As someone who works mostly in horror, I often scoff at least a little when someone mentions romance since it usually brings to mind dusty volumes that use too many words to describe just about every body part, yet there are several love stories I would be delighted to spend a night with. In the cute, sad, gross, but a little funny February 2016 edition of The Brown Bag Stories by A.J. Brown, I found myself thinking of a few of them and how not every love story is necessarily in a romance book. I would recommend any one of the following to anyone who would listen, and I hope that more people come to enjoy them as well.
The first to come to mind is Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love by Mercedes M. Yardley. It is a love story of atomic proportions. Even if you’ve read this book before, I highly recommend reading it again. For me, the first time was a wonderful if chilling read. Reading it a second time was a magical experience and like watching beloved friends or children grow, and it is something I’m very glad I did. It will be republished soon by Crystal Lake Publishing.
If alternate universe steampunk LGBT romance adventures are more your speed, A Sweet and Steamy Series by Nikki Woolfolk fits the bill. Certainly the most romance-esque out of this list, the two out so far are The Winter Triangle and The Men of Summerly. They are beautiful adventures about dynamic, fleshed-out characters from many different backgrounds, like deaf astronomy professors and gay orphaned glassmakers. These charming novellas appeal to all five senses, and the foods featured in each book have corresponding recipes at the ends. And Nikki Woolfolk is a talented chocolatier. More on her website.
This one has an ambiguous ending but one that I find satisfying: “Reflection” by Daniel D. Darkfield. The hints at an unrequited love are subtle, but the fascination between the main character, Antonella, and her portrait subject transfers to the reader before she ever sets up her canvas. Full of more mystery than intrigue, “Reflection” is perfect for someone who wants to get away from the romance hype.
No happy endings for you? Read Michel Robertson‘s “In the Name of Science,” currently available in his collection Zombies, Vampires, Aliens, and Oddities: A Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction. With only the fragments of a romance that maybe never was and another that could never be, it features a horrifying and pretty unique origin story of a creature that’s been used and reused, and it’s one my partner and I still talk about sometimes after first reading it years ago.
No matter what your plans are for the weekend–mine are to take my little sister shopping–you’re sure to find some story with just the right level of romance for you whether it be all romance or no romance or anything in between.