Kissing Books

The Fine Black Men of Historical Romance

It’s August! The air has changed here, and I can see the end of the hottest of the hot. Well, at least in the weather; I’m still actively seeking out the hottest of the hot when it comes to books 😀

Sponsored by One Small Thing, new from Erin Watt, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Royals series and When It’s Real

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. So, when she sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, Beth is thrilled to make a secret friend. Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and looking for a second chance, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get. Now Beth has a choice to make—follow her parents’ rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

News and Useful Links

If you haven’t gotten enough of Amazing Speeches That Happened At RWA, you’ll want to listen to Sonali Dev’s speech, which went up online just a little after last week’s KB went out. It’s personal and heartfelt and she is not at all afraid of calling people out. Have tissues handy.

This is one of the most poignant and upsetting responses to Suzanne Brockmann’s speech last week.

Can You Keep a Secret? No, really! Sophie Kinsella’s magical Can You Keep a Secret (my favorite of hers!) is being adapted for film! I’m excited.

How about a lovely Ode to the Romance Novel?

PS, new account to follow!


cover of Keep the FaithAna Tejano’s Keep the Faith is 99 cents through 8/15!

Have you read Jay Northcote? His Second Chance is 3.99. He writes a lot of queer romance, but this one is worth checking out if you’re looking for #ownvoices trans rep.

Been in a baseball mood? Lucky Break by Holley Trent is 1.99. Or you can get the entire Reedsville Rooster series (5 books) for 10.95.

Have you read KJ Charles’s newest yet? Unfit to Print is 2.99. (Also, one of the heroes would probably be part of my recs list if I had just…gotten to it on time?)

Over on Book Riot

And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIeiiiiiiiiiiiiiieiiiiiiiii….okay. I’m not Whitney Houston. But I do love a bodyguard.

I don’t read nearly enough medievals, and I really should. At least I’ve got some recommendations on where to start.

I was busy last week! Jenn Northington and I recorded a special romance edition of Get Booked, and of course Trisha and I talked a lot about Intercepted by Alexa Martin. It’s a thing.

And we’re having another giveaway! Get 16 awesome books featured on the Recommended podcast! Enter by August 31.


So. Harlots is back (and magnificent as always) and I noticed that one of the new characters was a great stand-in for the hero of the novel I was reading at the time. It also made me think about some of the other fine black men in historical romance, and I’d love to share some of my favorites with you!

cover of Be Not Afraid by Alyssa ColeElijah Sutton – Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole

If you haven’t read Alyssa Cole’s way-too-short novella set during the American Revolution (and the first instance in which we meet Elijah, whose granddaughter goes to visit Eliza Hamilton in That Could Be Enough, one of the novellas from Hamilton’s Battalion), you’re in for a treat. Elijah is a Revolutionary, and he meets Kate—who is working for the British—on the battlefield in the dead of night. He’s fascinated by her, but she doesn’t have time for him and doesn’t understand him, either. Nor he her, to be honest.

cover of A Gentleman Never Keeps ScoreSam Fox – A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

Sam is just trying to live his life and run his pub, but his future sister-in-law needs to find out some information about a painting she posed nude for ages ago. Intrigued, he stalks the old codger’s house, only to encounter the new resident of the home instead. Hartley is not happy to have inherited the home from his godfather, but he’ll take it. Intrigued by the needs of his would-be burglar, Hartley offers to help find said painting. Sam is hesitant, but really, what can you do when a rich knob decides he’s going to start a project? Also, Sam. Sam is my favorite. He is considerate and empathetic, even when he’s being proud and stupid. He picks up on things and is all around just a good man.

This is the one I was reading when I came across the fine looking young gentleman offering his services to Charlotte Wells in Harlots. And while the character in the show is nothing like Sam, he presents a good enough figure to stand in my mind’s eye (especially once he started doing barroom prize fights).

Cover of Destiny's CaptiveLogan Yates – Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins

Whoo man. This list could be all heroes from Ms. Bev’s books, but Logan was my first. Gruff but loving; a community man who will do basically anything for his mother. He works with his hands and can’t help falling in love with the woman he hired to come West in order to be his housekeeper. Logan develops as a man and a character throughout the entire Destiny trilogy, and it’s great to watch the oldest brother let go a little bit.

Cover of After the Wedding by Courtney MilanAdrian Hunter – After the Wedding by Courtney Milan

Oh, Adrian. The most darling man who does the wrong thing for all the right reasons. When he is forced to marry Camilla at gunpoint, his immediate next step is to make sure they take the right steps to get an annulment. Not because Camilla is horrible; no. In fact, he finds her attractive and likes her enough. But he wants a choice. He wants the love and marriage his parents had, where they would give up anything and everything to be together.

(Bonus for his great-great-uncle John, whose love story is one of my favorite long, slow burns told in too few pages. You can read that in The Pursuit Of…)

Golden Worth – A Delicate Affair by Lindsay Evans

If you haven’t checked out the Decades historical romance series, you’re in for a treat. The books, each written by a different author, capture the lives of black people as they lived in each decade of the twentieth century. In this, the first one, Golden is a young man from the South who has made his way to Washington, DC in order to realize his dreams of being a popular ragtime musician. He doesn’t have time for women, and makes that clear to the beautiful debutante who approaches him outside the club where he plays. But the two can’t seem to keep away from each other. Meanwhile Golden’s star is rising, and he has to figure out how to keep being a good man through it all.

Honorable Mention: Soap – Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger.

This book (and the other three in the Finishing School series) is YA, but tons of fun, and Soap is just The Best. You just have to read it.

There are so many more black men from historical romance that I am anxious to meet, but whose stories I haven’t gotten to yet. For instance, Virgil Smithson from The Preacher’s Promise sounds like a heck of a man. Carter Thibedeaux from Kianna Alexander’s Love’s Lasso sounds pretty great, too. And Isaac Caird from That Potent Alchemy just sounds fascinating.

And of course, I’m super anxious for Daniel’s story in An Unconditional Freedom, the third book in Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series.

Do you have a favorite?

New and Upcoming Releases

cover of Roughing the KickerRoughing the Kicker by Eden Butler
What Happens At Con by Cathy Yardley
A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole (I started it but haven’t finished it yet *cries*)
Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid
The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham
Acting on Love by Te Russ

As usual, catch me on Twitter @jessisreading or Instagram @jess_is_reading, or send me an email at if you’ve got feedback or just want to say hi!