48 dark romance books with twisted heroes

Written by Silke, updated 19 Jan 2023

The best dark and twisted romance books featuring cruel heroes and suffering heroines in a contemporary setting. The books explore themes of captivity and abuse, BDSM and non-consent.

  • #1 Twisted Lies - Ana Huang

    Twisted Lies - Ana Huang

    multicultural grumpy & sunshine mafia forced proximity age gap

    He'll do anything to have her...including lie.

    Charming, deadly, and smart enough to hide it, Christian Harper is a monster dressed in the perfectly tailored suits of a gentleman. He has little use for morals and even less use for love, but he can’t deny the strange pull he feels toward the woman living just one floor below him.

    She’s the object of his darkest desires, the only puzzle he can’t solve. And when the opportunity to get closer to her arises, he breaks his own rules to offer her a deal she can’t refuse.

    Every monster has their weakness. She’s his. more

  • #2 Lords of Pain - Angel Lawson,Samantha Rue

    Lords of Pain - Angel Lawson,Samantha Rue

    cruel hero/bully dark romance contemporary enemies to lovers reverse harem stepbrother

    I never claimed to be a good girl, but I definitely never asked for this.

    Killian, Tristian, and Rath.

    These three men are a part of my past--one that I'd rather never look in the eye again. In high school, they knew my secrets and I knew theirs. They had power and I had nothing. The night everything fell apart, my stepbrother allowed his two best friends to take their rage out on me while he watched. While they laughed.

    But what happened that night wasn’t my biggest secret. So I ran, planning on never coming back.

    Three years later I’m standing on their doorstep like a stray. They’re more powerful than ever now, having risen to the rank of Lords at Forsyth University. But I’m still on the run and there's another monster chasing me down... more

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  • #3 God of Malice - Rina Kent

    God of Malice - Rina Kent

    cruel hero/bully college enemies to lovers mafia

    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.. more

  • #4 Does It Hurt? - M. Never

    Does It Hurt? - M. Never

    dark romance enemies to lovers contemporary grumpy & sunshine forced proximity

    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... more

  • #5 Untouchable - Sam Mariano

    Untouchable - Sam Mariano

    enemies to lovers sports small town tortured hero cruel hero/bully

    Senior year was off to a rough start: lube in my locker, panties on my front porch, unimaginative name-calling. See, I got a player suspended from the football team for harassing me, and in my small Texas town, you don’t mess with the football players—even if they mess with you first.

    I didn’t care if it was an unpopular thing to do; I stood up for myself… and in doing so, opened Pandora’s Box.

    I never dreamed I would attract the attention of locally worshipped star quarterback, Carter Mahoney. Never imagined his coveted attention would turn out to be such a nightmare. Beneath his carefully constructed façade lurks a monster, a predator looking for the perfect prey to play with... more

  • #6 Stolen Course - Aly Martinez

    Stolen Course - Aly Martinez

    suspense contemporary insta-love second chances men in uniform

    I fell in love with Manda Baker eight years ago, and I loved her to the core of her soul. We were supposed to have that elusive happily ever after and spend a lifetime together. But that was all before she was STOLEN from me. Her best friend, Sarah Erickson, killed her. It wasn’t intentional. It was far worse. Everyone claims it was just an accident, but I can see through the lies. Even if it’s with my dying breath, I will make her pay for what she did.

    Fate hates me. It robbed me of my first love and left me to navigate through this world emotionless and numb. Then, one day, spiteful fate gave me a woman to fill my shattered soul and make me feel again... more

  • #7 The Bad Guy - Celia Aaron

    The Bad Guy - Celia Aaron

    suspense contemporary alpha male dark romance love triangle

    My name is Sebastian Lindstrom, and I’m the villain of this story. I’ve decided to lay myself bare. To tell the truth for once in my hollow life, no matter how dark it gets. And I can assure you, it will get so dark that you’ll find yourself feeling around the blackened corners of my mind, seeking a door handle that isn’t there. Don’t mistake this for a confession. I neither seek forgiveness nor would I accept it. My sins are my own. They keep me company. Instead, this is the true tale of how I found her, how I stole her, and how I lost her.
    She was a damsel, one who already had her white knight. But every fairy tale has a villain, someone waiting in the wings to rip it all down... more

  • #8 Three Years - Lili St. Germain

    Three Years - Lili St. Germain

    contemporary abduction mystery bad boys alpha male

    Every day for six years, I used to pray that I would find my way back to the boy I loved. Until finally, one day, I did. But that’s the funny thing about life. Nothing good ever lasts, not for me, anyway. You think you’re the one with the power, at least I did, but then I got careless. One tiny mistake, and now I am powerless to stop what comes next.

    People think money equals power, but all the money in my bank account, the dirty notes laundered clean that my father left for me, are useless.
    Money does not equal power. Power is held by the one with the knife in his hand, tracing shallow cuts into your skin.
    Power is held by the one who owns you... more

  • #9 Ectasy - K.V. Rose

    Ectasy - K.V. Rose

    poly (3+ people) college angst contemporary cruel hero/bully

    Zara. Eli. Alex.

    Three students at Caven U who are all really, really f*cking tired of life. Zara has a substance problem. Eli is a star athlete with a secret. And Alex? He’s just a f*cking a**hole.

    Their paths collide one night at a party that quickly spirals out of control. A series of volatile moments follow, enveloping the three of them in a whirlwind of drama, drugs, and destruction.

    Zara feels like she’s slipping under, losing her grip on reality. And if she isn’t careful, one of the boys just might pull her all the way down.

    But the thing about almost dying at the hands of someone you hate?

    In the moment before you take your last breath, the fear can feel a lot like...ecstasy... more

  • #10 Torment - Dylan Page

    Torment - Dylan Page

    dark romance age gap stepbrother forced proximity

    Broken, bruised, and mentally shattered... For most of my life, my older stepbrother, Shay, was my hero, my rock, and my best friend. The one I knew I could always rely on.

    For many years, I accepted everyone and everything around me. But as I grew up, the veil was lifted, and I slowly came to understand how f*cked up it all really is. These men, who I considered uncles and close family friends, are members of the dominant MC, The Celtic Beasts. Shay is not only a proud member. He is the one they send in to do their dirty work. For some reason, this tough, muscled, terrifying guy, needs me to ground and comfort him.

    But I have always had bigger plans. Bigger dreams. I don’t want to be trapped here, in this life that is dark, bloody and violent... more

  • #11 Broken - A.E. Murphy

    Broken - A.E. Murphy

    young adult suspense contemporary insta-love tortured heroine

    Caleb is perfect in every way, almost too perfect and Gwen has never felt so happy. He is hers and she is his. Life can't get much better and their love can't get any stronger. That is until mistakes are made and their world comes crumbling down. She's left alone with no money, no home and a growing person invading her stomach. How will she survive?

    Forced to leave culinary school, the job she needs and the home they made together. Gwen finds a knight in the most unlikely source. Caleb's brother Nathan... more

  • #12 Fear Me - B.B. Reid

    Fear Me - B.B. Reid

    suspense erotic romance mafia new adult virgin heroine

    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 during a wonderful summer day. It was the first time he hurt me and it wasn't 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.. more

  • #13 Children of Vice - J.J. McAvoy

    Children of Vice - J.J. McAvoy

    contemporary dark romance mafia mystery alpha male

    I, Ethan Antonio Giovanni Callahan, first son of the former head of the Irish mob, Liam Alec Callahan, and former head of the Italian mafia, ex-governor, Melody Nicci Giovanni Callahan, solemnly swear to ruthlessly protect our family name, business and way of life, no matter the cost to me or anyone else. I shall show no mercy; I shall offer no forgiveness; there will be no peace for those who stand against me. I will live for my family. I will kill for my family. I will marry for my family.

    I, Ivy O'Davoren, the only daughter of Shay O'Davoren, solemnly swear to ruthlessly and mercilessly exact revenge on the Callahans and all those who betrayed my father and family... more

  • #14 Pennies - Pepper Winters

    Pennies - Pepper Winters

    suspense multicultural contemporary abuse rape

    At eighteen years old, I was murdered. I wish my tale ended there. However, my killer resuscitated me and sold me to the highest bidder, sentencing me to a world worse than Hell. For the past two years, I've lived a life of torment as a man's property. I suffer in silence and wish for freedom, but I never break. I can't. I won't. But then he arrives. The first stranger since I was killed.

    Elder Prest, a thief with a heart as black as his soul, arrives as a guest in our twisted home. He has business with my owner, but his interest lies in me. He pretends not to notice my bruises and hides his knowledge of what I am, but the way he watches me makes me feel more human than possession.. more

  • #15 Born, Darkly - Trisha Wolfe

    Born, Darkly - Trisha Wolfe

    suspense dark romance abuse contemporary workplace/office grumpy/cold hero explicit open door

    He challenged her sanity. She shattered his reality.

    They dared each other...to the brink of madness.

    A dark and twisted maze awaits criminal psychologist London Noble when she falls for her patient, convicted serial killer, Grayson Pierce Sullivan. As she unravels the traps, her sanity tested with each game, she's forced to acknowledge the true evil in the world around her... more

  • #16 Beneath the Burn - Pam Godwin

    Beneath the Burn - Pam Godwin

    contemporary abduction cheating insta-love take-charge heroine

    They meet by chance. The timing is wrong.
    Three years later, she finds him again, but their separation was poisoned with narcotics and bloodied by enslavement. Her freedom gambled away, Charlee Grosky escapes the international businessman who held her captive. But his power reaches beyond her protective barriers and threatens everyone she has come to love.

    Jay Mayard wears his tortured secrets under his rock god facade. Drugs are his release, even as he seeks to be the man forged of the steel only she can see. In a celebrity world filled with paparazzi, groupies, and drugs, Jay and Charlee must face their worst fears. When the battle is over, what will be left.. more

  • #17 Tight - Alessandra Torre

    Tight - Alessandra Torre

    suspense dark romance tortured heroine slow burn mystery

    I was happy in my small town. In my life as a single, thirty-two year old woman. I had a good job, wonderful friends, my independence. I also hadn't got laid in three years. Hadn't been on a date in two. Had stopped counting calories and wearing makeup... a while ago. Then Brett Jacobs waltzed in. Caressed my thigh, dug rough fingers into my hair, lowered his soft mouth to my skin, took sexual control of my mind and stirred it all around with what he packed in his pants. He flipped my quiet life upside down and crawled into a place in my heart I thought was dead.

    The issue is his secret. The issue is her. The issue is that I don't even know she exists, and he thinks she's dead... more

  • #18 Killing Sarai - J.A. Redmerski

    Killing Sarai - J.A. Redmerski

    contemporary suspense cruel hero/bully mafia new adult

    Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

    Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.. more

  • #19 Perfect Ruin - Nashoda Rose

    Perfect Ruin - Nashoda Rose

    erotic romance dark romance possessive hero military suspense

    There is nothing I care about.
    No attachments.
    No connections.
    Outwardly, I’m a perfect gentleman.
    Until my target sees my knife.
    I fear nothing, not even death.
    In my world, death is considered a privilege.
    But my life comes with unbreakable cruel strings and when I met her, I should’ve walked away.
    I didn’t.
    I was too selfish.
    And that sealed her fate.
    Because one week with me led her into the hands of ruin.. more

  • #20 Destroyed - Pepper Winters

    Destroyed - Pepper Winters

    contemporary mystery take-charge heroine tortured hero alpha male

    She has a secret. I’m complicated. Not broken or ruined or running from a past I can’t face. Just complicated. I thought my life couldn’t get any more tangled in deceit and confusion. But I hadn’t met him. I hadn't realized how far I could fall or what I'd do to get free.

    He has a secret. I’ve never pretended to be good or deserving. I chase who I want, do what I want, act how I want. I didn’t have time to lust after a woman I had no right to lust after. I told myself to shut up and stay hidden. But then she tried to run. I’d tasted what she could offer me and damned if I would let her go.. more

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