Yep… cheating/infidelity/affair books. Heroes & Heroines alike… Whatever you call this genre, it’s time to list ’em. I haven’t made a “What to Read After… ” list in awhile ’cause I reserve those for books that drove us crazy, and that we can’t stop talking about, months and maybe even years after we first read ’em. Since Arsen is still affecting readers, and books “like it” are always being compared to it (and everyone is on a quest for more like it)… well. It’s time. Even… ever since Thoughtless. Kellan wasn’t the only awesome part of that book. It was the indecision, the gaul, the hurt, and the angst that also had us hooked.
But yep… *sigh* I know this one’s gonna raise some eyebrows. But it’s time for some controversial-book subject matter. ‘Cause this one has been asked for quite a few times as of late (and I’ve seen lengthy author-reader discussions and reader recommendations on Facebook requesting these very books).
Danielle: Hi Maryse! I was wondering if you have any suggestions, or topic discussions somewhere in your website, for cheating hero romance novels that eventually have a HEA (stand alone or series). I am really hoping to discover more books like this!
Ela: Maryse! Thinking of lists *twirling* how about a cheating list? Books like Arsen? I lurved that book and CAN’T find anything close. One series came very close The Cityscape Series by Jessica Hawkins!
Maryse: Ahhhh my dear friend Ela… Yes… the cheating list has been requested a few times… in fact, lately, so… Monday? That one.
Rebecka: Thoughtless!!! Cheating is never right but I’d be lying if I didn’t have fun living vicariously through Kiera. Affairs are fun in fiction. And all those stolen moments drinking coffee in the kitchen … Gahhhh!!
Diane: Yes Ela! I swear I’m happily married but I LOVE cheating books (I think I once mentioned something about having a terrible book moral compass).
bev: Oh, the cheating ones are so very hard for me, lol. Easier time if the guy does the cheat…
Anne: I am a little scared of Arsen. I don’t usually like books that involve cheating and I’ve read some mixed reviews. But all of you seem to love it so I don’t know…
Cindy: I have stayed away from Arsen too, I don’t typically enjoy cheating storylines …that’s just me…
Jean: Anne I don’t usually like cheating in books either, but Arsen is just so different and so good! …I know it will give me pains in my stomach and the only other books that really did that were the Thoughtless series…..
Lisa: Mmmmm. I wasnt a Kiera hater in Thougtless either but I loathed the cheating in Overruled. Double standards maybe.
And I just finished Beat and was totally onboard with the cheating in that!!!!!
Amy: Lisa I am AWFUL about having double standards when it comes to cheating in books…I have so much fun with love triangles when it is between the h and two guys, but if the H cheats then I end up *hating* him and holding a grudge. Never fails.
bev: Amy I’m the exact opposite. The cheating trope is one I rarely read, but I do better when it is the man. Maybe because we are usually in the woman’s head and I can’t stand making that choice? I don’t know. Also I need the man to really make up for it.
Lisa: Totally agree Amy and Fabi. If the character being cheated on is a bit sketchy I can usually justify it in my heart….but when I really relate to the h and she is being cheated on……no way, not happening. I have abandoned books too when Ive got that yuk stomache churning feeling or the ‘woman-scorned fury’ feeling.
Marta: sigh I am hopeless when it comes to cheating my heart never fully recovers from it LOL
Rhonda: I never like my hero to mess around with other women. Cheating or love triangles are not my bag. Just personal preference.
Yunet: I hate cheating, I can’t. That’s my unforgivable thing.
Cheryl: I think “only in books” because it’s obviously not real and there are no repercussions or ripple effect of cheating. It’s made to seem romantic or justified.
Zizz: Does your heart beat so fast every time there’s a scene in there that alludes to the guy cheating?! Mine does – this one, The Opportunist, Clash – just to name a few….
Oumaima: I really need this list, thank you!
Blanca: Apparently this is my favorite genre as I’ve read 90% of the books on this list…
And considering the recent slew of great reads toying, or full-on immersing us in these storylines, I know it’s time.
I also know there are many that are ADAMANT about never reading a book that involves this kind of turmoil, and yet there are so many of us that read it with gusto! Not BECAUSE we like that, or want it, but because there’s a lot of “real life” in books that explore this kind of angst. So many love reading these (or accept it “going there”), because of the angst it brings and the work that is involved in the couple making it… (whichever couple that may be, of course…)
So here it is.
Reader recommended love stories and romance books that involve infidelity:
Arsen. A broken love story by Mia Asher <— Right off the bat, this is one of the first for me, that comes to mind. Tumultuous, angsty and DROVE US CRAZY!!!!! But what made it even better was the unpredictable ending and we knew it could go either way. OR NO way. Ah. Perfect for this category. In fact, I’m almost tempted to call this the “What to Read After Arsen” List… <— UPDATE? I just did. 😀 (my review)
Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens <— But of course!! This is the first one that introduced me to this kind of CRAZY-romance-angst love story and had me chomping at the bit, and wanting to throw my e-reader across the room, the entire way through. This book is truly the EPITOME of this kind of love-angst. Shell agrees! “Whenever I decide to read a love triangle I have to really pluck courage and talk myself to go for it as I have a real issue with cheating. These books have literally consumed me and taken over my life and every thought, the angst in the books gave me a headache, I am reading the last one now but my heart was in my mouth the entire time and I still have ‘Reckless’ to finish. The best books ever.” (my review)
Collide: Book One in the Collide Series by Gail McHugh <— Yep. YEP!!!!!!! THIS WAS… OMG!!!!! CRAZY intense, and crazy painful, and just a plain ol’ crazy-awesome read. And Grey agrees: “It was so good and angsty. Also, though you didn’t like Keira, you’ll like Emily a lot more. She’s far more mature.” (my review)
Love Me With Lies Series by Tarryn Fisher <— This WHOLE series was about “the heart wants what the heart wants” and there was a ton of “rip your heart out” angst with this trilogy. It doesn’t stop until the end, and you will be crying, and screaming, and sighing the whole way through. I dare you not to love it! (my review of book #1)
True Love Story by Willow Aster <— Danielle recommends this one (and I wholeheartedly agree!!) This was another 5-star favorite for me. She says: “I just finished True Love Story by Willow Aster and I absolutely loved it…so much that I’m emailing you looking for more 🙂” (my review)
The Ground Rules by Roya Carmen <— Cheating with permission… but it fits ’cause it’s tumultuous. While they are allowed to “play” they aren’t allowed to let feelings get involved. But they do… oh boy do they ever. (my review)
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover <— Yep. It happens here, too… 😉 and Lauren loved it too! “So different, but everything I love when reading a book. There’s an almost forbidden love aspect in it, that really pulls you in all directions. 5 stars for me” (my review)
This Man Trilogy by Jodi Ellen Malpas <— Danielle also recommends these: “Other books that come to mind are along the lines of cheating include Jodi Ellen Malpas – This Man series…”
One Night: Promised (The One Night Trilogy Book 1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas <— And this one! “…as well as One Night series. The angst!!!”
Jake Undone by Penelope Ward <— Another Danielle recommendation: “Also along similar lines is the Jake Undone series by Penelope Ward.
53 Letters For My Lover by Leylah Attar <— OH YES!!! Absolutely one of my favs and Diane recommends it too: “I highly recommend Leyla Attar’s first book 53 Letters for my lover…” and Jean agrees: “I hate cheating! But 53 Letters is different….. I accepted it from the beginning for some reason.” (my review)
The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by Jojo Moyes <— Diane also recommends this one: “…and I’ve also mentioned Last letter from your lover by Jojo Moyes (an ALL time fave) both great cheating books BUT both books where you understand why she cheats, in Arsen she had a good guy at home…”
The Cityscape Series Complete Trilogy by Jessica Hawkins<— This was Ela’s recommendations and OMG YES!!!! I AGREE!!! SO angsty and heart-achey. “Maryse! Thinking of lists *twirling* how about a cheating list? Books like Arsen? I lurved that book and CAN’T find anything close. One series came very close The Cityscape Series by Jessica Hawkins!” and Liv agrees: “Wonderful series. I bulldozed through them and went back and read the hot scenes. I loved what you said Maryse and there really being no bad guy in this series. Just an unexpected or planned love connection too strong to be denied.” (my review)
Pure Abandon by Jeannine Colette <— Cheryl says: “Arsen is so angsty good. If you like it, you’ll probably also like Pure Abandon that was just released… LOVED it!!! Well-written, angsty, love-triangle. It reminded me of Arsen, maybe not in the level of angst, but a h who is married, thought she knew what she wanted in order to be happy, but she ends up questioning her life, her husband, her choices. I knew all along who I thought she should end up with, but I still felt maybe she should choose the other MC. *my heart hurt for him* That said, I think it ended how it should. That epilogue *sigh* …heart palpitations wondering who she would choose…and that ending *tear running down my face*” and Neika agrees: “read Pure Abandon by Jeannine Colette yesterday had an Arsen feel…the whole neglected wife and super attractive boss. Surprisingly really good…5 stars””
Overruled by Emma Chase <— Lisa well… I don’t know that she recommends this one, but the cheating emotionally affected her for sure! “I wasnt a Kiera hater in Thoughtless either but I loathed the cheating in Overruled. Double standards maybe.”
My Time in the Affair by Stylo Fantome <— Tessa loved this one! “Just finished and just happiness. I loved it. All the angst, the eeeps, the ooohs, and even the twist the mystery added. Unless cheating is a trigger, I’d recommend it to everyone. So, so good. Stylo Fantome doesn’t disappoint.” and Michelle agrees! “Finished and love loved it! So different and I still can’t get over how it starts out about cheating but that I get her and sympathize even. There’s a couple of WHAT…back up and read again moments and plenty of gushing and girly giggling over Tal…that man is just sexy period. It’s joining my favorites for the year so far…book hangover *sigh*…” (my review)
The Mighty Storm (The Storm series Book 1) by Samantha Towle <— Zizz recommends this one! “In the middle though I was scared that it was going to turn into another Thoughtless. I know that book is so well-loved but I just couldn’t stand the girl MC with her indecisiveness and awful cheating. So glad when Tru finally decided to choose. I didn’t know what conflict to expect after she *spoiler* but the story moved along quite well after that…” (my review)
The Perfect Game: A Novel (The Game Series Book 1) by J. Sterling <— Carli loved it: “I just finished this book last night and I LOVED it! It was a fantastic story from start to finish!” (my review)
Bait (The Wake Series Book 1) by Mo Mabie <— Claudia recommends this one! “Maryseeee!! You MUST read Bait!! Drove me insane, so much angst, I don’t know who I want to smack first him or her I shouldn’t have read it now because there is a part 2 and I’m going crazy but pleaseeeee read this book! You will love it )” and Sandra agrees: “Bait by M.Mabie is amazing!!”
Taking Chances (Taking Chances and Forgiving Lies Book 1) by Molly MCAdams <— This one has ALL sorts of reasons to tear your heart out… and one of ’em just happens to be the insane love triangle. (my review)
Against All Odds by Angie McKeon <— Meredith says: “I just finished Against All Odds this weekend. Holy sh!tballs!! It. Is. So. Good!!!!!! You will not regret reading it – EVERY SINGLE PAGE is angst!!!! Every single page is awesome – you will LOVE it!!!” and Donna agrees: “I just finished Against All Odds….sooo good! OMG – some parts made me cringe, some made me sad, some made me happy! Love me some Cooper! Tee hee…Grayson’s not bad either…Kylie – uh not sure about!”
Easy Virtue by Mia Asher <— Amy was reading this one and I hear it’s a good match for this list! “Cheryl, I’m at 38% of Easy Virtue and loving it! If Mia Asher makes me love Ronan as much as I did Ben in Arsen then this is going to be rough. I can totally feel for and understand where Blaire is coming from and why she is the way she is, but my tummy is already clenching thinking of where this might go. *bouncing leg* Oh man, Blaire…don’t hurt him! ”
The VIP Trilogy by M. Robinson <— Tessa says: “I liked it, but with angst, I honestly expected more. (I know, odd right?) The end though… that threw me. My only thought was, after all that time, huh? The main secondary person’s thoughts? Interesting twist, that’s for sure.” and Amy agrees for the most part: “Tessa, VIP definitely isn’t a crazy-angsty read but I like that it had enough angst to make it fun. *snort* Who would’ve thought angst and fun could be used in the same sentence! The Madam (book 2) is good as well, and I was surprised that I actually wanted to keep reading about her. But then the ending happened and I read the first chapter of MVP and…yeah, I’m just gonna leave well enough alone.” <— LOL!! I wonder what happened?
CARNAGE: Book #1 The Story Of Us by Lesley Jones <— And Elissa says: “As much as I LOVED Arsen it hurt so much I cant read another like it! … oops I “accidentally” lied. Carnage was another one that tore my heart into pieces….Hehe oopsie!! Umm yea I also read My time in the Affair… Wow I’m such a liar!” LOL!!!! Okay Elissa, I’m adding this comment into the recommendations. And Ela agrees: “CARNAGE PISSED ME THE F*CK OFF…THAT IS ALL” 😛 Too funny! (P.S. my review)
Whiskey Lullaby (Love Song Series Book 1) by Dawn Martens & Emily Minton <— Lauren recommends these (even though she can’t tolerate cheating in books)!! “Oh, Whiskey Lullaby by Dawn Martins & Emily Minton & Wrecking Ball by B N Toler are both great cheating books. Of course, it’s the guy in both books.”
Wrecking Ball by B.N. Tyler <— This is the other one that Lauren recommends! And Cheryl agrees: “Finished Wrecking Ball. Well-written, multi-faceted emotional read. Dear God, I need to take a break from these emotional reads or invest in Kleenex stock ”
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin<— Carol recommends this one! “Heart of the Matter by Emily Griffin is by far my favorite “cheating” book.”
Caught by Erika Ashby & A.E. Woodward <— Miranda recommends this one! “Caught by AE Woodward and Erika Ashby was an amazing cheater book!” and Olivia agrees: “CAUGHT by Erika Ashby and A.E. Woodward… I really don’t even like books with cheating in them but I loved this book”
Temptation: (Book 1 in The Temptation Series) by K.M. Golland <— Claire loved this one! “I’ve read this series four times, I loved it so much. I’m a huge fan of KM Gollands writing. She was certainly born to write. Considering it’s her first series of books I’m so looking forward to reading more of her work. These books sucked me in making me loose all track of time and responsibilities lol it’s a good job my husband held the fort for me or my kids might have had to survive on bread and water for a few days as I couldn’t pull myself away form these books to cook lol Bryce is so lovely and talented, but also likes his own way and what he wants is Alexis, but she’s married and happily. I almost didn’t read it myself because of the infidelity, but I’m so glad I did. KM Golland explains it so sympathetically and I totally fell in love with both Bryce and Alexis. I lol until I felt like I was going to have an accident and cried like a baby. My emotions we’re so over the place and I loved it. I rated every book a wrapping 5 stars. It’s a must read!!”
A Girl Like Avery: That Girl is Mine – Complete Series by Eve Cates <— Jen found us this one!
Pretending He’s You (Nashville Nights Book 4) by Stacey Mosteller <— Jenna recommends these!! “Pretending He’s You and Pretending She’s Mine by Stacey Mosteller does just this! New Adult Romance stuck between a boyfriend she is comfortable with, or to pick the guy who she has stronger feelings for. And he is British. Hello. But which one will she pick? will she stay with someone due to the time and commitment already there, or will she go with someone who is spontaneous?”
Pretending She’s Mine (Nashville Nights Book 5) by Stacey Mosteller <— Here’s the other one!
Accidentally on Purpose by L.D. Davis <— Amy LOVES this one and sure enough… she just remembered it fits this list!! “Oh hey, you can add Accidentally on Purpose to the list! Yep, yep, yep!!” and Tessa agrees: “*smacks head* OMG, I can’t believe I forgot to mention that one. Oh the angsties!”
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon <— Lindsey recommends these: “Most of Paige Toon’s books include cheating/Love Triangles and are super angsty and unputdownable. The Longest Holiday, Lucy in the Sky, and One Perfect Summer are all really good.”
Lucy in the Sky by Paige Toon <— And this one!
One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon <— And this one!
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin <— Another Lindsey favorite! “Also an all time favorite of mine by Emily Giffen, that includes cheating with her best friend’s fiance, is Something Borrowed. This book is sooo good.”
Adultery: A novel (Vintage International) by Paulo Coelho <— KC found this one! “I’m going to start this one. “Adultery” by Paulo Coelho. I’m always afraid or reading cheating books, although I love the angst.”
Tear You Apart by Megan Hart <— Amy just remembered this one! And yep… that’s another that I agree with! “Another one is Tear You Apart by Megan Hart. I remember really liking it but not loving it, although I can’t remember why. And I forgot about VIP! I’m still not reading the third book though. ” (my review)
Broken by Megan Hart <— E.K. Blair (yes! One of our fav authors) reminded me of this one, saying: “Have you read Broken by Megan Hart? Takes an interesting spin on emotional cheating. Great book.” and Jessica agrees: “I have read Broken. Love Megan Hart’s style! Tear You Apart is on my TBR too.” I LOVE this author too! (my review)
Bang (Black Lotus #1) (The Black Lotus Series) by E.K. Blair <— speaking of E.K Blair, this one has a whole “cheating” premise. A little different… more for a purpose (a goal) however big time infidelity none the less. Oh yes. (my review)
AFFAIRYTALE: A Memoir by C.J. English <— And Ela found us this one, too! “Oh I found another one but I haven’t read it yet: Affairytale by C.J. English. Looks very good and has great reviews.”
Imperfect Truth by Ava Harrison <— Jade recommends this: “Imperfect truth by Ava Harrison is amazing!!” and Diane agrees!
➔➔➔ Looking for more of our favorite recommendations? Browse our “Ultimate Favorites Lists” here. Are you in the mood for a certain kind of story? Browse our favorite “genre/trope categories” here and our reader favorites lists too.