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10 Sexy Summer Reads

Summer is here! I'm knee deep in play dates, ferrying the kids to art camp and grilling out whenever possible. I'm also digging into the pile of novels by my bed—finally! As a writer and editor of erotic romance (my newest anthology "Best Erotic Romance of the Year," should be hitting the shelves any day now!), I rarely get as much time as I would like to read. Here are my top picks for sexy summer books to consider the next time you find yourself at the beach or pool. Many of these are the first in their respective series, so you'll have books to enjoy all summer long.

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1. "Grey" by E.L. James (companion book to the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy)

He's baaaack. E.L. James has returned with the most talked-about book this summer. Grey takes us deep inside Christian Grey's point of view so we get to know the man behind the kinky image and learn what makes him tick. It's an interesting perspective, especially for fans of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy. However, even if you haven't read Shades, you can certainly enjoy Mr. Grey this way.

2. "The List" by Anne Calhoun

Tilda Davies has a passion for stationery and a knack for matchmaking. She runs an introduction service for her friends and acquaintances, making discrete connections for other people. Everyone wants to be on Lady Matilda's list—except Tilda. While her own love life is lacking any real meaning, she uses her special talents to bring other people together. Then she meets FBI agent Daniel Logan and finds a connection of her own.

3. "Intrusion" (Book #1 of "Under the Skin," followed by "Forbidden" and "Taken") by Charlotte Stein

Charlotte Stein creates some of the best, most realistic characters to be found in fiction and Her Under the Skin series is no exception. Intrusion is moody, atmospheric, sexy and suspenseful. It's about a troubled man and the woman who might save him from himself. Definitely a must-read if you love tortured heroes.

4. "Her Only Desire" (Book #1 of "Sultry Summer Nights," followed by "His Every Fantasy") by Delilah Devlin

A small town, an unsolved murder, a BDSM club and an ex-Navy SEAL with a dominant streak that could give Christian Grey a run for his money—all set in the sultry Louisiana Bayou. Devlin's first book in the "Sultry Summer Nights" series is the perfect hot summer read.

5. "Midnight Ride" (Book #1 of "Midnight Cowboys," watch for "Midnight Wrangler" later this year) by Cat Johnson

Cat Johnson has made a name for herself by writing some of the best Alpha male heroes, whether they wear a uniform or a cowboy hat. And this time around she's taking readers out on the Oklahoma range to meet a lonely widow and the young but sexy ranch hand she falls for. "Midnight Ride" is the start of a promising new series about rough-and-tumble-you-into-bed cowboy heroes.

6. "Blush" Cherry Adair

Known for her spy and adventure romances, Cherry Adair takes a leap into the cut-throat world of cosmetics and, in a fun twist, the CEO billionaire is a woman. The hero is a hired assassin with a conscience and his target is the poor little rich girl on the run. The sexy relationship dynamics make for a fun, fast-paced read.

7. "Opening Up" by Lauren Dane

I buy Lauren Dane's books for her name alone—she's just that good. And I'm in love with the name of her new series, "Ink and Chrome." In "Opening Up," her characters ride motorcycles, drive muscle cars and have tattoos and piercings—and they're not afraid to get their hands dirty. Twisted Steel is the motorcycle and hot rod shop where Asa and PJ discover a chemistry that goes far beneath the shiny surface. Forget the billionaire, go for the guy with grease under his nails!

8. "The Original Sinners" series by Tiffany Reisz (starts with Book #1, "The Siren")

If you're looking for a scorching hot series to read this summer, Tiffany Reisz is it. "The Original Sinners" is filled with compelling (and kinky) characters, and the relationships Reisz creates are more complicated and emotional than watching "Game of Thrones." There are several books already published in this series, so start with "The Siren" and plan to be reading well into the fall!

9. "Slow Surrender" (Book #1 in "Struck by Lightning" series, followed by "Slow Seduction" and "Slow Satisfaction") by Cecilia Tan

Winner of several well-deserved romance awards, "Slow Surrender" is the first book in the BDSM-themed series. Tan deftly crafts a story about a mysterious, wealthy and dominant businessman and a waitress/student who finds herself falling for the mystery and craving more and more. The comparisons to "Fifty Shades" are inevitable, but readers will find themselves murmuring, "Christian who?" before they are halfway through the book.

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10. "Vanilla" by Megan Hart

Another auto-buy author on my list, Megan Hart has been writing some of the best erotic romance for years. Her newest is "Vanilla," the story of Elise who likes her men on their knees, and Niall, whose sexual tastes lean more, you guessed it, vanilla. But the chemistry between the two is undeniable and Elise must learn to let go of her past and decide what she wants for her future. Raw, honest characters are a hallmark of Hart's books and "Vanilla" is no exception. Delicious!

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