You’re wrong if you think romance is all about steamy love stories and happy endings. Like any other genre, romance can benefit from influences from other genres. And what makes romance better than a bit of a thrill?

I know, it’s a bit of a cliché these days, with all these psychology romance movies you see everywhere, but trust me when I tell you everything changes when it comes to books.

I won't keep this long, so here are the best psychological romance books released in the last few years, including some great fresh titles. I did incorporate the list in reverse chronological order.

What Are The Best Psychological Romance Books?

A Purpled Affair (Colored Romantic Thriller Book 1), by AA Lagrimas Jr (2024)

This is probably one of my favorite releases. Whether or not there will be sequels to it, I think it’s worth being made into a movie. Get ready for a bit of romance here and there, plenty of passion, obsession, a bit of lust and quite a few mysteries from the past. It sounds perfect, right?

The story follows Roxanne, she’s in her 20s and she’s a famous model. She has managed to achieve the successful life she’s always dreamed about, but on the same note, she’s lost most of her passion. She always feels lonely, right on the edge of depression, being by herself in New York.

She does hope to find love, but she doesn’t know where to look for it. Until the day she meets Ethan.

Ethan is a surrealist artist, but he's trapped in a marriage. It's a weird situation because it's not the type of marriage based on love and passion. But Roxanne and Ethan's lives collide, and they develop a passion for each other. Emotions grow as their affair begins, but he's still married.

And when his wife Melissa emerges like a killer shadow over Roxanne’s life, things take an ugly turn.

Something's fishy, and that's when the action begins. The new couple tries to find refuge over a lavender farm, but Melissa is determined to take her man back.

Soon, Roxanne realizes that Melissa is way too involved to leave the two to enjoy their affair. And then, this whole situation turns into a pursuit between life and death.

I won’t give you too many spoilers, but I can guarantee there will be quite a few plot twists in this book, as well as mysteries you’ll never be able to figure out until all the pieces of the big puzzle fall into place.

If you think you know how this book ends, I recommend leaving your cliché ideas behind and enjoy every page of A Purpled Affair.

Beyond the Thistles (The Highlands Series Book 1), by Samantha Young (2023)

I've been a fan of Samantha Young for quite a while now, and her recent release won't disappoint either because it takes psychological romance to another level. Sure, I've included this book on the list, so you may have a few hints about what to expect, but trust me, every plot twist will hit you out of nowhere.

Anyway, the story follows Walker. He's Scottish, but he's left his hometown behind years ago. He decided to travel the world, working as a bodyguard. He obviously feels the urge to return to his homeland, and one day, he decides to make the big step.

Back to his little village in the Scottish Highlands, he realizes things have changed a little. He doesn’t know too many people, but he’s happy to find out that an exclusive members-only club is now operating in the area.

It might be the best job opportunity for him, but things change when single mother Sloane turns up to distract him.

Sloane isn't a local. She came from California to start a new life in Scotland along with her daughter. She has a decent job, her daughter's happy, but she also develops a crush for this newcomer, Walker.

And since she has a passion for baking, she tries her best to entice him with all kinds of treats. I wasn't too impressed at this point; it's a classic love story. But someone arrives in the area, ready to destroy her life. That's when Walker decides to step in and give a hand.

The problem is coming too close to Sloane may awaken his own demons. That’s when psychological romance kicks in. He wants to protect her and her daughter, but he knows she needs to be protected from himself as well.

Dark mysteries from the past arise out of nowhere, causing an internal fight of feelings that no one could resist.

The second part of the book will mix your feelings like no other. You’ll feel clueless and restless. You want them to be together, but you don’t know whether it’s the best thing. Things go in all sorts of different directions, leading to an unexpected ending that I’ll let you discover.

The True Love Experiment, by Christina Lauren (2023)

This is another great psychological romance book that would make an excellent movie. I'll give you a brief plot, and yes, it may feel like a cliché. We've all read similar books, but trust me, the author's imagination is beyond yours. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, long story short, Felicity has a great career as a romance writer and throws one bestseller after another. But then, it hits her. She has such a great imagination and comes up with some amazing books, but she’s never really experienced true love.

Most people would think she’s an expert, but she’s far from it. She has experienced lust and passion before, but she’s clueless about feelings. And suddenly, her whole career feels like a big fat lie.

Connor, on the other side, is a documentary filmmaker. Out of nowhere, his boss asks him to come up with a reality TV show. If he fails, he loses his job. He needs to find a solution, and Felicity seems to be the perfect option.

That’s when the so-called The True Experiment starts because Felicity has an impressive list of demands.

That’s when you feel like being part of the story. I don’t know which side you’ll pick, but you’ll definitely want to be in one position or the other. I won’t tell you more about what the two have to go through, but this is by far one of the most exciting experiments you’ll ever read.

Your Last First Kiss, by Avery Maxwell (2023)

This is one of my favorite psychology romance books. Maybe because I identify with one of the characters. There are a series of twists that I believe we’ve all experimented at some point or another. I almost felt like this book was written about my life, apart from the psychological drama.

Penny is a mess. She's been married in the past, but her marriage failed. She got a few good things out of it, though, such as her three boys. She doesn't want to get involved with anyone else again. Typical, right?

Lust is there, though. But when you have to raise three kids and keep a job, it's hard to have any sexy thoughts when you get back home in the evening. However, she can't help but think about Dillon, a man who keeps bringing her coffee whenever he meets with her boss on Wednesdays.

He’s a guilty pleasure, no doubt. A bit of eye candy once a week, but she’s not ready to date yet. She’s too focused on her boys.

But then, Dillon does something we all hope for. Imagine your crush turning up on your doorstep, demanding to leave the friend zone.

Penny thinks it’s too early to let a man change her views on life. Deep down inside her, she’s ready for a bit of sugar, but her chaotic lifestyle doesn’t allow her.

It's a glorious story filled with steamy adventures, psychological drama, and a bit of action, the type of story I saw myself in straight away. It's a chaotic experiment, but will it actually work? I'll let you discover it.

Liars Like Us (Morally Gray Book 1), by J.T. Geissinger (2023)

I've recommended this book to quite a lot of people not just this one, but the whole series. This is the first book in the series and will give you a few hints about what to expect.

It may be a bit of a cliché, rich good looking man hunting a poor, beautiful girl, nothing special so far. We've all read such books or seen movies before, but this one's just written properly. Although you may expect some scenes, there are a handful of plot twists, too, definitely worth your time.

I'll keep it short. She's young and beautiful but close to bankruptcy. He's a billionaire, but he has some secrets. He's a good-looking man, and he's willing to give her a hand or even change her life.

I'll be honest with you; it was all about sex, in my opinion. But then, there's more. This isn't just steamy romance, but one of those psychology romance books that bring in passion, secrets, mysteries from the past, and an obsession that could destroy both of them.

Like I said, there are a few things that make this story stand out. I know it’s not the type of story, but his determination to make things happen is clearly worth some appreciation.

It's a challenge they both need to resist, and I won't hide the fact they need to make an arrangement to make things work. Everyone has goals in life, but theirs could be affected by what they're willing to do to make them happen.

Something's Wrong With Us 7, by Natsumi Ando (2022)

I’m not a big manga fan, but I like a good story every now and then. And when it’s not based on superheroes and monsters, it gets even better. This is by far the best psychological romance manga I’ve ever been through and features a quite appealing story.

Nao has had her destiny sealed from the first days of her life. Her mother is a sweets maker and runs a successful business. Chances are Nao will follow her and take the business over at some point. She keeps training and sharpening her skills, only to end up in a prestigious confectionary corporation.

At some point, she meets the heir to the company. At this point, I saw it coming. She knew him. One of her first childhood friends, but also her biggest enemy.

Years ago, Tsubaki framed her mother for murder, causing a lot of drama for the family.

And now, you know what it feels like. You leave drama in the past, but when drama gets back to you, you have to sort it out. Although Nao left it all behind, she thinks this is an opportunity to seek revenge.

She was the only witness to the crime, and she knows precisely that her mother wasn't guilty, so she decides to get closer to Tsubaki, hoping he'll never figure the plan out.

Unfortunately for her plan, Tsubaki is a grown and attractive man now. She hates him and wants him down, but she also feels a disturbing lust for his alluring appearance. And the closer she gets to him, the more she wants him.

It’s a mix of feelings that will trigger your imagination. It’s the type of story that makes you ask yourself, what would you do if you were her? I loved how things go from one idea to another very fast, making you believe she’ll go on with her plan, only to realize she might fall in love with him.

It’s like a ping-pong game and trust me when I tell you this is the type of psychological romance manga that will hook you in no time.

Final Thoughts on Psychological Romance Books

I’ll end my list here, as a final conclusion, the last years were pretty good for psychology romance lovers. There are quite a few good titles out there, ready to break the classic cliches we’re all aware of.

And despite some of them feeling like you’re able to guess the ending, these books won’t give you any clues. There are plenty of plot twists to make you question your ideas and expectations, not to mention their unexpected endings. Have fun!

I did also collect psychological thriller reads if you are more into action genre.

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