Trope it Up: Friends-to-Lovers

Posted July 31st, 2015 by in Blog, Features, Trope it Up / 20 comments

Trope it Up: Friends-to-Lovers


If you love reading romance novels as much as we do here at HJ, you definitely have a trope or two that you love to read about.


Today we are Troping up on Friends-to-Lovers

Michele here, again, to discuss another of my favorite tropes to read: Friends-to-Lovers.
Everyone will have a different reason why they like this type of story, if they like this type of story, that is. For me, I think it’s that the two friends will already have built up trust between them so there is a solid foundation in place for them to start their relationship.
I also really enjoy watching that transition from friend to something extra. Some characters fight it. Some embrace it. Some coast along until it gets to be too intense. Either way, it’s fun!

I’ve picked out some of the books that come to mind when I thought of this trope. I know I’m forgetting some but here are ten of my favorites:


Sweetest Mistake (Sweet, Texas #2) by Candis Terry:

This was also a reunion story. Jackson & Abby started off as friends as kids so when she comes back to Sweet, TX, they try first to be friends but end up more. The story was sexy, funny, and paired two people who were champions for others in need–Jackson was a firefighter and Abby rescued animals.

Wild Iris Ridge (Hope’s Crossing #7) by RaeAnne Thayne:

This was also a reunion story. Brendan & Lucy were resistant to give in to their chemistry because they didn’t want to upset his two kids and they felt it might look to be in poor taste after he lost his wife, Lucy’s BFF. This story detailed an intense attraction while also showing them healing after their loss. So heartfelt!

Anticipation (Brothers Ink #2) by Sarah Mayberry:

HOT!!!! Blue & Eddie…good gawd almighty! This was one of those stories where everyone around them knew they had a thing for each other, but they worked together so it was probably not a good idea, but there’s no getting around the attraction. Sarah Mayberry included some scorching hot love scenes along with touching moments. Perfect balance.

Outback Dreams (Bunyip Bay #1) by Rachael Johns:

Faith & Monty were childhood best friends who didn’t want to mess up their friendship by giving in to temptation. But a night filled with alcohol changed that and then there’s no turning back. Tender & sweet romance, with family issues also interfering, this was one book I couldn’t put down.

Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass #3) by Molly Harper:

I had to include something from my favorite author. And Kelsey & Charlie were so much fun. There was a bit of a love triangle, a natural disaster of sorts, hilarious situations, and things were smoking hot between uber organized Kelsey and geektastic Charlie. Loved it!

Maybe This Christmas (O’Neil Brothers #3) by Sarah Morgan:

Tyler & Brenna’s story…finally!! If you’ve followed this series, you were waiting for this one. And it was SO good. Sparks were flying all around, and not just from the fireplace! There was a lot of great involvement from secondary characters, too, which I think Sarah Morgan excels at.

Overruled (The Legal Briefs #1) by Emma Chase:

Stanton & Sofia were both alphas in the courtroom, but she loved to give up control in their friends-with-benefits arrangement. This was a complicated relationship thanks to Stanton’s kid and sort-of girlfriend back home in Mississippi. It was fun, witty, and had two Drew sightings if you’ve read Emma’s Tangled series. 😉

Always On My Mind (Lucky Harbor #8) by Jill Shalvis:

Leah & Jack. Wow. This was a pretend romance between the hunky firefighter and the talented pastry chef to appease family. Chemistry was off-the-charts, lots of funny scenes, and with family drama that was bittersweet but realistic. This story is why I absolutely adore Jill Shalvis!!

All Summer Long (Fool’s Gold #9) by Susan Mallery:

Charlie & Clay’s romance! Arguably my favorite in the Fool’s Gold series. So far. They both help each other over some issues: Charlie’s painful past, and Clay’s fame interfering with becoming a fireman. They were absolutely lovely together, and this was so charming and so sweet it brought me to tears…especially the ending.

Bite Me (Pride #9) by Shelly Laurenston:

Livy & Vic’s romance was both hysterical and smoldering hot. Shelly’s paranormals are always comical and quirky, but this one took it to new levels. High energy with lots of fighting–both with action scenes and bickering between Livy (a honey badger shifter) and Vic (a tiger-bear shifter), this one was as wonderful as it was wacky.

 So now that I’ve rambled on about my top picks, what are your favorites in the Friends-to-Lovers trope? Any certain books that stand out? Any authors that have a knack for this type of story? Or are you not a big fan of the trope?


I’d love to hear what you all have to say about it.

Michele H



20 Responses to “Trope it Up: Friends-to-Lovers”

  1. Loverofromance

    Friends to Lovers is such a fun trope!! I can’t believe I haven’t read any of the books you have listed here…I definitely need to rectify that and SOON!! haha. Candis Terry is top of my list to try next month. I really like Molly Harper, her humor is so unique and her books even though they are serious plots, because of the humor are so lighthearted and fun. I love this post you do of the Tropes.

    • Michele H

      Thank you!!! Yeah, I picked my favorite authors first and then chose the books listed. Most of these have come out in the past year, so if you have a looooooong TBR list (don’t we all?!) then they may still be waiting for you to peruse. I hope you enjoy Candis Terry’s books as much as I have. Those Texas Wider guys are dreamy… Yay!!!! A fellow Molly Harper fan! I should probably be ashamed of how much I love her books/characters. (Read: total fangirl) I wholeheartedly agree about her humor. It’s quirky, snarky, lively…and just way too much fun to read! 😉

  2. jcp

    Some of my favorites in this troupe:
    Hot In Here by Sophie Renwick
    Eye Candy By Dorie Graham
    Hot and Bothered by Kate Meader
    A Cowboy to Come Home To by Donna Alward
    Pure Temptation by Vicki Lewis Thompson
    Kiss your Prince Charming by Jennifer Greene
    Her Valentine Hero by Gail Gaymer Martin

    Bella Andre has one about friends becoming love in her Sullivan series H/h are Ryan and Vicki, Title escapes me right now

    In some cases H/h are best friends or H has always loved her while being friends/accquintances

    • Michele H

      What a great list, JCP! I completely forgot about the Kate Meader and Vicki Lewis Thompson titles. How did I do that? lol And I’m kind of mad at myself for forgetting about Bella Andre’s Let Me Be the One…LOVED that book. The Sullivans series is so wonderful and uber popular…for a very good reason. Right you are about the different ways friends-to-lovers can play out. Best friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc. The possibilities are endless!

  3. marcyshuler

    I love this trope and really loved Anticipation and Always On My Mind from your list

    I recently read in this trope:
    Hard To Be Good by Laura Kaye.
    Dropping Gloves by Catherine Gayle.
    Over the Top by Rebecca Zanetti.
    Until We Touch by Susan Mallery.

    • Michele H

      So glad you enjoyed a few on the list, Marcy! I 100% agree with your additions. 🙂 I adored Hard To Be Good but already used it in a couple of posts and didn’t want to overwhelm everyone. (But it was SO good!!) I’ll have to check out Dropping Gloves…it looks fantastic! I loved Over the Top and Until We Touch. You can’t go wrong with either of those two authors, no matter what!

  4. Tammy Y

    I love Anticipation and Always On My Mind from your list. I would add Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. Anything For You by Sarah Mayberry

    • Michele H

      Thanks, Tammy! Anticipation and Always On My Mind seem to be unanimous favorites so far. YES…Just One of the Guys was fabulous! Kristan Higgins always nails it with her characters. I somehow didn’t even think of Anything For You. Nicely done! Sarah Mayberry is another rock-solid writer. Good stuff!

  5. Kim

    Overruled is on my TBR list and Always on My Mind is also one of my favorites in this trope!

    • Michele H

      Excellent! You can’t go wrong with either of those two books, Kim. I hope you enjoy Overruled when you get to it!

  6. Heather B

    One of my recent favorites with this trope was Wrecked by Shiloh Walker. I was a little frustrated with the heroines obliviousness, but otherwise, I loved it!

  7. jcp

    Some more recs:
    How to Marry a Doctor by Nancy Robards Thompson
    From Best Friend to Bride by Jules Bennett
    Wife for One Year by Brenda Harlan
    Going All the Way by Tanya Michaels
    Baby on the Ranch by Marie Ferrerella

    • Michele H

      Thanks for the great recommendations, JCP! Some big names there, especially Marie Ferrarella who is a Harlequin legend!

  8. Leanna

    One of my favorite tropes. I have read about of this list, you have now added more books to my wish List!

    • Michele H

      Such a fun trope, right? Sorry to be adding more the TBR, Leanna…LOL! Believe me, I’ve been adding books left and right with everyone’s great recommendations here as well! 😉