In real life, being attracted to bad boys is usually a bad idea. The players end up cheating, the ex-cons end up back in jail, and the musicians end up with a drug problem. In fiction, however, the naughtiest heroes are often the most appealing. I mean, who cares if he’s a sociopath with a rap sheet as long as he’s good in bed, right? Happily, the best New Adult books in March feature swoon-worthy heroes with varying levels of badass-ness; flawed heroines who fall for them despite their better judgment; and the deliciously forbidden romance that ensues.
On Every Street by Karina Halle features a genuine anti-hero named Javier Bernal, the right hand man of a dangerous drug lord. Ellie Watt, a.k.a. Eden White, is a young con-artist who wants revenge against Javier’s boss, who hurt her when she was young. Eden tries to get close to the drug lord through Javier, but Javier can see through her ruse and decides to claim her as his own. This sexy new adult novella is set six years before the very adult, and very gritty novel, Sins and Needles, during which Ellie falls for another man while trying to elude her angry ex-boyfriend Javier.
There are few romances more forbidden than the one that develops between step-siblings. It’s almost—but isn’t quite—incestuous (especially when the lovers meet as young adults), yet the relationship often faces opposition from family, friends, and even society. Blaire fell for her sexy step-brother Rush in Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines, but he betrayed her. In the equally sexy sequel Never Too Far, she’s pregnant and heartbroken. Blaire and Rush can’t keep their hands off of each other, but they can’t move past their issues, either, most of which stem from family drama. The story ends with a cliffhanger that left some readers dissatisfied, but a third book is planned in the Too Far series.
For readers who are offended by romances involving criminals and pseudo-incest, there are some milder forbidden romances climbing the new adult bestseller charts. For example, Cameron Hamilton, the sexy hero of Wait for You by J. Lynn (a pseudonym for YA author Jennifer Armentrout), is a ladies’ man, but he’s also a sweetheart who bakes cookies to show his love. The romance feels forbidden, however, because Avery, the heroine, experienced a life-altering tragedy when she was fourteen that made her distance herself from people. She’s afraid that if she falls for Cameron, he will shatter all of her defenses, but he’s willing to wait for her and pursue her until she’s able to come to terms with her past trauma and receive the love she deserves.
Like Avery in Wait for You, Scarlett Goodwin, the heroine of After Math by Denise Grover Swank, is shy and socially awkward and has a shameful past she’d rather not revisit. Math major Scarlett agrees, against her better judgment, to tutor Tucker Price, one of the college’s soccer stars, after she gets an offer from the academic dean that she can’t refuse. Despite Tucker’s reputation as a womanizer, Scarlett finds herself drawn to him, but she’s afraid he will hurt her if she falls for him. Tucker’s shallow persona hides his secret past and hidden depths, however, and both Tucker and Scarlett connect over their shared pain.
Alexandra Riley, the heroine of Plastic Hearts by Lisa DeJong, isn’t so much running from her past as she is stuck in it. Even though she’s attending college, she still lets her wealthy parents control her life and tell her who she should date and what classes she should take. She’s studying pre-med, but her real passion is painting, and she meets sexy Dane Wright in an art class. He’s from a poor family, and he’s definitely not parent-approved, but their connection is instantaneous. The only way their forbidden love can endure, however, is if Alex finally rebels against her parents and her past and chooses her own future.
Like Alex in Plastic Hearts, Camryn Bennett, the twenty-year-old heroine of The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski, hates her monotonous life and is feeling rebellious. She boards a Greyhound Bus headed for destinations unknown and ends up meeting Andrew Parrish, a free spirit and wild child who’s traveling towards home to be with his dying father. Andrew and Camryn go on an intense journey together, and he teaches her to let go of her inhibitions—both in and out of the bedroom. Unfortunately, Andrew’s got a secret that could threaten the lovers’ future happiness.
What bad boys and forbidden love stories have you thrilled to lately?
Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.