20 Authors Like Penelope Douglas (Contemporary Romance)

When it comes to contemporary romance novels that turn up the heat and won’t shy away from the taboo, there’s no author quite like Penelope Douglas. As a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Penelope Douglas took the dark contemporary romance scene by storm with their debut novel Bully, the first book in The Fall Away series.

Since then, they’ve published many more contemporary romance books, including The Hellbent series, the Devil’s Night series, and many standalone books, including Punk 57, arguably their most popular book.  

20 Authors Like Penelope Douglas (Contemporary Romance)

Penelope Douglas is known for their dark, mysterious, and often intense writing, making their books some of the best contemporary romance novels on the market. Their well-developed characters deliver raw, honest romance angst you’ll be hard-pressed to find from other writers.

If you’ve devoured all of Penelope Douglas’s romance books (and we highly recommend you do), you’re bound to be looking for an author with a similar style. 

While you wait for the next Penelope Douglas book drop, here are 20 authors like Penelope Douglas for your To Be Read pile. 

The 20 Best Authors Like Penelope Douglas

L. J. Shen


If anyone can give Penelope Douglas a run for their money in writing the hottest contemporary romance novels, it’s USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and #1 Amazon Kindle Store bestselling author L. J. Shen. She’s known for building the tension between two potential lovers to a boiling point and consistently delivering gratifyingly hot scenes. Fans of Penelope Douglas will love the Sinners of Saint series. 

Dive into the world of L. J. Shen with Viscous (Sinners of Saint #1)

K. Webster

Stroke of Midnight (Cinderella Trilogy)

K. Webster’s steamy contemporary romance novels are described as addictive, unique, and incredibly written. So it’s no wonder she’s the USA Today bestselling author of over 130 books. Never one to be pigeonholed, K. Webster’s books span historical romance, dark romance, forbidden romance, college romance, and more. With so much variety, fans of Penelope Douglas are sure to find plenty of books to quench their thirst. 

Start with one of her most popular books, Stroke of Midnight (Cinderella #1). 

Pepper Winters

Tears of Tess

Sure to deliver when it comes to contemporary romance novels with intricate plots, complex characters, and steamy scenes that will make your heart race, Pepper Winters is perfect for Penelope Douglas readers. Pepper Winters has made her mark as a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, winning awards for Best Dark Romance and Best BDSM series. 

Get started with Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1)

Eve Dangerfield

Act Your Age (Daddy Dearest)

Eve Dangerfield’s contemporary romance novels should be labeled with a warning: “Insanely hot romance book ahead.” But, beyond the steamy romance scenes you know you are in for, Even Dangerfield can spin a yarn with complicated characters and intricate plots. She is the perfect, must-read author for all Penelope Douglas fans. 

Turn up the heat with Act Your Age (Act Your Age #1)

Tessa Bailey

It Happened One Summer: A Novel (Bellinger Sisters, 1)

If anyone can satisfy readers who like steamy contemporary romance novels, it’s the “Michelangelo of dirty talk” (Entertainment Weekly) Tessa Bailey. This New York Times bestselling author will have your toes curling with desire when you read her rich, inviting books, some of the best contemporary romance novels on the market. 

Turn up the A/C and dive into It Happened One Summer

Eris Adderly

Bass-Ackwards: A Wrong-Way Romance

Are dark contemporary romance novels involving criminals and outcasts your thing? International bestselling romance author Eris Adderly should be on your list. Her unorthodox yet romantic stories are brilliantly written and full of characters that will get under your skin from page one. 

Pick up one of her most popular books, Bass-Ackwards: A Wrong Way Romance, today. 

Roni Loren

Off the Clock (A Pleasure Principle novel)

Roni Loren is known for writing deliciously hot contemporary romances between a motley of characters. Her writing is edgy and intelligent, and she knows how to turn up the chemistry (and the heat!). Another author not afraid of the taboo, Penelope Douglas fans are in for a treat reading Roni Loren’s contemporary romance collection. 

Buy her book Off the Clock (A Pleasure Principle #1)

Penelope Ward

Stepbrother Dearest

There must be something about Penelopes. Like Penelope Douglas, Penelope Ward’s contemporary romance novels are crazy hot and full of heart. She has penned over 30 novels, making the New York Times Bestseller list 21 times. When it comes to contemporary romance novels with angst, Penelope Ward has got you covered. 

Stepbrother Dearest is a favorite of her fans’ and her bestselling book. Buy it here

Skye Warren

The Pawn (Endgame)

If you like Penelope Douglas, Skye Warren is an author you will be pleased to discover. This New York Times bestselling author is sure to indulge your every desire. Get ready for epic journeys with twisting plots, thrilling action, and, of course, all the sensuality you can handle. You will absolutely devour her dark and steamy contemporary romance books

Check out The Pawn (Endgame #1) to get started with Skye Warren’s books. 

Penny Wylder

Married to My Dad's Best Friend

Penny Wylder writes some of the hottest contemporary romance books that most definitely live up to her last name: WILD. This USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author will take Penelope Douglas fans on an steamy thrill ride with her sizzling writing style, sure to have you hooked from page one. 

Start with Married to My Dad’s Best Friend

Cora Reilly

Bound by Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles)

If hot contemporary romance novels with dangerously hot bad boys are your thing, Cora Reilly’s books are your game. With her addictive writing style and inventive plots, the steamy scenes won’t be the only reason you won’t be able to put her books down (though they do help get those pages a-turning!). 

Check out her modern mafia fairytale Bound by Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)

Elle Kennedy

The Deal (Off-Campus, 1)

It’s not hard to see why Elle Kennedy is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Determined to be a writer from an early age, she earned her B.A. in English from York University. Her books are filled with angsty characters, witty banter, and electrifying chemistry – everything a steamy romance needs. 

Pick up a copy of The Deal (Off-Campus #1) here

Sierra Simone

Priest (Priest, 1)

When it comes to steamy contemporary romance novels with intriguing storylines, USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone’s romance books are must-reads to add to your shelf. Penelope Douglas fans will enjoy her hot, hot (and often very dirty!) writing style and perfectly compelling plots. 

Dive into the word of Sierra Simone with her book Priest (Priest #1).  

Saffron A. Kent

Gods & Monsters

Another author like Penelope Douglas who is unafraid to “go there” with dark, intense contemporary romance novels, is USA Today Bestselling author Saffron A. Kent. Her books blend the gray areas of life with forbidden love, resulting in steamy romances that will make any Penelope Douglas fan sweat. 

Get your steamy romance novel fix with Gods & Monsters

Tillie Cole

It Ain't Me, Babe (A Hades Hangmen Novel)

Amazon and USA Today bestselling author Tillie Cole knows how to write an awesomely dark romance. Her website invites you to either “bathe in the light or drown in the dark,” but if you’re a fan of Penelope Douglas, we know you’ll be diving deep into the dark side. Her Hades Hangman series, Scarred Souls series, and Deadly Virtue series are perfect for anyone who likes steamy modern romance novels and intense plotlines. 

Pick up a copy of It Ain’t Me, Babe to start your Tillie Cole collection.   

Rina Kent

Deviant King: A Dark High School Bully Romance (Royal Elite)

Fans of Penelope Douglas books, prepare for a new author on your hot contemporary romance novel shelf. Rina Kent’s books are full of complicated storylines and content-warning-worthy steamy romances. If you like the taboo-heavy content of Penelope Douglas, Rina Kent’s dubious content is sure to rock your world. 

Purchase a copy of Deviant King: A Dark High School Bully Romance (Royal Elite #1) here

Somme Sketcher

Sinners Anonymous: A Forbidden Love Dark Mafia Romance

International bestselling author Somme Sketcher’s dark contemporary romance books are the perfect next reads for Penelope Douglas fans who can’t get enough fiery sex scenes and dynamic plot lines. She has two mafia romance series you have got to check out: East Coast Devils and Sinners Anonymous. 

We recommend starting with Sinners Anonymous (Sinners Anonymous #1)

Penelope Sky

Buttons and Lace (Barsetti Crime Family)

With over a million books sold worldwide, New York Times and USA Bestselling author Penelope Sky delivers on writing the raw, gritty, and on-the-edges dark contemporary romance novels Penelope Douglas fans crave. While her books are not for readers who shy away from trigger-warning material, those who aren’t afraid to go very dark will appreciate her characters’ inner struggles and complexity. 

Buy Buttons & Lace here

Willow Winters


Willow Winters is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author known for her steamy contemporary romance novels filled with darkly thrilling plots. Her brilliant and spicy writing keeps readers engaged cover-to-cover with compelling characters and steamy scenes that will leave you breathless. 

Buy her book Merciless here

Ana Huang

Twisted Love (Twisted, 1)

USA Today, international, and #1 Amazon bestselling author Ana Huang just might be the perfect contemporary romance author for readers who like Penelope Douglas. Ana Huang is best known for her Twisted series, but she also penned the If Love series and kicked off her Kings of Sin series in October 2022. Known for weaving intricate plots in her New Adult and contemporary romance books, she ensures readers all the swoon-worthy angst and steam they can handle. 

Grab a copy of Twisted Love (Twisted #1) here

Final Thoughts

Penelope Douglas is one contemporary romance novel writer who knows how to please their readers. Their ability to blend elaborate storylines with heat-inducing and taboo sex scenes is unmatched in the dark contemporary romance world. And because they value quality writing over the number of books they publish, you might be waiting a while for them to release a new book. Luckily, there are plenty of authors like Penelope Douglas to keep you occupied while you wait. We hope you find one on this list of contemporary romance authors like Penelope Douglas. Happy reading!


What order should I read Penelope Douglas’s books?

When it comes to a Penelope Douglas contemporary romance series, you need to start with the first book. These are the only standalone books in the series, and you are bound to feel a little lost if you read the other books first. It’s also helpful if you read the Fall Away series before Hellbent. However, there are several standalone books they’ve written you can jump right into, no order required, including Punk 57, Misconduct, Birthday Girl, Tryst Six Venom, and Credence.

What genre are Penelope Douglas’s books?

Technically, Penelope Douglas writes contemporary romance. However, their books often push boundaries, placing them on the darker side of the genre. Their dark romance novels often feature taboo steamya and situations.

What age rating are Penelope Douglas’s books?

Because of the darker themes and high level of steamyism in their books, Penelope Douglas’s romance books should be enjoyed by those 18 years of age and older.

Will there be another book in the Fall Away series?

If you loved Penelope Douglas’s Fall Away series, you will be happy to know the six-book Hellbent series is a spin-off of your beloved dark romance series. Check out their website for updates on the release.

Will there be more Devil’s Night books?

Unfortunately for Devil’s Night fans, Penelope Douglas has no plans to write more books in the series. This series was intentionally written as a four-book contemporary romance series.

Where was Penelope Douglas born?

Penelope Douglas hails from Dubuque, IA. They were shy and quiet in their adolescence, eventually earning their B.C. in Public Administration from the University of North Iowa and a Master’s in Education from Loyola University New Orleans. They now live in New England with their husband and daughter.

YouTube video
Maile Allen