Who says that romance novels have to be bright and happy? Some of the best romantic novels ever written are so dark that your pulse races even during the nonromantic scenes. If you’re looking for a dark romance book to snuggle up with, check these out.
“Captive in the Dark” by C.J. Roberts
Kidnapping books are among the best dark romance novels, and “Captive in the Dark” leads the pack. Caleb was kidnapped as a young boy, and he wants to get revenge when he grows up. Much to his dismay, he realizes the only way to do that is to kidnap a young woman. Even with the sadistic storyline, this is a romantic novel at heart. It’s also part of the Dark Duet series, so you can keep reading if you are hooked on books with kidnapping.
“Tears of Tess” by Pepper Winters
Speaking of kidnapping books, you’ll want to check out “Tears of Tess.” Tess is living an amazing life until she’s kidnapped during a romantic vacation. This book has plenty of sex and depravity, so it checks all the boxes you want in a dark romance book.
“You” by Caroline Kepnes
It’s rare for a dark romance book to become a national bestseller and get its own Netflix series, but that’s what’s happened to “You.” It’s easy to devour this novel about Joe and his twisted take on love in one or two sittings. If you fall in love with “You,” be sure to check out “Hidden Bodies,” the next book in the series.
“Killer’s Diary” by Brian Pinkerton
“Killer’s Diary” might not have its own Netflix series like “You,” but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. Dive into the life of Ellen, a shy girl who becomes absorbed in a diary she finds. She finds and falls in love with the author, only to realize he might be a serial killer. When it comes to a dark romantic book, it’s hard to beat one that includes a serial killer.
“Comfort Food” by Kitty Thomas
Do you still have kidnapping books on your mind? “Comfort Food” is erotic kidnapping at its finest. Emily Vargas is kidnapped and starts to fall for her captor. This is extremely taboo and erotic, and while it’s BDSM-heavy, there’s no safe word in play. The stakes — and the erotica — are high in this novel.
“Twist Me” by Anna Zaires
If you love a good dark kidnapping book, you’ll want to check out “Twist Me,” as well. When Julian abducts Anna, he makes it clear that he owns her. He takes her to a private island, and she develops a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome. This book is highly sexual and graphic, and not for the faint of heart. If you love a twisted dark romance book, though, you’ll be hooked immediately.
"The Bad Guy” by Celia Aaron
Sebastian makes no qualms about it. He’s a bad guy who will do anything to get what he wants. In the dark romantic novel, it’s not about what he wants, but who he wants. That person is Camille, and he’s willing to go to great lengths to have her. He always seems to be a step ahead of her, and the sexual tension is so palpable that it jumps off the page. He might be a “bad guy,” but that’s part of what makes dark romance novels fun.
“El Malo” by K. Webster
“El Malo” is a truly twisted dark romance novel. FBI agent Rosa Delgado goes undercover to bring down the narco king, Javier Estrada. There’s just one problem. As ruthless as he is, she can’t help but fall for his charms. What should she do? Should she divulge her true identity? If she doesn’t, will she get caught? And, most importantly, is there a happily ever after in the pages for this unlikely pair?
“Sparrow” by L.J. Shen
Troy and Sparrow have anything but a normal marriage. First, Troy is revenging his mobster father’s death, so it’s already not normal. Add in the fact that he kidnapped Sparrow and forced her to marry him, and you can imagine how weird things can get. Then, throw in some hate sex and twists and turns for good measure, and you have an excellent dark romantic book.
“Debt” by Nina G. Jones
It’s hard to say too much about “Debt” without giving major plot points away. Here’s what you do need to know, though. A woman pays to have a man attack her, and her life unravels from there. It is dark, twisty, and intense, and you will find yourself hooked.