I am honored and thrilled to present to you a list of Black romance books that are coming out this year. While this list only has a couple dozen titles, there are still many books that are debuting this year that are just as impactful and needed. I think one of my first Black romance books was an Eric Jerome Dickey book (I’m almost sure of it) and ever since then, I’ve always prioritized those narratives first.
You might be asking yourself, what’s the difference between Black romance books and other romance novels? Isn’t love just love? Why does Black romance matter? Well, for me, it wasn’t until I was older that I was able to see Black love in literature. As a millennial, I lived through the ’90s and I rarely saw popular Black love books. They weren’t in my supermarket or planted in the front displays of my library. When we had RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) fairs at my school, Black authors were a rarity. All the teen romances I consumed were created with a white gaze and I had to envision them as Black to enjoy them.
But as I got older and started really digging for Black authors, I embraced Beverly Jenkins, Brenda Jackson, Zane, E. Lynn Harris and Cheris F. Hodges with delight as they have all given me various versions of what Black love is.
This year, I encourage you to read more Black romance books, especially if you enjoy romance titles overall. My fellow Book Rioter and Black love expert Jessica P. Pryde is the editor of the forthcoming nonfiction anthology, Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happily Ever Afters, which challenges us to understand the history of romance books but to understand the importance of why Black love needs to be celebrated.
For the sake of this list, I’ve divided the books into three categories: Adult, YA and Black-led interracial. The adult books range from clean to extra steamy romance on page. The YA titles will make you wish you could be a teenager again and the Black-led titles push the envelope on social commentary, class and privileges. Just to be clear, Black-led interracial romances are romance books where one protagonist is Black and the other one is not.
Black Adult Romance Titles
Rare Danger By Beverly Jenkins
The queen of Black romance has released a murder-mystery-romance novella later this year. Jasmine curates books for wealthy clients and she loves her job. One of her contacts for rare books suddenly goes missing. This makes Jasmine suspicious because his partner was recently murdered. She teams up with Torr who does private security. While trying to find her friend, she becomes closer with Torr and things heat up as they try to find her friend.
Business Not As Usual By Sharon C. Cooper (April 5)
Dreamy refuses to give up hope. Every day, she reminds herself that’s she’s worthy, confident, and a future lottery winner. While working as a secretary, she catches the attention of a venture capitalist named Karter. Dreamy is unlike any woman he’s met but is he willing to risk profits for love? This sexy romcom is exactly what you need as the seasons change.
Fake It Till You Bake By Jamie Wesley (June 21)
This delicious fake dating story stars a beautiful reality star named Jada. As Jada tries to bounce back from her previous relationship, she starts working at a bakery owned by a professional athlete named Donovan. A reporter accidentally frames them as a couple and they both decide to run with it to change their image.
Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happily Ever Afters By Jessica P. Pryde (February 1)
If you believe Black love is revolutionary, you are going to want to read this. This anthology, which is edited by Book Riot’s own Jessica P. Pryde, showcases personal essays that reflect on how Black love has been depicted in media. From social justice, the publishing industry to desirability, this book is a must for those who want to engage with the concept of Black love as a form of liberation and self-love. With esteemed writers such as Beverly Jenkins, Da’Shaun Harrison, Jasmine Guillory, and more, your heart will be filled with pride.
Something So Sweet (Honey Hill Book 1) By Joy Avery
In Honey Hill, North Carolina, Mayor Lunden is the champion the city deserves. She’s dedicated to her job and to preserving landmarks and buildings in her town. Her patience is tested when her former lover Quade is back in town and he announces he plans to sell his late aunt’s inn. But Quade has no interest in Honey Hill. He plans to stay for six months then obtain the inheritance that was left for him from his aunt. This slow-burn romance is full of charm, passion, and hope.
Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell By Taj McCoy (March 22)
Plus-size beauty Savvy inherited her grandmother’s home. Savvy enjoys the house but she needs to get the kitchen upgraded. Renovating her kitchen is just what she needs and deserves, especially with an attractive contractor and after a bad breakup. As she focuses on herself and her wants, it becomes easier to find what makes her happy.
Her Heart’s Desire By Anne Shade (February 15)
Are you ready to turn up the heat? Last year, I read Shade’s Masquerade and it is hot! Eve is finally out of her marriage and she’s never been happier. Now she’s just running her successful event planning business while living her best life. But her world turns upside down when she meets Lynette and she can’t stop thinking about her. Lynette isn’t looking for a relationship and she’s not interested in another relationship with a woman who isn’t out yet.
Summoning Up Love (Heart & Soul, 1) By Synithia Williams (April 26)
Dive into this paranormal romance that takes place on a beautiful beach. Vanessa is a witty reporter trying pick up the pieces in her life since she and her fiancé broke up. Her grandmother wants her to be happy but she also wants to ensure there aren’t any ghosts or bad omens around, which leads her to hire an attractive paranormal investigator who Vanessa can’t stop thinking about.
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding By Chencia C. Higgins
Kris is on her way to becoming a social media influencer and D’Vaughn hasn’t come out to her family yet. They both decide that $100k is just too much to pass up so they decide to fake a wedding to win the money for a reality TV show. If you are looking for a feel-good romance this year, then this book is for you. I love that this couple displays healthy communication with each other and I swoon every time I see a plus-size femme as the heartthrob of a love story.
The House on Blueberry Lane By Brenda Jackson (July 26)
Brenda Jackson has been writing romance novels forever! In fact, she is one of the first Black authors I saw in grocery stores when I was growing up. This summer, she’s giving us a romance story from the point of view of Jaye Colfax. He was once in a relationship with Velvet but strung her along. She finally decides she’s done with him being indecisive about their relationship, so she leaves him without even saying goodbye. Now Jaye is searching for her and after two years he finds her, but it might be a little too late to prove his love.
The Accidental Pinup By Danielle Jackson (July 26)
Coming out this July, this book is serving some serious curves and heat. Cassie is a body-positive photographer who has the opportunity to work on a national campaign that will empower plus-size body types. After a few minor setbacks, Cassie finds herself stepping in front of the camera as opposed to being behind it. Cassie can handle just about anything that is thrown her way except working with her competitor, Reid. But that doesn’t stop the undeniable attraction they have for each other.
The Hookup Plan By Farrah Rochon (August 2)
What happens when you hook up with your archnemesis? Disaster. All London wanted to do was decompress from her hectic life as a doctor. When she saw Drew at her high school reunion, she didn’t expect her life to go up in flames the way it has. To make matters worse, Drew now holds the keys to whether her beloved hospital remains open or not. While London doesn’t mind hooking up with him, she dares not trust him even though he is trying his hardest to prove to her he is a good person.
Good Morning, Love By Ashley M. Coleman (June 21)
Do you miss movies like Brown Sugar? If so, you will love this music-inspired romance that is set in New York City. Carli has dedicated her life to making music her career, because she wants to be just like her father. As she continues to balance her everyday life of working and paying bills to fund her music career, she meets Tau. Tau is a promising musician and Carli hopes to pen a few songs for them to sing. However, the line between business and pleasure begins to cross as the music must continue.
I’m So (Not) Over You By Kosoko Jackson (February 22)
Kian Andrews has dreams of becoming a successful journalist. However, he is still a bit heartbroken over his breakup with Hudson, who just so happens to want to meet him at a cafe to talk. Kian thinks Hudson wants to get back together but is shocked when Hudson really wants him to act like they are still an item for his parents when they visit. Now, Kian is Hudson’s plus-one to a wedding and all the romance around them starts to make an impact on the both of them.
Black YA Romance Titles
Right Where I Left You By Julian Winters (March 15)
With fleshed-out characters and evolving friendships, Winters takes us on an emotional ride with the lives of queer teens who are just trying to figure life out. Isaac and Diego are good friends. Isaac battles with social anxiety, and wants to ensure his last summer with Diego is perfect. Isaac’s crush on Diego is growing stronger and he will do just about anything to get Diego to see him in a romantic light. My favorite part of this book is how nerdy they are. With characters that love gaming and reading comics, this is a sweet romance book that will fill your nerdy heart.
The Kindred By Alechia Dow
Who doesn’t appreciate romance genre-bending books? This intergalactic romance adventure will make your heart swell with cosmic stars. Aliens crash into earth and discover love, Taylor Swift, and Starbucks! The fun twist here is, this time, we get to read from the aliens’ point of view on how they interpret human conditioning.
One True Loves By Elise Bryant
Lenore has always been a person who commanded attention no matter where she went. All through high school, she’s been that “it” girl for her personal style and her talents but now that she’s headed to college, she isn’t so sure of things. It also doesn’t help she still hasn’t declared a major at NYU yet. With her parents putting pressure on her to be great, she just needs some time to figure it all out. Her parents plan a post-graduate vacation in the Mediterranean, and that is where she meets Alex who unexpectedly tries to help her figure it all out.
Love Radio By Ebony LaDelle (May 31)
Prince Jones is a 17-year-old with a charming personality and he knows it. He thinks he’s also a love doctor and his radio show, Love Radio, is a vehicle for the brokenhearted to receive advice. Quiet as it is kept, Prince wants love for himself, but his many responsibilities — like taking care of his sick mother and his little brother — get in the way. That changes when Prince meets Dani, a no-nonsense girl who is dedicated to her studies. He is smitten and can’t stop thinking about her. Now, he is a love doctor trying to find a cure for himself.
Zyla & Kai By Kristina Forest (June 7)
Do you believe in soul mates? Zyla and Kai might, which is why they run away together during a storm on a school trip. As far as everyone else is concerned, they broke up some time ago, but the two remained madly in love with each other. While they both have different personalities and goals, they know they love each other and they are trying to ensure that their stars always align.
Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl By Joya Goffney (May 3)
This is for all the folks who grew up with religious parents and had a hard time as teenagers. Monique feels torn between what her parents want her to be and who she wants to be. She finds herself being admired by not one but two people, and she tries to keep it as secretive as possible. She is also navigating the difficult relationship she has with her rigid parents and her sibling, as they also have come to a crossroads and she fears losing both.
Black-Led Interracial Romance Titles
Lead Me Astray By Sondi Warner (March 15)
Paranormal queer poly romance? Yes, please. Aurie moved to Overlay City, which is a magical location in New Orleans. She died in an unfortunate accident and now her ghost is wandering the city still. She finds an empath named Mys who can communicate with her and starts to fall for her. Mys and Aurie meet Detective Zyr Ravani, who is a werewolf, and he promises to help them find the vampire who is responsible for a lot of evil in the city. Their time together blossoms into a steamy ménage à trois that continues to get better.
American Royalty By Tracey Livesay (June 28)
Dani Nelson, also known as Duchess, is a rapper, and she’s getting ready to pen a deal that will ensure she’s the highest-paid female rapper of all time. But after a video with another pop star goes viral, Duchess is in dire need of a rebranding if she wants to secure her bag. She is given an opportunity to perform for Prince Jameson and the Queen and it’s quickly evident that the Prince is infatuated by her. The Prince knows Duchess is someone his family and the media in his country won’t accept, but he’s willing to follow his heart.
Bet on It By Jodie Slaughter (July 12)
This is such a beautiful romcom that handles anxiety with care. Aja moves to a small town because a smaller town means fewer people and fewer people means her anxiety can be handled. However, while she is out shopping, she starts to have an anxiety attack and Walker intervenes to help. Walker also battles with anxiety so his quick response came from a place of experience and care. Then they meet again. And Again. So they finally decide to become better acquainted and start a beautiful friendship.
Getting His Game Back by Gia De Cadenet
What romance list is complete without a sports romance story? Khalil Sard is trying to piece together his life after taking time out for therapy to treat his depression. He’s ready to get back on the dating scene but then he meets Vanessa. Vanessa has a tech company and she is only focused on that. Plus, she has not been successful in love, so it’s not a priority to her. But when she goes to get her haircut in one of Khalil’s barbershops and sees him, she can’t shake her attraction to him. She wants to give him a chance, but Khalil realizes old habits are hard to break.
Expand your Black romance reads by checking out this list to discover some legendary Black authors who continue to pen some of the best romance stories we’ve ever read, and this list of some of the best Black-authored historical romance novels from the past 25 years.