There’s hardly a genre better suited for audio than romance. Whether it’s a tender story of first love, or a passionate affair, listening to narrators at the top of their game carefully unspool the threads of a love story is our favorite way to consume these enchanting stories. In this list, you’ll find sexy tropes of every kind, diverse and distinct characters ready to fall in love, and remarkable, innovative audio recordings with standout performances.
A runaway best seller turned smash TV hit,
Outlander features both time travel and an alluring historical romance set in medieval Scotland and 1940s England. While fans may argue that Outlander is not a true romance because it incorporates so many elements of other genres (historical fiction, adventure, drama, and more!), it’s exactly these diverse story elements that make it feel so immersive. In this swoon-worthy adventure, Hall of Fame Narrator Davina Porter’s pitch-perfect accents bring characters from different time zones and countries to life. She switches between English and Scottish accents with ease and introduces and maintains distinct character voices for the entirety of the audiobook, making the listening experience entirely irresistible. Bared to You
Bared to You, you’ll be introduced to Eva and Gideon—both successful financially and a bit of a mess personally—and things get intense right from the start. As the pair grapples with their overwhelming chemistry, they also struggle to cope with their own dark pasts, slowly realizing it may be possible to learn to trust again. One of the best parts of a great romance is its all-encompassing, can’t-stop-listening nature, and Bared to You definitely channels that quality. Narrator Jill Redfield brings a thrilling edge to this book through her expert narration; at times, the story grows so intense it feels like half romance and half psychological drama, leaving listeners blushing and breathless. Pride and Prejudice
Arguably the best known and most loved romance of all time,
Pride and Prejudice brings us the timeless love story of bright, enchanting Elizabeth Bennet and surly, brooding Mr. Darcy, surrounded by an endlessly entertaining cast of characters. Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike—who first played Jane Bennet in the 2005 film adaptation and now performs the audiobook—clearly loves the story as much as listeners do. As those familiar with Austen know, a performance of her work is incomplete without a narrator who can highlight the subtle, nuanced humor that shines through in her prose. Thankfully, Pike does exactly that, and her narrative style wonderfully conveys both the satirical side of both Bennet’s story and the sometimes silly nature of romance. It’s truly a novel that holds up listen after listen. The Duchess Deal
Romance fans will be familiar with the trope that begins this audiobook. The Duke of Ashbury needs an heir, which means a wife is necessary. Enter Emma Gladstone, and there you have it: a marriage of convenience. What follows is an impeccably written tale filled with real, heartfelt emotion, a dash of humor, and yes, plenty of steamy moments. The Duke begins their arrangement with lots of rules to maintain emotional distance (no questions about his battle scars, for a start), but Emma comes prepared with rules of her own (dinner every evening, with conversation, whether the Duke likes it or not) and it doesn’t take long for the romance to begin. Tessa Dare is one of the current reigning queens of the romance genre, and she’s well-matched with performer Mary Jane Wells, whose characterizations of the two protagonists fill this story with the humor, tension, and tenderness it deserves.
Burn for Me
Burn for Me, New York Times best-selling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new series called Hidden Legacy, which blends noir, fantasy, and love in its daring debut.The story follows detective Nevada Baylor on a mission to bring in fugitive Prime—the most dangerous type of magician there is. As though that wasn’t a challenge enough, she’s then kidnapped by the equally powerful (and tantalizingly attractive) Connor Mad Rogan...who happens to be after the same dangerous target. As these reluctant partners embark on their mission, they encounter a cast of colorfully diverse characters that narrator Renee Raudman plays with dynamic voices and distinct personalities, making this story even easier to get lost in. Pucked
When Violet Hall meets Alex Waters, professional player (of both hockey and women), she’s pretty sure she knows what she’s gotten herself into. That’s why she allows herself to enjoy what she thinks will be a one-night stand and prepares to write Alex off just like the rest. But when he turns out to be smarter, quicker, and more interested than she anticipated, Violet unexpectedly finds herself trying to resist falling for him—and falling into the whirlwind of his player lifestyle, where she knows she’s likely to get hurt. As though the insane romantic tension between Violet and Alex wasn’t enough,
Pucked is narrated via alternating performances between John McLaren and Muffy Newtown, who perfectly capture the pair’s banter, miscommunications, and mutual attraction in a way that will leave you with butterflies. Roomies
In this modern twist on the marriage of convenience trope, Holland Baker, a 25-year-old New Yorker, weds veritable stranger and Irish immigrant Calvin McLoughlin. Her motivation? To save her uncle’s Broadway show and pay Calvin back for rescuing her from a subway attack. The big-city setting and chemistry between the characters adds a zing to this sweet story, but the true highlight is narrator K.C. Sheridan’s easy delivery and Irish accent, which lends authenticity to Calvin’s character. Adored by listeners worldwide, the gentle, tender love that grows from these unconventional roots will touch your heart in a lasting way.
Wanderlust is a dual-narration romance rich with chemistry, tension, and sexy accents, all from the mind of Lauren Blakely, one of the most beloved names in romance. Grace Grant plays the enthusiastic, career-driven American in Paris, but it’s the charming tenor of British actor Richard Armitage who steals the show as her translator, Griffin (especially as he switches easily from English to French—swoon!). Joy begins her trip determined to keep things professional; afterall, with this being Griffin’s last assignment before he takes off to travel the world, both expats know now isn’t the time to be making new commitments. But within just a few conversations, it’s only too obvious just how natural the pair’s chemistry is. Complete with a setting in the most romantic city in the world, this love story is all but impossible to resist. Evvie Drake Starts Over
Best known for hosting
NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Linda Holmes has turned her considerable storytelling talents to the romance genre in Evvie Drake Starts Over. Julia Wheelan narrates Holmes’s words with a steady, thoughtful tone that complements the way the story gracefully handles the two main characters’ different, intensely personal tragedies that become the bond that brings them together. Listeners arrive in the story’s coastal Maine setting alongside Dean, a struggling MLB pitcher whose crippling anxiety has forced him to take a hiatus from his career and the media whirlwind back in New York. When he moves into the apartment at the back of recently widowed Evvie’s property, the two form a friendship that quickly blossoms into something more. Stuck-Up Suit
Stuck-Up Suit, dual authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward flesh out a daydream that most listeners can identify with—the one in which we see a good-looking stranger on the train and imagine introducing ourselves, flirting, and starting an epic romance. At first, Soraya hates everything about the loud, rude, arrogant man across from her on the train (except his looks, of course). But when he drops his phone, Soraya picks it up on a whim and drops it off at his office—though not before leaving a steamy little photo on it to remember her by. She never expects him to respond, but when he does, it doesn’t take long for things to start heating up. This listen is pure fun and seductive storytelling; the two narrators expertly heighten the chemistry between the leads, increasing the romantic tension at a tantalizing pace that leaves the listener feeling breathless. Black Sheep
Cannon Freeman becomes the black sheep in his infamous criminal family when he shifts his loyalty from his family to the love of his life, Drew Carson. This fast-paced crime-romance starts off with a daring set of audiobooks in which Cannon and Drew defend their love—and their lives—from the notorious Cassos. The world March has built is just as captivating as the leading couple’s electric chemistry. The back-and-forth performance by Hall of Fame Narrator Andi Arndt and fan-favorite Sebastian York is not only irresistibly sexy, but also perfectly captures the drama, intrigue, and danger of the Mafia world.
One Day in December
Keep your tissues nearby for this one, as it’s a full-on, lifelong love story that follows Laurie and Jack from their first almost-meeting through a decade of heartbreak, hope, and love. Narrators Eleanor Tomlinson and Charlie Anson are ceaselessly charming, and their sweet performance is definitely likely to elicit some warm, fuzzy feelings in listeners. A selection in Reese Witherspoon’s much-adored book club,
One Day in December is a story of missed connections and fated coincidences that’s at turns utterly devastating, hilarious, and heartwarming. It’s easy to feel like you’re listening to an additional storyline from Love Actually with this title, all the wonderful Christmas cheer included. Red, White & Royal Blue
This is a love story that spans the Atlantic—on one side, listeners have Alex, First Son of the first female President of the United States, and on the other, Henry, the Prince of Wales, youngest grandson to the Queen of England. We never wanted to leave the world lovingly constructed by author Casey McQuiston, and we’re not sure we’ll ever be ready to let go of Alex and Henry’s sweet, sexy, enthralling love story. Superb narrator Ramon de Ocampo not only lends a unique voice to each character, but also guides listeners through intense depths of emotion. As Alex and Henry tackle some of their lives’ toughest issues—divorce, depression, coming out, and their relationship with fame, to name a few—Ocampo reads the third-person point of view almost as a loving caretaker, making us feel as in love with the couple as they are with each other.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fan favorite, best seller, listened to by millions—you’ve certainly heard of it, and if you haven’t already, consider this your invitation to dive into the worldwide sensation that is
Fifty Shades of Grey. The young, mild-mannered Anastasia Steele is a literature graduate and now reporter, which is evident in the way the character articulately describes her experiences with the mysterious Christian Grey. Becca Battoe is a perfect choice to play the naive ingenue being led out of her comfort zone and into the sexual unknown, crafting a genuine performance that makes Steele and Grey—as well as the exploits they share—feel all the more real. Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs
Paranormal romance superstar Molly Harper turns the good-girl-gone-bad trope on its head in this unexpectedly funny vampire romance. Jane Jameson, who’s been nothing short of an angel her whole life, finally gets fed up one day after being fired disrespectfully. She goes out drinking to blow off some steam, and the next thing she knows, she’s woken up as a vampire. Hearing the protagonist figure out her new life and her new, very inconvenient thirst for blood is laugh-out-loud funny thanks to narrator Amanda Ronconi’s perfect delivery of the wry, witty writing. Throw in a love story and a murder-framing plot that add more layers of comical complication to Jane’s life, and you have the recipe for a truly refreshing take on the vampire romance.
There are few names as widely recognizable in both the romance and mystery genres as the prolific Nora Roberts. With
Northern Lights, she blends her romantic expertise with elements of investigative crime for a fast-paced, heart-racing story. Set in the beautiful small town of Lunacy, Alaska, the story brings together two fiercely independent spirits: Nate Burke, a hardened chief of police running from his past, and the private, capable Meg Galloway, who prefers the company of her huskies over that of men. But an unexpected New Year’s kiss seems poised to change everything—until Nate uncovers evidence that a long-lost killer may actually still be in their midst. The Hating Game
There are few romance tropes better known (or better loved!) than the tension of enemies slowly becoming friends. Sally Thorne takes this favorite trope to the workplace and introduces us to Lucy and Joshua, two ambitious individuals stuck together in a corner office who are vying for the same promotion. They’re constantly trying to one-up each other, and when their games go too far, they’re both left to wonder if that burning they feel for the other person is hate—or something else entirely.
The Hating Game is a slow burn of a tale that narrator Katie Schorr voices with mischief and humor. If a classic and clever will-they-or-won’t-they romance is right up your alley, this is the listen for you. A Princess in Theory
Naledi Smith keeps getting emails from an African prince claiming to be her betrothed. Like any sane person (and
especially like the smart, practical grad student she is), Naledi thinks they’re spam and sends them to the trash immediately. But when it turns out that they aren’t, she finds she’s in for quite the unexpected royal adventure. With her fresh and razor-sharp wit, author Alyssa Cole keeps their burgeoning relationship sexy and fun. Masterfully performed by Karen Chilton, who captures the essence of both the regal Prince Thabiso and skeptical Naledi, this audiobook provides a much-needed refresh to the overwhelming Eurocentric sameness of royal romances. The Kiss Quotient
Stella Lane values logic and math above all else, a temperament further reinforced by her Asperger’s syndrome. Nonetheless, she’s decided that as a highly successful 30-year-old woman, the only thing she has left to learn are lessons in the love department. She does what anyone looking for expert advice and guidance would do, and hires a professional: escort Michael Phan. What follows is a charming and utterly unique romance as Stella applies her characteristically logical approach to the task of learning, one by one, everything there is to know about love and sex. Narrator Carly Robins has the difficult task of making love scenes sound clinical and sexy at the same time; she manages it so flawlessly that by the time Stella starts to realize she’s developed feelings for her unconventional tutor, it’s likely that listeners are feeling it too.
This girl-next-door loves boy-next-door story isn’t like most we’ve heard before.
Broken Knight carries all the sweetness of childhood love between neighbors Luna and Knight, who grew apart as they grew into different cliques, but kept their love for each other. But it also addresses a weighty plotline filled with tragedy and angst—and the couple at the center is more authentic, emotionally raw, and compelling for it. This romance listen also stands out for its large cast of narrators: Savannah Peachwood, Jacob Morgan, C.J. Bloom, and Christian Rummel each perform a different character with a different perspective on the events. The full cast works perfectly to underline the central couple’s struggle to find each other in the suffocatingly opinionated confines of their small town. Inclusion in Audible’s “ best audiobooks ” series is based on a number of factors, including presence on Audible best seller lists, listener ratings and reviews, Goodreads ratings, and input from the Audible Editors. All audiobooks featured here have a minimum of 500 reviews averaging at least 4.5 stars, with some exceptions made for outstanding stories and performances.