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Just Kiss Already! My 7 Favorite Friends-to-Lovers Romance Reads

by  | July 30
Friends to Lovers Trope books

One of my favorite tropes is friends to lovers. In a genre that often gets labeled as unrealistic, it feels like one of the more likely scenarios that can bring a pair together romantically. Sure, we all enjoy a love-at-first-sight meet-cute, but nothing beats the moment a switch goes off between people who only ever saw each other platonically, and suddenly the sparks fly. When that moment is done right, it can lead to a magical romance. From powerhouse writing duos Christina Lauren to new-favorite Talia Hibbert, this trope seems to be a favorite among authors as well!

Take a Hint, Dani Brown

Take a Hint, Dani Brown

by Talia Hibbert

You might have met the Brown Sisters with Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the first book in this exuberant series, and now, with the second novel, it’s time for Dani Brown’s own happy ending! Professional success and academic renown are Danika Brown’s priorities in life…and the occasional hookup to relieve all that scholarly tension. In Take a Hint, Dani Brown, friends to lovers gets a fun twist with one of my other favorite tropes: fake relationship! Zafir Ansari rescues Dani when a fire drill goes wrong—just in time for someone to capture the moment and make it go viral. Zaf is a retired rugby player with a children’s foundation in need of good publicity, so after the viral photo, he begs Dani to fake a relationship with him to help his foundation. That wasn’t exactly what Dani had in mind when she first saw the handsome ex-rugby player, and Zaf doesn’t want to just roll into bed with Dani like she would prefer. Thus begins an amazing, sexy tale of two people embarking on the wonderful transformation from friends to each other’s happily ever after.

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Dear Emmie Blue

Dear Emmie Blue

by Lia Louis

For anyone who loved Cecelia Ahern’s Love, Rosie as much as I did, you may find you love Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis even more. When Emmie Blue was 16, she released a red balloon with her name, her email address, and a secret into the air. Hundreds of miles away on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau picked up Emmie’s balloon and responded to her message. A 14-year-long friendship that started with one secret blossoms into more, and now Emmie holds another secret: she’s in love with her friend Lucas.

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Marriage on Madison Avenue

Marriage on Madison Avenue

by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is a staple for many contemporary romance fans. In Marriage on Madison Avenue, Layne introduces us to lifelong friends Audrey Tate and Clarke West. They’ve been friends since childhood and while many people say men and women can’t be friends, Clarke and Audrey beg to differ! As in Take a Hint, Dani Brown, this book begins as these two friends embark on a fake relationship. Clarke needs help dodging his matchmaking mother, and one day he impulsively announces he’s engaged…to Audrey. Things move fast between these two friends—and soon fake feelings turn real. Now wedding bells seem to hold a lot more appeal for these friends turned lovers.

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Beautiful Player

Beautiful Player

by Christina Lauren

When you arrive in a new city, you’ll search out anyone you know to make new connections—even your older brother’s best friend who you haven’t seen in years. At least, that’s what Hanna Bergstrom does when she arrives in New York City (after a bit of badgering from said older brother that she needs to get out more). Enter Will Sumner. Beautiful Player is the fifth book in Christina Lauren’s Beautiful series and it is by far my favorite—if not one of my favorite books of all time. Will and Hanna have a story that perfectly balances sexy and sweet, and you’ll fall in love with their book as easily as these two fall in love with each other.

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Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

by Christina Lauren

 When I said this trope seems to be a favorite of Christina Lauren, I wasn’t joking! That’s why they earned two spots on this list. In Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, we learn very quickly that Josh Im and Hazel Camille Bradford are definitely. Not. dating. But they are in love! Josh and Hazel have known each other since college and their lives continue to collide through the years. Finally, after Josh’s love life crashes and burns because of a cheating girlfriend, he and Hazel begin to “not date” in order to gain much needed perspective for their next relationships (which will totally not be with each other). Again, Christina Lauren delivers a sexy and sweet tale that I read in a single sitting!

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Friends Without Benefits

Friends Without Benefits

by Penny Reid

Before Penny Reid became famous for her small-town, Tennessee-set Winston Brothers series, she had readers falling in love with her Knitting in the City series. The second book in the series, Friends Without Benefits, which also works as a stand-alone, is great for any friends-to-lovers fans. Elizabeth Finney used to hate Nico Manganiello, and while they’re now former enemies and reluctant friends, Elizabeth knows she wants not a single benefit with him. Luckily for all of us rooting for happy endings, Elizabeth doesn’t stand a chance against Nico’s charm.

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The One for You

The One for You

by Roni Loren

Before I dive into describing this book, this title comes with a content warning for the series. The Ones Who Got Away series contains flashback scenes of a school shooting that link the characters and bring them back together for the 10-year anniversary of the event—and many of the characters deal with PTSD. In The One for You, Loren wraps up the series with the long-awaited story of Kincaid Breslin and Ashton Isaacs, two friends from childhood who both survived the terrible night that marked their school forever. The tragedy at the senior prom severed their friendship, and years have driven them apart. When Ash finally returns to their Texas hometown, he’s conflicted over his buried feelings for Kincaid and the secret that could take her away from him forever.

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By day, Jennifer Proffitt works in marketing for a non-profit in Brooklyn. By night, she spends her free time writing and reading romance novels and talking about pop culture. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her cat, whom she likes more than most people.