I’m not shy in admitting that one of my favorite things about reading romance is collecting new book boyfriends. 😊 Every year there are always a few book boyfriends who stand out as my favorite heroes in romance and claim their spot on my best book boyfriends list.
In 2023 I read over 120 romance books and definitely found a number of romance heroes I’m STILL swooning over and won’t soon forget. Several are from my best romance novels of 2023 list but not all. But for this year’s list I’m changing it up a bit and including both my favorite book boyfriends from this year’s new releases as well as highlighting a few favorite book boyfriends from the throwback titles that I read this year.
Curious to know who stole my heart in 2023? Read on to discover the best book boyfriends of 2023 or listen to the podcast episode below:
If you’re looking for even more book boyfriends, check out my Book Boyfriend page for past lists of the best book boyfriends in romance and my favorite book lists of romance heroes and take my Book Boyfriend Quiz to see who your ideal book boyfriend is!
My Favorite Book Boyfriends of 2023 from This Year’s New Releases
Gosh, how I loved this book boyfriend for his quiet authority and his leadership but most importantly for the way he pushed Violet in a way that helped her succeed when he had every reason not to. He was more of a man and friend to her than her friend Dain. Plus, there were the moments when they spoke telepathically that were just awesome.
While I totally fell for Xaden in Fourth Wing, he absolutely stole my heart in Iron Flame. His vulnerability hit me someplace deep and his profession of love and adoration for Violet was totally swoon-worthy. I love him so much and cannot believe we will get even more of him in the future books to come in the Fourth Wing series! Check out my full review of Fourth Wing to learn more.
Fourth Wing Summary:
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history.
Now, the commanding general―also known as her tough-as-talons mother―has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.
But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, the end of your life is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.
With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would take out Violet to better their own chances of success.
The rest would end her just for being her mother’s daughter―like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.
She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.
Yet, with every day that passes, the battle outside grows more dangerous, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the ledger of those lost continues to rise.
Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.
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Logan may have been hidden behind the camera in On the Plus Side, but when he stepped out an supported Everly, it was EVERYTHING. Struggling with this own body image, the man didn’t hold back when it came to his care and growing affection for Everly. Book boyfriends who are supportive, kind and have hot forearms are tops in my book. 😊 Check out my book review of On the Plus Side.
On the Plus Side Summary:
Everly Winters is perfectly happy to navigate life like a good neutral paint color: appreciated but unnoticed. That’s why she’s still a receptionist instead of exploring a career in art, why she lurks but never posts on the forums for her favorite makeover show, On the Plus Side, and why she’s crushing so hard on her forever-unattainable co-worker. When no one notices you, they can’t reject you or insist you’re too much.
This plan is working perfectly until someone secretly nominates Everly for the next season of On the Plus Side. Overwhelmed by the show’s extremely extroverted hosts and how much time she’ll have to spend on screen, she finds comfort in a surprising friendship with the grumpy but kind cameraman, Logan.
Soon Everly realizes that he’s someone she doesn’t mind being noticed by. In fact, she might even like it.
But when their growing connection is caught on camera, it sends the show’s ratings into a frenzy. Learning to embrace all of herself on national TV is hard enough; can Everly risk heartbreak with the whole world watching?
Love, Theoretically captured the spot as my favorite Ali Hazelwood book and one of the best romance novels of 2023 and one reason is because of Jack. He’s your typical Hazelwood male hero – a bit of an enigma at the beginning – a man of influence and power yet quiet and hard to read. I loved how Elsie couldn’t read him!
He is the epitome of an amazing book boyfriend because he truly saw Elsie for who she was, and pushed her “in a good way” to break out of her patterns. He demanded honesty, and that is what enabled them to build a strong relationship from the start. While holding her to honesty, he was also such a safe spot for her – being there when she struggled, always seeing her to her core. It was beautiful and the best part of the story which is why he’s on this list!
Check out my full book review of Love, Theoretically.
Love, Theoretically Summary:
The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure.
By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.
Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere.
And he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job.
Elsie is prepared for an all-out battle of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him?
Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?
Related: Best Academic Rivals to Lovers Books
Even at his first meeting with Melody when they were teenagers, you could sense Beat and Melody’s connection and his protection of her was everything. I love a hero and book boyfriend who weighs his decisions based on how they will impact the one they’ve come to care for and that’s Beat to a T. He was the perfect book boyfriend. Check out my book review of Wreck the Halls.
Wreck the Halls Summary:
Melody Gallard may be the daughter of music royalty, but her world is far from glamorous. She spends her days restoring old books and avoiding the limelight (one awkward tabloid photo was enough, thanks).
But when a producer offers her a lot of money to reunite her mother’s band on live tv, Mel begins to wonder if it’s time to rattle the cage, shake up her quiet life… and see him again. The only other person who could wrangle the rock and roll divas.
Beat Dawkins, the lead singer’s son, is Melody’s opposite—the camera loves him, he could charm the pants off anyone, and his mom is not a potential cult leader. Still, they might have been best friends if not for the legendary feud that broke up the band.
When they met as teenagers, Mel felt an instant spark, but it’s nothing compared to the wild, intense attraction that builds as they embark on a madcap mission to convince their mothers to perform one last show.
While dealing with rock star shenanigans, a 24-hour film crew, brawling Santas, and mobs of adoring fans, Mel starts to step out of her comfort zone.
With Beat by her side, cheering her on, she’s never felt so understood. But Christmas Eve is fast approaching, and a decades-old scandal is poised to wreck everything—the Steel Birds reunion, their relationships with their mothers, and their newfound love.
It is often the reluctant book boyfriends that make my favorite list! Connor may have gotten roped into The True Love Experiment reality TV show, but his one-off post-show interviews with Fizzy were everything because you could truly see the man that he is and his feelings for her. They were the best part of this romance and made me fall hard for Connor right along with Fizzy. Check out my book review of The True Love Experiment.
The True Love Experiment Summary:
Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Sure, she’s got an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist with a slew of bestsellers under her belt, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practicing what she’s preached.
Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. What happens when the optimism she’s spent her career encouraging in readers starts to feel like a lie?
Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, loves his work in large part because it allows him to live near his daughter.
But when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element.
Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution.
What if he could show the queen of romance herself falling head-over-heels for all the world to see? Fizzy gives him a hard pass—unless he agrees to cast the contestants according to a list of romance archetypes.
When he says yes, and production on The True Love Experiment begins, Connor wonders if that perfect match will ever be in the cue cards for him, too.
Oh Nash! He’s a man with a heart of gold and who would do anything for the small town of Knockemout even when he’s struggling with depression and PTSD. He is the type of hero with a wounded heart that I just eat up and Score totally delivered on this one with such a perfect man who finally accepted his imperfection. I cannot wait to see who will play him in the Things We Never Got Over TV series!!
Things We Hide From the Light Summary:
Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares.
He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbor, smart and hot Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too.
The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk. Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever.
A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way. But once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded…even if it means facing the danger that nearly ended him.
Kallum is one of those romance heroes who just makes you smile anytime he’s on the page. I adored his relationship with his family and his former band members but his understanding and openness and just pure sweetness when it came to Winnie was gold.
This book was sweet and spicy and just a joy to read because Kallum was so easy-going and such a great “teacher” and boyfriend to Winnie. He’s definitely one of the best relationship coach boyfriends!
A Holly Jolly Ever After Summary:
Kallum Lieberman is the funny one™. As the arguably lesser of the three former members of the boy band INK, he enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame and then moved home where he opened a regional pizza chain called Slice, Slice, Baby!
He’s living his best dad bod life, hooking up with bridesmaids at all his friends’ weddings. But after an old one-off adult tape is leaked and quickly goes viral, Kallum decides he’s ready to step into the spotlight again, starring in a hot Santa biopic for the Hope Channel.
Winnie Baker did everything right. She married her childhood sweetheart, avoided the downfalls of adolescent stardom, and transitioned into a stable adult acting career.
But after her perfect life falls apart, Winnie is ready to redefine herself—and what better way than a steamier-than-a-steaming-hot-mug-of-cider Christmas movie?
With decade old Hollywood history between them, Winnie and Kallum are both feeling hesitant about their new situation as costars…especially Winnie who can’t seem to fake on screen pleasure she’s never experienced in real life.
She’s willing to do the pleasure research—for science and artistic authenticity, of course. And there’s no better research partner than her costar, Kallum.
But suddenly, Kallum’s teenage crush on Winnie is bubbling to the surface and Winnie might be catching feelings herself.
They say opposites attract, but is this holly jolly ever after really ready for its close-up?
Related: Best Christmas Romance Books
Freakin’ Nolan man. I could picture you in my mind’s eye while reading Check & Mate – how you loved Mallory from within, showing her in your own way until she could see it for herself. You were never selfish but saw your true mate in the fellow chess expert and it didn’t take many words to see it and feel it!
I have a soft spot for book boyfriends who are the silent type but when you did use your words, they were everything. I’m still swooning over your thoughtfulness and devotion. Check out my book review of Check & Mate.
Check & Mate Summary:
Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory’s focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the job that keeps the lights on.
That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.
Nolan’s loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What’s even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing?
The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory’s victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can’t help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist.
As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place.
And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren’t only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent…and infuriating…)
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There is nothing like a book boyfriend who’s a true hero and that’s Nate. The man was dedicated to his career as a military man and was the epitome of an elite soldier. Despite having his heart broken, he protected Izzy with all that he had and even looked out for her sister. He is definitely one of my favorite book boyfriends of 2023! I only want more of him. Read my full book review of In the Likely Event.
In the Likely Event Book Summary:
When Izzy Astor gets on a plane to go home, she isn’t expecting much. It’s the usual holiday travel experience: busy, crowded, stressful. Then she spots her seatmate, who is anything but ordinary. Nate Phelan sports dark hair, blue eyes, and a deliciously rugged charm that Izzy can’t resist.
Their connection is undeniable. Izzy never believed in destiny before, but she does now. Just ninety seconds after takeoff, their plane goes down in the Missouri River.
Their lives change. They change. Nate goes on to a career in the military while Izzy finds her way into politics. Despite a few chance encounters over the years, the timing never feels right. Then comes a high-stakes reunion in Afghanistan, where Nate is tasked with protecting Izzy’s life. He’ll do anything to keep her safe. And everything to win her heart.
Related: Rebecca Yarros Books in Order
I totally fell for this playboy bodyguard who swooped in (reluctantly) to help the sweet, virginal, good girl. Both Will and Annie could see each other so well despite being such opposites and they felt safe with each other to be honest which build such a strong foundation to their relationship.
I especially loved that Will recognized that Annie was just looking for someone to give her permission to be herself out loud and he was that to her and then some. Check out my full book review of Practice Make Perfect.
Practice Makes Perfect Summary:
Annie Walker is on a quest to find her perfect match—someone who complements her happy, quiet life running the local flower shop in Rome, Kentucky. But finding her dream man may be harder than Annie imagined. Everyone knows everyone in her hometown, and the dating prospects are getting fewer by the day.
After she overhears her latest date say she is “so unbelievably boring,” Annie starts to think the problem might be her.
Is it too late to become flirtatious and fun like the leading ladies in her favorite romance movies? Maybe she only needs a little practice . . . and Annie has the perfect person in mind to be her tutor: Will Griffin.
Will—the hot, tattooed, and absolutely gorgeous bodyguard—is temporarily back in Rome, providing security for Amelia Rose as excitement builds for her upcoming marriage to Noah Walker, Annie’s brother. He has one personal objective while on the job: stay away from Annie Walker and any other possible attachments to this sleepy town.
But no sooner than he gets settled, Will finds himself tasked with helping Annie find the love of her life by becoming the next leading lady of Rome, Kentucky.
Will wants no part in changing the sweet and lovely Annie. He knows for a fact that some stuffy, straitlaced guy won’t make her happy, but he doesn’t have the heart to say no.
Amid steamy practice dates and strictly “educational” tutoring lessons, Annie discovers there are more layers to Will’s usual stoic attitude. As the lines of their friendship become dangerously blurred, Annie reconsiders her dream guy. Maybe her love life doesn’t need to be perfect—it just needs to be real.
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As if volunteering up his kidney for Briana’s younger brother isn’t enough to make Jacob one of the best book boyfriends, I don’t know what else will but there was even more to love about this man. I mean the man loves a three-legged dog people!
I loved how he chose to write Briana letters given his extreme anxiety and how that drew them closer together. He’s another book boyfriend who looked and SAW who Briana is, understood her and was prepared to do anything to help her trust him and what they had despite her lack of trust in men given her history. His own relationship history was heartbreaking but that’s what made his all-in actions toward Briana so much sweeter.
Check out my full book review of Yours Truly.
Yours Truly Summary:
Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale.
But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter. And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions.
Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses.
But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly hot new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.
Related: Abby Jimenez Books in Order
My Favorite Book Boyfriends of 2023 from Throwback Titles I Read This Year
Noah completely catapulted himself onto my favorite book boyfriend list after reading this because he is simple AMAZING! He is the type of man I hope my daughter finds – someone who is instantly smitten but puts in the time to get to know her and someone who loves and cherishes her above all else.
I am putting Noah on a pedestal but he deserves to be there. I loved how he just clicked with Ari and when they reconnected, he could sense her heartbreak. He was the best friend to her when she needed one and never pushed her for more.
He just seemed so wise and mature beyond his 21 years, especially dealing with all the heartbreak in this one. Simply perfection which is why I’m now including the best book boyfriends from throwback years on my lists – all because of Noah!
Check out my the full book review of Say You Swear.
Say You Swear Summary:
My brothers best friend broke my heart, but what happens when his new teammate wants to put it back together? For years, I’ve dreamt of what college life could bring and while some things changed, there was always one constant. It didn’t matter how wild I allowed my imagination to run, it always led me to the same place in the end.
It led me to him. My future was clear, and he was it. Until suddenly, he wasn’t. Now there’s a new man in my life, one who isn’t afraid to go after what he wants, and what he wants … is me. They say first loves last forever. What about the second?
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I normally don’t listen to audiobooks but I totally swooned every time Luka called Stella Lala in this book. It just showed how close these two friends were and how much they already loved each other but just couldn’t admit it.
Luka is the best book boyfriend because he could totally read Stella and he wouldn’t let her hide anything. He totally jumped on board with the fake relationship she proposed, no questions asked, and was there for her at every turn, no matter what.
Even when the point of conflict arose, he showed that he is SUCH a good, selfless man. Plus, the man could really turn up the steam with his bestie. Holy moly! I loved Luka so much and so will you.
Lovelight Farms Summary:
Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams. In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, Stella enters a contest with Instagram-famous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, Stella might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes.
There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on her application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only…there is no boyfriend.
Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just stopped by for some hot chocolate and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process. But fake dating his best friend might be the best Christmas present he’s ever received.
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It’s not hard to love a good cop and Chace is definitely one of the good ones in a department that was once filled with crooks. He’s sacrificed a lot for his mother and his small town and yet still doesn’t believe he’s worthy of Faye.
Chace instantly became a favorite book boyfriend because he’s that alpha male that I can’t help but fall for. I also loved how he never hesitated to act out scenes from the romance books Faye was reading. That’s an instant winner in my book!
But he also earned a spot on this list for being such a protector to Malichi. Oh man did that just crack my heart wide open.
In Carnal, Colorado, Faye Goodknight is the town’s quiet, shy librarian. She may also be Carnal’s last remaining virgin. For years, Faye has had a crush on Chace Keaton, but the gorgeous cop has always been unattainable. She’s resigned to live contentedly with only her books for company-until Faye suddenly meets Chace alone in the woods . . .
Chace doesn’t think he’s the good guy everyone believes him to be. He’s made a lot of choices he regrets, including denying his feelings for Faye. Through his choices, he’s come to believe the pretty librarian is too good for him, but after their time in the woods, Chace realizes that she may be his last chance for redemption. Soon, their long simmering desires grow to a burning passion. Yet always casting a shadow over their happiness is Chace’s dark past.
Related: Best Cop Romance Books
I love a man who is willing to step in and help no matter what when the woman in his life needs it and that is Remy though he steps in to help Maria before they are even an item. And when this man helps to take care of her newborn and falls in love with her, OMG it was the absolute best. But I totally skipped over that he helped deliver the baby! Hero swoon.
Remy is just one of those all-around good guys which earned him a spot on this list. I loved him.
The Redo Summary:
Put a finger down if you’ve ever been a single woman who got stuck in a New York City elevator in the middle of a summer blackout with your former high school sweetheart—whom you haven’t seen in years—while pregnant with a baby that isn’t biologically yours. And you can’t believe how handsome that blast from your past is, so you unwittingly flirt with him a little even though your life is so crazy complicated you’re barely keeping your head above water, but everything about him makes you think you could totally still be in love with him. What? Just me?
Even though he’s the epitome of tall, dark, and incredibly handsome, Remington Winslow has been a single bachelor for most of his life. It’s clichéd and basic—until you consider the fact that once upon a terrible time, he got left at the altar. He doesn’t do relationships. He definitely doesn’t fall in love.
And I’m just trying to survive a tangled web of unexpected motherhood and running one of the top real estate firms in the city that never sleeps. He’s the jaded guy who doesn’t want to settle down, and I’m the career-focused woman with more baggage than a 747 can hold. We’re just two friends who used to be in love.
Looking For More Book Boyfriends?
Don’t miss my Book Boyfriends page for all things book boyfriends including links to more lists like this one.
- Best Book Boyfriends of 2022
- The Best Alpha Males in Romance
- The Best Dirty Talkers in Romance Books
- Romance Heroes with Wounded Souls You’ll Love