Who doesn’t like enemies to lovers goodness? Hate to love relationships make up some of my absolute favorite romances, and this trope is the one that I love the most. So this recommendation list was one of the most difficult for me to put together. Why? Because I can’t seem to stop recommending some of these books, lol! But that’s no reason to ignore the trope altogether in my rec center, so let’s talk about enemies to lovers romance!
Whether it’s dark or light, heavy or humorous, enemies to lovers romances can be executed in so many different ways. There’s something about a slow burn and endless sexual tension that always seems to win me over, making hate to love romances very bingeable reads. It’s a common trope in contemporary romance, and that’s because it’s so versatile. From bully romance to office romance to college romance and more, enemies to lovers works in so many different situations.
The books on this list are all contemporary romance novels that have received 5-star ratings from me, and several have also made my Best of lists. The older ones probably would’ve made the lists if I’d been blogging at the time! I’ve included a description of the vibe, the blurb, and a link to Amazon for easy addition to your collection for each book. Happy reading!
Jeeves’ Top 20 of 2020 Selection • Lovers to enemies to lovers
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.
Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.
But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves—and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
Best of the Month Selection • STEAMY and intense • Rock star
The Hate-Love Duet by Lauren Rowe
I’ve tried to like Adrian Savage, the mercurial frontman for Fugitive Summer, while serving as his band’s opening act on tour. We’re stuck together for three months, after all. And I’m well aware I’m lucky to be here.
But it’s proved impossible. He’s far too rude and dismissive a guy to get along with. And way too good at getting under my skin. In fact, at this point, I think it’s fair to say I downright hate his guts.
Global thirst trap that he is, though, I’m finding it extremely difficult not to want to jump Savage’s bones, despite how much he infuriates me. I hate myself for it. But my body is going rogue on me. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m determined to resist him.
In fact, what I’ve decided is that, as long as I’m here and stuck with him, I’m not only going to give Savage the sound tongue lashing nobody else around here has the balls to deliver, I’m going to bring that bad boy to his knees.
You Can Have Manhattan by P. Dangelico
Jeeves’ Top 19 of 2019 Selection • Marriage of convenience • Tense
You are cordially invited to the worst wedding of the century.
Sydney Evans is no stranger to hard work. It’s the one constant in her life. And with no family or friends to speak of it’s been easy to pour everything she has into her career as general counsel for Blackstone Holdings.
She wants for nothing. Until her boss offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All she has to do in return is marry his good-for-nothing son.
Scott Blackstone used be a party whore. Pardon, party animal. He hasn’t been that guy in a long time though. Not since he moved to Wyoming, bought a failing cattle ranch, and turned it into a profitable business.
All is good. Until a phone call from his father threatens the quiet, simple life he’s built. Marry or lose everything. And to a woman who can’t stand him, no less. Well, Scott is not going down without a fight. He’s never going back to Manhattan. Not if he can help it.
See Me After Class by Meghan Quinn
Best of the Month Selection • STEAMY and intense • Funny
“Did you have relations with my brother . . .”
I’d like to preface this by saying it was never my intention to ever get involved in a workplace romance, let alone get involved with the most surly, agitating, and pompous man I’ve ever met who just so happens to be my new friend’s brother.
My intentions were to show students how English and reading books could actually be fun and make a new life for myself in the suburbs of Chicago.
But so far, I’ve managed to be called into the principal’s office.
Coerced into participating in the teacher’s badminton league.
And instigated into passionate fights with Arlo Turner over education and decorum while losing my underwear at the same time.
Known as Mr. Turns Me On, he’s the reason I might get fired from my first ever teaching job.
My review is one of the first to show there
A Favor for a Favor by Helena Hunting
Jeeves’ Top 20 of 2020 Selection • Chemistry • Playful • Slow burn
From the New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and A Lie for a Lie, a new stand-alone romance about trading favors, battling wills, and winning love.
When I joined Seattle’s NHL expansion team, I thought it was the start of something great. But nothing ever goes the way you expect. Take my introduction to my new neighbor. She came rolling in on the hot mess express at midnight, making a racket while she tried to get into my team captain’s apartment. Did I mention that he’s married to a woman who definitely was not her?
Imagine my surprise when I end up with an injury that has me out of the game for weeks, and she’s the one to offer to help me. I should probably add that she’s not the captain’s mistress. She’s his sexy, pastel-haired younger sister.
So we come up with an arrangement: she rehabs me so that I can get back on the ice sooner, and she can add a professional athlete that isn’t her brother to her client list. Seems simple enough. As long as I can keep my hands to myself and my hormones in check.
Best of the Month Selection • Office rivals • Vacation romance • Light
Shipped by Angle Hockman
The Unhoneymooners meets The Hating Game in this witty, clever, and swoonworthy novel following a workaholic marketing manager who is forced to go on a cruise with her arch-nemesis when they’re up for the same promotion.
Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.
The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.
Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.
With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?
Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne, Shipped is a fresh and engaging rom-com that celebrates the power of second chances and the magic of new beginnings.
Rom com with tension • Best friend’s brother • Duet
The Jerk Duet by Max Monroe
Rule number one: don’t fall for jerks.
Rule number two: don’t fall for your best friend’s brother.
Oops. Too late.
I’m Luciana Wright.
Everyone calls me Lucky, but when it comes to love, I’m anything but.
I have a long history of dating the wrong men.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
The beautiful, charming guys who are quite literally too good to be true.
The ones who are impulsive in love and prefer short flings over long-term relationships.
I’m talking about the jerks.
The guys who taste so good, but are so very bad.
After going through the most ridiculous breakup in the history of breakups, I thought I’d learned my lesson. I officially put myself into jerk rehab and committed to changing my ways.
But, let’s be real here, love is never that easy.
Especially when an arrogant, charming, he-devil of a sexy alpha man gets involved.
Muscular, surfer bod.
Gorgeous brown eyes.
And the kind of sexy smile that brings women to their knees.
Oh, did I mention that he’s also my best friend’s brother?
Yeah. This story, my story, it’s a real doozy you guys.
The day I stopped falling for jerks, I met Oliver Arsen—the biggest jerk of all.
Jeeves’ Top 20 of 2020 Selection • High school • Angsty
Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills
WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a gripping enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, high school romance.
The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world–until they destroyed me.
The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.
Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?
Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That’s stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It’s been ten months since you were here, but I can’t forget you.
I’ve missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I’ve missed you cheering at my football games.
I’ve missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don’t hate me because I’m a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.
Best of the Month Selection • DARK and intense • Antihero
The Brit by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Pleasure has never been so deadly.
Rose Cassidy doesn’t truly live; she just exists. Numbing herself to fear and pain is the only way she can survive in this cruel world. So when she’s taken as collateral by the notorious Danny Black in a deadly game of power, she’s thrown by the deep fear she feels rising within her. And, worse than fear, a profound desire. She’s heard tales of The Brit. He’s callous. Coldblooded. But no one ever said he was wickedly beautiful and darkly captivating. He sees past her mask, giving her a cruel sense of hope. But she must fight their twisted attraction or risk losing the one thing she survives for.
When Danny Black took an enemy’s beautiful lover as security, he never anticipated the repercussions. Or the warped attraction they would share. Rose Cassidy pushes Danny to the brink of madness with her impenetrable façade and savage allure. He has to remind himself that she’s bait. A solution to a problem. Yet she evokes powerful feelings in Danny, and feelings are risky when you’re wanted dead by endless enemies.
The most dangerous game is about to be played.
But can either of them win?
*This story is gritty, dark, edgy, and contains scenes that some people may find uncomfortable to read. It is NOT for the fainthearted.
Jeeves’ All-Time Favorite • Sexual tension • Cold hero • Angsty
Managed by Kristen Callihan
It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.
I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.
That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.
I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.
If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.
Let the battle begin…
Sexual tension • Light but tense • Opposites attract • Jerk hero
Arrogant Devil by R.S. Grey
Everyone in Cedar Creek, Texas, knows Jack McNight is an arrogant devil. Physically, I get it: he’s tan and fit, with coal-black hair that’s clearly been scorched by hellfire. Oh, and his personality? It burns just as hot.
When I show up on the doorstep of Blue Stone Ranch, I’m run-down and rockin’ my last pair of underwear. I’m hoping for a savior, but instead, I find him.
My opinion of Jack is marred by a dismal first impression, but his opinion of me is tainted even before I arrive. He’s heard I’m a spoiled princess there to take advantage of his goodwill. To him, I’m more trouble than I’m worth.
Our button-pushing banter should get under my skin. His arrogance should be a major turn-off. Problem is, devils are known to offer their own form of temptation.
Every one of his steely glares sends a shiver down my spine.
Every steamy encounter leaves me reeling.
Sure, it could be the Texas heat messing with my head, but there’s no way I’ll survive the summer without silencing him with a kiss and wrestling him out of those Wranglers.
Who knows…going to bed with the devil might just be the salvation I’ve been looking for all along.
Best of the Month Selection • Opposites attract • Small town
Hate You Not by Ella James
I didn’t know I was that person. You know—the one who gets the kids. But that’s what the will said. June Lawler: Legal Guardian.
My niece and nephew are 6 and 9, and all they’ve ever known is San Francisco. I arrive the day after the wreck, pack up my sister’s mansion, and fly them back to Georgia.
The small-town farm where their mom and I grew up isn’t what it once was, but it’s home. That’s all they really need.
I was courting an investor when it happened. Tromped all up and down the Himalayas, and he didn’t even buy in. It was a week before I found out what I’d lost. My little brother meant the world to me. Now even his kids are gone.
Spirited away to Heat Springs, Georgia—population 298.
They’re living on a farm that’s half a breath from bank foreclosure with a 26-year-old who didn’t finish high school. Nowhereville is not the place for little Mastersons. But I’ll get them back. It’s the money she must want, and I’ve got lots of that.
“June Bug” Lawler is poorer than that red dirt she comes from. I can make her dreams come true—and do one last thing for my brother.
I hate him.
She makes me crazy.
He thinks he can buy me off! I’ve never met a man so arrogant.
There’s no woman anywhere more stubborn.
I wish I had never met him.
But that’s not the story.
Beloved rom com • Quirky • Light • Office romance
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
Jeeves’ Top 20 of 2020 Selection • Frenemies to lovers • Rom com
Kiss My Putt by Tara Sivec
“Palmer ‘Pal’ Campbell has epic breakdown on the 18th hole of the Bermuda Open! Video at 11.”
After spending my entire pro golfing career being known as the quiet, controlled, no-nonsense golfer on the tour, there’s nothing more humiliating than throwing all of that down the drain—or into a water hazard—on national television. Needing some place to hide, to lick my wounds and figure out what I even want to do with my life once this blows over, I can only think of one place I need to be. Summersweet Island, where everyone treats me like one of their own, and they’ll all be happy to have me home again.
Well, except maybe one person. It’s been two years since I last set foot on Summersweet Island or spoke to anyone there. But I’m sure Birdie Bennett, my best friend since I was 15 and the clubhouse manager of my favorite golf course, has had plenty of time to forgive me for that tiny little misunderstanding where I blocked her on social media and blocked her in my phone. Oh, and I guess I kind of, sort of accused her of being a stalker. It’s fine!
Once my sexy, spunky, former best friend gets over the shock of seeing me again and stops trying to drive a 9-iron into my skull, I can finally let her know I’ve also kind of, sort of always been in love with her…
My review is one of the first to show there
Best of the Month Selection • Angsty New Adult • Former friends turned enemies • Tense and sexy
Fake It Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy
USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Meagan Brandy delivers a new standalone, fake relationship romance about finding light when your world is dark, and fighting for love when all seems lost.
That’s what we are.
That’s what we agreed to be.
So why does it feel so real?
I thought it would have been harder, convincing everyone our school’s star receiver was mine and mine alone, but I was wrong.
We played our parts so well that the lines between us began to blur until they disappeared completely.
The thing about pretending, though, someone’s always better at it, and by the time I realized my mistake, there was no going back.
I fell for our lie.
And then everything fell apart.
It turned out he and I were never playing the same game.
He didn’t have to break me to win.
But he did it anyway.
Want more romance recs?
I referenced my Top 20 of 2020 several times in this list. You can find the complete list here, which includes my favorite books of 2020, top picks by trope, favorite covers, and the books that stayed on my mind (for better or worse).
Do you love an antihero?
Check out my list of The Guys Your Mom Warned You About: 15 Bad Boys and Playboys here.
Want a lighthearted forbidden romance?
Check out my list of 15 Brother’s Best Friend Romances here.
Want to read about a great heroine?
Check out my list of 15 Heroine-Driven Romances here.
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