Welcome to the Sapphic Reading Challenge 2021! I hope you had a good start into the new year and are ready for the first category: enemies-to-lovers romance novels!
In an enemies-to-lovers romance, the two main characters start out hating or disliking each other. Maybe their personalities are clashing, or they are rivals in their jobs, or they have a history that turned them into enemies. The protagonists might spend a portion of the book butting heads, but the sexual tension between them is undeniable.
The rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge
Before you pick a book for the enemies-to-lovers category, here’s a quick rundown of the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge:
|The goal is to read sapphic books that fit as many of the 50 categories listed below as possible. You can read ebooks, paperbacks, or audiobooks; and they can be new-to-you books or re-reads. I’ll post book recommendations for a new category once a week. Of course, you could also just read whatever books you want and then, afterwards, see what categories they fit into.|
Depending on how many sapphic books you manage to read in 2021, you can earn different badges and book prizes.
Are you ready to get started?
Keep track of the books you’re reading for the Sapphic Reading Challenge
The first thing you might want to do is to download this PDF that allows you to keep track of the books you read this year. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.
If you’d like to have a digital version of the book journal I created for the Sapphic Reading Challenge, you can download it here. Please note: This is for personal use only. If you’d like to share it with anyone else, please direct them to this post.
15 sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance novels
I put together a list of enemies-to-lovers romances that I hope you’ll enjoy. Remember that you can either read one of the 15 books listed below or pick another sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance.
Just a Touch Away by Jae
An enemies-to-lovers lesbian romance with an ice queen whose frosty facade is melted by the power of touch.
Hannah Martin has an unusual job: she’s a professional cuddler. While she has a big heart for her clients, she hasn’t found someone special to snuggle up to in her personal life.
Winter Sullivan isn’t looking for love. She’s an aloof workaholic who’s built walls of ice around herself. She would rather drive toothpicks under her fingernails than cuddle, and she certainly doesn’t want to share her space with anyone.
When Winter’s estranged father dies, he leaves her one last surprise: she and Hannah, a perfect stranger, will inherit a building together. But there’s a catch: first, they have to live together for ninety-two days.
Winter is determined to dislike her rival, but soon finds Hannah isn’t what she expected at all. Thanks to a hilarious doormat war, a cuddle dare from Winter’s half sister, and a kiss in the most unusual of places, the frosty fortress around her heart begins to melt.
Will she be able to accept that love might be just a touch away?
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi
The first time Sana Khan asked out a girl—Rachel Recht—it went so badly that she never did it again. Rachel is a film buff and aspiring director, and she’s seen Carrie enough times to learn you can never trust cheerleaders (and beautiful people). Rachel was furious that Sana tried to prank her by asking her on a date.
But when it comes time for Rachel to cast her senior project, she realizes that there’s no more perfect lead than Sana—the girl she’s sneered at in the halls for the past three years. And poor Sana—she says yes. She never did really get over that first crush, even if Rachel can barely stand to be in the same room as her.
Told in alternative viewpoints and set against the backdrop of Los Angeles in the springtime, when the rainy season rolls in and the Santa Ana’s can still blow—these two girls are about to learn that in the city of dreams, anything is possible—even love.
Heart Failure by Chris Zett
Dr. Jess Riley’s life is perfect, ticking all the boxes—successful cardiologist, newborn daughter, and a luxurious condo. That is, until she suddenly collapses from acute heart failure. Her entire world crumples along with her exhausted body.
Jess is forced to face facts—she can’t keep working endless hours, and she’ll have to move back home to recover.
To her shock, her mother has already taken in Lena Walker, a struggling artist who isn’t a stranger to heartbreak either.
At first, an unimpressed Jess resents Lena’s cheerful presence. Gradually, though, the two women form a tentative friendship over tai chi, picking fruit, and evening walks with the baby. A sexy massage leads to friends-with-benefits fun. But is it all too soon? Should two barely mended souls try to risk a future together?
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.
Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.
Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.
Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.
Line of Duty by VK Powell
What happens when a police officer’s fight for justice conflicts with an ER doctor’s commitment to patient care?
Police officer Finley Masters wants to interview an injured suspect and make an arrest so she can move on to the next case. As long as she keeps closing cases she can hide the pain of caring for her alcoholic father. Dr. Dylan Carlyle dedicates herself to healing the sick and looking after her family. She doesn’t have time for dating, especially not a reckless cop who thinks she’s God’s gift to women. When Finley Masters strolls into the emergency room making demands, Dylan protects her turf and her heart.
A tragic incident brings them together, but their feelings keep them coming back.
All at Sea by Cheyenne Blue
An enthralling, opposites-attract lesbian romance about what lies beneath.
Stevie Sterling is having a day from hell. Snubbed—yet again—by her unsupportive parents, she runs out on their posh party and takes refuge on a deserted yacht. Waking the next day with the world’s worst hangover, Stevie finds herself far from shore.
As if being trapped on the yacht in only her party dress isn’t bad enough, Stevie’s frantic that she’ll miss the first day of her new job as a nurse. She has so much to prove in her career—to herself and her parents.
The yacht’s cute but unimpressed captain, Kaz Malone—an eco-warrior who hits the seas with Sinbad the cat—is on a mission: There’s a nuclear-waste-dumping tanker to harass.
Kaz is as single-minded as she is stubborn and she’s not about to turn around for some stowaway with a new job. Hell, no. Saving the planet comes first.
But perhaps there’s more than one way to a destination?
Unadulterated Something by MJ Duncan
Emma Beauchamp and Campbell Jordan’s rivalry on the ice was legendary. Retirement should have closed that chapter of their lives, but when Campbell joins the faculty at Stonebridge—the prestigious Berkshires boarding school where Emma now teaches—it takes on a brand new life.
There’s plenty of distrust and lingering animosity, but as circumstances force them to find a way to not only coexist, but work together, Emma and Campbell find that being on the same team isn’t as awful as they’d feared. Will their years spent battling it out for team and country be too much to overcome? Or will they finally acknowledge the truth behind the electric connection they share?
Falling Slowly by Lila Bruce
Badly wounded in Afghanistan when the helicopter she is piloting goes down under enemy fire, Captain Quinn Briscoe is struggling to rebuild her life. Facing not only a disfiguring injury, but a medical discharge and the end of a serious relationship, Quinn increasingly shuts herself—and her heart—off from the rest of the world. Her first meeting with lovely, self-confident and successful business owner Alison Jenkins is disastrous, and Quinn feels an instant antipathy for the woman, along with an undeniable attraction.
Trying to get along for the sake of her sister Rebekah, who’s gone to work for Allie, Quinn offers to fly the attractive boutique owner to a family wedding. However, what should have been a quick one day trip to the mountains of North Carolina suddenly turns into a long weekend at a romantic lodge. When a series of circumstances makes it increasingly clear that Quinn won’t be able to deny the growing passion between them much longer, will she be able to put the scars of the past aside to build a relationship with Allie worth fighting for?
The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter
Take one ice queen media-mogul boss, an assistant with a crush on her, throw in a truth bet, and as their secrets pour out in this slow-burn lesbian romance, neither woman will be the same again.
Australian crime reporter Maddie Grey is working the night shift, out of her depth in New York, miserable, and secretly crushing on her twice-married, media-mogul employer.
Elena Bartell is a brilliant, fierce, ice queen boss who eats failing newspapers for breakfast and believes to her core that everything would be much simpler if people told each other the whole, unvarnished truth.
As work takes them to Australia, Maddie is goaded into a brief, seemingly harmless bet with her enigmatic boss—where they can’t lie to each other. The bet backfires spectacularly as Elena realizes that the brutal truth might not be what she wanted after all.
A beautiful lesbian workplace romance about the lies we tell ourselves.
Anyone But You by KG MacGregor
An underground pipeline has ruptured, spilling oily sludge into Minnesota’s pristine Lake Bunyan. Taking the media’s heat for Nations Oil is Corporate Communications Director Cathryn Mack, an old pro when it comes to spinning the facts in her company’s favor.
Stuck in Duluth to handle the press during eight weeks of cleanup, she finds a silver lining when Stacie Pilardi pops up on SappHere, a mobile app that seeks out nearby lesbians. Stacie is smart, funny, sexy as hell, and wants a longterm relationship as much as Cathryn—which is to say, not at all.
A perfect arrangement, until they realize they’re rivals—Stacie is head of the Clean Energy Action Network, in town to protest the greed and recklessness of oil companies and the havoc they wreak on the environment.
It’s best for everyone involved if they end this, and that’s exactly what they intend to do. Eventually…
A Heart to Trust by A.L. Brooks
What happens when you find out your stuck-up, blissfully straight colleague may be none of those things? A delicious enemies-to-lovers, lesbian workplace romance.
Change is not Jenny Quinn’s strong suit, but she’s happy enough with her easy-going life, friends, and job as a TV production assistant. That is until a company shake-up foists the infuriating Olivia Sinclair on her. The woman is uptight, snobby, and has some perfect and famous motor-racing husband.
TV and theater producer Olivia moved to New York from the UK to marry her longtime friend. It’s a sham marriage, a favor to a man she loves as a brother, but the strain is beginning to take its toll. How can she even meet women when she’s the picture of heterosexual bliss? Add in her stressful new job, an irritating colleague called Jenny, who thinks being goofy is some kind of admirable work ethic, and life can be a grind some days. The worst part isn’t the office politics or clashing personalities, but the fact there’s an attraction between both women that’s gradually becoming impossible to ignore.
So…should they stop ignoring it? That would mean learning to trust your heart that this is the right woman. And that’s a huge step.
Exception to the Rule by Cindy Rizzo
What will keep you safe—and sane—when you find yourself in a new and unfamiliar place convinced you’ll never find anyone like you?
For Robin and Tracy, it’s the rules they set for themselves as they begin their first semester at Adams University near Boston.
Robin is determined to hide in her room writing until she can get back to her homeless gay friends in New York City, whose easy exchange of sex and friendship inspires her creativity. She’s sworn off perfect princesses like Tracy Patterson, no matter how attractive she finds the mysterious Southerner on her hall with the long blonde hair and tight jeans.
And Tracy has no interest in cynical, smart-mouthed Northerners like Robin. She has her own set of rules—fine-tuned back home in North Carolina where she had a fake boyfriend and an uncomplicated string of older female lovers, including her mother’s best friend. Here at college, she already has her first conquest planned, and it’s certainly not Robin Greene.
This is a love story about two young women who can only find their true selves by finding one another. But are Robin and Tracy willing to give up all they think they know in order to find happiness?
Sometimes in life, the person who will matter most is the one who’s an exception to the rule.
Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren
Full-time marine biologist and part-time heartbreaker Liv Cucinelli knows that there are plenty of fish in the sea. So why can’t she seem to escape the lure of the one woman she hates the most?
When Liv is unexpectedly reunited with Mira Butler—the homophobic princess who ruined Liv’s college career—the last thing she wants is to spend even a second in the company of her former nemesis. Having loathed Mira for years, she’s not prepared to forgive her, let alone pursue a friendship. But Mira, who is oblivious to the destruction she caused, refuses to leave Liv alone.
Once Liv learns the truth about their shared past, she begins to see there is more to Mira than she could have ever anticipated.
Can they overcome their stormy history to become friends? Or maybe even more?
Other Girls by Avery Brooks
Once upon a time, Sam and Ashley were other girls.
Three years after the loss of her wife to a brain aneurysm, 34-year-old Samantha Parker focuses her energy on caring for her young son, Jake. She can’t imagine ever falling in love again, so she focuses on putting one foot in front of the other and being the best mom she can be. It’s not a perfect life, but as long as her son is happy and her softball team keeps winning, everything is fine. That is, until Ashley Valence, the girl who bullied Sam throughout high school, moves back to New Orleans and joins the softball team. As tensions rise on the field, unexpected chemistry between the two women begins to grow.
No matter how much Sam wants to hate Ashley for the pain and anguish those teenage taunts caused, Ashley’s eyes hold only warmth now. And, as Sam slowly introduces Ashley into her life with Jake, she begins to let go of the past. But as their relationship progresses, all of the former hurts and resentments resurface for Sam, and she lashes out at Ashley. Sam understands that her anger is a byproduct of the events of the past and that Ashley isn’t the same girl she used to be. But when Sam begins to realize that she’s fallen in love with Ashley, she has to decide if she can truly trust her heart and find happiness with the woman who once hurt her so deeply.
44 Hours by Donna Jay
The universe is definitely trying to punish Jennifer Andrews. Her new colleague, Ellaine Baxter, is not only an annoying, ambitious hard-ass, she’s the woman who broke Jennifer’s best friend’s heart. Now, for added torture, they have to drive to a teambuilding conference together.
On their three-hour journey, things go from tense to catastrophic after an unscheduled stop in New Zealand’s wildly beautiful Kaimanawa Forest. Getting lost is just the start of the nightmare.
For forty-four exhausting hours, the warring pair must find a way to work together. They might even survive…if they don’t kill each other first.
An enemies-to-lovers romance about finding love with the person you least expect.
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