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Romance/Erotica

10 of the Slowest Slow-Burn Romances Ever Written

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Silvana Reyes Lopez

Senior Contributor

Silvana Reyes is a Mexican book blogger. She enjoys all types of sub-genres, but loves a good love story. Romance fiction is her heart and joy and you might find her screaming about book releases on her Twitter account.

Do you love a romance story where it takes time for the main characters to get to their happily ever after? When they go through trials and tribulations, ups and downs, all to finally kiss in the end? Or how about when the author sprinkles small touches, any type of love language, and longing through the story? Well, you might be a fan of the slow-burn trope, then. You’ve come to the perfect place because I’m about to share some amazing slow-burn romance recommendations. But not just any slow-burn romances. Get ready for the slowest slow-burn romances ever written.

In romance fiction, you will find stories that either take an instant to realize they’re in love or months — or sometimes even years — to finally come to that conclusion. As a reader, you might love one or even both, but I am positive you have a favorite. This time, let’s talk about the latter: slow-burn romance novels.

For this list of the slowest slow-burn romances, I’ve categorized them as romances where the stories take more than 80% to give you a kiss between the main characters or even an acknowledgment of something romantic going on. But that’s when it comes to standalone novels! Because we also can be reading a series and the protagonists don’t realize until halfway through the third book that they’re falling for each other. And that makes us scream in pain and kick our feet in the air in joy.

So, as you can see, there are various types of slow-burns. For this list, I chose romance books that felt like it took eons for them to be together, be it because of circumstances (maybe they’re enemies or it’s forbidden to date!), not knowing they were falling in love, longing after each other but believing it’s one-sided, and so on. Some of the books down below are part of a series, so it makes the slow-burn aspect more excruciatingly fun.

A quick note: I wanted to focus on more modern titles while writing this list. Still, it wouldn’t be a real “the slowest slow-burn romances ever written” list without mentioning Persuasion by Jane Austen, the most slow-burning of all slow-burn romances.

Meet Me Halfway cover the slowest slow burn romances ever written

Meet Me Halfway by Lilian T. James

In the slow-burn metric, Meet Me Halfway is off the charts. Prepare to wait for a really long time for a first kiss…you won’t be getting it until the last 60 pages.

The novel follows a single mom named Madison, who just moved with her son. She has no room for romance, especially when she has to focus on single parenthood, online courses, and working three jobs. So when her handsome next-door neighbor leaves a rude note for her, she doesn’t care — until he starts appearing more and more, helping her out at every chance he gets.

Lilian T. James delivers on the yearning, the sexual tension, and the forced proximity.

cover of Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Obstacles and hurdles play a huge part in why Beverly Jenkins’s Forbidden is known as one of the slowest slow-burn romances ever.

The story follows Eddy Carmichael, a young woman who Rhine Fontaine saves in the desert. She owes him her life, but she won’t risk her heart. In the end, she knows that he could never be hers.

Cover of Best I Never Had the slowest slow burn romances

Best I Never Had by Jeannie Choe

One of the slowest slow-burn romances is Jeannie Choe’s Best I Never Had. Centering around high school friends who reunite years later in New York, Choe’s romance is magnetic, charming, and beautifully written.

Hayden Marshall and Natalia Marquez haven’t seen each other since high school, so it seems like fate had a hand in reuniting them in NYC. Both are going through some personal things — things they rather not go through alone. It’s then they strike a deal to ease the loneliness in their lives, which consequently makes their old feelings for each other arise from their hearts.

While the book delivers a first kiss when Natalia bumps into her ex and Hayden kisses her in front of him in order to pretend, we don’t really get a real, our-feelings-are-mutual kiss until 84% into the book. Hang tight!

Cover of Blood Mercy by Vela Roth

Blood Mercy by Vela Roth

Do you know which trope also works for slow-burn romances? The forbidden trope. Blood Mercy is a slow-burn vampire romance featuring a forbidden pairing between a human and a vampire.

Cassia doesn’t fear the Hesperine, these vampire-like creatures, even though they can end her life in an instant. No, she rather fears her father, the human king, who, if he happens to find out she has been bargaining with the enemy, will send her to her death immediately. But when Cassie meets Lio, a Hesperine diplomat, she can’t help but be captivated by the immortal.

I’m positive readers will agree with me about this being one of the slowest slow-burn fantasy romances out there. The first book itself has almost 800 pages! The characters slowly get to know each other over the story, so when you finally reach the first romantic interaction (after 400 pages!), you’ll be screaming with joy.

powerless book cover

Powerless by Lauren Roberts

While The Powerless Trilogy only has one book out right now, this fantasy romance series is considered one of the slowest slow-burn romances out there. With a second book releasing in July, we’re about to find out if the slow burn continues or not…

In this first novel, we meet Paedyn Gray, an Ordinary — someone with no power or ability. The king has decreed that all Ordinaries must be banished to preserve the Elites, the people who were blessed with powers. Because of this new law, Paedyn has taken matters into her own hands, and she now pretends to be an Elite to survive. But when she unsuspectingly saves one of Ilyas princes, her life suddenly changes.

Even though it’s filled with top-notch banter and angsty tension, Powerless provides not one kiss. So, we’ll have to wait until book two to see if a kiss is on the horizon for them!

Cover for Love at 350 slowest slow burn romances ever

Love at 350° by Lisa Peers

Lisa Peers’s Love at 350° makes us fall in love with the story of a judge and contestant in a TV baking competition. This forbidden romance gives us one agonizing and beautiful slow build-up where each character is under contract to not fraternize with each other! Time will tell if they’re willing to sacrifice everything to be together.

Cover of Gild by Raven Kennedy

Gild by Raven Kennedy

The Plated Prisoner series is a six-book fantasy romance series of one gilded captive longing for freedom. I chose to include the series in this list because you pretty much don’t meet the main love interest until book two. And the road to reach a happily ever after? It takes a while after that.

So, if you’re in the mood for a fantasy romance series with action-packed moments, a powerful heroine, and a romance that will leave you on your knees begging for more, this is the one for you.

Content warnings for rape (not between any of the main characters), physical and emotional abuse, grooming, pedophilia, human/child trafficking, violence, and murder.

Ana María and The Fox cover

Ana María and the Fox by Liana De la Rosa

When it comes to slow-burn historical romances, Ana Maria and the Fox is the one to pick. I mean, the first kiss doesn’t happen until after the 200-page mark, and the book itself has a little over 300 pages.

The story follows the Luna sisters arriving in London as refugees while the French occupy Mexico. But their arrival quickly changes everything, not only in society but also in each of their lives. Soon, Ana Maria, the eldest sister, finds the charming gaze of Gideon Fox at every ball and gathering, and she can’t seem to look away.

Cover of Over and Over Again

Over and Over Again by Cole McCade

Once upon a time, Luca Ward vowed to always love Imre Claybourne. Years later, Luca finds himself shipped off to Imre’s goat farm in disgrace. He never expected his old feelings to make an appearance, but oh, they did. Even though Imre is now much older, with a silvered head and wrinkles around his eyes, he’s the same mountain of a man Luca fell in love with. Unfortunately, he’s Luca’s father’s best friend.

If a romance set in goat farms with gentle giants, age gaps, and slow burns sounds intriguing, this book is definitely for you. The story also provides longing, yearning, and an agonizing amount of build-up that you won’t help but adore.

Cover of Yours Truly slowest slow burn romances ever

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

Abby Jimenez wrote one of the slowest slow-burn romances ever in Yours Truly. Filled with the miscommunication trope and a rocky start between the characters, their journey to their own happily ever after takes a little more than what we’re used to. But the culmination of all that longing and pining is so worth the wait.

The story focuses on Briana Ortiz, a doctor who is running out of time to find a kidney donor for her brother. Just when she thinks something good is about to happen in her life (getting the promotion she deserves!), a new doctor comes through the hospital doors. Dr. Jacob Maddox, the bane of her existence. It’s just then that Jacob flips the game…and sends Briana a letter that changes everything.


If you want to know more about slow-burn romances, find out what makes them burn. In need of more recommendations? Here are 8 of the best slow-burn romances.