The Rec League: Sexy Outlaws

The Rec League - heart shaped chocolate resting on the edge of a very old bookKiki and I are both based in the Boston area and we were lucky enough to attend an event with Beverly Jenkins. While waiting in the signing line, we discussed some of our favorite Jenkins’ books with mine being Night Hawk. ( A | BN | K | AB ) I’m such a sucker for the cover (dark hat and a black duster without a shirt on underneath) and I told Kiki that the “sexy outlaw” archetype is my jam.

She then had the brilliant suggestion of making it a Rec League.

Thus this post was born! Tara also asked if they had to be historical romances, and I don’t think so. All outlaws are acceptable.

EllenM: Oh boy I have a TON for this.

Amanda: GIMME

Magic of Blood and Sea
A | BN | K | AB
EllenM: First, the Roaring 20s series by Jenn Bennett is about a family of prohibition-era bootleggers. also light speculative elements (ghosts, curses, etc).

First one in the series is called Bitter Spirits.

Then, the second Iron Seas book, Heart of Steel, ( A | BN | K | AB ) is about a treasure-hunter and a sky pirate, so DUAL sexy outlaws. Sort of steampunk-y enemies to lovers. I think you could probably start with this one and it would make sense but the characters are introduced in the previous book.

The Magic of Blood and Sea duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke I think also fits this? Pirate princess and rebellious assassin running away together. Very slow-burn, lots of angst and pining.

Night Hawk
A | BN | K | AB
For SPACE OUTLAWS. I think Polaris Rising fits this. Everyone’s a gallivanting criminal!!!

Amanda: Wow, can’t believe I forgot about that

EllenM: Finally, some comics with sexy outlaws that I would consider to be romance-adjacent although not romance, the Kim & Kim series ( A ) is about space bounty hunters who are often on the wrong side of the law, and Heathen by Natasha Alterici is about a SEXY VIKING OUTLAW LADY who wants to overthrow the gods

Which sexy outlaws would you recommend?

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  1. 1
    The Other Kate says:

    Pale Moon Rider by Marsha Canham is an awesome old school romp with major Scarlet Pimpernel meets The Highwayman vibes. It’s been highly reviewed on this very site!

    Bec McMaster, who I adore, has a trilogy of post-apocalyptic cowboy type romances called The Burned Lands. I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of her other books, due to protective heroes/gentler heroines (I prefer my heroines badass), but they’re still fun.

  2. 2
    Crystal says:

    I think that Michael Fury from Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts would definitely qualify. By the time the book starts, he’s somewhat reformed (still has enough bad to be super-sexy, but now he also likes kids and is about taking care of his horses), but there are several hints in the text that he got up to some shit in his day. Also, Tess Bailey from Nightchaser. It’s pretty clear that she’ll take what she can get in terms of jobs, and that might be smuggling, and it also might be sheltering wanted fugitives, as well as being a wanted fugitive herself.

  3. 3
    carol sulcoski says:

    The Rogue Pilot’s Bride, by Shana Galen (hero is a pirate who escaped the guillotine in the French Revolution), and I guess pretty much any other book with a pirate hero.

    Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn. Hero is a highwayman who may be the titular long lost duke.

    The Outlaw and the Lady — Lorraine Heath. Western outlaw.

    I feel like there might be some Joanna Bourn or Lauren Willig novels that fit into this category. Maybe some Beverly Jenkins, too. Probably some set in Scotland where there is a Jacobite hero.

  4. 4
    PamG says:

    The first thing I thought of was a pair of older novels by Patricia Gaffney: Outlaw in Paradise and Crooked Hearts. I enjoyed both back in the day, but in retrospect, Crooked Hearts has problematical portrayals of Asian characters–very stereotyped Chinese villain & minions/victims. It’s a shame because the relationship between the main characters is pretty entertaining and both are crooked as advertised.

    I’m thinking that What the Parrot Saw fits this criteria, though the “criminals” are far more moral than the forces of law and order.

    Heyer’s The Masqueraders features a cross-dressing brother and sister hiding out from the consequences of the Jacobite Rebellion and their extremely shady Dad.

    Finally, I just finished a reread of Crusie’s Faking It in which the main couple are a semi-reformed con man and an art forger. Agnes and the Hitman also has some shady yet extremely entertaining characters.

  5. 5
    PamG says:

    Ooh-ooh! Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews. Hugh is not precisely an outlaw in the thiefy sense, but he is definitely a BAD MAN and brings the buckle and the swash.

  6. 6
    MaryK says:

    Bitter Spirits is a very good book. The hero is a big softy who falls head over heels for the heroine.

    Other than Kati Wilde’s MC series, I’m completely blanking on this one.

  7. 7
    BellaInAus says:

    Georgette Heyer has a couple of other sexy outlaws – the secondary couple in The Talisman Ring features a young man returned to England to clear his name and involved in smuggling. And The Black Moth features a young man who has returned to England to clear his name and is a highwayman. (Actually, now that I think about it, the hero in TBM has actually just come back to the area where he was born because he misses it.)

    And a personal favourite is The Lady and The Luddite, about a young woman who inherits some textile mills at the same time that mill workers are rebelling because they’re being replaced by machines. The hero is a mill worker who leads a group of loom smashers. It’s packed in a box ready for us to move, so I can’t tell you the author.

  8. 8
    Kareni says:

    Would Roarke from JD Robb’s …in Death series count?

  9. 9
    JudyW says:

    Lets see, Contemporary outlaw would include Joanna Wylde’s Reaper motorcycle club series. There is “Fates Edge” by Ilona Andrews which has Kaldar Mar which a character from the book described by saying “I guess you’re familiar with the law. You hit it over the head, set its house on fire, and got its sister pregnant.” There is “Tru Blue” by Melissa Foster with a convict on parole. “Mackenzie’s Mountain” by Linda Howard also with a parolee hero. “One Summer” by Karen Robards also has a convict and is great suspense. “Heat” by R.L.Smith has an Alien(!) convict loose on Earth. For Historical there is the “LilyWhite” boys from K.J. Charles who are unapologetic criminals. Mickey O’Connor is a redeemed criminal (but not too much!) in “Scandalous Desires” by Elizabeth Hoyt. Also “Nobody’s Darling” by Teresa Medeiros which has a convict who was wrongly accused and transported. And finally a true western in “The Touch of Fire” by Linda Howard which has a female doctor taken hostage. That’s all I’ve got for now.

  10. 10
    EJ says:

    Speaking of Bec McMaster, Blade from Kiss of Steel is an outlaw – their society doesn’t even recognize the legality of his existence as a rogue vampire. So he’s built his own community of misfits on the outskirts and it’s just such good world building and you should read it!

  11. 11
    Viktória says:

    As for a bit of YA fantasy, let’s not forget about A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, Lila Bard is introduced as basically The outlaw.

    I thought that I’ll have tons of suggestions but I’m totally blanking right now…

  12. 12
    MaryK says:

    I think Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series has outlaw heroes. I’ve only read The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo. The hero of that one is a pirate. I really liked the book and plan to read more. They’re more historical romps than strictly accurate historicals.

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