Many Black authors have spoken about the difficulties of being pigeon-holed by the publishing industry into writing only about Black trauma. While learning about racism, both historical and present day, is crucial, there is so much more to read from Black authors than that.
June always brings a deluge of recommendations of LGBTQ books, but often this coverage is very white, especially outside of kidlit and YA lists. In this list, I want to highlight some of the Black authors writing adult F/F romance novels. For specifically queer Black romances (where both the protagonist and the love interest are Black), check out Katrina Jackson’s excellent Twitter thread.
I am just featuring one or two titles from each author, but many of these authors have multiple queer Black romances, so make sure to click through and check out their other titles! These are the publishers’ descriptions.
Can’t Let Her Go by Kianna Alexander
Peaches Monroe and Jamie Hunt are core members of their Texas friend squad and have so much in common. They’re successful at their careers in personal care. They take Austin’s “Keep It Weird” vibe to heart, each leaning into their own unique talents and sense of style. And they’re both ready to go on to even bigger things. Is pushing past the boundaries of friendship into something deeper one of them? The red-hot fantasy is there…but so is real life.
Jamie’s college dreams will take her far from her hometown. She’s already road-tripping to possibilities from San Antonio to Houston. And Peaches has obligations of her own. Not only is she planning to expand her business, but she’s taking care of her family after her mother’s passing, leaving her overwhelmed and under pressure.
No matter how perfect Jamie and Peaches are for each other, is this the right time for romance? Finding their true selves comes first. Only then can they hope to pursue a future of lasting love―together.
Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander
After years away from home, Summer Graves is back in Austin, Texas, to accept a new teaching position. Of all the changes to the old neighborhood, the most dispiriting one is the slated demolition of the high school her grandmother founded. There’s no way she can let developers destroy her memories and her family legacy. But the challenge stirs memories of another kind.
On the architectural team revitalizing the neighborhood, hometown girl Aiko Holt is all about progress. Then she sees Summer again. Some things never change.
Neither can forget the kiss they shared at their senior-year dance. Neither can back down from her unwavering beliefs about what’s right for the neighborhood.
For now, the only thing Summer and Aiko are willing to give in to is a heat that still burns. But can two women with so much passion—for what once was and what could be—agree to disagree long enough to fall in love?
Breaking Jaie by S. Renée Bess
Twenty-eight-year-old Ph.D. candidate Jaie Baxter is supremely confident about three things:
She will become a noted writer.
She’ll win the prestigious Adamson Prize.
And she can have any woman who grabs her attention.
But Jaie’s arrogance begins to slip away the day she meets Terez Overton, a woman whose ethnicity matches hers, but whose background is the exact opposite.
Dawn of Nia by Lauren Cherelle
Nia Ellis is grief stricken when, Pat, her mentor passes away. At the funeral, Nia is blindsided by Pat’s deep-seated secret, which sparks feelings of betrayal. Weeks after the funeral, Nia is still figuring out how to handle her wavering emotions and the unexplained secret– until the opportunity for answers forces her to step outside of her comfort zone. Nia believes she is in control of her guarded emotions when sidetracked by curiosity and thrust into a battle zone with Pat’s sisters.
Romance was the least of Nia’s concerns until a fling matures and challenges her lingering insecurities. Nia learns there is a thin line between love and hate when former relationships and loyalties are lost in her circle of friends. In the end, she realizes that Pat’s secret was a blessing in disguise.
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.
When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.
That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole
Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like “love” and “hope”: avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman’s stubborn desire to preserve her late husband’s legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks.
When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in her grandfather’s stead, Mercy’s resolution to live a quiet, pain-free life is tested by the beautiful, flirtatious, and entirely overwhelming dressmaker.
Andromeda has staid Mercy reconsidering her worldview, but neither is prepared for love—or for what happens when it’s not enough.
This is an angsty but fluffy F/F novella with a happy ending for both of our intrepid heroines.
21 Questions by Mason Dixon
Kenya Davis’s ability to find the perfect employee is unparalleled. Her ability to find the perfect mate? Not so much. After she takes a chance on speed dating, she finds herself with not one but two chances to find true love. But with her spotty romantic track record, how can she be sure which woman is Miss Right and which is only Miss Right Now?
Simone Bailey works as a bartender at one of the hottest nightclubs in South Beach, has more female attention than she knows what to do with, and spends her spare time following her musical ambitions. Then she meets Kenya Davis. After her initial attempt to charm her way into Kenya’s heart fails, she resolves to reach her ultimate destination one question at a time.
Love’s Divine by Ava Freeman
On a whim, Genesis Malone decides to book a solo trip to the island of Barbados. A sunny beach vacation sounds like the perfect way to renew her spirit after a heartbreaking divorce. The trip takes an unexpected turn when she meets a woman who could be just what she needs to move on. That is if her heart, and the universe, will let her.
Zuri Baker seems to have it all but what she really wants is someone to share her life with. When she meets Genesis, she is intrigued by her quiet nature and longs to get to know her better. Too bad her on-again off-again girlfriend isn’t willing to let her go quite so easily.
When they return to their regular lives and find themselves in the midst of exes, not quite exes, and work drama, will they be able to hold onto what matters most; each other?
Midtown by Alix B. Golden
Midtown, the center of everything gay in Atlanta, GA. Friends from FAMU live together, work together, and sleep together.
Eva Daniels, aka Ed, has a pretty girlfriend, works for herself, and has plenty of love in her life. She floats on Cloud Nine, until she catches her girlfriend cheating. Taylor Collins is the blonde haired blue eyed All American girl with a strong appetite for beautiful girls. While her heart is committed to Ed, her body is not. Keikou Satou, Ki is what the ladies call her. Looks can be deceiving though, because Ki really only has eyes for one woman. Brie Allen isn’t looking for Miss Right, she’d settle for Miss Right now if they are skilled in the bedroom. Will the love of a good woman be enough to make her settle down? Ashley Johnson can’t turn down the opportunity to bail a friend out of a tough spot. What will her friends think about her newly discovered sexuality? And what will one friend think when she confesses her love?
What happens when 5 same sex loving friends co-habitat? Visit Midtown and find out!
When I Was Your Girlfriend by Nikki Harmon
How can you be sure that your first love wasn’t your true love?
Dee Armstrong leads a seemingly charmed life. She has a successful midwifery practice, a supportive family, and an exciting romantic life. But when Dee mistakenly believes she will have to confront her first love and first heartbreak, Candace, it sends her tumbling back into her memories to re-live the terrifying and exhilarating joy of being a teenager in love … with another girl.
Suddenly convinced that Candace was her one true love, Dee sets off on a tumultuous cross country journey to find her in hopes of renewing their relationship. When she does not find the reconciliation she had hoped for, she dives into a new relationship with Noema, an outspoken artist. She feels completely vindicated until she makes the awful discovery that this too, has been more fantasy than the real love she desires.
Dee’s quest leads to some serious soul searching and the realization that maybe love wasn’t the only thing that she lost all those years ago.
D’Vaughn and Kriss Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Instant I Do could be Kris Zavala’s big break. She’s right on the cusp of really making it as an influencer, so a stint on reality TV is the perfect chance to elevate her brand. And $100,000 wouldn’t hurt, either.
D’Vaughn Miller is just trying to break out of her shell. She’s sort of neglected to come out to her mom for years, so a big splashy fake wedding is just the excuse she needs.
All they have to do is convince their friends and family they’re getting married in six weeks. If anyone guesses they’re not for real, they’re out. Selling their chemistry on camera is surprisingly easy, and it’s still there when no one else is watching, which is an unexpected bonus. Winning this competition is going to be a piece of wedding cake.
But each week of the competition brings new challenges, and soon the prize money’s not the only thing at stake. A reality show isn’t the best place to create a solid foundation, and their fake wedding might just derail their relationship before it even starts.
Things Hoped For by Chencia C. Higgins
Can two women who only want to be loved, find a home in each other when the world around them is moving too fast for them to settle down?
Growing up in an intolerant town, Latrisha Martin was used to shrinking the most important parts of herself. She hid her loneliness within a busy life and kept the yearning in her heart tucked away from those closest to her. Just as the façade became too heavy to maintain, Trisha received wise words from a strange woman that helped redirect her life’s journey. On a whim, she relocates to Houston, and while adjusting to a new normal, she finds that those desires she’d once hidden begin to manifest in ways she never imagined.
With her star attached to a rocket ship, Xenobia Cooper was quickly transforming from a locally known talent into a name known in households across the nation. Viewed as an overnight success to many, the only thing that the veteran of the Houston underground music scene hadn’t prepared for was living a life without someone to come home to at the end of the day. A reckless tweet sent out in the middle of the night brings an influx of women with stars in their eyes, but they all lack the key component that Xeno is looking for. A chance encounter after her largest show to date and she’s convinced that those things she’d hoped for are just within her grasp.
Being Hospitable by Meka James
Some houseguests are more enticing than others…
Kiki Jenkins knows that opening her home to her best friend’s younger sister means giving up some solitude. What she doesn’t expect is for her new roommate to become temptation in the form of novelty panties and flirty innuendos. But Charley is off limits…for several reasons.
Charley Graham wants to be seen as more than her brother’s little sister. And she wants Kiki to do the seeing. Her new internship provides the perfect opportunity. Plan in motion, she’s not going to let their close living quarters go to waste.
The arrangement is supposed to be temporary, but as they grow closer a permanent change of address might be in order.
Fall Into You by Georgina Kiersten
Imari Haines has had it with the gossip. The whole town is acting like she’s their very own Runaway Bride. A plus-size, black version of Julia Roberts that left a perfectly nice boy at the altar.
Her family is no exception. Her mother won’t stop making passive-aggressive comments.
Exhausted by this charged atmosphere, a boss that doesn’t appreciate her, and the never-ending town rumors, Imari makes a bold decision. Come autumn, she moves to Appeley (a small town in Hill Country) and never looks back.
In Appeley, for the first time ever, Imari feels welcome, happy, and unapologetically herself. She tries new things, makes brand-new friends and, while attending the fall apple festival, she accidentally bumps into a very familiar face…
Cassidy Martinez was her childhood best friend and partner in crime. Now, she has grown into a stunning, confident woman, and Imari can’t help noticing.
Should she take a risk?
Can the two of them pick up where they left off, or is being friends not going to be enough this time around?
Sips of Her by Karmen Lee
Julie Kim’s life was supposed to be simple. Falling for the gorgeous barista with the enigmatic smile was not part of the plan.
Cameran Davis loves love and her coffee shop, Love & Lattes, reflects that. But, she’s starting to wonder if maybe happily ever after isn’t in the cards.
A surprise run-in culminates in a ruse leading to acknowledging feelings and steamy nights. When things get real, will they fight for a chance at happiness or go their separate ways?
Goslyn County by A.M. McKnight
A mostly black community with its roots in farming, Goslyn, Virginia lay just south of the State’s Capital. The once small, close-knit county had grown rapidly in the past two decades and boasted a population of just over fifty thousand. But the county’s crime stats had grown as well, and the latest offenses included several break-ins and rumors of a meth lab. Time had brought many changes, and many of the longtime folks of Goslyn no longer recognized their community and longed for days gone by.
Goslyn PD Detective Olivia “Ollie” Winston loves her family and friends and shows it through her sense of humor. Just like her neighbors, she too worries about the recent events, and it’s her job to find out who’s behind the crime spree.
While investigating three burglaries, Olivia meets IRS Special Agent Maureen Jeffries who is pursuing a tax fraud suspect. Their cases are connected, and both soon discover they have much in common, personally and professionally.
A Girl Like Me by J. Nichole
Lo made her feel like nobody had ever made her feel.
That smile made Skylar feel like she was wrapped in a warm hug, like she was secure.
She was inspired, motivated to move out of her comfort zone.
With just one look from Lo, Skylar felt like the sexiest woman alive.
Lo was proving to be the love Skylar hadn’t realized she deserved.
But there was only one thing Skylar didn’t expect — Lo, was a girl like her.
The EXchange by Nikki Rashan
Can exes be friends? The answer to this question is tested and revealed in The EXchange, the third installment in the story of Kyla. When readers first met Kyla, she was a confused young woman struggling with her sexuality. By the time we met her again, she was a loose philanderer, bed-hopping in her search for love. She found it with the beautiful, no-nonsense Asia. After nine years of solid commitment, Kyla is bored with the monotony and simplicity of their day-to-day relationship. She soon finds the excitement she craves, but not in the right place. Angie, her ex turned longtime friend, is single again, and she’s ready and willing to fill the void Kyla feels. Will Kyla trade the stability she has with Asia for the passion she’s been missing?
Masquerade by Anne Shade
Harlem, New York, 1925 is a mecca of cultural and creative freedom, where masquerade drag balls are all the rage and the music, dancing, and loose prohibition laws unite people from all walks of life.
Dinah Hampton came to Harlem for better opportunities for her family but ends up working as a nightclub chorus girl to help make ends meet. Among the nightlife and danger, she finds love in the most unexpected way.
When a scandal rocks Celine Montre’s family and sends them fleeing from New Orleans to Harlem, the gorgeous Dinah Hampton helps her to discover that there’s more to life, and love, than she ever thought possible.
When a notorious gangster sets her sights on seducing Celine, Dinah and Celine are forced to risk their hearts, and lives, for love.
Full Circle by Skyy
It’s been two years since Lena decided to take time away from drama to find herself and focus on her child.
But the present finds her staring at images of Denise, the one who got away.
Will Lena finally move on to someone new, or go after the one she’s wanted all along?
The Frenemy Zone by Yolanda Wallace
Olly Smith-Nakamura had it all until an unexpected financial setback forces her dads to leave their idyllic life in San Francisco behind in search of a fresh start. Relocating to a small West Virginia town where families like hers are considered an anomaly was not how she planned to spend her senior year of high school. Her grandmother tries to sell her on the merits of her new home, but she just sees more reasons to leave than to stay.
No one knows Ariel Hall has a secret. No one except the BFF who broke her heart. Sharing her truth isn’t on her agenda because unless she’s throwing strikes on the softball field, she prefers to fly under the radar. Olly Smith-Nakamura is everything she’s not: out, proud, and in your face. They don’t get along at all. So why does kissing her seem like more fun than butting heads?
Tailor-Made by Yolanda Wallace
Before Grace Henderson began working as a tailor in her father’s bespoke suit shop in Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn, she established a hard and fast rule about not dating clients. The edict is an easy one for her to follow, considering the overwhelming majority of the shop’s clients are men. But when Dakota Lane contacts her to commission a suit to wear to her sister’s wedding, Grace finds herself tempted to throw all the rules out the window.
Dakota Lane works as a bicycle messenger by day and moonlights as a male model. Her high-profile career, gender-bending looks, and hard-partying ways garner her plenty of romantic attention, but she would rather play the field than settle down. When she meets sexy tailor Grace Henderson, however, she suddenly finds herself in the market for much more than a custom suit.
Soul to Keep by Rebekah Weatherspoon
College junior Jill Babineux knows where her priorities lie. Between a full course load, her blood pledge to feed a certain vampire, and all the community service hours she’s got to log with her sisters in Alpha Beta Omega Sorority, the last thing on her mind is finding love, especially with an immortal.
Which works out just fine for Miyoko “Tokyo” Hayashi who’s been so busy enjoying her wild days and even kinkier nights, she’s never had a reason to speak to the tiny know-it-all. But after a random run-in and a few carefully plotted encounters, Miyoko learns that there’s more to the sorority’s least favorite member.
Miyoko never thought she’d actually start to like the girl, let alone love her, but when true evil comes for Jill, Miyoko finds herself willing to do anything to protect her. Anything.
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Her sister’s bachelorette party is the highlight of a miserable year for Alexis Chambers, but once her bridesmaid’s dress is packed away, she’s back to coping with her life as a once popular athlete and violinist turned loner and the focus of her parents’ disappointment. She isn’t expecting much from her freshman year of college until she finds herself sharing a class with Treasure, the gorgeous stripper from her sister’s party.
Trisha Hamilton has finally gotten the credits and the money together to transfer to a four-year university. Between classes, studying, and her job as a stripper, she has little time for a social life, until she runs into the adorably shy baby butch from the club. Trisha can’t seem to hide her feelings for Alexis, even when Trisha discovers what she has been through, but will Alexis have the strength to be just as fearless about their new love?
Drawing the Line by KD Williamson
Pediatric resident Dr. Dani Russell is focused on her career and there’s no room for anything else since her last relationship crashed and burned. She’s seen as standoffish and cold to everyone except her patients and her best friend Rick. That’s just fine with her.
Detective Rebecca Wells, newly appointed to Atlanta’s Juvenile Missing Person Unit, is a woman in a state of flux and on a mission to fix her unsatisfying personal life. That means reaching out to her ex, Dani, to make amends. But after sizing up the once warm, friendly woman she loved, Rebecca can’t believe how unrecognizable she now is or how hurt she is.
Is it too late for them? Has too much time passed to make things right?
An enemies-to-lovers, second-chance lesbian romance that’s powerful, sizzling, thought-provoking, and everything in between.
A Drop in the Ocean by Nikki Winter
It was a small lie, really. Nearly white because of how minuscule she intended it to be. And yet Kairo Maftah’s small, nearly white, very minuscule lie had managed to turn into something large and pink and pachyderm shaped in silhouette. One might’ve asked how and she might’ve been inclined to say, “Oh, my knob of a younger brother has taken it upon himself to get tied in a matrimonial union with my ex-girlfriend who I really shouldn’t call names—but I do it anyway because what the f$&@?!—and I may have roped my best friend into playing my newest love interest at their ceremony because I don’t want to look pathetic and alone and Audrey Hart, that’s my best friend, is such an amazing person that she’s agreed to spend a couple weeks of her vacation days here in Queensland convincing everyone we’re in love. But she kind of doesn’t know I really am in love with’er so I have to pretend I know how to function on a basic human level past grunts and happy sighs when she’s around. Did you get all of that? I hope so because I really don’t feel like repeating it.” That would have been a ridiculous response to that question right? Right?
Femme Like Her by Fiona Zedde
Naomi lives an almost idyllic life in Jamaica. She has a daughter who adores her, a close-knit community that looks out for its own, and paradise as her playground. But she secretly longs for the touch of other women. It is a longing she finally gets to satisfy during a trip into the tourist heart of Jamaica. When she surrenders to the seduction of a compelling stranger, however, she is savagely transformed into Belle, a ruthless beast whose hungers know no bounds.
Now Belle is part of a vampire clan, reveling in an existence that lays bare the dark hungers within every soul. Part of her hates her new world, but another part glories in it and in the explosive sexual connection she shares with the powerful head of the clan. But as magical as her new world is, it also has its dangers. Dangers that threaten the people she loves.
Bonus Bisexual Black M/F Books
If you’re looking for Black queer women romances in general, check out these M/F Black romances about bi+ women!
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When big, brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and former rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact to him, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Suddenly, half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
The easy lay Dani dreamed of is now more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
Pink Slip (The Spies Who Loved Her #1) by Katrina Jackson
Kierra was a poor poet looking for a job while she worked toward her dream of becoming a published poet. One day she accidentally becomes the personal assistant to married spies. For the last three years she’s lusted after them, not very secretively, until finally she decides it’s time to move on with her life and gives her notice.
During her last week of work, her bosses whisk her away to Serbia for a top secret mission that only she can help them complete. And in the middle of dispatching a European dictator, Kierra and her bosses give in to their deepest desires.
Pink Slip is the first in an erotic/suspense/spy/comedy series that wonders what James Bond’s receptionist’s life might have been like. If James Bond had a wife and they both wanted to shag the receptionist. But the dirty American version of that. And all of the possible entanglements in between.
Something Like Love by Christina C. Jones
Eddie is arrogant, quite vain and slick at the mouth – or simply confident, discerning, and unafraid to speak his mind, if you ask him. Astrid is annoyingly perky, unpolished, and a little delusional about Eddie’s attraction to her – or, according to her, energetic, authentic, and absolutely spot on about the driving factor of a certain local tattoo artist’s “hatred” of her.
They may think they’re opposite, but have more in common than they think. For both of them, finding a connection that is deeper than surface-level is rare. Someone they can learn from, grow with, someone who can show them things they haven’t seen before and feel things they’ve never felt, with anyone.
No labels, no boxes.
Just…maybe… something like love.
This is far from a complete list! Check out the Sistahs on the Shelf Romance tag for more Black lesbian romance, and Katrina Jackson’s twitter thread for more queer Black romance.
An earlier version of this post ran in 2020.