Last Updated on August 20, 2023 by Louisa
Whatever happened to good old-fashioned wooing? Why don’t we see any romances blossom slowly these days?
Too often, I read a romance book that starts with a one-night stand or a single look, and the next minute it’s rumpy-pumpy in the bedroom (yes, I did call it that, and no, I’m not 12).
What happened to love? passion? The act of showing a woman you want her through a series of events and romantic gestures?
Well, if you’re like me and prefer your love stories to be a little more realistic (or maybe I’m old-fashioned?) then you’ll be pleased to know slow-burn romance books are making a comeback.
As someone who loves love, I’ve been keeping tabs on my favorite slow-burning romance reads, so you can find a book with a tender, slow storyline to add to your bookshelf. You’re welcome!
Take a look…
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What To Expect From Slow-Burn Romance Books
Slow burn romance books offer readers an experience that is both emotionally rewarding and full of suspense.
In these stories, couples progress slowly towards developing a true romantic relationship, rather than engaging in an instant connection or attraction.
You can expect to be taken on a journey of not only romance and emotion as two characters build up their trust, communication, and love for one another but also of another underlying story that is integral to the plot.
Often, slow burn romance stories feature romance as a secondary topic, with the emphasis being on the story; either uncovering a mystery or two characters working together to solve a problem.
Typically, slow burn romances will have strong character development, lots of flirting and witty dialogue, and clean romance scenes rather than steamy scenes.
There may also be some sexual tension, angst, and some thrilling plot twists!
The Best Slow-Burn Romance Books
Without further ado, here are the best slow-burn romance books to have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
1. Verity – Colleen Hoover
Verity is a part psychological thriller and part romance book that has a twist that will have you gasping.
Lowen is an aspiring author who is struggling to make ends meet. In a stroke of luck, she is offered a secret assignment by her publishers that promises to change her life.
She is asked to complete the final three books of Verity Crawford, a famous thriller author who writes from the perspective of villains. Verity is unable to complete the series after being in an accident.
Lowen is initially hesitant about taking on the task but eventually agrees. She moves into the Crawford family home to go through Verity’s notes and complete the books.
As she spends time in the house, Lowen discovers more about Verity and her family, specifically her enigmatic husband, Jeremy.
Lowen comes across a biography manuscript written by Verity which uncovers some of the darkest secrets of her life.
Amidst all this, Lowen and Jeremy develop an undeniable attraction despite trying to maintain a professional relationship.
Related Reading: Read our review of Verity by Colleen Hoover here
2. The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren
In The Unhoneymooners, Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas find themselves in an unlikely pairing at her sister’s wedding.
Before the festivities can even begin, disaster strikes as the entire wedding is felled by an outbreak of food poisoning.
A honeymoon to Maui has already been arranged, which leaves no one to go on it…until Ethan jumps at the chance.
Olive isn’t about to let him have all that fun alone, so she tags along too.
What ensues next is ten days of pretending to be newlyweds – though their feelings become more than just pretend as they share in an incredible adventure of romance, fun, and shared experience.
Will their blossoming connection last beyond these ten days? They’re both about to find out!
This is a hilarious romantic comedy about two opposites attracting, which shows that love can be messy, and sexy, as well as funny.
3. The Spanish Love Deception – Elena Armas
In The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas, readers are presented with a sizzling yet slow-burning romance that will have them falling in love with two relatable characters.
Catalina Martín is on a desperate search for someone to pose as her boyfriend during an upcoming trip to Spain for a wedding.
Although she can’t stand him, her colleague Aaron Blackford seems like the only choice available – and soon they’re on their way.
The journey promises to be far from boring and uneventful, as the two learn more about each other amidst the wild wedding festivities.
Swoon-worthy and delightful; this story is full of charm and emotion that will leave readers wanting more by the last page.
If you have read this book, you will be pleased to hear it’s also becoming a movie!
4. Book Lovers – Emily Henry
In Book Lovers, readers are taken on a journey of romance among book-lovers which slowly unfolds.
Nora is a literary agent, while Charlie is a book editor – and as fate would have it, they keep bumping into each other in their jobs.
At first, it’s hate at first sight for the two of them – but as their meetings become more frequent and time passes, their feelings start to change.
Here’s a slow-burning novel full of light angst and witty dialogue, depicting the romance between these two book-loving folks. Get ready to smile and swoon!
5. Wolf Marked – Veronica Douglas
When Savannah, a small-town waitress, backs her car over a werewolf, she discovers the existence of the supernatural – and suddenly finds herself hunted by an entire pack.
All hope seems lost until Jaxson Laurent, a steamy alpha from the Chicago pack enters her life.
Despite being enemies of her family, their mutual attraction is undeniable. In Wolf Marked, readers will be taken on a thrilling journey as danger draws near and Savannah must decide whether to let go of family feuds and give in to her true feelings.
This slow-burn enemies-to-lovers werewolf romance book is full of steamy scenes that you won’t want to put down! Part of the Magic Side: Wolf Bound series, it’s sure to leave you wanting more.
Although it’s part of a series, each book is a standalone alpha werewolf romance book that takes place in the same world, but each of the stories is different and includes different characters.
6. From Lukov With Love – Mariana Zapata
In Jasmine Santos’s sports career, it all comes down to one major decision. With seventeen years of competitive figure skating under her belt, she needs to consider what options she has when the sport is no longer an option.
Then, a man who she has been dreaming about for years enters the picture and offers her a chance of a lifetime – but it will mean reconsidering everything she thought was true.
In this slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance book full of steamy scenes, follow Jasmine as she makes the decision that could shape her future!
7. Kulti – Mariana Zapata
Kulti is a captivating soccer romance novel that will make you wish it wasn’t a standalone book.
It’s an age gap romance story follows Reiner Kulti, a German International Footballer, and Salome (Sal) Casillas – someone who has admired him from a young age. When Reiner becomes the assistant coach of Sal’s soccer team, she is elated.
As they begin to get to know each other in secret, their chemistry is magnetic and the tension is unbearable.
While Reiner has an unlikeable bad attitude and battles his own demons, Sal stands up for herself and follows her dreams with his support.
With an age gap of 12 years between them, their attraction is undeniable and with Reiner’s protective alpha attitude, the love between them grows into something more beautiful with each page.
8. Major Love – Kate Stewart
Another slow-burning sports romance book is Major Love.
Andy met April when he was at an all-time low in his life. He had broken his heart and wasn’t sure if he could love again.
His baseball and coaching career matters to him, but he fears April might be a distraction. He’s drawn to her, and she’s drawn to him.
Their relationship blossoms slowly as Andy deals with his insecurities. The scenes are hot and tantalizing. Can April reignite Andy’s faith in love and give romance a second chance?
9. For the Blood – Debbie Cassidy
Want something slow-burning but still fiery? Then you will love this fantasy reverse harem book which is a cross between Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead.
The last thing Eva’s father gave her was a key. No explanation, just a key. She was told to take the key to a set of coordinates, but she lives in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, and survival is dangerous.
The vampires and werewolves were once the kings of society but are now a slave to the virus and have turned feral.
But there is a new breed of monster — a breed of vampire and werewolves with fang and fur. They are unaffected by the virus and crave one thing that flows through Eva’s veins.
Eva knows the only way to survive is to make attachments. Her only way to survive is to follow the path in her blood.
10. Hold Me – Courtney Milan
When Jay first meets Maria, he perceives her as too “girly” and feminine to truly understand the intricacies of the STEM world – but she won’t take his judgment lying down.
Sparks of hatred sizzle between them, though they don’t realize they already know each other.
Unbeknownst to them, Jay is actually the most prolific commenter on Maria’s apocalypse blog, which is gaining popularity quickly.
After exchanging opinions and having long nights of conversation with one another, their respect for each other deepens – but what will happen when they discover who they’re really speaking to?
This is a swoon-worthy college romance book that has a heartwarming storyline.
11. Slow Burn – Autumn Jones Lake
Slow Burn is a biker romance novel from USA Today bestselling author Autumn Jones Lake and part of the Lost Kings Motorcycle Club series, although it can be read as a standalone novel.
This page-turning love story follows Rochlan “Rock” North, the club’s president who has never found a woman who made him want to settle down – until he meets Hope Kendall, an innocent lawyer and completely off-limits.
Though their attraction is magnetic, Rock respects her enough not to pursue her and so Hope continues on with her life.
But when her life is threatened, Rock has no choice but to break everything to save her.
As they grow closer together and their bond strengthens, Rock must convince Hope that despite their differences they are meant to be together. Will they find their happy ending?
12. The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood
The Love Hypothesis is a TikTok sensation written by New York Times Bestselling author Ali Hazelwood.
Olive Smith, a third-year Ph.D. candidate, has always put her career first and come to the conclusion that she doesn’t believe in relationships – but her best friend won’t let her off the hook.
In an attempt to shut them down, Olive kisses the first man she sees – who happens to be Adam Carlson, a well-known hotshot professor.
To convince her friend this isn’t a real relationship, they agree to enter into an arranged romance instead.
Surprising Olive with his kindness and support when she needs it most, she begins to question whether maybe she’s been wrong about relationships all this time.
This is a heartwarming medical romance novel with a gripping storyline.
Related Reading: Best Books like The Love Hypothesis
13. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me – Mariana Zapata
Mariana Zapata is the queen of slow-burn NFL romance books, and my favorite of hers is The Wall of Winnipeg and Me.
Vanessa Mazur is accustomed to being an assistant and housekeeper to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization, but she’s determined to leave one day.
However, when Aiden Graves – also known as ‘The Wall of Winnipeg’ – shows up at her door after two years of silence to ask her to come back, Vanessa’s shocked.
Though he once assumed that he didn’t need her, Aiden finds out otherwise after she leaves. Will their budding romance blossom?
14. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne
In Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, Lucy and Joshua love to hate each other – creating an endless competition in their shared workspace.
With opposite personalities – Lucy laid back and easygoing, Joshua reserved – the tension between the two intensifies when Lucy is up for a promotion.
Things come to a head when they share a passionate kiss during an elevator ride, changing their dynamic forever.
If you love an office romance, then you’re going to love this novel. It’s now also a major motion picture movie starring Lucy Hutton and Austen Stowell.
15. Archer’s Voice – Mia Sheridan
When Bree arrives in the sleepy town of Pelion, Maine, she longs for a chance to rest and recover from an earlier traumatic experience.
Little does she know that her path will cross with that of Archer – an isolated man with his own lingering darkness.
Despite his aversion to communication, Archer needs a woman to help him start healing and Bree needs a man to reawaken her capacity for love.
A story of passion, transformation, and resilience unfolds as they find their way together.
16. Making Faces – Amy Harmon
Ambrose Young is a tall and strong soldier who signs up to fight for his country in the wake of 9/11.
While the other men from his small hometown are lost in battle, Ambrose returns – broken, wounded, and grieving.
Then there’s Fern, long-time admirer of Ambrose since she was thirteen, who remains unwavering in her love even when faced with his new reality.
Unlikely romance blossoms between them as they embark on a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with tender moments that test their resilience and show how love can look past surface-level stories.
It’s a military romance book about second chances and finding hope despite loss.
17. Luna and The Lie – Mariana Zapata
I said earlier that Mariana Zapata is the queen of slow-burning romance books, so here’s another fav of mine.
Luna and The Lie follow the story of Luna Allen, who has a great life; kind sisters, good friends, and a great job.
The only problem is that the job comes with a handsome boss she can’t get enough of.
He’s not the most patient man, and no secret relationship is easy to keep, but despite everything, she can’t find it in herself to regret the decisions she’s made.
18. Choosing Paradise – Lisa Larkins
If you’re looking for an emotional, slow-burning romance set in Hawaii, then Choosing Paradise from Lisa Larkins is a great option for you.
The story follows Emma Palea, who is still reeling from her humiliating breakup four years ago in high school.
With her mind focused on her internship, she wasn’t expecting to meet the hot surfer god Kai Akana.
The pair hit it off and soon become friends. But as they continue to work together and spend more time in each other’s company, the lines between friendship start to blur.
Will Emma risk her friendship and take a chance at something more? Hot player, Landon Matthews, maybe around to thwart Kai’s plans…
Trigger warnings: This book contains scenes of adult language, adult situations, some sexual content, occasional underage drinking, brief violence, the death of a parent, a scene leading up to an off-page sexual assault, scenes depicting the aftermath of sexual assault, and addresses adoption and grief.
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Final Word on Slow Burn Romance Books
So there you have it. Those were some of my favorite slow-burn romance books of all time.
As you can see, there’s a lot of diversity here, from fantasy focused to sports-themed – I think you’ll find something you like on this list.
If you have more slow-burning romance books to add to this list, let us know in the comments!