There’s something special to be found in a uniquely captivating romance audiobook. The very best of the best have something—plot, prose, characters—that draw us to them, making them as alluring as the stories within. Since the Regency era, home to trailblazer Jane Austen, we’ve been hooked on the romance novel, waiting with bated breath for a grazed hand or a tender kiss.
And thanks to the talents of a host of masterful authors, the genre is more diverse and enchanting than ever. It takes real skill and a whole lot of heart to craft unforgettable tales of passion, intimacy, and devotion. Our list of the best romance authors hosts veterans and newcomers alike, all with one thing in common: they’ve perfected the art of the love story.
Nora Roberts (who also writes futuristic romantic suspense as JD Robb) has an extensive catalog of romance audiobooks in several subgenres. She has written contemporary romance, historical, romantic suspense, and even fantasy. With more than 200 titles under her belt, she continues to write stories of love and adventure that are impossible to pause. Roberts is so accomplished, in fact, that the Romance Writers of America (RWA) named their Lifetime Achievement Award after her.
The Witness, narrated by the magnificent Julia Whelan, introduces us to Abigail, once Elizabeth, whose unsettling youthful experience has left her shut off—both physically and emotionally. Freelancing and keeping to herself in a small town, she draws the attention of the local police chief, who feels the need to protect her.
Beverly Jenkins has been writing historical romance for over 25 years. Her United States-set stories feature Black protagonists in periods ranging from the American Revolution to Reconstruction. Her engrossing novels are a great form of what Jenkins calls “edutainment.” The research she does for each story shines, teaching us something new while also providing a compelling story of love and overcoming obstacles. She was a recipient of the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
Kim Staunton expertly narrates several of Beverly Jenkins’s audiobooks, including Through The Storm, the story of formerly enslaved Sable and Union Officer Raimond Le Veq. When the pair first meet during the Civil War, they clash at every encounter. But their chemistry is palpable, even through betrayal. After the war is over, they meet again, this time on a totally different type of battleground.
So far, there isn’t a subgenre that Alyssa Cole can’t master. Her historical spy novels, set during the American Civil War, are ridiculously good. Her contemporary romances featuring royals from across the globe offer fun while also discussing important topics like ADHD, anxiety, immigration, disabilities, and institutional racism. She’s also written post-apocalyptic romance and has branched out into suspense thrillers. Each direction she takes is plotted out with the utmost care and consideration, ensuring fans will remain satisfied.
In the Audible Original rom-com The A.I. Who Loved Me, Cole again shows off her genre-bending skills. When Trinity Jordan finds herself falling for her handsome new neighbor Li Wei, it seems like your typical meet-cute. That is, until Trinity realizes the object of her affection is a hyper-advanced A.I. learning to be human. Equal parts a thrilling sci-fi adventure and a sweet love story, this quirky listen, featuring performances from talents including Regina Hall, Feodor Chin, and Mindy Kaling, is a joy from start to finish.
While he doesn’t always write romance, TJ Klune’s love stories are always spectacular to hear. Combining serious topics with humor and memorable one-liners, he introduces us to characters we can’t help but love and support in their romantic endeavors—and anything else they set out to do.
Wolfsong might have been Kirt Graves’s first narration, but he’s as skilled as the most expert narrator in his performance of the tale of Ox, a teenager with no hobbies and few friends, and Jack, the boy who talks to him. As Ox learns more about Jack and his family, he finds a home alongside them. Graves’s narration is heartfelt and secure, enhancing Klune’s lovely prose. Both a coming-of-age tale and a love story, Wolfsong sets a high bar that the author leaps above over and over again.
While Courtney Milan started out publishing traditionally, she later shifted to publishing independently for the freedom to tell the stories she most wanted to focus on. Writing both historical and contemporary romance, she creates characters who aren’t typically the stars of mainstream romance, whether they be virgin heroes or dukes of Chinese descent. Milan is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and a recipient of the RITA award.
Rosalyn Landor, a familiar voice in historical romance, narrates The Duchess War (and all the audiobooks in the Brothers Sinister series) with precision and deep emotion. In The Duchess War, Minerva Lane and young duke Robert Blaisdell accidentally happen across each other in what could be a scandal. But as the two learn more about each other, they discover an attraction simmering beneath their secrets.
While Helen Hoang has only released two novels so far, she’s bound to have an extraordinary career ahead of her. Her work has garnered critical acclaim from publications the likes of The New York Times. Her stories encapsulate the lived experiences of having autism and being part of an immigrant Asian American family, highlighting fresh avenues of exploring love, romance, and family.
Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient is the story of an autistic woman, Stella, who hires a sex worker to give her lessons so she can successfully date, marry, and have children like her parents expect her to do. Carly Robins conveys Stella’s every mood, from perplexity to satisfaction, in a way that leaves listeners hanging onto every word. (It’s also been recorded as an audiobook in several other languages, including Spanish, Italian, and German!)
Alexis Hall is primarily known for writing quirky historical fantasy and mystery as well as more heavy contemporary fiction, but he broke into romance in 2020 with Boyfriend Material, a scathing romantic comedy that truly set the bar. His snappy dialogue and vivid descriptions quickly draw listeners in, while his character-building allows us to develop relationships with the protagonist and his love interest as the angst and passion unfold.
Joe Jameson’s narration of Boyfriend Material is among the best in the genre. Protagonist Luc O’Donnell is the fame-adjacent son of rock stars and a philanthropy minion who desperately needs to clean up his messy image. So, he begins fake-dating the much more straight-laced Oliver. While the pair is initially hesitant to open up to each other, their time spent pretending gradually leads to more vulnerability than either has offered anyone.
Roan Parrish’s romances are often quiet in setting and plot, but rich in character development, theme, and description. Even as her characters have lush, built-out lives, the relationships between them are the heart and soul of the story. She has published queer romance of varying pairings with multiple imprints, and hers will be the first Harlequin Series book to have a gay couple.
Better Than People tells us the story of Jack and Simon, who share a love of animals, even if they have little else in common. When Jack gets hurt on a walk in the wilderness with his large pack of pets, he finds Simon through an app that connects pet owners with pet lovers, and the much quieter, milder man takes on the task of walking the menagerie. As the two get to know each other, their dreams and insecurities, each becomes the best thing in the other’s life. James Cavanaugh’s narration is nuanced, switching perspectives with ease.
Suzanne Brockmann is an icon in romantic suspense. Her Navy SEAL heroes have been amassing fans for more than 20 years, and her novel All Through the Night was the first mainstream romance novel with two male protagonists to hit The New York Times hardcover fiction best seller list. She is a recipient of multiple RWA RITA awards, as well as the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.
Narrated by Brockmann regulars Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbank, The Unsung Hero introduces us to the Troubleshooters. When Navy SEAL Tom Paoletti sees a known terrorist in an airport, his sighting is dismissed by the Navy. So he calls in a few favors from his most trusted officers and a few locals...including the girl next door who got away.
Dubbed the “reigning queen of paranormal romance and Southern charm,” author Molly Harper has perfected the art of romance that’s sweet, sassy, and a little bit spooky. And she’s become somewhat of a superstar in the world of romance audiobooks, a favorite of listeners and our editors alike. Listens like Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs and How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf exemplify Harper’s supernatural skills, while others, like Sweet Tea and Sympathy, offer something special for more traditional romance fans.
Find yourself immersed in the world of the Mystic Bayou—home to a host of supernatural creatures—and then get lost in the depths of a truly memorable romance. Audible Original How to Date Your Dragon is narrated by Harper mainstay Amanda Ronconi and Hall of Fame narrator Jonathan Davis. The pair have unbelievable chemistry as anthropologist Jillian Ramsay and shape-shifter sheriff Boon Bael, and that connection makes Harper’s steamy story all the more satisfying.
Diana Gabaldon, author behind the wildly popular Outlander and Lord John series, has a knack for crafting love stories that transcend time, location, and all other matters of distance. Her world-building and character creation is unmatched, and though the love story between Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser may be rather nonlinear, it’s certainly one for the ages. A RWA RITA Award winner and New York Times best-selling author with a Starz-adapted fan-favorite franchise on her resume, Gabaldon is a modern master of the genre.
Start the Outlander saga with the first in the series, which follows Claire as she’s abruptly transported from married life in 1945 to the tumultuous world of 1743 Scotland. It’s there that she meets the dashing Jamie Fraser, and the pair are soon caught up in the crossfire between warring clans. Audie winner Davina Porter wields her measured, elegant voice in a pitch perfect performance of the ongoing series, crafting a listen that’s utterly impeccable.
New York Times best-selling author Jasmine Guillory may be relatively new on the scene, but make no mistake—she’s here to stay. Guillory writes refreshing rom-coms that are warm, witty, and fun with a likeable, diverse cast of characters that will linger with you long after the final word.
Loosely connected by a shared character or two, each installment of The Wedding Date offers a different love story. The same narrator, the talented Janina Edwards, voices each listen to add a delightful element to the continuity. The first audiobook in the series kicks off with groomsman Drew Nichols asking a woman he meets in an elevator—the smart, funny Alexa Monroe—if she’ll be his plus-one to his ex’s upcoming wedding. But long after the reception, Drew and Alexa find that they just can’t stop thinking about one another, and before long, it seems that they might’ve happened upon a once-in-a-lifetime kind of connection.
Over the course of her life, Nalini Singh has been employed as a librarian, a lawyer, a teacher, and at a candy factory, but in our opinion, she’s truly found her niche as a New York Times best-selling author. She’s written romance ranging from the bad boy Rock Kiss series to the vampire hunter-led Guild Hunter series. But Singh has found perhaps her most loyal fanbase in the Psy-Changeling series, an inventive paranormal romance saga that is all-too-easy to get totally lost in.
Slave to Sensation, the first audiobook in the series, introduces listeners to Sascha, a member of the Psy—the ruling class that had banned any display of emotion or desire. When Sascha crosses paths with Lucas Hunter, a handsome Changeling who’s as unpredictable as they come, she finds herself tempted to reconsider the very tenets of her identity. A sizzling paranormal romance with an irresistible opposites-attract pairing, this listen showcases Singh’s exceptional character work and world-building prowess.