Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Last week’s cover reveal for Eloisa James’ October release, Wilde in Love, made us a little weak at the knees. The book, which will kick off a new series for the celebrated romance author, gives a clear nod to Colin Firth’s lake jumping Mr. Darcy with its cover shot showing the novel’s hero rising from a body of water on what appears to be the grounds of a country estate. The iconic scene featuring a sopping wet, white-shirted Colin Firth made him a thinking woman’s sex symbol, and it’s been repurposed by everyone from Benedict Cumberbatch to romance novel designers. This homage to one of the most swoon-worthy romantic moments got us thinking about other romance novel and erotica covers that make our hearts beat out of our chests (and no, it’s not 50 Shades). Here are 24 covers that even Fabio would love…
Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins
Those chiseled abs would earn this cover a spot on the list alone… but add the the cowboy hat and the swirling blue backdrop that evokes the landscape of the American West at dusk, and you’ve got the perfect jaw-dropping image for this tale of an outlaw bounty hunter.
A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole
Yes, we love a sexy hunk on a romance cover, but when many of the books are about female fantasy and escapism, it’s not always ALL about the hero. We love this novella about a gutsy cabaret owner in 1917 Harlem, and its cover’s swoon-worthy take on envy-inducing fashion from the era.
Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz
Let’s be honest — we all want a smoking heartthrob to snuggle up to during the holidays. This rugged mountain man makes the perfect stocking stuffer.
Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain
For those who love historical romance, the lush clothes and fashions are a major part of the appeal (they don’t call ’em bodice rippers for nothing). We are majorly lusting after this fur-lined velvet cloak — add lightly falling snow and the warm tones of Georgian Architecture and it’s the height of romance.
The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
We all know pirates are basically the rock stars of the 19th century… and who wouldn’t want to walk the plank with this soulful hunk (admittedly after talking to him about stealing Jack Sparrow’s hairstyle)?
When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Thanks to Outlander, Scots are all the rage as romantic heroes — it’s not hard to see why with this kilt-clad gentleman. Bonus points for the cheeky contrast between the title and the implication that our heroine’s a little busy untying some knots.
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
We love spirited heroines with a bit of intrigue, and this cover gives it to us in spades before we ever crack the spine. How could you not want to know everything about (and want to be) this Regency woman who’s traded in the dress strewn over her arm for a pair of majorly chic breeches and boots?
Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan
All-consuming passion is a hallmark of the genre, and this cover is rife with it down to the sultry suggestion that our heroine is rising from the sea — it hints at the supernatural aspects of the story while employing the tropes of more traditional covers. Swoon!
The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan
Those biceps. The tattoos. That tantalizing glimpse of rock-hard abs. Do you really need an explanation for why this is on the list?
Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London
Based solely on romance novel covers, Scottish men apparently never wear shirts, only kilts. But it’s not like we’re complaining.
Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall
Sometimes a cover with great lighting and a sweet gesture of longing is far more erotic than something explicitly sexy — we love this shot of two silhouettes holding hands while walking through the rain-soaked streets of Oxford.
Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler
The tenderness in this sweet take on the classic “clinch” is enhanced by its delicate touches — from the light kiss on the tip of the nose to the pale blue nail polish.
When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries
We don’t know what’s more alluring — the hand clenched around the diamond necklace or the one peeling her dress away from the small of her back.
Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis
The idea of a beach getaway with a sexy someone is already swoon-worthy, but part of the draw of romance is the chance to get lost in a fantasy — having their faces obscured here not only makes this a charming intimacy, it lets you potentially imagine yourself in their place.
Along Came Love by Tracey Livesay
We love the soft purple hue at play here, and it’s rare to see two bespectacled romantic leads — together they make for an enticing, lush cover.
Ashwin by Kit Rocha
The metallic blues suggest the book’s sci-fi element, while the tattooed hard body of the titular hero evokes every bad-boy trope we’ve ever fallen for.
Wanted, A Gentleman by KJ Charles
We love this cover featuring a dashing Regency-era hero wearing a cravat and waistcoat every bit as sexy as a shirtless modern hero.
Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon
If the subtitle “Beards and Bondage” isn’t already enough to get you to sign on, then this studly torso rising up out of the mountain mists should do it.
Buns by Alice Clayton
Do you like some cake with your beef? We love the cheekiness of this title, featuring two sets of tantalizing buns.
One Night Rodeo by Lorelei James
Cowboys are another sub-genre favorite, and we’re fanning ourselves over the idea of taking this ride.
Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James
Come for the state of near total undress, stay for the witty play on Shakespeare in the title.
How Not to Fall by Emily Foster
Because there’s really nothing more swoon-worthy than a make-out session in the rain.