I myself am not, ahem, sporty. I enjoy watching football (my team only), and I was a massive hockey fan when I was younger, but I'm not one to run around for fun. Or at all.
Still, one doesn't have to have 6 percent body fat or belong to a CrossFit gym to love sports romances. While the heroes in sports romances are similar to the heroes in billionaire romances in that they're generally pulling in a lot of dough doing what they're good at, I'd say that sports romances are a closer cousin to the military or SEAL romances. In both, the hero oozes testosterone, is physically fit, has more brains than everyone expects, and, despite his tough exterior, has a secret gooey heart that only one person can unlock.
Read on for seven sports romance series that will get your heart racing as you read them. Which is just like doing cardio, right?
Sawyer Bennett – Carolina Cold Fury Hockey - I jumped into this series with Hawke (hello, beautiful bearded hockey player), and you too can jump in and out at any point. Bennett focuses on the tough dynamics between lovers who are in different careers and often very different tax brackets, yet finds the delicate points of contact between them on which to build strong relationships. Seven books long so far, this series continues in September with Lucas…so now you have something to look forward to. If you enjoy Sawyer Bennett, also try Serena Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers books, starting with Rookie Move.
Helena Hunting – The Pucked series – Hilarious and irreverent, Hunter’s five-book hockey series skates among the relationships between hot hockey players and the women who are more than a score. All are standalones, though books 1 and 4 follow Alex and Violet, and books 3 and 5 follow Randy and Lily. (Is there a better name than Randy Ballistic? I don’t think so.) There’s a lotta sex, too, perfect for those who prefer their romance novels at a temperature that will vaporize ice.
Carly Phillips – The Hot Zone - After being orphaned while young, the Jordan sisters go to live with their uncle, a lawyer at a sports/PR agency called the Hot Zone. In and out of locker rooms and rubbing shoulders with athletes in their prime, these women should be immune to the superstars that surround them once they take on jobs at the Hot Zone…but they’re not. And those football and baseball sports stars are not immune to these smart ladies either. Many of these books are re-releases, so double-check that you haven’t already purchased these wrapped in different covers.
Gina L. Maxwell – Fighting for Love - MMA books are on the decline popularity-wise, but for those who are still looking for thrills in and out of the ring, try Maxwell’s four books about tough-as-nails fighters who find their soul mates, whether they’re seeking them or not. High fives to Maxwell for making her heroines as strong on the inside as the heroes are on the outside.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Chicago Stars - Beginning with It Had to Be You and Phoebe Somerville inheriting the Chicago Stars football team, this long-running series has, as Phillips has said, more quarterbacks than any real team ever would. It’s also had its fair share of misfit women trying to make their place in the world. One of my favorite heroines is Blue Bailey in Natural Born Charmer, who meets quarterback Dean Robillard while she’s walking down the highway wearing a beaver suit. You can always count on Phillips to be funny even while she tackles your heart to the ground. I’ve recommended Phillips before in a binge-read post because I think she’s one of the best romance writers out there—and many contemporary romance writers themselves agree.
Kristen Callihan – Game On – Football players are at the center of this three-book series that runs at high speed on humor and chemistry. Callihan has a keen eye for the things that attract people to each other as well as the things that make them actually stick together, and she deftly crafts relationships between those who aren’t sure relationships are a smart deal. If you want more slow-build football romances, I also recommend Marina Zapata’s excellent The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Serena Bell’s Getting Inside (one of my favorite books of 2017).
Penny Reid and L. H. Cosway – Rugby - Reid (of bearded Winston Brothers fame) brings her trademark humor to the world of rugby in this three-book series. Starting with an Irish rugby player who wants to stay out of the limelight and a social media expert who wants to put him in it, Reid and Cosway’s stories hit that perfect balance between fun and thoughtful, with a brisk dash of quirkiness that you’ll either lap up or find off-putting. Try it and see—and maybe learn something about rugby, too.
Let other readers know: What are your favorite sports romances?
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