For those of us who both love romance novels and harbour an undeniable yet entirely masochistic fascination with American politics (it’s a lot easier to do when you’re not actually American), it can be tough to find books that fit that tiny shaded area of the Venn diagram. Never fear, with Super Tuesday currently ongoing, I am here to share my findings to keep you reasonably sane during this election season.
With politics comes power, which makes it an ideal setting for contemporary romances featuring strong sexual dynamics, alpha heroes and brisk banter to the backdrop of DC. Like the political establishment itself, the books I found tended to be primarily straight and white, which is disheartening. Granted, this post is by no means extensive, and I welcome further recommendations that broaden the scope. I also haven’t read all of them and intend this post to be more of a central hub for such stories than a series of recommendations. I’m also sad that there aren’t more caucus puns.
Starting with Special Interests and moving through to Private Politics and Party Lines, Emma Barry’s trilogy offers a breezy insight into the perpetual whirlwind of Washington DC life and the politicos of various occupations that inhabit it.
I’ve only read the first one so far, but found myself very charmed by the central pair’s flirting by way of discussions about the Democratic Party’s increasingly strained relationship with the unions. This is the series I would argue has the best take on the DC political lifestyle, and the all-consuming effect it has on ones life.
Off The Record by KA Linde.
(Summary from book 1)
Her first big reporting assignment for her North Carolina college newspaper has her covering a state senator’s impromptu press conference. Brady Maxwell may have everything it takes to be a politician—a winning pedigree, devastating good looks, a body made to wear suits—but his politics rub Liz the wrong way. When Liz’s hard-hitting question catches the upstart senator off-guard, it impresses Hayden Lane, Liz’s editor who feels she’s headed for a promising career as a reporter.
But Liz is also headed into a secret romance with Brady that could destroy both their ambitions. Though he’s a bachelor, potential voters might frown on Brady cozying up to a reporter. And Liz isn’t sure sneaking around is enough for her—especially when things between her and Hayden might be less platonic than she thought.
USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s Record series begins with a sleek, sexy, and smart venture into a high-stakes political campaign and an even higher-stakes affair that, in the end, will leave you wanting more with one of Linde’s gripping cliffhangers.
Capital Confessions series by Chanel Cleeton.
(Summary from book 1: Flirting With Scandal)
A tantalising series that lovers of Scandal, House of Cards, and fans of Kristen Proby and Jessica Clare will be unable to resist. Prepare to be addicted to the love stories, seduction, secrets and lies in the city of scandal…
Welcome to Washington, D.C., city of scandal, where no secret stays hidden for long…
Jackie Gardner knows all about dirty little secrets. She’s the illegitimate daughter of a powerful senator, determined to take the city by storm in her own right. A prestigious internship is her chance to shine – as long as her past stays buried.
William Andrew Clayton was born for politics. He knows the drill: work hard, play discreetly, and avoid scandal like the plague – his glittering future and campaign depend on it.
Sparks fly when Jackie and Will meet. With both careers at stake, and their every move stalked by a salacious blog – more than one secret is at risk of being exposed. As they cross the line from politics into passion, is what they have just another dirty secret?
Grace Colton series by Heidi Joy Tretheway.
He offered “one night: no strings, and no regrets….”
But mind-blowing sex is a wicked way to meet your new colleague.
Congresswoman Grace Colton’s one-night stand turns out to be Jared Rankin, a drawling, demanding political consultant tasked with vetting her as a vice presidential candidate. He pushes hard—and she pushes back—to prepare her for a campaign that blurs the lines between ally and enemy.
Grace is torn: play nice with Jared to earn her place on Senator Shep Conover’s ticket, or play hardball and back the slick frontrunner? Sticking to her principles could make Grace political roadkill. As the convention approaches, Grace must decide where her loyalties lie and if she can trust Jared with her future—and her heart.
Red Blooded by Caitlin Sinead.
Instead of eating ramen and meeting frat guys like most college freshmen, Peyton Arthur is on the campaign trail. Traveling with her mother, the Democratic pick for vice president, she’s ordering room service, sneaking glances at cute campaign intern Dylan and deflecting interview questions about the tragic loss of her father.
But when a reporter questions her paternity, her world goes into a tailspin. Dylan left Yale and joined the campaign to make a difference, not keep tabs on some girl. But with the paternity scandal blowing up and Peyton asking questions, he’s been tasked to watch her every move. As he gets to know the real Peyton, he finds it harder and harder to keep a professional distance.
When the media demands a story, Peyton and Dylan give them one—a fake relationship. As they work together to investigate the rumors about her real father and Peyton gets closer to learning the truth, she’s also getting closer to Dylan. And suddenly, it’s not just her past on the line anymore. It’s her heart.
Vote For Love by Anita Bunkley.
Media coach Trina Powers loves grooming high-profile clients for superstardom. And signing businessman-turned-politician Dwayne Hunter could really launch her agency into the big time. But Dwayne is giving her a run for her money. The arrogant, charismatic candidate for Texas state senate acts like he doesn’t need anyone! Trina knows she’s got to soften his harsh edges.
She also knows she’s playing a dangerous game…especially when Dwayne unleashes his potent blend of take-charge masculinity and tender sensuality. Though the price of politics may be her heart. Dwayne learned about love the hard way and isn’t ready to trust another woman.
But Trina’s not just any woman. With her by his side, he knows he could go far—on and off the campaign trail. But mixing politics and passion could derail his career…especially when the power plays—and scandals—start flying. And now a secret in Trina’s past is casting the ballot against them. Unless Dwayne can wage a new campaign: to vote her in as his running mate for life.
Her Perfect Candidate by Candace Shaw.
Co-owner of an up-and-coming interior-decorating firm, Megan Chase loves being a single woman on the fast track to success. But everything changes when a flat tire brings Georgia senator Steven Monroe into her life. The sinfully sexy politician needs the right woman to clean up his image. And with Megan’s fine eye for detail, she just may be the woman for the job.
Steven’s reputation as a player could cost him his chance at a U.S. senate seat. But when the cameras catch him and Megan in a kiss that’s all too real, it’s not only his future candidacy in jeopardy. As the lines between politics and desire begin to blur, how much will he risk to transform their passionate pretense into a landslide for love?
Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer.
Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.
For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.
There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is straight as a ruler, and a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.
As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.
Parties in Congress by Collette Moody.
They say politics makes strange bedfellows… Elated to secure her first paid political staff position, Bijal Rao is eager to focus her efforts on the election of her candidate to U.S. Congress. However, Bijal’s first unforeseen obstacle is her profound and unexpected attraction to their opponent incumbent Congresswoman Colleen O’Bannon, who is outspoken, charismatic, and openly lesbian.
An even greater hurdle is the subterfuge and pretence that pervades the climate in Washington, D.C., where small missteps are readily painted as major gaffes, and lies are explained away as “in the public’s best interest.” During the heated campaign, both Bijal and Colleen struggle not to cross the lines of propriety and perhaps more importantly, their party lines.
Fatal Series by Marie Force.
Prolific romance author Marie Force’s best-selling romantic suspense series follows troubled police detective Sam Holland and her work in DC. As expected, the worlds of politics and crime converge frequently, and Sam’s relationship with former chief of staff turned Senator Nick Cappuano, the one night she never quite got over. The first book, Fatal Affair, is a nifty balance of light suspense and romance that provides a comforting, if never especially ground breaking read.
The series follows Sam and Nick’s relationship from its origins to marriage and family, so if you enjoy reading about the progression of a pair’s lives together, this is a good choice. It’s less heavy on the political angle, which will be good or bad depending on the reader. I always want more congress