The best sporty sapphic romances

Why am I passionate about this?

As the author of several sapphic sports romances, I find sports world rife with passion, complexities, and inherent conflict. I’ve had the privilege of working with several professional athletes and Olympians, and I’m always drawn to their drive. Sports, especially high-level sports, function as a pressure cooker to reveal our real personalities for better or for worse. There’s something appealing about studying people who push their minds and bodies to the brink in pursuit of something bigger than themselves. I think in some small way that connects with who as I am a writer and my own drive to always improve.


I wrote...

Thrust

By Rachel Spangler,

Book cover of Thrust

What is my book about?

Fencing prodigy Jess Kidman has always been ahead of her peers. At the age of thirteen she made the varsity team, won a state championship, came out, and fell head over heels in love with her team captain, Lauren Standish. After being gently rebuffed by the high school senior, young Jess vowed she would return for her some day when their age difference became irrelevant and her own accomplishments made her not merely an equal, but an Olympian. Eleven years later, Jess makes good on her promise, but when she arrives back in Buffalo a few months before the big games, she’s intrigued to find that the woman she’s always dreamed of could also be exactly the coach she needs to win gold.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Sparks Like Ours

Rachel Spangler Why did I love this book?

Melissa Brayden is one of the gold standards for sapphic romance authors. I have never once been disappointed when I’ve picked up one of her books, and this one is no exception. I love sports books that focus on lesser-known sports, and surfing definitely falls into that category, but Brayden gets bonus points for also picking a sport with the sexiness built right in. Swimsuits, beaches, wet women, it’s not hard to find the appeal, and of course you also get the trademark Melissa Brayden snappy dialog and relatable characters. 

By Melissa Brayden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sparks Like Ours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gia Malone wants one thing and one thing only: to be the best surfer in the world. Her biggest obstacle is the annoyingly perky Elle Britton. Not only is Elle number one in the rankings, she’s also a fan favorite. But there’s a lot about Elle that Gia never noticed, like her surprising sense of humor and picture-perfect mouth.

Elle Britton is tired. After tournaments, fan meet-ups, and nonstop media requests, all she wants in the world is a little peace and quiet. But with Gia Malone closing in on her ranking, she has to surf her best. When the…


Book cover of Lucky Loser

Rachel Spangler Why did I love this book?

I love Yolanda Wallace, and I love tennis, so this one was an easy pick up for me. My son is an avid tennis player, which makes me a tennis mom. I know the ups and downs of tennis players, and I personally find it the most mentally grueling sport of them all since you are out there on your own with no one to help pick you up when you’re down. I think the setting is rife with angst, and Yolanda Wallace is such a beautifully descriptive writer. She never misses an opportunity to paint a real picture with her words. 

By Yolanda Wallace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lucky Loser as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the high stakes world of women’s tennis, love means nothing. Or at least that’s how Sinjin Smythe sees it. Then she begins to fall for her friend and former doubles partner Laure Fortescue. Having had her heart broken by one player, Sinjin isn’t willing to have it happen again. The talented but oft-injured Brit enters Wimbledon fighting her feelings—and struggling to resurrect her career.

Laure Fortescue has fame, fortune, and a ranking inside the top ten. She has everything she ever wanted. Everything except Sinjin Smythe. As a rule, Laure doesn’t date other players. A rule she would gladly…


Book cover of Game Changers: A Romance

Rachel Spangler Why did I love this book?

I have to admit I am not a fan of soccer. I know this means a lot of folks will vote to remove my sapphic author card for saying so publicly, but I only do so to drive home the point of how rare it is for me to get caught up in a soccer story. I really only agreed to blurb this book because I’ve known Jane for a long time and I wanted to help her with her debut novel, but once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are rich and dynamic, and the story is so much more than the standard competition narrative. I don’t want to give it away, but this one really got me on a deeper level than I expected. 

By Jane Cuthbertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Game Changers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Game Changers is a sweet and sensual debut novel from a talented new author. The romance carries the rare quality of being both wonderfully aspirational and intimately relatable. Cuthbertson’s skill in balancing serious subjects with a lightness of heart leaves readers feeling hopeful, not only for the main characters but for themselves as well. Rachel and Jaye are each strong, sensitively drawn characters in their own right, but when pulled together, they make for the kind of match so many readers long to find, both in their books and in their own lives.”
~Rachel Spangler is the award-winning author of…


Book cover of Whitewater Rendezvous

Rachel Spangler Why did I love this book?

This is one of my favorite romances of all time, and while it’s not a novel about a competitive sport, I think it’s important to note sports can provide so much more than “winning” narratives. In this book, a group of women whitewater kayak through Alaska, and they use their outdoor sporting skills for a wonderful adventure wrapped around a sexy romance that still gives me all the heart feels even after having read it at least ten times. I love literally everything about this book, from the beautiful settings to the character development to the action scenes. Ten out of ten for Kim Baldwin.

By Kim Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whitewater Rendezvous as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Danger, destiny, and romance on the river.A wilderness kayak adventure brings together two very different women—Chaz Herrick, a laid-back outdoorswoman, and Megan Maxwell, a workaholic news executive. As they battle the challenges of nature for survival, they discover that true love may be nothing at all like they imagined.


Book cover of Touch

Rachel Spangler Why did I love this book?

This is a story about a personal trainer charged with helping a hockey star get back on the ice. While the focus is very much on the relationship rather than the hockey, I just adored the way Kris Bryant captures the ways an athlete puts so much of herself on the line both physically and emotionally. I love the way Kris writes this “all in” sort of character who charges after what she wants, both in and out of the arena. I think she captured the kind of personality we are all drawn to in people who have the drive to reach the pinnacle of their pursuits.

By Kris Bryant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Touch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the go-to therapist at Elite Therapy, Dr. Hayley Sims is the best in her field. It’s exactly why she’s just been assigned her most challenging patient yet, hockey player Elizabeth Stone. Not because Stone’s injury is complicated, but because she is intense to work with and needs someone to keep her in check. When Hayley’s personal life starts unraveling and she realizes she might be developing feelings for her patient, she’s torn between finishing her assignment and walking away to protect herself. Can Hayley get Stone back on the ice in one piece while keeping her heart from breaking?


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Wrightsville Beach

By Suzanne Goodwyn,

Book cover of Wrightsville Beach

Suzanne Goodwyn Author Of Wrightsville Beach

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing all my life, but was never able to find my voice until I had my daughters. It was for them I wrote “Wrightsville Beach”. I wanted to show them what a good relationship should look like and how their decisions make a difference in where they will go. I want my readers to relive that feeling of falling in love and to be sent in unexpected directions, as life so often does to us. I want you to enjoy it so much, you don’t want to put the book down until it’s finished and once you do, to sit and reflect on it, savoring the feeling it has left behind.

Suzanne's book list on smart women trying to figure it all out

What is my book about?

Two years ago, devastated by the sudden death of his older brother, Hank Atwater went on a drinking rampage that ended in his being arrested. Since then, he has been working to rebuild his reputation in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, with little luck. But everything changes after a chance meeting with Jess Wade, a UNCW student studying to be a marine biologist. Hank and Jess feel connected to each other in a way neither has ever felt before.

But when Hank’s past leads to a frightful incident, it ends their relationship. Jess leaves to work on the beach…

Wrightsville Beach

By Suzanne Goodwyn,

What is this book about?

Two years ago, Hank Atwater made a terrible mistake. Devastated by the sudden death of his older brother, Rob, he went on a drinking rampage that ended in his being arrested for aggravated assault. Sober since then, he has been working to rebuild his reputation in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, with little luck.

Working a dead-end delivery job, Hank uses surfing and running to deal with being ostracized as he waits for his probation to end. But everything changes after a chance meeting with Jess Wade, a UNCW student studying to be a marine biologist. Hank and Jess…


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