The best urban fantasy novels with a simmering romance

Who am I?

Not only am I a writer of urban fantasy romance, I've been a huge fan of the subgenre since I was a kid—since before it was called urban fantasy. When I happened upon a series I liked back then, I'd track down every book, stack them on the green shag carpet beside my bed, and read one right after another until I was finished. Thankfully, my mom and grandmother were readers and understood my obsession. If you like action, suspense, a little magic, and a splash of romance in your fiction, consider giving one of these stories a try. Enjoy!


I wrote...

Spiked

By C.P. Rider,

Book cover of Spiked

What is my book about?

Neely is a telepath with a deadly secret. Lucas is an alpha shifter with secrets of his own. When a homicidal alpha from Neely's past shows up threatening the people she cares about, she must put her faith in the one man she knows she can't trust in order to save them.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Moon Called

By Patricia Briggs,

Book cover of Moon Called

Why this book?

I came into this series at around the third book and have followed it for years. Patricia Briggs' unique take on urban fantasy with an insider/outsider coyote shifter protagonist raised by wolves drew me in, and the simmering romance kept me in. My search for more action-packed urban fantasy novels featuring slow-burn romance eventually inspired me to write my own.


Clean Sweep

By Ilona Andrews,

Book cover of Clean Sweep

Why this book?

Sometimes a book series just hits right. An urban fantasy blend of sci-fi, romance, and suspense, The Innkeeper Chronicles completely captivated me. Dina Demille runs a Texas bed and breakfast that caters to an otherworldly clientele. The B&B is sentient. Dina's "magic wand" is a broom. There are galactic vampires and werewolves. What more could you want? 


Blood Price

By Tanya Huff,

Book cover of Blood Price

Why this book?

One of the first urban fantasy series I obsessed over. I read all the books, watched the TV series, and years later, still occasionally revisit the world of Vicki Nelson, an ex-cop private detective with retinitis pigmentosa, and vampire Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of Henry VIII. A stellar example of what urban fantasy with a hint of romance should be: smart, sexy, suspenseful. It does not have a typical romance ending, but in my opinion, it's still worthy of being included on this list.


Written in Red

By Anne Bishop,

Book cover of Written in Red

Why this book?

The world-building in this series is off-the-charts good. Seriously. If Anne Bishop ever decided to teach a masterclass in worldbuilding, I'd be the first in line to shove my wallet in her pocket. Of all my picks, this urban fantasy is the least romantic, but there was just enough to keep me interested and, honestly, the world is so interesting, I hardly noticed. (Note: The lead character uses a magical form of bloodletting to reveal her prophecies, which struck me as a possible trigger to anyone struggling with self-harm.)


The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Crave

By Deborah Wilde,

Book cover of The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Crave

Why this book?

My last pick is action-packed, sexy, and pure fun.

Nava Katz’s twin brother, Ari, was chosen at birth to join the Brotherhood of David, a secret organization of demon hunters. The induction ceremony takes a turn when Nava is chosen instead. The first female ever to be chosen, and everyone—her parents, her rabbi, and the other hunters—all agree this must be a mistake. It might seem that this one doesn't qualify as slow burn since it's sexy right from the start, but it's the heart connection that takes time and therefore, qualifies it for inclusion.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in vampires, shapeshifters, and private investigators?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about vampires, shapeshifters, and private investigators.

Vampires Explore 146 books about vampires
Shapeshifters Explore 48 books about shapeshifters
Private Investigators Explore 121 books about private investigators

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Halfway to the Grave, City of Bones, and Magic Bites if you like this list.