The best 'Forbidden Love' romance books. Who said it would be easy?

Written by Silke, updated 20 Jan 2023

Deadly enemies, bosses and their employees, wards and their guardians. Step-siblings, friends of the parents and cheating spouses? It's forbidden love, for sure, but that only makes it so much more exciting.

  • #1 Darling Venom - Parker S. Huntington

    Darling Venom - Parker S. Huntington

    age gap tortured heroine tortured hero grumpy & sunshine

    My first love ended in tragedy. My second began with his brother.

    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. more

  • #2 Ruthless Empire - Rina Kent

    Ruthless Empire - Rina Kent

    cruel hero/bully enemies to lovers stepbrother friends to lovers

    She’s off limits. He has none.

    There’s a girl. Beautiful. Popular. Fake. And my obsession. My fall. Probably my damnation.
    Did that stop me? Do I care? No and no.

    There’s a line between right and wrong. Moral and immoral. And then there’s her. I cross every limit with blood-coated fingers.

    She says she hates me. I say I hate her too as I trap her, own her. Make her all mine... more

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  • #3 Rival - Penelope Douglas

    Rival - Penelope Douglas

    stepbrother second chances enemies to lovers forced proximity

    She’s back... For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night. more

  • #4 The Risk - S.T. Abby

    The Risk - S.T. Abby

    vengeance small town dangerous heroine rich heroine

    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. They left me for dead. They should have made sure I stayed dead. Now I'm taking from them. One name at a time. I've trained for too long. I've been patient. I can't stop now.

    Revenge is best served cold... 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. more

  • #5 Beneath These Lies - Meghan March

    Beneath These Lies - Meghan March

    love triangle insta-love possessive hero shy heroine

    Look, but don’t touch…she might as well wear a neon sign that says it. It just makes me want her more.

    She might be above me in every way, but I still want her under me. I’ve got no business touching her rich-girl skin, but that won’t stop me from stealing a taste. Because rules were meant to be broken—especially when the prize is so fine. more

  • #6 A Different Blue - Amy Harmon

    A Different Blue - Amy Harmon

    contemporary friends to lovers mystery pregnancy forbidden love

    Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

    This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. more

  • #7 Birthday Girl - Penelope Douglas

    Birthday Girl - Penelope Douglas

    new adult contemporary friends to lovers love triangle alpha male

    He took me in when I had nowhere else to go. He doesn't use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn't treat me like I'm nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

    He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

    I have to stop this. It can't happen.

    My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he's probably unavailable.

    Only Pike Lawson isn't the unavailable one.

    I am... more

  • #8 Heated Rivalry - Rachel Reid

    Heated Rivalry - Rachel Reid

    m-m (gay) sports enemies to lovers

    Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

    Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

    As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. more

  • #9 A Matter of Class - Mary Balogh

    A Matter of Class - Mary Balogh

    regency historical contemporary arranged/forced marriage marriage of convenience

    Reginald Mason is wealthy, refined, and, by all accounts, a gentleman. However, he is not a gentleman by title, a factor that pains him and his father within the Regency society that upholds station over all else. That is, until an opportunity for social advancement arises, namely, Lady Annabelle Ashton. Daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family, Annabelle finds herself disgraced by a scandal, one that has left her branded as damaged goods. Besmirched by shame, the earl is only too happy to marry Annabelle off to anyone willing to have her. more

  • #10 Torrid - Nikki Sloane

    Torrid - Nikki Sloane

    bdsm erotic romance suspense dark romance mafia

    Vasilije Markovic is the prince of the Serbian mafia and one of the most powerful men in Chicago. His smile may be razor sharp, but he's crueler than the devil.

    I'm playing a dangerous game and betting my life I'm going to win. I pretend to be his pawn. I do as he says and move where he tells me, letting him think he's in control as I position myself for revenge.

    Every turn brings us closer. His grin doesn't seem as evil when we're alone. Behind closed doors, I welcome his unrelenting and vicious personality. He's confessed all his secrets, but I'm holding one back and it's a game changer.

    If I survive the board, this pawn turns into a queen. more

  • #11 The Maddest Obsession - Danielle Lori

    The Maddest Obsession - Danielle Lori

    enemies to lovers mafia cruel hero/bully grumpy & sunshine

    She fears the dark.
    He rules it.

    Her dresses are too tight, her heels too tall. She laughs too loudly, eats without decorum, and mixes up most sayings in the book. Little do most know it’s just a sparkly disguise, there to hide one panic attack at a time.

    Nobody can crack Gianna’s facade . . . no one anyway, until he comes along.

    Most see a paragon of morality; a special agent upholding the law. In the New York underworld, others know him as a hustler, a killer, his nature as cold as the heart of ice in his chest. Christian Allister has always followed the life plan he’d envisioned in his youth, beneath the harsh lights of a frigid, damp cell. With a proclivity for order and the number three, he’s never been tempted to veer off course. more

  • #12 Priest - Sierra Simone

    Priest - Sierra Simone

    erotic romance bdsm bad boys forbidden love dark romance

    There are many rules a priest can't break. 
    A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

    I've always been good at following rules. 
    Until she came. 
    My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I'm twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again. 
    I am a priest and this is my confession. more

  • #13 Fear the Beard - Lani Lynn Vale

    Fear the Beard - Lani Lynn Vale

    bikers age gap independent heroine poor heroine

    Tally is a twenty-year-old single mother struggling to finish nursing school. Has she made mistakes in life? Sure, but her daughter isn’t one of them. She works hard, she studies even harder, and she’s only a few weeks away from graduating.

    She’s living her life the best she knows how when she witnesses a near miss motorcycle accident between a car and a biker. A biker that happens to be the most talked about teacher at her college.

    The moment she meets those startling blue, narrowly-escaped-death eyes, she realizes quickly that life as she knows it has changed. No longer will she be content to let life pass her by, even if it puts everything she’s worked so hard for in jeopardy.

    Tommy is a highly skilled doctor. A teacher. A veteran. more

  • #14 Be My Hero - Linda Kage

    Be My Hero - Linda Kage

    tortured heroine sassy heroine possessive hero tortured hero sweet/gentle heroine

    Once upon a time, there was this pampered rich girl who was kind of full of herself. She really only cared about appearances and hiding all her dark, ugly secrets under the guise of an opinionated snob. But then Eva Mercer got pregnant, shot by a psycho, and kicked out of the only home she knew. Now she’s broke, unemployed, and has to start anew with a newborn to raise. But how?

    On the other side of town, sexy, tattooed orphan, Patrick Ryan, can’t get a break. He’s out on parole for defending the last damsel in distress while trying to help her support her child, but all he wants is to find his one true love. He knows this woman by scent, smile, and laugh, but he’s never actually met her. He doesn’t even know her name. He just knows she’s the key to fixing everything. more

  • #15 The Hookup Equation - Roxie Noir

    The Hookup Equation - Roxie Noir

    funny new adult multicultural contemporary age gap

    My whole life, I’ve been a good girl. I follow rules like nobody’s business. I obey guidelines like I was born to it. Show me a line, and I’ll toe it.

    I’m even a twenty-two-year-old virgin. Good is my middle name.

    And then, I break one tiny little rule. Miniscule. Inconsequential.

    Next thing I know, I’m trapped with an incredibly handsome stranger. He’s got eyes like cut emeralds, biceps that makes my head spin, and a smile that has me rethinking all my life choices.

    We escape a bar bathroom together. We go on an impromptu date. We share the hottest kiss I’ve ever had, one that leaves me panting for more. more

  • #16 Forbidden - Beverly Jenkins

    Forbidden - Beverly Jenkins

    western historical western frontier african-american multicultural

    Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

    Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. more

  • #17 Credence - Penelope Douglas

    Credence - Penelope Douglas

    new adult tortured hero virgin heroine bad boys abuse

    Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

    And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?

    Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. more

  • #18 The Kiss Thief - L.J. Shen

    The Kiss Thief - L.J. Shen

    sports new adult multicultural contemporary royalty

    They say your first kiss should be earned. Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky. They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

    Mine were broken before we left church.

    They say your heart only beats for one man. Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

    I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

    Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

    They say that all great love stories have a happy ending. more

  • #19 Debt Inheritance (Indebted #1) - Pepper Winters

    Debt Inheritance (Indebted #1) - Pepper Winters

    contemporary suspense bikers rape slavery

    “I own you. I have the piece of paper to prove it. It’s undeniable and unbreakable. You belong to me until you’ve paid off your debts.”

    Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Being the first born daughter, her life is forfeit to the first born son of the Hawks to pay for sins of ancestors past. The dark ages might have come and gone, but debts never leave. She has no choice in the matter.

    She is no longer free.

    Jethro Hawk receives Nila as an inheritance present on his twenty-ninth birthday. Her life is his until she’s paid off a debt that’s centuries old. He can do what he likes with her—nothing is out of bounds—she has to obey. more

  • #20 Thief (Love Me with Lies, #3) - Tarryn Fisher

    Thief (Love Me with Lies, #3) - Tarryn Fisher

    contemporary forbidden love bad boys suspense second chances

    Caleb Drake never got over his first love. Not when he got married. Not when she got married. When life suddenly comes full circle Caleb must decide how how far he is willing to go to get the aloof and alluring Olivia Kaspen back. But for every action in life there is a consequence, and soon Caleb finds out that sometimes love comes at an unbearably high price. more

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