I haven't read this one, but THREE of my friends recommended it as a great romantic novel. Valerie, who is also a librarian, says it has the most romantic description of hand-holding she's ever read. A little sad, but awesome.
This is the first book in a trilogy, and it is AMAZING. Like, if you haven't read it, go buy it immediately because you are missing out. The romance in these books is only part of an epic storyline, but it is great.
Also the first book in a series. Gabriel, the next in line for the Archangel's throne, is informed by an Oracle that his wife is a girl named Rachel. When he finds her, he discovers that she is a slave, and she has zero interest in becoming his wife. This is a well-tread trope in romance, but Shinn's unique fantasy/sci-fi story elevates this book above the rest.
This series is pseudo-historical with a bit of magic. At least two of my sisters have read and loved these books. It takes place in a time sort of like the Renaissance, Phedre is sold as a slave to the Night Court where she is ruled by two demi-gods: Naamah, for sensual love; and Kushiel, for sado-masochistic pain. This might be a good 50 Shades of Grey alternative!
My sister Alice says this is the best suspenseful romance on her shelf. Linda is the newly-appointed governess to a nine-year-old heir in the French Alps. Linda falls for her charge's handsome cousin, but after several attempts on the child's life, Linda is no longer sure who she can trust.
Alice describes this book as a "feminist sci-fi romance," which should give you an idea of how awesome it is. Humanity is being decimated by a plague, and only one planet appears immune: Grass. However, the ruling families of that planet refuse to allow scientists to investigate further. Marjorie is sent as an unofficial investigator, and she discovers something completely unexpected.
My sister Delia recommends this book as one of her favourites, and she's a true romance aficionado. In this book, Aisling Grey is a Guardian of the portals to hell. She is on a mission to find a dragon, but instead she finds Drake Vireo and a murder mystery. I've read a few of MacAlister's books, and she is pretty damn funny.
If you want a really legit piece of literature to read while you get your romance fix, this is it. Another recommendation from Alice, this gothic romance is the story of a governess, Jane, and her surly employer, Mr. Rochester. Keeping it interesting are: some spooky laughter coming from locked rooms, a stabbing, and a secret past for Mr. Rochester. You can download it FOR FREE from Amazon right now, so you really have nothing to lose!