Quick internet search tells me that a nerd is defined as; “a person seen as overly intellectual, obsessive, introverted, interested in obscure or not-popular things, and lacking social skills.” Basically? I am ALL OF THOSE THINGS. It’s like the internet knows my life!*
*Dear NSA Agent skimming my blog: please do spend some quality time with my trope rec posts. I promise you will need reading material because my life is very boring and these books are more fun. Also I include lots of entertaining kinks in the reading material. You are welcome.
Anyway. Sometimes when I read I’m a nerdy peg, looking for a nerdy-shaped hole to fit into. It’s a super niche kind of character trope. Competence, knowledge, and smarts are sexy. If you’re also in the mood for these kinds of reads, consider this post your gateway.
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Starting out with some historical romance: When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Eloisa James. Piers is a doctor with DEFINITE Dr. Gregory House tendencies. He’s about as subtle as a cricket bat to the face and can be a real jerk. Enter the breathtakingly beautiful Linette who is just as intelligent, as well as confident and…yeah. Sparks fly.
Maddie from When a Scot Ties the Knot, Tessa Dare. Maddie is a budding scientist and talented artist who draws bits of animals and wants to break into illustrating published science works (a HUGE deal for a woman in the time period the book is set.)
England’s Perfect Hero, Suzanne Enoch. Robert is wounded and complicated and trapped inside a shell of PTSD, but he’s also a talented gardener who has a knack for growing roses. And we all know those buggers are temperamental and hard to grow.
And Minerva from A Week to be Wicked, Tessa Dare. Minerva is a scientist and scholar (interested in fossils, of all things). She follows the classic historical romance formula by falling in love with a rake. The rest of the book (particularly the rake and his enthusiasm for how smart Min is) doesn’t follow a formula at all.
There weren’t a ton of paranormal romances I could think of with this trope (please add for me if you know one!) but No Rest for the Wicked, Kresley Cole definitely makes the list. Sebastian has spent centuries hating what he is (a vampire) and spends all his endless time sulking alone in his abandoned mansion and reading. He’s pretty much an expert on everything except females, emotions, and kissing. Bonus: he’s a virgin hero, due to all the aforementioned sulking and reading.
Dark Desires After Dusk, Kresley Cole, with mathematician Holly literally holding her own against a Rage Demon prince. He’s so alpha he probably kisses his biceps good morning, and she’s so logical she talks herself through believing in the supernatural. It’s a match made for perfect reading pleasure.
Fortunately contemporary romance has a metric ton of excellent geek/nerd romances. Like Hold Me, by Courtney Milan. Jay is a kind of general genius about things, and Maria is a prepper expert. Yes, that kind of prepper where you prepare for the eventual apocalypse. Jay is a regular commenter on Maria’s prepping blog and while they might like each other online, in-person is a very different story…
The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang, contains Stella, a mathematician who is neurologically on the Asperger’s spectrum. Do not miss this ownvoices romance, it’s so incredibly sweet and affirming and lovely.
Another heroine who is on the spectrum is Audrey from The Wedding Night by Kati Wilde. This book is one of the few to make me cry, it’s so emotional. The way Caleb first misunderstands, then learns, then truly empathizes with and falls in love with Audrey is just…beautiful.
Takeover by Anna Zabo, manages to make software engineering and management consulting sexy. I dunno, it probably has to do with the BDSM elements.
We can’t forget #NERD by Cambria Herbert for this list, because the title is literally what this post is about. Rimmel, the heroine, is also hilarious.
Carter MacGuire, from Vision in White, Nora Roberts, is an english teacher who is incredibly, adorably awkward over the phone. He somehow manages to relate his growing relationship with Mackenzie to literary themes and Shakespeare and make it sexy. He’s basically magic.
And A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole features Naledi, the heroine, who is an epidemiology grad student. Wicked smart, is what I’m saying.
You thought you’d make it out of this post without an alien romance rec, didn’t you. BAHAHAHA, NO. I will never be finished recommending alien romances. And the nerds in these books are some of the most adorkable out there. I love them so much. If you give the books a chance I promise you will adore them, too.
Devi, from Devi’s Distraction by Ruby Dixon, is a dedicated zoologist who is actually overjoyed to be on an alien planet and dive right in classifying all these brand new freaky creatures. Her mate N’Dek is bemused by the enthusiasm but, and here is the best part, goes along with it. He’ll happily wake up early to drag dead things off the beach. Anything for his mate. *Sigh*
Zylar, from Strange Love by Ann Aguirre, is the most adorably nerdy and awkward alien you will ever meet between the pages of a book. I just want to squish him. The fact that Beryl, the heroine, recognizes what a treasure he is makes me very happy.
And Simmi, from Contagion by Amanda Milo, is an extreme germaphobe and genetic biologist who is blissfully unaware of how scary his species looks to other species. The human heroine has to rescue him from mosquitoes, leeches, algae, chewing gum, and apples. Yes. Apples. Why not double the fun by reading the first book in this duology, too? You get another geneticist and an astro-botanist falling in love in Contaminated.