Top 14 Dark & Spicy Romance Novels You Need To Read ASAP

I’m a big believer in every reader having the freedom to read whatever they want, and I’ll be the last, last person to ever yuck another person’s yum. 

Dark romance novels are steamy books with extremely mature content that slightly pushes the boundaries on every level — theme, leads, and the plot. 

And, I also want to mention that dark romance novels aren’t erotica, although some could be, but the sub-genres themselves are totally different. 

These dark romance novels have the most dangerous, bizarre, and utterly steamy plotlines that will appeal to anyone who likes their romance with lots and lots of flavour. 

So, if you’re in the school of thought that vanilla romance deserves a massive F U, you’re going to want to be seated for these totally amazing recs. 

1. Bully by Penelope Douglas

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Tate faces relentless bullying from someone who used to be her best friend and fed up with hiding, she decides to fight back in her senior year.

Bully was probably everyone’s introduction to dark romance and even though it’s controversial on every count – Jared was the biggest AH, Tate couldn’t be wimpier, & everything about their romance was toxic AF — but it made a huge splash in the hitherto dense dark romance genre and it’s super interesting.  

2. Everything I Left Unsaid

Everything I Left Unsaid

Answering a stranger’s phone call leads Annie McKay into a secret world of desire with a man named Dylan, but their secrets could ruin everything.

This is yet another OG dark romance book with two absolutely magnetic leads and a romance that’s supercharged and totally electric.  

3. The Auction by Maggie Cole

The auction

Riggs wants revenge on his partner, and targeting his daughter becomes part of the plan, but things take an unexpected turn.

I’ve always loved auction-based romance novels because even though they’re weird and, tbh, very unhinged, the romance is always, always top tier. 

4. Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Tears of Tess

Tess’s dream vacation turns into a nightmare when she’s kidnapped in Mexico and delivered into the hands of Q, the enigmatic, dark knight who fulfils her most carnal and base fantasies.

One thing I’ll tell you right now is that Tears of Tess is EXTREMELY problematic and the triggers are a mile long, so make sure you check them out before starting this book.  

5. The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori

The Sweetest Oblivion

Elena, nicknamed Sweet Abelli, finds herself entangled with Nicolas Russo, a Mafia boss, even though she doesn’t care for him.

A case could be made that every mafia romance book is a dark romance novel and they might be right – Just like others, The Sweetest Oblivion stars the most misogynistic, rough male lead you’d ever seen and it’s so steamy. 

I wrote a review of this book some time ago, and if you’ve read it and you want to read some more books like it, check out this post.

6. Twisted Love by Ana Huang

Twisted love

Alex, haunted by tragedy, is drawn to Ava, a free spirit with a troubled past, but their budding love soon unleashes many dangerous secrets they share. 

The Twisted series by Anna Huang is arguably one of the most popular dark romance series and while it might not have as many triggers as the rest on this list, you can rest assured that it’s just as enchanting. 

7. Blood of My Monster by Rina Kent

Blood of monster

Sasha wants to get revenge while Kirill is aiming for power, and when their paths cross, they soon realise they might have a lot in common.

So, the story is that Sasha pretends to be a man and joins the military where she meets Kirill who’s the commander instructed to whip her into shape, which he does. 

It might sound a little ludicrous, but I promise Rina Kent is a goddess when it comes to taking the silliest tropes and making them utterly delectable and I know for a fact that you’re going to love this one. 

Also See: 33 Swoony Single Parent Romance Novels That Will Make Your Heart Sing

8. Marrow by Trisha Wolfe and Brynne Weaver

Marrow by Trisha Wolfe

Jack, a respected scientist, and Kyrie, a wildlife biologist, are rival serial killers who find themselves entangled in a dangerous game of revenge.

Aside from some questionable and icky scenes, Marrow made for a fun read and it’s a dark romance through and through. 

What I liked most was that both leads gave as much as they got (this is me saluting the literary gods for slowly eroding the wimpy, spinless, damsel-in-distress female lead trope). 

9. Twist Me by Anna Zaires

Twist me

Nora’s life changes drastically after meeting Julian, a mysterious and dark man who becomes her captor and obsession.

If you’ve made it to this point of the post, you might have already noticed a common theme – there are lots and lots of books with the kidnapped trope (where the kidnapper and the kidnapped fall for each other).

That’s primarily because Stockholm’s Syndrome always makes for the most enthusiastic romance, and this is especially so when the kidnapper is totally bonkers. 

10. Cruel Obsession: A Mafia Romance by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Cruel Obsession

Zane is obsessed with protecting Dove, so he kidnaps her to keep her safe from the dangerous world.

Stalking is a hard limit for many and if you’re in that camp, then steer away from this book (he stalks her for years and kills everyone that annoys her because he has loved her all his life). 

11. Monster In His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

Monster In His Eyes

Karissa falls for Ignazio, a dark and dangerous man with secrets that could destroy them both and this propels her into a world that she neither knew nor expected. 

As I said earlier, dark romance novels usually feature the most morally grey characters that genuinely don’t mind bulldozing whatever stands in their way and that’s literally the definition of Ignazio. 

12. Raze by Tillie Cole

Raze by Tillie Cole

Raze or Prisoner 818 wants to get revenge on those who wronged him, while Kisa, trapped in a mafia world, finds herself drawn to him despite the danger.

This book is heavy and you know I don’t say that lightly. The excessive violence that takes place coupled with the theme and the almost animalistic tension between our leads is only a little piece of what makes it so delectable. 

13. Until I Get You by Claire Contreras

Until I Get You by Claire Contreras

Lachlan becomes obsessed with Lyla, who disappeared from his life three years ago, and now he’s determined to make her pay.

There aren’t many dark sports romance books, so Until I Get You was a fresh breath of air that had me in a chokehold while reading and in the weeks that followed.

Trust me when I say you’re going to fall in love with the brusque, relentless Lachlan and the reserved Lyla who’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. 

Related: 35 Best Billionaire Romance Novels You Need To Read ASAP

14. Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat

Captive Prince

Damen, a warrior prince, becomes a pleasure slave to Prince Laurent, but they must work together to survive political intrigue and save their countries.

This list literally wouldn’t be complete without Captive Prince, which I totally loved because it made me squeal, squirm, and swoon.

And just like some other books on this list, Captive Prince has a whole laundry list of triggers you should consider before diving in (very important). 

Remember – In this house, we absolutely do not yuck anybody’s yum as long as you freaks keep it fictional and these dark romance novels are just the thing if you want to get into the right mood.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below and check out the related posts for even more recommendations you won’t want to miss. 


Hi! I'm Preye ("pre" as in "prepare" and "ye" as in "Kanye"), and I am a lifelong book lover who enjoys talking about books and sharing bits and pieces of all the fascinating things I come across. I love books so much that I decided to become a developmental editor, and right now, I work with authors to help them tell their stories better. On this blog, I share everything from book recommendations to book reviews and writing tips, so feel free to stop by anytime you like!

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