Thanks to 'BookTok', dark romance is becoming more and more popular. But what’s the sub-genre about? And what are the best books to start with when entering the dark side?

What is dark romance?


If you like your books to contain flawed characters and lots of action, then the genre might just be for you.

Dark romance is a sub-genre of romance which contains darker themes and ‘mature content’ for adult readers. Yes, that means sex - and in these books, there’s often a lot of it.

Books in the genre often come with warnings that their content is only for older readers and contain themes such as stalking, kidnapping, trauma role playing and BDSM.

In a blend of romance and horror, the storylines are often very emotionally charged, with anti-heroes and villains who feature as protagonists - and often there’s trauma behind their stories.

If you’re looking for some thrilling and truly twisted dark romances to add to your reading list, then the books below are for you.

Five Dark Romance novels to add to your 'to be read' list



1. His by Aubrey Dark

Kat never intended to be tied up in bed next to a serial killer. Intruiged by Gav’s secretive nature, she follows him home and ends up tied up in a basement, handcuffed to a radiator. Most would be begging to be let go, but Kat finds herself wanting to stay.


2. Bla1re by Anita Gray

Blaire is head of security to a man who controls the Russian underworld in Europe. Bought ten years ago by her master, she has been conditioned with brutality to worship and protect him.

When she’s passed over to Charlie Guzmán Decena as payment for a debt, she has to spend three months with him. Let him abuse her, use her and she can go back to her master. Three months with him, that’s the deal. But he’s determined to completely change the world as she knows it.

3. Credence by Penelope Douglas

When Tiernan de Haas’ parents die, she’s sent to live with her father’s stepbrother, Jake, and his two sons. Set in the misty mountains of Colorado, Tiernan slowly begins to feel more comfortable around Jake and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb. 

But as she realises both Noah and Kaleb want her, Tiernan realises she can only choose one man.

Two of them, one of her, and a remote cabin in the woods.

4. Asking For It by Lilah Pace

Vivienne is afraid of her own desires and ashamed to admit that she fantasises about being taken by force. When Jonah learns of her deepest and darkest secret, he makes her an offer that she can’t refuse; they will remain strangers and meet in secret to fulfil her fantasies.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. But what happens when Vivienne starts to develop feelings for Jonah?

5. Bared To You by Sylvia Day

Gideon Cross came into her life like lightning in the darkness. 

She was drawn to him as she’d never been drawn to anyone in her life. She was flawed and damaged and Gideon knew.

He had demons of his own. And the two would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private worlds and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed her, as she prays the torment of their pasts doesn't tear them apart.

If you liked this post then read Five books to read when you’re feeling ‘spicy’ or take our 50 Shades of Cringe (and downright concerning) quiz next.

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Yasmin Wakefield

Yasmin Wakefield

Yasmin is a third year journalism student at The University of Sheffield, specialising in feature writing. She has previously written for the Sheffield Tribune and women’s magazine Pick Me Up! She is particularly interested in how mental health issues are portrayed in fiction.

Favourite genres: Romance, Crime and Thrillers.