22 Best Authors Like Penelope Douglas for Your Next Hot Read

Discover our collection of the best authors like Penelope Douglas. If you like taboo-breaking romance novels with well-developed characters, these are for you.

New York Times bestselling author Penelope Douglas writes romance and contemporary fiction novels. As an author who doesn’t believe in taboo, she has some steamy storylines that break the rules of the romance genre. Douglas was a shy child, always walking away from experiences because of a fear of failure. That all changed when she left home and went to college.

During her young adult years, Douglas discovered a love for travel and adventure, spending significant time in Asia before returning to the United States to attend graduate school in New Orleans. In college, she also started writing, which led her on a path of self-discovery that transformed her life.

Since becoming a romance author, Douglas has been on the bestsellers list for the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. In all, she has 26 books to her name. These books are in three series, the Devil’s NightFall Away, and Hellbent series, which house most of her works, but she also has six standalone novels. These include Punk 57 and Birthday Girl. If you’re a fan of these dark romance books, consider these authors like Penelope Douglas to fill your reading list.

Best Authors Like Penelope Douglas Ranked

1. Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren
Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is the pen name of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, a pair of authors that publish contemporary romance novels and teen fiction under their combined name. The duo met in 2009 when they were writing fanfiction online and started writing together a year later. The team has 18 New York Times bestselling novels, and their books are translated into over 30 languages.

The two most famous series attributed to them are Beautiful Bastards and Wild SeasonsSweet Filthy Boy, the first novel in the Wild Seasons series, won the Romantic Times Book of the Year Award in 2014. If you’re looking for more romance books, check out our round-up of authors like Nora Roberts!

“Life is built of these little horrible moments and the giant expanses of awesome in between.”

Christina Lauren, Sweet Filthy Boy
Sale
Sweet Filthy Boy (1) (Wild Seasons)
  • Lauren, Christina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 05/13/2014 (Publication Date) - Gallery Books (Publisher)

2. Tillie Cole

Book cover of Sweet Home by Tillie Cole
Book cover of Sweet Home by Tillie Cole

Born in England, Tillie Cole graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in religious studies. After graduation, she spent ten years traveling the world alongside her husband, who was a professional rugby player, while working as a teacher. Cole penned her first novel after those escapades, and today she is a writer of contemporary romance, dark romance, young adult, and new adult novels. Cole’s first book, Sweet Home, was published in 2013.

“One day, my sweet girl, some lucky man will come and help you understand the very meaning of love.”

Tillie Cole, Sweet Home
Sweet Home (Sweet Home Series)
  • Cole, Tillie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 406 Pages - 10/13/2013 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

3. K. Webster

Book cover of Apartment 2B by K. Webster
Book cover of Apartment 2B by K. Webster

USA Today bestselling author K. Webster keeps much about her personal life private. As a voracious reader, she has published over 150 romance books that cover almost every genre style. The author lives in the Midwest with her family and enjoys researching aliens in her free time. Her first book, Apartment 2B, was published in 2014, and hasn’t looked back since.

“With one last glance over my shoulder, I feel whole knowing that they are happy. That’s my last thought as I find peace. At last.”

K. Webster, Apartment 2B
Apartment 2B
  • Webster, K (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 228 Pages - 03/28/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

4. Elle Kennedy, 1979 –

Book cover of The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Book cover of The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy hails from Canada and writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense books. Before starting her writing career, Kennedy attended York University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2005. She is quite a successful author with titles on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists. The Off-Campus series has been one of her most successful, with releases in over 20 countries and titles on multiple bestseller lists. The Deal, the first book in the series, was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee.

“Sometimes people sneak up on you, and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them.”

Elle Kennedy, The Deal
Sale
The Deal (Off-Campus, 1)
  • Kennedy, Elle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 02/24/2015 (Publication Date) - Bloom Books (Publisher)

5. Sierra Simone

Book cover of The Awakening Of Ivy Leavold by Sierre Simone
Book cover of The Awakening Of Ivy Leavold by Sierre Simone

Sierra Simone is a USA Today bestselling author from the Kansas City area. As a self-proclaimed introvert, she has works published in 10 different languages and continues to produce new books every year. Simone started her literary career in 2015 with The Awakening of Ivy Leavold, the first book in the Markham Hall series. She finished all four books in the series the same year and then published Priest, the first in the Priest series, that year. These books firmly established her as a skilled romance author.

“Perhaps these doubts were galvanizing. They were all pointing to something—that either my heart or my life were in danger, and that perhaps I should leave.”

Sierra Simone, The Awakening of Ivy Leavold
The Awakening of Ivy Leavold (Markham Hall)
  • Simone, Sierra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 182 Pages - 01/05/2015 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

6. L.J. Shen

Book cover of Vicious by L.J. Shen
Book cover of Vicious by L.J. Shen

L.J. Shen is the author of contemporary romance and new adult novels who lives in Florida. Her books feature strong women who conquer alpha males; several have been Amazon’s number-one bestsellers. Shen sells books in 20 different countries. Her first book, Tyed, was published in 2015, but one of her most famous, Vicious, came out in 2016. Shen currently has four series, Sinners of Saint, All Saints High, Boston Belles, and Cruel Castaways, as well as multiple standalone novels.

“I loved her when I hated her. And I loved her when I didn’t want anything to do with her. I was so crazy about her, the lines had blurred together. Feelings were mixed, emotions twisted together.”

L.J. Shen, Vicious
Vicious
  • Shen, L.J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 338 Pages - 12/27/2016 (Publication Date) - L.J. Shen (Publisher)

7. Pepper Winters

Book cover of Tears Of Tess by Pepper Winter
Book cover of Tears Of Tess by Pepper Winter

Though Pepper Winters was raised in Hong Kong, she has roots in England and tapped into those roots to write English-language novels. With nearly 40 books in nine languages, she has been quite successful. In 2013, she published Tears of Tess, her first book, which became a Top 20 Amazon bestseller. The book was the first in the Monsters in the Dark trilogy, which made a name for her in the romance author world.

“You stole my loneliness. I may have given you wings, but you’ve become my gravity. I’ll never be free of your force.”

Pepper Winters, Tears of Tess
Tears of Tess
  • Winters, Pepper (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 380 Pages - 09/01/2013 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

8. Ana Huang

Book cover of Twisted Love by Ana Huang
Book cover of Twisted Love by Ana Huang

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Ana Huang has sold her books to over two dozen foreign publishers. Huang’s writing career started in 2013 with All I’ve Never Wanted, a standalone novel. In her books, readers find strong women and alpha males, and the stories are filled with angst and steam. Huang loves to travel and uses her travels to make her books engaging and colorful. Her Twisted series is her most famous, with her 2021 book Twisted Love as the first in the series.

“If you let lesser people determine your self-worth, you’ll never reach higher than their limited imagination.”

Ana Huang, Twisted Love
Sale
Twisted Love (Twisted, 1)
  • Huang, Ana (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 09/27/2022 (Publication Date) - Bloom Books (Publisher)

9. Tessa Bailey

Book cover of Protecting What's His by Tessa Bailey
Book cover of Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey writes hot stories that end in a happily ever after. A Long Island, New York resident where she lives with her family, Bailey strives to create strong and memorable characters. While her books are steamy, they are also quite character-centric. Bailey published her first book, Protecting What’s His, in 2013 and continued publishing multiple books a year later. She has several series, including Line of Duty, Broke and Beautiful, and Crossing the Line.

“Often times, people make questionable decisions. And even though they already taste the fat regret sandwich headed their way, they do it with a smile.”

Tessa Bailey, Protecting What’s His
Protecting What's His (Line of Duty)
  • Bailey, Tessa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 230 Pages - 11/18/2013 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

10. Cora Reilly

Book cover of Voyeur Extraordinaire by Cora Reilly
Book cover of Voyeur Extraordinaire by Cora Reilly

Cora Reilly is a romance author known for her bad-boy characters. She published young adult novels before starting her career as a romance author. Reilly lives in Germany and travels extensively. The author also holds a law degree but abandoned her dreams of being a lawyer for a writer’s life. Reilly published her first romance books in 2014 with Voyeur Extraordinaire, Bound By Honor, and Not Meant to Be Broken. These initial books were so successful she kept writing romances. Many of her books are in the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles series.

“I guess waxing was like giving birth. During labor, women swore to themselves that this was their last child, and as soon as the pain was forgotten and they saw the reward for their efforts, those words were null and void.”

Cora Reilly, Voyeur Extraordinaire
Voyeur Extraordinaire
  • Reilly, Cora (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 236 Pages - 09/17/2014 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

11. Jennifer L. Armentrout, 1980 – 

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout publishes both contemporary romance books and teen fantasy books. The prolific author didn’t start as a success and had many rejections before publishing her first book in 2011. Armentrout started writing at a young age, completing her first novel while sitting in algebra class in high school. As an adult, she has published both for publishing houses and as a self-published author, making her a hybrid writer.

Many of her books are part of a series, and The Covenant Series is popular. It starts with Half-Blood, which she published in 2011. Want to read more romance books? Discover our list of authors like Elin Hilderbrand.

“Need covers itself with love, but need… need is never love. Always beware of the one who needs you. There is always a want behind a need, you see.”

Jennifer L. Armentrout, Half-Blood
Sale
Half-Blood: The First Covenant Novel (Covenant Series)
  • Armentrout, Jennifer L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 406 Pages - 10/18/2011 (Publication Date) - Jennifer L. Armentrout (Publisher)

12. Eris Adderly

Book cover of The Mortal Coil: Medusa & Perseus by Eris Adderly
Book cover of The Mortal Coil: Medusa & Perseus by Eris Adderly

Eris Adderly does not follow conventions when writing her romance books. Known for their strong characters, slight fantasy vibe, and untamable characters, Adderly’s books are hot. She aims to write subversive romance books for people who hate the genre. The self-published author launches many of her books as Kindle books before publishing them in paperback. Several of her books, like The Mortal Coil: Medousa & Perseus, feature characters from mythology.

“And that voice. Sliding, toying with him, just out of sight. Challenging.”

Eris Adderly, The Mortal Coil: Medusa & Perseus
The Mortal Coil: Medousa & Perseus
  • Adderly, Eris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 552 Pages - 07/31/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

13. Mia Sheridan

Book cover of Leo by Mia Sheridan
Book cover of Leo by Mia Sheridan

Mia Sheridan is a New York Times bestselling author passionate about true love stories. Her romance novels aren’t quite as steamy as those of Penelope Douglas, but they are excellent stories that fans will enjoy. One of her bestsellers, Leo, is a new adult contemporary romance book about two best friends who vowed as children to make a life together, only to be pulled apart as adults. When they find each other again, a mystery unfolds along with romance. Sheridan published Leo in 2013.

“Everyone tells a story about who they are in their own head. That story defines you, dictating all your actions and all your mistakes.”

Mia Sheridan, Leo
Leo (Sign of Love)
  • Sheridan, Mia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 212 Pages - 06/12/2013 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

14. Roni Loren

Book cover of The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren
Book cover of The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren

Roni Loren started writing romance novels at age 15, and this eventually grew into a successful career. The author holds a graduate degree in social work and worked as a mental health counselor for many years before retiring to write full-time. The knowledge of therapy does show up in her writing as she creates emotionally complex characters. The author won the RITA Award twice and is a HOLT Medallion winner. The Ones Who Got Away is one of her more popular series, and she published its first novel in 2018.

“Broken glass still made art. Sometimes the most beautiful kind.”

Roni Loren, The Ones Who Got Away
The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away, 1)
  • Loren, Roni (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 01/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Sourcebooks Casablanca (Publisher)

15. Colleen Hoover, 1979 –

Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover

American author Colleen Hoover started her writing career as a self-published author, but she quickly grew a following and began being chosen by publishing houses. As a graduate of Texas A&M Commerce with a degree in social work, she published Slammed, her first novel, in 2012. When book blogger Maryse Black gave Slammed and its sequel five stars, the books quickly made their way to the New York Times bestseller list and were picked up by Atria Books. In 2023, Time magazine named Hoover one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

“Don’t take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it.”

Colleen Hoover, Slammed
Sale
Slammed: A Novel (1)
  • Hoover, Colleen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 09/18/2012 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

16. Eve Dangerfield

Book cover of Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield
Book cover of Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield

As a young girl, Eve Dangerfield often swiped her grandmother’s paperback romance novels, giving her a love for the genre. As an author, she writes genre-defying works from her home in Melbourne. Act Your Age is her 2017 novel and the first book in a series by the same name. Dangerfield’s books feature complex heroines with specific needs and the men who fulfill those needs.

“You’re stronger than anyone thinks you are.”

Eve Dangerfield, Act Your Age
Act Your Age (Daddy Dearest)
  • Dangerfield, Eve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 380 Pages - 09/27/2017 (Publication Date) - BookBaby (Publisher)

17. Penelope Ward, 1947 –

Book cover of RoomHate by Penelope Ward
Book cover of RoomHate by Penelope Ward

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Penelope Ward has a panache for writing steamy romance novels. Ward grew up in Boston and worked as a television news anchor as a young woman. As an adult, she moved to Rhode Island with her family and started writing. Stepbrother Dearest, her fourth book published in 2014, was a number one New York Times bestseller. Her 2016 novel, RoomHate, is one of her popular standalone books and debuted at number two on the bestseller list.

“The way I see it, if you want to cheat on someone, you should just break up with them. Cheating is for cowards.”

Penelope Ward, RoomHate
RoomHate
  • Ward, Penelope (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 277 Pages - 02/03/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

18. Skye Warren

Book cover of The Pawn by Skye Warren
Book cover of The Pawn by Skye Warren

An author known for her dark romance books, Skye Warren often reaches the Amazon bestseller list with her works. The New York Times bestselling author has sold over two million copies of her books and is a Texas resident. Beauty Touched the Beast and Below the Belt were her first two books published in 2011. In all, she has 68 books under her name. Her Endgame series, which started with The Pawn in 2016, is one of her more popular.

“Except what remains of the woman that she had been? If you have to change to be loved, then how much is that love worth?”

Skye Warren, The Pawn
The Pawn (Endgame)
  • Warren, Skye (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 302 Pages - 12/06/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

19. Penny Wylder

Book cover of Big Man by Penny Wylder
Book cover of Big Man by Penny Wylder

Penny Wylder is known for her wild romance tales. While she does strive to achieve happily ever after in her books, she also weaves plenty of steam into them. Wylder keeps much of her personal life private. While she has several novellas to her name, her novels are what stand out. Her 2017 novel Big Man is one of these, telling the story of a young woman who returns to her small town to run into a childhood friend who has grown into an attractive alpha male.

“She’s not ready for a wild man. She likes tame, placid little city boys.”

Penny Wylder, Big Man
Big Man
  • Wylder, Penny (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 318 Pages - 12/06/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

20. Saffron A. Kent

Book cover of Medicine Man by Saffron A. Kent
Book cover of Medicine Man by Saffron A. Kent

Saffron A. Kent went to college to be a writer, earning her graduate degree in Creative Writing. After graduation, she moved to New York City with her husband and started writing. A USA Today bestselling author, Kent is known for her contemporary and new adult romance books. The author currently writes for Bethany Weaver of the Weaver Literary Agency, and she skillfully uses social media for marketing her new releases. The Heartstone series, which starts with her 2018 novel Medicine Man, is a popular choice for new readers.

“Because I was born with more than blood in my veins. I was born with strength. I was born with courage to fight. I’m a warrior.”

Saffron A. Kent, Medicine Man
Medicine Man (Heartstone Series)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kent, Saffron A (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 516 Pages - 04/29/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

21. Rina Kent

Book cover of Steel Princess by Rina Kent
Book cover of Steel Princess by Rina Kent

Rina Kent is an international bestselling author who writes intricate romance stories with villainous alpha males. Kent found her love for bad boys at a young age when she fell in love with a villain in a movie, only to have him be killed off as the story unfolded. This made her realize she loved the villains, and she started writing about them. Her Royal Elite series, which includes Steel Princess, her 2019 novel, is a great place to start reading her books.

“You know, people react differently when someone breaks their heart. Some would lick their wounds and run. Others would keep their distance and hide.”

Rina Kent, Steel Princess
Steel Princess: A Dark High School Bully Romance (Royal Elite)
  • Kent, Rina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 324 Pages - 01/10/2022 (Publication Date) - Blackthorn Books, LLC (Publisher)

22. Shantel Tessier

Book cover of Code Of Silence by Shantel Tessier
Book cover of Code Of Silence by Shantel Tessier

Shantel Tessier has 64 books on the market today. This Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author lives in Oklahoma with her family, which is her top priority. Romance novels are her cup of tea when she is writing, and she has many series in her name, including Dare and the Dark Kingdom series. Code of Silence, which she published in 2020, is the first book in The Dark Kingdom series.

“You belong to me now, Haven. And it’s time to go home.”

Shantel Tessier, Code of Silence
Code of Silence: A Mafia Romance (The Dark Kingdom)
  • Tessier, Shantel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 321 Pages - 01/13/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best authors like Rina Kent!

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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