Squeaky Clean

Bri Castellini
3 min readFeb 11, 2023

Romances with closed door/SFW sex scenes

This week’s recommendations feature no explicit sex scenes! In general, the authors below can be counted on for romances sans sexy times (well, except for Lauren Layne, but her website has a handy guide for this), if that’s your jam (or you’re looking to introduce a younger person or a more prudish friend/family member to the genre).

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The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella. Two years after Effie’s parents’ unexpected divorce, her father and his new girlfriend (who she’s since estranged from) plan to sell the family home and throw one last party there first. She attends in secret to reclaim a lost childhood toy and in hiding/seeking overhears a number of family secrets and must be aided by her One Who Got Away to ensure she remains undetected for an entire weekend as she searches for said toy. Possibly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, ever?

Rating: 4.5/5

How hot? 🔥

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane. Georgina is having a rough time in adulthood. After getting fired from a terrible job, she comes home to find her boyfriend actively shagging (another British book! I couldn’t resist!) someone else. Fresh off this double humiliation, she’s hit with the rule of thirds when, at a new bartending gig, she comes face to face with her first love from back in high school, Lucas, who… doesn’t remember her. This is a very funny and also heart wrenching story about toxic men, gaslighting, and how everyone grows into themselves at different ages. TW: sexual assault

Rating: 5/5

How hot? 🔥

To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne. In another very funny story about a woman putting off her own ambitions because of a variety of circumstances, Gracie Cooper is running her late father’s beloved (but struggling) champagne shop in Manhattan and pretending like it’s totally fine her painting aspirations are on hold. It gets especially tough when the handsome Sebastian Andrews, a classic rom com Hallmark heel-turned-hero, starts hassling her about buying her out and replacing her business with a parking garage. To cope with the growing stresses of a life she inherited largely by accident, Gracie turns to a man she met on a dating site sans photos and real names to vent. He’s definitely not someone she knows in real life already. Naaaah this is obviously a love triangle. It definitely doesn’t take the entire book to officially reveal otherwise, despite it being clearly the central premise.

I love a book with a strong epistolary element, though, and I had fun with this despite the premise taking a little longer than I’d prefer to play out.

Rating: 4/5

How hot? 🔥

Subscribe to my romance newsletter, Forced Proximity, that will deliver you 3 new romance recommendations every Friday afternoon!

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Bri Castellini

Freelance indie film and crowdfunding consultant. Writer of mystery TV and romance novels. Human bulldozer. www.BriCastellini.com