Back before everything changed in March, I thought my tastes in romance were pretty much set in stone. I loved romantic suspense, Regency romances, and lots of spies. Then, the Rona hit. Unlike many people, I was able to read–in fact, I’ve read more this year than I ever have before, but what I’ve noticed is that the things I’ve read aren’t what I would have ever chosen in any other year.
I first noticed this in March when I was chomping at the bit to read what was essentially a Daddy Romance. This has never been my thing. I’d always been turned off at the idea of a younger woman calling her older lover Daddy. It seemed so trashy. Then came Covid. And Katee Robert’s twitter page. Every time she teased Your Dad Will Do, I’d start to salivate. It was almost Pavlovian.
The day she posted it was available on Amazon, I one-clicked so hard my credit card didn’t know what hit it. I’d just finished a book the night before, so I started it as soon as it showed up on my Kindle App and didn’t stop until I’d finished it (not the best idea when you’re supposed to be working). It was so fucking hot and I’d never read anything like it. And I wanted more, so what did I do? I binged her backlist, starting with the Wicked Villains series. I’d been aware of it before–who in Romancelandia wasn’t. I knew the first book, Desperate Measures, was an Aladdin retelling with a hot Jafar as the hero rather than the villain. I’d even tried reading it last Thanksgiving, but I wasn’t crazy about the consensual non-consent, especially since Jasmine never seemed to have her own agency. This time around, I finished it, but it still is not one of my favorites. The sex scenes, though…
The next several books in the series were all much more appealing to me, especially, The Beast, which is a menage retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This book was so fucking hot. So. Fucking. Hot. There aren’t enough fire emojis to explain the heat level. It was also ridiculously emotionally satisfying, especially when Gaeton and Beast accepted their feelings for each other as well as the ones they had for Isabelle.
After going through the Wicked Villains series, I went looking for other hot as fuck books, and I came across Off the Clock by Roni Loren. This shared some of the BDSM elements that were ever present in Wicked Villains, which was more appealing to me than I ever considered. What appealed to me the most though was the emotional connection between Marin and Donovan. Yeah, they had hot sex (with a wine bottle, wtf), but they were also able to have the hard conversations and joke about being #TeamPacey (of course, is there anyone out there who can honestly claim to be #TeamDawson???).
Next, I found Hook by Gina L. Maxwell, a contemporary m/m retelling of Peter Pan through the POV of Captain Hook and John Darling. This was very much a dark romance and is not for everyone. James Hook is the leader of a criminal motor cycle gang because it is the only way he knows of to take down Fred Crock, the man who stole his childhood from him. The connection between James and Jonathan is immediate and incendiary. I loved the way they worked together to bring down Crock and how Jonathan helped Hook to work on his past trauma. ***John Darling is a LEO, so if this is something you’re avoiding right now, you may want to skip this.***
Finally, I got some recommendations from my friends in the Wicked Wallflowers Coven, and ended up devouring All Together by Brill Harper. This is another menage romance and while the epilogue left some things to be desired, the book was pretty awesome. I loved how the guys slowly came to the realization that they were bisexual and that some of the stuff they’d done together before meeting Penelope was super gay (in a good way not in the “that’s so gay” problematic 90’s way).
To sum up, one of the side effects of the Coronavirus pandemic is that I’ve discovered A LOT more about what I like to read, which apparently includes Daddy Romances, menage, and all swords crossing.