Depth, relatability and sizzling spice, too: these characters are determined to live their best lives — and find the romance that makes them feel seen, unapologetically. In the pages of Afterglow Books, characters from all walks of life, all types of diverse identities, will pursue their dreams and discover love isn’t far behind. Because everyone deserves a happily ever after that’s true to who they are.

Key Elements:

  • Strong, driven protagonists who want to be the best versions of themselves. Whether they’re confident about the lives they’ve made or still figuring out who they are, they work through their flaws and meet their challenges, no matter how difficult. Their personal journey moves the plot forward just as much as their romantic journey.
  • Romantic arcs that are sexy and full of heart; the romances in these stories have emotional strength, electric chemistry and immerse you in the characters’ world.
  • When the chemistry ignites, it does not stop; whether your story is a slow burn or a raging inferno, the attraction is clear, and the tension is palpable every moment the characters are together. Sex scenes are explicit, but down-to-earth—they bring the reader into the character’s thoughts, feelings, experiences and sensations using everyday language without euphemisms.
  • In these stories, romance is not the solution to the protagonist’s problems, but it’s a key support system that empowers them to overcome their challenges and discover just how happy and fulfilled they can be.
  • Conflicts and situations can be remarkable or true-to-life, but they are always grounded in reality; whether it’s issues with family or friends, career, identity or community, the challenges these characters face reflect the diversity of experiences in our world.
  • Tone ranges from flirtatious, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy to angsty, highly emotional drama that reflects the complex struggles of real life.
  • Any location in the world can be home to these stories – whether it’s a well-known city or country or a special location that readers would love to learn more about.
  • Characters can be of any identity, background, or place in life. Their professions can be traditional blue- or white-collar jobs or unusual callings that reflect their individual talents. These romances are a window into the characters’ passions outside the romantic relationship.
  • No paranormal, romantic suspense, dark or historical romances, or billionaires at this time.

Featured in this line: 

Sexy romances that take you through the joys and challenges of creating a happily-ever-after today. These characters come from all walks of life. They live their truth and build relationships that match the life they want. Diversity is a staple component of all Harlequin lines, and in this line, you’ll see it reflected in each month’s releases. You will see characters who reflect your drive and daily trials, and who experience the searingly spicy romances they deserve. New twists on familiar stories – as well as plots you may never have experienced before – will prove a happy ending is not out of reach even when things get tough.

This line is…

  • Proof that happy endings are meant for everyone
  • Explicitly sexy with chemistry that pops
  • Unique plots and strong emotional conflicts that embrace the world around us
  • The journey of complex characters who aren’t afraid to make mistakes or stand up for what they believe in

We’re actively seeking books from authors of underrepresented backgrounds – if you feel that’s you, and you’re ready to create a sexy contemporary romance with compelling, relatable characters, we’d love to hear from you!

Find out more before you submit by:

What to Submit

  • Your full manuscript, or, if you have previously published a full-length fiction novel, submit sample chapters instead
  • A 3-5 page synopsis describing your story, including plot outline, character development and conflict resolution/ending

Our editorial office is located in New York, NY:

Senior Editor: Stacy Boyd (she/her)

Associate Editor: John Jacobson (they/them)

Assistant Editor: Errin Toma (she/they)

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.