When acclaimed author Beverly Barton first read through the Beauty and the Beast epic as a child, she knew right away that she had what it took to write a story as romantic, intense and memorable as the famous tale, and she certainly didn’t disappoint.
Since her first book This Side of Heaven was released in 1992, Barton has written over thirty pulse-pounding and downright enthralling romance novels.
While she does have many classics in her catalog including The Princess’s Bodyguard and Dead by Midnight, she became most famous for writing The Protectors series containing over 30 books which have won multiple awards with the fanbase only growing with each new release.
Beverly Barton is known for producing some of the most highly acclaimed and well-received romantic suspense novels, and she certainly doesn’t hold back on all the suspense and murder that can make these stories so suspenseful.
Many people often praise Barton for her focus on the villains in her stories such as in Close Enough to Kill and Cold Hearted, and specifically how she frames them in relation to the protagonist.
The good news is that there are many similar authors who lean into the suspenseful-mystery side of romance in their novels, so if you’ve never heard of Lisa Jackson, Nora Roberts or Dawn Eastman, they could just be your new favorite authors.
Books By Beverly Barton
Beverly Barton’s most popular collection of work is undoubtedly her Protectors series spanning 30 books long, beginning with This Side of Heaven and ending with Dying for You in 2008.
Each book in this series primarily focuses on a man becoming a brave and daring bodyguard of a woman in the midst of a dangerous or scandalous situation. How this companionship comes about varies with each story.
Whether it’s a woman being kidnapped in South America and relying on her spiteful billionaire ex-boss to protect her in Dying for You, or a silent protector watching over a disillusioned woman with a target on her back in Sweet Caroline’s Keeper, these books always feature themes of loyalty, crime, what it means to be a hero and a gentleman, and of course, a lot of romance.
The romance in Barton’s Protector series can range from two strangers finding comfort in each other when forced into a dangerous situation, to past rivals or enemies growing closer as the story demands it.
Outside the Protector series, Barton has written a few other captivating romance novels that all experiment with the genre in unique ways such as in Close Enough to Kill and Dead by Nightfall where a brave man enters a sadistic game to save the one woman he cares about.
Authors Like Beverly Barton
Whether you choose to read one of the books from Lisa Jackson’s Historical trilogy, the New Orleans series, or the Dark Jewel series, you can be sure that the intensity and heart-pounding nature of Barton’s books is replicated here.
While the ‘protection’ narrative isn’t as present, the alluring mysteries and obsessive characters certainly are.
Aside from the excellent writing which will have you on the edge of your seat each time you flip the page, Lisa Jackson also has suspense romance novels set in any era and any world you could think of, so whether you wanted a more grounded and gritty story about a twisted relationship between a fan and a pop star in After She’s Gone, or a suspenseful romance that is a little more fantastical and medieval-like Dark Sapphire, you have plenty to choose from.
Jackson’s books share many similar dark-romance themes to Barton including twisted obsessions, begrudging romance and a scandalous and bloody mystery that keeps the story moving forward.
However, Jackson’s books do tend to hold back on themes of heroism and the bravery of a guardian which is so recognizable in Barton’s books.
Instead, Jackson puts a lot of emphasis on the twisted nature of humans and how this can cause people with completely different ways of life to come together and find some comfort in one another.
- Captivating nail-biting mysteries
- Many eras and periods to choose from
- Excellent and satisfying character arcs
- Lack of violence can harm the suspense and tension
Themes: Obsession, idealization, deceit, honesty
With over 225 romance novels to her name, Nora Roberts has written some incredibly compelling and moreish romantic suspense novels which are must-reads if you’re a fan of the tense and alluring stories written by Beverly Barton.
One of Robert’s most popular romance novels that has actually been turned into a Netflix film is Brazen Virtue, a story about a writer who can’t seem to separate business from pleasure as she tracks down a real-life killer, only to get wrapped up in her own fantasy.
Another classic tale full of sizzling passion in a small town gripped by a sudden string of crimes is Divine Evil where lust, murder, and evil all come together to make a story full of intrigue which is hard to put down.
Roberts replicates the mysterious and heart-wrenching writing that Beverly Barton’s books are known for, while also keeping the same amount of bloodshed and steamy passion to have you flipping the pages eagerly to find out what happens next.
Lies, deception, revenge, all of these feature heavily in many of Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense novels, and one area in which Roberts tends not to hold back any details is the gore and bloodshed.
Many of Robert’s novels feature very twisted individuals or groups that can commit some pretty horrendous acts, so if you do like these gory details to be left in to enhance the eventual romance and intimacy between two characters, you will love Nora Roberts.
- Incredibly intriguing plotlines and settings
- Great attention to the psychological aspect of romance
- Fantastic plot twists keep the mysteries engaging
- Goriness can be a turn-off for some readers
- Needlessly violent at times
Themes: Mystery, violence, twisted attraction, self-acceptance
If you like the mystery part of Beverly Barton’s novels the most and love looking out for clues to decipher who was behind the scandal or crime that drives the story, Dawn Eastman has you covered as she takes a slightly more upbeat and experimental but still very down to earth approach to her mystery books that will have you guessing until the very end.
Don’t worry, there is still plenty of romance, but in Eastman’s novels, it tends to be more of a subplot to the mystery itself, putting a fresh and intriguing spin on the classic plotlines of Barton’s novels.
Both authors share an incredible knack for establishing a weird and alluring mystery within an interesting period and context, along with including all the steamy passion you would expect to find in these types of novels.
Pall in the Family is a good book to start with when you’re moving on from Barton’s novels. The story follows Clyde and her detective boyfriend trying to solve a murder with the help of Clyde’s psychic powers.
If you want something a little more grounded, Unnatural Causes is another fantastic mystery full of suspense where the protagonist Katie is forced to confront her own dark secrets, including her love life.
Dawn Eastman’s books share that mysterious and ever-intriguing writing style with Beverly Barton, but you will notice right away that her books are a little more liberal with the fictional elements of the story.
Whether it’s a detective using psychic abilities or a thief who can change his face, there are some quirkier elements that make these books a little less gruesome than many of Barton’s.
The romance is still here and very important to the story, but the steamy passionate scenes are largely removed to make way for the mystery, so if that sounds like a nice change of pace, you’re going to love these romance suspense books by Dawn Eastman.
- Quirky characters and dialogue
- Creative blend of grounded and more fictional romance stories
- Amazing talent for writing interesting and compelling villains
- Romance is secondary to the mystery
- Less intimacy than other similar romance suspense novels (If you like romance suspense novels along with mystery aspects, check out the works of Authors Like Janet Evanovich)
Themes: Regret, paranormal, mystery, compassion
While Beverly Barton is unfortunately no longer with us, she has left behind a legacy of fantastic romance suspense novels that have inspired a whole catalog of similar books to be published which all put their own unique twist on the classic formula.
So, whether you love the grittiness and the sizzling passion of Barton’s novels, or you like the idea of putting more emphasis on the mystery along with a romance blooming in the background, there are many similar authors you need to try out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do All Of Beverly Barton’s Novels Involve Romance?
While most of them do, some are more centered on the mystery or on the villains which can leave a lot of the traditional romance we are used to behind such as in The Murder Game where a psychopath is chasing down a woman without there being any romantic relations between the two.
- Harry Potter Book Order (7 Books & Which Order To Read Them) - March 22, 2023
- Horus Heresy Book Order - March 22, 2023
- Urban Fantasy At Its Best: 17 Dresden Files Book Order - March 22, 2023