Passionate romance and thrilling suspense mix in this guide to the best romantic thriller books, featuring 30 heart-pounding reads for fans of this rapidly growing genre!
Intro to the Best Romantic Thrillers
The formula for a perfect unputdownable book is heart-shuttering suspense and swoon-worthy romance, and these thirty best romantic thriller books will leave readers gasping for breath. The genre of romantic suspense is all about heightened emotions: high stakes, high passion, high tension, and high reward. Each page feels like stepping on a loose, squeaky floorboard slowly, slowly, until the floor drops from beneath, and you’re falling towards an inevitable crash.
The impact is immediate, breathtaking, and unforgettable. The books on this list are sure to leave readers with the same intense emotions. If you’re looking for spine-tingling romantic thrills, keep reading!
The 30 Best Romantic Thriller Books
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Psychological suspense builds in this smash hit novel about Lowen Ashleigh, a writer hired to finish Jeremy Crawford’s wife’s manuscripts. While sifting through previous writings and notes, Lowen finds an incomplete autobiography spilling dangerous secrets.
Verity has sold over 3 million copies and is a massive BookTok success, catapulting Colleen Hoover to the top of the bestseller list and cementing Verity as a staple in the romantic thriller genre. You can get the mega sensation here!
Die for Me by Cynthia Eden
Katherine Cole’s world turns completely upside down after she learns The Valentine Killer is her supposedly perfect fiance. Three years have passed since he disappeared, but now he’s back with a vengeance, and Katherine’s not going down without a fight.
Recruiting Detective Dane Black, a sexy cop who never mixes emotions with business, Katherine doesn’t expect the intense chemistry between them as the Valentine Killer resurfaces and closes in on the ex-fiance he left behind.
You can get Die for Me by Cynthia Eden here!
Haunting Adeline by H. D. Carlton
A twisted game of cat and mouse between Zade and Addie commences in this highly dark, thrilling romance for adults.
Adeline inherits a gothic mansion and a murder mystery from her grandparents, while Zade watches Adeline from the sidelines, enraptured by her. And he can only stay away for so long.
Haunting Adeline is deeply dark and for mature audiences only. You can get the first book in this successful duology here!
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
In this gothic novel brimming with suspense, a 22-year-old socialite in the 1950s moves into a crumbling mansion to look after her sick cousin while unraveling the mansion’s horrific secrets.
With a romantic subplot, fans of atmospheric suspense will enjoy this award-winning novel. You can get Mexican Gothic here!
Hooked by Emily McIntire
The first book in the Never After series follows a twisted Peter Pan retelling with Captain Hook as the unlikely hero.
James has one goal: to destroy Peter Michaels, and when he meets Wendy, Peter’s twenty-year-old daughter, he knows exactly how to do it. What James doesn’t expect is falling for Wendy or the crumbling within his organization as a traitor runs rampant.
You can get Hooked by Emily McIntire here!
Don’t Look Now by Mary Burton
Jordan Poe hunts a serial killer she suspects is responsible for hurting her sister two years ago.
Carter Spencer is a Texas Ranger who takes the case and works with the Poe sisters to find the murderer. But when Jordan is injured at a crime scene, she must rely on Spencer for safety, and he must rely on her resolve and instincts to solve the case as things take a sinister turn.
Don’t Look Now is a heavily suspenseful novel with a co-detective romance. You can get the book here!
Darkest Night (Sons of Broad #1) by Tara Thomas
Tilly Brock’s family lost everything to scandal, and she lost the boy she loved. Keaton Benedict has it all: money, women, and legacy. But he doesn’t have Tilly. As Tilly and Keaton’s relationship rekindles, an enemy of Keaton watches from the sidelines and plots…
You can get the first book in the Sons of Broad series by Tara Thomas here!
Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Sasha Keaton escaped the serial killer called The Groom ten years ago in West Virginia, and now she’s returned to the town she once called home.
As women disappear again, FBI agent Cole Landis vows to catch the killer he couldn’t ten years ago. He vows to finally protect Sasha.
Written by Jennifer L. Armentrout, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Blood and Ash series, Till Death is the author’s suspenseful romance novel. You can get it here!
The Persuasion by Iris Johansen
Jane MacGuire is working in Wales at an archaeological dig when her longtime love interest Seth Caleb shows up with a warning. A portrait resembling Jane was stolen and replaced with a bloodied photograph of her. And a sociopath is on the loose.
The Vanishing by Jayne Krentz
A mysterious explosion causes residents of a sleepy town to develop psychic abilities, and it’s up to crime-solving friends Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair to crack the mystery. But when Olivia vanishes and Slater Arganbright gets involved, Catalina must use her skills and follow leads to find Olivia while falling in love with Slater in the process of their investigation.
You can get this intense and steamy first book in the Fogg Lake series by Jayne Ann Krentz here!
The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews
In The Newcomer, Letty Carnahan finds her sister murdered and takes her four-year-old niece on the run in this intense award-winning novel. Ending up in Florida, Letty moves in with a hotel owner and a police detective who believes she’s nothing but trouble.
While lying low, Letty gets to know the motel residents and uncovers mystery after mystery while falling in love with the hotel owner’s son.
You can get The Newcomer here!
When She Dreams by Amanda Quick
It’s California in the 1930s when Maggie Lodge hires private investigator Sam Sage to find the person blackmailing her employer. But as the two work together, they get caught up in the dangerous and elusive world of murder in the early 1900s.
Grace Under Fire by Julie Garwood
While walking around Boston, Grace Isabel MacKenna hears gunshots, finds a bleeding man, picks up a bloody gun, and shoots the attacker. Michael Buchanan is an ex-Navy SEAL sent to protect and watch after Isabel.
After finding out Isabel is the main target of the attack, Michael vows to look after her as danger presents itself around every corner.
Described as one of the best romantic suspense novels by LibraryReads, you can get Grace Under Fire by Julie Garwood here!
Flock by Kate Stewart
Cecelia works for her dad after moving to Triple Falls, hoping she’ll one day get her inheritance. While working, she meets secretive Sean and his roommates, and the attraction is undeniable. But the secrets pile high, and the thing about secrets is they must always come to light.
Flock is the first book in the widely successful reverse harem series The Ravenhood and is for mature audiences. You can get this secretive, suspenseful romance by Kate Stewart here!
Be Still My Heart by Emily McIntire
Corpses are washing up in small town Skelm Island, Maine, and Lincoln Porter, a crabby ex-SEAL, has secrets he’d like to stay buried from the new detective in town, Sloane. But with a suspicious yet hopeful attitude, Sloane vows to find out the truth, but she can only do it with the help of Lincoln. Soon the two must rely on each other for answers and safety as secrets are brought to light.
You can get Be Still My Heart by Emily McIntire here!
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
In a small town, teen girls are disappearing, and everyone’s wondering who will be next.
Twins Ellery and Ezra move to Vermont with their grandmother while their mom goes through rehab. Once in the infamous town, Ellery, a true-crime follower, discovers more about her mother’s twin’s disappearance and the recent cases of missing girls while getting to know Malcolm, the younger brother of a suspect in one of the cases.
Two Can Keep a Secret is the perfect young adult romantic thriller written in alternating POV chapters of Ellery and Malcolm, filled with shocking twists and romance. You can get the novel by Karen M. McManus here!
Nightwork by Nora Roberts
Harry Booth’s “nightwork” consists of picking locks, breaking into homes, and stealing what he can to survive. He’s been a thief for most of his life, but when things go wrong with a dangerous client, Harry stays on the run, even after falling in love with Miranda, who he leaves out of necessity.
When the two meet up years later, and Harry discovers a way to defeat the ruthless man after him, Miranda and Harry conspire to take down the very person who tore them apart.
You can get Nora Roberts’s sensational novel, Nightwork, here!
Overkill by Sandra Brown
Zach Bridger, a former NFL quarterback and Rebecca’s ex-husband, gets startling news: Eban Clarke, the wealthy sociopath who attacked Rebecca and put her in a vegetative state, has walked free.
Now the only way to put him behind bars for the rest of his life is if Zach decides to take his ex-wife off life support; only then can Eban be charged officially in Rebecca’s murder.
With a thought-provoking premise and budding romance between Zach and the prosecutor on the case, Kate, Overkill is brimming with suspense. You can get the novel by Sandra Brown here!
Wired by Julie Garwood
Allison Trent is a model and secret computer hacker, and Liam Scott is a bad-boy FBI agent with a spy in his midst. To uncover where the leak is coming from, Liam attempts to hire Allison to crack the code, only to be turned down. What Liam doesn’t know and what Allison can’t risk having the FBI find out are the secrets she keeps buried.
Consumed by J. R. Ward
A former firefighter turned arson investigator works closely with the firefighter that saved her life to uncover the secrets of a series of dangerous fires. Together, they must track down the serial arsonist in this gritty award-winning novel by J. R. Ward, featuring strong female characters and likable, strong heroes.
You can get Consumed here!
Twisted Love by Ana Huang
Dangerous and steamy, Twisted Love takes well-loved tropes and lights them on fire in this sizzling story about Ava Chen and her brother’s best friend.
When she was a child, Ava Chen was almost murdered. Because of the attempt on her life, Ava’s older brother has turned protector, but when he leaves the country for the year, he elicits the help of his best friend, Alex Volkov, to take his place. But Alex has a dark past too, and as a result, has vowed to destroy top businessmen one by one. The closer Ava and Alex become, the more danger follows them.
Filled with twists, this high-drama romance will thrill and delight readers. You can get the first book in the Twisted series by Ana Huang here!
If We Disappear Here by Mindy Hayes
When Maeve Campbell awakes, she discovers she’s locked in a cement room with a man who is not her husband. Outside, their captor taunts and tortures them day by day, and the fight for survival becomes just as much a battle for each other’s lives.
This psychological thriller features mature content that could be upsetting for some. This dark, heart wrenching romance is breathtaking and powerful.
You can get If We Disappear Here by Mindy Hayes here!
Run Posy Run by Cate C. Wells
In this intense game of cat and mouse, Posy is running from the guy she once thought was Prince Charming. Dario Volpe is hunting Posy after seeing something he was never supposed to witness. After the cataclysmic breakup, Dario wants Posy back, and he’ll play a twisted game to get her.
We Will Reign by Rachel Leigh
RIley Cross is a new student at Boulder Cove University, where students can become Blue Bloods upon completing specific assignments. And someone is watching her. Three friends with dark secrets, Ridge, Maddox, and Levi, investigate the bodies appearing on campus while becoming entwined with Riley, no matter how wrong it is.
This suspenseful secret society novel twists and turns at all the right places. You can get this dark romance written for a mature audience here!
Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai
Mira rejects the lawyer helping her aunt’s affairs. But then the unthinkable happens: the pair gets kidnapped by a gang lord and sent on a dangerous chase throughout Las Vegas. Taking on spy-adjacent roles, Mira and Naveen must outsmart and outrun their captors in this thrilling comedy romance.
You can get Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai here!
Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Charlie Wynwood and Silas Nash grew up as best friends and were in love by the time they were fourteen. But then they wake up one morning and find themselves utter strangers. They can’t remember a single memory with the other in it, not their first date, kiss, or fight, and must work together to uncover what happened.
The closer they get to the truth, the more they question everything and wonder which is worse: forgetting or remembering.
Never Never is a book filled with twists written by megahit sensation Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher. You can get the novel here!
Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel
Television journalist Alix Phillips works alongside cameraman Ben Chapman, an ex-Navy SEAL, on a massive story about the corruption of Tony Clark, the Vice President of the United States. The deeper Alix digs, the more threats come out, and soon it’s Alix and Ben against everyone as they pull apart the sinister threads of an explosive plot.
You can get Danielle Steel’s Dangerous Games here!
The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert
Once upon a time, Maggie Gaines was an FBI agent with a bright future until a high-profile case had her crumbling. Eight years later and she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park. Vic Sutherland, Maggie’s former partner at the FBI and the one person she never thought she’d see again, shows up to investigate the next body in a string of murders involving hikes in national parks.
With an ongoing investigation and a killer on the loose, the two-ex-partners must work together to solve the case before it’s too late while working through feelings of the past.
You can get Katee Robert’s The Hunting Grounds here!
The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert
Twelve years ago, Lei Zhang’s boyfriend went on a murder rampage and killed twenty-one sorority sisters, leaving Lei Zhang and Emma Nilsson as survivors. Though the killer is behind bars, Lei knows she can never trust others the same way again.
When a sociopath copycat killer sets their sights on Lei and Emma, it’s up to FBI Agent Dante Young to protect the girls and find the murderer. His feelings for Lei build the closer they get, but until they capture the killer, there’s no chance for a real future.
You can get The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert here!
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Firekeeper’s Daughter is a Printz Award Winner and is soon to be adapted at Netflix for TV!
Daunis has her foot set in two worlds: her hometown and the Ojibwe reservation nearby. When she witnesses a murder and gets tied into the FBI investigation, she uses her knowledge of Ojibwe traditional medicine and chemistry to unravel what happened and unravel a pattern of deaths in the community that will change everything she knows.
By her side is Jamie, a new hockey player on her brother Levi’s team, who holds his own mysteries. You can get this suspenseful young adult novel written by Angeline Boulley here!
Whether it’s slow, dark romance bleeding into thrills or action-packed plots packing the fast-paced suspense, romantic thrillers are full of entertaining characters and the emotions they pull from readers. This ultimate guide showcases thirty intense books that will jump off your TBR and have you reading from sunrise to sunset to discover what will happen next!
What is a romantic thriller book?
A romantic thriller is a genre that combines elements from both romance and thriller narratives into one story. These types of novels typically showcase romance, suspense, thrills, and high emotions.
What are dark romance novels?
Dark romance is a subgenre of romance that features mature content, including violence, trauma, and other dark themes, while still featuring a love story at the root of its narrative. Reading discretion is usually advised going into dark romance novels as they can be upsetting to some readers and not meant for a younger audience.
Why are thrillers addictive?
Thrillers are popular for a number of reasons, including the puzzles they present to audience members, the tension and heightened emotions at the story’s center, and the intense feelings they pull from us as viewers and readers.
What is the steamy psychological thriller by Colleen Hoover?
Verity is New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover’s intense and steamy psychological thriller.
Is Verity a romance or thriller?
Verity by Colleen Hoover is both a romance and a thriller, fitting under the romantic thriller genre.