You wouldn’t believe how technical it can get in the romance novel world.
One genre that gets confused or even “misdiagnosed” (for lack of a better term!) in the romance category is steamy romance.
So what is a good steamy romance novel in audiobook form?
Some of the most prominent audiobook outlets connect “steamy” with the most risque category of “erotica.”
That’s perfectly fine when you want to “fuel your fantasies,” as the writer mentions in an Audible blog I read to prepare my choices for the Best Steamy Romance Audiobooks.
But technically, steamy romance is different from erotica, and it’s all in the name… romance.
Erotica drives whatever is behind the story, and when you remove all the “action” in a work of erotica, there’s far less plot in a novel or audiobook.
On the other hand, the best steamy romance audiobooks can only exist when the plot flows through any one of countless romantic tropes and end in a HEA—equal parts of heart and heat make the steam, and the sex doesn’t even have to be explicit!
I had fun going a little nuts with this one. I’ve chosen from various genres, including contemporary and its subgenres, fantasy, sci-fi, historical, and LGBTQ, and there might be a few here that are new to you like they were to me.
Let’s get steamy, listeners!
Contemporary Steamy Romance Audiobooks
I’ve nicknamed the contemporary steamy romance genre “McSteamy” (diehard Grey’s Anatomy fans… I hope you get a chuckle out of that).
Within contemporary, you have the obvious sub-genres of suspense, dramedy, and even rom-coms because we all know that sex is so much more alive with a laugh!
So this section has a bit of everything. Here goes:
It took me a hot second to get into Chase Johnson’s quirky and unconventional romance narration, but the humor in his voice sounds like a twinkle in the hero’s eye… and I’m falling in love with this listen!
Author Lynn Chantale wrote a tasty steamy romance here, and there are unexpected twists with the hero Jason’s disability and a bit of sabotage thrown in as he and heroine Greta fall in love.
Finding His Mark
A suspenseful protector romance has all the ingredients to create the steamy, and Finding His Mark just hits it with me.
The sexy baritone voice of hero Lincoln Winters adds to the romantic tension, and the heroine, Skye Summers, has to deal with her desire for him and fear for herself after witnessing a murder.
I also prefer dual narration in a romance, and Troy Duran and Rose Dioro share great-sounding chemistry here.
Bloom of Love
The shirtless cowboy has always been a telltale sign of a steamy category romance in paperbacks, and the audiobook cover for Bloom of Love is no different.
Our hero sacrifices everything for his sister, and the heroine thinks her days of getting flowers from a guy are behind her forever. It might not sound too steamy… but it gets there!
I immediately enjoyed the humorous small-town setting, and the diversity is a welcomed and refreshing twist.
Whisky and Sunshine
This delightful steamy romance is a perfect example of why the audiobook format can surpass a print novel.
It all comes down to the dual narration by Susan Bush and Paul Bowman, playing an Australian heroine (the “beauty”) matching wits with her Scottish hero (the “beast!”).
Stuart owns a whisky distillery, and he’s missing a fortune. Amanda is the forensic accountant seeking a promotion by catching the thief.
Yummy accents and a tight plotline bursting with steam make this one a winner!
A fantastic female narrator, Andi Arndt, takes the wheel for this fun audiobook with plenty of twists and steam.
As a no-sex male escort, Max is known as Mister Romance to his New York socialite clients desperate for romantic fantasy. Eden is an investigative journalist with a crazy assignment—she wants to expose Max, but he’s betting she will fall in love with him.
Una Knight narrates book three in Melissa Schroeder’s Semper Fi Marines series, and I’m really enjoying the vibe Una brings to this short and steamy-sweet military romance.
Jackson is a marine scarred by a recent mission. Hannah is a vet with an unruly dog, and the dog encounters Jack—her surly new neighbor—first.
Hannah doesn’t have time for love, and one unexpected and scorching kiss with Jack has her running for cover. But marines never retreat, and Jack is intent on Hannah’s surrender… until her troubled past resurfaces.
Wyncote Wolves is a sports romance series by Cali Melle, and book three is narrated by Eric Lond and Meg Sylvan.
Playing Offsides brings the chill from the ice right to Cameron and Aspen, enemies forced to spend time together as Aspen tutors Cameron in an attempt to save his hockey scholarship.
Until the hatred between Cameron and Aspen begins flaming out—only to be replaced by a bigger problem.
Because Aspen knows that she and Cameron are on totally different paths, and as their hearts betray them, getting too close could spell disaster.
Supernatural Steamy Romance Audiobooks
The fantasy genre is perfect for steamy romance!
It blends a suspension of belief with the vividness of imaginary worlds where heroes and heroines get lost in breathtaking romantic tension.
Author Susan Hayes extensively reworked her erotic paranormal vampire romance called Whispers in the Dark, and the result is this steamy audiobook with female narration by D.E. Fell.
Krya owns a nightclub in Vancouver, and her disbelief in monsters and magic is challenged by two men who desire her—a vampire and a vampire hunter.
Seduce the Darkness
Romance super-author Gena Showalter built a career creating steamy paranormal romances like this. While I needed time to get into Justine Eyre’s husky murmuring narration, it’s evident that her style fits the material.
Hero Devyn is a warrior king with collects women—except the heroine, a feisty fighter named Bride McKellis. There’s enough passion here to sustain this plot, but when you add an evil alien queen they have to battle, this listen becomes more irresistible.
Here’s a quick steamy paranormal romance by popular author Eve Langlais, voiced by the fun and relatable Keira Stevens, who does a great job drawing us into the wit and sexiness in this short audiobook.
Sophia is a witch whose broom breaks down, and Aidan is a wolf shapeshifter posing as a hunky mechanic. She thinks she’s bewitching him to fix her “ride,” but he’s abducting her because he knows she’s his true mate!
From Blood and Ash
Book one in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s fantasy series has drawn plenty of praise among fans for its addictive and unexpected plotline, and Stina Nielsen is a capable narrator.
Our heroine, Poppy, is a virginal maiden who’s duty-bound to her kingdom. Golden-eyed Hawke should be guarding her, but instead, he angers and tempts her toward the forbidden!
Steamy Romantica Audiobooks
I discovered “Romantica” in discreet ebook format back in the day, and it’s far more guilt-free than the dark ages of walking into a bookseller and purchasing an all-too-obvious work of dirty romance off the shelf!
Quality romantica is your not-so-basic mix of erotica and romance… I like the description “erotica lite” too.
Author Maya Banks has been well-known in the romantica genre for over a decade, and Rebecca Mitchell’s smooth alto tones work for this steamy audiobook.
Toni’s BFF is Simon, but she’s also loved him romantically for years.
When Simon breaks up with his girlfriend, he ends up drunk in Toni’s bed… and one big mistake blows up months later when Toni secretly discovers she’s pregnant.
So Toni sets out to seduce Simon and make him fall in love with her—but what happens when he finds out about that secret baby?
Abigail Barnett’s “Boss” series begins here with book one. I’m enjoying Cj Bloom’s narration of heroine Sophie Scaife who indulges in a hot one-night stand that alters the course of her life.
That’s because her one-off lover reappears as her billionaire boss, and Sophie is soon eager to re-submit to the man who dominated her before… putting her whole career at risk.
LGBTQ Steamy Romance
Love is love, and while these selections are perfect in the contemporary or historical realms, I always like to spotlight the beauty of diversity by separating LGBTQ steamy audiobooks into their own genre.
The abuse of a young boy by a priest is the dramatic and emotional backstory here. So if that’s a trigger for you, please be forewarned.
Best friends Jason and Dean have always treated each other like brothers. But when one catches the other in bed with another man… lies are exposed, and hearts get re-broken.
The thing is, Jason and Dean should be together—and this romance audiobook voiced by Eric London and Iggy Toma takes us on a steamy and unflinching journey as they try and get there.
His Accidental Cowboy
Sometimes a steamy romance can be warmer, like a relaxing steam on your face, as opposed to a hot steaming iron scorching your board!
That’s what I like about Harlequin author A.M. Arthur’s series of gay cowboy romances set at Woods Ranch. Side note: these are new or still unreleased works by the author.
Book three, His Accidental Cowboy, will not be released in audiobook until June. But this will be an enjoyable listen and worth the wait!
Jackson is a rugged ranch hand, and Wyatt is his accident-prone trainee. Jackson is broken, and Wyatt is always ‘this close’ to breaking something… and together, they might just mend each other’s hearts in very sexy ways.
The Fate of Stars
SD Simper writes intricate fantasy worlds. While that’s not unusual in the genre, The Fate of Stars has a unique and intriguing plotline featuring a gay mermaid and her sworn enemy, Princess Dauriel.
This is a very adult fantasy, and it’s not for everyone. But if you’re keen to experience a wild ride and are open to possibilities, this audiobook, narrated by Lois Ridge, is a shockingly enjoyable and unforgettable listen.
Steamy SciFi Audiobooks
While I always considered the original Star Wars trilogy to have comic-book-style romance and fantasy themes, SciFi has dominated as a romance subcategory, and there’s plenty of steam in deep space!
Stella Bloom narrates book one in Jenny Foster’s Betania Breed series. While I’m more familiar with the print versions, this selection is a very attractive price point for an unabridged audiobook.
I got lost in this captive and protector plotline set in an alien world, and for me, at least, there was a sufficient balance of danger, fantasy, and steaminess to make it enjoyable.
Are you ready to fall in love with the voice of a robot?
Ryan Turner and Hollie Jackson narrate Ronin and Lara here. This earth-based dystopian romance sees human female Lara slowly bringing Ronin the bot towards real life—including some seriously steamy encounters.
Ryan does an unbelievably good job as a bot, and the sci-fi sexual tension in Dustwalker made me an even bigger fan of the genre.
Steamy Romance Historical Audiobooks
For me, the whole concept of steamy romance works best in the historical genre.
I love how the sexual tension runs riot under all those tophats and petticoats, and these historical audiobooks bring steam to the fabric of romance!
Author Lisa Kleypas is an absolute favorite of many historical romance enthusiasts, and she’s always got everything down from the period settings to the heart-pounding steam between characters that burns so good!
Mary Jane Wells delivers the Regency tone here, narrating a rake’s story as Devon inherits a debt-burdened earldom and unwillingly falls in love with a troublesome widow named Kathleen.
Heir to the Duke
Naomi Frederick’s upper-class voice suits the period as she narrates Jane Ashford’s Heir to the Duke.
Nathaniel, the Duke of Langford, is just going through the paces with his arranged marriage to Lady Violet Devere. But when Violet transforms herself from dowdy to dazzling, Nathaniel dares himself to turn their hollow marriage into one hot match.
Violet is overjoyed and supremely satisfied—until a sordid family secret threatens their newfound happiness…
The Unlovely Bride
Alice Coldbreath’s historically-inspired Brides of Karadok series is set in a fictional medieval kingdom, and it gives these vivid romances an atmosphere of fantasy too.
Lenora’s beauty stuns the court of King Wymer—until the red pox scars her lovely face. Garman is a bad boy knight everyone loves to hate, and Lenora offers him a bargain he can’t refuse.
Anne Flosnik’s unique voice is a good match for the period in book two, and the plot here is just as compelling, proving that love in a steamy romance is never just skin deep.
Looking for more great romance listens? Check out our guide to The Best Romance Audiobooks of All Time.