Romance in urban fantasy
By Chelsea Mueller / Vampire Book Club
When friends first encouraged me to read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, I thought I was going to be reading a paranormal romance. There was earth-shattering praise for the series’ hero Barrons and for the chemistry between him and heroine MacKayla. No one thought to mention while the tension is clearly there, these two aren’t romantically linked, really, for quite some time. The real story is about evil faerie plots, the hunt for a murderer and one ancient item that could ruin the world.
It’s one of the most remarkable series I’ve read. It’s also one of the most honest romantically. The sexual tension sizzles. Nothing is ever easy in terms of a relationship for Mac and Barrons. And while these two clearly care for one another – want one another – they won’t say it. They’re caught in a war and it takes extreme events to force them into acting on their real feelings.
As a big reader of darker novels and urban fantasy, I appreciate the realism romance can give to those novels. They may not be paranormal romances, as the story does sink or swim based on the couple and there may not be a HEA, but intense situations (say, end of the world or fighting off vampires) can result in intense romance.
If you’re interested in trying urban fantasy with romance subplots sure to make you swoon, here are four suggestions.
1. The aforementioned Fever series (first book is Darkfever). Two people thrown together in dark circumstances. Hot guys – yes, more than one — in Ireland, as a bonus.
2. The Katherine “Kitty” Katt series by Gini Koch (first book is Touched by an Alien). Marketing manager Kitty finds herself recruited by the alien version of Men in Black and helping fight parasitic aliens. Saving the world, etc. She also gets to work alongside the gorgeous Jeff Martini, who pronounces his intention to marry her within the first few minutes of knowing Kitty. He knows what he wants, and wants nothing more than for Kitty to say she loves him. Expect an elevator sex scene. Added bonus: Koch writes witty dialogue.
3. Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane (first book is Unholy Ghosts). The setting is dark – a world after a ghost uprising. An unlikely heroine and a hero described by the author as ugly… and, yet, somehow, a drug enforcer with a scarred face named Terrible will win his way into your heart. You will love him. He’s all-or-nothing when it comes to relationships.
4. Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost (first book is Halfway to the Grave). Now, some would put this series firmly in paranormal romance. The relationship between heroine Cat and hero Bones is definitely front-and-center, and their sex scenes are remarkable (chapter 32 of One Foot in the Grave is forever etched in my brain). But these two also spend each novel hunting and battling everything from vampires to zombies to ghouls. As such, it can be a good test to see if you’re ready for more direct urban fantasy.
So you interested? Going to give Urban Fantasy a try? Or are you straight paranormal romance? Let us know!!
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Chelsea Mueller loves all things paranormal fiction. She runs Vampire Book Club, which is equal opportunity to all things paranormal romance, urban fantasy and fantasy. Swear.