This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge post features f/f romances in which a grumpy character falls for a character with a sunny, upbeat personality.
There’s a bit of an overlap with ice-queen romances at times, so you might want to check out the ice-queen romance recommendations to see if any of these would fit the grumpy & sunshine category too.
Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge
If you are only discovering the Sapphic Reading Challenge now, the good news is you can still join! It’s a year-long challenge, so it runs until December 31, 2021. Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge and download your PDF so you can keep track of the books you read this year.
15 sapphic romances with a grumpy & sunshine dynamic
I put together a list of 15 f/f romances that have one grumpy and one sunshine character. I hope you find at least one you’ll enjoy.
The Roommate Arrangement by Jae
Comedian Stephanie Renshaw hopes to finally get her big break in LA. A chance encounter lands her the perfect apartment close to the comedy clubs, but it comes with a catch: she needs a roommate to afford the rent.
Enter Rae Coleman, a former police officer working the door at one of the top comedy clubs. After getting injured in the line of duty and losing her job with the LAPD, Rae guards her wounded soul behind a tough exterior.
At first, the two clash horribly before a tentative friendship develops. Bit by bit, Steph manages to break through the walls Rae has built around her.
But Steph has never been in a relationship, preferring casual flings, and Rae isn’t sure she’s ready to be happy again. Will they find the courage to open themselves up to love?
Falling in love is not a laughing matter in this opposites-attract lesbian romance with a bit of a fake relationship thrown in.
Mangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera
Kiskeya Burgos left the tropical beaches of the Dominican Republic with a lot to prove. As a pastry chef on the come up, when she arrives in Scotland, she has one goal in mind: win the Holiday Baking Challenge. Winning is her opportunity to prove to her family, her former boss, and most importantly herself, she can make it in the culinary world. Kiskeya will stop at nothing to win, that is, if she can keep her eyes on the prize and off her infuriating teammate’s perfect lips.
Sully Morales, home cooking hustler, and self-proclaimed baking brujita lands in Scotland on a quest to find her purpose after spending years as her family’s caregiver. But now, with her home life back on track, it’s time for Sully to get reacquainted with her greatest love, baking. Winning the Holiday Baking Challenge is a no brainer if she can convince her grumpy AF baking partner that they make a great team both in and out of the kitchen before an unexpected betrayal ends their chance to attain culinary competition glory.
Being Merry by Meka James
Noelle Cameron won’t let being basically homeless in a new state dampen her Christmas spirit. Thanks to her coworker, she has a temporary housing possibility. However, her new potential roommate is about as welcoming as the Grinch. But Noelle refuses to let scowls and snide remarks about her festive attire steal her joy. Winning over the cranky Lennox will be a victory sweeter than sugar cookies.
Lennox Sutton doesn’t want to live with anyone. Unfortunately, one well delivered guilt trip from her sister means taking in the woman wearing a reindeer headband and an attitude that goes past glass half full to it completely spilling over. Now she’s stuck with a person who embodies everything Lennox dislikes about the holiday season. But beneath the ugly sweaters shines someone whose company Lennox could enjoy.
A meddling sister and a dash of Christmas magic might have these two polar opposites finding new ways to enjoy the season of giving.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.
Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.
Darcy begs Elle to play along and she agrees to pretend they’re dating. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family during the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a faux relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?
Detour to Love by Amanda Radley
High-flying executive Celia Scott is on her way to Tokyo to accept a prestigious award heavy with emotional baggage. She’ll make the trip, but she doesn’t have to like it, and she certainly doesn’t have to make nice with a stranger on a plane.
Artist Lily Andersen is excited to finally meet her online crush, the only person in the world who truly gets her. She just needs to survive the eleven-hour flight from London to Japan with a testy seatmate who by turns annoys and fascinates her.
Fate, upgrades, and a troupe of travelling clowns bring them together for a journey memorable for all the wrong reasons. Not only do they have nothing in common, they really can’t stand each other. But people are not always as they seem, and Celia and Lily are about to realise, there’s more than one path to love.
Gulf Breeze by Gerri Hill
Dr. Carly Cambridge, wildlife biologist, returns to the Texas Gulf Coast to manage the latest Habitats for Nature project, restoring the woods and wetlands to their natural state. She is devoted to the environmental cause with a passion usually reserved for a lover – something she hasn’t had since a disastrous love affair ten years earlier. Having sworn off women and relationships, Carly is perfectly content to live her life alone while she focuses on her latest project.
Wildlife photographer Pat Ryan is duped into volunteering her talents to the Habitats For Nature cause, but she wants no part of the overzealous Dr. Cambridge.
While they spend most of their time sparring and bickering, an early season hurricane finds them fighting nature – instead of each other – to save the wetlands and the birds that brought them together.
Soon Carly finds her heart opening, little by little, and struggles to ignore the feelings that are growing between them. And Pat, always searching for that certain someone to take her breath away, can’t believe for a moment that the woman she’s been waiting for could possibly be Carly.
Make the Yuletide Gay by Ivy L. James
Junior editor Grace Taylor is doubling as the temporary assistant to senior editor Nicola Valentine…and harboring a secret crush on her. Grace is devastated when a work conference forces her to miss her big family Christmas. However, she gets a gift she doesn’t expect when a snowstorm strands her and Nicola at a small B&B.
Nicola has no idea how to handle sharing a room with her gorgeous, vibrant assistant. As she learns to share her heart as well, her fear threatens the blossoming relationship. Can she let Grace in, or will Nicola’s past sabotage her chance at happiness?
To the Moon and Back by Melissa Brayden
Lauren Prescott had dreamed of being an actress since she was cast as Wendy in her middle school production of Peter Pan. Yes, her nightgown snagged and brought the set tumbling down, but she was hooked. After years of unsuccessful auditions, performing just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, Lauren established herself as a successful stage manager at the esteemed McAllister Theater. Unfortunately, the resident director has cast celebrity Carly Daniel: headstrong, entitled, and always late. So why is their chemistry turning her the hell on?
After partying her way through her twenties and ruining a successful film career, Carly Daniel has to take whatever she can get. If schlepping it onstage will raise her star again, she’ll listen to her pesky agent. Added bonus: the uptight stage manager is a sexy distraction.
When Carly’s costar is sidelined, Lauren must decide whether renewing a long-forgotten dream will jeopardize what she has percolating with Carly. Is the limelight big enough for two?
Fire and Ice by Rachel Spangler
Will the heat building between a disgraced reporter and a rising curling star melt the already thin ice they each are on?
Max Lauren made a mistake that shattered her pride, her heart, and her career in one fell swoop. Relegated to covering the lowly game of curling, she already resents the so-called “sport,” and then she steps onto the ice, where things get infinitely worse. She’s been knocked down before, and she’s always gotten back up, but a frosty resolve goes only so far in a world of people who thrive on ice.
Callie Mulligan is the amiable skipper of America’s second-place curling team. Upbeat, optimistic, and with a fiery passion for an icy sport, she has both the mental and physical skills to become Team USA’s top contender. What she doesn’t have is the fame or the funding. Coverage from a journalist of Max’s caliber could be the answer to both problems if only Max wasn’t so cold to the idea. As Callie tries to warm her to the sport, a little bit of heat grows into a fire neither of them can contain.
Passion, competition, ambition, redemption, and raw need collide as the bright lights of success and celebrity grow hotter, but can the fire between Max and Callie be sustained when it’s put on ice?
Hunter’s Way by Gerri Hill
Homicide detective Tori Hunter was used to doing things her way. But even after six different partners in seven years, she was not prepared for the hot-tempered Samantha Kennedy.
Samantha, on the other hand, was trying to juggle a new job, a demanding boyfriend, and now finds herself with an even greater challenge — being partnered with the most difficult detective in the entire squad.
After a brief terrorist scare disrupts their serial killer investigation, the two women find themselves growing closer. Sam begins to question the relationship with her longtime boyfriend, and Tori, never one to allow anyone to get too close, begins to feel her defenses slipping in Sam’s presence.
A serial killer and drug deals gone bad; the two detectives struggle with their feelings, trying to maintain their professional relationship while keeping their nearly flammable physical relationship in check.
When Tara Met Farah: An Opposites Attract Romance (Bollywood Dance & Drama Society Book 1) by Tara Pammi
Sunshine Girl needs math lessons…
Nineteen-year-old Tara Muvvala didn’t mean to lead a double life. But her bone-deep aversion to math + a soul-deep desire to please her mother = her failing math grade + exploding food vlog ‘this masala life’. Enter her mother’s research intern and resident math genius Farah Ahmed. Tara makes a deal with Farah – help her pass the math course and she’ll welcome Farah into the local Bollywood Drama & Dance Society.
Grumpy girl gets life lessons…
After losing her mom to a heart attack, dumping her small-minded boyfriend (she’s bisexual, not confused) and reluctantly moving to the US to be near her dad – all in the span of eighteen months, twenty-three-year-old Farah has hit the full quota on LIFE. Two things keep her going – her internship with a brilliant statistics professor and the possibility of meeting her dancing idol through the Bollywood Drama & Dance Society. That is, if her new hot-mess housemate will let her.
Soon Tara and Farah are bonding over chicken biryani, dancing to Bollywood Beats at midnight and kissing against all the odds. And maybe beginning to realize that while life’s even more complicated than math, love is the one variable that changes everything!
Will Tara and Farah realize that together they have the recipe for a Happily Ever After?
And Then There Was Her by Tagan Shepard
For Madison Jones, there has always been her life in Denver. There has always been her girlfriend, Kacey. There has always been her best friend, her studio and her pottery. She has everything in her life exactly in place. But after the loss of her brother, Madison feels unsure about her own future. When Kacey is offered a new job in Oregon, Madison jumps at the opportunity to follow her.
While Kacey works to open a new restaurant at Minerva Hills Winery, Madison sets up her art studio on the property. But constantly in Madison’s path is the owner and winemaker, CS Freeburn. CS is as serious as they come and seems unlikely to warm to either Kacey or Madison.
Though their initial interactions are awkward—if not downright nerve-wracking—the more they cross paths and the more Madison gets to know CS, the more Madison craves those little moments with the standoffish winemaker.
How could she have known that those encounters would begin to threaten the carefully structured life that Madison has built?
Lex Files by Celeste Castro
What is terrorizing a nature preserve near a small town in rural Idaho? Half the town believes it’s the Lake Lowell Ghost and the rest are convinced it’s a diabolical beast. With no end in sight, they need help.
Enter Special Agent Winifred Ford,Federal Bureau of Investigation. She has an eye for the unexplained and a history with the creature at large.
Joining the hunt is State Fish & Wildlife Officer Daya Soto and her partner, Lexy—a specialist in wildlife enforcement who happens to be a Karelian Bear Dog.
Can the two women work together when one faces east toward logic and the other faces west toward the realm of impossibility? In an age where science and facts rule, blind trust can be a lot to ask of anyone.
A Woman Lost by TB Markinson
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Petrie has it all. She’s rich, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. None of this matters to her mom. Les-Bi-An. That’s all her mom sees.
Even though Lizzie insists her mom’s antagonism does not bother her, Lizzie distances herself from her entire family. When her brother, Peter, calls her out of the blue to announce he’s getting married, Lizzie’s entire life changes drastically. Peter’s fiancée wants to bring the lesbian outcast back into the family. Will this desire cause Lizzie to lose everything dear to her?
Sarah, Lizzie’s girlfriend, is ecstatic about this change in Lizzie’s personal life. Sarah, the hopeless romantic, wants it all, including settling down with the fiercely independent Lizzie.
Can Lizzie be tamed? And can she survive her family and all of their secrets?
Don’t Cry for Me by Rachel Lacey
A frosty television host, a bubbly bar owner, and a litter of abandoned kittens. The recipe for ratings gold…or heartbreak?
Eve Marlow has her eyes on the prize: a third season of her popular business makeover show, Do Over. But when her ratings take an unexpected dive, Eve needs a blockbuster new client, or she can kiss season three goodbye. She has her work cut out for her, and that’s before she discovers a litter of newborn kittens in a trash can. Now she’s desperate to find someone to take them so she can concentrate on reviving her career.
Josie Swanson had to put her kitten rescue on the back burner when she inherited her father’s bar two years ago. Since then, she’s invested all her time and energy into keeping it afloat, but despite her best efforts, Swanson’s is going under. When she gets a phone call from Eve Marlow, host of the television show Josie applied to earlier that year, the woman she’s convinced can save her bar, Josie hopes her luck has finally turned.
Eve knows what she needs to succeed, and it isn’t Josie—or her bar. There’s no denying the chemistry sizzling between them, though. Josie’s personality is as vibrant as her turquoise-tipped hair. She stirs things in Eve that haven’t been stirred in a long time, but there’s a reason she keeps her heart under lock and key. Eve stands to lose a lot more than her TV show if she lets her guard down, no matter how tempted she is to see if Josie’s love would be worth the risk.
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