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50 Must-Read Queer Romance Novellas

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Laura Sackton

Senior Contributor

Laura Sackton is a queer book nerd and freelance writer, known on the internet for loving winter, despising summer, and going overboard with extravagant baking projects. In addition to her work at Book Riot, she reviews for BookPage and AudioFile, and writes a weekly newsletter, Books & Bakes, celebrating queer lit and tasty treats. You can catch her on Instagram shouting about the queer books she loves and sharing photos of the walks she takes in the hills of Western Mass (while listening to audiobooks, of course).

When it comes to romance, I usually gravitate toward long, angsty novels with multiple side plots. But sometimes all I want is a simple dose of queer comfort, and there’s no better reading pick-me-up than queer romance novellas.

These stories range from 100% fluffy (we’re talking rainbow unicorns sprouting glitter from their horns, folks) to all-the-angst-that’s-fit-to-print-in-150-pages-or-less, and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for holiday stories, meet-cutes, vampires, shifters, chosen family, rock stars, friends-to-lovers, or historical shenanigans–these queer romance novellas have got it all.

These books range in length from 40ish to 150ish pages. Technically some of them might be novelettes, and a few might be very short novels, but who cares, this isn’t academia. The bottom line: these are short queer romances with happy queer endings, and all of them are perfect for when the world is a dumpster fire and you just need to spend an hour immersed in a queer love story (and not stay up till 3am).

I’ve tried to make this list as inclusive as possible, with stories representing the wide and beautiful range of queer identities and sexualities. You’ll find f/f and m/m stories here, stories featuring polyamorous queer folks, trans folks of all genders, nonbinary and genderqueer characters, and queer people in m/f relationships.

50 Must-Read Queer Romance Novellas

Historical Queer Romance Novellas

All or NothingAll or Nothing by Rose Lerner by Rose Lerner (m/f)

MCs: An architect in desperate need of cash and the no-nonsense hostess of a London gambling den
Setting: London and an English country estate, 1819
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A fake(ish) relationship, MCs working through their complex relationships with lovers, and ex-lovers, some truly extravagant outfits
Rep: Jewish bisexual woman MC, bisexual man MC

Caroline’s Heart By Austin Chant (m/f)

MCs: A witch (whose magic mostly involves building prosthetic limbs) mourning the loss of her beloved and a quiet cowboy trying to make a life for himself ranching

Setting: the American West in the late 1800s
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Fascinating magic that fits beautifully into the time and place, an MC dealing with the death of her beloved, MCs coming together under traumatic and stressful circumstances
Rep: bisexual trans woman MC, bisexual trans man MC

The Craft of Love by E.E. Ottoman (m/f)

MCs: A silversmith running a shop with his brother-in-law and a politically active quilt maker
Setting: 19th Century New York City
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A meet-cute involving a quilt making project, a gentle and thoughtful courtship, lots of rich details about craftspeople
Rep: trans man MC, bisexual woman MC

Her Every Wish by Courtney MilanHer Every Wish by Courtney Milan (m/f)

MCs: A determined young woman who enters a charity contest in order to win the funds she needs to open a shop and her old flame, a man who doesn’t care what society thinks about his less-than-respectable upbringing but does know how to swagger
Setting: London, 1866
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A second chance romance, loads of hilarious banter, two MCs dealing with racism, sexism, and classism who learn a lot from each other
Rep: Anglo-Indian multiracial bisexual MC

A Lady’s Desire by Lily Maxton (f/f)

MCs: A young woman with no interest in marriage and her cousin’s widow, who is also her estranged best friend
Setting: Edinburgh, 1814
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A friends to lovers romance, forced proximity, and MCs fighting against their families’ desire to see them both happily married
Rep: gay MCs

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan (f/f)

MCs: A 73 year old widow with plenty of money and a Terrible Nephew and a 69-year-old rooming house manager who has just lost her livelihood and is in need of fast cash
Setting: London, 1867
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Two old women plotting the ruin of a truly terrible Terrible Nephew, hijinks with geese, lots of cheesy toast, general badassery involving the patriarchy getting what it deserves
Rep: gay MCs over seventy

A Queer Trade by KJ CharlesA Queer Trade by K.J. Charles (m/m)

MCs: A waste-paper man and an apprentice magician
Setting: Victorian London
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A mystery involving a dead magician and the secrets he was keeping from his apprentice
Rep: gay MC, black gay MC

The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan (m/m)

MCs: A deserting British officer and an injured American soldier, who end up journeying together from Yorktown to Rhode Island
Setting: the road from Yorktown Rhode Island, 1781
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Enemies to lovers, forced proximity, a long journey involving a lot of banter and a very stinky wheel of cheese
Rep: black gay MC, gay MC

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole (f/f)

MCs: A lonely maid working for Eliza Hamilton who has given up on what she loves (writing poetry) and an independent business owner and dressmaker who shows up for an interview as part of Eliza’s project of protecting her late husband’s memory and legacy
Setting: New York City, 1820
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Some angst, MCs bonding over their shared love of creative work.
Rep: black gay MCs

Paranormal & Fantasy Queer Romance Novellas

The Coyote's Comfort by Holley TrentThe Coyote’s Comfort by Holley Trent (f/f)

MCs: A coyote shifter/professional organizer and the woman she broke up with a year earlier to avoid getting hurt
Setting: contemporary New Mexico
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Second chance romance, MCs dealing with family trauma and past relationship blunders, coyote shifter pack politics
Rep: gay MCs

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz (f/f)

MCs: An AI technician who travels from city to city, never forming close bonds, and a hundreds-of-years-old robot who runs an ancient tea shop
Setting: Seattle, sometime in the future
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Lots of wonderful world-building surrounding robots and AI, a robot still mourning the loss of her original creator, some violence aimed at AI in general and the tea shop specifically
Rep: Latinx asexual MC, asexual robot MC

Darkling by Brooklyn Ray (m/m)

MCs: A witch with a secret about his identity, who is also in love with his best friend, another witch and part of his coven
Setting: A small coastal town in contemporary Washington (populated by lots of witches)
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A community of queer and trans witches, family secrets, friends to lovers, some dangerous magic, coven politics
Rep: Queer trans MC, queer MC

Help Wanted by J. EmeryHelp Wanted by J Emery (m/questioning)

MCs: A student at a magic academy on a quest to buy her best friend the best birthday present ever and her coworker at the magic supply shop where she gets a job
Setting: The campus and surrounding town of a magical academy
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A lovely arc where the MC begins to question and discover their identity and sexuality, wonderful world-building including a magic supply shop full of curiosities, some fancy alchemy
Rep: Gender questioning, ace spec questioning MC

Possibilities by Nicole Field (m/genderfluid)

MCs: A newly-crowned and very reluctant king who has no interest in the political-alliance marriage his court wants for him, and his new royal jester
Setting: The court and palace of a fantasy palace
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: court intrigue, D/s dynamic between the king and his jester
Rep: Genderfluid MC, queer MC

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger (f/f)

MCs: A young woman who takes a job at a vampire hive in order to get out of her tiny village (and pursue her same-sex attractions), and the dashing inventor who is living/working/imprisoned in the vampires’ potting shed
Setting: Woolsey Castle, home of a vampire hive in alt-Victorian England
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Women rocking it at math and technology and engineering, vampires being creepy, a slow burn romance where the MCs both have to get over their own hangups
Rep: Gay MCs

Ripped Pages by M. Hollis (f/f)

MCs: A young woman trapped in a tower by her abusive father and the girl who comes along and helps her rescue herself
Setting: A tower and the surrounding countryside in a fantasy kingdom
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A queer Rapunzel retelling, lots of wonderful queer side characters, princesses saving each other, MCs dealing with emotional abuse and family trauma, a wonderful and organic exploration of the importance of representation in books
Rep: Pansexual MC, gay MC

The Second MangoThe Second Mango by Shira Glassman by Shira Glassman (f/f)

MCs: A young queen grieving over the death of her father and the disappearance of her first girlfriend and…the woman she meets at the end of her quest to find a new girlfriend
Setting: The palace, countryside, and other locales in a fantasy kingdom
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A wonderful friendship between the queen and the warrior/bodyguard she sets out questing with, lots of adventures, the overthrow an evil sorcerer
Rep: Gay MCs

Smoke Signals by Meredith Katz (m/m)

MCs: A customer service rep at a video game company and the grumpy dragon who hires him to personally set up his game library in exchange for gold
Setting: Contemporary America
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Delightful humor and adorable awkwardness, MCs working through misunderstandings due to cultural differences (dragon/human), wonderful family dynamics, lots of video game geekiness
Rep: Gay MC, bisexual MC

Snare by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae (m/m/m)

MCs: A municipal employee whose job is to file paperwork pertaining the NYC’s vampire population, the head vampire of a warren he visits to resolve a clerical mistake, and the vampire’s lover
Setting: Contemporary New York City
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Forced proximity (Elliot, the city worker, is forced to stay in the warren for a year after an accidental bite during what might have been a one-time threesome), lovely world building within the vampire warren, polyamory, characters who both hurt each other and make mistakes (and talk about them!) as they are falling for one another
Rep: Gay MCs

Contemporary Queer Romance Novellas

Meet Cute (Or Not-Cute)

Full Exposure by Amy Jo CousinsFull Exposure by Amy Jo Cousins (m/m)

MCs: A computer geek who tags along with his photographer brother to a photo shoot and the rock star they’re photographing
Setting: Chicago
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A photoshoot turned one-night stand turned relationship, D/s dynamic
Rep: Korean American gay MC, bisexual MC

Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans (m/enby)

MCs: A genderqueer uni student who loves bad scifi movies and a trans boy they meet in a coffeeshop (who also loves bad scifi movies)
Setting: Melbourne
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A fluffy feel-good romance about two queer trans people bonding over their shared geekiness
Rep: Disabled queer MCs of color, a trans man and a nonbinary person

Looking for A ComplicationLooking for a Complication by Tamsen Parker by Tamsen Parker (f/f)

MCs: A femme woman who’s just moved to Boston for a new job at a hospital and the butch med student she accidentally doors on her way to her first day at work
Setting: Boston
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: An adorable meet cute where somebody getting doored on their bike turns into a date turns into an adorable something-more, some light kink
Rep: Bisexual MC, gay MC

Mr. March Names the Stars by Rivka Aarons-Hughes (m/m)

MCs: A pagan woodworker who travels the festival circuit with his sibling, disgruntled over a mixup in a recent charity calendar that labeled him as single but implied he was straight, and the lawyer from the publishing company putting out the calendar who shows up to fix the problem
Setting: The pagan festival circuit, various locales throughout the U.S.
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A wonderful family dynamic between the MC and his sibling, a lovely slow-burn romance that involves long-distance letter-writing
Rep: Asexual homoromantic MC, black panromantic asexual trans MC

Natural Enemies by Roan Parrish (m/m)

MCs: A botanist more comfortable around plants than people and an outgoing urban gardener working at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Setting: Brooklyn
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Enemies to lovers, many wonderful details about plants, gardening, and botany, lots of adorable prickliness, angst, MCs learning how to be vulnerable with each other
Rep: Black queer MC, Latinx queer MC

Waiting for the FloodWaiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall by Alexis Hall (m/m)

MCs: A lonely book conservator living in the house he once shared with his ex-boyfriend and an engineer from the Environment Agency who shows up at his house during a very bad flood
Setting: Oxford, England
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A quiet, slow-burn romance, an MC dealing with grief after his longtime partner leaves him, self-discovery, beautiful writing
Rep: Gay MCs

Whip, Stir and Serve by Caitlyn Frost and Henry Drake (m/demigirl)

MCs: An autistic woman and accomplished carpenter who is not so confident in the kitchen but is determined to make cinnamon buns for her father’s retirement party anyway, and the man who works behind the deli counter at the local grocery (who knows how to bake)
Setting: A small town grocery store, the MC’s kitchen
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: An adorable baking lesson that turns into a real connection including sex and a satisfying HFN ending, loads of sexy consent, kink, a storyline that centers and celebrates the autistic MC
Rep: Autistic bisexual demigirl MC


Her Christmas Cookie by Katrina JacksonHer Christmas Cookie by Katrina Jackson (m/m/f)

MCs: A small town bakery owner and her partners, the fire chief and the police chief, the three of whom have been together for a year and are on a road trip to introduce each other to their families
Setting: Denver, Los Vegas, Berkley
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A romance about an established triad and their relationships—both good and bad—with their bio and chosen families, lots of wonderful holiday food details, a fun road trip feel, a beloved hundred-year-old cookie recipe
Rep: Black bisexual MC, Latinx bisexual MC, black woman MC

Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper (m/m)

MCs: A young man working at his dad’s art studio and his long-time crush, his best friend’s uncle, who also happens to be a golem
Setting: Urban America
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Friends to lovers, some lovely geekiness (including an adorable scene where the MCs play D&D), low-angst, family holiday dynamics
Rep: Bisexual Jewish MC, gay MC

Red Envelope by Atom Yang (m/m)

MCs: A man attending his family’s Lunar New Year celebration, and his cousin’s best friend, with whom he had a one night stand at last years New Year celebration
Setting: California
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Friends to lovers and second chance romance, lots of wonderful foodie details surrounding the Lunar New Year, family dynamics
Rep: Gay Chinese American MC, gay MC

Blame it on the MistletoeBlame it on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton by Eli Easton (m/m)

MCs: A physics grad student and college football player who become unlikely college housemates
Setting: A college campus in December
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Housemates turned best friends who then end up falling for each other when the shy physics student asks the more outgoing jock to teach him how to kiss, light and fluffy with some low-key angst, realistic college/new adult vibe
Rep: Queer MCs

College & New Adult

Learning Curves by Ceillie SimkissLearning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss (f/f)

MCs: A law student and an MBA student who meet in class and end up falling for each other while meeting for study dates
Setting: A college campus & surrounding town
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A sweet, low-angst romance that mostly involves libraries, snowstorms, and lots of snacks, some great scenes with one of the MC’s big extended loving/demanding family, MCs dealing with anxiety and ADHD, especially in the context of grad school
Rep: Puerto Rican lesbian MC, panromantic asexual MC

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon (f/f)

MCs: A college freshman weighted down by her parents’ disappointment in her and a classmate working as a stripper who she meets at her sister’s bachelorette party
Setting: Los Angeles
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Low-angst, wonderfully positive sex worker representation, two college-age MCs dealing with balancing school, work and family
Rep: Black lesbian MCs

Second Chance

Ghost by Robin CovingtonGhost by Robin Covington (m/m)

MCs: The owner of a comics publishing company and the one night stand he walked out on and has regretted ever since—a reclusive comic artist and author of a very successful First Nations graphic novel
Setting: A comics convention in Baltimore
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A one night stand that has haunted the MC for years, a whole lot of angst, lots of wonderful comic convention geekiness
Rep: Native American gay MC, Korean American bisexual MC

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole (f/f)

MCs: The badass personal assistant to the prince of Thesolo and an NYC jewelry maker and artist famous on social media
Setting: New York City
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: An immigration side plot involving one of the MC’s family members, lots of lovely NYC date scenes, a wonderful sense of queer community, fabulous queer fashion
Rep: Black queer MCs

Love’s Changes by LaQuette (M/M)

MCs: An NYPD officer recovering from a serious gunshot wound and his estranged husband, a career Marine
Setting: New York City
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A romance about an established couple who have gone through a lot (including the death of their infant child), complicated family dynamics
Rep: Black gay MCs

Pure Fluff And/Or Super Low Angst

Knit One, Girl TwoKnit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman by Shira Glassman (f/f)

MCs: A small-batch yarn dyer and an artist whose landscape paintings catch her eye
Setting: South Florida
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Adorable meet cute, lots of fun details about art and yarn, warm & fuzzy queer community, fandoms
Rep: Jewish Lesbian MC, bisexual Jewish MC

Double Exposure by Chelsea Cameron (f/f)

MCs: A barista at the local queer coffeeshop and a transient photographer who comes into the shop to do some interviews as part of a photo project
Setting: A small town in Maine
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Lots of queer family and community based at the coffeeshop, general feel-good fluffiness
Rep: pansexual MC, bisexual trans MC

A Night at the Mall by M. Hollis (f/f)

MCs: A woman who gets stood at the mall up by her online date and the woman she gets stuck with suddenly when the store they’re in closes with them still in it
Setting: A clothing store in a mall after hours
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Forced proximity, lots of fashion
Rep: Lesbian MC, bisexual Latinx MC

Spice and Smoke by Suleikha SnyderSpice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder (m/f, m/m)

MCs: Two Bollywood film stars in an open marriage and their respective love interests
Setting: The set of a Bollywood film in Mumbai
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A lot of hilarity on a film set, a nontraditional marriage, several overlapping love stories twined together
Rep: Bisexual Indian MC, gay Indian MC, Indian MCs

Their Troublesome Crush by Xan West (m/f)

MCs: Two metamours who realize they have crushes on each other while they’re planning a birthday party for their shared partner
Setting: The SF Bay Area
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A central queer family story, lots of comfort given and received between friends and lovers and housemates, kink and poly-centered romance, fantastic communication, mouthwatering cupcakes
Rep: Jewish autistic demiromantic queer fat trans man MC, Jewish disabled queer fat femme woman MC

Geek Love

Defying ConventionDefying Convention by Cecil Wilde by Cecil Wilde (m/enby)

MCs: Two online friends who have been in love with each other for years and decide to finally meet in person at a comics convention
Setting: A comics convention
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Friends to lovers, wonderfully realistic depictions of meeting someone you love for the time in person, great emphasis on consent and communication
Rep: Sri Lankan-American bisexual genderqueer MC, bisexual trans MC

A Hidden Hope by Laura Ambrose (f/f)

MCs: The newest hot debut novelist and a lesser-known struggling writer, who used to be critique partners and girlfriends, before a major falling out
Setting: A science fiction convention in London
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A second chance romance, a wonderful immersion in the writing life and the book world (both the good and bad)
Rep: Queer MCs

Team Phison by Chase Verity (m/m)

MCs: A 55-year-old restaurant owner who hasn’t had any dating success since his last boyfriend left him, and the easy-going and talkative twentysomething man he meets in a multiplayer online video game
Setting: Cape Cod & Athens, Georgia
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A wonderful sense of queer family, an age gap romance, lots of hilarious, sweet and geeky video game banter, a refreshing look at the realities of the restaurant industry from various angles
Rep: Gay MC, bisexual MC

Love and Butter (AKA Foodie Romance)

Graham's Delicacies by Em AliGraham’s Delicacies by Em Ali (m/m, f/enby, m/enby)

MCs: A group of queer and trans folks working at or somehow connected to Graham’s Bakery—servers, bakers, baristas, and a food blogger
Setting: A bakery
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Three interlocking romance novellas centering coworkers, friends, and chosen family, lots of delicious descriptions of baked goods, general fluffy queer joy—low angst, high sweetness, and sex scenes that beautifully center queer and trans identities
Rep: Black, bisexual MC, nonbinary queer MC, gay Latinx MC, gay black MC, Arab American nonbinary queer MC, gay Korean-American MC

Small Town Secrets by Katrina Jackson (f/f)

MCs: The owner of a small town coffeeshop and the apprentice baker at the new bakery
Setting: Sea Port (a tiny southern town no one can find on a map)
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A rich and complex small town setting full of gossip, secrets, deep connections, and old grudges, the most awesome speakeasy to ever appear in a romance novel, various intriguing plot detours about other characters from the series
Rep: Black lesbian MCs

Friends to Lovers

Jericho Candelario’s Gay DebutJericho Candelario's Gay Debut by R. Cooper by R. Cooper (m/m)

MCs: A man who has spent most of his life focused on raising his siblings and niece and his best friend, who owns a bakery in town
Setting: A small town
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A family-centered story, an adorable MC learning how to finally go after what he wants after years of taking care of other people
Rep: Gay Latinx MC, gay MC

You, Me, U.S. by Brigitte Bautista (f/f)

MCs: A sex worker who prefers to live for the moment and her best friend and roommate, a sales clerk searching for an American boyfriend to get her and her family to the U.S.
Setting: Manila
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: An unusual, realistic, and meandering romance (the MCs both date other people throughout the course of the book), lots of angst and long-buried emotions finally surfacing
Rep: Bisexual Filipina MCs

Workplace Romance

Coffee BoyCoffee Boy by Austin Chant by Austin Chant (m/m)

MCs: A just-out-of-college intern at a political campaign and an older, somewhat prickly and uptight campaign strategist
Setting: The offices of a political campaign
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: A trans MC dealing with transphobia and the reality of not passing at work, dislike that turns into a crush that turns into romance
Rep: Queer trans MC, bisexual MC

His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto (m/m)

MCs: An analyst working for a secret government agency and his coworker, an agent who no one in the office ever talks to or knows anything about
Setting: A government agency
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Secret agent spy action, a relationship that slowly builds through shared lunches and conversation, some truly wonderful scenes at a library storyhour, loads of tenderness
Rep: Asexual MC, biromantic demisexual MC

*Winterball by Holley Trent (m/m)

MCs: Two minor league baseball teammates who come separately to Hotel Beaudelaire’s Den of Sin Winterball event and end up getting paired with each other by the staff matchmaker
Setting: New Orleans
Tropes/Themes/Secondary Plots: Teammates who discover they might actually want more from each other, kink, angst that resolves into a satisfying HFN
Rep: Bisexual MC, gay MC

Looking for more queer romance novellas (and novels)? Jess has got a great starter guide to queer romance. Then you can move on to 50 Must-Read Gay Romance Novels and Even More Lesbian Romance Recommendations. And there’s always the LGBTQ Romance Archives if you’re looking for more!

And if you’re looking for romance novellas of all kinds (including straight ones), this list of 28 Romance Novellas You Should Check Out Immediately is full of gems.