10 books like I Promise You

By Ilsa Madden-Mills,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like I Promise You. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported.
We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund the project for readers and authors. Please join our membership program to support our endeavor.

The Player

By Claire Contreras,

Book cover of The Player

J. Sterling Author Of The Perfect Game: A New Adult Romance

From the list on romance that will leave you breathless.

Who am I?

I was raised on the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball is in my blood. I love reading sports romances. An athlete's mindset is something I'm intimately familiar with (my son is a professional baseball player), so I get a lot of enjoyment reading about the guys who chase their dreams and ultimately get to make them come true. I enjoy reading stories that are familiar to me and that I can relate to.  

J.'s book list on romance that will leave you breathless

Discover why each book is one of J.'s favorite books on romance that will leave you breathless .

Why this book?

I loved this book so much! It was hot, full of passion, and fun to read. I adore Claire's writing and she brings you into a world where you never want to leave. I literally know nothing about soccer, but this book is still one of my absolute faves!

The Player

By Claire Contreras,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I'm naturally gifted on the field and between the sheets. With flashy cars and enough media attention to put the Royal Family to shame, I'm the definition of Most Eligible Bachelor.

Every man wants to be me and every woman wants to tame me. Until Camila.

The moment I lay eyes on her, I know I have to have her.

She wants to keep me at arm's length.

I want her naked in my bed.

She thinks our worlds are too different.

All I want her to think about is screaming my name.

She says I'm bad news.

I have…


The Deal

By Elle Kennedy,

Book cover of The Deal

Eve M. Riley Author Of The Refusal

From the list on the best sex scenes of all time.

Who am I?

What makes a good sex scene for you? Long and drawn out, fast and furious or an unusual location? Perhaps the interesting use of accessories is your jam. And that’s before we get to angry sex, makeup sex, unexpected sex, or sex with the fear of discovery. I’ve loved steamy romance novels for as long as I can remember, and when I look for books with sex scenes, I have high expectations. I’m a fan of something unusual. Not tacky or totally unrealistic, just something surprising and interesting. But have all the best ideas been written? No way. I’m a firm believer that the best is yet to come.

Eve's book list on the best sex scenes of all time

Discover why each book is one of Eve's favorite books on the best sex scenes of all time .

Why this book?

This is the first book in a great hockey romance series. Bad-boy college hockey player Garrett is in desperate need of tutoring. After relentlessly pestering classmate Hannah, she finally agrees to tutor him. But, despite his playboy reputation, Hannah seems immune to his charms. She’s crushing on another guy, and Garrett hatches a plan to help Hannah reel him in: He’ll date her to elevate her social status and make the guy jealous. Except Garrett is getting increasingly interested in Hannah himself.

I love books where one kiss changes everything, and this is a great slow-burn of a book, with lots of banter and an unlikely friendship leading to a beautiful relationship. It’s fun and sexy with just the right amount of seriousness.

The Deal

By Elle Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Deal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller and TikTok sensation Elle Kennedy brings you the first in the sexy Off-Campus series that everyone is talking about.

She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy...

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying,…


Long Shot

By Kennedy Ryan,

Book cover of Long Shot

Melissa McTernan Author Of Marked for Each Other: The Princess and The Barbarian

From the list on romance in which the heroine saves herself.

Who am I?

I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered romance. How many times had I turned up my nose at those ridiculous books with half-naked men on the cover? Countless. Little did I know the absolute joy those books held inside. I love to read and write romance, especially stories with strong heroines and deliciously squishy-inside heroes. Not to mention all the amazing queer stories out there proving that love is love. These aren’t your grandmother’s bodice-rippers (I mean, they are a little bit, but only in the best ways). The genre is constantly growing, and I’m always eager to find new converts like me!

Melissa's book list on romance in which the heroine saves herself

Discover why each book is one of Melissa's favorite books on romance in which the heroine saves herself .

Why this book?

If you like your romance with a side of drama and angst, then Long Shot is for you, my friend. This one is a contemporary sports romance but there is nothing light and fluffy about it. For most of this book, Iris is in and out of an abusive relationship (big content warnings for domestic violence and sexual assault). Our sweet, lovable hero, August supports Iris the best he can from afar but he is not the one to swoop in and save her. And let me tell you, I really wanted him to swoop! Kennedy Ryan puts the reader through the wringer with this one and by the end I was craving a white knight on a white horse kind of moment. But in the end, it’s Iris who saves the day, and it’s so damn satisfying. 

Long Shot

By Kennedy Ryan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Long Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a Top 30 Amazon Bestseller!A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl?You don't.My fairy tale is upside down.A happily never after.I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.Now there's a new player in the game, August West.One of the NBA's brightest stars.Fine. Forbidden.He wants me. I want him.But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go*Contains domestic/sexual abuse not involving the hero. Read reviews for guidance.


Kiss My Putt

By Tara Sivec,

Book cover of Kiss My Putt

Susan Renee Author Of Smooch

From the list on romance that make you laugh.

Who am I?

I like a good steamy emotional romance just like any other romance reader, but there’s nothing I love more than reading a romance that can make me laugh so hard I cry and then turn around and have a storyline with an unexpected twist that stomps on my heart a little before putting it all back together. Romantic comedies can be crazy and convoluted but I appreciate the fun release a good rom-com can deliver. That’s what I strive to provide through my rom coms as well. Relatable characters experiencing crazy life moments while finding their happily-ever-afters. 

Susan's book list on romance that make you laugh

Discover why each book is one of Susan's favorite books on romance that make you laugh .

Why this book?

Tara Sivec, in my mind, is like that crazy aunt who has an unfiltered mind and says what she wants and it’s funny every time! Her words make me cackle and this story is filled with crazy fun, witty banter, and a really hot rainstorm scene! Kiss My Putt is a friends-to-lovers mixed with enemies-to-lovers mixed with second chance romance. The story revolves around a cool, calm, and collected pro-golfer who is forced to take some time off after throwing a royal tantrum on television during a tournament.  He goes home, to Summersweet Island, where everybody knows everybody and there’s no place to hide. Especially when he runs into his best friend, Birdie Bennett. This book is a must-read!

Kiss My Putt

By Tara Sivec,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Kiss My Putt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“Palmer ‘Pal’ Campbell has epic breakdown on the 18th hole of the Bermuda Open! Video at 11.”

After spending my entire pro golfing career being known as the quiet, controlled, no-nonsense golfer on the tour, there’s nothing more humiliating than throwing all of that down the drain—or into a water hazard—on national television. Needing some place to hide, to lick my wounds and figure out what I even want to do with my life once this blows over, I can only think of one place I need to be. Summersweet Island, where everyone treats me like one of their own,…


Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer

By Warren St. John,

Book cover of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip Into the Heart of Fan Mania

Larry Olmsted Author Of Fans: How Watching Sports Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Understanding

From the list on Sports Fans.

Who am I?

As a New York Times Bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and visiting professor at Dartmouth College, who has written for the biggest newspapers and magazines worldwide, I look for interesting untold stories for my books. As a result, I spent the past five years researching the topic of sports fandom, what makes people fans, and how it affects them and our society.

Larry's book list on Sports Fans

Discover why each book is one of Larry's favorite books on Sports Fans .

Why this book?

Journalist and college football fan St. John takes us on a hilarious and eye-opening ride into the most passionate end of fandom. Through his entire season spent following his team on the road in an RV, St. John gives readers a deep immersion into the world of ultra-passionate fans, introducing characters who do things like skip their daughter’s wedding and risk missing heart transplant surgery to attend football games. We learn about NCAA licensed logo funeral caskets and such, while he paints an often funny and always vivid picture of the highly devoted sports fandom, all through the lens of a single legendary football program, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer

By Warren St. John,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is it about sports that turns otherwise sane people into raving lunatics? Why does winning compel people to tear down goal posts, and losing, to drown themselves in bad keg beer? In short, why do fans care?

In search of answers, Warren St. John seeks out the roving community of RVers who follow the Alabama Crimson Tide from game to game. A movable feast of Weber grills and Igloo coolers, these are hard-core football fans who arrive on Wednesday for Saturday’s game: The Reeses, who skipped their own daughter’s wedding because it coincided with a Bama game; Ray Pradat,…


How Lucky

By Will Leitch,

Book cover of How Lucky

Melissa F. Miller Author Of Chosen Path

From the list on crime fiction to give you hope for humanity.

Who am I?

I’m a mystery, thriller, and suspense author who’s written dozens of books across five series. In addition to writing crime fiction, I’ve always loved reading in the genre. I’ll take a fast-paced thriller any day. I’ve noticed, over time, that my reading tastes have changed. I gravitate toward crime fiction that features flawed but ethical protagonists who believe, as I do, that light drives out darkness, love is a demonstration of courage, and kindness is a weapon. These five books share this theme in common—all against the backdrop of gripping, high-stakes plots with twists and turns aplenty. These are books that will get your heart racing and give you hope for humanity.

Melissa's book list on crime fiction to give you hope for humanity

Discover why each book is one of Melissa's favorite books on crime fiction to give you hope for humanity .

Why this book?

Daniel, the unforgettable protagonist of this mystery, is resilient, resourceful, and realistic. Clear-eyed about the world and how it views him, Daniel—who has a debilitating, degenerative condition called spinal muscular atrophy—witnesses an abduction from his wheelchair. The amateur sleuth enters into a risky game of cat and mouse to draw out the kidnapper and save the victim. What I love most about this book is Daniel’s belief that “the world is a place that can welcome everyone.” Driven by his personal philosophy, and with some help from his goofy best friend, Travis, and his outstanding health aide, Marjani, he risks his life to prove it. 

How Lucky

By Will Leitch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2022 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel

“A fantastic novel. . . . You are going to like this a lot.”—Stephen King

“What’s more thrilling than a fictional character speaking to us in a voice we haven’t heard before, a voice so authentic and immediate—think Huck Finn, Holden Caulfield, Mattie Ross—that we suspect it must’ve been there all along, that we somehow managed to miss it? Daniel, the protagonist of Will Leitch’s smart, funny, heartbreaking new novel How Lucky, is just such a voice, and I’m not sure it will ever completely leave my head, or that I want it…


Wasted Words

By Staci Hart,

Book cover of Wasted Words

Amy Oliveira Author Of Love Me, Maddie Mendoza

From the list on friends-to-lovers romance.

Who am I?

I’m a complete bookworm and romance addict. I love to see the old tropes being written with a fresh feel, and I’m a true believer that romance is so hard to write because everyone knows the end, but it’s up to the writer to bring you on a worthy journey. After reading countless friends-to-lovers novels, I can say with certainty I have the list with the best books written by the contemporary romance rock stars. Let’s get to it!

Amy's book list on friends-to-lovers romance

Discover why each book is one of Amy's favorite books on friends-to-lovers romance .

Why this book?

This one is a retelling of the ultimate friends-to-lovers novel: Emma by Jane Austen. It will give you a contemporary feel, but Staci Hart managed to keep Emma’s soul alive in this book. Cam is sure her six-foot-six football player of best friend will never go for a girl like her. And even when things between them change, she’s not ready to see how it will work. Honestly, you’ll want to shout at Cam many times, but her frustrating moments are written so beautifully that is worth the ride. And the book is set inside the coolest bar/book store you’ll ever imagine.

Wasted Words

By Staci Hart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Some universal truths refuse to be ignored.Peanut butter and jelly are a match made in heaven. Spaghetti and meatballs are best friends forever. And guys like Tyler Knight don’t go for girls like Cam Emerson.She knew from the second she met him that he didn’t belong on her bookshelf, the six-foot-six ex-tight end with a face so all-American, it could have sold apple pie. So she shelved him next to the supermodels and rock stars and took her place on her own shelf — the one with the flannel-clad, pasty-faced comic book nerds. Most of her boyfriends have existed between…


A Fan's Notes

By Frederick Exley,

Book cover of A Fan's Notes

Peter Alson Author Of The Only Way To Play It

From the list on characters who are down and out.

Who am I?

All of the books on my list are about characters who—either due to their own failings and character flaws, or bad luck, or the body blows that life has thrown their way, or a combination of all those things—have hit rock bottom (though as it sometimes turns out, there’s a bottom below that bottom). I think because of my own struggles, and because I’ve often been my own worst enemy, I’ve found comfort in reading stories of this sort. Like many of the writers on my list, I’ve also found that, more often than not, the only way out was to start writing about what I was going through. 

Peter's book list on characters who are down and out

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books on characters who are down and out .

Why this book?

Exley’s “fictional autobiography” charts with comic brilliance his struggles with mental illness and alcoholism, his obsession with USC classmate Frank Gifford, the golden boy of college football, whose successes and failures as a member of pro football’s New York Giants, come to be a way for Exley to look past his own inadequacies, so much did he invest in and identify with Gifford as he watched each Sunday from the bleachers of the Polo Grounds. He writes: “Each time I heard the roar of the crowd, it roared in my ears as much for me as him; that roar was not only a promise of my fame, it was its unequivocal assurance.” In fact, it is from the depths of despair that his fantasies helped distract him from, that Exley finds actual fame and salvation in sitting down to write this book. We can all be grateful that he did.

A Fan's Notes

By Frederick Exley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Fan's Notes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The narrator of this tale is the ultimate unreconstructed male. his primary concerns are booze, sex and the New York Giants. But things go very wrong for him - he drinks too much, he's impotent, and the Giants start to lose. So we follow his trail, through failed marriages, to mental hospital.


The System

By Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian,

Book cover of The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football

Mark A. Salter Author Of Sins of the Tribe

From the list on institutional hypocrisy.

Who am I?

Like all of us, I was raised on promises, and now I’ve veered off to another perspective. I love football. I played in high school, college, and for a brief time, in the NFL (didn’t make the final roster!) Philosophy has been a life-long pursuit, but I didn’t find what I was looking for: the truth. Except for the existentialists, most of it is a mere history of how mankind thought. But philosophy has taught me how to examine the essence of important issues. That’s why I wrote a book about tribalism, because to me, tribalism is the strongest dynamic in humanity and morality is subordinate to tribalism.

Mark's book list on institutional hypocrisy

Discover why each book is one of Mark's favorite books on institutional hypocrisy .

Why this book?

I originally read this as research for my own novel and I’m so glad I did. Not all of it is about scandal, in fact my favorite parts highlighted how sports can be used to bring out the best in us. In fact, that’s what sports did for me. I loved that it also sheds light on the machinations we don’t see that are used to drive the sport. And, yes, I was horrified by some of the stories: horrified by the sexual assaults and furthermore by the rationalizations and the coverups. The feeling I had reading The System: we all want to dress ourselves in virtue, but all we really want is to win and for some, there is no price that’s too high.

The System

By Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year 

NCAA football is big business. Every Saturday millions of people file into massive stadiums or tune in on television as "athlete-students" give everything they've got to make their team a success. Billions of dollars now flow into the game. But what is the true cost? The players have no share in the oceans of money. And once the lights go down, the glitter doesn't shine so brightly. Filled with mind-blowing details of major NCAA football scandals, with stops at Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Missouri, BYU, LSU, Texas A&M and many more,…


Brutes in Suits

By John Pettegrew,

Book cover of Brutes in Suits: Male Sensibility in America, 1890-1920

Marian E. Lindberg Author Of Scandal on Plum Island: A Commander Becomes the Accused

From the list on power, gender politics, and stereotypes in America.

Who am I?

Based on my experiences as a single parent and worker in traditionally male fields (journalism and law, back when newsrooms and law firms resembled men's clubs), I believe that each person contains both “feminine” and “masculine” behaviors and feelings. Yet socially constructed gender norms discourage people from exhibiting this full range of being. Ben Koehler’s troubling and tragic story presented a way to explore the origins of 20th-century American gender norms while trying to solve the mystery of Ben’s guilt or innocence. A bonus was the opportunity to write about Plum Island, an environmental treasure with a fascinating history that many people, including myself, are seeking to preserve and open to the public.

Marian's book list on power, gender politics, and stereotypes in America

Discover why each book is one of Marian's favorite books on power, gender politics, and stereotypes in America .

Why this book?

Pettegrew, a historian, also portrays Roosevelt as brute-in-chief at the turn of the 20th century, but he zooms out and describes other social forces in the United States that contributed to the emergence of the militaristic definition of manhood. These include the mythologizing of the Civil War as a noble display of male honor, divorcing the war from its roots in slavery and mistreatment of Blacks. He shows how the advocates for stronger men—and dependent women—“self-consciously used Darwinian biology to classify brutishness as an essential and natural male trait.” The book provides a fascinating and comprehensive look at the complicated ways in which gender stereotypes have been created and perpetuated in America.

Brutes in Suits

By John Pettegrew,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Are men truly predisposed to violence and aggression? Is it the biological fate of males to struggle for domination over women and vie against one another endlessly? These and related queries have long vexed philosophers, social scientists, and other students of human behavior. In Brutes in Suits, historian John Pettegrew examines theoretical writings and cultural traditions in the United States to find that, Darwinian arguments to the contrary, masculine aggression can be interpreted as a modern strategy for taking power. Drawing ideas from varied and at times seemingly contradictory sources, Pettegrew argues that traditionally held beliefs about masculinity developed largely…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in quarterbacks, the NFL, and soccer?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about quarterbacks, the NFL, and soccer.

Quarterbacks Explore 16 books about quarterbacks
The NFL Explore 16 books about the NFL
Soccer Explore 35 books about soccer