[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Lilah Suzanne to the site today. They’re talking all things queer sports romances!]
I was a rough and tumble type of kid. I spent most of my time stomping around in the woods near my house, I played softball and soccer on teams, and dodgeball and tag and flag football with neighborhood kids. I was aces at Red Rover. But watching sports? Getting invested in a game or event? Then and now, I just don’t seem to have the focus for it; I just can’t quite make myself care. And these days the games of Red Rover I participate in are few and far between— Or, you know, never.
Yet there’s still something so intriguing about a sports romance, even for those of us who aren’t really into sports. The intensity, the high stakes, the athletic bodies, the highs and lows, the wins and losses as characters navigate around their developing feelings and desires? Yes please. I’ve written two sports romances now—one with a boxer and swimmer-turned-yoga instructor, and one centered around competitive sailing—so I’ve been on the hunt for queer sports romances that feature less conventional sports (though I love a good hockey or basketball romance as much as the next reader!) Here are eight to try:
Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer (Diving):
Jeremy Reeve has one very clear goal in mind: winning gold at the summer Olympics. Brandon Evans is everything Jeremy isn’t: carefree, outgoing, and openly gay. Forced to work together as teammates, Jeremy’s fear of his own sexuality and Brandon’s disinterest in anything “not fun” may end their partnership before it begins.
Roller Girl by Vanessa North (Roller Derby):
Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue… and invites Tina to try out for the roller derby team she coaches. As Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up.
Into The Blue by Pene Henson (Surfing):
Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids surfing the North Shore of Oahu. But with Ollie off on his first world tour and his dreams of a pro surfing career finally within reach, their steady world shifts. Is the relationship worth risking their friendship, their family, and their dreams for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?
Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker (Speed Skating):
Blaze Bellamy is the bad girl of the short track speed skating world. Maisy Harper is the workhorse of the Canadian women’s figure skating team. After they both fail to make the medal podium at the last Snow and Ice Games, they drown themselves in gin—and each other. But they’ve got different ways of going about getting what they want, and Blaze’s willingness to go to any lengths for the spotlight could ruin any chance she has with Maisy.
Bring Her On by Chelsea Cameron (Cheerleading):
Kiri Kentwood coaches the Corsica Tigers, a cheer squad that lost last year’s New England Cheer Championships to Echo Rosenthal’s Heartwood Bulldogs. Former lovers and now-rivals, fate throws Kiri and Echo back into each other’s lives (and beds) just as the pressure builds in the race toward Nationals.
Gold by EJ Noyes (Skiing):
Pro alpine skier Aspen Archer’s downfall happened in the worst possible way—a career-ending crash on a gold medal run at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Cate Tierney knows who Aspen Archer is, but the last place she expected to meet the former Olympian was during a ski trip to Australia. Hurt by a past relationship, and with a teenage daughter to protect, Cate’s initial reluctance is quickly overcome by her intense attraction. But with Cate’s vacation ending in a few short weeks and Aspen’s aversion to staying in one place, can their encounter be anything more than a fling?
Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall (Rock Climbing):
Expert mountain climber Jayden Harris has the world at her feet until an avalanche at Everest base camp sweeps it all out from under her. Rhian Phillips is a successful London marketing executive who has the chance of a lifetime fall in her lap when she’s sent to produce a reality TV series on competitive climbers. An accident brings Jayden and Rhian together, and outside pressures keep them at each other’s sides. When you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place eventually something has to give.
Luchador by Erin Finnegan (Professional Wrestling):
Spurred by the memory of his parents, Gabriel Romero is drawn to the secretive world of lucha libre, where wrestling, performance art and big business collide. Under the conflicting mentorships of one of lucha libre’s famed gay exótico wrestlers and an ambitious young luchador whose star is on the rise, Gabriel must choose between traditions which ground him but may limit his future, and the lure of sex and success that may compromise his independence.
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About the Author:
Lilah Suzanne is a queer author of bestselling and award-winning romantic fiction. Their 2018 novel Jilted was named a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Foreword INDIES Award and won a Bisexual Book Award for romantic fiction. Their critically acclaimed Spotlight series included the Amazon #1 bestseller Broken Records, along with Burning Tracks and Blended Notes. Lilah also authored the romantic comedy Spice, the novellas Pivot & Slip and After the Sunset, and the short story “Halfway Home,” from the holiday anthology If the Fates Allow. A writer from a young age, Lilah resides in North Carolina and mostly enjoys staying indoors, though sometimes ventures out for concerts, museum visits, and quiet walks in the woods.
Find Her Here:
Tack & Jibe by Lilah Suzanne, out April 7th!
Raised on a small island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Willa has a picture-perfect life: hanging out at the beach with her friends, living in a cozy sea-side cottage, working at a sailing store, and running a hugely popular sailing Instagram. When a group of followers enters her into High Seas, a televised national sailing championship, it should be no problem. Too bad Willa doesn’t actually know how to sail at all. Desperate to avoid having her carefully curated life come crashing down around her, Willa tracks down Lane Cordova, the winner of four previous High Seas competitions, and begs her for a crash course in sailing before the race begins. But Lane’s competence on the water is only matched by Willa’s ineptitude, and her growing crush on Lane isn’t helping matters. The competition threatens to go awry and take her entire idealized life with it.