The Best Modern, Captivating Enemies-to-Lovers Romance Books

There's nothing like a good enemies-to-lovers romance book to get your blood boiling!

Mmmmm, enemies-to-lovers romance has a power like no other to get ALL our rage going! Whew, sometimes the hate just stresses a girl out! Sometimes we even have to take deep breaths and remember the characters aren’t real and the story isn’t actually happening! Really, the best enemies-to-lovers books are the ones that get under your skin like that. And when the characters finally get together, it hits hard.

So here are short snippets our favorite contemporary enemies-to-lovers romances. For longer reviews of these and all kinds of books, check out our Reviews page! Hope you find some books you love!

"I don't need any fancy language to know you belong with me."

Sworn enemies Natalie and August each need an influx of cash to realize their dreams, and the most direct path to get it? Marriage. Never mind the sizzling chemistry in the midst of all the hate.

Unfortunately Yours is my favorite Tessa Bailey book since It Happened One Summer, and there’s much more to it than just a simple marriage of convenience among enemies…

Rating: 5
Steam: Medium
Tropes: Marriage of convenience, fake relationship, enemies to lovers, military guy
Pair With: Wines from Veteran-Owned Vineyards.

Close quarters with a sexy landlord determined to get under her skin in this enemies-to-lovers fun!

Sophia needs to focus on work and taking care of her mom and sister. What she does NOT need is an overbearing (even if hot and sexy) landlord who lives for annoying her and who comes from the snottiest high-society family in San Francisco. Landlord Wars is cute and fun, and it’s actually pretty easy to warm up to Max (and to hate his family).

Rating: 3.8
Steam: Medium
Tropes: Enemies to lovers, proximity
Pair with: Fancy California wines such as Mount Eden Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay, Far Niente Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, or Quintessa Rutherford 2019 Red Blend.    

"That’s the truth about making mistakes, about making the wrong choices. You live with them, and if you’re lucky you get enough perspective to see where you went astray."

When Luck of the Draw started off, I couldn’t think of two people less likely to get together. The epitome of the enemies-to-lovers trope. 

Zoe’s rethinking her life after quitting her job at a ruthless law firm that completely screwed over Aiden’s family after his brother died. Aiden has never hated anyone more, but he desperately needs to appear family-friendly to buy a business and honor his brother. So he uses Zoe’s conscience to get her to pose as his fake fiancé, and she’d do anything to right her wrong.

Loved the banter and quit wit in this book, and really loved the theme of family and honoring a loved one who struggled with addiction.

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Fake Relationship, Proximity, Addiction
Pair With: Non-alcoholic wines.

“What part of your day would you like to hold on to before you close your eyes? Find that good bit, and let it be the thing you fall asleep to.”

A second-chance, fake-marriage, enemies-to-lovers romance with two really likeable characters and some great tension? Yes, please! LaRynn and Deacon had one hot teenage summer ten years ago that ended in heartbreaking and humiliating fashion for LaRynn. Now, they’ve jointly inherited a crumbling building. Declan has the renovation skills but no cash; LaRynn can get her trust fund cash but has to be married. Can they live through a renovation without killing each other?

Rating: 3.9
Steam: Medium to High
Themes and Tropes: Second Chance, Enemies to Lovers, Fake Marriage, Slow Burn 
Pair With: Wines from the Santa Cruz, California area, such as Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhys Alesia Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. Or find other wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Hilarious banter, lovable characters, lots of fun moments, and quirky families = great entertainment

Work nemeses Ava and Myles—normally separated by different offices and hundreds of miles—find themselves stuck in the same office with all kinds of issues. Plus Ava has a secret. She’s feeling her bio clock and wants a baby on her own; if Myles finds out, she’ll never hear the end of it. So, of course, it doesn’t take him long to find out…

Rating: 3.5
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Workplace, Pregnancy
Pair With: West Virginia Wines

And these enemies-to-lovers thought they were being so sneaky...

Maddie and Theo’s best friend is getting married, so they need to grit their teeth and try to deal with each other. Only they end up in bed together one night and can’t resist the attraction. So they make some rules to keep a secret relationship going. And those kinds of rules always work, right?

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, One Night Stand, Secret Relationship
Pair With: Your favorite California wine.

“Men were a mistake,” Sadie says. “Big mistake,” Hannah adds. “Huge.”

Three enemies-to-lovers, women-in-STEM novellas in one book! You get Mara and Liam each refusing to move out of their jointly inherited home, rivals Sadie and Erik getting stuck in an elevator for hours, and NASA’s Hannah and Ian finding love under freezing conditions. Each story gets your rage going but also brings some great laughs and perfect endings.  

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Proximity, STEM
Pair With: Wines from Sustainable Wineries.

A platonic arrangement between neighbor-enemies turns way too hot...

Temporary neighbors Stevie and Bishop definitely start off on the wrong foot, and the antagonism grows exponentially from there. But injured star hockey player Bishop needs more treatment than he’s getting from the team, and physical therapist Stevie needs a high-profile client to push her career forward. So they make a deal, which brings them in close proximity on a daily basis…

Rating: 3.7
Steam: Medium to High
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Athletes, Proximity
Pair With: Wines from Washington, such as Brook & Bull selections, Arbor Crest, or if you’re a Costco person, various Kirkland brands. 

Gabriel just has to meet his new business rival Blake after she called him out in The Wall Street Journal, and boy is he in for a surprise! Both main characters make the book—Blake built her business from nothing, kicks a**, and is also thoughtful and kind. After a rough start, I really warmed up to Gabriel and couldn’t help rooting for him. Lots of fun and worth the read.

Rating: 4.4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Slow-ish burn, Billionaires, New York
Pair With: Fancy but fun wines

Xavier returns to his small hometown freshly dumped, having lost out on a prestigious fellowship, and needing cash. The last thing he wants is to work for Logan, his new enemy (who is his parents’ favorite person). Logan desperately needs help in his restaurant’s kitchen, but the last person he wants to hire is Xavier. Witty banter and great writing made this book a lot of fun (even though Xavier can be a little bratty and I would’ve loved dual POV here).

Rating: 3.8
Steam: Low to Medium
Themes and Tropes: LGBTQIA+, Small Town, Single Dad, Enemies to Lovers, Colleagues
Pair With: Wines perfect for seafood and Maine summers, such as Kono Sauvignon Blanc ($13), Fess Parker Pinot Noir ($29), Domaine Denizot Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc ($27), Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé ($15), or La Crema Brut Rosé ($47).

Academic Rivals, Hilarious Pranks, the Copy of my favorite enemies-to-lovers books

I loved the entire Dirty Martini Running Club series, and Falling for My Enemy might be my favorite of the four. You can feel the hate from Hazel right from the get-go, and maybe Corban’s a little confused at first but he gives it right back. The friend group is hilarious and the chemistry is everywhere.

Rating: 4.5
Steam: Medium to High
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Workplace, Forced Proximity
Pair With: Your go-to martini or a wine from Washington. 

Two witty exes trapped on a road trip full of misadventure and hilarity? Yes, please! When Katherine suffers a concussion and a giant gash on her back from a taxi accident, the hospital calls her emergency contact. Who happens to be her ex-husband, Tom. Who’s trying to get out of NYC for Christmas so he can propose to his girlfriend. But Katherine can’t be alone with a concussion. . . .

Rating: 4.7
Steam: None
Themes and Tropes: Second Chance, Road Trip, Holidays/Christmas, Enemies to Lovers, Close Proximity
Pair With: Perfect pairings with Bolognese sauce. Consider a nice Barolo such as La Spinona Sori Gepin or Giovanni Rosso Barolo del Commune di Serralunga d’Alba

Bitter enemies since childhood, Kate and Christopher find themselves back in close proximity and throwing daggers. When Christopher lost his parents as a teenager, Kate’s parents essentially adopted him and never looked back, treating him as the son they never had. When Kate returns from her latest photojournalism adventure, the speaks fly and it’s on!

Rating: 3.8
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Childhood Acquaintances, ADHD, Retelling (Taming of the Shrew).
Pair With: Nothing’s jumping out at me here, so go with your go-to wine.

New Year, New Goals, New Person. Cecily is NOT letting her enemy and former love get to her...

Cecily is a successful attorney whose love life is nonexistent. Heading home for Lunar New Year, she’ll have to hear all about it from her overbearing and critical mother. And she’ll have to see the reason for it: Jeffrey, the man who broke her heart ten years ago. But that’s ok. Along with the Lunar New Year, Cecily has serious plans to liven up her life and move forward. And they don’t include Jeffrey…

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Second chance, enemies to lovers, meddling family
Pair with: Bold California wines such as

  • Slam Dunk Petit Sirah and Zinfandel ($15)
  • La Jota Merlot ($85)
  • Monte Rio Cellars Petit Sirah ($23)
  • Ironside Cellars Red Blend ($15)
  • Castello di Amorosa 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)

First impressions can be wrong, right?

Angry sparks fly when Sonya and Trav disagree on how to handle a passenger’s health scare on a plane. The inferno rages even more when Sonya becomes Trav’s supervisor at the hospital. He needs her good recommendation to pass his paramedic program, and she needs to demonstrate she can manage others if she wants a promotion. Can they suck it up and be nice, or too nice?

Rating: 4
Steam: Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Proximity, Workplace
Pair With: Something that’s an Exception to the normal wine rules (a rosé in winter, a full-bodied Cabernet in summer, a white Pinot Noir).

Behind the scenes of reality TV at its finest, old wounds, new drama, so much fun!

Emily goes viral when her mom goes on a national morning show and begs the country to find Emily a boyfriend. So viral that she ends up on a hit reality dating show that—unbeknownst to her—is produced by the jerk who took off broke her heart seven years ago. She’s hell-bent on revenge and he’s determined to secure a promotion, and soon it’s no holds barred.

Rating: 4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Proximity, Reality TV, Second Chance
Pair With: Something wild enough to match the wildness of Reality TV. Also check out this post about the Wildest Wine Throws in Reality TV History and this one about what to pair with episodes of The Bachelor

You probably know Red, White & Royal Blue was turned into a movie by now. I haven’t seen it yet, but loved the book and am a little afraid I’ll hate the movie.

A major debacle between the U.S President’s son Alex and British royal Henry sends their respective PR teams spinning, and the two are told in no uncertain terms to be nice and pretend to be friends. Of course, as they’re trying to navigate their fishbowl world and massively unfair demands, they are so drawn to each other and deeper they go.

Rating: 4.5
Steam: Low to Medium
Themes and Tropes: LGBTQ+, Politics, Royalty, Public Eye, Enemies to Lovers, Forbidden Love
Pair With: Fancy and famous, such as Dom Perignon or Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection.  

A bitter rivalry that stems from a massive miscommunication: not always my favorite plotline, but this book was still a lot of fun. After the hotel gets a fat reward for returning a lost wedding ring, Izzy and Lucas launch a competition returning other lost rings in hopes of gaining more rewards and saving their beloved hotel. The hijinks and growth along the way are a nice balance and made for a great ride, with maybe a little too much dragging on the miscommunications.

Rating: 3.5
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Miscommunication, Enemies to Lovers, Workplace, Proximity
Pair With: Christmas wines

Tired of her famous and overbearing father, chef Tatum Elliott moves across the country to manage catering at Stonebrook Farm, where former culinary rival Lennox Hawthorne runs a wildly successful legit farm-to-table restaurant. Lennox always resented how Tatum had everything handed to her because of her father, and Tatum knows it but respects that he never kissed her ass like everyone else did. They notice each other’s hotness from the start but resist—for a while….

Rating: 4
Steam: None
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to lovers, small town, close family, forced proximity
Pair with: Try Fowles Farm to Table wines, including Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, all around $20/bottle. 

One of my favorites of 2023 and an all-time enemies-to-lovers great!

Merry DeLuca has been pining after her BFF Leo for years, and then suddenly, he’s marrying her sister? What? Perfect timing: Merry’s flighty godmother offers her a three-month stay in what sounds like a romantic and beautiful French chateau, so off she goes and finds . . . Noah Wright, Leo’s best friend, hot travel documentary star, and Merry’s mortal enemy, who’s there for his own reasons.

Give this one a little time if you’re annoyed at the beginning—everyone (except the sister) gets better!

Rating: 4.5
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Proximity, Castle, Escape/Travel
Pair With: Wines from the Annecy, France area, such as Savoie and Beaujolais.   

City girl Calla meets gruff and tough (and super hot) rural Alaskan pilot Jonah and it's the BEST!

One of my all-time favorite books, even though I hated Jonah at the beginning. High-maintenance Calla comes to rural northern Alaska in her wedge heels and makeup, to reunite with a dying father who basically abandoned her. Hot, surly pilot Jonah is having none of her drama and intends to knock her down a few pegs. And then things get so, so good! 

Rating: 5
Steam: Low
Tropes: Opposites Attract, Small Town, Wilderness/Rural, Enemies to Lovers
Pair With: Alaskan Beer.

The fourth book in the Wild series (the second and third books continue Calla and Jonah’s story) focuses on Alaska veterinarian Marie and newcomer and Iditarod hopeful Tyler. They definitely get off on the wrong foot when Marie accuses Tyler of abusing his sled dogs (completely improperly). They start to understand and grow on each other, but they also have a lot of baggage.

It’s helpful to at least read The Simple Wild first, but you could still enjoy this book on its own, especially if you’re a dog person.

Rating: 4
Steam: Low to Medium
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Small Town, Widower
Pair With: Alaskan beer, especially Iditarod-themes brews such as Alaskan Brewing Company’s Husky IPA

"I’m fine not being the first man she’s ever loved because I know I’m going to be the last."

Tobias is super angry that his teenage son rented out their garage apartment to Aurora, a complete stranger. And he’s determined to hate her and to keep her far away. But of course that never works. It’s a typical Mariana Zapata sloooooowwww burn but so worth it. She takes the time to build up the relationships not only between Tobias and Aurora, but the other important characters in the book. It’s more than a typical romance.

Rating: 4.5
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Slow Burn, Small Town, Nature/Hiking
Pair With: Colorado wines. Who knew there were so many? Check out this article on Vinography!