The holidays are about a lot of things: celebrating tradition, reflecting back on a year that's almost over (the longest year ever, amirite?), and let's not forget the most important part... presents. But one aspect that doesn't often get its due is holiday's contributions to romance. Chances are you can find a romance novel tailored to your every possible literary desire, but holiday romances are a very special, very specific category.
That's why those of us designated romance readers at FANGRRLS Romance have made a very special list designed to get you in the holiday mood with lots of wintry settings, cozy close-quarters scenarios, an extraterrestrial twist on the Santa Claus myth, and more. However you celebrate this time of year, there's a romance novel on this list to satisfy your needs.
Ice Planet Holiday - Ruby Dixon
I've made no secret of my unabashed love for Dixon's Ice Planet Barbarians series, alien romances that blend the hilarity of an unlikely pairing with surprising amounts of sweetness and sexiness to keep you coming back with every new installment. While I haven't yet made it to this holiday novella in my current series readthrough, I'm close enough that this is going to be one of my first SF romance reads in December — and I'm really looking forward to the kind of feel-good emotions that only Dixon's hot alien dudes can provoke.
The Bite Before Christmas - Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost
This holiday anthology offers two vampire romances for the price of one — one story set in Sands' Argeneau universe and one in Frost's Night Huntress series. The trope of two people snowbound for a lengthy period of time is one that will never get old (even if at least one of the characters is an immortal vampire), but setting the fantastical world of the paranormal against something as warming and satisfying as the holiday season makes this anthology one you're going to want to pick up. Two HEAs with a fangy twist? What could be better than that?
The Mane Event - Shelly Laurenston
Laurenston's first book in her long-running Pride series also boasts a two-for-one story — the first, "Christmas Pride," is the holiday novella while the second is a direct follow-up. If you prefer your seasonally-appropriate romances with a shifter influence, then you're going to want to pick up Laurenston, whose paranormal romances offer a great mixture of humor, heart, and hotness.
An Earthbound Christmas - Cailin Briste
Sometimes, the Christmas romance you need is like the best holiday treat: bite-sized, but with plenty of sweetness left lingering behind. Briste's An Earthbound Christmas is one such light sci-fi Christmas morsel, about a chance meeting between two strangers on Christmas Eve — and those strangers just so happen to be a local hotshot celebrity and a lowly spaceport mech. If you want a delightful little read to help you fall asleep the night before Santa comes, this is the perfect gift to give yourself.
In Love with Alien Santa Claus - Zara Zenia
Okay, if the blurb didn't pique your interest, the cover sure as heck should've. There's something entirely kitschy and cute, yet undeniably charming about a hot alien who just so happens to have gotten stranded on Earth, only to decide he should be the one to carry out the role of the Santa legend after an antigravity accident saddles him with (you guessed it) flying reindeer. What happens when he encounters a young woman he helped as a girl so many years ago — and what will she say when she realizes the truth of his identity?
Flying Saucer Under My Tree - Shyla Colt
Holiday romances that take place in a relatively secluded environment tend to be pretty par for the course, but how many of them involve a literal spaceship crashing on the front porch? When Violet decides to take a few weeks to decompress up at her family's cabin, she fully expects to spend them alone — that is, until the tanned alien warrior with a muscled bod to match knocks on her door, and he's not there to borrow a cup of sugar.
Winter Fusion - Anna Hackett
Some sci-fi romances may not necessarily have a holiday component, but are full of plenty of frigid conditions to get you in the mood to cozy up with a mug of something hot under a blanket. Ex-space marine Savan has now become one of the most ruthless trade negotiators in the galaxy, but the last person he's expecting to deal with is his direct rival: the beautiful and infuriating Brinn. The two soon realize that they're not necessarily in a fight with each other but facing a fight for their very lives, together — and sometimes on an unforgiving, wintry planet, the only way to keep warm is through plenty of body heat. Wink wink.
Holiday in Death - JD Robb
Robb (a pseudonym for well-known romance author Nora Roberts) has been writing her on-going In Death series starring Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke since the mid-'90s, but it's this first holiday-centric installment set in a slightly futuristic version of New York City that offers plenty of mystery along with Christmas coziness. No one wants to be alone during the holidays, but what happens when someone starts to use New York's most posh dating service, Personally Yours, to make victims out of some of the city's loneliest hearts?
Ice - Lyn Gardner
A romance that forces its leading couple to face some particularly frigid elements is going to make you all the more grateful you're reading it from the comforts of your couch (or bed, or in front of the fireplace, or wherever you indulge with your romance). Detective Inspectors Alex Blake and Maggie Campbell have always clashed on account of their competing dynamics, but as it turns out, their competitiveness is based in something a little more emotion-based. Three years after their falling out, they're thrown together in the unlikeliest of circumstances, forced to fight to ensure that they both make it out alive after a blizzard takes down their plane — and to fight the feelings they've always harbored for each other, deep down.
A Vampire's Christmas Carol - Cynthia Eden
We all know the story of A Christmas Carol, but what less of us may know is what happens when those touchstones of the classic Dickens tale are tossed into the oven with some vampiric elements and baked for a sweet, albeit steamy, holiday novella. Ben Prescott hates Christmas so much that he's perfectly content to spend his time biting someone rather than, you know, buying them a gift instead. When he's visited by the demon of his past, the ghost of his present and the shifter of his future, will Ben be able to change his ways — or will he succumb to the monster that he's starting to become?