A curated list of spooky-ish romances that you might enjoy, all with happily ever afters. Even ghosts and witches deserve love.
Caroline's Heartby Austin Chant | Amazon | Novella | Trans F/Trans M
First up, Caroline's Heart by Austin Chant. This romance is sort of an alt-history western with witches. Haunted by her lover's death, Cecily is a witch trying to cast a spell to bring her back - but then cowboy Roy encounters tragedy while trying to protect Cecily in a bar fight and she must choose between her past and her future.
Editorial advisory board member Tasha L. Harrison recommended this book and I'm so glad she did. I think you'd call this urban fantasy - it takes place in a modern day Prague but in a world with magic, necromancers, witches, and werewolves. Our bookish protagonists are both librarians who love hunting down rare books and are fighting their own magical inheritances while thankfully not fighting their attraction to one another. Sexy Book Nerds: nuff said.
This cover does not do the book justice, in my opinion. This American historical set in the late 1800s is about a haunted house, an absent-minded yet extremely observant and adorable inventor, and a scandalous widow who's out to prove that she can reinvent herself on her own terms. All that stands in her way is a haunted house. I was legit laughing out loud at the writing, and it's surprisingly sexy and very much a romance despite the cover.
CW: the heroine is a survivor of domestic abuse, which is described and integral to the plot.
I was really intrigued by the premise of this book, which is an alt-historical set in a rural community ruled by a misogynist religious cult. It's definitely YA, and the romance is more low-key and PG, but I love how unwaveringly supportive the hero is of our heroine's quest to overthrow the literal patriarchy and her lifelong brainwashing.
Erotic & Wild
Halloween Booby Sarah Spade | Amazon | Novella | Cis F/Cis M (ghost?)
Last year, Halloween Boo got the Shelf Love treatment, so if you missed it, you can go listen and/or spend 90 minutes reading this quick and quirky Hocus Pocus fan fiction. Do not spend too much time trying to make the details make sense - it's just a ride. Our heroine discovers her new apartment in Salem MA is haunted! And her apartment's ghost is VERY interested in corporeal activities.
A Spell For Luckby Daria Defore | Amazon | B&N | Short Story | Cis M/Demon M
Katrina Jackson recommended this, and it hit the spot. And the spot I'm talking about is the part of me that just wanted something weird and imaginative that doesn't take itself seriously at all. A young witch is just trying to get back to partying and applying cosmetic filter spells to make his skin clearer, but first he has to pass a witch test at his aunt's boring country house. Lucky for him, the house demon has taken an interest in sex and is willing to help him pass his test for a price (which our young witch is very eager to pay).
Coming Soon to Shelf Love
On October 24 and October 31 I have two witchy episodes coming your way. First, Dr. Margarita Guillory (a religious studies scholar) drops in to share her knowledge about African diaspora conjuring practices. Dr. Maria DeBlassie (back again!) joins me to ask questions.
Then, Maria and I build on our discussion with Dr. Guillory to discuss Black Witches in contemporary romance. We discuss A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison, Take a Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert, and Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon.
So stay tuned for those episodes, which I'm super excited about. Gotta get editing, though.
Also, I asked for Witchy Book recs this summer and you can find the full list of recommendations from social media folks on a Goodreads shelf I created. I haven't read all of these, so YMMV.
The Tenant by Katrina Jackson I haven't read this yet, because even though she's on my editorial advisory board Katrina failed to offer me an advanced review copy. Obviously, all a devious plan to get me to preorder her ghost erotica. It worked.
All I know about this book is there's a haunted house and it's going to be sexy.