This week’s Crazy Book Genre article spotlights Sports Romance. It’s fun, competitive, and sexy in all the right ways. This subgenre runs the gamut of romance tropes and representations that every romance reader craves. Let’s dig into the ins and outs of sports romance, and I’ll give you some excellent recommendations to add to your TBR!
Sports and Romance? How does that work?
When referring to sports romance, we’re not talking about a romance novel with a scene or two of the couple attending their favorite pastime game as a date. Neither are we talking about an author who makes up a sport in a novel and doesn’t give us any clue as to the play rules, keeping us up at night (ahem, we’re looking at you, SJM!).
What we mean is the basis of the plot, the catalyst of the romance, and the reason the couple is together, usually has to do with a specific sport. One or both of the love interests is a competitive athlete in some sport, usually professionally, though there are many collegiate sports romance books. Sometimes the lust and love heat up on the field and may or may not explode in the locker rooms.
Popular Tropes of Sports Romance
One of the biggest tropes of Sports Romance is fake dating. Whether it’s a need to repair or boost the player’s image like The Right Move by Liz Tomforde or a serendipitous chance encounter like Right Man, Right Time by Meghan Quinn. It’s the slow fall of the lovers in these stories that is heartwarming and gets me every time. The fact that we get some good play (wink) action on and off the field only enhances the budding connections.
Now you and I both know that enemies-to-lovers is one of the basic romance tropes; there isn’t a subgenre of romance out there that doesn’t utilize it. Sports Romance is no exception! Huddle with Me Tonight by Farrah Rochon is an E2L lover’s dream! Football, food, and an online rivalry that sparks media attention. Chef’s Kiss!
Sports Romance and Representation
There are so many more ways to love than just heterosexual monogamy. While some other genres have taken longer to break the barrier and write LGBTQ+ pieces, Sports Romance has a plethora for your reading pleasure. This goes for racial and cultural representation too! Sports Romance does not shy away from controversial topics or providing a healthy representation of what love is.
Unwritten Rules by K.D. Casey is an MM interracial second-chance baseball romance. BELIEVE IT when I tell you that this book checks all the boxes! It’s angsty, sweet, break-your-heart-and-mend-it beautiful!
Currently circulating all the Facebook smutty readers groups is a polyamorous hockey romance called Pucking Around by Emily Rath. I read this in one sitting, I could not put it down! Our heroine is the new sports medicine intern for a new NHL hockey team that reunites with a one-night stand that she’s never forgotten. Turns out he hasn’t forgotten her either. Add in a unique, eye-opening queer relationship between the ONS and his best friend and a grumpy Voking goalie who is only interested in her, and you’ve got yourself quite the sports romance!
Whatever flavor of romance you like to read, I promise you Sports Romance has it available and waiting. From the fade to black to explicit erotic spicy scenes, these authors are not bunting but swinging for grand slams!
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