This week’s Sapphic Book Bingo post features sapphic sports romances.
A sports romance is a book with a main character who’s an athlete or otherwise involved in a sport, e.g., a coach, physical therapist, etc.
In order for the book to count for this category, the sports setting needs to be essential to the book, not just be mentioned in passing a couple of times.
It can be any sport, from the more well known, e.g., soccer, baseball, tennis, etc., to lesser known ones such as curling, lacrosse, or ultimate frisbee.
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15 sapphic sports romances
Here are my recommendations for the sapphic sports romances category:
Thrust by Rachel Spangler
Fencing prodigy Jess Kidman has always been ahead of her peers. At the age of thirteen she made the varsity team, won a state championship, came out, and fell head over heels in love with her team captain, Lauren Standish. After being gently rebuffed by the high school senior, young Jess vowed she would return for her some day when their age difference became irrelevant and her own accomplishments made her not merely an equal, but an Olympian. Ten years later, Jess makes good on her promise, but when she arrives back in Buffalo a few months before the big games, she’s intrigued to find that the woman she’s always dreamed of could also be exactly the coach she needs to win gold.
Lauren, however, isn’t the bubbly team captain she’d been at eighteen. After a stellar collegiate career of her own, circumstances forced her to put her dreams on the shelf and return to Buffalo. She’d made peace with a quiet life spent running a rust belt fencing club and coaching kids when Team USA’s hottest young fencer waltzes back into her life. As much as Lauren finds Jess’s confidence and athleticism alluring, she also sees the hotheaded superstar as a threat to the carefully controlled world rebuilt in the wake of the traumatic loss she is desperate to avoid reliving. Never one to turn her back on a friend in need, Lauren agrees to coach Jess on the condition that they focus only on the swordplay and not the sharp point of attraction threatening to sever the bonds of her professionalism.
The two women set to work preparing for the biggest event, but as tension mounts in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, the pressure and the passion building between them also grows, leaving both to wonder if Jess is trying to win the gold, or win the girl.
Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue
A lesbian sports romance about breaking all the rules.
Viva Jones was great once. A top ten tennis player with a grand slam trophy to her name, she had the world at her feet. Then an overzealous lineswoman’s bad call knocked her out of the US Open, and a persistent injury crushed her career. While battling to return to the game she loves, a chance meeting with the lineswoman, Gabriela, forces Viva to rethink the past…and the present.
Away from the court, Gabriela is sexy, athletic, and lives for her career as an umpire. She seems to be falling for Viva as hard and fast as Viva is for her. There’s just one problem: players and officials can’t date.
Pas de Deux by EJ Noyes
Caitlyn Lloyd has the world at her feet. Or more accurately—under her horse’s hooves. With the 2016 Rio Olympics just around the corner, nothing is going to derail her long-held dream of winning a medal or two in Olympic dressage. Not even the reappearance of a childhood so-not-a-friend throwing her perfectly balanced life into disarray.
Addie Gardner’s career is at its peak, and accepting a last-minute fill-in position as the veterinarian for the US Olympic Dressage Team was a no-brainer. The fact that her old crush from Pony Club is on the team is just a bonus. Not a distraction at all. And it might just offer the chance to be friends with the girl who wouldn’t even give her the time of day twenty years ago.
But Caitlyn and Addie have very different memories of their time together at Pony Club and their first meeting as adults is less like a reconnection and more like a butting of heads. With the Olympics looming, they’ll need to set aside their history and learn to work together. And maybe Caitlyn and Addie will realize childhood memories aren’t always accurate, and that they have more in common than they would ever have thought. Maybe. Just maybe.
Game Changers by Jane Cuthbertson
Writer Rachel Johnston’s solitary life is upended by an unexpected encounter with pro soccer player Jaye Stokes. Jane is younger, confident, attractive…and dedicated to pursuing a relationship with Rachel.
Despite the disapproval of Jaye’s best friend, their connection deepens. Jane plays her best soccer ever, and Rachel begins to dream of happiness with a loving partner. But can she trust Jaye enough to share her long-buried secret?
Without warning, a tragic accident changes all the rules of the game for both of them. Is there light at the end of the tunnel or will the flame be extinguished?
Switchback by S.W. Andersen
Sierra Cody is on fire. A rising star in women’s professional downhill mountain bike racing, she has all the tools to become a world champion. All she needs to do is fully commit herself. Something far easier said than done. As stubborn as she is independent, Sierra has always carved her own path, refusing to fall in line with the controlling, commercialized aspects of the sport. Her trademark no-holds-barred, reckless style of riding has earned her as many cheers as it has jeers.
Dr. Kara Davies, a highly regarded and accomplished physician, is well on her way to achieving her dreams in chiropractic research. Commitment to her goals has never been an issue, but her personal life is a different story. Preferring the comfort and safety of her lab over personal relationships, Kara’s one-track mind allows no deviation. But life is full of twists and turns.
After an accident on the track lands Sierra in Kara’s on-site medical center, the doctor suddenly finds she has more on her mind that work. Blindsided by mutual attraction, Sierra and Kara struggle to accept their feelings for each other and to deal with the change it brings. Will love be enough? Or will life’s little switchbacks send them both careening off course?
Unadulterated Something by MJ Duncan
Emma Beauchamp and Campbell Jordan’s rivalry on the ice was legendary. Retirement should have closed that chapter of their lives, but when Campbell joins the faculty at Stonebridge—the prestigious Berkshires boarding school where Emma now teaches—it takes on a brand new life. There’s plenty of distrust and lingering animosity, but as circumstances force them to find a way to not only coexist, but work together, Emma and Campbell find that being on the same team isn’t as awful as they’d feared. Will their years spent battling it out for team and country be too much to overcome? Or will they finally acknowledge the truth behind the electric connection they share?
Match to Love by Johana Gavez
An internet friendship becomes so much more in this light-hearted lesbian sports romance.
World-renowned tennis player Daniela Martinez has everything she could wish for, except love. When romance knocks on her door, she will have to find a balance between her athletic ambitions and her desire for a relationship or risk sacrificing one for the other.
Law student Ari Nunez is struggling with managing the expectations of her family and dedicating her life to a profession she dislikes more every day. Her relationship with Daniela, full of international travel and vacations, is the perfect escape, even if it feels too good to be true.
Follow their journey from a chance online meeting to power couple taking on the world together.
Catch and Cradle by Katia Rose
Thou shalt not date thine teammates.
The UNS Women’s Lacrosse team doesn’t have an official policy against inter-teammate relationships, but those words might as well be carved into stone tablets in the middle of the field. After witnessing way too much drama in the past, Captain Becca Moore is intent on keeping her players’ love lives out of the locker room.
Becca has no time or tolerance for any distractions from the game. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Hope Hastings has been since the day she showed up for tryouts: one walking, talking, charismatically dorky and way-too-kissable distraction.
Hope knew she was headed straight to the danger zone from the moment she saw Becca’s flame-red hair and surly captain smirk. She’s spent the past two years writing off her attraction as a harmless crush, but starting a new semester fresh out of an awful relationship makes Hope realize just how far from harmless the heat between her and Becca really is.
The friendships of a tight-knit team and their shot at the title are all lying on the line, but as Hope and Becca get closer to bending rules they’ve sworn never to break, they realize they’ve put their hearts on that line too. Losing has never been an option, but winning might cost more than they’re willing to pay.
Out on the Ice by Kelly Farmer
Caro Cassidy used to be a legend.
During her career, Caro was one of the best defense players in women’s hockey. These days, she keeps to herself. Her all-girls hockey camp is her life, and she hopes it’ll be her legacy. Sure, her new summer hire is charming and magnetic, but Caro keeps her work and personal life strictly separate.
Amy Schwarzbach lives life out loud.
Amy’s as bright and cheerful as her lavender hair, and she uses her high-profile position in women’s hockey to advocate for the things she believes in. Ten weeks in Chicago coaching a girls’ training camp is the perfect opportunity to mentor the next generation before she goes back to Boston.
Letting love in means putting yourself out there.
When the reticent head coach offers to help Amy get in shape for next season, her starstruck crush on Caro quickly blossoms into real chemistry. As summer comes to an end, neither of them can quite let go of this fling—but Amy can’t afford a distraction, and Caro can’t risk her relationship becoming public and jeopardizing the one thing that’s really hers.
All the Worlds Between Us by Morgan Lee Miller
Seventeen-year-old Quinn Hughes needs to be in top shape if she wants to medal at the swimming World Championships in ten months. This means no easy distractions, no matter how pretty they are.
She’s still piecing her confidence back together after not qualifying for the Olympics, her relationship with her twin brother is getting worse the more he hangs out with the popular kids, and then Kennedy Reed suddenly squeezes herself back into Quinn’s life. The girl who was her best friend. The girl who gave Quinn her first kiss. The girl who hasn’t spoken to her since.
Soon, Quinn finds herself juggling her new girlfriend, training for the biggest competition of her life, and discovering she’s not the only Hughes twin with a crush on Kennedy Reed. All these distractions are getting to her, and if she wants that medal she needs to find a way to stop drowning on dry land.
Underwater Vibes by Mickey Brent
How to survive that pivotal moment when admiration turns to attraction?
Hélène Dupont, a scientific translator in Brussels, Belgium, cherishes two things: flowers and her cat. She writes bad poetry to help her survive her painful existence with her husband, until she is forced to undergo a radical lifestyle change. Sylvie Routard, a young, Greek photographer, enters Hélène’s world as her new private swim coach. During their daily lessons, Hélène’s admiration toward Sylvie turns to attraction. As unsettling feelings hijack Hélène’s mind and body, daydreams featuring Sylvie enter her world—even her poems. While the two athletes increasingly feel underwater vibes in the pool, Hélène questions her relationship at home, and everything else in life.
Underwater Vibes is the first of a two-book series. Broad Awakening is its sequel.
The Long Shot by A. L. Brooks
Talented golfer Morgan Spencer has never won a major but it’s so close she can taste it—no thanks to her sexist father, a golfing legend who won’t even give her the time of day.
Television producer Adrienne Wyatt has thrown herself into her career after her lover left her a year ago. She has a brilliant new plan: a documentary featuring Morgan’s rise and rise, capitalizing on the young woman’s star appeal.
The main problem is that the reserved golfer treats Adrienne’s plan like an invasion of privacy. The other issue is her growing feelings for the irritatingly attractive woman—an unprofessional lapse that would get her ridiculed by her peers if anyone found out.
When things come to a chaotic head, as fierce desires, risked careers, age differences, and dreams all come into play, what will win?
Hat Trick by K.L. Gallagher & Ali Spooner
Alexandra “Alex” Hawthorne is on the fast track to the top of one of the most formidable, white-collar, criminal defense law firms in New York. She can ill afford any distractions, especially those with dark-brown eyes, who can rock a power suit while coaching professional hockey players. Not now. Not when Alex is so close to making senior partner. Not after all she has sacrificed.
After a devastating end to her playing career, Janelle Leblanc channeled her passion into coaching and reached the pinnacle of success as the first female head coach in NHL history. Despite her accomplishments, she hears whispers that she was hired as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Janelle’s focus needs to remain on the ice if she is to prove them wrong, not on a certain curly haired attorney with the most arresting emerald-green eyes she has ever seen.
Once the spark is lit, their chemistry is impossible to ignore. Can Janelle break down Alex’s walls to give them a real chance? Or will Alex’s past heartache be too much for them to overcome?
Romancing the Kicker by Catherine Lane
Parker Sherbourne has a talent for sports and seduction—and the body to prove it. When the High Rollers, the professional football team from Las Vegas, chase after her to be their point-after specialist, she jumps at the chance. Sure, the position is only a publicity stunt, but she has always been able to turn any situation to her advantage. Carly Bartlett joins the Rollers as the newest athletic trainer and the only other female on the payroll. This dream job could bring the financial security her family desperately needs. The head trainer has only one warning: don’t get involved with a player. Not a problem. She doesn’t go for guys. When Parker reaches out to Carly for treatment, sparks fly. Will Carly fall for Parker’s charms and put her own desires ahead of her family’s? Has Parker finally found the woman who’ll make her slow down and stop playing the angles? With the macho world of football against them, can they beat the odds in this lesbian sports romance?
Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler (pre-order; to be published on June 7, 2022)
Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.
The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.
Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.
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