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15 BEST Forbidden Romance Books To Read After Dark

Last Updated on November 12, 2023 by Louisa

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?

In a forbidden romance, you can read about your ultimate taboo – whether that’s about an age difference, falling for your best friend, or worse – your brother’s best friend!

Or perhaps you fantasize about college professors or your child’s teacher – well then this list is for you. I have put together my list of the most scandalous forbidden romance stories of all time.

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 To Expect From Forbidden Romance Books?

Forbidden romance books take readers into the world of complex and ill-fated love.

You can expect dark and daring stories that break convention and challenge societal expectations, by delving into topics such as age gap issues, familial secrets, and relationships between lovers from worlds apart.

Themes of risk, suspense, and ultimately passion are typically prevalent throughout these novels, as protagonists battle to overcome external forces – be it family pressure or financial differences – in order to pursue their forbidden love.

With some depicting star-crossed lovers who come together in spite of the odds, while others immerse themselves in passionate affairs despite being torn apart by fate – these books are sure to captivate audiences with their emotional and dramatic tales.

The Best Forbidden Romance Books

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.

1. Romeo And Juliet – William Shakespeare

romeo and juliet

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 Juliet 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 Juliet is a must-read.

2. Welcome to the Dark Side – Giana Darling

welcome to the dark side by 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.

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

Trigger warning: there are some scenes of violence.

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3. Destined: A Forbidden Standalone Romance Susanna Mohel

destined by susana mohel

A book that’s all about giving love a second chance is Destined by Susanna Mohel, except that second chance is with the ex’s brother. Eep.

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

city of bones by cassandra clare

Cassandra Clare is most well known for her fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments.

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?

For fantasy and young adult fans, this series is a must-read.

5. An Enchantment Of Ravens – Margaret Rogerson

an enchantment of ravens

Another fantasy forbidden romance book that should be on everyone’s reading list is An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, which is about falling in love with royalty.

Isobel creates stunning portraits for her mysterious clients known as ‘The Fair Folk’, whose craving for human craft and art comes with a terrible price.

But when she works for her first royal customer, Prince Rook of the Autumn Kingdom, Isobel makes a mistake – painting mortal sorrow on the canvas – and risks not only his throne but his life.

When an attack on the kingdom ensues during his trial, both Isobel and Rook are forced to depend on each other if they want to survive.

An unlikely alliance begins and eventually turns into a forbidden love that neither can accept due to their kingdom’s ruthless laws.

This is a story full of suspense, risk, and ultimately passion.

If you like fantasy books about forbidden romances and royal intrigue, then you’ll love these books similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses.

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

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

If you enjoy stories on forbidden romances exploring dangerously passionate relationship obstacles, then The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is for you.

Evelyn Hugo, the renowned star of the movie industry, has decided to reveal her thrilling story of ups and downs in her career and relationships, entrusting its telling to an unknown magazine reporter – Monique Grant.

Surprised by the offer and struggling with a difficult professional life after her husband leaving her, Monique accepted it as a fresh start.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, she is taken aback by how much this septuagenarian has suffered in pursuit of ruthless ambition, friendship and forbidden love.

As the story unfolds its secrets, Monique finds unexpected similarities between herself and Evelyn’s journey through troubling times – ultimately understanding that what she thought was unachievable can be sought beyond one’s current circumstances.

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

the sweetest oblivion by 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.

8. Birthday Girl – Penelope Douglas

All Grown Up - Vi Keeland

Birthday Girl is an erotic forbidden romance book about single parents 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 an angst romance book you won’t be able to put down.

9. On the Island – Tracy Garvis Graves

On the Island - Tracey 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

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10. Scandalous – L.J. Shen

scandalous by lj shen

The New York Times bestselling author, L.J. Shen, is another author who is best known for her bad boy romance novels with forbidden elements and Scandalous is one of my favorites.

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 novels, it’s a little more complicated than giving in to primal urges.

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11. Hot Under His Collar – Andie J. Christopher

hot under his collar by andie j christopher

Perhaps the ultimate taboo is falling in love with a priest or a clergyman, which is why Hot Under His Collar by Andie J. Christopher is so scandalous.

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 romance relationship starts 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 angsty forbidden romance book leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout.

12. Credence – Penelope Douglas

credence by penelope douglas

This new adult forbidden romance novel by Penelope Douglas is a hot and steamy drama that 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 passed away, but she’s also feeling someone else…and not for her two new younger siblings.

This book is sizzling and packed with erotic scenes and is only for mature audiences.

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13. The Professor’s Wife – Marina DelVecchio

the professors wife

Ever fancied your college professor? Live out your fantasy by reading The Professor’s Wife by 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.

This book is hot, hot, hot and will have you gripping the pages, desperate to read what will happen next.

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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. Tempt Me – K.A. Tucker

tempt me by ka tucker

As far as pushing the boundaries of forbidden romances, you won’t find them pushed as far as Tempt Me by K. A. Tucker, the first book in The Wolf Hotel series.

This is a classic personal assistant who falls in love with her bad boy, player boss.

It’s erotica and has many steamy scenes, so if you want something to get you fanning yourself and reaching for a cold towel, this is it.

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forbidden romance books

Final Word on Best Forbidden Romance Books

So there you have it, my top 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!

Headshot of Louisa

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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