15 BEST Forbidden Romance Books of ALL Time

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Are you craving a romance novel that’s a little bit naughty? How about a sultry forbidden romance story? We all love a bad boy that we know is going to ruin us, so why not live out your fantasies through a fictional book with an anti-hero MC.

Whether you’re looking for a romance with an age difference, falling for best friends, estranged family members or college professors, these are the most scandalous forbidden romance stories of all time.

Whether you’re a fan of suspenseful thrillers or dark, brooding tales of love and forbidden desires, these forbidden romance books are the novels you need to add to your reading list.

The Best Forbidden Romance Books

1. Romeo And Juliet – William Shakespeare

This is a classic and iconic forbidden romance novel that is a must-read for anyone who wasn’t forced to study it in high school. If you don’t know the story, Romeo and Juliette is the story of two lovers who feel Earth’s gravitational pull towards them in a love so great, but they are forbidden to marry by their families.

As Romeo and Juliet meet in secret, waiting for stolen moments together, their love story takes on a dark note.

Unable to bear the thought of living without each other, they kill themselves rather than be parted. The story is incredibly tragic, but also incredibly romantic and heart-wrenching.

If you’re a lover of Shakespeare, or just want to read a great story, Romeo and Juliette is a must-read.

2. Welcome to the Dark Side – Giana Darling

Giana Darling is the queen of forbidden romance books. Her novel, Welcome to the Dark Side is an age-gap romance novel with gritty action scenes and a developing love story that is as profound as it is shocking. 

It’s a romance book with many ups and downs, but the love between the main characters can be felt throughout.

Zeus is a wild and slightly dangerous mafia boss who any woman would fall for. He’s also possessive of Lou, his love, and our heroine. However, Zeus is nearing 40 and Lou is just 17.

Trigger warning: there are some scenes of violence.

If you love dark romance books like Welcome to the Dark Side, you might also like these biker romance books.

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3. Destined: A Forbidden Standalone Romance Susanna Mohel

Destinee, a nurse practitioner, goes out to celebrate her first week at work with her co-workers when she accidentally bumps into her ex’s brother Martin, a past that she wants to run away from and never encounter again. But love takes over. 

Though she wishes to acknowledge her feelings for him, the hurt and heartbreak from the past stop her from doing so.

Will they have a happy ending or will her past keep shadowing her present and future? 

A wonderful story of forbidden love with well-written characters that will earn a place in your heart. Recommended for all those who love doctor romance novels.

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4. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare is most well known for her fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments – a tale of two shadowhunter lovers as they fight to destroy the evil from demons and rogue shadowhunters.

City of Bones is the first of the six-part series and is where we find out our lovable main characters, Clary Fray and Jace Herondale, are brother and sister.

Our heart breaks for these young lovers who learn this devastating truth about their family and as the story unfolds, it is harder for the pair to stay away from each other.

But something about their parents doesn’t add up…could they really be brother and sister?

5. An Enchantment Of Ravens – Margaret Rogerson

Isobel creates stunning portraits for her dangerous clients called “The Fair Folk.” They have a craving for the human craft and terrible thirst for Isobel’s paintings.

But when Isobel worked for her first royal customer – Rook, the prince of the autumn, she made a big mistake.

She mistakenly painted mortal sorrow. A small mistake that may cost the prince his throne and risk his life.

During the trial, something attacked the kingdom from every corner. Now, Isobel and Rook are utterly dependent on each other for survival. 

An alliance between both turns to trust and even love. They knew that their love was forbidden and could not be accepted by the ruthless laws of the kingdom.

The cost of survival is more frightening than death itself. If you like books about forbidden romances, then you’ll love these books similar to a court of thorns and roses.

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo, a popular name in the movie industry, decides to tell the story of ups and downs in her career and relationship.

She unravels the truth of her glamorous and scandalous life in her biography. Surprisingly, when choosing the writer to tell her story, she decided on an average, unknown magazine reporter named Monique Grant. 

When Evelyn offered her the job to write her story, Monique was stunned. Monique was going through a tough time in her professional life. 

Her husband left her in the past, so she lived alone, and her life was not going anywhere. Evelyn has determined to work with Monique on her biography regardless of all these odds.

Monique accepted the offer and decided to use this opportunity to restart her career. 

Evelyn summoned Monique to her luxurious apartment. She started explaining how she had gone through ruthless ambition, friendship, and forbidden love.

Monique found a connection between her life and Evelyn’s story. Somehow she felt the pain and suffering Evelyn has undergone in her life.

If you think this sounds like a good read, you might like other books like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

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

This is a gravitating mafia romance novel that gives off epic West Side Story vibes, but billionaire style.

Nico is engaged to Elena’s sister, but the energy between them is undeniable. The two are drawn to each other, and all they want is to be more than surface attraction.

Their romance is forbidden, and the tension is felt throughout the novel, but what makes this novel a great read is that it has a lot of action and relatable characters behind the romance.

If you love steamy contemporary romance with America’s favorite bad boy MC, then you might also like these books like After.

7. Birthday Girl – Penelope Douglas

Birthday Girl is an erotic forbidden romance book that could make Fifty Shades of Gray seem like a fairytale. If you love dark romance, this will certainly get those arteries pumping.

It follows two young teenage lovers, Jordan and Cole, as they try to improve and make positive changes as a couple.

But when they were forced to move in with Cole’s only living relative, his estranged father, the one and only Pike Lawson, things start to get complicated. Jordan finds herself attracted to her father-in-law, and her boyfriend’s father, Pike has noticed.

The age gap and the single parent romance elements with her boyfriend’s dad make this storyline one you can get completely hooked on, and the tension is so strong it’s almost bursting out of the pages.

Everything about this is taboo romance. It’s tantalizingly gripping and full of angst romance elements.

9. On the Island – Tracy Garvis Graves

On the Island is an age gap romance novel that tells of a forbidden love that will play on your heartstrings.

This incredible love story follows the story of thirty-year-old English Teacher, Anna Emerson, who takes a tutoring job for almost seventeen-year-old teenage boy TJ Callahan.

It was only one summer at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, what could go wrong?

Only their plane crashes into the Indian Ocean on the way there, and now Anna and TJ are marooned on a deserted island together.

When they first get to the island, TJ is just a boy who is in remission from cancer.

After some weeks, the castaways encounter plenty of opportunities for growth, we start to see TJ turn into a man, no longer just a kid. And Anna can see it too, and she’s attracted to it.

This is one of those forbidden romances that possesses all the qualities of an enjoyable book; a compelling storyline, relatable characters and tons of emotion rippling through the pages. It’s a storyline that makes girls weep

10. Scandalous – L.J. Shen

From the New York Times bestselling author, L.J. Shen, is another author who is best known for her bad boy, forbidden romance novels and Scandalous is one of my favourites.

It’s the fourth book in a series, but each book can be read as a standalone novel.

It follows Trent Rexroth, a businessman who hires his enemy’s daughter, Edie Van der Zee, as an intern at his company after a non-refusable blackmail deal.

Needless to say, things don’t start well. Trent is cold and calculating and distrusting… But, there’s something about Edie that he finds desirable, and not just his alpha male personality.

When Edie discovers there is a tenderness underneath her father’s business partner, Trent, she also begins to feel something.

Soon, the walls come crumbling down and this forbidden romance between a CEO and his competitor’s daughter is harder to stay away from.

But with all CEO romance stories, it’s a little more complicated than giving in to primal urges.

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11. Hot Under His Collar – Andie J. Christopher

Father Patrick Dooley joined the clergy as his mother’s dying wish. He’s starting to feel it’s not his calling anymore, but it’s all he’s ever known.

If he leaves, what will he do with his life? How can he reconcile his faith if he lives a different life?

Sasha Finerghty was content to admire Patrick from afar, but when Patrick’s own church is in need of funding, she is just the girl to solve the problem.

After Sasha and Patrick spend more time together, their best friends to lovers relationship start to form and her crush gets more intense.

And the more Patrick gets to know Sasha, the easier it feels to give up the clergy.

Will Patrick give it all up? Can they contain their crush on one another? This forbidden angst romance story leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout.

12. Credence – Penelope Douglas

This new adult forbidden romance novel by Penelope Douglas is a hot and steamy drama follows a budding romance between a young girl and her adoptive father.

Tiernan de Haas was the only child of a film producer and actress, who grew up with wealth and privilege. From an early age, she was shipped off to boarding school, where her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

After the unexpected death of her parents, her only living relative, her father’s stepbrother, steps in.

Jake Van der Berg must look after Tiernan for two months before she turns eighteen. When she goes to live with him and his two sons, Tiernan is pleasantly surprised by how quickly she learns to survive in the woods and finds she is having so much fun being remote in the woods.

But as time goes on, she realizes that she’s not just feeling like she’s found her place after her parents suddenly passing away, but she’s also feeling someone else…and not for her two new younger siblings.

This book is only for mature audiences.

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13. The Professor’s Wife – Marina DelVecchio

Carl Bingham is a Poetry Professor who was seduced by his student, Camilla.

Camilla is a young artist with a musical gift who sits in his classroom, unlike the bored students who sit around her, she is mesmerized by her new poetry professor.

Though he is no young teacher, but despite the age difference, they fall in love and marry.

The married poetry professor rarely speaks of how he met his wife, and when secrets and betrayals begin to threaten their marriage, they are hellbent on fighting for their relationship.

But since Carl’s job is already threatened because of a former relationship, it seems marrying a student is a dangerous game.

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14. Kulti – Mariana Zapata

Kulti is a hot and slow-burning standalone age gap romance novel by Mariana Zapata.

It tells the story of a professional soccer player, Reiner Kulti, and someone that Salome (Sal) Casillas has admired from an early age.

When he becomes the new assistant coach of her soccer team she is elated.

But when she meets him, Kulti is moody and has an unlikeable bad attitude. Only Sal doesn’t mind, and is ready to put up with anything.

As they begin ‘getting-to-know-each-other’ in secret, the chemistry is magnetic and the tension unbearable.

Sal is a strong heroine who stands up for herself and follows her passion, and Kulti supports her as she chases those dreams.

Sure, they have a 12 year age gap, but the attraction is real. Kulti has a kind of protective alpha thing about him that is irresistible.

The love described between Sal and Kulti is more friendship burning into something more. This isn’t a steamy one night stand romance, this is long-lasting.

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15. Forbidden – Tabitha Suzuma

Sixteen year old Maya is pretty and talented and has never been kissed. Lochan is seventeen and on his way to a bright future. They have fallen in love, but…they are brother and sister.

Throughout their childhood, they have had to step in for their alcoholic, mother care for their three younger siblings.

With all this stress in their lives, it was natural they would become close. So close, that they have fallen in love.

They know their relationship is wrong and yet, they cannot stop what feels so right.

This novel has an explosive and shocking finale, one of its own sorrow and own bliss.

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forbidden romance books

Final Word on Forbidden Romance Books

So there you have it, my top 10 forbidden romance novels. From the dangerously dark to the kinky, these forbidden romance books are definitely worth a try. 

Of course, there are many other books that I could have included on this list. Do you think I missed anything? Let me know in the comments and help grow this Epic Book Society!

Disclaimer: This website uses affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through a link at no extra cost to you.

Last Updated on February 22, 2023 by Louisa

Headshot of Louisa

About Louisa

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the founder, editor, and head honcho of Epic Book Society. Once a published poet at the age of 7, she aspired to become a journalist, but that career hit a wall so here she is writing about books instead. When she's not writing about books, she's teaching English to primary school kids around the world.

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