41 books like A Duke by Default

By Alyssa Cole,

Here are 41 books that A Duke by Default fans have personally recommended if you like A Duke by Default. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Ice Planet Barbarians

Avalon Griffin Author Of Unbound by Shadows

From my list on romance for empowering escapism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading romance because I wanted to drown myself in stories of women stepping into their power and getting everything they wanted. Romance is a genre often looked down upon because of the happy-ever-afters, but I think that’s part of why it can be so deliciously subversive. Most (but not all) romance novels are centered on women, their voices, their sexuality, their desires, and their victories. In a world that’s often cruel, escaping into a world where dreams and fantasies are possible can be liberating. I started writing romance because I wanted to be a part of these stories and craft a world for others to escape into.

Avalon's book list on romance for empowering escapism

Avalon Griffin Why did Avalon love this book?

No, this isn't the title of a B-movie—it's the fun, sexy, and surprisingly sweet start of a series with wonderful world-building and likable characters.

This book is about how a group of human women abducted by evil aliens crash-land on a planet full of hunky, endearing aliens and the adventures they share.

I loved how the aliens cherished and celebrated the women in this story instead of reviling their humanity, as I've seen in other sci-fi stories. The spicy scenes are hot, and the heroine is a natural leader who doesn't passively wait around to be rescued.

This is a dual-POV story, and the alien hero's confusion over human quirks is quite funny. Escapism at its best!

By Ruby Dixon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ice Planet Barbarians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You'd think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you'd be wrong. Because now, the aliens are having ship trouble, and they've left their cargo of human women - including me - on an ice planet.

And the only native inhabitant I've met? He's big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me...


Book cover of Dark Needs at Night's Edge

Avalon Griffin Author Of Unbound by Shadows

From my list on romance for empowering escapism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading romance because I wanted to drown myself in stories of women stepping into their power and getting everything they wanted. Romance is a genre often looked down upon because of the happy-ever-afters, but I think that’s part of why it can be so deliciously subversive. Most (but not all) romance novels are centered on women, their voices, their sexuality, their desires, and their victories. In a world that’s often cruel, escaping into a world where dreams and fantasies are possible can be liberating. I started writing romance because I wanted to be a part of these stories and craft a world for others to escape into.

Avalon's book list on romance for empowering escapism

Avalon Griffin Why did Avalon love this book?

I’m a sucker for stories about two outcasts who find belonging together, and this book does that beautifully.

It’s about a ballerina who haunts her beloved home after being murdered in the 1920s. She’s bored and desperately lonely until a crazed vampire becomes imprisoned in her mansion.

Because he’s not human, the vampire can see the beautiful ghost, and sparks fly.

This book is a master class in writing sexual tension since the characters can’t touch initially. Once they could touch, I loved how the heroine was fully comfortable in her sexuality and assertive with her less experienced vampire partner.

The author also does a great job of showing how the two progress and change through their own character arcs, with love being the catalyst for their growth. 

By Kresley Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Needs at Night's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the night lovely Neomi Renate, a famous ballerina at the turn of the century, was murdered, an evil force turned her into a spectre - a phantom that's neither alive nor dead - and cursed her to relive her harrowing death every month during the full moon. Unable to leave her home, she has managed to scare away any trespassers, until she encounters an inhabitant even more terrifying than Neomi herself.

When Conrad Wroth, a vampire warlord who's been half-mad for centuries, first beholds Neomi, he knows nothing will stop him from claiming the ethereal beauty as his own…


Book cover of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score

Avalon Griffin Author Of Unbound by Shadows

From my list on romance for empowering escapism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading romance because I wanted to drown myself in stories of women stepping into their power and getting everything they wanted. Romance is a genre often looked down upon because of the happy-ever-afters, but I think that’s part of why it can be so deliciously subversive. Most (but not all) romance novels are centered on women, their voices, their sexuality, their desires, and their victories. In a world that’s often cruel, escaping into a world where dreams and fantasies are possible can be liberating. I started writing romance because I wanted to be a part of these stories and craft a world for others to escape into.

Avalon's book list on romance for empowering escapism

Avalon Griffin Why did Avalon love this book?

This book was one of the first male/male romance novels I ever read.

I loved how the author took an interracial gay love story set in the early 1800s and made it believable and sweet without glossing over the harsh realities of the time. The romance follows the trope of “opposites attract” between a disgraced English gentleman and a Black former boxer who runs a pub.

The two characters complimented each other well, and altogether I was worried they could never truly have happily-ever-after in Regency England, the author found a wonderful way to make sure they did.

The book delves into concepts like found-family, healing from sexual trauma, classism, racism, consent, and boundaries—a wonderful, uplifting escape into history.

By Cat Sebastian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Gentleman Never Keeps Score as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you haven’t read Cat Sebastian, what are you waiting for?”—Lorraine Heath, New York Times bestselling author

 

Once beloved by London's fashionable elite, Hartley Sedgwick has become a recluse after a spate of salacious gossip exposed his most-private secrets. Rarely venturing from the house whose inheritance is a daily reminder of his downfall, he’s captivated by the exceedingly handsome man who seeks to rob him.

Since retiring from the boxing ring, Sam Fox has made his pub, The Bell, into a haven for those in his Free Black community. But when his best friend Kate implores him to find and…


Book cover of The North Wind

Avalon Griffin Author Of Unbound by Shadows

From my list on romance for empowering escapism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading romance because I wanted to drown myself in stories of women stepping into their power and getting everything they wanted. Romance is a genre often looked down upon because of the happy-ever-afters, but I think that’s part of why it can be so deliciously subversive. Most (but not all) romance novels are centered on women, their voices, their sexuality, their desires, and their victories. In a world that’s often cruel, escaping into a world where dreams and fantasies are possible can be liberating. I started writing romance because I wanted to be a part of these stories and craft a world for others to escape into.

Avalon's book list on romance for empowering escapism

Avalon Griffin Why did Avalon love this book?

For fans of slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers fantasy, this book is gold.

With Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone vibes, this book tells the story of a human woman who is kidnapped and wed to the Frost King, a brooding immortal.

The writing is beautiful, and I appreciated how it took a long time for the heroine and hero to trust each other and break down their walls. Both characters are deeply flawed, yet you still root for their happiness.

The world-building is lovely and folkloric. Getting into the steamy parts takes a while, but it’s worth the wait!

By Alexandria Warwick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lush. Dark. Romantic. Introducing a newly reimagined tale written in the vein of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone.

Long before civilization, there were the gods. And before the gods, there was the earth, the celestial bodies, and air given flesh. They are the Anemoi-the Four Winds-and they have been banished to the four corners of the world.

Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. Her parents are gone. Survival is all she knows. For three hundred years, the land known as the Gray has been encased in ice, surrounded by a great barrier called the Shade,…


Book cover of Let Me Love You

JN Welsh Author Of In Tune

From my list on epic romances in the music world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the ripe old age of four, I’ve loved the DJ. The first? My father, whose in-demand mix of music became the staple party starter in our Jamaican-American community on 176th Street in the Bronx. I’d be at his knee watching him spin vinyl records on his turntables at home or carrying album crates for a club party. I have three loves: music, books, and romance. It seemed preordained that I'd become a writer and incorporate music. I wrote my first book in 2005. Twelve titles later, music, books, and anything romantic still top my list. I hope you enjoy the one I’ve cultivated just for you.

JN's book list on epic romances in the music world

JN Welsh Why did JN love this book?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the legendary McClain Brothers series, everyone’s favorite and mine. The name Big South will forever be seared into your mind and heart, and his queen Jo Walker is so dynamic. Wait until you see her in action!

From the moment I pressed play, I always had this book in my ear. I just couldn’t stop. The way this story is developed, the surprises, and the seemingly hopeless hardships that this couple faces, wow! I just kept rooting for them the whole time. I was completely addicted, but this isn’t unusual for me and my love of ANYTHING Alexandria House. Another epic read.

By Alexandria House,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let Me Love You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trying to put past hurts behind you is hard when your ex is a fool, but buoyed by child support and alimony, Jo Walker is moving forward with her life, pursuing a career, raising her little girl, and trying to live in peace. She believes she has all the bases covered in her world. But what about her heart? Rap legend Everett “Big South” McClain is divorced, too, knows all about failed relationships, and has relegated his love life to casual connections rather than pursuing something real. That is, until he lays eyes on Jo. She’s exactly what he never…


Book cover of Only You

Kathryn C. Kelly Author Of Savage Suit

From my list on billionaire romances on my keeper shelf.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading romance since I was a teenager and writing them just as long. I have given workshops and panels, written a chapter on romance novels in a Kathryn Falk book, and was once the VP of SOLA. I have read thousands of books but few are memorable enough to become my favorites.

Kathryn's book list on billionaire romances on my keeper shelf

Kathryn C. Kelly Why did Kathryn love this book?

This is the fifth and final book in the Grayson Family series and it tells the story of the youngest member, Sierra, and business rival, Blade Navarone.

I enjoyed this billionaire romance because both the hero and the heroine were wealthy. Blade couldn’t use his wealth to impress or intimidate Sierra. They were both stubborn and willful. Maybe, Sierra was doubly so as the baby and only girl in her family. To take a stance against her overprotective brothers, she developed an iron will.

Winning Sierra’s heart saw Blade look deep into himself and show his vulnerable side. This made the story even more powerful than if it had been about a handsome wealthy man who threw money at an underprivileged heroine.

By Francis Ray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sierra Grayson is next in line for love. If her four older brothers managed to get married off, surely Sierra can't be far behind. At least that's the outcome her matchmaking mother, Ruth, is hoping for…whether Sierra―smart, too sexy for her own good, and stubborn to a fault―wants it or not. But little does Ruth know what else fate has in store.

After a chance meeting billionaire real estate mogul Blade Navarone 'wins' Sierra at an auction. Both are stunned by the intense sexual attraction and fight it for different reasons. A legend in the industry, Blade is known to…


Book cover of Cranes in the Sky

S.R. Graham Author Of Pretty Privilege

From my list on learning how to be a better romantic partner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated with romantic relationships and the way they work. I was in high school when I stumbled upon the romance novel Addicted by Zane. I remember reading about couples in her novels and being intrigued by the intimacy and sensuality between them. I loved reading about the ins and outs of the relationships between these characters. They helped me to gain some perspective about romantic relationships early on. I learned a lot through these characters, and I was able to use their experiences as a guide for myself. I began writing my own romance stories to explore relationships my way, and I fell in love with it. 

S.R.'s book list on learning how to be a better romantic partner

S.R. Graham Why did S.R. love this book?

Cranes in the Sky is the first book in a two-book (Messiah and Shyheim) series.

In this novel, Messiah experiences many hardships in life that cause her to lose faith in love and in herself since she doesn’t believe she deserves love. When Shyheim enters her life, he proves to her that she is worthy of love. Shyheim and Messiah’s story inspired me to be hopeful for a love that would understand and support me through my trials. It proved that love could appear in a way you least expected and change your views on romance.

Check out this novel to be reminded of what it is to be loved unconditionally, and to see an unorthodox love story unfold. 

By Keisha Ervin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cranes in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All her life, Messiah’s faced nothing but hardship, trials and tribulations. She’s tried to work, pray, sex, sleep and smoke her problems away but she can’t escape the gloomy, grey clouds hovering over her head. Just wanting to be happy, she's blinded by love; Messiah only sees what she wants to see – always building up to be let down and ultimately crashing. She craves love and admiration but doesn’t love herself enough to know when it’s time to let go of an old flame. Directionless, she coasts along through life numb, until she meets Shyhiem, the man who will…


Book cover of He Had It Coming

Omar Scott Author Of Loyal To A Fault

From my list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had a friend that I knew since junior high. He was a straight-A student. He had both parents in the home. His future was bright. He spent the last minutes of his life hiding under a car after being shot several times during a drug deal gone wrong. He made poor decisions that cost him his life. I wanted to write about people who took the wrong path and found their way out. Growing up in a single-parent household, I turned to the streets and gangs. After incarceration I decided to not only turn my life around but to write fiction inspired by criminal activity that I had engaged in during my youth. 

Omar's book list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime

Omar Scott Why did Omar love this book?

This is one of the craziest, most imaginative stories I ever read. I truly enjoyed He Had it Coming. I would love to see it made into a movie. It’s about this an accomplished author name Marcus Brooks. He has got to be the most arrogant man alive. No respect for women at all. Well, a group of professional ladies who are part of a book club decided to teach him a lesson. They kidnap him, and hold him, hoping to change his ways. I promise if you pick this up you won’t be able to put it down.  

By Camika Spencer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked He Had It Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Five Women. A Man. And a Plan.

Meet Marcus Brooks. He's gorgeous. He's successful. He's the bestselling author of African American fiction. He's also the most obnoxious male alive....

Meet Raylene, Naomi, Thelma, Gwena, and Latice. They are five women who belong to a reading group, strong women with strong opinions. They don't take any grief from anyone (well, not if they can help it), and their friendships have stood the test of time. One night they meet up with bestselling author Marcus Brooks. At first they are in awe. Then they are puzzled. Next they're enraged. How can a…


Book cover of An American Marriage

James Hannaham Author Of Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

From my list on books for and about convicts and ex-convicts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Incarceration is a gigantic problem in the US, especially because of its connection to racial injustice. I have no firsthand experience with prison or the system, and yet it looms large in my imagination and my deepest fears. That should not be the case merely because I’m a Black gay American, but here we are. I feel that with the help of my mother and others, I have managed to sidestep a lot of the potential pitfalls of people’s misguided perception of my identity, but I have an active, paranoid imagination and profound survivor guilt, so I gravitate toward stories about people at who are odds with our society in ways that reflect that precarious status which allows me to explore a wide range of human experiences.

James' book list on books for and about convicts and ex-convicts

James Hannaham Why did James love this book?

Tayari is one of the best writers in America—no qualifiers!—and she also has the advantage of a razor-sharp, accessible style.

This heartbreaking book about a couple torn apart and remade by the husband’s incarceration is gripping and sharply observed, and the characters, Celestial and Roy, are unforgettable. But don’t take my word for it—ask Oprah!

By Tayari Jones,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked An American Marriage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES AND WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK

A 2018 BEST OF THE YEAR SELECTION OF NPR  * TIME  * BUSTLE  * O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE  * THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS  * AMAZON.COM

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

“A moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple.” —Barack Obama

“Haunting . . . Beautifully written.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable.” —USA Today
 
“A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about…


Book cover of On Rotation

Alex Travis Author Of The Only Black Girl in the Room

From my list on young, Black, and all together.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading these books has given me people to relate to in a way that I didn’t have when I was younger, and it’s fun to see Black women learning how to thrive in both life and love since that’s not an image I’ve gotten to see very often in media. As a recent Ph.D. grad, immersing myself in fictional romantic worlds and humor has been a great way to unwind but also think through how I want to operate in the world as a (sort of??) adult. These books can appeal to anyone, but this has just been a bit of why they resonate with me. 

Alex's book list on young, Black, and all together

Alex Travis Why did Alex love this book?

This book made me want to scream at the main characters (in the best way!) most of the way through. There’s a perfect meet-cute, the kind that had me wondering why no one has ever thought to approach me in that way.

Plus, as a recovering grad student, I totally relate to having a quarter-life crisis and trying to figure out if the career I thought I wanted was really where I wanted to go.

The dialogue is whip-fast (even when the main character, Angie, is decidedly NOT getting her s*** together), and the romance combined with the growth that Angie experiences over the course of the book makes the ultimate payoff totally worth it. 

By Shirlene Obuobi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Sexy, fun and smart' BETH O'LEARY, author of THE FLATSHARE

'I couldn't put down On Rotation, and you won't be able to, either... I personally couldn't get enough' MEG CABOT

Angie has checked off all the boxes for the Perfect Immigrant Daughter: medical school, a suitable lawyer/doctor/engineer boyfriend and a gaggle of successful and/or loyal friends.

So when she bombs the most important exam of her medical career and gets dumped by her boyfriend, it is safe to say her parents are more than a little disappointed . . .

Just when things couldn't get more complicated, Angie meets Ricky,…


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