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Romance/Erotica

8 of the Best Queer Sports Romance Books

CJ Connor

Contributor

CJ Connor is a cozy mystery and romance writer whose main goal in life is to make their dog proud. They are a Pitch Wars alumnus and an Author Mentor Match R9 mentor. Their debut mystery novel BOARD TO DEATH is forthcoming from Kensington Books. Twitter: @cjconnorwrites | cjconnorwrites.com

The Dial Press, publishers of The Prospects by KT Hoffman

Minor league baseball leads to major chemistry in this exhilarating, sexy, and triumphant rivals-to-lovers debut romance. Gene Ionescu is the first openly trans player in professional baseball. He has nearly everything he’s ever let himself dream of—that is, until Luis Estrada, Gene’s former teammate and current rival, gets traded to the Beavers. Gene and Luis can’t manage a civil conversation off the field or a competent play on it, but in the close confines of dugout benches and roadie buses, they begrudgingly rediscover a comfortable rhythm. As the two grow closer, the tension between them turns electric.

I’m one of those people who used to dread gym class and could never quite get the hang of organized sports, but I love queer sports romance. The built-in tension, competition, and teamwork inherent to sports make for intense and satisfying character relationships. Whether we’re talking rival teammates forced to work together, queer folks finding community in intramural sports, or old flames brought back together on the field, it’s all a delight to read.

Discover eight of the best sports romance novels with LGBTQ leads — from recreational roller derby players to high school basketball coaches to professional soccer athletes and more. Plus, you can read to the end for a queer sports romance out this May to put on your TBR list!

For more sports romance recommendations, try these 10 Sports Romance Books to Bring Out Your Competitive Side — including sapphic romance Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker and gay Regency romance A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian. Plus, read up on 2024’s Biggest Romance Trends so far with Book Riot writer Alison Doherty. In addition to sports romance, what can you expect to see? Romantasy, the return of paranormal romance, fanfic-inspired novels and tropes, second-chance themes, body diversity in heroes, and more!

cover of Cleat Cute by Meryl Wilsner

Cleat Cute by Meryl Wilsner

In the lead-up to the World Cup, U.S. Women’s National Team athletes with opposing personalities put aside their differences on the field…and discover they have chemistry off-field, too. But with so many career pressures at hand, navigating their romantic tension becomes a lot more complicated.

Check Please! Cover

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

Samwell University student Eric “Bitty” Bittle is thrilled to join the college hockey team his freshman year. His main background is in figure skating, but how different can it be…right? Not only will Bitty have to adjust to a new sport, but he also must navigate his budding feelings for team captain Jack.

Prize Money cover

Prize Money by Celeste Castro

Toma Rozene is a professional stuntwoman who takes a break from the film industry to work at the family ranch. It’s here she meets Eva, a barrel racer who is rescued by Toma from a rodeo injury. As Toma settles back into life at home, she and Eva grow close and begin to imagine a future together.

cover of How You Get the Girl by Anita Kelly

How You Get the Girl by Anita Kelly

High school basketball coach Julie Packer is stunned to discover that one of her student’s foster parents is Elle Cochrane — former University of Tennessee basketball star and Julie’s old crush. Though she’s distanced herself from her college sports years, Elle agrees to become Julie’s assistant coach and slowly realizes that they work well together, professionally and as a couple.

Goalie Interference cover

Goalie Interference by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

When professional hockey players Ryu Mori and Emmitt Armstrong compete for the same starting goalie spot, the last thing they expect is to fall for each other. But they can’t deny that the sexual tension between them is just as strong as their rivalry.

Roller girl cover

Roller Girl by Vanessa North

Following her recent divorce, trans woman Tina Durham struggles with loneliness. But, when she hires plumber Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario for a home repair, Joe invites Tina to join her roller derby team. Tina finds the community in roller derby that she’s been longing for, but just as thrilling, she is drawn to Joe and discovers that her feelings are very much reciprocated.

Unwritten Rules cover

Unwritten Rules by KD Casey

Zach Glasser thought he’d be satisfied fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional MLB player, but he can’t stop thinking about his old flame and former teammate Eugenio Morales. Years after their painful break-up, an All-Star Classic event brings them back together, and Zach must find the courage to fight for a second chance at love.

The 7-10 Split cover

The 7-10 Split by Karmen Lee (May 21)

High school teacher Ava Williams is less than thrilled to discover that Grace Jones, professional bowler and her ex-best friend, will be joining her faculty. How are they supposed to co-coach a student bowling team with the fraught history between them? Working together brings out not just their rivalry but the romantic sparks that both have left unspoken for years.

In the mood for swoony queer reads? Check out 8 of the Best Queer Baking and Cooking Romance Novels.