10 Best Authors Like Penelope Sky Who Show the Dark Side of Love

Discover our list of ten authors like Penelope Sky, who also write compelling narratives in the dark romance genre.

Dark romance novels contrast traditional romance stories by weaving tales of love amidst intense, frequently morally ambiguous circumstances. This genre is characterized by its nuanced characters and intricate plots, often unfolding in intense, gritty settings that raise the emotional stakes.

Penelope Sky has carved a niche for herself in the dark romance genre. Sky is known for her ability to balance the darkness and intensity of her narratives with deep, resonant love stories. Her bestselling books show that she isn’t afraid to delve into relationships’ more complex and often unsettling aspects. Walking in her footsteps, the authors like Penelope Sky listed below echo her desire to pen tales that cross the line into areas of passion that few dare to follow.

Best Authors Like Penelope Sky Ranked

1. Pepper Winters

Book cover of Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters
Book cover of Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Born in Hong Kong, Pepper Winters has made a name for herself in the dark romance genre. Her gripping narratives and intricate plot lines have captivated audiences across the globe, and she has published 30 books in nine languages. Pepper Winters has written books on bestseller lists, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. She also receives the Indie Reader Badge in the romantic novels category of the Top 10 Bestsellers.

Her novel, Tears of Tess, is often cited as one of her best works. It recounts the story of Tess Snow, a woman thrust into a world of dark desires and brutal passions after an unexpected abduction. The way Winters navigates the inner turmoil Tess faces, her struggle with her terrifyingly new reality, and the complicated love story that unfolds make this book stand out in its exploration of the dichotomy between fear and desire.

“Don’t stop living while you endure. And don’t let the pain of your past stop you from being happy in this new life.”

Pepper Winters, Tears of Tess
Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Winters, Pepper (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 397 Pages - 08/30/2013 (Publication Date) - Pepper Winters (Publisher)

2. Skye Warren

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

Skye Warren’s writing often draws from the darker sides of romance, unafraid to tackle subjects not commonly explored in mainstream romance literature, such as the interlude of love, sex, and pain. Known for her raw storytelling and compelling characters, Warren has an impressive portfolio with a plethora of series and standalone novels. Her work has been featured on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists multiple times.

The Pawn, the first installment in her Endgame series, is one of her most riveting books. It tells the story of a young woman named Avery who sells herself to a cold and mysterious man to save her family home. What distinguishes this book from other dark romances is its exploration of power dynamics and the inherent vulnerability of its characters, making it a truly fascinating read for fans of the dark romance genre.

“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 (The Endgame Trilogy Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Warren, Skye (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 12/06/2016 (Publication Date)

3. Meghan March

Book cover of Deal With the Devil by Meghan March
Book cover of Deal With the Devil by Meghan March

Meghan March is an acclaimed author within the realm of dark romance. Although she is a self-published author, she has found fame and fortune with over twenty books. With multiple entries on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists, March’s distinctive storytelling has earned her a significant following.

Deal with the Devil, the first installment of the Forge Trilogy is a testament to her skillful writing. It spins a tale of a powerful anti-hero and a courageous heroine caught up in a dangerous world of deceit and desire. The readers find it particularly intriguing due to the high stakes, the unexpected twists, and the gritty love story that tests the boundaries of moral ambiguity.

“She doesn’t trust me or any other man. Now, I have a new goal. Win her trust and make her want me as badly as I want her.”

Meghan March, Deal with the Devil
Deal with the Devil (Forge Trilogy Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • March, Meghan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 250 Pages - 01/15/2019 (Publication Date) - Meghan March LLC (Publisher)

4. K. Webster

Book cover of Whispers and the Roars by K. Webster
Book cover of Whispers and the Roars by K. Webster

Writing from her home that she shares with her husband, dog, and two children, K. Webster’s storytelling, characterized by the intense emotional depth and a flair for exploring the unconventional, has led her to produce numerous popular series and standalone novels. Webster’s works have been listed in USA Today’s bestselling books, demonstrating her wide-reaching influence in the genre.

One of her most notable works, Whispers and the Roars is a dark romance that pushes the envelope further than most. It’s a complex emotional roller-coaster complex featuring a broken heroine and her intensely protective lover. The unconventional plotline, the unexpected turns, and the exploration of mental health within a dark romance context set this book apart from others, offering a unique, albeit unsettling, reading experience.

“You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love.”

K. Webster, Whispers and the Roars
Whispers and the Roars
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Webster, K (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 286 Pages - 12/06/2016 (Publication Date) - K Webster (Publisher)

5. Anna Zaires

Book cover of Tormentor Mine by K. Webster
Book cover of Tormentor Mine by K. Webster

Anna Zaires is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author. Zaires claims that her love for writing stemmed from her love of reading, which her grandmother instilled in her as a child. After eschewing a career in finance that she acquired with her degree in economics, Zaires decided to pursue a career writing full-time. She now collaborates closely with her author husband, Dima Zales, on all her books.

In her book Tormentor Mine, Zaires reveals a dark and compelling story highlighting her ability to blend gritty realism with passionate romance. The plot revolves around Peter Sokolov, a cold and ruthless assassin on a revenge mission. His life takes a sharp turn when he meets his next target’s wife, Dr. Sara Cobakis. The cat-and-mouse game between the two, filled with fear, fascination, and a forbidden attraction, gives the book its gripping edge. Zaires’s narrative captivates with its depiction of moral ambiguity and the disturbing yet compelling relationship between predator and prey.

“I hold him tight and feel the iciness inside me melting as soft, bright warmth floods my chest.”

Anna Zaires, Tormentor Mine
Tormentor Mine: The Complete Series
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Zaires, Anna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1066 Pages - 04/22/2020 (Publication Date) - Mozaika Publications (Publisher)

6. Pam Godwin

Pam Godwin
Book cover of Dark Notes by K. Webster Pam Godwin

Pam Godwin, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, delivers some of the darkest romance novels. Godwin excels in creating raw and intense stories that push the boundaries of traditional romance. Her repertoire includes standalone novels like Beneath the Burn and Dirty Ties and series like Tangled Lies and Deliver. Godwin’s work, known for its intense emotion and vivid, sometimes violent imagery, often explores survival, redemption, and love themes.

One of her most critically acclaimed books is Dark Notes. In this story, the heroine, Ivory Westbrook, is a high school student from a low-income family who receives a scholarship to a prestigious private school. Her piano teacher, Emeric Marceaux, is a world-renowned composer and conductor with a dark past. Godwin uses this setting to explore the darker side of power dynamics, attraction, and illicit relationships. The intense and passionate relationship between the characters and their shared love for music makes this an unputdownable read.

“Christ, this girl… She’s my music, my place in this life, my part in it all.”

Pam Godwin, Dark Notes
Dark Notes
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Godwin, Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 493 Pages - 04/03/2016 (Publication Date) - Heartbound Media, Inc. (Publisher)

7. Sierra Simone

Book cover of American Queen by Sierra Simone
Book cover of American Queen by Sierra Simone

A former librarian, Sierra Simone is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author renowned for her ability to craft dark, seductive narratives with complex characters. Simone is fond of writing difficult heroes and heroines and imbues her work with eroticism and intellect. Simone’s style blends the taboo with the sacred, often leading to provocative and intense storylines.

American Queen, the first book in her New Camelot Trilogy, stands out in Simone’s oeuvre. The plot unfolds around Greer Galloway, the granddaughter of a former Vice President, and her relationships with two men: Ash Colchester, the President of the United States, and Embry Moore, his Vice President and best friend. This is no ordinary love triangle, and the political intrigue coupled with the unconventional relationship dynamics keeps readers engrossed. Simone expertly navigates power, desire, and betrayal themes, making American Queen a compelling read.

“I want to feel like my veins are being sliced open by the sheer desire of someone powerful, I want to be handled and cherished and used and worshipped.”

Sierra Simone, American Queen
American Queen (New Camelot Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Simone, Sierra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 393 Pages - 10/24/2016 (Publication Date)

8. Jodi Ellen Malpas

Book cover of The Controversial Princess by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Book cover of The Controversial Princess by Jodi Ellen Malpas

British author Jodi Ellen Malpas has made a name for herself in contemporary and dark romance with several bestsellers, including the This Man series and The Protector. She gained international fame after self-publishing her This Man series, which Grand Central Publishing later picked up. Malpas’s storytelling often explores intense love stories, power dynamics, and the lengths to which characters will go for love. Unlike other authors, Malpas writes for herself, not what she thinks others might like to read.

One of her standout novels, The Controversial Princess, centers around Princess Adeline Lockhart, who lives a life of duty and protocol. When she crosses paths with Joshua Jameson, an award-winning Hollywood actor, their electrifying attraction becomes impossible to deny. Balancing royal obligations with forbidden romance, the story is a thrilling mix of desire, power, and royal protocols. Malpas’s masterful character development and the unconventional romance between a British princess and an American actor offer an intriguing divergence from the usual romance tropes.

“I stare at myself in the large, elaborate mirror while my long, dark hair is tugged and teased into place at the nape of my neck by my personal stylist, Jenny.”

Jodi Ellen Malpas, The Controversial Princess
The Controversial Princess (The Smoke & Mirrors Duology Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Malpas, Jodi Ellen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 427 Pages - 05/22/2018 (Publication Date) - Jodi Ellen Malpas (Publisher)

9. CD Reiss

Book cover of Submission by CD Reiss
Book cover of Submission by CD Reiss

CD Reiss is an Amazon bestselling writer and a New York Times author. With a Master’s degree in screenwriting from USC, Reiss can craft deeply dimensional characters who resonate with her readers. Her storytelling often features flawed, relatable characters who find love in unexpected places. With a reputation for writing intense love stories that often venture into darker territories, Reiss’s books are characterized by their psychological depth and emotional resonance.

In Submission, the first book in the Songs of Submission series, Reiss introduces readers to Monica Faulkner, a struggling singer, and Jonathan Drazen, a wealthy real estate magnate. Their initial physical attraction quickly spirals into a tumultuous love affair, testing Monica’s independence and Jonathan’s control. The book stands out because it explores the BDSM lifestyle within a profound emotional context. Reiss’s ability to weave music, submission, and romance into a compelling narrative makes this book a unique contribution to dark romance literature.

“He touched it, then spread his fingers over my stomach. His pinkie grazed the top of my waistband, and I took in a deep gasp.”

CD Reiss, Submission
Complete Submission: A Billionaire Romance
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Reiss, CD (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1484 Pages - 06/19/2018 (Publication Date) - Flip City Media Inc. (Publisher)

10. Willow Winters

Book cover of A Kiss to Tell by Willow Winters
Book cover of A Kiss to Tell by Willow Winters

Willow Winters is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author renowned for gripping dark romance novels. Winters’ stories often explore themes of love and pain, power dynamics, and redemption. She began writing after her first daughter was born, after becoming a voracious reader of romance novels during her pregnancy. Unable to quell the tide of stories running through her head, Winters put pen to paper, and her readers are happy that she did.

One of Winters’ popular books, A Kiss to Tell, weaves a dark, compelling narrative around childhood friends Sebastian and Chloe. As they grow up, their friendship evolves into a love that must confront the harsh realities of crime and violence in their town. Winters craft a suspenseful and heartbreaking tale, blending crime, romance, and psychological depth elements. Her careful character development and the exploration of deep-seated emotions set against a backdrop of danger make this book a captivating read in the dark romance genre.

“I didn’t need anyone to tell me; I knew he was forbidden with a single glance.”

Willow Winters, A Kiss to Tell
A Kiss to Tell
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Winters, W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 302 Pages - 08/12/2018 (Publication Date)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of authors like Sarah J Mass!

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  • Kate has been writing since she was 10 years old, tapping away on an old typewriter in her childhood bedroom. Today, Kate is a seasoned freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing for print and online media. She’s an avid reader and believes in the power of words to transport readers to new worlds, and inspire and nurture creativity. Kate is also a published author and is currently working on her next project.