This list of M/M romances is sponsored by Squared Away by Annabeth Albert.
In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy.
As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.
For decades, romance readers and writers have been battling with the preconceptions that the genre is nothing but corny love stories between moody cowboys/dukes/millionaires and the women desperate to become their brides. Fortunately, the genre is much more broader and more interesting than that, and the M/M romances here are excellent examples of how some of romance’s best writers are crafting engaging love stories with complex characters.
The men in these books are writers and athletes and doctors and artists. They have complicated relationships with their friends and their parents and their children. They just turned 20 and they’re about to turn 50 (and they’re everywhere in-between). They’re aromantic and bisexual. They struggle with chronic illness. In other words, these couples are all over the map, but that just means each story takes a different route to happily ever after. Which works out awfully well for us readers.
Autumn by Cole McCade
Joseph Armitage’s adult daughter has gone missing, and the brother-in-law he’s long hated, Walford (Wally) Gallifrey, won’t leave him to deal with his sadness and frustration in peace. Mostly because Wally is in love with Joseph. Once you add in a whole lot of secrets and grudges from the past, this story is packed with the kind of drama that keeps you glued to the page. It helps to know that Autumn is sort of a spin-off of McCade’s Crow City series, but you can read and enjoy it as a standalone (like I did!).
Glitterland by Alexis Hall
Ash Winters is a writer struggling with clinical depression and anxiety. He’s also kind of a pretentious jerk. Darian Taylor is a model with less pedigree and education. He’s also usually happy and rarely offended—though when he is, he doesn’t hesitate to call Ash out on his BS. Neither fits particularly easily into the other’s world, but the way they work to make space for themselves and each other makes for a genuinely moving romance.
Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer
In the hands of a less skilled writer, this could have been your typical odd couple/opposites attract story: two divers training for the Olympics, one with years’ worth of single-minded dedication (Jeremy) and one who was discovered while cliff-diving and who’s mostly there because it seems like more fun than what he was doing before (Brandon). But Springer adds so much dimension to her characters that within just a few chapters you feel like you know them—and you know you want to know where they end up.
His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington
Victor Aleksandrov has been an outspoken critic of Russia (his home country) and its persecution of gay men, so when his petition for political asylum is denied, pro football player/widower single dad/former one-night-stand Isaiah Blackwell proposes a marriage of convenience. As you might be able to guess, the feelings that develop between the two become very real. As did my feelings for them—this book made me cry twice in the last 20 pages.
Love Comes Silently by Andrew Grey
Love Comes Silently is the kind of romance I describe as gentle: the people are kind and understanding, and conflict tends to come from the outside world as opposed to between the characters. But that conflict is real for both main characters—Ken’s young daughter is struggling with cancer and Patrick, his next-door neighbor, was left mute following an act of violence. The caring nature of their dynamic is a good counter balance to the chaos of their outside worlds.
Second Time Lucky by Ethan Day
Second Time Lucky is a romance and a comedy, but I hesitate to call it a romantic comedy because I think that suggests a certain plot pattern that this story defies. Luke and Owen reconnect after 15 years only to find they still have great chemistry, but while there are certainly some classic rom-com elements, at its core, this is a lighthearted (and very sexy) look at rebuilding a relationship that slipped away several years ago and navigating the realistic challenges and obstacles that stand in the way.
Syncopation by Anna Zabo
There’s so much to love about Syncopation. Both Ray (the lead singer) and Zavier (the new drummer) of the rock band Twisted Wishes are super-hot musical prodigies. Plus, they went to high school together, so there’s a fun second chance element. But the thing that really makes this book is how much these two like and respect each other and the other members of the band. Challenges come up and these two argue and unintentionally hurt each other, but there’s a friendship at the core of this dynamic that’s completely charming.
The Doctor’s Discretion by EE Ottoman
Conflict in romance is often thought of as artificial or contrived, but that’s decidedly not the case in The Doctor’s Discretion. Set in New York City in 1831, the book tells the story of Doctors William Blackwood and Augustus Hill and their efforts to save a hospital patient “accused of being born as a woman but living as a man” from being experimented on and committed to an asylum. The high stakes and developing relationship between William and Augustus make this book impossible to put down.