15 Fiery Forbidden Romance Novels

Whether it’s a best friend’s little sister, a bodyguard, a co-worker, or someone else’s girl, there are so many different scenarios where a relationship can be forbidden. Not every forbidden romance needs to be super angsty, but the trope inherently has an element of sexual tension and the kind of push/pull dynamic that keeps your eyes glued to the page. I’d even classify several of the books on this list as rom coms, but each couple has a reason to stay apart.

They’re all 4 or 5-star contemporary romance novels that kept me hooked while I was reading. I’ve included the blurbs, review links when available, and links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection. Happy reading!


Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time—in bed and out—and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. 

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3h7UMRf


Brutal Vows by J.T. Geissinger

An Irish mobster with a brutal grudge.
An Italian mafia princess with a dark secret.
Two enemy empires joined in sacred marriage vows.
Let the hating games begin.


Reyna

If this arrogant Irish mobster my brother sold my niece to thinks I’m going to play nice over this arranged marriage BS, he should think again.
I don’t care if this match with the Mob will make my brother capo of the Five Families.
I don’t care how much money, territory, or power it will gain us.
I especially don’t care that the Irishman is the sexiest man I’ve ever seen.
I won’t allow my innocent niece to suffer the same way I did.
Even if I have to kill him.

Spider

I’m supposed to marry sweet, beautiful Lili. So why can’t I stop thinking about her swamp witch of an aunt?
Reyna who hates me. Reyna who challenges me. Reyna with the guts of a Viking, the body of a fertility goddess, and the attitude of a feral cat.
Nothing good can come of what I’m feeling for a woman who’s not the one in the wedding contract I signed.
A woman I want so much, I’ll have to burn the whole world down to get.
If she doesn’t kill me first.

Read the review here

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


Those Three Little Words by Meghan Quinn

I knocked up my best friend’s sister.

Figured I would get straight to the point because how it happened is a mere snippet of the story I have to tell. The real meat and potatoes is what happened after.

Let’s start with how she decided to inform me and Pacey the news . . . together. Imagine that nightmare. I was going into what I thought was a hockey marketing meeting and then BAM! I’m going to be a dad and my best friend/teammate is attempting to imprint my face with his fist.

It wasn’t pretty.

Threats were tossed around, friendships were revoked, and then I was marched up to her apartment, suitcases in hand, and forced to live with her so I could take care of her every need. Given how much I’ve pined for the girl, you would think that wouldn’t be a hardship. Wrong.

This is my one shot to win my teammate back. Pacey is the only family I’ve got, so hooking up with his sister isn’t a mistake I can make twice . . . despite the fact that she’s pregnant with my child.

But with every mood swing, every pair of pants that doesn’t fit right, and every late night run to find the perfect donut, I’m finding it harder and harder not to fall for my best friend’s little sister. 

Especially when she kisses me…

Read the audiobook review here

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


The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth O’Roark

You don’t really know a guy until you’ve vacationed with him…

When Drew Wilson’s ex-boyfriend Joel “Six” Bailey asks her to go on his family trip to Hawaii with him just as her life is falling apart, she decides it’s the perfect time to give him another chance.

The hitch? The Bailey family includes Six’s rude older brother, Joshua–a hot-nerd doctor who has hated Drew since the moment they met and once suggested she’d steal the family silver.

Drew is determined to win the Baileys over and give this thing with Six a fair shot…but Joshua is making that difficult. Not simply because he is in her way at every turn, but because–as one tropical adventure leads to the next–she’s beginning to wonder if obnoxious, odious Joshua might be the brother she actually belongs with. 

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3HANt07


Swoon by Lauren Rowe

Growing up, I knew my older brother’s best friend thought of me as “Logan’s kid sister.” For me, though, our next-door neighbor, Colin, felt like anything but a sibling. Whenever I spied on him through my bedroom window, as he banged away, shirtless, on his drum kit, I felt sensations inside me I’d never felt for my actual brother. But when we moved away and Colin’s band took off like a rocket, I knew my tweener fantasies would never become a reality.

Fast-forward nine years to my brother’s wedding, when I saw Colin again and we shared a secret, drunken kiss that rocked my world. The next morning, Colin blamed the alcohol. Said we should pretend the kiss, and my unfortunate text afterward, never happened.

Now that I’m heading to LA to work for Colin and crash at his place, though, all bets are off. I’m determined to make Colin swoon for me, the same way I’ve always done for him. Because no matter what he insisted, Colin’s body during our kiss, and the shocking thing he whispered into my ear right afterward, made it clear he doesn’t really think of me as his little sister, any more than I do.

Swoon is a standalone friends to lovers romance with no prior reading required and no cliffhanger that’s set in the world of River Records and the Morgan brothers.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3C5ti7g


Last Resort by K. Bromberg

I was never supposed to see him again. Him being the man wearing the perfectly tailored suit who oozed an intoxicating mixture of wealth, rebellion, and sex appeal.

One night.
No strings.
No names.
Great sex.

Still riding the high from last night, I walk in to meet my new client, and he’s wearing that same dangerous smirk that reeled me in hours ago.

Yes, I’m consulting for Callahan Sharpe. And yes, he’s that Callahan Sharpe.

Billionaire heir apparent who abides by no rules, bucks convention, and is determined to complete one final project to honor his late father’s legacy before walking away from the family business for good. Luckily and unluckily for me, I’ve been tasked to go to the Virgin Islands to help accomplish his goal. Callahan has no problem breaking his company’s no fraternization rule, but not me. There’s too much at stake.

What could possibly go wrong when you’re forced to work—and live—side by side with a man you can’t resist?

Are you ready to fall for the Sharpe brothers in K. Bromberg’s sexy, contemporary, billionaire romance series? These books can all be read as standalones, but can be enjoyed as a series as well . . .

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rij407


Kickin’ It by Rachel Van Dyken

Love breaks the offside rule in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s irresistibly sexy Red Card romance.

Successful, high-profile sports agent Matt Kingston thinks he can handle anything. Then soccer player Parker Speedman shows up at his door. She is young and gorgeous, has natural talent, and is looking for a team. She’s also a hothead with a punchy past who floored her last coach on live TV. Despite his misgivings, Matt agrees to be both her agent and her coach. Professional common sense says she’s off-limits. But what can he say about the raw attraction between them?

Parker plays soccer with her heart and soul. But after the events of the last year, she’s shaken. She’s already seen what a powerful man can do to a female athlete’s career. And her beloved dream is in the hands of a sexy, gorgeous man with the uncanny ability to slip past her defenses…and into her heart.

Now Matt and Parker are about to learn that when it comes to love, the only way to win is by breaking every rule they know. And by playing nice. Real nice.

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


The Potter by Kristy Marie

From bestselling author Kristy Marie comes a brand new witty standalone about a grumpy doctor and his hopeful patient who find love in the unlikeliest of places… the exam room. 

A brilliant surgeon.
A master sculptor.
The media touted Dr. Potter as a savior dressed in a crisp suit.
I think he’s a vicious madman of jerk-sized proportions.
But fate is a wicked tease.
Only Dr. Potter can give me what I need.
A fresh start.
A new identity.
But he refused, leaving me to take matters into my own hands by accepting a job as his partner’s new secretary.
Dr. Potter can’t turn down my case forever.
Or at least I thought so until I found him on the floor.
Broken.
Angry.
With a venomous warning… I failed to heed.

The Potter is a standalone grumpy-sunshine rom-dramedy.

Read the review here

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


Break the Rules by Roxie Noir

She’s my best friend’s kid sister.
Now she’s not a kid any more.

As a forest ranger, I believe in the simple life. I prefer cabins to apartments, trails over freeways, and trees to people. My life is orderly, predictable, and quiet.

Until it’s hit by a woman I never saw coming — Hurricane June.

She’s fierce. She’s feisty. She has a laugh like the first day of spring, and she’s so pretty that I can’t breathe when I look at her. June will only be in town for a few months—just while job-hunting. She won’t last until winter, but how can I resist?

Except I have to. She’s my best, oldest, and most loyal friend’s baby sister. Betraying him would be the worst thing I’ve ever done. Not betraying him might be the hardest.

Especially once we start working together on a secret project. All this spending time together, sneaking around at night, and lying to her brother about what we’re doing sure feels like more than friendship.

June might break my heart. Her brother might break my nose.

But I guess some things were made to be broken.

Break the Rules is a steamy, standalone romantic comedy.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uouP6Z


Falling in Reverse by Julia Wolf

Ronan Walsh. 

Delicious Irish accent. Built like a slab of marble. Infuriatingly controlling.

My new bodyguard…

All I want is to rock hard with my band, The Seasons Change, and finally live my life exactly how I please. No one telling me what to do, no constraints, total freedom.

Too bad I’ve managed to piss someone off. 

Crazed fan or bitter ex, it doesn’t really matter, since the result is the same. My wings are clipped and I’m strapped to a bodyguard with steamrolling tendencies and a disdain for celebrities.

Everyday I spend with Ronan is a battle. For control. For independence. And most unexpectedly, with my own willpower.

Because Ronan doesn’t just want to protect me. He wants me in his bed too, and ceding my control to Ronan is more tempting than I ever imagined.

But I’m Iris Adler, a fierce-to-my-bones rocker. If Ronan Walsh really wants all of me, he’d better be prepared for the fall.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nOM3rm


The Plan by Karla Sorensen

Have you ever fake dated your bodyguard? I don’t recommend it. 

Especially if he’s anything like Erik Wilder: former football player, world class know-it-all and unapologetic grump. 

To be clear, I didn’t want a bodyguard (hence the fake dating idea). Most days, I can’t figure out why he wants the job either. We drive each other insane, probably because we’re as opposite as two people can be. 

He’s suspicious, never talks about his past and has the comfort skills of a cactus. I’m a happily-ever-after kind of girl who knows exactly what she wants out of life. 

Erik’s words might say that the lines have to stay firm between us, but those dark eyes of his? They tell another story when he looks at me. 

He’s just as stubborn as I am, but when our fake dating plan starts to feel a lot more real, it’s only a matter of time before his professional walls come crashing down. 

I just have to hope my heart doesn’t get buried in the rubble.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3AoUy0p


Our Way by TL Swan

Nathan Mercer, the only man in my life.

Falling for him was never an option.

 
We met ten years ago, when we started at the same company on the same day. 

With being new in town and nobody else to rely on, we quickly became friends.

 
And while Nathan went on to rule San Francisco, I’m still doing the same job with the same people.

We finish each other’s sentences, we spend Christmas together and he sleeps at my house more than his.

He’s beautiful…. beyond belief.

In another life, he’s probably my soul mate.


However, lately things have changed. He’s started looking at me differently.

His eyes drop to my lips as I speak.

His hugs are tighter…. longer.

Our fights are more passionate, his jealousy insane.

 
I know it’s all in my head….it has to be.

 
They say to never love someone who treats you like you’re ordinary.

I don’t, to him I’m a queen.

 
But our story is complicated.

And as much as I love Nathan Mercer with all of my heart.

He’s the one man I can never have.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/302HzkF


Group Therapy by BB Easton

From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of 44 Chapters About 4 Men (inspiration for the 4th Most-Watched Netflix Original Series of all time, Sex/Life) comes a fun, forbidden romantic comedy about an inexperienced psychologist and her ultra-famous client.

I amthiiiiis close to finally becoming a full-fledged psychologist. PhD? Check. Prestigious postdoc position, providing therapy to entitled millionaires andC-list celebrities whose pumpkin spice lattes cost more than my Converse and make excellent projectiles during their reality TV–worthy tantrums? Check. Letter of recommendation from my velociraptor-like supervisor?

That’s going to take a miracle. Not only because my boss said I have to cure our most-prized client’s writer’s block in time for him to meet his insane deadline, but also because that client just so happens to be …

Thomas F*@%ing O’Reardon.

Yeah, that Thomas O’Reardon. The wickedly brilliant, achingly beautiful, devastatingly British best-selling author whose psychological thrillers line my bookshelf at home and whose face I might or might not picture while I … you get the point. Sitting in a confined space with him; inhaling the crisp, clean scent of his cologne; gazing into his broody blue eyes while trying to remember to nod and listen and come up with suggestions that don’t involve taking our clothes off … it’s torture.

So, when Thomas casually asks me out at the end of a therapy session, I’m forced to make an impossible choice: say yes and risk losing my dream job, or say no and risk losing my dream guy. In a panic, I blurt out a third option—the only solution I can think of that will allow me to see this man after hours without it being considered a career-ending ethics violation:

Group therapy.

The only problem? I’ve never actually done group therapy. And side problem: my other clients are … a handful. But what’s the worst that could happen? I mean, it’s not like I’m going to lose all control of the group and let it devolve into a chaotic, bloodthirsty, topless fight club.

Right?

Read the audiobook review here

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


Decker: Changing the Play by Kayley Loring & Connor Crais

#12 Johnny Decker. Star quarterback for the Boston Tomcats. Two-time Super Bowl MVP…a decade ago. Nickname: Decker the Panty Wrecker.

I get tackled for a living by men who are built like rhinos. I could take the wings off a fly with a football from 30 yards away. (I wouldn’t, but I could.) Being a veteran quarterback means I’m a mentally alert, fine-tuned athletic machine who can make split-second decisions.

It’s my job to anticipate what’s going to happen next and adapt. But I couldn’t have anticipated the death of our beloved team owner. 

His estranged daughter Hannah Strong is a finance nerd from New York. She knows less than nothing about football. Know what she didn’t anticipate? Inheriting the Boston Tomcats.

She’s stubborn, uptight, infuriating, and wrong about absolutely everything—from pizza to how to run my team. And I don’t want to talk about how good she looks in a skirt. Or daydream about how good she’d look out of it.

Really, I don’t. 

I’m not Decker the Panty Wrecker anymore—I’ve changed.

I can’t stop arguing with her. 

Or thinking about her.

I thought I had a winning play.

But Hannah Strong changed everything.

Read the review here

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


My Lucky #13 by Piper Rayne

Lucky.

The one adjective used to describe my entire hockey career. I prefer to call it hard work, at least I did until my game went to complete crap. I haven’t scored in eight games and the team owner is talking about trading me.

I’ve never believed in superstitions. Never needed one. I suppose I was “lucky” in that way. But now the best way to refer to me is desperate. I’d wear the same socks for an entire year just to be the high-scoring center I used to be.

Imagine my surprise when after spending New Year’s Eve with a woman, I score a hat trick in the next game—that’s three goals in one game for you non-hockey lovers. Now, I have to track her down and bribe her to do it again before every game. Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not talking about it.

I find her and when I get to know her better, I end up spending more time thinking about her than my game, but she’s made it clear she wants no part of me. She’s going to learn that I didn’t become a professional hockey player without having to fight for what I want.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3hll0in


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

15 Sexy Forbidden Romances

15 Bossy Billionaire Romance Books

15 HOT & Steamy Fling to More Romance Books

15 Great Grumpy / Sunshine Romance Novels

15 Sweet Cinnamon Roll Romance Heroes


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