15 Bad Boy Romance Books You’ll Love To Read

Bad Boy Romance

Bad Boy Romance is a subgenre of romance novels that centers around a leading male character who is the “bad boy” archetype. These characters come across as rebellious, brooding, or mysterious and typically have a past marred by secrets, trauma, or a history of defying societal norms or the law. Despite their rough exterior, these characters have a vulnerable or damaged side that the female lead (and readers) gradually uncovers throughout the story.

Characteristics of Bad Boy Romance Books:

Complex Male Lead: The “bad boy” is usually multi-faceted. There’s a reason for his behavior, such as a traumatic past or deep-seated emotional wounds.

Tension and Drama: The relationship between the “bad boy” and the main female character is fraught with tension—both emotional and sexual. Their relationship can be a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Character Growth: As the story progresses, the “bad boy” character experiences significant growth softening due to the influence of love, understanding, and redemption.

Themes of Redemption and Healing: Many bad boy romances focus on redemption and healing. The power of love, trust, and understanding can help the “bad boy” confront and overcome his demons.

Protectiveness: Despite their rough demeanor, bad boy characters fiercely protect those they love, especially the female lead.

There is a proverb that girls like bad boys! Practically, this line is true for many girls. Girls like manners and are well-behaved, and like punk or bad boys who are humorous and romantically polite. Research says that bad boys are dynamic, intelligent, and funny. Also, women like these virtues. So, as a boyfriend, bad boys are good, but as a husband, they are not good for women. Bad boys are not husband material because of their speedy mood.

Bad boy romances feature dynamics of relationships, exploring themes like trust, vulnerability, past traumas, and personal growth. This can offer us insights into our own relationships and emotional landscapes. Moreover, the “bad boy” trope provides an especially potent form of escapism, letting us explore the allure of the forbidden or the unfamiliar in a safe environment.

15 Bad Boy Romance Books

From bikers to billionaires, rock stars to rogues, there’s likely a bad boy story that caters to your specific taste. Apart from the romance, many bad boy romances come with exciting plots – suspense, action, mystery, or drama.

Bad boys are not bad at romance. Rather than being best for love, they can spend much time with their lover because they are not worried about their future and work. Many teenage and mature girls like this type of boy at some point. I will talk about 15 bad-boy romance books to read anytime. Many of these stories underscore the idea that love can heal and redeem. Let’s go!

Bullseye by Monica JamesA bad boy and a dancer fall in love and struggle with danger and revenge.Enemies-to-lover, anti-hero, arc, angsty, suspense.
Bad Saint by Monica JamesA kidnapped bride forms a dangerous and unexpected bond with her captor.Kidnapper-kidnapped romance, enemies-to-lovers, dark romance, alpha male, captivity narrative, forbidden love, moral ambiguity, betrayal, redemption.
Steel King by Devney PerryA murder mystery and romance in a motorcycle club.Small town, hate-to-love, dual-pov, secret-pregnancy, arc.
Bound by Honor by Cora ReillyA young woman is thrust into an arranged marriage within the mafia, only to find unexpected love and danger.Arranged marriage, mafia romance, enemies-to-lovers, forbidden love, honor and duty, protective alpha male, innocence and corruption, family loyalty, culture clash.
Alaska Wild by Helena NewburyAfter a plane crash in Alaska, a city FBI agent and a former soldier must rely on each other to survive the wilderness and the threats chasing them.Survival romance, city girl meets mountain man, forced proximity, opposites attract, man versus nature, protector hero, danger and suspense, slow burn romance, enemies-to-lovers.
The Highwayman by Kerrigan ByrneA fierce and tormented highwayman discovers that the love from his tragic past is not only alive but is also in grave danger.Dark hero, tortured past, second-chance romance, historical romance, secrets and revelations, hero with a code, redemption arc, enemies-to-lovers, protector hero.
Credence by Penelope DouglasIn a secluded cabin, a young woman navigates evolving relationships with three men, challenging boundaries and discovering herself in the process.Taboo romance, age gap, love triangle (or in this case, a love square), isolated setting, coming of age, forbidden love, sexual awakening, family dynamics, slow burn.
Something in the Way by Jessica HawkinsA young girl finds herself irresistibly drawn to an older man, setting the stage for a forbidden love that spans years, amidst societal expectations and personal challenges.Forbidden love, age gap, coming of age, love triangle, slow burn, family dynamics, societal expectations, unrequited love, emotional angst.
Little Lies by H HuntingTwo college students, both burdened by traumatic pasts, find solace in each other while navigating the turbulent waters of love and pain.College romance, tortured hero/heroine, emotional baggage, friends-to-lovers, mental health issues, secrets and revelations, angsty romance, protective hero, healing through love.
Storm by Carian ColeAfter a chance meeting in a snowstorm, a rock star and a young woman form an unexpected bond, navigating the challenges of fame, age differences, and personal demons.Rock star romance, age gap, rescue scenario, damaged hero, opposites attract, fame and paparazzi, tortured past, protector hero, slow burn romance.
Twisted Perfection by Abbi GlinesA young woman with a tragic past seeks freedom and finds herself drawn to a man bound by societal expectations, leading to a passionate and tumultuous romance.Tortured heroine, rich hero, societal expectations, family dynamics, dark past, emotional baggage, opposites attract, secrets and revelations, sexual awakening.
Line Mates & Study Dates by Eden FinleyA friend-to-lover sports grumpy-sunshine romance.Forced-proximity, LGBTQ, MM, College.
Stay with Me by J. LynnA young woman returns to her hometown to confront her past and stumbles into a passionate, complicated relationship with a bar owner who harbors his own secrets.Dark past, secrets and revelations, emotional baggage, protective hero, bad boy with a heart of gold, small-town romance, healing through love, familial complications, unexpected pregnancy.
Little Hoodlum by K WebsterAmidst the backdrop of rivalries and violence, two individuals from different worlds form an intense bond, challenging loyalties and societal norms.Enemies-to-lovers, forbidden love, dark romance, high school drama, family feud, bad boy/bad girl romance, secrets and lies, opposites attract, danger and suspense.
Second Semester by Q.B. TylerAn age-gap taboo office romance.Dad-best-friend, insta-love, steamy.
Bad Boy Romance Books List

1. Bullseye (The Monsters Within Duet)

We have Tiger Lily, who is a club dancer. So, Bull calls her a tiger, and she is also a dancer and a dance instructor. Lily has a son who is about eight years old, and he meets her because he decides to get a job as a bouncer at the club. He can’t get a lot of jobs with a criminal record.

They like each other, and the story goes from there. We have Bull doing some fighting rings, killing people. There are some graphic death scenes in here as well. Monica James is not afraid to go there.


Author: Monica James
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Romantic Suspense, Crime Thrillers
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

2. Bad Saint (All The Pretty Things)

This was the first one, and our main character, Willow, is on her wedding night, and she is a virgin. She is in love with her husband. They’ve only met for three months until they got married. Then, she is kidnapped. The entire book is about her being taken to her captor.

Saint is one of the guys who kidnapped her, and she is intrigued by him compared to all the others. It does change tone a little after the first one because they’re not on their boat anymore. Willow is being captured, so keep that in mind, but it’s good.

Bad Saint

Author: Monica James
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Romantic Suspense
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

3. Steel King (Clifton Forge)

Our main character (Bryce) is a reporter. After trying to make it big in a city, she returns to her hometown and realizes she’s not happy where she is. So she moves back home to work for her father’s newspaper and wants to make it big in her small town. Also, she decides to investigate the motorcycle club that was randomly disbanded. The old president (Dash) is accused of murder because there’s a dead body in his hotel room.

Bryce goes to his son, the president at one point of the M.C. She’s trying to figure out what happened to the club and their deal and try to break the big case. Who murdered this woman, if it was his dad or not? Also, she has fallen in love with Dash. He’s the old emcee president, so he’s a bad guy. He has a lot of secrets and a lot of criminal history.

Steel King

Author: Devney Perry
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Women’s Sagas, Western Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

4. Bound by Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles)

This book is about a girl, Aria, who was betrothed to Luca, who has been this mob boss since she was 15 by her family as a public relations. So she’s known since she was 15. When she turned 18, she didn’t have to marry him. Luca is twenty-five when they get married. So there’s a bit of an age gap, and she’s terrified of him.

Aria thinks he will hurt her and he’s a bad guy. He’s part of the mob mafia but very sweet and understanding to her. But he doesn’t ever take advantage of her, which is what she’s terrified of, and he doesn’t do that. So, there are no consent issues in this book. He ensures she is comfortable with him and never pushes things too far, which is a huge thing about this book.

Bound by Honor

Author: Cora Reilly
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Romantic Suspense
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

5. Alaska Wild

This is romantic suspense, but our main character, Mason Boone, is a giant Alaskan bearded man who meets our main character, part of the FBI. He meets her (Kate Lydecker) because he is a prisoner, and the military wants him for something he did. He’s been hiding alone in the Alaskan wilderness for the past few years. They end up being on the plane with this huge white-collar criminal who has convinced the two marshals or whoever is taking him into captivity to help him escape.

Kate doesn’t know that she jumps onto the plane to get a ride somewhere. The plane ends up going down because that’s the plan to get this guy out of captivity, and she, in this Alaskan barbarian man, has to survive together. She doesn’t know whether to trust him or not. Try it if you like that Alaskan survival story and more romantic suspense.

Alaska Wild

Author: Helena Newbury
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Military Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

6. The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels)

This one is about Farah, who is very young in an orphanage. The thing ends up trying to make a move on her, and she has this boy (Dorian) that she’s best friends with. They’ve already decided they want to spend forever together. They have the fake wedding, and he ends up, I think, killing the guy or hurting him because Dorian tried to take advantage of her.

Then Dorian ends up being sent away to the work camp. Farah never sees him again. Then she hears that he has died. It is present-day, and she’s working for the Scotland Yard. She’s working for the police, and she’s in England and then goes to Scotland later. Dorian was also in that camp, and he was a highwayman. He is very wealthy and above the law and breaks the law all the time and then ends up kidnapping her and taking her to Scotland.

The Highwayman

Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Scottish Historical Romance
Available: Audiobook | Mass Market Paperback | Kindle | MP3 CD

7. Credence

We have three love interests in this; the only one is the bad boy. So we have our main character, whose parents decide to kill themselves and kill each other. The mom has cancer, and the mom and dad decide to end things on their terms and commit suicide, leaving their daughter alone.

So she has to move in with the only living relative, her dad’s stepbrother. It’s her step-uncle in the middle of the mountains. When winter comes, they don’t leave there for three months. Therefore, she moves in with them, and they are these mountain men, and they don’t get along.

But it is the dad and the two sons, and the one son is psychotic, and he spends weeks on end in the woods alone. He doesn’t talk to anybody, and he’s crazy. Our main character is with many guys, different from Penelope Douglas. But he liked this book’s bad boy rough and tough romance: the silent, dangerous, psychotic characters.


Author: Penelope Douglas
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Coming of Age Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

8. Something in the Way

This book series is about a girl who falls for her sister’s boyfriend (Manning). However, she feels entitled to that crush because she met this boy first. Manning was working construction across from her house when she was a teenager in high school, and she developed a silly crush on him. Moreover, her older sister ended up dating him. You get to see how the relationships develop.

Manning has had a troubled past and gets into trouble throughout the book series, which you’ll see if you read. So it gives you that good girl, bad boy vibe. But he’s a sweetheart at heart, out of any romance book.

Something in the Way

Author: Jessica Hawkins
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Contemporary Saga Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

9. Little Lies

This one is about a girl (Lavender Waters) who had a childhood friendship with her brother’s best friend (Kodiak). Something traumatic happened to her in her childhood, and he’s very protective of her. But they grow up, they grow apart, he moves away, they rekindle in college, and he is horrible to her. Upon getting to college, and because of this traumatic thing in her childhood, she’s closed off from everybody and doesn’t have much life experience.

On the other hand, Kodiak has gone off the rails, and she’s there to reel him in and then develop what they had when they were kids again. Also, the book describes classic childhood friendships. Enemies to lovers are going, especially when it’s a good girl and a bad boy.

Little Lies

Author: H Hunting
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Sports Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

10. Storm (Ashes & Embers)

It follows a big rock star band, and all bandmates have their books. So the first one is about the lead singer, his name is Storm. One night, the main girl driving to an event for work runs into an insane blizzard. Her car gets stuck in the road. She can’t do anything about it, and Storm happens to come across her on the road. So, it has that beginning element of a stuck-together romance.

They’d have to stay a few nights in his truck, and he immediately takes a liking to her. But he’s a famous rocker with a bad reputation. Also, she’s this girl in a relationship and is oblivious to him, even feeling that way towards her.


Author: Carian Cole
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: New Adult & College Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

11. Twisted Perfection (Rosemary Beach)

This is a part of a larger series, but it can be read as a duology. There are two books, Twisted Perfection and Simple Perfection, and they follow the same couple. The main girl in this story has had a tough childhood, a similar theme, and many books, but an insanely tough childhood. She has these crazy nightmares every night. She can’t sleep because she has trust issues.

This book explores her relationship with this rich guy; he and his family own a golf course. He takes a liking to her and wants to fix her somehow. But she’s the type of person that doesn’t want to put her baggage on people. It’s that rich boy, poor girl trope. You will enjoy seeing them unpacked and finding out as you read what happened to her and why she is the way she is, and this guy character wants to be there for her.

Twisted Perfection

Author: Abbi Glines
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Contemporary Romance Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

12. Line Mates & Study Dates (CU Hockey)

It is a gay romance, part of a larger series, but you can read it yourself. This series follows a team of hockey players, and all of the players have their books. So this one follows this one player who has a super rough, crazy past shocker, and the other boy is the son of the hockey coach for the team. He ends up helping his dad with equipment because he loses a bet, and his dad makes him do it for the semester. Also, his dad is worried about this one player and asks if he can keep an eye on him.

So that leads to them forming this friendship that turns into more. They’re all LGBT. So, read the whole series. But this one was cute, particularly the bad boy good boy thing going on.

Line Mates & Study Dates

Author: Eden Finley
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: LGBTQ+ Romance
Available: Paperback | Kindle

13. Stay with Me (Wait for You)

This book follows a girl with a lot of trauma; because of it, she’s closed off from everybody. She hasn’t kissed a boy, and she hasn’t gone on a date with a boy. It’s very innocent because of this trauma. She moved far away from her hometown. But something happens when she comes home, and she meets a boy who works as a server or a bartender at a restaurant.

All these books are starting to sound the same, but they’re all different. They all have different traumas, and they go through different relationships. So it’s worth reading all of them if you’re into the Good Girl-Bad Boy trope.

Stay with Me

Author: J. Lynn
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Coming of Age Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD

14. Little Hoodlum (Hood River Hoodlums)

It follows a girl in love with her brother’s best friend. This girl’s brother and his friend are the bad kids at school, always doing reckless stuff. The brother’s best friend has always been somebody who helps her and her brother. So she feels this close connection to him, and this book explores them becoming more. It’s typical like brother best friend romance.

Little Hoodlum

Author: K Webster
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Romantic Suspense
Available: Paperback | Kindle

15. Second Semester (Campus Tales)

This follows a girl who falls in love with her boss, her dad’s best friend. So it’s a little scandalous and taboo. This girl ends up working at this big company in an assistant role. Also, she breaks the rules a bit for this romance with her boss. So it has a forbidden element, but it’s also the Bad Boy category. This one is a quick read.

Second Semester

Author: Q.B. Tyler
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Contemporary College Romance
Available: Paperback | Kindle

5 High School Bad Boy Romance Books

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles: Brittany Ellis, the perfect cheerleader, and Alex Fuentes, the misunderstood gang member, are paired up as chemistry partners, leading to an unexpected and electric romance that crosses cultural and social lines.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry: Echo, a girl with a scarred past, is drawn to Noah, the school’s resident bad boy with foster care issues. Together, they face past traumas and find love.

Bully (Fall Away #1) by Penelope Douglas: Tate goes through torment in high school, primarily at the hands of Jared, her one-time friend turned bully. As they both mature, hate turns into passion in this intense romance.

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover: Opposites clash when Shaw, a girl with her life together, falls for Rule, the rebellious and tattooed bad boy. Family, love, and self-discovery take center stage in this turbulent romance.

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines: Ashton must choose between her clean-cut boyfriend, Sawyer, and his cousin Beau, the town’s notorious bad boy. Caught between love and lust, decisions aren’t easy in this sultry southern romance.

These books touch on themes of first love, rebellion, societal expectations, personal growth, and the trials and tribulations of high school relationships, making them relatable and captivating for readers.

5 Possessive Bad Boy Romance Books

Possessive bad-boy romances are a popular subgenre in romance literature. Here are five books where the male lead is notably possessive:

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire: Travis Maddox, an underground fighter, is popular for his quick temper and possessiveness, especially regarding Abby Abernathy. Their passionate relationship is both intense and tumultuous.

Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige: Alayna Wither is drawn to the wealthy and controlling Hudson Pierce despite her history of obsession with past lovers. Hudson’s possessiveness is both a danger and a lure for Alayna.

Ruthless People by J.J. McAvoy: This tale of two criminal empires centers on Liam Callahan and Melody Nicci Giovanni. Both are used to control, making their relationship a power struggle filled with possession and passion.

This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas: The story revolves around Jesse Ward, a successful and controlling entrepreneur with a dark side, and his intense obsession with Ava O’Shea. His overpowering possessiveness marks their relationship.

King by T.M. Frazier: King has a criminal past and a reputation. When Doe, a woman with no memories of her past, comes into his life, he becomes fiercely protective and possessive of her.

These novels explore the darker sides of love and attraction, the dynamics of power and control, and the line between possession and obsession.

5 Bad Boy Innocent Girl Romance Books

The “bad boy meets innocent girl” trope is popular and enduring in romance literature. Here are five books that focus on this dynamic:

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles: Alex Fuentes, a gang member with a dangerous reputation, is paired up with Brittany Ellis, the seemingly perfect cheerleader, in chemistry class. Their worlds collide in an explosive romance that challenges societal expectations.

Rush (Breathless #1) by Maya Banks: Gabe Hamilton is a powerful, wealthy, and dominant man who sets his sights on Mia Crestwell, his best friend’s innocent younger sister. Their passionate romance pushes boundaries.

Real by Katy Evans: Remington Tate, an underground fighter, becomes obsessed with Brooke Dumas, a sports therapist with a pure heart. Their relationship is filled with intensity as worlds of innocence and power collide.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire: Abby Abernathy, a girl trying to leave her dark past behind, is captivated by Travis Maddox, the school’s notorious bad boy and underground fighter. Their passionate connection tests the limits of love and trust.

Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen: Vicious, also known as Baron Spencer is wealthy, ruthless, and used to getting what he wants. When he becomes infatuated with Emilia, a kind-hearted and seemingly innocent girl, their worlds intertwine in a complicated romance.

5 Bad Boy Billionaire Romance Books

The “bad boy billionaire” trope is popular in contemporary romance. Here are five books featuring enigmatic billionaire characters and the women who captivate their hearts:

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James: Arguably the most well-known book in this sub-genre, it’s the story of the enigmatic billionaire Christian Grey and the innocent Anastasia Steele. Their relationship is filled with passion, secrets, and the infamous “Red Room of Pain.”

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst: Alexa agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome billionaire Nicholas Ryan. While the arrangement is supposed to be strictly business, their feelings become anything but professional.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day: The first in the ‘Crossfire’ series, this novel introduces readers to the captivating Gideon Cross, a billionaire with a traumatic past. Eva Tramell, a young professional trying to start fresh in New York City, is instantly drawn to him. Their tumultuous relationship is a roller coaster of emotions, passion, and dark secrets.

The Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige: The series follows Alayna, who falls for the charming yet intensely secretive billionaire Hudson Pierce. Their love story has twists, turns, and many steamy moments.

In Flight by R.K. Lilley: The first in the ‘Up in the Air’ series, this novel introduces readers to James Cavendish, a billionaire who becomes infatuated with flight attendant Bianca. Their relationship is fiery, passionate, and filled with challenges.

Read More Similar Books:

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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