15 (More) Bad Boys Who Fall Hard in Romance Novels

Whether it’s a dark romance book, a college romance novel, or a rom com, one thing women readers seem to agree on is that the classic combination of the bad boy and the good girl just works in romance novels. Of every post on my blog, there’s one that’s always been the most popular: my list of 15 Bad Boys Who Fall Hard. It was viewed a whopping 27,000 times in 2021, so I think it’s only fitting that I post an updated version for 2022!

I love good guy heroes, but sometimes I’m in the mood for a man who is a little more… complicated. A bad boy with a troubled past; a mob boss whose concept of right/wrong straddles a fine line; a great man hiding behind a cocky grin. There are different levels to these bad boys, but they all hide huge hearts underneath all of their baggage. Their journey to happily ever after might be a little rocky, but it’s definitely worth the trip.

The books on this list have very different vibes, from light and funny to dark and sexy. But they all feature heroes (or antiheroes) whose backstories are anything but boring. Each of these contemporary romance novels was a 5 or 4-star read for me. I’ve included the blurbs, links to my book reviews, and links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection. Happy reading!


The Lie by Karla Sorensen 

Rule number 1 for the team owner’s daughter? Don’t date the players.

Especially not hotheaded tight ends with tattoos and impulse control problems.

That’s why Dominic Walker is completely off my radar. Sort of.

Babysitting the team troublemaker when he’s forced to volunteer for the foundation where I work means I can’t exactly avoid him.

I wish I had though. Because once I get to know Dominic, it’s almost impossible to ignore the feelings he brings out in me.

Pretty soon, I’m breaking all my rules. I just have to hope he doesn’t break my heart in the process.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3iMBQZE


Not the Marrying Kind by Kathryn Nolan

He’s the best bad decision she’ll ever make….

Type A attorney Fiona Quinn has one goal left to accomplish before turning 30: A big, fairy-tale wedding. All she needs is a groom. So what if she’s never been in love—or even lust—before? She’s confident she can solve the problem the way she always does, with spreadsheets and an action plan.

When a family emergency brings Max “Bad Boy” Devlin swaggering back into town—with his cocky grin, tattoos, and wanderlust—Fiona has to remind herself that he’s as unsuitable as it gets. Nope. Not happening. No matter how irresistible his invitation is for a night or seven between the sheets. If she can’t tie him down—metaphorically, of course— her pants must stay on.

Max can’t remember the last time a woman turned him down. He’s a guaranteed three-orgasms good time, dammit. So what if he’s not the marrying kind? Those sweaty palms he gets when Fiona agrees to help him save his dad’s punk rock club are just an allergic reaction to her methodical march toward matrimony. Before he hits the road again, he’s going prove to Fiona that life’s more fun when you play, rather than plan.

No one gets hurt when it’s all just fun and games, right?

Author’s Note: A steamy, opposites attract standalone romance featuring a cocky bad boy (with a heart of gold) and a buttoned-up good girl (with a secret wild side). 1-click if you’re into dirty dancing, swoony first kisses from bad boys on motorcycles and hot trysts in supply closets. This book comes with a guaranteed (and very romantic) Happily Ever After. 

Read the review here

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3bm0ehh


Walk on the Wilder Side by Serena Bell

His best friend’s sister is rocking his boat. In the best way possible.

Brody: What’s a bad boy doing hosting a book club on his boat? Excellent question. All I can tell you is, it’s not going well. I forgot the bug wipes, the extra TP, and the hand sanitizer, we’re out of wine, and… well, I may have made some people angry, if the reviews are any indication. The only way to dig myself out of this hole is to redeem myself by offering the best girls’ nights out in town.

Enter my best friend’s sister. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid Rachel, since despite her good-girl rep, I can’t seem to get her out of my head. Now she’s in my boat… and if I don’t watch myself, soon she’ll be in my bed. Things are going surprisingly well between us… but I know myself, and I’m not this guy. I’m the guy you want for fantasy fulfillment, not the guy you want for forever.

But what if I need this time to be different?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3EIzLH9


Ruthless Creatures by J.T. Geissinger

An explosive new novel of love, lust, and obsession from bestselling author J.T. Geissinger.

Five years ago, my fiancé disappeared. He left me with a wedding dress I’d never wear. Left me with the kind of scars that can’t be healed. The man I built my future on vanished like a ghost. All that remained was my broken heart and a million unanswered questions.

Until a mysterious stranger arrives in town. 

Tall, dark, and dangerous, Kage is as full of secrets as he is sex appeal. Though I know he’s hiding something, I’m drawn to him like a moth to flame.

The intensity of our connection is addictive, unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Heat crackles between us with every look, desire flares into passion, and I fall hard, helpless to resist.

But when I discover how he’s tied to my fiancé’s disappearance, I learn what happens when you fly recklessly into fire:

You get burned.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NvbiPi


Cruel Saints by Michelle Heard

From USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author Michelle Heard comes a new standalone, full-length romantic suspense novel.

Alliances are made. Loyalty is owned. Love is taken.

Little did I know my love and freedom would be taken to form a new alliance.

Brutal, possessive, and dangerous, Lucian is feared by all. Including myself.
When his father is assassinated, Lucian takes his rightful place as head of the Cotroni family. They rule the Mafia with an iron fist, and he’s set his sights on my family.
Until now, we’ve been the only threat, but when a new one emerges, my father is forced to arrange a marriage between Lucian and myself.

He might be handsome but he’s not the kind of man who loves. He takes what he wants and right now, it’s my body.
I might belong to him in name, but the question remains – will our union be consummated in blood or love?

STANDALONE: Romance Suspense full-length novel.
If you need a warning before reading a book, then this book is not for you.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3i4ezCl


The Change Up by Meghan Quinn

BREAKING NEWS: The Bad Boy of Baseball, Maddox Paige, is totally and utterly whipped. 

Okay, that might not be the headlines in the newspaper this morning, but it’s the reality of my current situation. 

It all started a month ago when I received a call from my best friend, Kinsley. She got a new job in Chicago and needed a place to stay. I’ve known the girl since I was five, what harm would it be to have her stay at my place for a while?

Ha! Total disaster. 

Now instead of going out every night with my teammates, I’m couch surfing and sketching endless photos of my best friend . . . but that’s the least of my concerns. 

The disaster, you ask? I’m rapidly falling head over cleats in love with my best friend, my roommate, and my number one fan.

And she has no idea . . .

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3eafnnj


A Deal With the Devil by Elizabeth O’Roark

He might not be the devil, but working under him for six weeks is my idea of hell.

Hayes Flynn is an arrogant jerk known best for his scotch habit and the way he spreads his British “charm” all over Hollywood, never with the same woman twice. He’s the last person I want to work for, except he has a face I can’t look away from, and the longer we’re together, the harder he is to hate. Because under that smug exterior is a heart he doesn’t want to show—one that was badly broken a decade earlier.

A part of me wants to fix it for him before I leave…but can I do it without breaking my own in the process?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oQwXSB


My Fiancé‘s Bodyguard by Ivy Wild

Loving him could kill us both…

I thought the days of fathers selling their daughters were over.
Apparently, I thought wrong.
Because, in a few short months
I’m supposed to marry Johnny Maldonado.
His record is squeaky clean,
but anyone who’s been to Boston knows who he really is
and what he controls.
There’s only one problem:
I’m not interested in Johnny.
I’m interested in the man charged with his protection.
Maxon Holt. His Bodyguard.
When I ran away, he was the one to find me.
He’s not friendly and we don’t get along.
But, I find myself drawn to him.
Max is cold, dark, and distant.
And he’s harboring a secret.
One that could get us both killed.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VxT3ws


Falling Out of Hate With You by Lauren Rowe

I’ve tried to like Adrian Savage, the mercurial frontman for Fugitive Summer, while serving as his band’s opening act on tour. We’re stuck together for three months, after all. And I’m well aware I’m lucky to be here. 

But it’s proved impossible. He’s far too rude and dismissive a guy to get along with. And way too good at getting under my skin. In fact, at this point, I think it’s fair to say I downright hate his guts.

Global thirst trap that he is, though, I’m finding it extremely difficult not to want to jump Savage’s bones, despite how much he infuriates me. I hate myself for it. But my body is going rogue on me. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m determined to resist him. 

In fact, what I’ve decided is that, as long as I’m here and stuck with him, I’m not only going to give Savage the sound tongue lashing nobody else around here has the balls to deliver, I’m going to bring that bad boy to his knees.

*Book one in a steamy, tension-filled duet*

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3q2y677


Something About You by J. Nathan

Kason
I’m what you call a god, a superstar, a winner. 
Being a professional snowboarder is my purpose in life.
I know exactly how to get what I want and 
I’m good at everything I do.
I’m only at Cranmore University to appease my parents.
But, if I want to graduate, I need to pass physics.
And, since failing is not an option,
Blackmailing a nerd who hates me is my last resort.

Shay
I’m what some call a geek, a nerd, a loser.
And I don’t care.
I know who I am.
I know where I come from.
And, I know exactly where I’m going.
That’s why I’m at Cranmore University.
To get my degree and begin my life.
But, that plan gets quickly derailed 
Thanks to an unbecoming video 
A blackmailing snowboarder 
And his ex who’s hell bent on making my life miserable.

They say everyone comes into your life for a reason.
What happens when that person is the opposite of what you want but exactly what you need?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oLBnIw


Never Blue Duet by Julia Wolf

Book One – Never Lasting:

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

The first time I see Jude on stage, 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.

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. 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.

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

Author’s note: This duet contains mature themes and sensitive topics such as drug use and suicide. 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3tTyDcS


Darling Venom by Parker S. Huntington

My first love ended in tragedy.
My second began with his brother.


From Wall Street Journal bestseller Parker S. Huntington comes a broken love story laced with angst and forbidden romance.


I wasn’t supposed to be on that roof on Valentine’s Day.

Neither was Kellan Marchetti, the school’s designated freak.

We met on the verge of ending our lives.

Somehow, the tattered strings of our tragedies tangled and tightened into an unlikely bond.

We decided not to take the plunge and agreed to check on each other every Valentine’s Day until school ended.

Same time.

One roof.

Two restless souls.

We kept our promise for three years.

On the fourth, Kellan made a decision, and I was left to deal with the consequences.

Just when I thought our story ended, another one began.

They say all love stories look the same and taste different.

Mine was venomous, disgraceful, and written in scarlet scars.

My name is Charlotte Richards, but you can call me Venom.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3GqekdQ


The Enigma by Jodi Ellen Malpas

A fatal blend of revenge and desire.

After leaving her fiancé at the altar and quitting her job as a Miami cop, Beau Hayley stumbles through life, feeling only resentment. Injustice. Loss. Her mom’s death was called an accident. She’s not convinced. Grieving, she becomes numb to everything except the constant, biting pain of heartbreak and hate. She can see no light. Until she meets James Kelly, a man who seems as damaged as she is, inside and out. And yet despite his twisted, cold façade, he stimulates feelings. Pleasure. He is a respite from her own flaws. A complete mystery.

And impossible to resist.

James Kelly has only one objective. Find the men who murdered his family and kill them all very slowly. But the web of crime and deceit leads him to Beau Hayley, the daughter of the notorious FBI agent who pursued him relentlessly until her death. Beau is not what James expected, and past the darkness that shrouds her, he finds a glimmer of light. Light is addictive. An escape. Beau might be the key to James’s mercy mission, but with dire consequences. So he has to decide—leave her breathing and risk exposing himself, or kill her and continue his mission, still unknown.

Still The Enigma

Two tortured souls playing one deadly game. But who will survive?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3axsc7Y


The Revenge Pact by Ilsa Madden-Mills

River Tate is a god on campus. 
The king of football.
A tattooed bad boy with gunmetal eyes that see right through you. 
The only chink in his armor is HER, the girl he pretends doesn’t exist, the forbidden one with the shy smile and lavender hair. 

Anastasia Bailey is a nobody. 
The queen of nothing.
An outsider with the face of an angel and a body made for sin. 
The only chink in her armor is HIM, her boyfriend’s frat brother, the football player who hates her. 

But when Anastasia’s life comes crashing down, River’s the one who sweeps in and saves her. 
Torn between loyalty, lies, and secrets, he battles the temptation to take everything from her when they make their revenge pact.

He can’t tell her no.
Because revenge (or love) is sweet, and once you get a taste, the craving never ends.

The Revenge Pact is an angsty college sports romance with a beautiful HEA. No cliffhanger.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oLwIV7


The Wrong Heart by Jennifer Hartmann

When my husband died, he left my broken heart behind.

He left another heart behind, too—his.

I know it’s wrong. I shouldn’t be contacting the recipient of my husband’s heart. I don’t even expect him to reply…

But there’s a desperate, twisted part of me that hopes he will.

No names.
No personal details.

Just a conversation.

The only thing I have left of my husband is inside him.

WARNING: This book contains heavy themes, such as loss of a loved one and suicide. Please read responsibly.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XyJ3Vi


Want more romance recommendations? Check out some of my other lists!

15 Bad Boys Who Fall Hard

15 of My Favorite Enemies to Lovers Romance Books

15 Sexy Forbidden Romances

15 Sexual Tension-Filled Rom Coms

New Adult Done Right: 15 College/HS Romances You’ve Got to Read

15 Sensational Strangers to Lovers Romance Novels


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2 thoughts on “15 (More) Bad Boys Who Fall Hard in Romance Novels

Add yours

  1. Jeeves, do you have a list and/or recommendations for romances where there is no insta-love? I want a romance where the h does not fall instantly in love with the H.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you go to the “Lists and More” tab, you’ll see a whole bunch of lists under Themed Recommendations – I definitely have an enemies to lovers list and at least one slow burn list that might have some options. Of my best of the year books, From the Embers (somber), Darling Venom (dark), and Spanish Love Deception (light) definitely qualify. Possibly Twice Shy, The Brit, and The Wrong Heart too (I also like a slower burn!). Hope that helps!

      Like

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