35 Dark Romance Books: These Are NOT Your Mother’s Love Stories

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Dark romance books are for the reader who loves things twisted, taboo, and the more wicked the better.

These dark romance books are NOT your mother’s clean romances and are not for the faint of heart. They are books filled with the irredeemable and the dark characters you’ll hate to love.

Of course, every romance book has a happy ending, but for these dark romances, you have to get through abduction, stalking, bullying, pain, non-consent, or worse to get there.

If you’re ready and willing to cross way over the line into the dark side of romance, be sure to add these must-read dark romance books to your TBR list – many of which you can read on Kindle Unlimited!

These are the dark romances FILLED with trigger warnings and antiheroes you can’t get enough of. You’ve been warned! 😊

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Best Dark Romance Books That Will Keep You Up at Night

Asking For It is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Asking For It
by Lilah Pace

A Taboo Dark Romance

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy.

When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. Their meetings incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists.

But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker.

OK, this dark romance book will lure you into the genre because it focuses on the taboo of the desire for non-consensual acts without being completely violent or dangerous or completely off the rails.

It is all about Vivienne’s fantasies and finding the man to give them to her and oh does he ever!

Until I Get You is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Until I Get You
by Claire Contreras

A Hockey Dark Romance

3 years ago, she ruined my life. Now I’m going to return the favor…

My reputation at Fairview University preceded me. I was the projected number-one pick in the NHL draft and the fan favorite at the rink. People wanted to be me or be with me.

Except for Lyla James Marichal.

She didn’t look at me like I was her next meal. She eyed me with disdain. Instead of vying for my attention, she ignored me and pushed me away.

She was completely unattainable, and I became obsessed with her.

When I finally got her, it felt like I was on top of the world. I was going to help the team win another championship, going into the draft, and had Lyla by my side.

And then, without warning, she left me. Vanished.

It took me three bitter, angry, long years to find her, but I did, and now she owes me a lot more than just an explanation.

Three years ago, she ruined my life. Now, I was going to become her worst nightmare.

Don’t let this book fool you into thinking it’s a simple college hockey romance. It may lull you into believing that at first but what you really get is a darker, more suspenseful read with a possessive alpha male.

For something on the lighter side of dark romance, give this 600-page book a go before venturing into the rest of these reads.

Prisoner is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Prisoner
by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

A Forbidden Dark Romance

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him–pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles.

He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty.

He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back.

At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage–you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape.

He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

This is the dark romance book to read if you like forbidden romance. Grayson is definitely a morally grey character considering his actions and those toward Abby at times, but this is a book where you see what made the man.

You have to be ok with some violence and non-consent but you’ll be reading it from start to finish in one sitting!

Tears of Tess is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Tears of Tess
by Pepper Winters

An Abduction Dark Romance

Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility.

For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting time together to set the mood for a wonderful holiday.

With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world.

But paradise is shattered.

Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror.

Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.

Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?

This is another popular, dark romance that starts off like the movie, Taken. Tess thinks she’s just going to enjoy a vacation with her nice and safe boyfriend but oh how plans change.

Despite being kidnapped and forced into the bed of another, she’s finally able to unleash the cravings and feelings she’s always had but could never explore with her boyfriend.

How will it end? You’ll just have to read it to know!

Corrupt is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Corrupt
by Penelope Douglas

A Dark Romance Set on Revenge

Erika: I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession. His name is Michael Crist. My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch.

He’s handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him. I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore. Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael: Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika. My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table.

I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway. Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college. Unprotected.

The opportunity is too good to be true, as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

We’re getting right into it when it comes to irredeemable characters in this dark romance book that will push your limits.

He’s all about revenge and though Erika’s a strong heroine, she takes what Michael gives and you might not like it. Then again, maybe you will.

Douglas brings the steam, the mystery, the suspense, and the dark in this romance!

The Risk is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

The Risk
by S.T Abby

A Mindf*ck Dark Romance

I didn’t expect him. I didn’t want to fall in love. But I can’t let him go. Logan Bennett makes the world a safer place.

He’s brilliant. He’s a hero. He locks away the sick and depraved. But while he’s saving lives, I’m taking them. Collecting the debts that are owed to me.

Ten years ago, they took from me. Now I’m taking from them. One name at a time. They never see me coming, until I paint their walls red.

Logan doesn’t know how they hurt me. He doesn’t know about the screams they ignored. He doesn’t know how twisted that town really is.

He just knows people are dying. He doesn’t know he’s in love with the one taking their lives.

But in the end, will Logan choose them? Or will we watch them burn together?

This book is SO addicting and it is only book one in the Mindf*ck series!

Seriously, the fast pace of the writing, the suspense of the story, and the complete craziness of an FBI agent falling for a woman dropping men like it’s nobody’s business will have you reading this in one setting and scrambling for the next book.

It’s no wonder this dark romance book is so popular with over 140K ratings on Goodreads and taking over #Booktok!

Captive in the Dark is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Captive in the Dark
by CJ Roberts

An Abduction Dark Romance

Caleb is a man with a singular interest in revenge. Kidnapped as a young boy and sold into slavery by a power-hungry mobster, he has thought of nothing but vengeance.

For twelve years he has immersed himself in the world of pleasure slaves searching for the one man he holds ultimately responsible.

Finally, the architect of his suffering has emerged with a new identity, but not a new nature. If Caleb is to get close enough to strike, he must become the very thing he abhors and kidnap a beautiful girl to train her to be all that he once was.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Ruiz has just woken up in a strange place. Blindfolded and bound, there is only a calm male voice to welcome her. His name is Caleb, though he demands to be called Master.

Olivia is young, beautiful, naïve and willful to a fault. She has a dark sensuality that cannot be hidden or denied, though she tries to accomplish both.

Although she is frightened by the strong, sadistic, and arrogant man who holds her prisoner, what keeps Olivia awake in the dark is her unwelcome attraction to him.

Just knowing that a girl is kidnapped to be trained as a pleasure slave should be an indication enough of how dark things get right off the bat in this dark romance book.

Caleb is a man on a mission and he’s taking Olivia with him on this dark and twisted journey.

If you want to feel uncomfortable, distressed, and addicted so that you’re scrambling for book two in this duet, this should be your pick. And don’t even get me started on this cover – brilliant!

Captive Prince is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Captive Prince
by C.S. Pacat

MM Dark Fantasy Romance

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and dangerous, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere.

But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

And on the topic of pleasure slaves….if you like dark romance books in fantasy then this is THE book. I was so wholly uncomfortable reading this book about Damen and his situation at the hands of Laurent.

But know that you’ll need to continue with the Captive Prince trilogy to see how this MM enemies to lovers romance relationship really gets down and dirty between these two men.

Fear Me is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Fear Me
by B.B. Reid

Bully Dark Romance Book

I don’t believe in fairy tales and Prince Charming. I believe in fear. He taught me how to be afraid.

We first met on a playground on a wonderful summer day. It was the first time he hurt me and it wouldn’t be the last.

For ten years, he’s been my tormentor and I’ve been his forbidden. But then he went away, and yet I was still afraid.

Now he’s back and wants more than just my tears. You see…he thinks I sent him away so now he wants revenge…and he knows just how to get it.

Enemies to lovers you say? A high school romance? Well, it may be both as well as completely whacked in that the psychotic, possessive bully is relentless when it comes to the submissive heroine.

Definitely check out the trigger warnings for this dark romance book!

Ruthless People is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Ruthless People
by J.J. McAvoy

Mafia Dark Romance Book

To the outside world, they look like American Royalty, giving to charities, feeding the homeless, rebuilding the city. But behind closed doors is a constant battle for dominance between two Bosses, cultures, and hearts.

Melody Nicci Giovanni and Liam Callahan are rivals by blood and leaders through fear. Their marriage was arranged by their fathers in hopes to end years of bloodshed between the Irish and the Italians.

Liam, next in line to lead the Irish, believes he’s getting a simple-minded wife, one he can control, one who bends to his every need . . . the complete opposite of Melody.

Bred to be a Boss, a world-class marksman, master of disguise, with no mercy and no fear. Twenty-four years later, she has achieved more than any man could even dream of, killing anyone who steps in her way.

She knows exactly what type of man Liam is, and she would rather die than give up the power she has spent her whole life building.

But with no other family left, she must not only learn to work with Liam, but the whole Callahan clan.

The Mafia of the past is evolving, and with rival bosses gunning for them, Melody and Liam will have to figure out how to work as one to take down those who stand in their way, all while keeping up appearances
.

Reading this mafia romance book, I remember thinking that I had never read a romance book where the heroine was so trigger-happy!

It’s actually kind of comical how these two mafia leaders try to one-up each other despite being forced into an arranged marriage. But bodies drop around them like flies. LIKE FLIES!

Sinners' Playground is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Sinners’ Playground
by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Reverse Harem Dark Romance

I hate the Harlequin boys. Fox, JJ, Chase and Maverick. The four names tattooed onto my heart more permanently than the ink on my skin.

Once upon a time, they broke my heart, stole my life and sent me away from everything I’d ever known.

But they don’t just live in this town anymore, they rule it. And the view here may be beautiful, but the sun, sea and sand hide dark secrets.

The gangs. The lies. The violence.

It all lurks beneath a veil so thin that once you’ve seen through it, you can never close your eyes to the truth again. But I don’t plan on closing my eyes.

I have four devils set in my sights. And this girl no longer has anything to lose.

Peckham and Valenti are no stranger to reverse harem romance and they bring it with this enemies to lovers series.  

Rogue used to be best friends with Fox, JJ, Chase and Maverick but then something went down and she’s back to enact her revenge and then some.

If you’ve loved the authors’ Zodiac Academy series but want something more contemporary but just as dark, then check out this dark romance and the rest of The Harlequin series.

Haunting Adeline is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Haunting Adeline
by H.D. Carlton

A Fantasy Dark Romance

The Manipulator

I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me. I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh.

But my words don’t affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave. He’s always there, watching and waiting. And I can never look away. Not when I want him to come closer.

The Shadow

I didn’t mean to fall in love. But now that I have, I can’t stay away. I’m mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves. The way she undresses…

I’ll keep watching and waiting. Until I can make her mine. And once she is, I’ll never let her go.
Not even when she begs me to.

This is the first dark romance book in the popular Cat & Mouse duet that readers can’t get enough of if you love alpha males who are pretty much stalkers.  

Carlton herself says that she loves characters who are morally grey so you’ve heard it from the source and have been warned about this dark fantasy romance.

Related: Cat and Mouse Duet Order: The Complete Guide

Daraling Venom is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Darling Venom
by Parker S. Huntington

An Enemies to Lovers Dark Romance

I wasn’t supposed to be on that roof on Valentine’s Day. Neither was Kellan Marchetti, the school’s designated freak.

We met on the verge of ending our lives. Somehow, the tattered strings of our tragedies tangled and tightened into an unlikely bond.

We decided not to take the plunge and agreed to check on each other every Valentine’s Day until school ended.

Same time. One roof. Two restless souls. We kept our promise for three years. On the fourth, Kellan made a decision, and I was left to deal with the consequences.

Just when I thought our story ended, another one began. They say all love stories look the same and taste different.

Mine was venomous, disgraceful, and written in scarlet scars.

My name is Charlotte Richards, but you can call me Venom.

This dark romance deals with some heavy topics but OMG is it steamy too! I’ll just let you know that Kellen’s older brother is a gynecologist so stew on that a bit and let your mind have fun thinking where a scene with Charlotte might (and does!) go….Yowza!

Den of Vipers is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Den of Vipers
by K.A. Knight

A Reverse Harem Dark Romance

Ryder, Garrett, Kenzo, and Diesel—The Vipers.

They run this town and everyone in it. Their deals are as sordid as their business, and their reputation is enough to bring a grown man to his knees, forcing him to beg for mercy.

They are not people you mess with, yet my dad did. The old man ran up a debt with them and then sold me to cover his losses.

Yes, sold me. They own me now.

I’m theirs in every sense of the word. But I’ve never been meek and compliant. These men, they look at me with longing.

Their scarred, blood-stained hands holding me tight. They want everything I am, everything I have to give, and won’t stop until they get just that.

They can own my body, but they will never have my heart.

The Vipers? I’m going to make them regret the day they took me. This girl? She bites too.

We know reverse harem books are probably going to be pretty hot, but if you also like them dark then this is the dark romance book for you.

With over 600+ pages, not going to lie that it’s pretty polarizing and full of triggers but if you like mafia romance books you may like it!

The Ritual is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

The Ritual
by Shantel Tessier

A College Dark Romance

Barrington University is home of the Lords, a secret society that requires their blood in payment. They are above all—the most powerful men in the world.

They devote their lives to violence in exchange for power. And during their senior year, they are offered a chosen one.

People think growing up with money is freeing, but I promise you, it’s not. My entire life has been planned out for me.

I never got the chance to do what I wanted until Ryat Alexander Archer came along and gave me an option for a better life. He offered me what no one else ever had—freedom.

I chose to be his. He made me believe that anyway, but it was just another lie. A way that the Lords manipulate you into doing what they want.

After being sucked into the dark, twisted world of the Lords, I embraced my new role and allowed Ryat to parade me around like the trophy I was to him.

But like all things, what started out as a game soon became a fight for survival.

First off, if this book cover doesn’t captivate you to read this dark romance I’m not sure what will. I love a good new adult romance and I love that this is a college romance on steroids.

Don’t read this if you can’t take explicit and very steamy romance books. This one is full of all the kinks you’d find with a secret society where you’re considered owned.

Buckle up for this ride!

Hooked is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Hooked
by Emily McIntire

A Twisted Fairy Tale Dark Romance

He wants revenge, but he wants her more…

James has always had one agenda: destroy his enemy, Peter Michaels. When Peter’s twenty-year-old daughter Wendy shows up in James’s bar, he sees his way in.

Seduce the girl and use her for his revenge. It’s the perfect plan, until things in James’s organization begin to crumble.

Suddenly, he has to find the traitor in his midst, and his plan for revenge gets murkier as James starts to see Wendy as more than just a pawn in his game.

Wendy has been cloistered away most of her life by her wealthy cold father, but a spontaneous night out with friends turns into an intense and addictive love affair with the dark and brooding James.

As much as she knows James is dangerous, Wendy can’t seem to shake her desire for him.

But as their relationship grows more heated and she learns more about the world he moves in, she finds herself unsure if she’s falling for the man known as James or the monster known as Hook.

Hooked is book one in McIntire’s popular Never After series and its starts off letting you know right from the get-go how dark and twisted James is.

You wonder if this man has a moral compass but maybe you won’t care after he sets his sights on Wendy.

I love that McIntire twists the Peter Pan story for this dark romance book!

Crow's Row is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Crow’s Row
by Julie Hockley

An Abduction Dark Romance

For college student Emily Sheppard, the thought of spending a summer alone in New York is much more preferable than spending it in France with her parents.

Just completing her freshman year at Callister University, Emily faces a quiet summer in the city slums, supporting herself by working at the campus library.

During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bills grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killing and then she blacks out.

When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes she’s been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang.

She is hurled into a secret underworld, wondering why she is still alive and for how long.

Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his loss, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty-six-year-old Cameron.

She understands its a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life.

But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.

This dark romance book has definitely captivated readers with over 20K ratings on Goodreads.

It pulls in abduction, falling for your captor, mafia underworld, and all the trappings for a slow burn romance.

But be warned that it does end on a cliffhanger!

His is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

His
by Aubrey Dark

An Abduction Dark Romance

I never meant to be here: tied up in bed next to a serial killer.

When I followed him home, I was just playing Nancy Drew. Trying to find out his secret. His kiss was intoxicating, and I thought he was harmless.

I was wrong.

Nancy Drew never ended up in a basement, handcuffed to a radiator, teased to the edge of insanity, begging to be let go.

Soon, I stopped begging to be let go. Soon, I started begging to be HIS.

The “dark” in this dark romance is obviously the fact that Gav is a bit of a psychopath given that he can only “feel” when he’s torturing and taking someone’s life.

I don’t know if these victims are scum or not but ok – that’s a different kind of hero than I normally read 😊.

Kat is a quiet and submissive heroine whose life is pretty boring despite being a librarian. To say things change for her after running into Gav is an understatement however this one isn’t as dark as the blurb insinuates it to be.

Broken is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Broken
by W Winters

An Abduction Dark Romance

I never thought of life like the petals of a rose before. But they’re so alike. Delicate and easily crushed. Broken… just like he made me.

He could pluck away and there was nothing I could do except be destroyed and accept my fate.

That’s what he does, he ruins what he touches. Ruthless and cold hearted.

They gave me to him. To break. To do as he’d like. All because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He grew addicted to the feel of plucking away at me. At leaving me bare and taking control over every piece of me.

And if I’m honest with myself… I grew to love it too.

When an author describes her book as DARK in capital letters then I guess that’s really saying something.

If you’re cool with abduction due to wrong place wrong time and the subsequent training to be a pleasure slave then have at this dark romance book, especially if you like BDSM romances.

It Ain't Me Babe is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

It Ain’t Me Babe
by Tillie Cole

A Motorcycle Club Dark Romance

Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever.

Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune
Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery.

A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.

Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.

River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world, Styx unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him.

Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters.

Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go.

I’m actually surprised that I read this one because it has some triggers warnings that I steer clear of but I admit that I was hooked from the author’s note where she talked about her focus on religious studies and how she came to meet real survivors of cults.

If you love motorcycle club books you will definitely enjoy it and fall for Styx and all the men in the Hades Hangmen series.

I thought the connection between Styx and Mae was the best part of the book where the darkness really only sits with her past and the actions of the cult she was a part of.

Vicious is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Vicious
by L.J. Shen

An Antihero Dark Romance

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.

The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.

Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend.

The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.

That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. She better get used to me.

Vicious is another widely popular romance that earned a Goodreads Choice Awards nomination for best romance in 2017, and is the first in Shen’s Sinners of Saint series.

What starts as a high school romance but then jumps to years later, it’s the kind of enemies to lovers, bully romance that many readers crave with an antihero you can’t help but fall for.

Give it a try and check it out for yourself.

Still Beating is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Still Beating
by Jennifer Hartmann

An Enemies to Lovers Dark Romance

When Cora attends her sister’s birthday party, she expects at most a hangover or a walk of shame.

She doesn’t anticipate a stolen wallet, leaving her stranded and dependent on Dean—her arch nemesis and ultimate thorn in her side.

And she really doesn’t anticipate waking up in shackles in a madman’s basement.

To make matters worse, Dean shares the space in his own set of chains.

After fifteen years of teasing, insults, and practical jokes, the ultimate joke seems to be on them.

The two people who always thought they’d end up ending each other must now work together if they want to survive.

But Cora and Dean have no idea their abductor has a plan for them. A plan that will alter the course of their relationship, blur the line between hate and love, and shackle them together with far more than just chains.

For a book’s description to start off with a trigger warning you know it’s going to be one dark romance.

It’s an enemies to lovers story with lots of non-consensual acts where two people bond over similar trauma.

It takes some pretty crazy sh*t to get these two to get over their issues with each other, just saying.

There Are No Saints is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

There Are No Saints
by Sophie Lark

A Steamy Dark Romance

Cole Blackwell values control. He’s the hottest sculptor in San Francisco, wealthy, successful, and respected. His only weakness is the dark impulse he carefully conceals…

Mara Eldritch is a nobody. Broke and damaged, she works three jobs while creating paintings no one will ever see.

A chance encounter throws Mara into Cole’s path. When Mara escapes what appears to be certain death, Cole is intrigued.

He starts stalking her, realizing there’s more to the struggling misfit than he ever would have guessed.

Cole becomes obsessed with Mara, breaking the rules that keep his true nature hidden. Mara knows he’s dangerous, but Cole is the only person who’s ever recognized her talent.

Cole is teaching Mara to get what she wants… what does he want in return?

There are books you read and then there are books you read and you’re like “what the heck is happening?!”

This is a steamy dark romance that follows the twisted mind of an artist on the brink of madness. If you’re up for a thriller, put this on your TBR list.

Does It Hurt is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Does It Hurt
by H.D. Carlton

An Enemies to Lovers Dark Romance

Who am I? I’ve forgotten the answer to that question long ago. Ever since I ran from that house, so desperate to escape, I left with only the clothes on my back and socks on my feet.

After that day, I’ve only ever walked in stolen shoes.

Could I be a girl who is searching for the meaning of life in faceless men? They were all so forgettable. Until he came along.

He took me under a waterfall and made me forget my name, and in return, I took his instead.

Enzo Vitale.

An enigmatic man that will only ever love the deep sea. Or rather the predators that inhabit it.

Turns out, he’s not so different than the monsters he feeds. He lured me onto his boat like a fish in the ocean, seeking vengeance for my crime.

Had I realized his intentions, and that a massive storm would leave us shipwrecked, I would’ve run.

Now, I’m a girl who’s seeking refuge in a decrepit lighthouse with a man who loathes me almost as much as he craves me.

He wants to hurt me, but the old caretaker of the abandoned island may have intentions far more sinister.

It’s no longer a question of who I am, but rather, will I survive?

I absolutely love this book cover and the title is so captivating for what is already billed as a dark romance.

Throw in A LOT of trigger warnings and a girl who gets off with lots of men then steals their identities until the one who makes her pay.

It’s got suspense, it sure has steam and it’s a thriller dark romance you’ll either love or hate.

Related: H.D. Carlton Books in Order

God of Malice is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

God of Malice
by Rina Kent

A College Dark Romance

I caught the attention of a monster. I didn’t ask for it. Didn’t even see it coming. But the moment I do, it’s too late.

Killian Carson is a predator wrapped in sophisticated charm. He’s cold-blooded, manipulative, and savage.

The worst part is that no one sees his devil side. I do. And that will cost me everything.

I run, but the thing about monsters? They always chase.

There’s just something about certain college romances that make the best dark romance books. Is it the age or stage of life that I can understand how things can go completely off the rails?

There are books with antiheroes and then there are books with psychopaths. If you like the latter, then read this book.

Raze is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Raze
by Tillie Cole

A Revenge Dark Romance

Conditioned in captivity to maim, to slaughter, to take life without question, prisoner 818 becomes an unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows.

After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge… bloody, and slow revenge on the man who wronged him.

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Red’ bosses of New York’s Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison.

Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring-The Dungeon-ensures too many enemies lurk at their door. She dreams to be set free.

Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. While working for her church-the only reprieve in her constant surveillance-Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets.

Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone.

He’s a man beyond saving. But Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man… … this man they call Raze
.

I had to include another Tillie Cole dark romance because I think her stories are just so freakin’ unique. And with such high ratings on Goodreads, there’s a reason readers are loving this book!

Cole must love the idea of brainwashing because it’s been a focus on several of her books I’ve read and this one is no different.

It’s dark because of what you learn that Raze had to go through but I love it when these heroes with wounded hearts find the woman who helps heal them.

Sicko is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Sicko
by Amo Jones

A Motorcycle Club Dark Romance

He was my foster brother. He swore to protect me. He failed. They all failed.

I’m an open box of passé photographs, snapped in chaste daylight, but filtered in sepia. I’m the past that he tried to forget, and he was the future I needed.

When he left four years ago, I screamed for him every night. But then it all stopped. My screams were suddenly muffled by cruelty, and further coaxed by pain.

But he has come back. He’s not the cute big brother I had a furtive crush on, or the bad boy, rich brat that I hated to love.

He’s the ruthless vice president of Wolf Pack MC, and he doesn’t answer to Royce Kane anymore.

He answers to Sicko.

With all the trigger warnings in this one, I’m honestly not sure I can even stomach this dark romance book.

If you are OK with a lot of forced, nonconsensual actions then have at it or maybe you just want in because it’s a motorcycle club romance. But be warned Royce’s dad is one ugly dude.

Desperate Measures is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Desperate Measures
by Katee Robert

A Fractured Fairy Tale Dark Romance

On the night Jafar takes everything from my father, he offers me a devil’s bargain—walk with my freedom and nothing else, or attempt to best him and regain my inheritance.

 In my arrogance, I play right into his hands. I foolishly assume I have a chance to come out on top. I’m wrong.

Now Jafar owns me, body and soul.

We fight during the day, but when night comes, we play out every fantasy I’ve never allowed myself to admit to having.

I can’t hide them from Jafar, though. We know each other—and the dark desires we share—far too well. He sees to my every need, no matter how carnal or extravagant. It’s almost enough for me to be happy…

But a gilded cage is still a prison, and I’ll do anything to obtain my freedom—even betray the man I’m falling for.

I love Katee Robert’s books because they always deliver a lot of steam and I love that she plays on traditional Disney stories but has the heroines falling for the villains.

This isn’t a super dark romance but Jafar takes what he wants when it comes to Jasmine. She just happens to like it and calls him Daddy 😊.

Raw is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Raw
by Bella Aurora

An Erotic Dark Romance

Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am.

Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street. Best decision I ever made.

Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job. My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved.

But the saying is true. The world makes way for those who know where they are going. That’s me.

I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace.

But then there’s him. I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me. He makes me feel.

It’s unconventional. But it’s real. I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.

So am I. This isn’t a story. This is my life.

For something dark, intense and well…raw, then give this dark romance a go. If you like your heroes intense and those who cross the line into stalkerish territory, then you’ll love Twitch.

Just want something extremely hot and an erotic read? Then this is for you but its not a love story as Aurora says, it’s a love story gone wrong.

Pennies is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Pennies
by Pepper Winters

An Abduction Dark Romance

Once upon a time, I was an eighteen-year-old psychology student. Now, I’m a man’s property.

Stolen and sold, I’ve been decorated in bruises since the day my world changed two years ago.

I suffer in silence, I crave freedom, but I never break. I can’t. Until he arrives.

Elder Prest, the only man to look at me and see me. The only man more ruthless than my owner.

He wants me for reasons I don’t understand. He claims me for one night then leaves and never looks back.

Until he returns. And life becomes much more complicated.

Abduction is such a common topic when it comes to dark romance books and Winters doesn’t shy away from it in Pennies.

This book has trafficking, humiliation, abuse, and the like at its core making it one dark read!

Crow is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Crow
by A. Zavarelli

A Mafia Dark Romance

When I walked into his club looking for a job, I had no intention of capturing the attention of the notorious Lachlan Crow.

His reputation has been known to send a shiver down most spines. Now the Irish mafia overlord is my new boss.

He doesn’t trust me, and I don’t trust him. But it doesn’t matter because I have a job to do.

I can’t let him distract me. Even if he burns hotter than the sun.

And all those growly commands and dark looks he tosses around? I won’t let them get to me.

He’s used to everyone falling in line, obeying his every command. But I’m not one of his soldiers. And he doesn’t know why I really needed this job.

Lying to him was supposed to be easy. But the longer I’m near him, the harder it gets.

It doesn’t feel like a game anymore because now my heart’s on the line. And when the web I’ve spun begins to unravel, it could destroy us both.

Now Lachlan has a choice to make. Let me go forever… Or burn his world to save me.

Mafia romance books make the best dark romance books because you can really play into the dark underworld and the morally grey or completely antiheroes of the story who like to do bad, very bad things.

Mack has no qualms about infiltrating the Irish mafia to find answers about her friend’s disappearance but she’s going to see some darkness the deeper she gets in.

Ruthless King is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Ruthless King
by Meghan March

An Antihero Dark Romance

New Orleans belongs to me. You don’t know my name, but I control everything you see—and all the things you don’t.

My reach knows no bounds, and my demands are always met. I didn’t need to loan money to a failing family distillery, but it amuses me to have them in my debt. To have her in my debt.

She doesn’t know she caught my attention. She should’ve been more careful. I’m going to own her. Consume her. Maybe even keep her.

It’s time to collect what I’m owed. Keira Kilgore, you’re now the property of Lachlan Mount.

If you love anti-heroes who may not have any redeeming qualities, come and meet Lachlan. He’s a man who loves power and what he can do with it and when it comes to Kiera he’s going to take and take.

This is book one in March’s dark romance Mount Trilogy so it does end on one heck of a cliffhanger.

Twist Me is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Twist Me
by Anna Zaires

An Abduction Dark Romance

Kidnapped. Taken to a private island.

I never thought this could happen to me. I never imagined one chance meeting on the eve of my eighteenth birthday could change my life so completely.

Now I belong to him. To Julian. To a man who is as ruthless as he is beautiful—a man whose touch makes me burn. A man whose tenderness I find more devastating than his cruelty.

My captor is an enigma. I don’t know who he is or why he took me. There is a darkness inside him—a darkness that scares me even as it draws me in.

My name is Nora Leston, and this is my story.

This dark romance is another that plays on the captivity trope where the young heroine falls in love with her captor. It’s got some major Stockholm Syndrome action.

It’s hot, there’s non-consent and it’s twisted but that’s what dark romance is all about.

Pen Pal is one of the most popular dark romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list of dark romance book recommendations on She Reads Romance Books.

Pen Pal
by J.T. Geissinger

A Dark Romance of Suspense

The first letter arrived the day my husband was buried. It was postmarked from the state penitentiary, and contained a single sentence:

I’ll wait forever if I have to.

It was signed by Dante, a man I didn’t know.

Out of simple curiosity, I wrote back to ask him what exactly he was waiting for. His reply? You.

I told the mystery man he had the wrong girl. He said he didn’t. I said we’d never met, but he said I was wrong.

We went back and forth, exchanging letters every week that grew increasingly more intimate. Then one day, the letters stopped. When I found out why, it was already too late.

Dante was at my doorstep.

And nothing on earth could have prepared me for what happened next.

I had to include Pen Pal, not only because Geissinger is one of my favorite authors but because she writes books that are such a mindf*ck in a really great way that it made my list.

Now this dark romance book is not one that deals with being taken or being forced or being violent but it’s truly dark and twisted and you don’t know what to expect until the very end. It’s awesome. Check out my book review of Pen Pal.

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If you like things dark and twisted, then don't miss the epic book list of dark romance books from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Why Trust She Reads Romance Books?

Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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