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22 BEST Dark Mafia Romance Books

Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Louisa

Have you been watching too many Godfather movies lately? Perhaps it’s time to shake things up a bit with a dark mafia romance book.

When a bad-boy alpha male takes the lead role, these books are sure to get your heart racing.

There are so many mafia romance novels out there to choose from, each of them with its own unique story and unforgettable characters.

So to help you pick a good page-turner, I’ve selected my favorite mafia romance books, in particular dark mafia romance books.

Let’s take a look…

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

What Makes a Good Dark Mafia Romance Book?

Dark mafia romance books are an exciting and suspenseful romance trope.

Readers can expect a thrilling tale of love and crime that takes place within the mafia underworld.

These stories often focus on a forbidden romance between two characters who come from separate worlds, which adds tension to their relationship.

Themes of loyalty, betrayal, revenge, violence, and power are common themes, and it’s also not uncommon to find main characters who live double lives.

Dark mafia romance books also explore the various ethical implications of being part of organized crime and how it affects the main characters’ relationships with family, friends, and other members of the mafia.

Commonly explored topics include loyalty to the organization versus loyalty to one’s own emotions as well as how far one is willing to go for love, power, or money.

Often paired with romance are intense action scenes, layered character dynamics, and thrilling story arcs.

All in all, dark mafia romance books are a form of dark romanticism that offers readers an escape into a mysterious world filled with danger and complex relationships, which you will find far removed from the world you live in today.

The Best Dark Mafia Romance Books

Now you know what to expect, it’s time to show you my absolute favs in this romance trope…

1. The Sweetest Oblivion (Made Series, Book 1) – Danielle Lori

the sweetest oblivion by danielle lori

This is a sultry mafia romance novel that has a storyline similar to West Side Story, but with billionaires…gotta love a billionaire romance novel!

Nico is engaged to Elena’s sister, but he can’t deny, that the energy between them is undeniable, and of course, forbidden.

The two are drawn to each other, but to give in to their urges would be to hurt Elena’s sister.

The angst and tension felt throughout the novel are magnetic, but what makes this novel a really fantastic read is that amongst the love triangle, there are a lot of action scenes that you would expect from a mafia romance book.

The characters are pretty relatable, too.

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2. Vow of Deception (Deception Trilogy, Book 1) – Rina Kent

vow of deception by Rina Kent

Vow of Deception is a psychological and dark romance trilogy with tons of suspense and action.

It follows the love story of Winter, who has been homeless for a while. There is an air of mystery about her. One day she meets Adrian, a member of the Russian mafia who lost his beautiful wife Lia, who is presumed dead.

Adrian wants to make Winter his new Lia. He is protective of her, but hardcore strict and sometimes dominating, though sometimes he can be soft and caring. Winter is strong and a true heroine in this steamy story.

There is an obvious mutual attraction between Adrian and Winter. But the real question is, what happened to Lia? What happened to Winter?

And what mafia tales is Adrian hiding? Get ready for a whirlwind of a storyline.

Trigger warning: This novel has some scenes of violence and may be distressing to some readers.

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3. Monster in His Eyes (Monster in His Eyes Series, Book 1) – J.M. Darhower

monster in his eyes by J.M. Darhower

Monster in His Eyes is a two-part dark mafia romance book that is written from the perspective of the heroine.

Karissa Reed is a college student who is completely dependent on a scholarship. Her biggest problem in life was maintaining her 3.5 GPA. Until Ignazio (Naz) Vitale comes into her life.

He’s the kind of guy who makes his presence known and takes her life and turns it into a darker version of Cinderella. When the clock strikes midnight, all hell is broken loose.

Ignazio is also twice her age. This story would be a great read for those who love an epic age gap romance novel. If you love romantic stories with happy endings, this one is for you.

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4. Hearts of Darkness (The Santiago Trilogy, Book 1) – Catherine Wiltcher

hearts of darkness by catherine wiltcher

Dante Santiago is the anti-hero bad boy of your dreams. He has gone deep in his sins and there’s no saving him. He’s one of the biggest criminals and mafia bosses and shakes fear in his enemies.

No one has ever denied this young crime boss. Not even his greatest obsession, Eve.

Eve was living a normal life, until one day her brother was killed and she swore to bring him to justice.

When she meets Dante, he makes her feel alive again. But she also fears him. She fears how much she wants him. And wants to know all his secrets.

Between her innocence and his darkness, this is a recipe for disaster. What will happen when she discovers all the sins of his past?

This is a book that starts in the heat of the action. I love how Dante believes he is a villain, incapable of love, and lacks compassion, but when it comes down to it, Eve is his only weakness.

I could swoon over Dante – he’s the perfect damaged book boyfriend.

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5. Machiavellian (Gangsters of New York Series, Book 1) – Bella Di Corte

machavlian by Bella Di Corte

Machiavellian is the debut mafia romance novel by Bella Di Corte, which follows the story of Mariposa, an almost homeless heroine on the verge of giving up.

One day she meets Capo, a mob boss from a wealthy Mafia family, who makes all her problems disappear. He’s rich, handsome, and a criminal.

He lives in a dark and lonely criminal underworld, working as a ghost. From the get-go, there is a mutual attraction, despite him being 18 years older than her.

Despite her fearlessness and strength, she has an air of innocence about her that compliments Capo’s dark side.

This novel has everything to keep you in suspense – from murder, family drama, betrayal, and gang members.

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6. The Mafia And His Angel: Part 1 (Tainted Hearts Series) – Lylah James

the mafia and his angel by Lylah James

We all know that dark mafia romance books are a thrill to read, but this one will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat.

Dive deep into a wonderfully seductive whirlwind of emotion with The Mafia And His Angel: Part 1.

Embark on a journey of power and revenge with Alessio and Ayla, to a cold world where trust is a luxury and every action counts.

Although they have sworn enemies, each on the opposite end of a seemingly insurmountable divide—a romance blossoms, shrouded in darkness by Ayla’s secret.

The story of the two star-crossed lovers has never felt this gritty and ruthless, but Lylah James makes it work with exceptional storytelling and compelling characters.

Watch them grow together with bated breath, for one thing, is far from certain: will Alessio forgive Ayla’s betrayal?

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7. Crow (Boston Underworld Series, Book 1) – A. Zavarelli

crow by A. Zavarelli

What’s a good mafia romance story without a heated battle for dominance?

In Crow, the first installment in A. Zavarelli’s Boston Underworld series, two headstrong people meet in a deadlock of merciless revenge and sizzling hot passion that grows with each passing moment.

Mackenzie is a woman on a mission, and she won’t let anyone get in her way—not even one of the most powerful men in the Irish mafia.

Used to getting what he wants, Lachlan Crow will stop at nothing once he’s noticed her, but that doesn’t mean she’ll go down easy. Despite their similar attitudes, the two couldn’t be any more different.

Get swept away with this breathtaking, action-packed mafia romance book filled with tension and mob killing, and most of all, a growing desire that cannot be quenched. It may well be the downfall of both of them.

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8. Blurred Red Lines (Carrera Cartel Series, Book 1) – Cora Kenborn

blurred red lines by cora kenborn

In the world of the Carrera Cartel, Valentin and Eden tread a thin line between love and hate.

With intricate pacing and a story drenched in mystery, you won’t be able to put Cora Kenborn’s Blurred Red Lines down until its very end.

Follow all the twists and turns on the leads’ winding path toward mutual recognition, with their explosive personalities fueling the white-hot rage and ricocheting lust.

Danger and high stakes mean nothing in the face of undeniable chemistry, but it’s almost as if the whole world stands between them.

Be a witness to this ill-advised but inevitable romance that blooms on the barren ground scorched by the cartel’s violence.

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9. Collateral – Natasha Knight

collateral by natasha knight

Collateral by Natasha Knight is a mafia romance story that has just the right amount of friction to create the spark that will set Gabrielle’s sheltered world ablaze.

As luck would have it, Gabrielle, who’s been under her father’s control her whole life, gets thrust into the mafia world before she can get a taste of independence.

Young and naïve—but not at all stupid, she won’t be the placid tool Stefan expects her to be in the war he’s waging. Suspense coats every page of this dark and enigmatic tale.

Behind their burgeoning romance, the secrets that Stefan’s twisted life holds are just waiting to be uncovered.

10. Taken By A Sinner – Michelle Heard

taken by a sinner by Michelle Heard

Sometimes, you try your best to escape your fate, but it follows you wherever you go. Anxious Tess is haunted by her fate as well and only knows how to run until Nikolas forces her to stay.

Taken By A Sinner is every bit as sinful and compelling as the title suggests, but far from ungodly, as Nikolas is the epitome of a sculpted Greek deity.

Fast-paced and brimming with tension, this story ticks every box that makes dark mafia romance novels so captivating.

With a perfect balance of strength and care and an all-consuming romance that unravels slowly and intimately, Michelle Heard tells the tale of a woman who draws strength from her circumstances in order to overcome any hurdle that stands in her way.

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11. Carnal Urges – J.T. Geissinger

carnal urges by Carnal Urges - J.T. Geissinger

Snarky and loveable characters that carry the story with amazing, rapid-fire banter set Carnal Urges apart from other dark mafia romance books.

Sloane has made an enemy out of a man with plenty of power and twisted morality, who blames her for the misfortune that has befallen him—and he will take what he believes is his.

But Declan doesn’t expect Sloane’s fire, nor does he foresee just how much he’ll grow to love her fortitude and pluck.

J.T. Geissinger’s novel is filled to the brim with amusing exchanges and suspenseful twists that contrast perfectly against each other to create an atmosphere that will take your breath away.

J.T. Geissinger is an international bestselling author and has been a three-time finalist for the RITA Award for Best Contemporary Romance.

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12. The Kiss Thief – L.J. Shen

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

In a dark and raw world of opulence, power, and anguish, Francesca Rossi faces a terrible choice.

Heart torn between the two men her destiny has been intertwined with, she desperately struggles to find her footing in order to avoid doing something she will live to regret forever.

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen is an ode to transformation, to a love that is so consuming and hypnotizing it can make a hardened and cruel man recognize good, despite all the heartbreak that has been dealt to him.

It’s a character-driven tale that still manages to live up to the exhilarating pace of the dark mafia romance novels we all know and love.

L.J. Shen is a USA Today bestselling author and was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance in 2019.

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13. Bound By Honor – Cora Reilly

bound by honor by Cora Reilly

Honor is everything in the Cosa Nostra Famiglia, and Aria can’t back out on the promise she made to it three long years ago.

She has to marry dangerous Luca, the strikingly good-looking bad boy whose violent image precedes him. Bound By Honor by Cora Reilly is a novel that plays on the theme of principle.

As we get immersed in this dark world filled with bloodshed and death, we find out that Luca is no less confined by his duty than Aria is.

Their bond may have been born out of loyalty to their factions, but together, Luca and Aria forge something that transcends the bounds of anything they have known before.

This story is refreshing and believable in part. I enjoyed the character development and how cold-hearted Luca turns into a protective and caring person.

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14. When Heroes Fall – Giana Darling

when heroes fall by giana darling

A lawyer with a heart grown cold and a corrupt man whose fire burns so bright it threatens the safety of his lawyer’s icy exterior make up the tantalizing duet in When Heroes Fall.

Through all the hurt and disappointment in her life, it is no wonder Elena has decided to shield herself from all emotion—yet she still cannot escape Dante’s catalyzing presence.

Forced to represent someone she considers her enemy, Elena embarks on a journey that will culminate with a love so powerful it pushes her to gamble with everything she has worked so hard for.

A study of Elena’s character transformation and Dante’s compelling contradictions, this enemies-to-lovers story is everything you’ve wished for and more.

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15. Black Heart – Maggie Kay

Nicolai’s heart has been blackened—a futile chase of revenge is all he has left, and he’s willing to give everything he has for it, with no regard for himself.

When Sophia dances into his reach, he’s ready to use her and throw her away, but she manages to captivate him with her dazzling personality, putting everything into question.

Yet will Nicolai’s heart enveloped in darkness be able to see the light, or is the price he has to pay too big to afford?

Black Heart by Maggie Kay moves at breakneck speed, awash with angst and passion. It’s the Romeo and Juliet love story, with a mobster twist.

16. Filthy Marcellos: Dante – Bethany Kris

Filthy Marcellos- Dante - Bethany Kris

Like in many other dark mafia romance novels, we meet a man with unshakeable resolve. Filthy Marcellos: Dantes is the perfect recipe for action, fiercely protective alpha males, and romance.

Dante has a one-track mind to become the next Don, but he cannot do it alone. In comes Catrina Danzi, the successful Queen Pin who’s about to make an offer Dante cannot refuse.

Bethany Kris spins their tale of an arranged marriage of convenience in Filthy Marcellos: Dante, a union that’s supposed to be cold and unemotional, a business transaction based on Dante’s own wicked terms.

It’s never that simple, though—through their proximity they discover there’s so much more to be had than just the benefits and rules they had agreed upon.

Perhaps love can undermine Dante’s previously resolute attitude, but Catrina wields a secret.

And it might just be the double-edged sword that does the Marcellos in.

If you love marriage of convenience books with a dark twist, then you’re going to swoon over this one.

17. Dirty Angels – Karina Halle

Dirty Angels by Karina Halle

A dark tale of lives fraught with poverty, violence, desperation, and abuse, Dirty Angels by Karina Halle is one of the most striking dark mafia romance books.

Between a rock and a hard place, former beauty queen Luisa willingly marries right into the fray.

As the wife of a mob boss and drug cartel leader Salvador, she has an excruciating existence, all to support her ailing parents—but when she becomes Javier’s target, everything changes.

She’s still in the same world as before, but this time, she knows the rules of the game.

Savor Luisa’s slow transformation to the dark side, and watch how she changes Javier in turn.

18. The Professional Kresley Cole

the professional by kresley cole

Aleksandr is a man whose creed is defined by loyalty, but just one look at Natalie manages to shake the foundations of his virtue.

Natalie sees herself as a simple girl whose life takes a turn for the extraordinary when she meets the man who works for her estranged father—and when he stakes his claim on her, she’s helpless to resist.

She stumbles into a high-stakes world filled with danger, excitement, and pleasure, and finds that there are more sides to her than she previously thought.

The Professional by Kresley Cole unites the opposite poles that Natalie and Aleksandr represent, focusing on their flaws to create a spellbinding story that will amaze and leave you wanting more.

This is a forbidden romance novel you won’t be able to put down.

19. Ruthless People – J. J. McAvoy

Ruthless People by J. J. McAvoy

Ruthless People by J.J. McAvoy unites two popular factions that appear in dark mafia romance novels in an original and intoxicating way. It has a multi-dimensional plot and relatable characters who develop well throughout.

It tells the story of a stand-off between the Irish and the Italians, represented by Liam and Melody who’s been forced to marry in order to bridge the gap between their respective mafia families.

Both are stubborn and power-hungry, both unwilling to give the other a place on the throne.

While on the outside they look like the picture-perfect couple, in private they threaten to burn each other out with their personalities hardened by the merciless mafia world.

The two leading mob families are forced out of their battle for dominance when an external threat encroaches, leaving them with no choice but to stand united.

Will they manage to ward their enemies off, or will they crash and burn in a disaster of their own making?

20. Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire

beautiful disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling angst romance novel about a good girl in love with a bad boy. It has some steamy scenes, but that’s not what this book focuses on.

Abby Abernathy is determined to stay away from her past and lives by the rules – no drinking, swearing or going out. She thought she’d be safe at college, until one night changed everything.

Enter Travis Maddox – the tattooed bad boy your mother warned you about. He’s a regular in the floating fight ring and knows how to charm his way around campus.

To get Abby to open up to him, Travis presents her with an alluring bet – if she wins he will go celibate for a month; if he wins, she must move in with him.

Abby reluctantly takes up the challenge, but neither of them can predict what will happen when they find themselves together.

This heart-wrenching tale of forbidden love tests the characters’ inner strength and will keep you captivated right till the end!

If you love angsty romance novels with some codependency issues, you’ll love this read.

Related Reading: Books Akin to Beautiful Disaster

21. The Scarlet Thread – Evelyn Anthony

The Scarlet Thread - Evelyn Anthony

A classic among dark mafia romance books, The Scarlet Thread by Evelyn Anthony has been around for more than three decades but still attracts readers with its dark allure and tragic circumstances.

Forced apart by the throes of war, Angela and Steven live separated for ten years while their love for each other still burns hot, though not without any doubts.

Steven’s mafia background lurks in the shadows of each step, threatening the child born out of their lovemaking their reunion suspenseful and unpredictable.

Moving at a steady pace and laced with intrigue and mystery, this novel is sure to grip you and transport you through a world of the past, no less riveting for it.

22. The Price of Innocence – Judith Whimsey

the price of innocence by judith whimsey

Gaby needs to get married in order to repay a debt and save her father’s life. The marriage means she’s in the hands of a notorious mafia boss, but can he be tamed?

Luke is a tough, mafia boss who won’t let anyone steal from him. No exceptions.

The Price of Innocence is a vividly moving book with dynamic characters and a storyline that sucks you in from the get-go!

Trigger warnings: this book contains scenes of graphic violence, sexual content, forced marriage, and hostage situations.

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dark mafia romance books

Final Word on Best Dark Mafia Romance Books

So there you have it, the best mafia romance books to get you sucked into the dark, mysterious, and steamy romance genre.

And if you love mafia romance books, you might also like these biker romance novels which feature a similar “mafia-esque” motorcycle club storyline.

And of course, you can never have enough bad boy romance novels to add to your reading list.

If you think we missed your favorite mafia romance read on this list, let us know in the comments.

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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