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Perfectly Flawed Book List



Below are books where one of the main characters is considered to be flawed in some way by themselves or by society to a degree that they feel unlovable. They have various levels of obstacles to overcome, but I’m drawn to characters who have more than situations requiring growth, and I heart love stories off the beaten path.

I’ve tried to keep the list spoiler-free, but sometimes these conditions aren’t announced out-right or in the blurbs. I apologize if I ruin a surprise here and there slightly.

First, some generalized definitions off the top of my head–so don’t quote me. Feel free to skip them if you know them.

Agoraphobia is a “fear” of crowds, open spaces, and the outside. (Most suffering from agoraphobia–as I do–practice avoidance and prefer familiar surroundings and fewer people. In extreme cases, the person becomes a shut-in.) 

Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of Autism characterized by higher IQs and serious social delays. (I have a child with Asperger’s.) (Slang name used by those with Asperger’s is Aspie. I’ve never known of anyone offended by it. My son claims to be an “Aspie.”) Autistic Savants are similar but have a higher level of intelligence typically in some areas like music or mathematics.

Claustrophobia is a “fear” of enclosed spaces.

Dyslexia is a reading disorder characterized by letters seeming to move, invert, or become unintelligible. Outside of contemporary times, this would have probably equaled illiteracy because it wasn’t well understood and treatment was nonexistent.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) a mental disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts leading to compulsive actions/behaviors to alleviate them. I have OCD and there are many blog posts here on this subject–which means a character has to be more than just a little quirky for me to label them as OCD. I’d love to see more books with OCD characters.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) encompasses a myriad of symptoms related to an inability to cope with prior trauma. Symptoms may include, but are in no way limited to claustrophobia, insomnia, mania, self-destructive behaviors, depression, and agoraphobia. (This is a very complex disorder that I couldn’t even scratch the surface on with this explanation. It’s often seen in soldiers and victims of crimes.)


Perfectly Flawed Characters


FTR = Fairy Tale Retelling (I believe all are Beauty and the Beast)

PTSD = Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

***** = Would recommend and will most likely reread. I’m a moody reader though and some unmarked might be marked on a reread. *shrugs*


* Click on title to take you to Amazon links*

Christian Fiction Romance

~      At the Edge of a Dark Forest by Connie Almony (FTR) ***** (Hero is missing one leg and arm, is an alcoholic, and has PTSD.) (PG-13 due to darkness and possibly some mild profanity–I seem to remember some, but really interesting Beauty and the Beast retelling.)

~       The Heart’s Voice by Arlene James (Hero is deaf due to a combat experience.) (This is listed as an Inspirational book and has the amount of Christianity you’d expect.) (PG)

~        Christmas Hope by Leslie Lynch (Hero has severe burns and PTSD from a suicide bomber.) (PG)

~        Snow Daze (A Snowberry Christmas #1) by Katie Mettner (Heroine is in a wheelchair.) (This has premarital sex in it, but it’s considered sexy Christian according to reviewers. Definitely a Christian fiction book.)

~        December Kiss (A Snowberry Christmas #2) by Katie Mettner (Hero is in a wheelchair and has Spina Bifida) (No premarital sex, but some uhhh bases are stolen…if you know what I mean.)


Contemporary Romance

~        Up Close and Personal by Magda Alexander (Hero is nearly blind but a risky corrective surgery is an option from the beginning.)

~       My Sunshine by Catherine Anderson (I really like this book, but the ending seems overly dramatic and silly after such a serious portrayal of their romance. I wobble between four and five stars.) (Heroine has aphasia—word processing disorder from brain damage from an accident.) (Catherine Anderson is well known for her portrayal of flawed characters, but this is the only one I’ve read thus far.)

~        When You Make it Home by Claire Ashby ***** (Hero is a war hero amputee, missing one leg.) (This was an awesome book.)

~        Through Your Eyes by Jo Barrett (Hero has severe scarring from an explosion while he was in the military. Heroine has temporary blindness from an accident.) (SHORT story)

~       The Write Man For Her by Christie Walker Bos ***** (Hero is a paraplegic. Read beyond her initial shocked response to finding out he’s a paraplegic because she rallies. I had doubts several times in this book, but, in the end, it was awesome.)

~        The Heir’s Unexpected Return by Jackie Braun (Hero shattered his leg in a skiing accident. His injury is severe and his limp permanent.)

~        Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare (Hero is severely scarred and missing part of one finger.)

~       The Man Behind the Scars by Caitlin Crews (FTR) ***** (Hero is scarred from war.) (So many clever lines in this one.)

~       Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley ***** (Hero is blinded by a suicide bomber and has PTSD.)

~       Playing the Part by Darcy Daniel (Hero is blind from childhood trauma. Heroine is a famous actress.)

~       Taming the Beast by Amy J. Fetzer ****1/2 (FTR) (Hero is severely scarred on his body and face.)

~       Love in Sight by Holly Gilliatt ****1/2 (Hero is blinded as a young teen by a genetic disorder.)

~       Tall, Dark, and Cajun by Sandra Hill (Hero is badly scarred from military service.)

~       Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye ***** (Hero suffers from severe claustrophobia due to trauma.) (A little more lust-at-first-“sight” than some might be comfortable with.)

~       Healing Gabriel by Elizabeth Kelly (Hero has severe scars from a car fire when he was only 15.)

~       One Night With Her Bachelor by Kat Latham ***** (Heroine’s child is a paraplegic and Hero *SPOILER—stop reading if you don’t want to know his disability which the author intentionally keeps from you for a while* is an amputee and has a prosthetic leg.)

~       Chain Lightning by Elizabeth Lowell (Heroine has a severe phobia of flying and water due to PTSD)

~       Embattled Hearts (Embattled Hearts #1) by J.M. Madden (Hero is in a wheelchair as a result of combat wounds.)

~       A Little Bit Pregnant by Susan Mallery ***** (Heroine is in a wheelchair permanently due to a severe skiing accident.)

~      His Heir, Her Honor by Catherine Mann (Hero is a prince from a defunct kingdom who works as a surgeon. He has a limp and back problems—after over a decade of surgeries and therapy—from an overthrow where his mother died.)

~       Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy ***** (Heroine is deaf.)

~       The Shy Bride by Lucy Monroe (Heroine is a concert pianist who has severe agoraphobia and performance anxiety.)

~       Danger Next Door by Katie Reus (Hero has severe scarring on face and torso.)

~       His Road Home by Anna Richland ***** (Hero is a double amputee and has a brain injury that affects his speech (dyspraxia) after having stepped on a landmine in military service.) (I can’t say enough good things about this book. They communicate in texts back and forth and it’s sweet and romantic, and I loved it.)

~        The Witness by Nora Roberts ***** (Heroine is a prodigy Aspie.)

~        A Man Like Mac by Fay Robinson (Currently dead-tree only) (Possibly the most honest and “real” fictional account of a paraplegic romance character out there IMO…no punches pulled. Hero is a paraplegic. Heroine is seriously injured in a car-pedestrian accident.) (It didn’t get five stars because I disliked the heroine. This was recommended to me time and again, and I can see why. Great story.)

~       The Boss’s Fake Fiancée by Inara Scott (Hero has Asperger’s.)

~       Holiday at Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim (The hero is a Navy Seal with PTSD.)

~       Samantha’s Cowboy by Marin Thomas (Heroine has memory lapses and concentration issues due to a brain injury. Hero has dyslexia. Secondary character is extremely gifted with a didactic memory.)

~       Breathless by Nancy Warren (Heroine has panic attacks.)

~       Imperfect Beauty by E. A. West ***** (Hero is blind and Scottish, and Heroine feels like she’s very physically imperfect.) (Very PG and fun.)

~       Addicted to Love by Lori Wilde ***** (Hero stepped on an IED and is missing a leg.)

~       Holiday Confessions by Anne Marie Winston ***** (Hero is blind—which is really well done from an outsider’s viewpoint, and Heroine is ex-supermodel)

~       A Love Beyond Words by Sherryl Woods (Heroine is deaf and is rescued after a hurricane by hero who is with a disaster recovery team.)

~        Baby and the Beast by Laura Wright (FTR) (Hero has a severe limp.)

~       Hajar’s Hidden Legacy by Maisey Yates ***** (Hero is scarred and has PTSD from bomb explosion that killed his family including heroine’s original fiancé. This has a Beauty and the Beast theme–though they’re both “royalty.”)

Slightly self-serving, but worth mentioning:

I have three Contemporary romance short stories on this blog for free that have characters who fit this list (you can judge stars for yourself):

~      Leather and Leotards by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Hero is a paraplegic.) (PG)

~       For Sweet Pete’s Sake by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Hero has dyscalculia -similar to dyslexia, but involves math.) (PG)

~       Keeping Fireflies by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Secondary character is mute.) (PG)

and I have a Contemporary romance novella for sale that fits:

~         On His List by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Hero has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD.)

and I have a Contemporary romance novella titled “Lip Service” in this anthology:

~        Virtually Yours Anthology (Lip Service by Wendy Sparrow) ***** (Hero is an amputee.)


Historical Romance

~       The Duke’s Mysterious Lady by Maggi Andersen (Heroine has amnesia for most of the book due to an accident.)

~      Ever Yours by Gabi Anderson (Hero wears a ceramic mask to cover disfigurement from carriage accident and is lame.)

~      Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Hero has Asperger’s.)

~       Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh ***** (Hero has limp, disabled hand)

~       Simply Love by Mary Balogh (Hero is missing arm and has a disfigured face.)

~       The Proposal (Survivor’s Club #1) by Mary Balogh (Hero is scarred and recovering from a bad bout of PTSD. Heroine has severe limp.)

~        The Arrangement (Survivor’s Club #2) by Mary Balogh ***** (Hero is blind.)

~        The Escape (Survivor’s Club #3) by Mary Balogh ***** (Hero’s legs were shattered and he uses two canes in order to walk.)

~        Rake’s Progress (House for the Season #4) by M.C. Beaton (Hero has PTSD.)

~       The Parfit Knight by Juliet Blyth (Deadtree only currently) ***** (Heroine is blind from a childhood accident.) (Very PG.) (Fave book of all time.)

~      The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne ***** (Heroine is blinded from an injury.) (I LOVE this story, but it gets slammed as a book about a blind heroine, but I can’t mention why without spoiling it. Google it if you want it spoiled. But the story itself, the dialogue, and the characters are brilliant. One of my favorite romances.)

~       His Enemy’s Daughter by Terri Brisbin (FTR) (Medieval) (Hero is disfigured and missing an eye. Heroine is blind for most of the book.)

~       Morgan and Archer by Grace Burrowes (Heroine is losing her hearing.)

~       Scandal Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee (Heroine has a limp and traumatic nightmares after a bad fall.) (Paranormal mystery.)

~        The Viscount in Her Bedroom by Gayle Callen (Hero is blind.)

~        Surrender to the Earl by Gayle Callen (Heroine is blind.)

~        Captive of Sin by Anna Campbell (Hero has severe PTSD from being tortured and held in captivity. *Heroine is brutally beaten at the beginning—though it’s off-page.*)

~        Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell ****1/2 (FTR) (Hero has a severely scarred face.)

~       The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase ***** (Hero has a neurological malady that he believes is fatal.)

~       If You Deceive by Kresley Cole (Hero’s face is severely scarred.)

~       Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After) by Tessa Dare (FTR) ***** (Hero is scarred and blind.)

~       The Secrets of Mia Danvers by Robyn DeHart ***** (Heroine is blind and witnesses Ripper murder.)

~       Song for Sophia by Moriah Densley ***** (Hero is a Savant)

~        Beauty Tempts the Beast by Leslie Dicken (FTR) (Hero has a severely scarred face and PTSD)

~       The Beast of Edenmaine by Leighann Dobbs (FTR) (Hero has PTSD)

~       The Substitute Bridegroom by Charlotte Louise Dolan (Heroine has a scar on her face.)

~       Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran ***** (Hero is an agoraphobe.)

~       England’s Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch ***** (Hero is an agoraphobe, claustrophobic, and speaks very little due to PTSD from torture.) (Very awesome.)

~       The Counterfeit Coachman by Elizabeth Fairchild (Hero stutters—a lot.) (PG-13)

~       The Silent Suitor by Elisabeth Fairchild ****1/2 (Heroine is blind.) (PG-13) (The title of this one makes no sense in my opinion.)

~        Miss Ware’s Refusal by Marjorie Farren (Hero is blind.) (Just FYI- Hero slaps the heroine at one point after they both lose their temper. He’s horrified and sincerely apologizes and she recognizes she pushed him too much even at the time. I think it was a step too far on the author’s part, but at the same time it was probably realistic to the mood so I don’t know.)

~       The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen ***** (Hero becomes a mute due to PTSD.) (Hero is brilliantly portrayed as sympathetic and yet powerful.)

~      The Unlacing of Miss Leigh by Diane Gaston (Hero has severe battle scars on his face from a saber and wears a mask.)

~       When a Duke Says I Do by Jane Goodger ***** (Hero has severe social anxiety disorder and pretends to be mute.)

~       The Mad Lord’s Daughter by Jane Goodger ***** (Heroine seems to have agoraphobia/germaphobia and has lived in her rooms for 15 years—though not entirely by choice.)

~       Her Reluctant Groom (Groom series #2) by Rose Gordon (Hero has a badly scarred body from being dragged by a horse and still limps because of it. I actually disliked the way they treated the character with Asperger’s in book #4 in this book.)

~       Her Imperfect Groom (Groom series #4) by Rose Gordon (Hero has Asperger’s, Heroine has dyslexia.)

~       The Perfect Lady Worthe by Rose Gordon ***** (Heroine is in a wheelchair.) (Novella.) (PG-13) (This was so awesomely sweet. I adored the hero in this one.)

~       Gallant Waif by Anne Gracie (Hero limps and has scarred face.)

~       How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray ***** (Hero is missing a hand and an eye and has severe scarring on his face) I loved this book.

~       His Every Kiss by Laura Lee Guhrke ***** (Composer has tinnitus (ringing in his ears) from brain injury preventing him from composing—making him suicidal and self-destructive. Backstory character is bipolar.)  (This book was recommended to me and more than held up to my expectations. Great tortured hero if that’s what you’re looking for.)

~        Beauty and the Baron by Deborah Hale (Hero is severely scarred on his face and wears a mask. He’s also sensitive to light and prefers to be awake at night.)

~        Till Dawn with the Devil by Alexandra Hawkins (Heroine has variable near blindness from a head wound as a child.)

~       Miss Lacey’s Last Fling by Candice Hern (Heroine has a mysterious malady with similar symptoms to her mother which leads her to believe she is dying and so she lives as if she has nothing to lose.)

~       Fate Strikes a Bargain (in It Happened One Season anthology) by Candice Hern (novella) (Hero has PTSD and Heroine has a severe limp from a “twisted” hip.)

~       The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer (I admit I DNFed this one as it hit a pet peeve of mine.) (Heroine has a serious stutter.)

~       To Desire a Devil (Four Soldiers #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt (Hero has PTSD from being in captivity.)

~       To Beguile a Beast (Four Soldiers #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt ***** (FTR) (Hero is seriously disfigured.)

~       To Seduce a Sinner (Four Soldiers #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt (Hero has severe PTSD and sleeps on a pallet.)

~       The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt ***** (Hero was scarred by illness.)

~       The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt ***** (Hero is missing fingers and scarred from childhood abuse.) (Fave heroes of all time.)

~       Speak Only Love (deadtree only) by Deana James (Heroine is mute since her mother’s tragic death.)

~       When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (FTR) ***** (Hero is lame and very “House”-like doctor.) (Fave books of all time.)

~       Fool for Love by Eloisa James (Heroine has a bad hip due to a genetic condition and fears giving birth will kill her like her mother.)

~       Enchanting Pleasures by Eloisa James (Hero limps and has severe migraines due to an accident which last for several days, but only if he participates in…certain “strenuous activities.”)

~       One Unashamed Night by Sophia James ***** (Hero is going blind.)

~       Masquerading Mistress by Sophia James (Hero is scarred and limps from time as a spy.)

~       A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss (Hero has a speech impediment.)

~      The Admiral’s Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly ***** (Hero is missing hand and has a hook. Amazing how well this was handled in that it was a non-issue as far as being an obstacle—even when it did make some things…different if not challenging. Very different Regency.)

~       Marian’s Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly ***** (Hero is scarred on his face and torso.) (PG)

~       With This Ring by Carla Kelly ***** (Hero has a severe bayonet wound in his shoulder.) This was a fascinating book. (PG-13)

~       Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly (Hero is missing an eye and wears an eye patch.) (PG-13)

~       The Lady’s Companion by Carla Kelly (Hero is badly scarred from being whipped during the war.)

~       Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (I’ve started, but not finished this. It’s deeper than I normally enjoy for an escape.) (Hero is put in an asylum after a stroke robs him of his ability to speak and understand language.)

~       Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas ***** (Hero has severe PTSD.) (One of my fave books)

~       Silent Revenge by Laura Landon (Heroine is deaf and stepbrother plans to commit her to an asylum unless she marries.)

~       Shattered Dreams by Laura Landon (Heroine has a severely disabled foot/ankle from a childhood accident.) (This book has a premarital sex scene, but so vague that I’d almost call this a PG-13. Language is likewise mild.)

~       Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long (Hero seems to have a mild form of Asperger’s—though he understands some social intricacies that muddy it.)

~       With This Kiss by Victoria Lynne (FTR) ***** (Hero was severely burned while trying to save his servants from an arsonist’s fire.)

~       What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara (Hero has a severely damaged leg and limps.)

~       Beauty and the Scarred Hero by Emily May (Hero has a serious scar and a limp.)

~       Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros (FTR) (Hero is scarred and blinded in battle. *Spoiler* this gets tagged for reasons similar to The Spymaster’s Lady.)

~       Lady Folbroke’s Delicious Deception by Christine Merrill (Hero is blind.)

~       Truly Yours by Barbara Metzger (Paranormal) ***** (Hero has scars on his face and limps due to war wounds.) This was a find!!! This was hilarious and clever and the paranormal aspect was quirky awesomeness.

~       Snowdrops and Scandalbroth by Barbara Metzger ***** (Hero severely injured his leg and walks with a limp.) (PG-13)

~       A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger ***** (Hero is wounded in battle.) (PG-13)

~      For the Love of a Soldier by Victoria Morgan ***** (Hero has PTSD.)

~       The Heart of a Duke by Victoria Morgan (Hero has burns and nearly dies when someone tries to kill him by setting his house on fire.)

~       A Passionate Endeavor by Sophia Nash (Hero has dyslexia.)

~       P.S. I Love You (originally in At the Duke’s Wedding anthology) by Miranda Neville ****1/2 (Hero has a scarred face.) (This is a twist on Cyrano de Bergarac.) (novella)

~       Beguiled by Susan Spencer Paul ***** (Heroine is a mute due to her vocal chords being scarred by acid as a child.) (Very Awesome premise that plays out well.)

~      The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney (Heroine is mute and suspected mad after her parents are murdered alongside the rest of the household in a raid in India when she was a child.)

~       The Rake by Mary Jo Putney ****1/2 (Hero is an alcoholic.)

~       Ravished by Amanda Quick ***** (FTR) (Hero has a severely scarred face.)

~       Reckless by Amanda Quick ***** (Heroine has a severe limp to a childhood carriage accident.) (LOVED this book.)

~        Surrender by Amanda Quick ****1/2 (Hero has a scarred leg and walks with a limp.)

~        Deception by Amanda Quick ***** (Hero is missing an eye and wears an eye patch.)

~        Affair by Amanda Quick ***** (Hero’s torso has been burned by acid.)

~        The Mystery Woman (Ladies of Lantern Street #2) by Amanda Quick (Hero has a scarred face and walks with a limp)

~       The Duke and I by Julia Quinn ***** (Hero stutters.)

~       The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn *spoiler* (Hero has a learning disability which would modernly be called dyslexia.)

~      The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn (Hero is left lame after his leg bone is shattered in a duel he instigated with a best friend while drunk. He’s also a bit of an Aspie—and obsessed with counting and numbers.)

~       Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn (Hero has PTSD and a severe limp)

~       The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley (Hero has PTSD from his role in the war and is in a fugue state for a bit prior to the book’s beginning.)

~       What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale ****1/2 (Heroine suffers from PTSD from being raped. While this is a touching romance as the hero works to overcome her issues with being around men, it also has one of the more…descriptive rape scenes I’ve read. So…trigger warning on that.)

~       An Impetuous Abduction by Patricia Frances Rowell ***** (Hero is missing a hand.)

~       A Scandalous Situation by Patricia Frances Rowell (Heroine has PTSD from being gang-raped and can’t stand to be touched.) (While the rape isn’t graphically described, this book is darker and may trigger issues for some readers.)

~       The Grace of a Duke by Linda Rae Sande (Hero is horribly burned in a fire that claimed the rest of his family–and wears a mask. Heroine is late brother’s betrothed.)

~       To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain (Hero has social anxiety disorder and panic attacks.)

~       Love is Blind by Lynsay Sands ***** (Hero is disfigured. Heroine has atrocious vision.)

~       Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow (first in series) ***** (Hero has war wounds from a bayonet. Heroine is a chemist and a bit of an Aspie.)

~       Sweet Madness by Heather Snow ***** (third in series) (Hero has PTSD and is believed to be mad. Story begins in a private sanatorium. Secondary character is bipolar.)

~       My Lord Scandal by Emma Wildes (Heroine has severe asthma.)

~       The Gambler’s Heart by Gayle Wilson ***** (Hero has scars from a burn covering half his face and body and is blind in one eye.)

~       My Darling Echo (Bride by Arrangement Anthology) (Deadtree only) (novella) by Gayle Wilson ***** (Hero is blind)

~        Lady Sarah’s Son by Gayle Wilson (Hero is an amputee missing one of his lower legs.)

~         His Secret Duchess by Gayle Wilson ***** (Hero was severely injured and scarred in the lower half of his body and walks with a limp.) (There is an attempted rape scene in this that is not completed but goes farther than I was comfortable with–I must admit that I skim-read it.)


Paranormal/Supernatural Romance (some paranormal below in Suspense category)

~     Running Hot (Arcane Society #5) by Jayne Ann Krentz ***** (Hero walks with a cane, Heroine has PTSD)

~      Once Upon a Tiger (Tiger series #1) by Kat Simons ****1/2 (Hero is mute)

~     Primal Instinct (Pendragon Gargoyles #1) by Sydney Somers ****1/2 (Heroine is fighting panic attacks related to the shifter side of her.)

~      Cole’s Redemption (An Alpha Pack Novel) by J.D. Tyler (Paranormal) (Hero is deaf in the beginning of the book. Spoiler to follow.) (*spoiler* I can’t recommend this book as a flawed character book because his deafness is a non-issue for the most part and he’s magically better midway through.)

My Taming the Pack series fits here–because I enjoy writing flawed characters too:

~       Past My Defenses (Taming of the Pack #1) by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Heroine has asthma and allergies that bring her to her knees…and she’s a shifter.) (PG-13)

~      This Weakness for You (Taming of the Pack #2) by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Heroine has Multiple Sclerosis – MS.) (PG-13)

~       Crazy Over You (Taming the Pack #3) by Wendy Sparrow ***** (Heroine has PTSD–flashbacks and nightmares.) (PG-13)


Suspense Romance

~      Guarding Jane Doe by Harper Allen (aka Sandra Hill) (Heroine has amnesia from a head wound)

~      Special Ops Rendezvous  by Karen Anders (Hero has severe PTSD.)

~       Sweet Revenge (2nd in New Orleans series) by Nina Bruhns ***** (Hero has severe PTSD and can’t stand being touched due to abuse.)

~       Sweet Suspicion (3rd in New Orleans series.) by Nina Bruhns ***** (Companion novel to the above which takes place at the same time.) (Heroine has trauma issues from being raped.)

~       Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy (heroine has pregnesia—amnesia while pregnant due to injury and trauma) (Hey, somebody has gotta read this books…they don’t read themselves.)

~       When No One is Watching by Natalie Charles (Heroine has amnesia from a violent mugging)

~       Skin Deep by Pamela Clare ***** (Hero is a former soldier with significant burns and scars from an explosion. Heroine has PTSD from being assaulted. The nature of her assault and her life could be a trigger for some.)

~      Seduction Under Fire (ICE Prequel Novel) by Melissa Cutler (Heroine has an injured leg and suffers from PTSD from being shot years earlier as a cop.)

~      Explosive Attraction by Lena Diaz  (Heroine has serious claustrophobia and PTSD.)

~      He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not (Deadly Games #1) by Lena Diaz ***** (Heroine has scars all over her body, but especially one on her face and suffers from PTSD.)

~      The Bodyguard by Lena Diaz (Heroine is a spousal abuse victim with PTSD.)

~      Relentless (Corcoran #3) by HelenKay Dimon (Heroine has OCD from PTSD from being stalked.)

~      Guardian Ranger (Shadow Agents #2) by Cynthia Eden ***** (Heroine suffers from PTSD and stutters.)

~      Undercover Captor (Shadow Agents #5) by Cynthia Eden ***** (Heroine has life-threatening asthma attacks.)

~       Deadly Lies (Deadly #3) by Cynthia Eden ***** (Heroine has PTSD from being tortured by a serial killer in a prior book.)

~      Daddy Devastating by Delores Fossen ***** (Heroine has PTSD.)

~        Savior in the Saddle (Hostage Standoff #4) by Delores Fossen ***** (Heroine has post-traumatic amnesia and post-concussional neurosis.)

~      Bachelor Sheriff (Cooper Justice #4) by Paula Graves (PG-13) (Heroine suffers from PTSD from dealing with childhood trauma and abuse at the hands of an ex.)

~       Bridal Falls Ranch Ransom by Jan Hambright (Heroine is scarred by explosion.)

~       Behind the Mask by Metsy Hingle (Heroine is escaping a marriage where’s she’s been groomed to be a sexual plaything and is mentally and emotionally abused.)

~       Deadly Allure (Devil’s Shroud #4) by Elle James (Hero has PTSD)

~       Seeking Asylum by Mallory Kane (Paranormal) ***** (Hero’s twin (secondary character) whom the hero impersonates to get inside an asylum has schizophrenia.)

~       Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz (first pubbed in 1997) (Heroine has panic attacks)

~       A Coral Kiss by Jayne Ann Krentz (first pubbed in 1987) ****1/2 (Heroine has nightmares from PTSD.)

~       Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz (first pubbed in 1995) ***** (Hero has all the characteristics of an Aspie. Heroine has severe claustrophobia.)

~       Grand Passion by Jayne Ann Krentz (first pubbed in 1994) ***** (Hero has a serious limp and walks with a cane.)

~       Deadly Hunter by Rachel Lee (Hero has a scarred face and shrapnel in his back near his spine and he’s struggling to adjust to civilian life.)

~       Defending the Eyewitness by Rachel Lee ***** (Heroine has severe PTSD from seeing her mother killed and so she avoids contact with men at all costs.)

~       Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell ***** (Heroine has PTSD, Hero has a severe mine retrieval injury in one of his legs.)

~       My Spy  by Dana Marton ***** (Hero is a double amputee and secondary character has well-portrayed Autism)

~       Deathscape (Broslin Creek #2) by Dana Marton (Paranormal) ***** (Heroine is an agoraphobe due to trauma.)

~       Deathtrap (Broslin Creek #3) by Dana Marton (Somewhat paranormal) ***** (Heroine has a heart transplant.)

~      Deathblow (Broslin Creek #4) by Dana Marton ***** (*Mild Spoiler alert to warn about content* Heroine was a “spousal” abuse victim with probable PTSD. There was some really good victimology characterization in her behavior but the hero understood that she was a battered woman–a true romance in his way of loving her. There may be triggers for anyone recovering from abuse. *spoiler* A miscarriage occurs at one point as a result of abuse.)

~       My Bodyguard (Redemption #3) by Dana Marton ***** (Heroine was severely abused as a child and becomes a runaway with an inability to be touched.)

~       The Guardian (Ranger Brigade #1) by Cindi Myers (Heroine nearly died in combat and has a scarred face and PTSD)

~        Fire Angel by Susanne Matthews (Paranormal) (Hero is an amputee and has PTSD from his time in the military.)

~       The Marine Next Door (The Precinct: Task Force #1) by Julie Miller (Hero is an amputee with a prosthetic leg.) (All of this series of books has the Rose Red Rapist as an antagonist. From his POV, from the beginning, you can tell he has OCD. So, every time someone displays any common characteristics of OCD, you’re supposed to wonder if it’s him. This didn’t bother me to have the villain with OCD, but I’m thick-skinned.)

~       Assumed Identity (The Precinct: Task Force #4) by Julie Miller (Hero has PTSD and long-term amnesia due to head wound.)

~       Taskforce Bride (The Precinct Task Force #5) by Julie Miller (Heroine has strong phobias (PTSD) and scars from an abusive childhood and an assault.)

~        Yuletide Protector (The Precinct Task Force #6) by Julie Miller (Heroine has PTSD from being the first Rose Red victim.)

~       Unsanctioned Memories by Julie Miller ***** (Heroine has selective amnesia due to PTSD.)

~       Protecting Plain Jane by Julie Miller ***** (Heroine has agoraphobia, severe social anxiety and panic attacks. Hero has dyslexia.) (BEST agoraphobe character yet.)

~        Police Business by Julie Miller ***** (Heroine is deaf.)

~        In the Blink of an Eye by Julie Miller (Hero is blinded by lab explosion, but corneal transplant is mentioned as a possibility for one eye from the beginning.)

~        Kansas City Secrets (The Precinct #26) by Julia Miller (Hero has PTSD, Heroine was abused and has PTSD also)

~ A note on Julie Miller books: Her books have very interconnected characters even between series, and I don’t have listed them in order of when they were published. The hero in the book In the Blink of an Eye shows up in the third book of the Task Force series. The heroine in Protecting Plain Jane shows up in The Marine Next Door. I think most of these are actually in a series of closely connected characters but I don’t have them noted aside from the Task Force ones. If you don’t want anything spoiled, you’ll want to pay attention to when they were published. Her books are awesome though. Most of her characters are flawed in some way.

~       High Tide by Maureen Miller (Heroine has fear of the ocean due to PTSD.)

~       Sacrifice of Passion (Deadly Legends–Chupacabra) (currently unavailable from what I can tell) by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez (Heroine sleepwalks due to PTSD.)

~       Beautiful Beast by Dani Sinclair (FTR) ***** (Hero is scarred by explosion that also killed Heroine’s father.)

~       Better Watch Out (originally pubbed in 90s) by Dani Sinclair ****1/2 (Heroine has PTSD.)

~      Blind Man’s Bluff by Kay Stockham (Heroine goes to stay with Hero to teach him how to handle being blind because she’s also blind.)

~       Midnight Caller (Chasing Evil #1) by Leslie Tentler (Hero has PTSD and scars on his body from childhood abuse of him and his siblings—trigger warning—his sister is sexually abused and it’s briefly touched-upon.)

~       Midnight Fear (Chasing Evil #2) by Leslie Tentler ***** (Hero has had a brain tumor removed and is recovering while dealing with the possibility of another one, Heroine is dealing with the emotional/mental fall-out from being the sister of a sadistic serial killer whom she helped catch) (Hero in this one is awesome. Love him.)

~        Edge of Midnight (Chasing Evil #3) by Leslie Tentler (Heroine is tortured but escapes—she has amnesia due to trauma and being roofied)

~       Behind the Veil (Moriah’s Landing Series #4) by Joanna Wayne ***** (FTR-Straight up Beauty and the Beast) (Hero has burns from an explosion that killed his fiancé.)

~       To Honor and To Protect (Specialists #3) by Debra Webb and Regan Black ***** (Hero has PTSD from being held in captivity as a POW for years.)

~      In the Shadow of Greed by Nancy C. Weeks (Paranormal) (Heroine is an Aspie.)

~      Heart of the Night by Gayle Wilson ***** (pubbed in 90s originally) (Hero gets nasty migraines from exposure to light and he lost some fingers in an explosion.)

~      Only a Whisper by Gayle Wilson (FTR-Beauty and the Beast) (Hero was severely beaten and left with injuries) (first pubbed May 96)

~       Her Private Bodyguard by Gayle Wilson ****1/2 (Heroine has a severe limp from a horse crushing her leg)



~       Mistletoe Kisses by Elizabeth Rolls, Deborah Hale, and Diane Gaston (In A Soldier’s Tale by Elizabeth Rolls ***** the hero has severe scarring, a missing eye, and a twisted hand—it’s very much a Beauty and the Beast story and really well done.)

~      SEAL of My Dreams with Baby, I’m Back by Stephanie Bond (Hero is missing part of a leg) SEALed Fates by Kylie Brant ***** (Hero has lost a leg.) Dog Heart by Barbara Samuel–(Hero comes back from war wounded with a wounded dog.) Letters To Ellie by Loreth Anne White–(Hero is a POW with PTSD.)



~       Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin (FTR) ***** (Categorized as Beauty and the Beast. Hero is tortured in the beginning and they have to overcome the racial differences of a match between an orc and a human.) (Okay, so technically no one is disabled/visibly flawed per se–unless you count her humanity and his orc–ness, but I’m including it anyway.)



~      The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion***** (Hero has Asperger’s. So hilariously funny. If you like Big Bang Theory–this is your book. If it didn’t have the F word in it so frequently, I’d be recommending it to everyone.)


New Adult (college-aged MCs) (NA)

~      Tall, Tatted, and Tempting by Tammy Falkner (Hero is deaf and heroine has dyslexia.)

~      Love in Touch by Lucy May Lennox (Hero is deaf and blind. Really interesting. Couldn’t put it down. Like many NA reads this has far more sexual situations and profanity than YA, but this might be my favorite NA read yet.)


Young Adult

~      The Cold King by Amber Jaeger (FTR) (Hero wears mask for a reason. I thought this was an interesting Beauty and the Beast retelling.) (While this was technically PG or PG-13, there were a few profanities, one episode of attempted rape, and some vague sexual references–though no actual sex or anything beyond kissing.)

~       Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine ***** (this is my pen name) OCD and self-harm – cutting. (I’d call this PG-13 due to the depictions of self-harm and profanity.)



Of note: With the exception of those marked as PG, you can expect all these romances to have sexual situations, profanity, and violence to varying degrees. Not recommended for under 18–in my opinion, but parent or read at your discretion. Also, if you’re sensitive to any of the above, skip these. These are not your grandmother’s romances.

Also, I can’t in any way corroborate how well these issues are portrayed with the exception of agoraphobia, OCD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. So my opinions are my own in that regard.

Some of these characters overcome their obstacles/are healed/are magically abled again. This offends some people with their own disabilities of whatever nature. If you are one of these people, I can tell you on the low-low if I remember…or often other reviews *spoil* these books. While my OCD and agoraphobia are severe, I’m very difficult to offend, so I can’t judge things like that well–even in books dealing with those conditions.

All books listed above I bought for myself and I’ve received no compensation from authors, publishers, or anyone else for listing/rating them.

Please comment with suggestions for books I should read or to discuss any of the above. (I’ve read most of these recently so hit me up now before I forget them.)

24 Responses so far.

  1. Talia says:

    <3 thank you! Also try the following books by Carla Kelly:
    Marian's Christmas Wish (Hero has a burned and scarred face)
    Libby's London Merchant (Hero is an alcoholic)
    The Admiral's Penniless Bride (Hero is missing a hand)
    In fact a majority of her books deal with the aftermath of war and many of her characters are scarred, either psychologically or physically by the Napoleonic wars.

  2. <3 <3 <3
    thank you for including HONOR!!!

  3. Leah says:

    I know this is an older post but I appreciate this list so much! I always end up looking back here when I’m in the mood for a good flawed hero!

    • Thank you! It’s good to hear other people like flawed characters as much as I do. I really need to update this list soon actually. I have probably two dozen to transfer from a separate word doc… Hmm. Sounds like a good weekend project.

      • Leah says:

        Yes. Please update! I’ve almost finished the books on this list.

        • Wow! You are a reader after my own heart. I’ll post a reply after I update. 😀 And if you’ve found any I haven’t discovered, let me know…

          • Leah says:

            Right off the top, I think of Tillie Cole’s Hades Hangmen series (3 books).. Flawed heroes and heroines throughout. A couple of my favorite flawed fellas here. The guys are very alpha and the books showcase some brutal aspects of life but WOW. Good reading.

  4. Just updated this list with:

    Guarding Jane Doe by Harper Allen
    Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy
    When No One is Watching by Natalie Charles
    He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not by Lena Diaz
    The Bodyguard by Lena Diaz
    Savior in the Saddle by Delores Fossen
    Behind the Mask by Metsy Hingle
    Deadly Allure by Elle James
    Kansas City Secrets by Julie Miller
    The Guardian by Cindi Myers
    Better Watch Out by Dani Sinclair
    Midnight Caller by Leslie Tentler
    Midnight Fear by Leslie Tentler
    Edge of Midnight by Leslie Tentler
    Behind the Veil Joanna Wayne
    To Honor and Protect by Debra Webb and Regan Black
    Heart of the Night by Gayle Wilson
    Only a Whisper by Gayle Wilson
    Her Private Bodyguard by Gayle Wilson

    They’re all in the Suspense category. I’ve been on a suspense kick recently. Of all these, the series by Leslie Tentler are especially memorable though graphic similar to Cynthia Eden’s Deadly series and I really liked Heart of the Night by Gayle Wilson. I’ve read that twice already.

  5. Katharina says:

    Thank you for this list, I especially like to read about heros/heroines with ocd, because of a kindred feeling (luckily, it’s not very destinctive with me)

    Have you read any books by Courtney Milan? I think in all of her books, there is at least one ‘flawed’ character and she writes about them with a lot of respect

    • Oh my goodness, I just saw your comments. I’m so sorry. They somehow snuck in and hid. I have a YA book about a character with OCD who is also a cutter that I hope to someday see published. I think we need more books with characters with OCD. I’ve read some of Courtney Milan’s books and I have several on my TBR list. I thought I had one on this list… Hmm. Maybe I should hunt through my books and figure out which one I’m thinking of. I’ll check out more of her books though. Thank you!

  6. Robyn says:

    I have three you will love that I didn’t see on your list, Fighting Silence, Fighting shadows and Fighting solitude. Author: Aly Martinez
    Actually, I think I have several that were not on your very complete list if your interested let me know and I will forward more to you.
    Thanks for the time you took to compile this list!!!

    • I snagged Fighting Silence–thank you! And I’m sure I’m missing a ton. I actually have read some paranormals recently that I need to add. But that’s part of it, I’ve been only adding books I’ve read and I read in binges. I’m in a paranormal binge. And, as you can see, I don’t get into certain categories to read very frequently. There’s actually a lot of YA that would fit…and NA too. I’ve even bought some that would work, but they’re languishing on my Kindle because I get all excited about a certain genre and don’t read outside of it. *sighs* I might need to start adding books with some sort of notation that I haven’t actually read them to confirm they’re legit.

      But, please, please, please give me more books and tell me what disability/flaw is in them and what genre. At the very least, people can see it in the comments and check it out while I’m on my fiftieth paranormal for the week. (Seriously. It’s lucky that I read so fast.)

  7. MaryK says:

    Thanks very much for this list! I love that you give so much detail; it can be hard to find flawed character books and sometimes when you think you’ve found one the flaw turns out to be inconsequential or fake.

    Dancing with Clara by Mary Balogh has a heroine in a wheelchair; I can’t remember why she’s in it. It’s an old Signet Regency that’s somewhat controversial because the hero is unfaithful. He keeps his mistress after their marriage which happens early in the book. I will usually not even pick up a romance that contains unfaithfulness; but this was a plot point, and the hero learns self awareness and to care about other people.

    • Hi, somehow I missed this reply. *shakes fist at WordPress* A lot of Balogh’s earlier books are being rereleased in ebook form. I just found another of hers that qualifies for this list, but I haven’t read it yet. I’ll look to see if Dancing with Clara has been released on ebook. Thank you!

  8. Kim says:

    Have you ever read Lord St. Claire’s Angel by Donna Lea Simpson? The heroine has severe arthritis. It’s been a long time since I read it last but I loved it.

  9. […] in romances. (If you want to see more Beauty and the Beast or like flawed heroes/heroines go see my Perfectly Flawed List. I have others labeled as FTR–fairy tale retelling.) Though Cinderella comes in a […]

  10. […] escape. So, I’ve been adding rapidly to my list of books read in 2015 as well as my list of flawed characters.  But, lately, I’ve been looking for a different sort of book: shifter books. I’ve aimed […]

  11. […] trauma. I read a lot of books with characters with PTSD. I’m drawn to them. (Check out my Flawed Characters List for some examples–I add to it fairly […]

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  13. Akilah says:

    Thank YOU!!!! I am in awe of this list and your excellent recommendations !!

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