You’ve finally read Fifty Shades of Grey and you’re standing at a crossroads. Let M.Q. Barber help you translate the signposts before you pick a direction for further travel.
Is it the wealthy, powerful man who takes what he wants while concealing a deep vulnerability? The billion-dollar deals, the private helicopter rides, the jet-setting vacations and lurking enemies? You’ll want to move on to more alpha billionaire bad boys with Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Maya Banks’ Breathless trilogy, Christina Lauren’s Beautiful series, or Jodi Ellen Malpas’ This Man trilogy. These are the perfect picks if you want a book boyfriend who’ll stalk you at your home and office, never give you a moment’s peace, and just maybe be worth calling the cops over.
However, if the peek at Christian Grey’s special interests—spanking, teasing, bondage, sensory deprivation—are what kept you turning the pages, jump tracks to Cherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands series. Mr. Grey’s controlling ways didn’t necessarily adhere to the safe, sane, consensual ethos (or even the risk-aware consensual kink standard) affirmed by many responsible kinksters. Sinclair gives her dominants and submissives a healthy dose of reality while still bringing the fantasy to life. Meet the members of the club starting in Club Shadowlands.
Maybe you cared less for Mr. Grey’s specific interests than for boundary-pushing in general. My own Neighborly Affection series straddles that line with a kinky trio. Yes, bisexual, polyamorous people can find love, enjoy kinks, and still end up in closed, committed, and faithful happily-ever-after relationships. Henry, Alice, and Jay start negotiating that road in Playing the Game.
For a steamy-sweet take on the long-term threesome scenario, start with Kelly Jamieson’s Rule of Three series. When a couple in love brings in an old college friend for more than flirtation, three lives are irrevocably changed. For boundary pushing with more raw grit, go straight to Kit Rocha’s Beyond series. This goes double for you dystopian young adult lit fans, who doesn’t want to see a grown-up version? Boundaries will get pushed, but even in the hardscrabble, anything-goes, gang-infested future, love still rules.
When all of Mr. Grey’s serious drama gets you down, hop off the brooding billionaires bandwagon and hang out with more blue-collar gents who can make a woman laugh and melt in the same moment. Rie Warren’s Carolina Bad Boys series marries humor with heart-racing romance, starting with Stone, At Your Service.