking would stop distracting her by trying to fuck her.
She pulled her mouth away from his. She needed to say something sexy and romantic with a mere hint of her vast intelligence. Something that would entice him into bed. But what came out was, "I wanna fuck." Conall groaned and buried his face in her neck. "You're killing me, Mik," he finally managed. "Don't do this if you're just messing with my head 'cause you're still pissed or..." She rubbed her cheek against his silky hair and decided to just go for it. So what if he probably wouldn't want her after all this was over? At least she could say she had a good time. And she knew Conall would be a good time. A really good time. She was tired of being respectable and normal. It was boring, and she did need to get laid. So what would Miki the Bartender do here? Easy. She'd be honest. "Do you know what one of the wolves protecting my house back in Texas told me?" she whispered in his ear and she felt his entire body vibrate against hers. "He told me I moaned your name in my sleep. And I realized my hand smelled like I'd been masturbating all night long. No one's ever done that to me before you. No one but you."
I don't know what it is about this shifter book in particular that has me rereading it on a regular basis. I don't know if it's Conall's insane devotion to a woman who doesn't want to give him the time of day or Miki's mission to drive the man out of his goddamn mind but it's all hot as can possibly be. There are some seriously sexy scenes that include things such as: bed-throwing, sleep masturbating, and popsicle-sucking.
Too Hard to Forget
by Tessa Bailey (2017)
Our hero and heroine met when he was a college coach and she was a cheerleader. She loved him, but he used her, against his better judgment, to ease his grief over his wife's passing (hating himself every single time and making sure she knew how much pain she brought him). Now our heroine is back in his life, eager to get him out of her system for the very last time, but our hero isn't the same troubled man she left behind. He wants her for keeps... if only he can undo the damage he did to her with his indifference.
"No." Her breath hitched. "No, you stop that. I don't need to be told I'm pretty or I have a nice body." She nipped at his mouth and he nipped back, both of them bearing their teeth. "You rip off my panties, fill me full. Hold me down while you take and take a-and repeat the Our Father." How many times had he done that? The question reverberated in his mind, Elliott slid his fingers free of the tight spot between her thighs, a lodgment the size of a fist jammed in his throat. He'd made her the embodiment of sin. He'd foisted that on her when she'd only wanted to comfort him in a dark time, offering her body and heart as a way to forget. Because she'd felt something for him. A feeling he'd returned, but hadn't known how to handle. He'd twisted it, turned it into something shameful. Goddamn him.
Normally I hate books that make me sad, but this book had me so emotional that I let my guard down and it actually dug itself into my chest and made a fucking home for itself there. So much self-loathing and sadness and loneliness in this book, but the redemption and love that the characters find within one another more than makes up for it. There are some insane religiously tinged sex scenes that should be fucked up (cough sex against a church cough) and...aren't. Just a beautifully written book.
Well, thanks for taking a ride inside my head & tagging along on my tangents with this weird post. Let me know if you've read any of these or want to read any of these because of this long rant.