34 Best Slow-Burn Fantasy Romance Books

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Nothing is better than a well-written, slow-burn fantasy romance that takes time fleshing out the characters as the sexual tension builds and builds. From enemies who can’t stand being in the same room as the other to friends who’d rather bury their feelings than act on them, the slow-burn trope makes for a satisfying love story. By the time they finally confess their feelings, it’s the ultimate payoff. If you’re in the mood for some slow-burn fantasy romance books, this curated list is perfect for you.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

As a mercenary, Kate Daniels makes a living by cleaning up supernatural messes. But when her guardian is viciously murdered with no witnesses or leads in sight, Kate takes control of the investigation, inadvertently drawing her into a precarious situation dominated by two warring rivals within the magical community. If Kate’s life wasn’t hard enough, she soon learns she’s become a target of a merciless killer. 

Between Kate’s badass “take no shits” personality and Curran’s stubborn, asshole-ish streak, you have yourself one helluva entertaining read ahead of you. Expect witty banter, hilarious Kate Daniels-isms and a splendid slow-burn romance, perfect for fans of the enemies-to-lovers trope. This is undoubtedly one of the best urban fantasy series out there, so if you have some time on your hands, I recommend reading this lengthy ten-book series.

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Angelfall by Susan Ee

It’s been 42 days since the apocalypse: the day angels descended from above to eradicate humanity. For Penryn, life has become a game of life and death where only the lucky survive. When her younger sister is kidnapped, Penryn will do whatever it takes to rescue her. Even if that means striking up an unlikely alliance with the enemy.   

After eons of fighting his own battles, Raffe never expects a half-starved teenage girl to come to his rescue. But when a fight ends with him wingless, they must rely on each other to survive the dangerous wastelands of Northern California.

Susan Ee delivers an action-packed trilogy perfect for fans of slow-burn fantasy romances. Brimming with deadly angels hellbent on slaughtering humans, a kick-ass heroine, and a simmering enemies-to-lovers romance, this is an exciting read you don’t want to miss.

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Rules of Redemption by T.A. White 

Forced to the nearest space station after her ship suffers a damaging blow, Kira Forrest plans to keep her head down and steer clear of everyone from her past. In a twist of fate, Kira pulls off a heroic rescue of a brother-sister duo from a faulty ship, inadvertently pushing her into the Tuann’s path, a paranoid alien race that does not trust humans. Leaving the station should be a piece of cake. That is until a Tuann warrior decides she is coming with them.

Jam-packed with unexpected twists, a humorous sidekick and a kick-ass heroine who never quits, Rules of Redemption is a mesmerizing space opera perfect for anyone on the market for slow-burn fantasy romances.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

After a chance encounter with a wolf places Feyre in deep waters with the fae, Feyre is swept away to a magical kingdom where she is to live out the rest of her human life. Held captive by the mysterious green-eyed Tamlin, Feyre finds herself growing feelings for her jailer. But the question remains: What is he hiding behind the mask he refuses to remove? 

ACOTAR is a captivating Beauty and the Beast retelling that brings us an epic slow-burn romance filled with magic, adventure and intrigue. If you can’t get enough of the enemies-to-lovers trope, Maas’s bestselling series is a must-read. 

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

At seven, Jude’s entire life imploded, leaving her orphaned and reliant on her kidnapper after being whisked away to live in Faerie. At seventeen, Jude wants nothing more than to fit in, despite her own mortality. But many of the Fae despise humans, especially the youngest son of the High King. Cunning, charming, cruel and wicked, Prince Cardan has a real mean streak when it comes to Jude. But the tides are changing. Swept into a deadly game of politics, Jude must stay one step ahead to come out victorious. 

Filled with scheming royals, political minefields and magical intrigue, The Cruel Prince is perfect for anyone on the market for a slow-burn romance between a wicked fae prince and an ambitious human girl. 

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Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance revolves around a human princess, IIdiko, and an alien prince, Brishen, who are arranged to be married to unite their kingdoms. The two races find each other physically repulsive, so you can say this was a match made in the fiery pits of Tartarus. While they may not be physically attracted to each other, they share a kinship that goes beyond physical appearances. 

Read Radiance if you’re interested in a slow-burn fantasy romance between an alien and a human who find each other repulsive and bicker like an old married couple. Between their shaky union and the precarious political landscape amongst their kingdoms, Kai and IIdiko will have to forego their honeymoon and do some damage control before the warring kingdoms rip them apart. 

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Kell is a magician, one of the rare few who travel between the parallel London: Red, Grey, White and Black. Raised in Red London, Kell serves as an ambassador for the Maresh Empire and frequently travels in and out of the Londons to pass along messages and smuggle artifacts. 

When a trip to White London goes awry, Kell finds himself in possession of a dangerous stone from Black London, a world that was closed off after a deadly magical apocalypse swept across the city and ravaged the lands. And when the stone falls into the hands of Delilah Bard, Kell’s life will become forever intertwined with the thief from Grey London. 

Filled with evil, power-hungry rulers, forbidden magical artifacts and thrilling adventures, A Darker Shade of Magic is a spellbinding read that boasts a unique magical system and an incredibly slow slow-burn fantasy romance that complements the plot.

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

Alina and Mal become as thick as thieves during their time together in an orphanage. Together they are chosen to serve in the First Army, a squad whose main mission is to team up with the Grisha to eradicate the Fold; a place devoid of light and life except for the Volcra. Volcra were once human but became something else entirely after staying in the Fold for too long. Now, they are flesh-eating creatures with leathery wings. Razor-sharp teeth and long, dirty claws. 

When Mal and Alina’s unit returns from the Fold, they are attacked and greatly outnumbered. And when Mal is ambushed by a Volcra, Alina acts on autopilot and becomes a human shield as the Volcra shoots towards them. What happens next calls her very nature into question.  

Teeming with alluring villains, tantalizing magic and a dangerous, action-packed adventure, Shadow and Bone is a spellbinding read centered on a high-stakes game with Alina and the Darkling at centerstage. 

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn tells the story of an eighteen-year-old caliph, Khalid, who takes a new bride each night only to have a silk cord wrapped around their neck each morning and a commoner, Shahrzad, who is intent on ending after her best friend falls victim to Khalid.

If you love retellings with cunning heroines that fall under the enemies-to-lovers trope, The Wrath and the Dawn is one of the best slow-burn fantasy romance books to add to your TBR list. You do not want to miss this standout novel. 

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a gifted mechanic who is belittled and overlooked by her step-mother and one of her step-sisters. The other step-sister looks up to Cinder. As a cyborg, Cinder does not have the same rights as humans. During a chance encounter, Cinder becomes irreversibly changed when her life becomes intertwined with Prince Kai’s. Thrust into center stage, Cinder must navigate new and rocky terrain. With the fate of the world on their shoulders, Cinder and Kai will have to race against the clock before time runs out. 

Filled to the brim with danger, mystery and intrigue, Cinder is a captivating read with a steamy slow-burn fantasy romance perfect for fans of modern fairytale retellings mixed with a splash of science fiction. 

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War by Laura Thalassa

Welcome to the apocalypse, a world where the Horsemen reduce cities to rubble and purge the world of humans, killing them off one-by-one. When War awakens, he relishes in carrying out his duties and decimating civilizations. That is until he captures Miriam.

War takes place in an apocalyptic world filled with death, violence and mayhem. If you’ve been looking for a slow-burn fantasy romance that takes its sweet time fleshing out the relationship, War should go on your TBR list.

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Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Louise le Blanc escapes to the city of Cesarine where she blends in as a common thief, hiding the fact that she’s a witch. If the wrong person finds out, she may find herself burned at the stake as witches are feared and hunted by the masses. 

As a Chasseur (huntsman) for the Church, Reid Diggory is bound to one duty: kill all witches. However, he finds himself in a precarious predicament when Lou pulls a sly stunt that ends with the two becoming husband and wife. 

Obsessed with magic, witches, and cutthroat villains? Love reading a good ol’ forbidden enemies-to-lovers romance between a hero with questionable morals and a quick-witted heroine who can hold her own plus a fake engagement? If all of that has you nodding your head in excitement, then Serpent & Dove is one of the best slow-burn fantasy romance books for you. 

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The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Shifters, tellers, healers and spinners, oh my! If you have any interest whatsoever in the fantasy genre, then this will be right up your alley. With a shape-shifting king and a girl who can command anything to her will, it’s impossible to become bored.   

Read The Bird and the Sword if you’re in the mood for some epic slow-burn fantasy romance books that will leave you speechless and dying to read more of Harmon’s enchanting prose.

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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Swept away from her sheltered life in the countryside town of Halfix with her uncle, Elloren Gardner is thrust into a shiny, new world of pretty veiled threats, treacherous political landmines, and preconceived beliefs that prove more debilitating than bullets.

Only when she begins attending Verpax University does she begin to question everything: her beliefs, the laws of the land, the history of her people and her burgeoning feelings for the enigmatic son of the commander and the mysterious Kelt who hates her on sight. Nothing is what it seems, and the world, crumbling beneath the Gardnerian’s rule, is on the precipice of change.

Overflowing with deadly magic, religious zealots and unstable political climates, Laurie Forest’s carefully-crafted universe is on the brink of war and Elloren may be the one witch who can tip the stakes. If you like slow-burn fantasy romance books filled with twists and turns, I would suggest The Black Witch, especially if you enjoy flawed characters with satisfying arcs. 

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Trying to Live With The Dead by B.L. Brunnemer

Ever since Alexis was a young girl, she has been able to interact with ghosts. In fact, every female in her family inherits that particular ability. In the aftermath of a tragic incident, Alexis packs her stuff and moves in with her protective uncle, Rory. Accustomed to people ditching her after learning of her “freakish” unique abilities, she never expected five guys to adopt her into their friend group. 

When one particular ghost starts taking her anger out on Lexie, she quickly realizes something is awry. With time not on her side, Lexie must quickly put the pieces together and figure out what’s wrong before she is lost to the void or loses her friends in the process.

As one of the best reverse harem books depicting a slow-burn, friends-to-lovers romance, Trying To Live With The Dead is perfect for anyone who has trouble suspending belief in the face of bully romances and insta-love.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

When criminal prodigy Kaz Brekkar is offered the once-in-a-lifetime chance at an impossible heist to earn an insane amount of money, he jumps at the chance. But to successfully carry out this deadly mission, Kaz needs to recruit the best crew the Barrels can provide: the dangerous assassin known as the Wraith, the gambling sharpshooter, the brains of the operation, the Grisha who can kill with a single look and a hunter trained to kill Grisha. 

Breaking into the world’s most impenetrable fortress to rescue an important prisoner should be a walk in the park… 

Captivating and action-packed, Six of Crows is a riveting, heart-pounding read perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas. The slow-burn romances that bloom along the way complement the story beautifully. By the time you finish this masterpiece, you’ll be dying to see the upcoming Netflix series based on Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse.    

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Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

What would you do if you could travel into the past? Gwen’s family comes from a long line of time-travelers, but when she fails to show signs of carrying the time-traveling gene, everyone believes it skipped a generation. Then she begins taking unexpected trips back to the past. Suddenly Gwen is figuring out all the intricacies of time travel as she and her time-traveling partner Gideon must figure out who’s behind a nefarious plot.

Brimming with mysterious secrets, a budding romance and dangerous adventures that will send them time-traveling back in time, Ruby Red is a humorous, binge-worthy read perfect for anyone in the mood for slow-burn fantasy romance books.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Laia’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested and likely tortured by masked soldiers commonly referred to as the Masks. To save her brother, Laia seeks help from the resistance, but they demand something in return. As payment for their aid, Laia must enter Blackcliff Military Academy as a slave to spy on the Commandant who is in charge. While there, she meets the son of the Commandant, Elias, who wants nothing more than to escape his tyrannical mother and his rigid life as a Mask.

Immersed with deception, danger, forbidden romance and badass individuals, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic page-turner that you won’t be able to put down. And we can’t forget about the slow-burn relationships that develop along the way. Those are the cherries on top of this unforgettable series.

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Taming Demons for Beginners by Annette Marie 

Taming Demons for Beginners opens up with Robin moving in with her Uncle, the executioner of her parents’ will, as it has been six months since her parent’s tragic accident and she yet to receive her inheritance or her mothers’ grimoire. When Robin unknowingly stumbles upon her uncle and his business partner arguing over a highly illegal summoning circle in the library, Robin’s life is irrevocably changed and it all starts with one wayward cookie. 

Relatable, quirky and fun, Annette Marie brings us a super slow slow-burn fantasy romance between the resident introvert who despises confrontation and the curious demon who never fails to speak his mind.

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Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the Forest tells the story of Sorcha, the daughter of a lord, whose life is thrown into disarray by an evil sorceress who bewitches her father and casts a malicious spell that leaves her six brothers bereft of their humanity. Sent on a dangerous quest to save her brothers, Sorcha is forbidden from speaking a word till she completes the mission. But plans never go as planned and when she finds herself in enemy territory, Sorcha will face a difficult decision: Save her brothers or choose love.

Juliet Marillier brings us an intricately weaved tale of magic, love and adventure in Daughter of the Forest.

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

When Puck Connolly’s brother announces that he’s leaving the island to find work on the mainland, the sixteen-year-old soon learns they’re behind on rent. Desperation drives her to enter the Scorpio Races, a high-risk competition that delivers many riders to a watery grave. But Puck doesn’t have enough time to capture one of the deadly Cappill Uisce before the competition, pushing her into Sean Kendrick’s path, the reigning champion of the past four races. 

Filled with unpredictable water horses, cutthroat competitors and a blooming romance, The Scorpio Races is a captivating and stunning read perfect for anyone who’s in the mood for a slow-burn fantasy romance. 

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Savage Lands by Stacey Marie Brown 

An unrequited love. An arranged marriage. And an unforeseen betrayal. 

Brexley Kovacs has nothing to lose. Not after learning of her future nuptials to the abusive son of the prime minister. As a last hurrah, Brex finagles her best friend Caden into an adventure that would end with her imprisoned in the infamous Halalház – the House of Death. In the place feared by seasoned soldiers and civilians alike, Brex must fight to survive the Hell that will become her life.

If you love slow-burn fantasy romance books with heroines that can take down battle-seasoned warriors with the flick of her wrist (well, maybe not the flick of her wrist), check out Savage Lands. You won’t be able to stop reading, especially after the cliff-hanger.

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Gypsy Blood by Kristy Cunning

Violet hails from an ancient line of gypsies, allowing her to see ghosts and interact with all the supernatural creatures haunting the world. When she learns of her mother’s murder, Violet follows the murderous breadcrumbs to a small town where her mom conducted business. 

Soon Violet discovers that she is clearly out of her depth when she learns werewolves are real, Van Helsing monster killers get off on bloody battles, incubi aren’t just the things of legends and vampires exist outside the story of Twilight. What’s a girl to do besides set their world on fire with help from her thirsty ghosty sidekick Anna?

Longing for a slow-burn fantasy romance centered around a harem of four powerful alphas and a talented, albeit ignorant, gypsy with many hidden tricks up her bra sleeve? Look no further than Gypsy Blood, one of the best slow-burn reverse harem books to date. 

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Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting your senior year at a new school in a new town is hard enough as it is without adding in the hot jerky neighbor. Everything changes the day Daemon rescues Katy by freezing time. Forced to reveal his unique origins, he accidentally marks Katy as a target. Together, they must figure out how to get rid of the mark before it’s too late.

Funny, steamy and witty, Jennifer L. Armentrout gives us a slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance between a human and an extraterrestrial. With off-the-charts banter and sexual tension, you won’t be able to put this YA fantasy romance down. Also, prepare to be blinded by Daemon’s supernatural good looks powers.   

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Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

It has been foretold that the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will spell the end for mankind. Well, humanity has been judged and they’ve been deemed guilty. When Pestilence rides into town, Sarah Burn refuses to stand by and do nothing as everyone she loves dies. Determined to end his reign of terror, Sarah makes an attempt on his life only to quickly learn that he’s indestructible.

With vengeance on his mind, Pestilence takes his would-be assassin hostage. But as they journey across state lines, Sarah finds her initial all-consuming hatred towards the deadly entity morphing into something unexpected. But the question remains: Can the horseman rise above his purpose and forge his own path?

If you’re obsessed with apocalyptic slow-burn romances, anti-heroes and the enemies-to-lovers trope, Pestilence is bound to hit your sweet spot.

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Written in Red by Anne Bishop

With help from shapeshifter Simon Wolfgard, blood prophet Meg Corbyn finds refuge at Lakeside Courtyard, the home of the Others, as a Human Liaison between the human world and the supernatural community. But when Simon learns that Meg’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide whether she’s worth the trouble. 

Written in Red is an addictive series with a unique portrayal of supernatural creatures as less human and more animal. Rather than seeing humans as allies, they’re considered to be prey. Anne Bishop brings us an enchanting urban fantasy series that is undoubtedly one of the best slow-burn fantasy romance books.

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Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

In a world ravaged by the fight between magic and technology, the city of Atlanta is quickly unraveling as infrastructure crumbles and monsters rise from the depths of the wreckage. With the apocalypse drawing close, Julie Lennart knows it’s time to return to save her loved ones. Except there’s one person who has the power to thwart all her plans – the love of her life.  

Welcome back to the Kate Daniels universe. If you have yet to read that spectacular series, do it. And once you finish that, read Blood Heir. Featuring the ultimate slow-burn romance that started out as an unrequited crush during the Kate Daniels series, you won’t want to miss this epic new novel from Ilona Andrews. 

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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

In place of the gallows, Yelena is offered the chance to become the Commander’s new food taster. Naturally, Yelena accepts. However, the head of the Commander’s security Valek is not one to leave things to chance. To ensure Yelena doesn’t try running away, he feeds her Butterfly’s Dust, a fatal poison that requires a daily antidote to stave off an agonizing death.

Thrust into a dangerous world of politics, assassination attempts and deadly poisons, Yelena will need all her wits to survive this political warzone. 

Loaded with espionage, deception and magic, Poison Study is one of those unputdownable slow-burn fantasy romance books that will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished it.  

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette’s touch is fatal. Imprisoned for a crime she never wanted to commit, Juliette has gone 264 days without touching another person since that fateful day. In a twist of fate, Juliette finds herself recruited by the Reestablishment, the very institution that had her imprisoned, for her deadly ability. Now held captive by the son of the enemy, Juliette must gain control over her powers before she becomes a puppet of the Reestablishment.

Packed with deadly powers, dangerous enemies and unlikely allies, Shatter Me is an addictive read suffused with a slow-burn romance between the resident bad guy, Warner, and the local good girl, Juliette, who has a penchant for murdering anyone she touches. 

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To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

With her large collection of prince’s hearts, Princess Lira is revered across the ocean as one of the sea’s deadliest sirens. But when fate forces her hand in killing another siren, Lira’s mother transforms her into the one thing she despises the most: human. 

Hunting sirens isn’t simply a hobby for Prince Elian, it’s his purpose. After unknowingly rescuing the siren princess from the grizzly depths of the ocean, Elian finds an unlikely partner in the mysterious woman in his quest to destroy all of sirenkind. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Right?

The Siren Reaper and the Heart Thief clash in this epic maritime love story between mortal enemies, perfect for anyone who has been dying to read a slow-burn fantasy romance that takes place out in the high seas. 

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

The former street thief turned Rahtan, a member of Queen Lia’s elite squad of soldiers, Kazi is given a mission to locate the man responsible for the deaths of Lia’s father and brother. Rumors of the general’s whereabouts lead her to Hell’s Mouth, a city unofficially under the control of the Ballenger family. When Jace, the new Patrei of the Ballenger family, finds himself abducted and shackled to Kazi by labour traders, they must trust each other to escape and survive the elements. 

Read Dance of Thieves if you’re looking for a slow-burn fantasy romance centered around kickass characters who can handle their own in a fight.

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Cursed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth birthday, Prince Rhen is determined to break the curse by falling in love. 

Enter Harper. 

From an absentee father, a mother whose time is limited and a brother who underestimates her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper understands struggles. When she witnesses what appears to be a kidnapping in action, Harper steps in and whacks the would-be kidnapper in the head…and ends up in Emberfall.

If you’re into Beauty and the Beast retellings featuring badass heroines and the enemies-to-lovers trope, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is one of the best slow-burn fantasy romances for you. 

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From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

As a maiden, Poppy’s life has never been her own. At a young age, Poppy was taught that her duty was to the kingdom. That one day, the gods would lay judgment on the future ruler and decide whether she’s worthy of ascending. But when a dashing guard enters her life, Poppy begins to question everything. And when a fallen kingdom forsaken by the gods emerges from the shadows, Poppy quickly finds herself on the brink of losing it all. 

From Blood and Ash is an unputdownable tale centered around a nineteen-year-old girl at risk of losing her heart to the villain of her story. For an exciting slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance between two star-crossed souls, this fantasy romance book will make the perfect addition to your TBR list.

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Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

Siren Callypso (Callie) Lillis is a present-day bounty hunter. Back when she was a teenager, she called upon The Bargainer to clean up a mess and with no one to rely on but herself, she continued calling him back for more and more favors. But every visit came at a price. Then one day he ignored Callie’s call and she wouldn’t see him for years to come. 

Seven years pass before he collects on those favors. Callie must help The Bargainer save the Otherworld from an invisible enemy that only Callie has the power to stop. The question is, will she discover it before it discovers her?

If you’re a sucker for slow-burn fantasy romance books where the villain gets the girl, Rhapsodic should be added to your TBR list. 

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