Erotic Romance Is...
The truth is, my taste in books changes from day to day. The one thing that's managed to stay constant over the years is my desire for excellent romantic and sexual tension in a story. I do long for a good culmination because there's just something a little depressing about ending a scene at the bedroom door. However, the culmination is nothing without the tension that leads to it. Let's face it, when it becomes nothing more than body parts it's a waste of precious reading time.
I'm picky when it comes to erotic romance. It has to be hot enough to be considered erotic and yet still be a true romance at heart. What does that mean, you ask (only if you aren't already a devout romance reader)? In my little world, a romance is wasted if there's no happy ending for the characters in question. The story should never lose its focus on the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine--nor should it be without plot or thought! I'm going to be bold here and say that it is absolutely possible to have too much sex in an erotic romance. So here you go, samples of the books I might call erotic (but not erotica).
Scorching reads only a book away
Red Sage Publishing publishes erotic romance anthologies called Secrets, books that are the epitome of sexy romance. Kensington Publishing Corporation's Brava books are hot, but not too hot. Their Aphrodisia line picks up the slack. Then there's the ever popular Blaze series from Harlequin. Although the tamest of the lot, these books bring series romance readers something they won't find in traditional series fare--sexy stories and sensual language.
Crossing the line between romance and erotica, Ellora's Cave publishes many fine erotic romance stories. And if erotica isn't too far from romance for your tastes, Black Lace, Harlequin Spice, Berkley Heat, or Avon Red just might satisfy.
My personal bias and my recommendations
So you know what you'll find as far as recommendations go on this site, I like a threesome when I want something scorching hot to read, but I don't go for them when I'm looking for love. I enjoy a strong man--the stronger the better in nearly all aspects of his character, but I don't care much for anything that comes under the heading of bdsm--and there's a heck of a lot of that around these days in the racier erotic romance lines--it freaks me out a little. I want a heroine who can stand up to a hero (or vice versa) but the submission required in these kinds of stories just push ALL the wrong buttons for me. However, you'll find many of these stories on this site in the sections devoted more fully to erotica. Gender means little to me when it comes to love, although I'm not partial to female stories simply because I have such a strong love for the male psyche (and physique). I also have to admit that candlelight and roses (or anything to do with chocolate) just don't do it for me. If that's what you consider erotic, this might not be the place for you. :-)
My version of the happily ever after
I want a happily ever after when I read romance, but the idea that happily ever after always means marriage and kids is open to debate, in my opinion. I tend to go on how I feel when I finish the book. Are the characters where they need to be? Did the ending fit the story? Just how satisfied did that ending leave me? In the end, it's all about MY happily ever after with that book. ;-)
Some readers won't agree with my view of what makes a good erotic romance. That's okay. There's a big enough selection to go around.
I hope to one day have a happily-ever-after rating for every story, but hell if I can read that many books! :-)
For a good place to start, check out The Erotic Reader's list of recommended reads. Here I have a list of many of the best of the erotic romance genre, books at all levels of erotic intensity. I also have a page listing my current reading list.