If you think about it, “paranormal” and “romance” really go hand in hand: both involve concepts beyond the realm of pure scientific explanation. So it makes sense that “paranormal romance, a speculative genre that explores affairs of the heart, has shot an arrow straight through readers’ hearts and seen a major boom in popularity lately.
Including vampires, ghosts, demons, shapeshifters, werewolves, fairies, and many more fantastic supernatural creatures and worlds, this list delivers over 40 of the best paranormal books out there. As a heads up: the majority of paranormal romance novels contain sex scenes, so be prepared for some steaminess if you decide to check out any of the following books.
Ready to sink your teeth in?
30+ best paranormal romance books
Start here for the all-time best, or skip straight to the “10 new paranormal romance books” section if you only want the fresh blood.
1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Diana Bishop is like many young people: she takes her heritage for granted. Unlike many other young people, she is descended from a long line of witches, and she wants nothing to do with witchcraft. So when she comes across a bewitched alchemical manuscripts in a library on Oxford campus, she quickly discards it. But not before she accidentally reads something that stirs a long-dormant underworld full of supernatural creatures. If Diana is going to restore the world back to the way it was, she’s going to need to start brushing up on her magic — and fast.
For readers who: are looking for a Harlequin romance meets Twilight.
2. A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
Leader of the Lykae clan, Lachlain MacRieve, spent years being tortured by vampires. So when he finds out that Emmaline, his fated mate for thousands of years, is half valkyrie/half vampire, he’s none too thrilled. But you know what they say: opposites attract. Yet just as the two start to form an intense bond, an ancient evil from Emmaline’s past comes to light. Can their love withstand the fight to bring this dark being down?
For readers who: like a story with so many different supernatural beings that it’s basically the Monster Mash.
3. A Queer Trade by K.J. Charles
When Crispin Tredarloe returns to London and discovers his master has been murdered and all of the master’s papers have been stolen, he knows that if he’ll come to ruin if he doesn’t find them soon. To avoid this untimely fate, Crispin enlists the help of charming waste paper dealer Ned Hall, and the two waste no time in addressing the chemistry between them.
For readers who: are looking for shorter paranormal romance — this novella sits at 16,000 words.
4. Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh
If you thought fire and brimstone was for demons and not angels, think again. Because archangel Raphael needs vampire hunter Elena’s help in tracking down an angel-gone-rogue — and their partnership is about to unleash a flame within her. As she strives to resist temptation, she turns her fiery passion towards the quest, which means only one thing: enemies beware.
For readers who: wish Dan Brown would join the paranormal romance game.
5. Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
In Prohibition-era San Francisco, Aida Palmer is the star medium of a show at a speakeasy in Chinatown. Bootlegger Winter Magnusson, on the other hand, does his best to steer clear of ghosts — which is why it’s all the more unfortunate when he is hexed with a curse that basically makes him a ghost magnet. Who’s he gonna call? Well, Aida, of course....
For readers who: have always wanted to see supernatural creatures doing the Charleston.
6. Conversion by S.C. Stephens
People can be many things at once, and this definitely applies to Teren: he’s a little bit human, and also a little bit vampire. He enjoys walking dogs, but also drinking blood. Of course, this doesn’t bother Emma. She loves him for who he is, not for his classification as either “living” or “dead.” That is, until their relationship deepens and Emma starts to realize that being half human and half vampire can have serious consequences. If she wants their relationship to work, it might take some very significant sacrifices on her part.
For readers who: are looking for some lighter paranormal romance to offset some of the darker stories.
7. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
“Werewolves aren’t real,” you might be thinking to yourself. That is, until you’re minding your own business walking down the street and are violently attacked by a pack of werewolves who change you into one yourself. And if anyone can relate, it’s Anna, who finds herself in this exact situation. Not only is she abruptly changed, but she becomes an Omega: the rarest type of werewolf. Now, one of the most powerful werewolves in the country has his eye on Anna — both as a packmate and his mate.
For readers who: just can’t get enough of the Greek alphabet.
8. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Mac is on a quest to Ireland to find out the truth behind her sister’s death. While she knew finding answers wouldn’t be easy, she has no idea she’ll be wandering into a supernatural and dangerous realm inhabited by fairies called the Fae. As the boundaries between the real world and the Fae world begin to shatter, Mac realizes there’s much more at stake than revenge. And as if that isn’t enough, Jericho and seductive Vlane are shadowing her every move — and both are annoyingly hunky and seductive.
For readers who: are intrigued by Celtic mythology.
9. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
The first series in the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series introduces us to Wrath: the last purebred vampire still living, with a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But this quest becomes derailed when a close friend dies and it is left to Wrath to find his half-breed daughter who has no idea about her heritage.
For readers who: like detailed worldbuilding in paranormal romance books.
10. Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
When Iona Sheehan moves to Ireland and lands a job at a local stable, she thinks she’s found a pretty sweet spot in life. After all, she’s working with dreamboat Irishman Boyle McGrath. What more could a girl want? Of course, what goes up must come down — and in this case, down is represented by an ancient evil that has begun to poison Iona’s family tree.
For readers who: crave the mystical Irish setting that Nora Roberts’ books have come to be known for.
11. Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
It’s a pretty big deal when ancient prophecies are fulfilled. In the first installment of the Black Jewels trilogy, the Dark Kingdom is waiting with bated breath for exactly that: a Witch Queen is about to be born, and she is predicted to become even more powerful than the High Lord of Hell himself. (In other words, hella powerful). But youth and power can be a dangerous mix, as the kingdom soon discovers to its detriment.
Now, three sworn enemies are battling it out to be the one who controls the Witch Queen — and therefore the world itself.
For readers who: like heated literary debates! This is a paranormal romance book that has split readers down the middle: some love it and some really do not.
12. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
“We like to party,” sang the Venga Boys in 1999. It’s a sentiment shared by the creatures of the night, who gather in the Hollows of Cincinnati to prowl, feed, and party. In a dangerous world where the supernatural dominate the ordinary, no creature is safe. Dead Witch Walking follows bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan, whose job it is to try and keep a lid on the chaos.
For readers who: like paranormal romance with a cast that includes diverse range of supernatural creatures.
13. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Pia Giovanni and Bilbo Baggins have something in common: they’ve both stolen from a dragon. However, while Bilbo escapes Smaug’s wrath, Pia ends up captured. And while Pia won’t accept her fate as Dragos the dragon’s captive, she can’t deny that he has ignited a deep longing and passion within her.
For readers who: wish they were the Queen of Dragons.
14. Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Miranda Ellis has what many people desire: exceptionally powerful abilities. However, controlling them is a different matter altogether, and she’s tormented by guilt when she causes an accident that impoverishes her family one day. To try and restore her family’s fortune, Miranda marries wicked nobleman, Lord Benjamin Archer. But behind both the literal and figurative mask, he wears hides a secret only Miranda can find out.
For readers who: are a fan of the Gothic London scene.
15. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake has an average life in St. Louis. She makes a living re-animating the departed-too-soon and killing the undead who get a little too out of control. One such force of chaos, for instance, is master vampire Jean-Claude. Anita has been tasked with bringing him down when a series of vicious slayings begin occurring all over the city. But getting rid of someone is a lot easier when you’re not head-over-heels attracted to them...
For readers who: want a series that starts out fairly tame but then develops into erotica along the way.
16. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Despite the fact that she’s half-vampire, Cat has an extreme dislike of the undead, in part because her father was a vampire who ruined her mother’s life. Because of this, she has devoted her life to hunting the bloodthirsty creates down.
But Cat’s unrelenting view of vampires changes when she’s captured by Bones — a vampire hunting other vampires for bounty, and who wants Cat to be an assistant of sorts in exchange for helping her find her father. Just as Bones starts making Cat question whether all vampires are really that bad, the two find out they are also being hunted, which means that Cat will have to choose between the dead and the living.
For readers who: wish Buffy the Vampire Slayer was still running.
17. Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
When human Gabrielle Maxwell witnesses a vampiric murder outside a nightclub, Breed warrior (a vampire who must protect both his kind and humans) Lucan Thorne has no choice but to introduce Gabrielle to the dark underworld he lives in. It’s a world full of danger — danger that has started to reach a boiling point — and Lucan needs to be single-minded about ensuring the safety of those he has sworn to defend. But, as Lucan and Gabrielle soon find out, love has a way of upending even the best-laid plans.
For readers who: love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
18. Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Honoria Todd is doing her best to hide from the Blue Blood aristocracy currently ruling London with an iron fist. In the midst of all the corruption, the generally-avoided Whitechapel district is perhaps the only safe place left for Honoria.
Yet seeking refuge in Whitechapel leads Honoria straight to Blade, a cockney vampire with a killer reputation (literally). Blade and Honoria might just be each others’ ticket to salvation — or to peril.
For readers who: think steampunk and paranormal romance are best when they go hand-in-hand.
19. Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
When Rain Tairen — King of the Fey world — lost the woman he loved, he was driven so mad with grief that he destroyed the Fae world and retreated into the Fading Lands. But now, a thousand years later, the world he had left behind so long ago is under threat, and Rain cannot let dark powers take it over. Will he be able to bring life back to the Fae kingdom — and his heart?
For readers who: like morally diverse characters locked in medieval battles.
20. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Kate has lifelong experience putting out magical “fires,” so to speak: she’s a scrappy mercenary who cleans up society’s paranormal problems. This life of chaotic routine is thrown off-balance when her guardian is murdered, bringing Kate to the center stage of a long-time power struggle between two magic factions. And though each side has a secretive reason when they urge her to find the killer, Kate is willing to play both sides to get what she wants.
For readers who: are a fan of urban fantasy — this novel takes place in lively Atlanta.
21. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
When shapeshifter Mercy Thompson was exiled by the werewolves who raised her for having a forbidden love affair, she decided to start over by opening a mechanic shop in Washington State. When a struggling teenager — who also happens to be a brand-new werewolf — shows up at her shop, Mercy knows she has to help him. But this will require her to reach out to the family that abandoned her, and to face the past she’s been running from.
For readers who: enjoy supernatural stories set in Pacific Northwest.
22. Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
A tragic accident has left Leila with the power to control electricity and read people’s minds. Her powers are too strong, though, and have led her to live in chosen confinement. But when she is kidnapped by creatures who mean her harm, Leila must send a telepathic 911 call to the world’s most feared vampire — one Vlad Tepesh, who also happens to be the reluctant inspiration behind Dracula.
For readers who: get a secret thrill from the words, “I vant to suck your blood!”
23. Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan
Stefano Ferraro is the definition of a playboy. But he’s also the leader of the Ferraro family business (both legitimate and illegitimate). There’s one more wrench to throw into this equation: the Ferraros are shadow riders, which means they’re capable of controlling light and dark. Stefano has always believed this was an ability unique to his family, but Francesca Cappello, the newcomer in Chicago, is about to put that theory to the test.
For readers who: think The Godfather could’ve used a splash of paranormal romance.
24. Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
The first installment of the Psy-Changeling series introduces readers to the world of the Psy, where emotion and passion are absolutely forbidden. Show signs of either, and you are put through a horrific process of “rehabilitation.”
And so the series begins with Lucas Hunter, a changeling who is hunting the Psy who attacked his packmate. The only way for him to infiltrate the Psy world is through Sacha, a Psy struggling to fight her own desires.
For readers who: think that paranormal romance meets The Matrix sounds like their jam.
25. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
While Merit previously spent her days pouring over textbooks to write her thesis, she now spends her time learning how to be a vampire, and trying to fit in with her new undead peers at Hyde Park mansion. It’s while she’s being initiated into the sexy world of Chicago’s vampire nightlife that she starts to realize that someone might be out to get her… and to take her from undead to just plain dead.
For readers who: want a vampire series they can sink their teeth into (pun absolutely intended).
26. Soulless by Gail Carriger
Here’s a few things to know about Alexia Tarabotti: 1) she has no soul, 2) she’s a lifelong spinster, and 3) she’s just been attacked by a vampire, who she ended up killing in self-defense. In response, Queen Victoria sends the gorgeous but unpredictable werewolf Lord Maccon to investigate. Now, vampires everywhere are disappearing from London’s high society, and Alexia is getting all the blame. Will she be able to clear her name?
For readers who: take their vampire romance books with a side of treacle tart.
27. The Black Lily by Juliette Cross
Arabelle is the leader of the underground resistance against the vampire monarchy — a monarchy that’s growing strong with each passing day. But Arabelle’s not worried, because she’s got a plan: attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and assassinate him. But when she accidentally kisses the Prince instead of murdering him, she flees the scene in a hurry. Instead of a glass slipper, she accidentally leaves her dagger behind.
Prince Marius is a pretty understanding vampire. Despite the fact the mysterious assassin tried to take his life, it’s that intense kiss he can’t get out of his mind… and it might just be the bigger driving force behind his desire to find the dagger-wielder.
For readers who: always thought Cinderella could really be kicked up a notch with a subplot involving attempted murder.
28. The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
Iris is a daytime concierge at the Half-Moon Hollow — which basically means she runs daytime errands for vampires. But she has a strict rule about her job: she doesn’t let it infiltrate her normal life whatsoever. This all changes when she finds her latest client Cal poisoned and offers to let him hide out at her place for a while. She can still keep up her boundaries, Iris tells herself. She is, of course, very wrong.
For readers who: enjoy a good dose of humor injected into their paranormal romance reads.
29. The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
“Forbidden fruit is always the sweetest,” or so the saying goes. And Ashlyn and Maddox can both confirm this. Ashlyn has just arrived in Budapest to meet with the Lords of the Underworld: a group of supernatural men who claim they can help her put an end to the voices that torment her. Maddox is the strongest and most dangerous member of this group, and he should absolutely not be getting involved with anyone — let alone someone who’s come to the the Lords for help. But can they resist the passion beginning to burn between them — and if so, for how long?
For readers who: like alternative mythology.
30. This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs
The Fury family is legendary for its powerful magic. This notoriety makes the family’s secret all the more difficult — and important — to keep: their daughter Persephone has magic so dynamic that it often erupts from her without warning.
On the night of Persephone’s debut in society, she is abducted by a man who wants her to learn to embrace the darkness within her. Can Persephone ever take her destiny into her own hands — and independently decide whether her powers are a curse or gift?
For readers who: have ever felt like the black sheep in their family.
31. Unexpected Eden by Rhenna Morgan
Lexi Merrill is a pragmatic bartender who gets by on her logical and critical nature. Thus, when Eryx Shantos comes into the bar one day and seems too good to be true, Lexi believes he must be, and vows not to give him a second look.
What Lexi doesn’t know is that Eryx is the king of a supernatural race called the Myren, and it’s his job to make sure his race is not discovered by humans. But this task has never been more complicated, because Eryx’s enemy has just put a target on Lexi, and he feels that the only place she’ll be safe is in his own land… which just happens to be Eden.
For readers who: enjoy alternate world fantasy.
10 new paranormal romance books
For readers who feel like they’re already read all the genre has to offer, don’t worry. The last ten books in this list have all been published in the last 12 months.
32. Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
In the outskirts of Aspen Creek lie a couple of werewolves emotionally broken from a devastating past. Prone to dangerous outbursts, they live in exile: close enough to the pack to stay safe but far enough to ensure that they don’t put the safety of the pack at risk.
One day while on patrol, werewolves Charles and Anne interrupt the abduction of one of the exiled wolves. Unfortunately, they arrive too late to prevent violence. And so begins their quest to track down the attackers and put an end to the legacy of dark witch magic that has brought the pack pain and devastation for far too long.
33. Covert Game by Christine Feehan
You know what Cyndi Lauper says: Love is a battlefield. And GhostWalker Gino Mazza, a professional killer driven by demons and basically devoid of a soul, can confirm.
When fellow GhostWalker Zara is taken captive while on a mission to take down a crime lord, Gino can’t be sure whether she needs saving, or whether this is all an elaborate trap — in which case he needs to kill her.
Two things are certain: one way or another, Gino needs to find Zara, and he also needs to not get distracted by the feelings of desire that have started bubbling under his cold, harsh demeanor.
34. Dragon Claimed by Donna Grant
This is another novella from bestselling author Donna Grant’s Dark King series. It follows Cináed the Dragon King who governs in secret in the mountains of Scotland while his brethren protect the planet from supernatural threats. It also follows Gemma, the lonesome druid. She’s perfectly content with her life of isolation until she meets Cináed, who needs Gemma’s help to fight the most dangerous foe he’s faced yet.
35. Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven by Bella Forrest
Some people, like Harley Merlin, are just intuitive. Because of Harley’s powers to sense other people’s emotions, she works at a casino scoping out cheaters. How did she come to have these powers? She has no idea, because her ancestry is a mystery to her.
However, this mystery starts to unravel a little when Harley meets a young warlock called Wade Crowley, who introduces her to a world of magical beasts and covens. Wade might be arrogant and annoying, but right now he is Harley’s best chance of discovering where she comes from. Of course, when you go searching for buried secrets, you often find more than you bargained for.
36. Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Bowen Knight is not your regular security specialist: he’s got powers of telepathy and telekinesis. Plus he’s just come back from the dead. But this dead man walking knows more than anyone how fleeting “life” can be: his consciousness relies on a chip implanted in his head — and it could fail at any moment.
Then there’s Kaia Luna, a changeling who can shift into the form of a dolphin, and she’s just been captured by a group who wish to see her breathe her last breath. Now, Bowen must journey to the bottom of the ocean to save her — and he’s willing to do whatever it takes. Even if it means sacrificing his mind (and life).
37. Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts
The destiny of the world rests on the shoulders of preteen Fallon Swift. No biggie, right?
Fallon not only has special gifts, she is “The One” — you know, The One who everything depends on. But her identity as The One draws out violent gangs intent on keeping the corrupt status quo, putting Fallon’s life at risk. To avoid this untimely fate, Fallon now lives in the forest where old Mallick is training her in the ways of healing and sparring. Most importantly, she is learning about her heritage of faeries, elves, and shifters in order to prepare for the biggest fight of her life.
38. Prisoner of Night by J.R. Ward
J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with a flare for writing stories about supernatural love — and revenge.
Ahmare is a young woman whose brother has just been abducted, while Duran is a man who has been wasting away in a dungeon for decades as the result of betrayal. The fate of Ahmare’s brother and Duran’s quest for freedom become intertwined as the two lovers-to-be journey into a magical world where danger lurks around every corner.
39. The Thief by J.R. Ward
Sola and Assail are in love, but they can’t be together. Vampire Sola is laying low while on the run from a drug lord, and Assail is an arms dealer to the Black Dagger Brotherhood: not exactly a simpatico situation.
But when Assails falls into a coma, his family ask Sola to come back in the hopes her return will bring Assail back to life. While Sola desperately wants a future with Assail, she also fears what will happen if she revisits her past.
40. The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight
Callie Sinclair can talk to the dead. Which is lucky for Mrs. Turner, who has hired Callie to investigate the strange, supernatural occurrences at her estate, Hillwood Farm. Her grandson, Luke Turner, lives at the house and thinks Callie is a scam artist — until a violently vengeful spirit makes itself undeniably known. In the midst of this supernatural danger, Callie and Luke find themselves unable to resist their feelings for one another, and start fighting the ghostly threat instead of their attraction.
41. Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness
Becoming a vampire isn’t as easy as 1, 2, 3 (or A, B, C), as Marcus MacNeil discovered in the mid-18th century. In fact, it was downright dark and very dangerous. Still, Marcus’s desire to escape the constraints of his puritanical upbringing kept him strong in his transformation to immortality.
Almost 200 years later, Marcus has fallen for Phoebe, a young woman working at a Paris Sotheby’s, and she’s set on changing into a vampire herself. While Marcus is under the initial impression that the transformation process has been modernized, the two quickly realize that is not true — and ghosts that Marcus believed to be long-buried may be returning with a vengeance. Time’s Convert is a story of passionate love, the power of tradition, and the risks of revolution.