50 Shades of the CEO Billionaire Romance Genre

Are you as obsessed with CEO Billionaire Romance as we are? We just can’t help it! Explore this extra rich and spicy genre with us.

Adult Fiction Book Culture Bookish Trends Just For Fun Pop Culture Recommendations Romance
CEO Billionaire romance genre featured image

We all know it, and we all love it. These are the books you probably shouldn’t read while sitting at the park or while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office. The CEO Billionaire romance genre is packed full of spice, but where did it all start? Today, we are going to explore this juicy genre along with some iconic books within it.

As a lover of all things Helen Hardt and E. L. James, reading interviews by authors who write these billion-dollar love stories and learning why they are so drawn to the genre is exciting. Not to mention, have you ever wondered if they are living lives like this? Is this a fantasy people have? Why do we really love this genre so much? We’ve all asked ourselves these questions. Let’s dive deep into the genre filled to the brim with spice: CEO Billionaire Romances.

Why do we love this genre?

It’s no secret how popular this genre is. We use the term “billionaire” here loosely because you can be a CEO millionaire and still land a spot in this genre. If you think about the storyline, there is definitely a Cinderella vibe going on. The CEO Billionaire can offer financial stability (and, more often than not, NOT emotional stability). In comes the agreement— This is normally where all the spice comes from. Let’s face it: being financially stable is attractive. None of us can deny that.

The CEO Billionaire is never just plain awful. They always have mystery to them and some backstory that really humanizes them to us. They usually have a few redeeming qualities that just make it so hard to hate them. There is also always a villain that turns out to be even more awful too.

Ever thought about why authors write these stories?

I managed to find all the details to give us this answer! According to USA Today, Nancy Herkness spoke with fellow authors on why this genre is so appealing and lovable. Apparently, sexy billionaires are in the top 10 favorite romance tropes. Who knew? Let’s explore what authors in this genre have to say.

Nancy Herkness, author of The CEO Buys In, shared her thoughts,

“Billionaires […] are men who can draw on vast resources of wealth, power and influence. What could be sexier than to have them focus all these resources on the courtship of our heroine? Especially if our heroine is just an average, everyday woman. It’s the perfect Cinderella story, a classic fairy tale.”

“Billionaires are at the top of the social system, whether it’s aristocratic or financial. So their interest in a “commoner” sets up significant questions about the relationship. Does she only love me for my title/money? Is he so arrogant he thinks he can buy my love? Is this relationship doomed because it’s so unequal? It forces our hero and heroine to test their feelings about themselves and about the other person in profound ways. And isn’t that why we love to read romance?”

Nancy Herkness

Bella Andre, co-author of Breathless in Love (with Jennifer Skully), also commented on the questions surrounding the genre,

“As both a reader and writer, I love the idea of a billionaire who seemingly has everything, but is actually still searching for the most important thing of all — true love. I also love finding out that for all his wealth and power, he’s just a normal person like everyone else. [In her latest book] the hero knows what it’s like on both sides of money makes him someone you want to root for … and fall in love with!”

Bella Andre

Julia Kent, author of Shopping for a Billionaire’s Fiancée, weighed in with some insight,

“Billionaires — especially self-made men — hold a special appeal for readers because the mystery of converting so much raw ambition into actual power is intoxicating. Being the person who can pierce that armor and get inside their hearts means being special. Desired. Needed. Wanted. And we all want to be wanted.”

Julia Kent

Meredith Wild, author of Hard Limit, shared what this genre can allow authors to really do for the reader,

“A hero’s wealth can allow an author to take her readers into a world of luxury, breaking away from the limitations of “normal” daily life that most of us are used to. In a billionaire romance, last-minute weekend trips to exotic locales, travel by private jet and excessive shopping sprees are totally reasonable — and who wouldn’t want to experience that, even if only between the pages of a book?”

Meredith Wild

Is there a first in the genre?

To really answer this, we are going to change up our definition of “billionaire” a bit since there are definitely billionaire romance books written a while ago involving men in powerful positions (land-owners, etc.) and women who are working under them or in some sort of less powerful role.

Dating all the way back to 1740, Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson is considered the first romance novel. I would consider this a big stepping stone in the development of the CEO Billionaire romance genre as Richardson’s novel involves the love and restraint between a young servant girl and her predatory master.

For 1740, the novel is described as being very smutty while exploring power and its abuse.

While this doesn’t sound like our traditional Fifty Shades of Grey novel, I definitely consider it important in the development of CEO Billionaire Romance since being a land-owner and master is the 1740 equivalent.

The first novel to ever have an intimate scene appeared in Harlequin novels starting in the 1950s. It wasn’t until the feminist movement in the 70s and 80s where romance novels began to involve more mystery and suspense.

The first romance novel written: Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson / a stepping stone for the CEO Billionaire romance genre

Here are books in the genre you need to read:

Like all genres, there are books you can’t go without reading. These books took the genre and completely made it take off.

Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Fifty Shades of Grey
Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Fifty Shades Darker
Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Fifty Shades Freed

Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele took us all by storm when E. L. James published Fifty Shades of Grey in 2012. When we think CEO Billionaire — this is exactly what comes to mind. These books are a staple within the genre and must be read!

Any Book by Helen Hardt

Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Helen Hardt Follow me Darkly
Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Helen Hardt Follow me Under
Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Helen Hardt Follow me Always
Books within the CEO Billionaire genre you have to read- Helen Hardt Darkly

Helen Hardt writes CEO Billionaire romances like no one I’ve ever read before! She puts a very modern twist and adds EXTRA spice. I devoured the series above, the Follow Me series, in a DAY. Yes, a day!! Apart from this series, she continues to publish the Steel Brothers series, which she just released a book 23 September 2022. Adding anything by her is necessary to get the full effect of the CEO Billionaire genre.

Any upcoming spicy new releases to look out for?

We’ve explored the ins and outs of this extra spicy genre, but are there any new books we should add to our very long TBR? There are! Here are three new releases in the CEO Billionaire Romance genre to add to your must-reads. The best part is these books are part of series, so you’ll have a ton of new books to cram in over the holidays.

Corrupted Chaos by Shain Rose

CEO Billionaire Romance books to add to your TBR Corrupted Chaos

Suite on the Boss by Olivia Hayle

CEO Billionaire Romance books to add to your TBR Suite on the boss

Dr. Brandt by Raylin Marks

CEO Billionaire Romance books to add to your TBR Billionaires Club Book 5

Now you know even more about this spicy, juicy genre! Hopefully, you added a few (if not all) of these newly discovered books to your TBR list.

Looking to learn about other genres? Click here to read all about alien romances. Yes, you read that correctly.