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Top 10 WTF Romance Novel Covers

VO: Lisa Yang
What were they thinking when they chose that cover? In this countdown we take a look at the funniest, cringiest and cheesiest romance novel covers ever! Everyone knows the name Fabio right? If you haven’t, just check out some of the covers and you’ll understand why that name is so synonymous with harlequin romance novels. We’ve analyzed each cover and tried to understand what the thought behind it was. Be prepared to laugh because this video is not about the romance of the novels but the comedy.
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Top 10 WTF Romance Novel Covers



For this list, we won’t be commenting on the plots, and we’re not saying that the stories in these books are bad. We’re not even trying to knock the artist, but we can’t deny that these covers left us scratching our heads or holding back a laugh. Come on, we’re only human. Also: some of this is NSFW, but we figured you knew that already.

#10: “Tender is the Storm” – Johanna Lindsey


Guys, hate to tell you this, but you two are doing that all wrong. This is why sex education is important... You can tell they both know something isn't quite working, because despite the nudity and ripped dresses, this has embarrassed virgins written all over it. The collapsing damsel seems to have the most reservations, like she’s pretty sure there is a better way to do this. Meanwhile, her naked, muscly companion is trying to play it cool, but it's obvious he's never sexed it up before, regardless of what he's been telling her. Then again, maybe we've caught them between acts? Oh, dear. At least no one is getting pregnant.

#9: “Bushwhacked Groom” – Eugenia Riley


Like many beautifully ‘What the Eff?’ things, this cover begs more questions than answers. Why on earth did she just off-load that gun in her bedroom? And why the doofus grin, Shirtless Wonder? Even if that is some kind of foreplay, that’s just irresponsible gun-ownership. Maybe she was trying to scare him off, realising she had just accidentally married Mike from “The Room”? Even if she was, she must have known he wouldn’t get very far … seeing as he’s missing his left foot - and no, that is not an intriguing twist in-plot, just a straight up blunder.

#8: “Discreet Young Gentleman” – M.J. Pearson


Come on, guys, your little tryst is really not that discreet. First of all, you left your lantern on, second, the moon is more full of itself than Kanye, and third, your coach is sitting right there! The driver, we assume, brought at least one of you there, and he can damn sure see what’s up. Are you even going to tip poor that poor man? It’s the middle of the damn night! Surely, he has to get up in the morning for his day job, maybe has to bring his kid to the dentist, or maybe he wanted to join in, but did you even think about poor Jeeves? No, you just thought of yourselves.

#7: “Spellbound in Seattle” – Garthia Anderson


While plots are irrelevant for today's list, we think it’s important that you know that Mr. Sorcerer’s name is Vorador, because what else could he possibly be called, right? We know he is busy seducing a rubber-spined young Heather Locklear, but perhaps someone should tell the warlock/Pierce Brosnan-look alike that what they’re doing is really dangerous. There is lightning, Vorador, and you are holding a long metal object. Sexy-times can wait. Even if they don’t get struck, the oncoming rain will definitely ruin her hair AND her velour dress, and what a shame that would be.

#6: “Spirit Intervention” – Margaret West


Nothing says supernatural romance like your mother leering over your shoulder. What we can gather: A young woman and her duck-lipped lover start to take things to the mild side somewhere in London – and somehow her mother knows. We can’t tell who is supposed to be the spirit here, but the title alerts us to the fact that mom is going to intervene. But does she have to look so into it… with her glasses down and that knowing smirk? Smoky mom has been watching for some time, and she just doesn't care if she gets caught.

#5: “A Witch’s Beauty” – Joey W. Hill


No one will want to miss the burning passion between the utterly disinterested angel, and the daughter of Cthulu who is unable to figure out how buttons work. But, really, if she’s a sea-creature, does she even need clothes? Would that hold up after years in salt water? As for bored angel-man; does a semi-omnipotent immortal being even have hang-ups about nudity? It's possible he might be naked; we can only see his Intercontinental Championship belt. There is a lot going on here, and a lot of logistic questions – like, how can this possibly work?

#4: “Riders” – Jilly Cooper


This may be pretty tame compared to some of the entries on this list, but for some reason that just makes it even funnier. This cover was enough to make “Riders” a classic bestseller, and has been reproduced faithfully over the years. It is as subtle as a hand on a breechy ass. The best thing is the position of the hand; it’s more appreciative than exploratory. Here is a man who knows a quality butt when he sees one. You expect that above this shot, he is not giving the lady a creepy leer, but a knowing nod of approval – with her full consent, of course.

#3: “Let Me Come In” – Linda Jones


This man is deeply ashamed of something. Let’s hope it’s only because he was just caught sleeping in someone’s garden. By the looks of things, party night at the farm got little wild, and Dudeson McBrosef here ran off and passed out with some piggies. The little fairy girl in the foreground is so embarrassed and disappointed she can’t even look at him. Yes, sir, you likely have something to feel guilty about. Perhaps it’s that small butterfly tattoo on your elbow, perhaps it’s something worse. No, you can’t come in. Just find your shirt go home, and revaluate your life choices.

#2: “Ghost of a Chance” – Jayne Ann Krentz


The cover has been since re-designed, but wow, the original. As Mr. Fantastic makes out with young Kathy Ireland's bellybutton on a rocky harbour in Maine, the ghost of his dead wife – we presume – uncomfortably wishes she : A) was anywhere else B) died in a time period with better hair. Is the ghost supposed to be a guide of some sort? Or is this her hell? Because this would be hell for just about anyone! “Oh, the man I loved is making out with a hotter, younger, ALIVE version of me? And I have to wear this bib? Bring on the fire and brimstone, this is so much worse.”

Before we uncover our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

'Baby Bonanza' - Maureen Child

“Rumor Has It” - Cindi Myers

“The Stud” - Barbara Delinsky

#1: Fabio – Multiple Covers


Sure, this is cheating, but how could we pick one just one Fabio cover?! Come on, he actually improved any cover he was on – kind of – and there were dozens! The fantasy man of lonely housewives, and college girls and boys around the world. The name, the pecks, the hair – this guy knew his brand before branding was even a thing. Often portrayed as either a tender, gallant, over-the-top fantasy protector-type, a brooding, soulful loner, or a shirtless, lusting beast, there was a Fabio for everyone. While he started off as the eye-candy, he eventually wrote his own “Fabio” line. Publishers knew what their audience wanted. And he did too.

Do you agree with our picks? What’s romance novel cover made you take a second look? For more intriguing top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.
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