Love and Suspense: The 20 Best Romance Thriller Books

Romance and suspense aren’t two things that you would expect to go together. Romantic stories tend to be more happy-go-lucky, and the conflicts aren’t very extreme. Thrillers, on the other hand, are fast-paced, action-packed, and can be quite dark.

Love and Suspense: The 20 Best Romance Thriller Books

But when the two mix, you create a novel that is both suspenseful and full of romance. These stories are exciting and totally worth the read. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

20 Must-Read Romance Thriller Books

Don’t Look Now by Mary Burton

Don't Look Now

Jordan Poe is a homicide detective who is trying to uncover a serial killer. Jordan believes that this serial killer is the same person who assaulted her sister two years ago, but luckily her sister survived.

After Jordan is injured at a crime scene and left with limited vision, a ranger named Carter Spencer helps her navigate the mystery. Together, they work to crack the case and figure out who the killer is, trying to catch him before he strikes again.

You can find Don’t Look Now by Mary Burton here.

Layla by Colleen Hoover


Leeds met Layla and immediately fell in love with her. But after she was attacked and spent weeks in the hospital, Layla comes back seeming like a different person. Leeds wants to rekindle their relationship and help Layla, so he takes her to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. But once they are there, Layla’s behavior changes even more.

Since Leeds and Layla are distant, Leeds ends up spending a lot of time with Willow, another guest at the bed-and-breakfast. When Leeds finds out about Willow’s predicament, he wants to help her but doesn’t know how to do that without affecting Layla’s well-being.

You can read Layla by Colleen Hoover here.

Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Mr. Perfect

Jaine Bright and three of her friends are spending time together at their favorite restaurant when they start joking about what the “perfect man” would entail. The joke goes on as they create a list, full of things that Mr. Perfect would have to do to make the cut. Eventually, without even trying, everyone in town knows about their list. 

But things take a dark turn when one of Jaine’s friends is murdered. Not everyone is a fan of the list, saying that it’s sexist and offensive, and it looks like the joke might have turned into something deadly. Jaine races to find answers, getting help from her handsome neighbor who is also a detective, trying to catch the killer before it’s too late. 

You can purchase Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard here.

Amish Secrets by Marta Perry

Amish Secrets (River Haven Book 3)

When Rachel’s mother died, she stayed home to take care of her father and siblings. Now that her father is getting remarried, Rachel needs a job so that she can move out, so she becomes the housekeeper for a rich elderly woman.

Jacob Beiler lives in the house, and Rachel rejected him long ago. When strange events start occurring, the family immediately thinks it was Rachel’s doing, and Jacob is the only person who will believe what Rachel says. Danger is lurking, and they have to figure out what’s happening before it can’t be undone.

You can read Amish Secrets by Marta Perry here.

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Jane Doe (A Jane Doe Thriller)

Jane blends in well, and everyone sees her as ordinary, maybe a little bit insecure, but nothing more. This is just what her manager, Steven, is looking for. But he doesn’t know who Jane really is.

Jane will allow Steven to seduce her, and then she will uncover all of his dark secrets and find out everything that really matters to him. Once this is done, she will leave him with nothing, and get the revenge she’s been looking for.

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone can be found here.

Forever Never by Lucy Score

Forever Never

Brick’s relationship with Remi is complicated. After all, Remi is Brick’s brother’s high school girlfriend, Brick’s boss’s daughter, AND Brick’s ex-wife’s best friend. When Remi returns to the town that they grew up in, Brick makes it his mission to figure out what she is hiding.

But Remi is just looking for a place to lay low and figure things out for a few weeks, and she isn’t interested in Brick’s antics. She doesn’t need him to save her again, especially not when it puts them both in danger.

You can read Forever Never by Lucy Score here.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

Naked in Death: 25th Anniversary Edition

The year is 2058, and Eve Dallas is a detective in New York City. Eve begins working on the case of the senator’s daughter, who was recently outed for being a prostitute after she was killed. 

As Eve investigates the case, she starts to feel an attraction to Roarke, a very handsome man who also happens to be incredibly influential and rich. To make matters more complicated, Roarke is also the leading suspect in the case.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb can be found here.

The Search by Nora Roberts

The Search

Fiona lives a quiet life and has a great job training dogs and doing search and rescue. But she also has a past, one where the famous Red Scarf Killer shot and killed her fiancé right in front of her.

One day, a man named Simon shows up at her door, desperate for help with his badly behaved puppy. Fiona happily accepts the challenge and grows closer to Simon in the process.

But when a copycat killer emerges, Fiona’s past all comes back to her. The killer has one motive, and it’s to get to Fiona, the woman who got away.

You can purchase The Search by Nora Roberts here.

For You by Kristen Ashley

For You (The 'Burg Series)

Colt and Feb were high school sweethearts and have a history of heartbreak because when Colt risked everything for Feb, she left him. Now, 15 years later, they are both back in the same town. There is too much distance between them, and everyone knows they will never get back together.

But when someone starts killing people in Feb’s life, Colt can’t help but get involved. He wants to solve the case and keep Feb safe, and while he’s doing so, it’s hard for the two to keep their attraction for each other bottled up.

You can read For You by Kristen Ashley here.

Athica Lane by Brynn Asher

Athica Lane (The Carpino Series)

Cam is a single dad who has such a full schedule, he isn’t looking for a relationship. But when he meets Paige, he starts falling for her energetic and sassy spirit. 

Paige has her own business, her family, and a group of friends, but she’s never really put herself out into the dating world. She’s just not interested, and nobody has been worthy enough of her. But when she meets Cam, Paige is suddenly throwing all of that aside for him.

And when Paige gets a stalker, Cam and everyone around her want to keep her safe and find out who it is.

Athica Lane by Brynn Asher can be read here.

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Seeing Red

Kerra Baily is a journalist who is trying to get to the story of Major Trapper, a hero who saved people from a hotel bombing a number of years ago. But Major has been out of the public eye for a while, and the only way to get to him seems to be through his son, ATF agent John Trapper.

Trapper isn’t very interested at first, trying to stay as far away from Kierra and her story as possible, but when she suggests that there might be more to it, Trapper is intrigued. And when her interview with Major turns dangerous, Trapper knows he needs to track down who is behind the gunfire.
Him and Kierra begin working together, trying to solve the case of the hotel bombing and the mysterious gunmen before they open fire again.

You can find Seeing Red by Sandra Brown here.

Deadly Illusion by Kathy Lockheart

Deadly Illusion: A gripping romantic suspense page-turner with twists through the very end (Secrets and the City)

After the death of her older sister, Jenna’s life was finally going okay and she was on the right track. But then she was attacked, and that one moment changed everything. 

When MMA fighter Damian shows up in her life, he notices her bruises and she tells him about what happened. Damian is insistent on protecting Jenna, knowing that her attacker is still out there, wanting to finish what he came to do.

You can read Deadly Illusion by Kathy Lockheart here.

Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose

Have You Seen Her? (The Raleigh Series)

Steven is a special agent who is hunting a serial killer while trying to help his teenage son who has started behaving badly and failing school. Steven has been having meetings with his son’s teacher, Jenna, and soon their conversations are getting deeper and the two are falling for each other.

But things get even more complicated when Jenna gets involved in the serial killer’s path, and Steven and Jenna know that they have to be careful about how things continue.

Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose can be found here.

After the Night by Linda Howard

After The Night

Faith is poor and her family doesn’t have much. When her mother disappears with a wealthy and respected man, Faith is stuck with Gray, the man’s spoiled son. When Gray calls Faith white trash, she wants to hate him, but something still pulls her toward him despite his comments.

The last thing Gray wants is to be associated with Faith’s family, but something about her is making him change his mind. Still, it can’t last long, because his plan is to sabotage her in the end.

You can find After the Night by Linda Howard here.

Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan

Every Last Breath (Final Hour Book 1)

Maddox Kinkade has been given the mission of getting rid of a lethal bioweapon before it causes a pandemic to strike. Maddox knows she needs the help of someone she trusts, so she tries to convince Cole, the love of her life, to help. But this alone is a difficult task, because Cole is still mad about what he thinks was a betrayal.

Cole wants to hate Maddox, but he knows that the situation is a huge deal, and they end up working together to stop the killer, trying to ignore the attraction that is still burning between them.

Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan can be purchased here.

Where the Truth Lives by Mia Sheridan

Where the Truth Lives

Detective Reed Davies has arrived at a crime scene where someone was gruesomely murdered. Then he finds out that the person who found the body is Dr. Elizabeth Nolan, the woman who he shared a night with a few weeks prior.

She is somehow involved, and Reed has to decipher what is true all while being drawn to Elizabeth and her beauty. When more bodies start turning up, Reed finds a connection more shocking than anything, putting everything together as he goes along.

Where the Truth Lives by Mia Sheridan can be read here.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachael Hawkins

Wife Upstairs

Jane is not rich, but she walks dogs in a very rich neighborhood just outside of where she lives. When she meets Eddie, Jane immediately falls for him. He is handsome, rich, and mysterious, and his wife, Bea, died in a boating accident.

But as Jane and Eddie begin falling for each other, Jane can’t help but compare herself to Bea, wondering if she is living up. Soon, something starts to feel off, and Jane is intent on figuring out what is going on.

You can read The Wife Upstairs by Rachael Hawkins here.

Verity by Colleen Hoover


Lowen has just been hired by Jeremy Crawford, the husband of Verity Crawford, a very successful writer. Verity is injured and can’t finish her books, so Jeremy wants Lowen to write them instead. 

When Lowen arrives, she looks through Verity’s notes, trying to find a place to start. But she doesn’t expect to find an autobiography that Verity never wanted anyone to read where she confesses all of her dark, bone-chilling secrets.

Lowen decides to keep it from Jeremy, not wanting to let them destroy him, but as her feelings for him grow more intense, she thinks it might be better if he knows.

You can find Verity by Colleen Hoover here.

Unforgiven by Rebecca Zanetti

Unforgiven (Deep Ops)

Gemma has been outrunning a killer for years, constantly taking her and her daughter to new places. When she starts teaching at DC University, Gemma hopes this can become their safe spot.

Jethro has a dark past and regrets the things he once did, but he’s trying to put all of that behind him while teaching at DC University. When Jethro and Gemma meet, their connection is instant. And when Jethro learns of someone following Jemma, his dark past threatens to come back in order to protect her.

Unforgiven by Rebecca Zanetti can be purchased here.

Cold as Ice by Toni Anderson

Cold as Ice: A thrilling novel of Romance and Suspense (Cold Justice® - The Negotiators)

When Darby O’Roarke finds herself in a house next to a corpse with no memory of why she is there, she immediately calls Eban winters, the FBI agent with whom she shares a past. Eban rushes to help Darby when he gets the call, but proving her innocence seems to be difficult.

That is, until the killer strikes again, suggesting that Darby was framed. It seems that this is a killer the FBI has been chasing for years, and now the killer is after Darby.

You can find Cold as Ice by Toni Anderson here.


What is a romantic thriller book?

Romantic thrillers are exactly what they sound like: Books that are romance and thriller stories. They usually feature some sort of mystery or suspenseful plot, all while a romance is developing between characters.

Are romantic suspense and romantic thriller books the same thing?

Yes, romantic suspense and romantic thriller books are the same thing. They may be two different names, but both of them refer to books that have romance and thriller aspects to them.

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Freya Cook