Bullying others isn’t some rite of passage that kids make other kids go through. But still, does it makes for complex characters on TV or in the book? The loving bully is more popular in the romance section. Some characters lash out at their crushes because they don’t know how to deal with their feelings. The idea is that the character will grow out of it eventually. If the bully in their crush hooks up, it’ll be a super satisfying case of character development for the bullies-to-lover. The loving bully can tie in with the insecure bully and dark moments.
There’s a whole subgenre of bully called the nerdy bully. It doesn’t get reported doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. These are subversions of the typical tough guy bully. Instead of physically bullying you, they’ll hack into your email and leak your deepest, darkest secrets to your entire contact book. They’ll make you for being intellectually inferior. These characters aren’t always guys, either. There are plenty of girls who thrive on being the academic alphabet. If chemistry forms, then the romance will be very dark.
Not only do they make easily recognizable antagonists, but they can also give a protagonist some pretty satisfying character moments. For example, if a protagonist has superpowers, they might use those powers to get back at their bully in some slapstick ways. It is super entertaining for the audience.
Also, It’s a neat role reversal where the weak become strong, and the strong become vulnerable. There are also scenarios where the bully protagonist turns on the bully and gives them the comeuppance they deserve. These are insanely cathartic and provide some of the most touching scenes. If you want to read dark bully romance, stay with me!
7 Dark Bully Romance Books
The bully is a super common antagonist in media. A dark bully is cruel to others, especially those weaker than them. It makes them the perfect hateful antagonist. The bully doesn’t have to be only a student at a school. There are plenty of workplace bullies out there.
In reality, bullies won’t always come from the wrong home or have some traumatic past. In many cases, rotten home life will make you more likely to be bullied. The media will tell you that bullies are deeply insecure or have low self-esteem. But more often than not, bullies will be pretty popular and come from privileged backgrounds.
Many stereotypical bullying methods aren’t true to life, either. It’s generally something that’ll only happen in fictional schools. The typical flavor of fictional bullying is the peer-pressured bully. It’s more complicated than that. These are often minions of bigger bullies who aren’t bad people but join in on the bullying to keep themselves from becoming a victim. Sometimes they’re misguided and crave popularity, only to hate what they’ve become.
The main characters might meet their bully, find out they’ve mellowed out big time, and even apologize. These characters provide closure for the readers by showing that even the biggest jerks might be able to redeem themselves later in life.
Other times, a character might gradually redeem themselves by being much kinder to those around them throughout the TV show or books. Storylines are genuinely heartwarming and warm the audience up to the character. The reformed bully might become the most memorable character and get the freeze-frame ending. I will talk about my 7 favorite dark bully romance books for you. Let’s do it!
|Name||Key Focus||Review (Goodreads)|
|The Bad Guy||A man deals with Asperger’s, and he starts feeling for his worker’s girlfriend and kidnaps her.||4.1|
|Corrupt||A college girl falls in love with her ex-boyfriend’s brother, who bullies and avoids her.||3.8|
|Craving||The heroine lives with her friend’s brother, and one of them bullies her, which turns into a romantic relationship and suspense.||3.9|
|The Pawn||To save her father, the heroine is trying to earn money by selling her virginity to her father’s friend, and it’s their dark romance.||4.0|
|They The Pretty Stars||To find her sister, a girl is investigating where she meets a bully boy who bullies her sister.||3.7|
|Wicked Dreams||A high school girl is dealing with her broken family, and she finds her ex-best friend who bullies her.||3.9|
|Stolen Soulmate||In a love triangle, a man mistakenly kisses her servant, and his fiance sees that where the romance turns into more.||4.2|
1. The Bad Guy
The Bad Guy is an erotica suspense which about Sebastian and Camille. Camille goes to her boyfriend’s work that they’re hosting, and it’s there that she meets Sebastian. Sebastian is her boyfriend’s boss. When she first meets him, she realizes that something about him is off. He’s socially awkward. It is because he was diagnosed with Asperger’s and is borderline psychotic.
So when Sebastian first meets Camille, it’s strange. He’s holding her hand for too long. He keeps staring at her, and Camille gets this weird feeling. But then her boyfriend tells her that that’s the way Sebastian is. He’s a very awkward and bullying guy but also very smart. Then after the gala, Camille keeps running into him, and she’s never seen this guy before. All of a sudden, he keeps popping up everywhere. She is a science teacher. Suddenly Sebastian shows up at the school and wants to donate money to the science building.
Camille gets offered a position at Amazon, and she accepts that job. It’s at that point that Sebastian kidnaps her. So the reason Sebastian kidnaps her is that when he first meets her, he feels some strange emotions going through his body that he doesn’t understand. As he has Asperger’s, he has trouble understanding his emotions or displaying certain emotions in certain situations. So when he feels these unfamiliar emotions, he must get to the bottom.
So Sebastian figures that the best way for him to understand better what’s going on is to kidnap her and use that time he has with her to get a better understanding of what’s going on inside of him. He’s obsessed with her when she’s in his house. Camille doesn’t want to be there, but she’s also starting to understand why he is the way he is. Then Sebastian doesn’t understand how to woo a girl. So he realizes what those emotions are. So there are dark bully love, mental health, and kidnapping tropes that make the story more exciting.
Author: Celia Aaron
Narrator: Stephen Dexter, Lance Greenfield
Publisher: Audible Studios
Tropes: Suspense, Pregnant-heroine, Love-triangle, Psychopath, Grumpy-hero
Number Of Pages: 414
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD
2. Corrupt (Devil’s Night)
Corrupt is a dark college romance with a bullying aspect. It is about Michael Crist, and the book starts with Erika at a family party at her ex-boyfriend’s house. While there, she sees her ex-boyfriend’s older brother, Michael, and the reader doesn’t understand why. But there’s a tension between them, and you get the vibe that Michael hates and bullies her, but she’s in love with him.
You don’t understand why Michael hates her if she grew up with that family because she was dating his younger brother. But as the book continues, it jumps from the present to the past. It’s the reason that they have this weird relationship is all because of one night. So every time it jumps to the past, it returns to that night. You’re finding out what happened that night to make their relationship like this. Without giving away what happened that night, I’ll tell you that Erika has always had a crush on Michael.
His younger brother was more his dad’s favorite, and because she felt this vibe, he was very distant from their family. Erika didn’t spend as much time with him as she did with his younger brother. She and the younger brother were best friends in the beginning.
After spending so much time together, she realized that the brother had romantic feelings for her. She knew that nothing was going to happen between her and Michael. So she went ahead and started dating him. But nothing would ever happen between Michael and Erika, and it was because of that specific night. Something happened that night, and there was a chance of them getting together, and something went wrong.
Erika ruined his life and his three best friend’s life. Because of that, Michael can’t forgive her and can never be with her. He and his friends want to get revenge for her ruining their lives. So they torment her that night to the one she keeps remembering. But there are a lot of secrets.
A lot happened that night that Michael doesn’t know of, and not everybody is on the same page. They all have different recollections of what happened that night. The characters are mentally unstable, so they are not likable. The story and writing style was average for me, but the smut level is so high. If you like dark bully steamy romance, try it.
Author: Penelope Douglas
Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov, Jeremy York
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Tropes: Suspense, College, Anti-hero, Mystery, Sports
Number Of Pages: 516
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle
3. Craving (Steel Brothers Saga)
Three books come first in the Steel Brothers Saga series. The first two books are a dark bully romance and mystery because a crime happens. As the book continues, they start unveiling secrets and understanding who committed those crimes. I do want to let you know that there should be a trigger warning in this book. I don’t recommend reading this book if it’s hard for you to read books about sexual assault.
The crime would be solved, and justice would be served. The relationship in the book is good, but it is hard to read at times because some of the scenes are explained in detail. So I would also get past certain scenes. Craving is about telling in Jade. So Jade decides to visit her friend. The majority lives with her three older brothers. She goes to live with her friend’s brothers. One of her brothers is Talon, and Talon picks up Jade from the airport immediately. Jade is attracted to Talon, but he’s also dark and mysterious.
As the days go on, there’s sexual tension between her and Talon. But Talon is hard to understand, and the book keeps going on. Then you realize that Talon is hard to understand because, at one point during his childhood, he was kidnapped and was gone by many problems. So, he has significant trust issues and difficulty opening up to others. His family also has difficulty understanding him because they don’t know what happened while he is gone. They have an idea of what happened and then lose their parents.
Talon doesn’t feel comfortable telling his brothers what happened. Jade starts working at a courthouse and can pull up records and information about his disappearance while she’s there. That’s when she realized that a lot of stuff was being covered. The family wants to know why these things were covered up. Who paid who to cover them up? Are they covering it up? So, much suspense and mystery make this dark romance more thrilling.
Author: Helen Hardt
Narrator: Sebastian York, Neva Navarre
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Tropes: Westerns, Arc, Bad-boy
Number Of Pages: 288
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD
4. The Pawn (Endgame)
The Pawn is another dark crime suspense romance from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren. The story is about Avery and Gabriel. Avery grew up rich, but then her father got ill. During this time, he loses all of his money. So Avery is left poor, and she now has to take care of her dying father and can’t even pay for his medical treatments. Then she decides to visit the criminal underground. She’s thinking about the best way to make money quickly because her dad is sick.
Then Avery comes up with the idea that she will sell her virginity for money. So while she’s down there, she meets a man. His name is Gabriel, and she’s seen him around her house sometimes. So she thinks he must be friends with her dad. They do a little auction thing, and Gabriel buys her. He paid, so he wants the card. You find out that Gabriel isn’t who he says he is.
Avery realizes when Gabriel pays for her that if anybody is going to pay for her, she’s happy that it is Gabriel. So then, when she finds out, he’s not who he says he is. Their romance was very dark, and the bully scene was very light. There was much suspense that made you cliffhanger. Avoid the hardcover because of the bad quality issue. Choose the paperback because it’s fantastic for font size, color combination, cover, binding, and paper quality.
Author: Skye Warren
Narrator: Kylie Stewart
Publisher: Book Beautiful
Tropes: Crime, Twists, Alpha-male
Number Of Pages: 304
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle
5. They The Pretty Stars (Court High)
They The Pretty Stars is a high school, dark bully romance. The story is about Royal Prinze and December. She has an older sister, but her older sister lives with her dad. Her dad distanced himself from the two girls when her mom passed away. December couldn’t do it anymore. So she moved in with her aunt. They agree to live in separate homes. That way, the dad had somebody to pick on in December since she was the younger sister.
December is living with her aunt, and her sister visits her often. Months go by, and her sister’s still not back. She’s usually there all of summer December, texting her, and she can’t get a hold of her. So she decides to go to her if her sister’s not coming back. Then she moves in with her dad hoping her sister will return because she feels bad for her. She enrolls in the school that her sister used to go to, and when she’s there, she meets a group.
The group is the popular kids, but they’re bully boys, and she doesn’t like them. Then she finds out that her sister is best friends with them. Royal is the leader of that group. They don’t get along in the beginning. But as the book goes on, they have to work together to get answers because Royal does care about her sister, and he also wants to know what happened. So they start working together. Secrets get unveiled! Every chapter of this book is fascinating and suspenseful. I recommend reading the whole series.
Author: Eden O’Neill
Narrator: Kasi Hollowell
Publisher: Pink Flamingo Productions LLC
Tropes: Mystery-thriller, Academia, Disability, Banter
Number Of Pages: 167
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
6. Wicked Dreams (Fallen Royals)
Wicked Dreams is a dark high school romance with the bully trope. We follow two main characters, Caleb and Margo. Margo is the foster kid. Her mom lost her mind when she was younger, and her dad was arrested. She never understood why he was arrested, but he’s been in prison. Her mom’s been out of the picture because she’s a drug addict. But Margo’s in the foster system, and she keeps moving from house to house because nobody wants to adopt her. Eventually, she finds herself in the same town she grew up in when all this happened.
So when her dad was arrested and her mom became a drug addict, she returned to that town. When she’s there, she runs into her ex-best friend, Caleb. So she hasn’t seen him since then, but she’s always thought about him and wondered what he’s up to. They didn’t have a way of staying in contact with each other. So she’s happy to be back now.
When she comes back, Caleb hates and bullies her, and she doesn’t understand why. She also does not have her full memories. As the story continues, she has to think, why would he possibly hate me? It all has to do with how her dad got arrested in the first place. Her dad got arrested for something that changed Caleb’s life, which is why he hates her. The book has many negative sides: a lack of chemistry between the main characters, a boring story, and average writing. But I enjoyed the mystery and banter between the characters.
Author: S. Massery
Narrator: Stephanie Rose, Troy Duran
Tropes: Dark-theme, Bully, Jealous-possessive, Mystery-thriller
Number Of Pages: 340
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | Audio CD
7. Stolen Soulmate (Crowne Point)
Stolen Soulmate is about Story and Gray. Story is a servant at Grayson’s castle. It seems like a big mansion, and they call it Crowne Hall. So Story is a servant at Crown Hall, Grayson’s home, walking through the house and going about her duties. Then somebody yanks her into a closet, and she’s making out with somebody. She doesn’t know who this person is, but they’re making out.
Things are getting steamy. Then the door opens and works in Charlotte. Charlotte is shocked, but she’s even more shocked when the person she’s kissing realizes that Grayson’s made a mistake. Grayson thought he was kissing Charlotte, but in reality, he was kissing Story.
So when Grayson finds out that he’s kissing Charlotte, he’s upset, and you find out that he’s upset because he and Charlotte are engaged to be married. They’re young, and they haven’t announced their engagement yet. So, it’s an arranged marriage. When they are little, they’re supposed to get married. Grayson finds out that Story stole his first kiss.
When Charlotte sees him kissing Story, she gets upset because she thinks he’s been playing games this whole time and hasn’t been saving himself for her. So she leaves, and she’s crying. Grayson bullies Story throughout the whole book. But it’s not Story’s fault that this is happening because he yanked her into the closet. Then Grayson and Story fall in love with each other.
The book is sad because Story and Grayson are now in love with each other does not change the fact that Grayson is still supposed to marry Charlotte. It has been planned since they were little. So he can’t believe all of a sudden say, I don’t want to marry her anymore. That does cause problems for them. The main obstacle is that they can’t stay together.
This book has a lot of angst because of all the obstacles they face due to their family. The writing style, plot, and characters are excellent, and the author successfully adds many tropes without force. I recommend this dark bully love story.
Author: Mary Catherine Gebhard
Publisher: Unglued Books
Tropes: Multicultural, Arranged-marriage, Arc
Number Of Pages: 434
Available: Paperback | Kindle
Those are all my recommendations for the best dark bully romance novels. Let me know in the comments below what you want to see next. I’ve been reading several random books to create different categories for you. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books before, if you like them, or what other types of books you want me to look at and read for you. Happy reading!
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