20 erotic novels you won’t be able to put down (or stop thinking about…)

Erotic novels have got us all hot under the cover of late. If you’re here, you’ve probably heard about #BookTok. But have you, dear readers, come across #SmutTok? A hashtag with over 3.5 BILLION views, SmutTok is the place to head for the best erotic novels: those steamy stories you can’t – and won’t want to – put down. 

Whether it’s your first time in this part of the book world or you’ve delved in and just can’t get enough, we’re so excited to give you a deeper insight into erotica fiction. Whether you’re reading them for the hottest of sex scenes or because they’re just damn good books, trust us when we say that erotic fiction is a hell of a lot more than a guilty pleasure. 

What we love about this genre is that it brings together a little bit of everything – romance, smut, thriller, fantasy and comedy and all things in between – including a massive dose of spice. Netflix brought erotic romance well and truly into the mainstream with their smash hit adaptation of Bridgerton, and we have put together a list of titles that range from the tame to the downright risqué. 

Trust us, you’ll love this selection of books, which do so much more than just jump on E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon. Though you’ll still find BDSM and fetishes a’plenty, if that’s what you’re here for. There really is something for everyone (and every possible sexual fantasy) in the world of erotica, and we can’t wait to show you around. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride (pun intended).

Scroll for our full edit of the best erotic novels to add to cart immediately.

1. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient

Why you need to read it: First published in 2018 but brought back to the fore via TikTok, this stunner of a debut novel is refreshing, charming and, at times, incredibly sexy. Its main protagonist is Stella Lane, a young woman on the autistic spectrum. Maths makes her world go round. That is, until she hires escort Michael to help her in the intimacy department. He wants to keep things strictly professional, but when you mix business with pleasure in the most literal of senses – well, the possibilities are endless. Hot, heartwarming, sexy and tender, we know you will love this best-selling book.

2. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

The Spanish Love Deception

Why you need to read it: It’s her sister’s wedding, and Catalina Martin needs a date. She’s told her family that she has one – her perfect American boyfriend. The trouble is – he isn’t real. Now, she’s only got four weeks to find somebody willing to fly from New York City to Spain with her as her wedding date and help her continue deceiving her nearest and dearest. Cue Aaron Blackford – her handsome but insufferably condescending colleague – who offers to step in. Catalina is desperate – so desperate that she might just take him up on it. And maybe – just maybe – it won’t be as bad as she thinks.

3. The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn

The Highland Fling

Why you need to read it: American Bonnie St James has just been fired – for the third time in a row. She decides to take matters into her own hands, and when she and her best friend spot a ‘help wanted’ post to head up a coffee shop based in the Scottish Highlands, they decide to seize the day and apply. Upon arrival, they find themselves falling in love with their new surroundings instantly, not to mention the friendly local community – apart from the rugged local handyman, Rowan MacGregor, that is. When Bonnie and Rowan cross paths, they’re both in for an explosive ride. Hold on tight because you’re going to love it.

4. The Legacy by Elle Kennedy

The Legacy: 5 (Off-Campus)

Why you need to read it: For fans of Elle Kennedy’s best-selling Off-Campus series, The Legacy is absolutely the book for you. Comprised of four novellas, it’ll answer all your questions about where all our couples are now, three years after graduation. There’s a wedding, an elopement, a surprise pregnancy and a proposal – all with some hefty consequences. You’re bound to whizz through this steamy little beauty – who doesn’t love erotic short stories – but if you haven’t yet read the Off-Campus series, make sure you save this one for afterwards. You won’t regret it.

5. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

Why you need to read it: Penelope Douglas is considered by many the queen of dark romance and Punk 57 is one of her best. It’s the story of penpals Misha and Ryen, who have been writing to each other since fifth grade in high school. There are some rules to their friendship, though – no photos, social media and no phone numbers. But, when one of them comes across the other online by accident, leading them to finally see each other in the flesh, their relationship takes a very different turn. Ultimately, they were perfect together. Until they met. This one is spicy.

6. Terms & Conditions by Lauren Asher

Terms and Conditions

Why you need to read it: Number two in the sexy series sensation, Dreamland Billionaires, Terms and Conditions is a stand-alone novel with Declan at its helm. Destined to become CEO of his family’s media empire, his grandfather’s inheritance clause is proving to be a little bit of a problem. Why? Because he isn’t sure how he’ll be able to fulfil his dying wish of getting married and having an heir. When Iris, his assistant, volunteers for the job, things look like they’ll fall into place for Declan – until all the rules that this fake couple has built up around their union come crashing down. Erotic romance of the finest kind, this is one that’s got everyone talking.

7. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

It Happened One Summer

Why you need to read it: Inspired by the Netflix series, Schitt’s Creek, Tessa Bailey’s newest book is the story of Piper Bellinger, a Hollywood socialite whose life is turned completely upside down when she finds herself in prison after an out-of-control party. Her furious father sends her and her sister to Westport, a small town by the beach, cutting them off financially until they learn some responsibility. When Piper meets Brendan, a sexy but grumpy local sea captain, he makes it clear that she doesn’t belong and that he doubts she’ll survive outside for the city for more than a week. Now it’s time for her to prove him wrong.

8. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Seven Days in June

Why you need to read it: Bestselling erotica writer and single mum Eva Mercy bumps into reclusive literary author Shane Hall at an event in New York City. No one knows, though, that as teenagers, these two very different stars of the Black literati scene spent a week together – madly in love. Though they’d like to believe otherwise, it will be tough to quash their chemistry, despite the years that have gone by. Over the next seven days, they reconnect – some questions need answering, doors that need closing and hearts that need mending. Is this the end for Eva and Shane – or a new beginning?

9. A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair

A Touch of Darkness: Scarlett St. Clair

Why you need to read it: From the bestselling Scarlett St. Clair, this is a dark modern reimagining of the classical Hades and Persephone myth. Sign. Us. Up. A slow burn, steamy, erotic fantasy, Persephone is goddess of spring hiding as a mortal journalist. Everything spirals when she meets Hades, a billionaire with a gambling empire and ego to match. He is also the God of the Dead and he can’t resist a bargain. Forbidden love with all the spice, this is the first in a trilogy that readers say is addictive and unputdownable.

10. Electric Idol by Katee Robert

Electric Idol

Why you need to read it: If you were happy to have one erotic immortal read, we have got you covered with another steamy mythical title, that we are seeing all over our socials. This is Book 2 in the Dark Olympus series written by a bestselling author who knows how to build the tension. The story of Psyche and Eros, set in a glittering, vivid modern city takes the killer to lover trope and adds some fire. Eros is the son of Aphrodite, raised to be a monster until he meets (and quickly marries) Psyche. Spawning viral fan fictions, this one may very well satisfy.

11. Bridgerton The Duke & I by Julia Quinn

Bridgerton: The Duke and I

Why you need to read it: Sorry, but how could we not include this? Julia Quinn and Netflix,(shout out to THE most fabulous Shonda Rhimes) have literally revolutionised erotic romance, single-handedly saving us all during lockdown and bringing millions of readers to a new genre of books. If you like us miss Reje as the Duke and are impatiently waiting season three, look no further than the original source material – aka the eight novels on the Bridgerton fam. Old school regency, slow build, romance that always has a smut moment, these books are perfect for a cosy, winter read.

12. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Why you need to read it: Colleen Hoover is actually taking over the world. Her books are selling hundreds of thousands of copies a week, there are billions of reviews, reels and TikToks about her work, and she is the reigning queen of erotic, messy romance. Ugly Love is a punch in the gut, lust at first sight book that will give you all of the feels. Tate meets airline pilot Miles and immediately wants him. Both down want anything serious or emotional, just a helpful… physical arrangement, with rules of course. Things get complicated quickly as our characters get more entangled. Hoover can do no wrong.

13. Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller

Tropic of Cancer: Henry Miller

Why you need to read it: Tropic of Cancer is a modern classic that was banned and the subject of obscenity trials in the US, so you know it’s going to be good. Henry Miller is said to have redefined the novel with this story set in 1930s Paris. We follow a struggling American writer as he experiences daily life with artists, prostitutes, and the pimps that control them. Full of scandal, this is an unflinchingly raw and visceral book that isn’t afraid to shock its readers. Miller is one of the original bad boys of literature, and this is lyrical, masterful and, according to Amazon, is downright shocking.

14. Twisted Love by Ana Huang

Twisted Love

Why you need to read it: Ana Huang is a TikTok sensation with her bestselling Twisted series, the ultimate brother’s best friend book that employs the opposites attract trope to its full potential. Dialling up the spice with Book One, Alex is a devil with the face of an angel, cursed by a past that haunts him until he is mightily distracted by Ava, herself trying to escape from a broken childhood. There is suspense, a VERY jealous main character and some scenes that you may not want to read in public. Oh yes, this one has delighted many a reader, garnering some rave reviews.

15. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Silver Flames

Why you need to read it: Hear us out. This may be book 5 in the ACOTAR series, which is an online phenomenon – the hype is ridiculous, but the SMUT in this book was off the charts. Think Outlander with a Game of Thrones twist but make it raunchier. Nesta has been on the sidelines for much of the previous four books, but boy does she come into the spotlight. She has a temper which is most sparked by Cassian; the warrior soldier forced to train her. Think magical erotic fiction that does not quit. Consistent world-building, character development, and a whole lot of spice.

16. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Written in the Stars

Why you need to read it: If you are after some LGBTQ erotica, Written in the Stars has won national awards and is a lesbian take on Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice. A lighter, whimsical read that is empathetic and emotive, we watch Darcy and Elle agree to a fake relationship to placate an overbearing family, with the expected result that they fall for each other, big time. A warm sapphic romance that gives us smut as well as charm, this debut was a smash hit when released and will make you smile from the very first page.

17. Start A War by Elle Thorpe

Start A War

Why you need to read it: There is an entire sub-section of erotica that is mafia/gang based, and this has all the tropes. We are talking multiple love interests here, so you get the conflicted biker gang leader, the brother’s best friend and the quiet introvert with a tantalising inner darkness. Hey, why should a gal have to choose? Bliss has had a challenging start in life, a mother whose boyfriend controlled and exploited her. The author does not hold back in setting the very shocking scene, and the suspense builds as Bliss overcomes her insecurities and her past.

18. Bared to You by Sylvia Say

Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel

Why you need to read it: Honestly, there is no erotic novel article complete without a Sylvia Day book, an internationally bestselling author with many millions of fans. The Crossfire series begins with Bared to You, an emotionally intense, sensual story of romance and ambition. Gideon Cross is a successful CEO with a complicated past. Eva has just moved to New York City who begins working for his company and is instantly attracted to the boss. Fans of fifty shades of grey unite – this one is for you, some readers say its even better.

19. Priest by Sierra Simone

Priest: A Love Story

Why you need to read it: If you’re after some seriously taboo erotica, The Priest could be the book you’re looking for. Meet Tyler Anselm Bell, a handsome twenty-nine-year-old priest. Dedicated to his church and parishioners, he leads them by example and is at the centre of their community. When Poppy Danforth enters his confessional, the two find themselves craving for each other in ways they cannot. In ways that are forbidden. Pacy and well-crafted, this is an erotic novel that’ll have you hooked and a story about a young man trying to find his true purpose in life.

20. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin

Delta of Venus

Why you need to read it: Whilst Smuttok is very much now, erotica has held sway in literature for decades and more. Published in 1977 after the author Anais Nin’s death, this anthology comprises fifteen erotic short stories, exploring the ultimate in sexuality from a female angle. Indeed, it is considered a must-read by many scholars. Explicit, it certainly is, but it’s also hugely thought-provoking and poetic.

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