While June may be Pride month, we know that our Radish readers love to celebrate who they are and whom they love all year round. We also know that finding romantic content that serves the LGBTQIA+ community isn’t always easy. But rest assured that we have more than enough. Not sure where to start? Well, here’s a list of the best LGBT Romance fiction stories of 2021.
1. I Hate You (But You’re Cute) by Abby Littles
Cai Xian is the king of Westview Academy. He’s the handsome, talented, class president who is beloved by all, except for one person–his VP Rowan Knox. Unlike Cai, Rowan has had to work hard for everything he has. That includes a part-time gig as a host in a tacky Laser Tag inspired eatery 25 minutes outside of town. No one from Westside would ever dream of going there, or so Rowan thinks before Cai shows up.
Humiliated and afraid of his secret getting out, Rowan is at Cai’s mercy. But instead of exposing him, Cai makes Rowan an offer he can’t refuse: spend all of spirit week together.
It seems too good to be true, but Rowan is in no position to argue. As the week goes by, the tension slowly builds between these two in a steamy climax. And the sweet release they find once they realize that they are exactly what each other needs will leave you daydreaming about your high school crush.
2. The Woman Who Fell Through Time by J.M.Frey
Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, Bridgerton! What do these novels have in common? Well, the Regency period of course! If you are a fan of period pieces but have never read one featuring a lady-loving lady (and sometimes blokes, she’s not picky), buckle up and start reading The Woman Who Fell Through Time on the Radish app now.
After a plane crash, Jessie finds herself on the shores of Spain and then in the company of Margaret Goodenough, queer icon and “woman who pioneered the Lesbian Subtext novel.” While Jessie yearns to go home, she also yearns to fill in the subtext of her and Margaret’s relationship. Oh, what is a young bisexual out of time to do?
3. Scoring The Team Captain by Sutton Perry
Freshman Carter Beckett is at a crossroads in his life. On one hand, he is living his dream of playing D1 soccer at his ideal college. On the other hand, he is still reeling from the death of his father, a man who shared his love of the game. Carter wants nothing more than to please his coach and get along with his team. There is just one big obstacle in his way–team captain Wesley Quinn hates him. And poor Carter has no idea what he has done to deserve Wesley’s ire.
Eventually, the guys reach a breaking point and their coach has no choice but to intervene. The coach declares them partners and forces them to spend much of their free time together. In this intimacy, Wesley’s iciness begins to thaw and Carter is left to figure out what it exactly means for their relationship.
If you are looking for a well-crafted story with sensitive and thoughtful characters, this one is for you. Perry does a great job of showing how their relationship evolves from enemies to friends to…Well, you’ll just have to read the rest to find out.
4. She Fell For The Alpha by Bridget Essex
Have you ever read Twilight and thought, wouldn’t it be better if this story had more lesbians? (Kristen Stewart certainly did.) If you have, then you need to read She Fell for the Alpha.
After writing what she believes is a completely fabricated story about a town full of werewolves, Haley Benson is visited by the sexiest woman she has ever seen in her life. Kay Odell, the mayor of Wolf Lake, sweeps into her office and demands a retraction. Wanting to know more about this mysterious stranger, Haley offers to visit Wolf Lake and write a more flattering story. Kay agrees and they set off for this mysterious place together.
We don’t normally play favorites with our authors, but Ms. Essex is quite exceptional. Not many can craft a scene and a snappy bit of dialogue like she does.
5. Addicted to the CEO by Bui
Alexander Hamilton. Yes, his name is Alexander Hamilton. And there are a million things he hasn’t done–including figuring out how to fix his new boss’s laptop. Christian Ivanov, said boss and company CEO, has fired people for less than the blatant disrespect Alex shows him in his office when he comes to fix his smashed laptop. But instead, Christian finds himself intrigued by Alex’s honesty. And in desperate need of a new assistant and an expedited repair of his laptop, Christian promotes Alex from mere IT tech to his right-hand man.
Or maybe, that is just what Christian tells himself. To find out Christian’s true intentions, you don’t have to wait for it (wait for it!) Just open the story and decide for yourself. The story Bui has crafted is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
6. Falling for my Brother’s Best Friend by Cristina Cordova
Romance stories both on the screen and page often follow a certain pattern. A couple meets, they fall out with each other, and then spend the rest of the story getting back together. In Falling for my Brother’s Best Friend, Cordova turns that formula on its head. Our couple, Justin and Isaac already know each other. Justin’s brother Noah and Isaac are best friends.
But instead of falling out with each other (they do), the story is really about Justin’s falling out with himself. A previous relationship has made him internalize his homophobia. And unfortunately, poor Justin bears the brunt of Isaac’s lack of confidence in his sexuality.
7 . Her Boyfriend’s Sister by KL Hughes
There are not a lot of good reasons to lie to your family. But if a little fib could prevent your homophobic folks from asking “when are you going to get a girlfriend?” wouldn’t you do it?
This is the situation that Michael finds himself in when he heads home for Christmas. Luckily, he’s employed his friend Fiona to help throw his family off his scent. As a lesbian, Fiona is empathetic and happy to oblige. Until Michael’s sister, Lizzie (literally) jumps into her bed. Their attraction turns Michael’s simple favor into a complex web of love (and lust) more complicated than Lara Jean’s in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Watching them untangle this web will assure you of how and why this book belongs on the list of the best LGBT books of 2021.
8 . Mermaids of Eriana Kwai by Tiana Warner
It is like Romeo and Juliet but with mermaids– and lesbians!
When the story begins, Meela has just been selected to go on her first massacre. Yes, that’s right. Massacre. Only Meela feels both conflicted and unworthy because when she was a child, she was kissed by a mermaid. And it wasn’t just any mermaid, it was Lysi, her first love.
To top it all off, Meela still has feelings for Lysi and has to decide whose side she is on before she heads to battle.
This is straight-up a fantastic story. Certainly, one of the most engaging and evocative ones on the platform. Come get lost in the world Tiana Warner has built on the sea.
9. Spires by Alexis Hall
To say Ash Winters and Darian Taylor are an odd couple is an understatement. Their May/December, Posh/Chav (that’s upper class/working class for those not versed in UK terminology), intellectual/not intellectual dalliance makes the original Odd Couple look like a matching set. But fresh out of his stay in the institution, this relationship may be just what Ash Winters needs to set his world right again.
If you are a fan of the Brits and love a writer who is adept and developing a strong voice for her characters, Alexis Hall’s Spires is for you.
by Candace Fykes