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What is a dark romance?

Dark romance is a subgenre of romance literature that explore love and relationships through darker, more complex themes.

books dark romance
What is a dark romance?

What is a dark romance?

Dark romance is a subgenre of romance literature that explore love and relationships through darker, more complex themes. Dark romance novels can vary widely in tone and content, ranging from suspenseful and thrilling to deeply emotional and introspective.

And while it can still feature elements of love and intimacy, it may also incorporate themes of manipulation, power dynamics, or psychological turmoil.

Despite being controversial, dark romance attracts readers for several reasons:

  • Relatable, flawed characters that struggle with desires and morals
  • Intense emotions, like passion and obssession keep readers engaged
  • Taboo relationships that push social conventions

Dark romance novels aren't for everyone and can range from mild to extreme in intensity. It's crucial to check for trigger warnings before diving into a book you're interested in. Most authors provide these warnings on their websites, but there's also a handy resource called the Trigger Warning Database.

Here are some dark romance novels featuring both lighter and heavier themes, with trigger warnings provided for each.

This list consists of human and non-human monsters.

1. Obsession (Alphaholes #1) by Gemma Weir

CONTENT WARNING: Stalking | Kidnapping | Drugging | more

Obsessed - to be preoccupied or fill the mind with someone continually and to a troubling extent.

As soon as I realized she existed, I lost the ability to look away. She was always destined to be mine. I'm Sebastian Lockwood; a king among men. And kings get to take what they want. My little bird disagreed. She fought me, disobeyed me even though we both know she belongs to me.

So I broke her, bent her to my will. I pushed too hard, loved too much and she ran from me.

But letting her go was impossible. So I chased; hiding in the shadows, silently pulling the strings that would bind her to me.Two years have passed, I've waited long enough. It's time to reclaim my queen; to take what's mine.The trap is set, a gilded cage worthy of royalty and only I have the key.I'll make her pay for leaving me. I'll make her love me, want me as much as I do her. I couldn't stop if I tried.

She's my obsession.

2. Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse #1) by H.D. Carlton

CONTNENT WARNING: Stalking | Kidnapping | Murder | more

The Manipulator

I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me. I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh. But my words don't affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave. He's always there, watching and waiting. And I can never look away. Not when I want him to come closer.

The Shadow

I didn't mean to fall in love. But now that I have, I can't stay away. I'm mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves. The way she undresses... I'll keep watching and waiting. Until I can make her mine. And once she is, I'll never let her go. Not even when she begs me to.

3. Her Soul to Take (Souls Trilogy #1) by Harley Laroux

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic Violence | Gore | Breathplay | more

Leon I earned my reputation among magicians for a reason: one wrong move and you're dead. Killer, they called me, and killing is what I'm best at. Except her. The one I was supposed to take, the one I should have killed - I didn't. The cult that once controlled me wants her, and I'm not about to lose my new toy to them.

Rae I've always believed in the supernatural. Hunting for ghosts is my passion, but summoning a demon was never part of the plan. Monsters are roaming the woods, and something ancient - something evil - is waking up and calling my name. I don't know who I can trust, or how deep this darkness goes. All I know is my one shot at survival is the demon stalking me, and he doesn't just want my body - he wants my soul.

4. Run and Hide (Myth & Monsters #1) by Beatrix Hollow

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic violence/gore | Dub-con | Gun/knife violence | Cults | more

Traveling the country camping was supposed to be an escape from the strange and unusual that clings to my family. My family’s calling to fame terrifies me. The ghosts, the hauntings, the supernatural--I want nothing to do with it.

Too bad it wants everything to do with me.

Where did the trip first go wrong? Maybe when an old friend with dark secrets insisted on coming--a rising rock star whose fame is now putting me in the limelight.

Then there is the West Virginia local legend. A monster myth of cryptid fame. A campfire story. But there are those that believe--that are willing to do whatever it takes to capture the monster in the mountains.

Maybe even use humans as bait.

Maybe even use me.

5. Take Me with You by Nina G. Jones

CONTENT WARNING: If you need one, this is not the book for you.

I watch. I study. I prowl. I hunt.

I always go in with a plan. A set of rules for myself. I don't take unnecessary risks. That's how I've been able to evade capture all these years.

But there's something about this girl that is different than the others. When I finally meet her, the rules become a blur. And I break the most important one of all--I take her with me.

It's just my imagination--that feeling of being watched. That those icy eyes-- a vivid turquoise with a distinct golden fleck--aren't watching me.

It's just stress. I am the person everyone relies on. Maybe that's why I haven't been feeling so content with my life lately. Why I dream those eyes belong to someone who can tear me away from all of my responsibilities.

But these are just shameful fantasies, never meant to breach reality.

Then one night, the dream comes true, only it's a horrific nightmare.

Now, I only have one task: survival.

6. Cottonwood by R. Lee Smith

CONTENT WARNING: Slavery | Violence | Racism/alien concentration camps | more

They never meant to come to Earth. They were never allowed to leave...

Welcome to Cottonwood.

7. King of Flesh and Bones (The Pale Court #1) by Liv Zander

CONTENT WARNING: Infertility | Dubious Consent | Captivity | more

Worse than a ruthless king... is a king obsessed.

Isolation, darkness, and rotting flesh, Surrounds me, suffocates me, But I am the vile ruler who controls it all.

I long for warmth, Yet, all that I touch, Is cold.

Then, she stumbles in to my domain, Lost and frightened, Alone and confused.

And I terrify her even more.

She calls me the devil, So I show her pleasure, Like only the devil can.

I am the heat that stirs her flesh, The longing that trembles her bone.

She begs her body to refuse, To escape my embrace, But I am her master, The puppeteer of passion. I am the King of Flesh and Bone.

Welcome to my court, little one.

8. The Carnal Games (The Carnal Continuum #1) by Naudii Nebula

CONTENT WARNING: War | Torture | Fruit Fetishes | more

Compelled to compete in a twisted game, two deadly enemies will meet their fated revenge.

They will either kill each other or, worse... Fall in love.

But only one can leave the arena alive. In The Carnal Games, the rules are simple: fight, conquer, win. Above all else, entertain.

9. A Soul to Keep (DuskWalker Brides #1) by Opal Reyne

CONTENT WARNING: Murder | Depression | Pregnancy | more

All Reia ever wanted was freedom.

Known as a harbinger of bad omens and blamed for Demons eating her family, Reia is shunned by her entire village. When the next offering is due and the monstrous Duskwalker is seen heading their way, her village offers her an impossible choice – be thrown into the prison cells or allow herself to be sacrificed to a faceless monster.

However, he is not what he seems. His skull face and glow eyes are ethereal, and she finds herself unwittingly enchanted by him.

All Orpheus ever wanted was a companion.

Each decade, in exchange for a protection ward from the Demons that terrorise the world, Orpheus takes a human offering to the Veil – the place he lives and the home of Demons. The brief companionship does little to ease his loneliness, and their lives were always, unfortunately, cut short.

He'd thought it was a hopeless endeavour, until he met her. She’s not afraid of him, and his insatiable desire deepens within every moment of her presence.

But will Orpheus be able to convince Reia to stay before she’s lost to him forever?

Dark romance, consume responsibly.

Dark romance novels can influence mental health by exposing readers to complex and sometimes unhealthy relationship dynamics. Although these stories can be captivating and downright addictive, it is crucial to establish personal boundaries to discern healthy relationships from those depicted in fiction, as desensitization to dark themes may blur the lines between reality and fantasy.

Have you read any of these dark romance books? You might like our limited edition sticker collection inspired by monster romance! Take a look at our monster romance stickers!

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