When it comes to romance novels, the image of a lion-maned Fabio leaning into a love-struck woman is indelibly embedded in American pop culture. But look beyond the cliché, and each romance cover offers clues as to its contents. In other words, sometimes you can, in fact, judge a book by its cover.
Each cover must distinguish itself from the competition, both in-house and across publishers, while fitting in with a particular brand or series aesthetic—all while reassuring readers that they’re going to get the love story that they expect.
However, sometimes publishers decide the best way to attract the viewer’s eye is to display the most absurd image they can conceive. Shock value, if you will. Here is our collection of the most ridiculous/bizarre/bad/shocking/bold covers we could find. And by the way, these are all legitimate books you can purchase online. Have any other great ones that come to mind? Tell us about them in the comments.
Crossing The Line
Grace Winters is the racing world’s best-kept secret. And now the secret’s out. The up-and-coming chef hopes her newfound celebrity as author of a NASCAR-themed cookbook will give her the financial security she craves. Falling for handsome, much-too-charming playboy Garrett Clark is just a recipe for disaster.
Alien Hound Turned Me Gay
Connor is a engineer at the Space Administration in Washington, recently working on the construction of a cage and testing area for an alien beast that was discovered on Mars. This alien hound begins to tempt him though and soon enough his darkest and wildest fantasies are brought to life!
The Firefighter’s Woman 2
Evan broke up with Marlena and left Forest’s End. She thinks it was because of her weight and her education. Marlena decides she would’ve never had her heart broken if she’d just kept dating her own race. Yeah, right! So she’s dating a sexy black man when Evan returns trying to get her back. Marlena is not having it. Unfortunately, she still loves him. While she works to obtain her degree and runs with the amazing career opportunity that she’s been offered, she has to guard her heart from the sexy firefighter that never gave it back in the first place.
My Bosses Gasses
When Michael has to stay late at work to catch up after his procrastination, he comes face to face with his sexy boss, Emily. But when they try to leave, their escape is cut short by a faulty elevator. And unfortunately for everyone, Emily is feeling a rumble in her stomach and the repair man won’t be there for almost an hour. There’s more than one thing that Emily wants to get out in the open, but will Michael be able to handle it?
A View To A Kill
Sachin must make a choice, give up the one woman he knows to be his true mate and let her live in ignorant bliss of what walks among her people, or fight for what’s his, taking it at all costs. A trained assassin…a man even the deadliest of warriors fear. To cross him is foolish. To steal his heart is pure madness.
Spellbound in Seattle
Petra Field did not have a magical bone in her body, but it did not take a crystal ball to see disaster loomed. With enchanted blood on her carpet, a house full of Merlin-wannabes unable to clean it up, a petulant at, and house guests scheduled to arrive momentarily, she needed a miracle. She got a wizard, a whole lot of unwanted sparks, and a man-sized hole in the living room – a hole into which her feline promptly disappeared.
One look at Brawn, and Becca is wondering how he’d look without his clothes. He’s also instantly attracted to her, but has sworn never to touch a human female. They just aren’t sturdy enough for the type of rough sex Brawn enjoys most. When he learns he’ll be living under the same roof with Becca, Brawn simply sees it as a chance to broaden his knowledge of humans. Hopefully he can do so while keeping his hands off her…
Held Captive By The Cavemen
Ellie’s been pushed back in time by her vengeful ex-lover. Now a tribe of frighteningly large, muscular, and very sexy cavemen are holding her captive. And they *all* want a turn. Warning: This short novella contains dubious consent, forced seduction, the threat of real violence, some m/m action, and a four-cavemen-against-one-modern-woman gangbang—not rape. This is not a romance, it’s erotica.
Slammed In The Butt By My Hugo Award Nomination
When Tuck Bingle receives an email explaining that he’s been nominated for science fiction literature’s most prestigious award, he’s left utterly confused. On one hand, Tuck is a successful writer of gay, science fiction erotic, but on the other, this email is addressed to someone by the name of Chuck Tingle.
Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes
Santa Claus is back. And flying beside him is Wendy, his freshly minted stepdaughter, who can peer into the future of selected children and offer them glimpses of the wonders ahead. But with that power come horrific visions of the turmoil and trouble the less fortunate among them are fated to suffer.
Kiss My Fist
Chad Winters was a small-time bank clerk – until he was put in charge of the Shelley account. Vestal Shelley was plain, a bitch… and worth over seventy million dollars. No one had ever dared to stand up to her before – but Chad, determined to get his hands on her money, found the perfect way to treat her… and ended up as her husband. But he hadn’t reckoned on failing violently in love with Vestal’s secretary – a ruthless woman who also wanted her share of the fortune… and who cunningly turned Chad’s thoughts to murder…
Evan’s Victory: Wolves of Climax 5
Evan is the first to try and convince Cassidy to stay in Climax, yet he still won’t make a decision without Garret’s approval. To win her back, the Gregor miners must pass Cassidy’s tests of devotion. It will take more than mind-numbing sex and tempting promises. But with a kidnapping in the works, the pack will have to act fast or lose their little human forever.
Jungle Freakn’ Bride
Everyone’s heard of the mysterious Moon Ghost Jaguars, supposed shapeshifting men who steal women as their brides. What they forgot to mention was that half naked, ripped and oh so delicious, they always came in pairs – and turned into really big freakn’ cats! But Carlie’s not about to let these furry Tarzans dictate her future, even if they seem to have conquered her body.
My Fair Dork
They say a guy can never be too hung. Well, Harold Jacobs doesn’t know who they are, but they’re wrong. Socially awkward for as long as he can remember, Harold feels his enormous package is just one more thing to be embarrassed about.