It’s funny, I’ve made recommendation lists for most romance tropes at this point – fake relationships, sports, enemies to lovers, second chance, and many more – but I’ve been holding out on a friends to lovers list because I just didn’t think I had enough books to recommend. Well… that’s apparently not the case! I’m going to have to dedicate this list to Lauren Layne, because many of my favorite friends to lovers romances are written by her – and I’m okay with that.
Friends to lovers romances can be tricky. Over the years, I’ve definitely become more critical of this trope. I’m not a second chance romance girl because the backstories are often messy and angsty, and that can be the case with friends to lovers romances as well. There’s a fine line between unrequited love and pushover, man-friend and manwhore. But the shared history in these friends to lovers romances often makes it all worth it. I love the existing bond, the emotional connection that builds along the way, and the spark of attraction. There are so many good things about friends to lovers romances, and they can be written very, very well.
Each of these contemporary romance novels was a 5-star read for me. I can’t guarantee that I’d still be cool with the backstories if I read them again today (especially the older ones), but I loved them all the first time around. I’ve included the blurb, and links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection. Happy reading!
Twisted Love by Piper Lawson
When your rich, handsome best friend asks you to be his fake girlfriend?
One of the wealthiest self-made men in New York needs a woman to secure his spot at the helm of his venture firm.
Problem is, Ben doesn’t want any girlfriend…
He wants me.
It will never work.
We’d have to lie to everyone.
He’s incapable of a healthy relationship, and I’ve been living a secret I can’t reveal – especially to my best friend.
It’s an impossible choice:
Bail on the friend who got me through the hardest time in my life…
…Or pretend to fall for the man who already owns my heart?
When the Time is Right by M. Mabie & Aly Martinez
Fate doesn’t always happen overnight.
Hudson Bradley is the cockiest, most stubborn, hard-headed man I’ve ever known. And for fifteen years, he’s been my brother’s best friend.
But lately, what I’m feeling for him isn’t friendship at all.
Why is my heart racing every time his blue eyes lock on mine?
Why does every word he rumbles in my ear make my body come alive?
And worst of all, why did I bet him that I could find a woman he and his son would both love?
If I hadn’t given up on love altogether, Hudson would have been perfect for me. After all, he was there the day my world fell apart. He’s spent the last six years piecing me back together.
There are a million reasons why we could never work, but after a single kiss, I can’t remember any of them.
Now that the time is right, I have to make him mine—before I lose him forever.
The Change Up by Meghan Quinn
BREAKING NEWS: The Bad Boy of Baseball, Maddox Paige, is totally and utterly whipped.
Okay, that might not be the headlines in the newspaper this morning, but it’s the reality of my current situation.
It all started a month ago when I received a call from my best friend, Kinsley. She got a new job in Chicago and needed a place to stay. I’ve known the girl since I was five, what harm would it be to have her stay at my place for a while?
Ha! Total disaster.
Now instead of going out every night with my teammates, I’m couch surfing and sketching endless photos of my best friend . . . but that’s the least of my concerns.
The disaster, you ask? I’m rapidly falling head over cleats in love with my best friend, my roommate, and my number one fan.
And she has no idea . . .
Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, the “queen of witty dialogue” (Rachel Van Dyken, New York Times bestselling author), comes the final installment of the Central Park Pact series, a heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren.
Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.
But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?
Rebellious by Kristy Marie
From best-selling author, Kristy Marie, comes Rebellious, the highly anticipated love story of star-crossed lovers, Aspen and Bennett—characters from the international best-selling novel, IOU.
A love controlled by guilt, contained by rules… One summer will change everything.
No blah, blah, blah.
He wrote the rules onto our skin—every ink stroke tragically smeared by the lines we’d crossed.
He claimed it was the only way we could be together—the only way we wouldn’t destroy our families.
But there was an exception to his rules—one he never saw coming.
All I needed was opportunity and a sunburn.
The girl who played by his rules is gone.
This girl… is not his “friend.”
Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey
“Oh my god. Who is that?”
I get asked this question a lot.
“Oh him?” I reply. “That’s just Ian.”
Just Ian is the biggest understatement of the century.
Just the Mona Lisa. Just the Taj Mahal. Just Ian, with his boring ol’ washboard abs and dime-a-dozen dimpled smile.
Just Ian is… just my best friend.
We’re extremely close, stuck so deep inside a Jim-and-Pam-style friendzone everyone at works assumes we’re a couple – that is until one day, word spreads through the teacher’s lounge that he’s single. Fair game. Suddenly, it’s open season on Ian.
He should be reveling in all the newfound attention, but to our mutual surprise, the only attention he seems to want is mine.
He’s turning our formerly innocent nightly chats into x-rated phone calls. Our playful banter sports a new, dangerous edge.
I want to assume he’s playing a prank on me, just pushing my buttons like always – but when Ian lifts me onto the desk in my classroom and slides his hands up my skirt, he doesn’t leave a lot of room for confusion.
I’m a little scared of things going south, of losing my best friend because I can’t keep my hands to myself. So, I’m just going to back away and not return this earth-shattering kiss – oh who am I kidding?!
Goodbye Ian, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal!
Helloooo mister not so nice guy.
Best Fake Fiancé by Roxie Noir
I told a judge I was engaged to my best friend.
Now we’re faking it.
How hard can it be?
My life has room for exactly two women: my daughter Rusty and my best friend Charlotte — known to everyone as Charlie.
One is a feisty, tomboyish firecracker. The other is my seven-year-old. I can’t imagine life without either.
So when my ex springs a custody hearing on me, I find myself telling the judge that I’m engaged to Charlie.
The only problem? I’m not.
Time to fake an engagement.
Pretending we’re a couple will be no big deal.
We’ve been friends for years. We used to sneak cigarettes behind the bleachers. We turned cans of hairspray into flamethrowers. We got drunk on stolen malt liquor.
She’s beautiful, vivacious, spontaneous, and she loves my daughter to death. It’s the perfect answer: we fake it for a few months, then go back to our lives.
Until we touch, and sparks fly. Until I can’t take my eyes off her. Until I can’t stop thinking about what she’s got on under her coveralls.
It takes one kiss.
One shared secret and suddenly, I’m not pretending anymore. I want her, I need her in ways I didn’t know I could.
But there’s a lifetime of friendship between us, and falling in love with Charlie could mean risking everything.
Make Me Yours by Melanie Harlow
He’s my brother’s best friend.
The hot single dad next door.
And one accidental sext later, my massive crush on him is no longer a secret.
It’s my own damn fault. I’m thirty years old, for heaven’s sake. I’m a kindergarten teacher and a (reasonably) responsible adult. I should know better than to get tipsy and draft a fake text listing all the dirty things I wish Officer Cole Mitchell would do to me.
I wasn’t supposed to hit send.
He wasn’t supposed to see it.
And he definitely wasn’t supposed to text back telling me to go on . . .
Because after that, things escalate quickly.
Cole is everything I’ve ever wanted. He’s sexy and protective. A devoted father to his little girl. A dedicated cop the whole town adores. The kind of guy you can trust to keep his hands to himself, even when you’re desperately hoping he won’t.
I’m not the girl he thought he’d end up with, but after all this time, I might finally get the chance to say the words I’ve always dreamed of . . . make me yours.
Changing Roles by Melanie Moreland
Lights! Camera! Clueless!
Liam Wright is Hollywood’s golden boy and at the top of the A-list.
But what he doesn’t know about life… Well, it could fill his very large Hollywood mansion. Thankfully, he’s got Shelby Carter in his world to keep him—and his house—camera-ready. Part confidante, part master chef, Shelby is his best friend and the only one who knows the real Liam.
Pampered, pretty, and often puzzled, Liam and his antics keep her on her toes, and there is never a dull moment living with him.
Until one day, Liam sees her as more…and he wants her to see him for the man he can be. The man he wants to be.
Is Liam up for the part?
The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…
What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.
No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.
I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.
Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.
Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?
Best Laid Plans by Lauren Blakely
That time I had the brilliant idea to ask my good friend for lessons in sex-ploration…
Awkward? Maybe. But how else is a good girl going to find out if she likes being naughty?
And Gabe is charming, trustworthy, aces at seduction (or so I hear) and willing to give me lessons. But to guarantee it won’t ruin our friendship, I want these classes to be hypothetical more than hands-on.
So what if he’s hella sexy? I can handle that, no problem.
I have it bad for Arden. She’s bright, brilliant, and insanely fun. When she asks for my help, I see my chance to win her sweet heart by showing her how much fun we can have getting spicy.
Trouble is, she has a different idea of what “sex-ploration” should mean. Now I’m going to have to get really clever to win her over.
Good thing I know exactly how to upend her best laid plans.
Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland
An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.
From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story that started with a boy and girl and heats up when the man and woman reconnect.
I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.
Like You Love Me by Adriana Locke
Two childhood friends are playing house—and maybe playing for keeps—in USA Todaybestselling author Adriana Locke’s funny, sexy, and unpredictable marriage-of-convenience romance.
To save her Tennessee bed-and-breakfast, Sophie Bates needs a fast-cash miracle. Holden McKenzie, her childhood best friend, needs to prove to a prospective employer that he’s a committed man. Their fortunes on the line, Holden proposes…a solution.
He’ll take care of Sophie’s bills if she agrees to a temporary marriage of convenience. And why not? They’re comfortable together, they have fun, and they trust each other. It’s as simple as saying “I do.” But the off-the-cuff wedding has all of Honey Creek talking—and Sophie and Holden realizing that their perfect arrangement is working too well. If they’re not careful, this marriage could turn into a love story.
I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne
USA TODAY BESTSELLER • A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as “exemplary contemporary romance.”
Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?
Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.
The Rival Roomies by Piper Rayne
I’ve loved him from afar.
Though most times he’s only a foot away.
I’m smart enough to know he’ll never be anyone’s forever.
He checks all the bad boy boxes. Tattoos. Check. Motorcycle. Check. Chip on his shoulder. Check check.
If he wasn’t my neighbor and friend I may have thrown myself at him. Okay, yeah. I wouldn’t. Because guys like Dylan don’t want a woman who writes kid’s math textbooks under him in bed. Instead, I pathetically savor morsels of moments where I have his sole attention.
That was until his archenemy moved in with me. Now suddenly, Dylan’s moving in too and warning off the first guy in a long time who’s showing me interest. Could he finally see me as more than a friend, or am I just a prize to win and show off to his enemy?
Other Friends to Lovers Romances You Might Enjoy
This section works just like the freebies and deals post – each picture is a link to Amazon, so if a cover catches your eye, then just give it a click.
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