Heart-Throbs: Our Crushiest Romance Heroes (And Heroine)

Audible Editor Katie is our go-to girl for all things Romance. Here she reveals the voices that make her pulse quicken.

I wasn’t always a Romance fan. I stumbled upon the genre during a particularly difficult period in my life. I needed pure escapism (complete with some HEAs), and this was the genre that delivered. Once discovered, Romance became my go-to genre, and in turn I’ve become the go-to person at Audible whenever questions about the genre arise.

I’ve spent years hunting for my perfect book boyfriend. I tend to veer toward rugged, reformed bad boys — but what I’ve learned is that no matter the type of leading man, what makes all the difference for me is the performance. From Sebastian York to Shane East to Shayna Thibodeaux (is there something about the letter “S”?), I find my next listen based on the narrator more often than even the micro-genre. Check out my all-time favorite book boyfriends (and even my favorite book girlfriend) below.

Thoughtless

For almost two years now, Kiera’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender, and endlessly devoted to her. And then one night everything changes....

The Sexy One

Sebastian York is my #1 narrator crush. More than any other narrator, if I see his name attached to a book, my interest is piqued. In The Sexy One he teams up with Andi Arndt — one of the most popular (and another personal favorite) female narrators in the genre. Sebastian’s voice is deep, gravelly, and just ridiculously manly. He immediately takes any male character and turns him into a leading man you’re drooling over. In The Sexy One, that leading man is single dad Simon. Successful, good-looking, and an amazing dad to a five-year-old daughter? Let’s just say Simon was easy to fall in love with.

When Dimple Met Rishi

In addition to Romance, I’m also the YA subject matter expert at Audible. When Dimple Met Rishi marries my two favorite genres. This is a sweeter Romance, but it made my list because of Rishi Patel — the leading (young) man. He is the very definition of marriage material. He's so selfless in his love and mature beyond his years, I can’t help but sigh during his inner monologues. Rishi is performed by Vikas Adam — and man, is he awesome. He brings such emotional range to the character and doesn’t butcher the female voices. I’ve already gone hunting for my next listen from Vikas and added it to my queue.

Dirty Rowdy Thing

I’m interrupting this listicle to introduce you to my favorite book girlfriend, Harlow Vega. I am a massive fan of both Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Bastard and Wild Seasons series, and Harlow is one of the heroines in the latter. Feisty, confident, would-kill-for-her-friends, Harlow is immediately appealing because of her intelligence and sass (and movie-star beauty, naturally). But what really made me fall for her was the raw emotion that overcame her when she was falling in love. That type of vulnerability — especially in someone so strong — is just plain sexy.

The Ends of the World

Okay, I couldn’t help myself — one more YA Romance for the list. This Da Vinci Code-esque thriller is the final book in one of my all-time favorite series. It also involves a love triangle, and unlike Thoughtless, this one had me switching teams. About halfway through the series I joined #TeamStellan and never looked back. Stellan is confident, strong, cunning, and his Russian accent just oozes sensuality. I kept getting frustrated with the heroine because, to me, Stellan was the obvious choice for her. This is a spoiler-free zone so I can’t tell you if #TeamStellan perseveres, but I can lament how much I am going to miss that accent.

Royally Matched

Speaking of accents ... allow me to introduce you to Shane East. Don’t tell Sebastian York, but I may just have to leave him for Shane. Shane (and Andi Arndt) are the narrators in Emma Chase’s Royals trilogy. I selected Book 1 as our 2016 Romance Book of the Year, and Book 2 — Royally Matched — lived up to its predecessor. Everyone at the office knows I’m a die-hard member of #BachelorNation, so it’s no wonder this book spoke to me. Prince Henry, heir to the throne of Wessco, is basically an unchecked Prince Harry. Shunning his responsibilities, he decides to host the American reality show Matched (sound familiar?) at one of his palaces. A bad-boy former soldier with a British(ish) accent? Henry checks (nearly) all of my book-boyfriend boxes.

Thoughtless

For almost two years now, Kiera’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender, and endlessly devoted to her. And then one night everything changes....

The Sexy One

Sebastian York is my #1 narrator crush. More than any other narrator, if I see his name attached to a book, my interest is piqued. In The Sexy One he teams up with Andi Arndt — one of the most popular (and another personal favorite) female narrators in the genre. Sebastian’s voice is deep, gravelly, and just ridiculously manly. He immediately takes any male character and turns him into a leading man you’re drooling over. In The Sexy One, that leading man is single dad Simon. Successful, good-looking, and an amazing dad to a five-year-old daughter? Let’s just say Simon was easy to fall in love with.

When Dimple Met Rishi

In addition to Romance, I’m also the YA subject matter expert at Audible. When Dimple Met Rishi marries my two favorite genres. This is a sweeter Romance, but it made my list because of Rishi Patel — the leading (young) man. He is the very definition of marriage material. He's so selfless in his love and mature beyond his years, I can’t help but sigh during his inner monologues. Rishi is performed by Vikas Adam — and man, is he awesome. He brings such emotional range to the character and doesn’t butcher the female voices. I’ve already gone hunting for my next listen from Vikas and added it to my queue.

Dirty Rowdy Thing

I’m interrupting this listicle to introduce you to my favorite book girlfriend, Harlow Vega. I am a massive fan of both Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Bastard and Wild Seasons series, and Harlow is one of the heroines in the latter. Feisty, confident, would-kill-for-her-friends, Harlow is immediately appealing because of her intelligence and sass (and movie-star beauty, naturally). But what really made me fall for her was the raw emotion that overcame her when she was falling in love. That type of vulnerability — especially in someone so strong — is just plain sexy.

The Ends of the World

Okay, I couldn’t help myself — one more YA Romance for the list. This Da Vinci Code-esque thriller is the final book in one of my all-time favorite series. It also involves a love triangle, and unlike Thoughtless, this one had me switching teams. About halfway through the series I joined #TeamStellan and never looked back. Stellan is confident, strong, cunning, and his Russian accent just oozes sensuality. I kept getting frustrated with the heroine because, to me, Stellan was the obvious choice for her. This is a spoiler-free zone so I can’t tell you if #TeamStellan perseveres, but I can lament how much I am going to miss that accent.

Royally Matched

Speaking of accents ... allow me to introduce you to Shane East. Don’t tell Sebastian York, but I may just have to leave him for Shane. Shane (and Andi Arndt) are the narrators in Emma Chase’s Royals trilogy. I selected Book 1 as our 2016 Romance Book of the Year, and Book 2 — Royally Matched — lived up to its predecessor. Everyone at the office knows I’m a die-hard member of #BachelorNation, so it’s no wonder this book spoke to me. Prince Henry, heir to the throne of Wessco, is basically an unchecked Prince Harry. Shunning his responsibilities, he decides to host the American reality show Matched (sound familiar?) at one of his palaces. A bad-boy former soldier with a British(ish) accent? Henry checks (nearly) all of my book-boyfriend boxes.

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