Does a Dark Romance Need a ''Happy Ending''?

Does a Dark Romance book with a kidnapping plotline need real love, sweet romantic moments, or a continuous/happy ending for the characters?

My book currently is less about two people falling in love with some spice and more about an animalistic lusty desire while in a horrible situation. It gets hot and steamy between two people who are sort of following the enemies to sexual partners cliche but they end up going their separate ways in the end as she escapes. Is this still good for the dark romance genre?


I think you story might related to a sub-genre called Doomed Romances.
Lost in Translation is one example of this genre.

The French mini-series Section Zero or the Israeli TV series Fauda might have more relevant examples for your story. Or maybe the British series Spooks. The series adaptation of Halo apparently fumbled its attempt at the doomed / enemies to FWBs romance sub-genre (John & Makee, season one).


In the strictest sense of the popular romance genre, yes there has to be a “happy ending”. It could be that they declare love for each other and then part ways :person_shrugging:


Yes, people seem to forget that a “happy for now” counts as a happy ending, as well as the traditional “happily ever after” trope.


I suspect the romance purists would have a fit and one-star your book, so it might be safer to call it a love story instead…? ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯


If a romance isn’t a good idea I could go to the strange side and put it as an “erotic thriller”. Someone suggested that to me yesterday.

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It’s not very romantic at all. But I’m not very familiar with books that are dark, graphic, and violent yet have some kind of sexual aspect or toxic relationship. Someone said Dark romance but others said Erotic Thriller. But Erotic thriller feels like that would make it just an erotica and eroticas don’t usually have a great plot.

I don’t want my story to be seen as a book about smut since its such a small part.