15 Romance Heroes You Probably Shouldn’t Love… But Will

These heroes are complicated, messy, and may be hiding some secrets. From the growly alphas to the good guys withholding information, these heroes will make you fall for them even when you know there will inevitably be some conflict along the way.

If I’ve reviewed the book, there’s a link to it; if I haven’t, there’s a link to the book on GoodReads so you can easily add it to your TBR.

Counterfeit Boyfriend by Cindi Madsen

This hero is actually an incredible book boyfriend – if you overlook the fact that he’s taking his twin brother’s girlfriend on the road trip of her dreams – while posing as him. This one’s all about the chemistry, the forced closeness, and a connection that cannot be denied.

My twin brother’s talked me into a lot of crazy things, but taking his place on a road trip with his girlfriend so he can party with his friends is a whole new level of insanity. What’s even more insane is I somehow find myself agreeing to it—thanks, alcohol, guilt, and bribery. I’m determined to undo the arrangement, but then I meet Gwen, this sexy redheaded hurricane of energy and brains. 

And then she kisses me. Just like that, I’m driving her up the coast, on our way to a wedding with a mess of complications. With each hour and each stop, I’m falling harder and harder for a woman who doesn’t know my actual name. 

I’m trying to do the right thing. Or the lesser of the wrong things. All my life I’ve had to clean up my brother’s messes, but for the first time ever, I’ve landed the upper hand in one of our switcheroo schemes. Now I’ve just got to come clean and convince Gwen that I’m the brother she should be with.


Love Sincerely Yours by Meghan Quinn & Sara Ney

Written by an absolute dream team of authors, this office romance stars a moody, broody boss who has his eyes opened to his behavior when an employee begins sending him emails anonymously. If you love a little dirty banter, this one is for you.

A sexy, smart, and heart-swooning romance about a girl who has nothing to lose when it comes to flirting with her boss.
This seductive contemporary romance from bestselling authors Meghan Quinn and Sara Ney will keep you on the edge of your seat as you fall in love with the first novel from this dynamic duo.

Dear Mister.. . . no, too formal.
Hey there sweet cheeks. . . no, too forward.
*Clears throat*
To whom it may concern,

Full disclosure; before we move forward with this email, I would like it to be known that I have consumed an adequate amount of alcoholic beverages to intoxicate myself tonight. Three margaritas, two shots, and one beer—because it was free.

I think it’s important to be open and honest with your co-workers, don’t you?

So here I am, being open and honest. Drunk but honest. Or just drunk with lust? You decide.

I have a hopeless, foolish, schoolgirl crush on you when you are the last person on earth I should be falling for. Did you know people around the office call you a sadist? An egomaniac. An insensitive, arrogant prick. But what they don’t know is your bark is worse than your bite. And that bite doesn’t scare me. The fact is, I’d love that bite of yours to nip at my bare skin while we’re both wearing nothing but sheets.

For once I want you to look at me as more than one of your employees.

And as long as we’re being honest, that navy blue suit you wear? With the crisp white shirt? It really makes me want to loosen your tie and show you exactly who’s boss.



Never Lasting / Never Again by Julia Wolf

This bad boy musician will make you fall for him, only to rip your heart out later on. At the end of book one of this duet, I was DREADING seeing where the story went next, but Wolf is such a skilled writer that she made me love him all over again. If you’re all about the angst, this duet has it in spades.

Book One – Never Lasting:

Tali DiPietro is a good girl with a streak of punk rock rebel.

Before I left for college, my mom told me not to settle down with the first guy who crosses my path. Sage advice, sure, but that’s hard to do after I share an elevator with a guy who is nothing like the boys back home. I swore off musicians a long time ago, but when I see Jude on stage for the first time, I know I’m going to fall for him, and I’m damn sure it’s going to hurt.

Jude Goldman is a bad boy with a guitar and big dreams.

I have one goal: making it as a musician. There’s no obstacle I won’t destroy to be the one under the spotlight. Nothing has slowed me down, not until a chocolate-eyed girl with a New York accent enters my world. Tali becomes as important as landing a record deal, and I’ll do anything to have both, no matter how much it hurts. 

We’re two ships moored together in a storm of excess, stardom, and broken promises, pulled apart and yanked back in, until we’re both battered and breaking. We have that forever kind of love, but for us, forever might be nothing more than stardust and memories.


Book Two – Never Again:

They were a perfect storm of bad decisions and tragedy…

We thought our forever kind of love would protect us.

We thought we were strong enough to withstand any storm.

But we were so young then. We couldn’t have known what was coming.

“First loves will mess you up until the end of time if you let them.”

Older now, we’re both stronger than we’ve ever been. Brought back together by chance, we have a second chance to discover if forever is still the truth or yet another broken promise.


Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy

New Adult at its best, this intense romance features a complicated hero who is withholding some important information from his girl – all while being a lovable jerk. It’s not dark, it’s not light; it’s that gray area that burns with intensity.

That’s what we are.
That’s what we agreed to be.

I thought it would be harder, convincing everyone our school’s star receiver was mine and mine alone, but we played our parts well.

So well, the lines between us began to blur until they disappeared completely.

The thing about pretending, though, someone’s always better at it, and by the time I realized my mistake, there was no going back.

I fell for our lie.
And then everything fell apart.

It turned out, he and I were never playing the same game. 

He didn’t have to break me to win.
But he did it anyway.


The Guarded Heart by Blair LeBlanc

This demanding, moody bodyguard begins as a total jerk, but our heroine slowly breaks down his walls and reveals the huge heart that lies within. The only problem? He’s got a secret. The debut by this talented author, The Guarded Heart is a slow burn to sizzle romance that has touches of suspense.

He’s my bodyguard. I’m the senator’s daughter.
We can’t be together, but I’ll risk it all to be with him.
Cassian is my silent shadow. A cold, unfeeling giant. A man of few words who undresses me with his bedroom eyes. He’s beautifully flawed with a past as mysterious as his scars. It wasn’t what I planned, but Cassian seized me— heart, body, and soul. 
He’s my first. He’s my everything. 
I fell for him.
Then I found out his secret.
He’s not my protector.
He’s my worst mistake.

I’m in love with my enemy’s daughter.
She was young. She was beautiful. The purple-haired girl looked wild. I’d tame her with a firm hand before taking her to bed. I expected a high-maintenance brat, but what I got was Rain. 
A kind, selfless woman. A girl whose joy cracked through my armor. 
I couldn’t hurt her.
When I met her, my plan shattered.
She was mine. 
She brought light to my endless night.
And I was destined to destroy everything that made her shine.

Author’s Note: A moody, overprotective bodyguard bends his rules for the girl he’s supposed to hate. The Guarded Heart is a full-length, steamy, enemies-to-lovers romance with a heartwarming HEA from debut author, Blair LeBlanc.


Bad Love by Piper Lawson

This overgrown frat boy is risking the family business on a bet. And the bet? It’s that he can sell thousands of vibrators in a short period of time. If he sounds like a total tool, that’s because he is – or at least that’s how he starts the book. This opposites attract romance is sexy with depth and I loved the journey our hero took along the way.


I bet my family’s legacy on pleasing 10,000 women.
Kendall Sullivan, marketing queen, is my only hope of saving the thing I love most. 
She doesn’t have time for my jokes or my playboy reputation.
Too bad I can’t get her sweetness or her toughness out of my head.
So what happens when the only woman I want to please is her?


Pastor’s kid. Single mom. Divorced before I could drink.
I’ve lived my life without regrets.
Until the infamous Logan Hunter makes me an offer: I help with his problem and he helps with mine.
He’s the most gorgeous, infuriating man I’ve ever met. 
I know it’s reckless. A bad idea…
I’m totally going to hell for this.

Bad Love is a full-length contemporary romance about a reckless player with a heart of gold, a single mom with dirty fantasies, and a sexy bet that makes their attraction explode!


Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey

This enemies to lovers romance features a hero who is hot and cold. He forms an opinion of our heroine the moment they meet, and then it’s nothing but conflict from there. If you love the tension that comes from an enemies to lovers romance but are looking for a hero who is genuinely good underneath it all, this is the one for you.

Everyone in Cedar Creek, Texas, knows Jack McNight is an arrogant devil. Physically, I get it: he’s tan and fit, with coal-black hair that’s clearly been scorched by hellfire. Oh, and his personality? It burns just as hot. 

When I show up on the doorstep of Blue Stone Ranch, I’m run-down and rockin’ my last pair of underwear. I’m hoping for a savior, but instead, I find him. 

My opinion of Jack is marred by a dismal first impression, but his opinion of me is tainted even before I arrive. He’s heard I’m a spoiled princess there to take advantage of his goodwill. To him, I’m more trouble than I’m worth. 

Our button-pushing banter should get under my skin. His arrogance should be a major turn-off. Problem is, devils are known to offer their own form of temptation. 

Every one of his steely glares sends a shiver down my spine. 

Every steamy encounter leaves me reeling. 

Sure, it could be the Texas heat messing with my head, but there’s no way I’ll survive the summer without silencing him with a kiss and wrestling him out of those Wranglers. 

Who knows…going to bed with the devil might just be the salvation I’ve been looking for all along.


Trouble by Adriana Locke

This hero is a playful playboy, a relentless flirt. His pursuit of our heroine probably would’ve been successful – had he remembered that they’ve already slept together. Filled with banter and chemistry, this one balances comedy and emotion with ease.

She wants something real. He wants something now. Together they’re trouble in USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke’s sexy and funny twice-in-a-lifetime love story.

With his shameless grin and let’s-play swagger, carpenter Penn Etling leaves women wanting in Dogwood Lane. What do they get? Avery Perry knows: a one-night stand. She’s been there. She remembers every hot pulse as if it were yesterday. But Penn? He doesn’t remember a thing. Now he’s making new moves, and Avery’s not falling for trouble…again. Is she?

How could the beautiful stranger resist him? Avery is going to be a challenge for the bad boy. She’s the kind of woman who digs deep—deep enough to see there’s more to Penn than meets the eye. But first she has to give him a chance. She has to say yes. Could she also be the woman to make him change his playboy ways?

When these two come together, it’s hard to pull them apart. But with love and trust on the line, can Avery and Penn get what they both want? This time for keeps?


Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

This sexy rom com is beloved for a reason – the banter and chemistry between these two is fantastic. These new neighbors start their relationship with feuding – since our heroine has to listen to him banging other women against their shared apartment wall all the time – but it evolves along the way. If you love comedy with heart, this one is top notch.

Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a Kitchen Aid mixer to die for, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O. Adding insult to O-less, she also has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Every moan, spank, and—was that a meow?—punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has—yep, you guessed it—no O. Enter Simon Parker. When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has…well…mixed results. Because with walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick. A delicious mix of silly and steamy, this is an irresistible tale of exasperation at first sight.


Stealing Her by Rachel Van Dyken

A twisty, complex slow burn, this book tests the limits of right and wrong by featuring a twin posing as his brother – while living with his fiancée. Yeah, the premise is a little ludicrous, but it is executed so, so well. Stealing Her was one of my favorite books of 2019 and is perfect for those looking for something complicated, unique, and emotional.


My estranged twin brother, Julian, was always the wonder boy – and soon-to-be CEO of our ruthless father’s corporation. My mother and me? Left behind. Now, years after tearing our family apart, my father dares to ask “me” for a favor? Pretend to be Julian while he fights to survive a tragic accident. It can save the company. Nobody will be the wiser. It’ll be our secret.

I can play Dad’s favorite. I’ll do anything for Julian. And for my mother, who’ll want for nothing.

But this double life comes with a beauty of a hitch: my very real feelings for Julian’s fiancée, Isobel. Not only am I betraying Julian, I’m deceiving a woman I love. She doesn’t suspect a thing. As lies compound, lines are crossed and loyalties tested, all I can ask myself is. . .what have I done?

Because sooner or later something’s got to give. There’s no way I’m giving up Isobel. But once the truth is exposed, it might not be my choice at all.


Cocky Bastard by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Talk about too good to be true – this angsty and emotional romance is a book in two halves. With forced closeness and a hero who is just too easy to love, the first half will get you hooked. And then the second half… well, that’s where the angst kicks in.

He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.

A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours. 

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.

I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back. 

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right? 

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.


The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw

A study in contrasts, this engrossing book features a cold, cruel hero and a warm, loving heroine. If you love a jerk who finds his heart along the way, this is the book for you. It’s the best thing I’ve read from Winter Renshaw and a story that had my eyes glued to the page from the very beginning.

The first time I saw him was at a bar called Ophelia’s on a misty Thursday night. I was there to drown my sorrows after a trying day, he was there to escape the storm. After a brief yet incredibly cruel exchange, the handsome stranger bolted before I had a chance to tell him off. Incensed and two cocktails deep, I followed him out the door, determined to give the audacious Adonis a piece of my mind—and the umbrella he left behind.

Tearing after him in heels and barely able to keep up in the freezing rain, I ended my chase when I realized where he was going.

They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.

I never could have anticipated his…

And I never could have anticipated the way our paths would cross again—or that I would one day find myself falling for a man with a hollow cavity where his heart should be, a man as callous as he was beautiful, as complicated as he was mesmeric.

They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.

This one’s ours.


Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Perhaps the sexiest and most volatile of Lauren Layne’s books, this hero lands on the list because of his actions along the way. Not only is he keeping secrets, but his conflicts with the heroine escalate over time. The lines are definitely blurred on this one, but Layne’s great writing keeps it from steering off course.

Lauren Layne brings all the unpredictable heat of her USA Today bestseller Blurred Lines to an all-new cast of characters! Country music’s favorite good girl is hiding away from the world—only to find herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.


The Secret by J.L. Beck & Cassandra Hallman

When the reader was introduced to this hero in previous books in the series, it was difficult to find anything to like about him. He’s not so much a lovable jerk as he is just an a**, but this book shows a completely different side of him. With triggers aplenty, this won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I loved the transformation and emotional journey.

Secrets… they can make or break you. 

I would know. I’m hiding the biggest secret of all. My scars are so much more than skin deep. They consume me, control me. 

Then I meet him, Clark Jefferson. Six foot two inches of greek god hotness, with a smile that’ll make your panties disappear. He wears a clear warning label: Heartbreaker, and if I was smart I would stay away from him. 

With my past, my secrets nothing could ever come of being with a man like him. Still I cannot ignore the feelings he stirs inside me. He frightens me and excites me all at once. 
He makes me want to break free of the suffocating fear that claims my heart. 

Our meeting isn’t fate though, he needs me as much as I need him, and so we strike a deal. 
He’ll be my fake boyfriend and I’ll help him get out of trouble with his dad. 

But secrets can’t remain secrets forever and as I grow closer to Clark my feelings for him grow too. Soon the line between fake and real blurs and when the past I’ve been running from finally catches up with me I’ll have to confess to Clark the truth or let go of a love that was only ever supposed to be fake. 

**This is book three in the North Woods University Series. It can be read as a complete standalone and contains NO cliffhanger, NO cheating, and a HEA. Please be advised this series contains material not suitable to all readers. This is NOT a YA series.**


Boyfriend for Hire by Kendall Ryan

This hero is too good to be true – and that’s because he’s keeping something major from the heroine. In all fairness, he’s only doing his job. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know that. If you love a book boyfriend who’s a great guy in a tough situation, this is the one for you. Yes, our hero is an escort who sleeps with women for money, but once he meets his girl, he’s all about her.

I’m the guy you call when you need to impress your overbearing family, your boss, or your ex. Yeah, I’m a male escort, but not just any escort, I’m the escort. The one with a mile-long waiting list and a pristine reputation that’s very well-deserved. 

I’m the guy who’ll make you feel beautiful, desired, and worshipped… all for a steep price. I’m hired to make you shine, and I always deliver. 

I’ll be whatever you want me to be for one night — except my true self. This is just a job, a role I play to earn a paycheck. 

But I’m not the guy who falls for a client. Not once in six years. 

And then I meet Elle. Her friend has hired me to escort her to a wedding, but Elle doesn’t know we’re just pretending. 

There’s a fire between us I never expected. A connection I haven’t felt in so long. One kiss, and I’m losing all control. 

But what will happen when she finds out who I really am?

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2TXNoeZ

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