This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge post features sapphic friends-to-lovers romance novels.
For some reason, there are not a lot of true friends-to-lovers romances out there, which is weird, because so many same-sex couples start out as friends (85%, according to a study I recently read!).
Important definition: In a friends-to-lovers romance, the two main characters are already friends (sometimes best friends or childhood friends) at the beginning of the book. If they are strangers who meet at the beginning of the book, then become friends before becoming lovers, it’s not a friends-to-lovers romance in the narrower sense of the word.
A free friends-to-lovers short story for you
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 friends-to-lovers romance novels
I put together a list of 15 sapphic friends-to-lovers romances. I hope you find at least one you’ll enjoy.
Chemistry Lessons by Jae
Kylie and Regan have been best friends since kindergarten, supporting each other through thick and thin.
While everyone thinks they would be perfect for each other, they insist there’s no chemistry between them—and Regan should know since she’s a chemistry teacher.
To prove it, they agree to a little chemistry experiment: they’ll go on three dates with each other.
So what if their gazes start to linger and accidental touches no longer feel platonic? They chalk it up to the romantic atmosphere—until a friendly good night kiss turns passionate.
Can their friendship go back to the way it was before? Do they even want it to? Or will they risk losing what they have for a chance at love?
Painted Over by Sofi Keren
Is the unexpected reunion of estranged friends just another still life capturing a moment in time? Or could it be the beginning brushstrokes of a romantic masterpiece?
Back in the day, Paige and Ria were the best of friends. As they grew, they grew closer, always there for each other, even as Paige concentrated on literature and art while Ria cut a swath through every soccer field—and most of the cheerleaders. But something shocking happened during their senior year of college that ended their friendship. Big time.
In the years that follow, Paige becomes a successful artist and Ria a star soccer player. A chance meeting with Ria after all this time has Paige wondering if it’s finally time to forgive and forget. As the two become cautiously reacquainted, the possibility of a true reconciliation is complicated by the arrival of glamorous gallery owner, Cara, who definitely wants Paige’s work…and maybe something more. Then there’s the return of Ria’s gorgeous ex, Elena, who has a mind-blowing surprise for Paige.
You, Me, U.S. by Brigitte Bautista
Best friends Jo and Liza are as opposite as night and day. Sex worker Jo swears by the worry-free, one-day-at-a-time dance through life. Salesclerk Liza has big plans for her family’s future, and there is nothing bigger than a one-way trip to the U.S.
But an almost-kiss, a sex dare, and news of Liza’s engagement to her American boyfriend unveil feelings Jo and Liza never thought they had. Deciding between staying together and drifting apart puts Liza’s best-laid plans and Jo’s laidback life in jeopardy.
When love clashes with lifelong ambitions and family expectations, someone has to give in.
Question is: who?
Always Alex by Robin Alexander
Dana Castilaw grew up tossing coins in a well, hoping her wishes would come true, but the candy fountain, puppy, and love never seemed to manifest. At eighteen, she left her hometown of Barbier Point, Louisiana, longing to be free of her father’s chokehold on her life and with a heart full of dreams she hoped would come true. Years later, she is forced to return home with at least one granted wish—her daughter, Sydney.
Alex Soileau stood at Dana’s side for years tossing her coins into the well, making the same wish each time, a secret plea that she refused to reveal even to her best friend. Time and maturity insisted that she give up on her one fervent desire, but her heart never would.
Reunited as adults, both women realize that maybe there was magic in the well after all.
Just My Luck by Andrea Bramhall
Genna Collins works a dead end job, loves her family, her girlfriend, and her friends. When she wins the biggest Euromillions jackpot on record everything changes…and not always for the best.
When Abi Kitson fell in love she always knew it would go unrequited. The woman of her dreams was so close yet seemingly untouchable for so many reasons. Reasons like – they are best friends, or the big age gap, or the ‘other’ woman, nevermind Abi’s own baggage.
And even when those reasons crumble it seems luck just isn’t on her side.
It’s a learning curve for both of them. But what if money really can’t buy you everything you want? What if the answers aren’t hidden in a big, fat bank balance? What if happiness is right in front of them? They just have to reach out…
Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters
Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec…in February. When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.
A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.
As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy. And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.
Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden
Sometimes the one you want is the one you least suspect…Accountant Samantha Ennis craves order and structure. As the bookkeeper at the boutique advertising agency she owns with her three best friends, it’s her job to apply logic to the chaos.
When one of those best friends, laid back Hunter Blair, moves in to share her loft apartment, Sam’s carefully organized world is thrown wildly askew. Hunter Blair’s been the coolest one in the room since elementary school. Until recently, her biggest worry in the world was which of the girls in her cell phone to call on a Saturday night. But it’s not long before Samantha sparks a fire in Hunter that has her questioning her old habits and longing for new ones.
Isn’t it a bad idea to fall for one of your best friends? Samantha and Hunter are about to find out.
Snow Globe by Georgia Beers
Mackenzie Campbell has no idea her life is about to fall apart. She’s bright and attractive with a good job, a comfortable home and an impending Christmas wedding she’s been planning for months. So when her girlfriend bails less than two weeks before the nuptials, Kenzie’s picture perfect Christmas world begins to crumble around her.
Determined to hold on to at least some shred of her dignity, Kenzie snags her best friend, Allison, and flees the cold of the Northeast to take the honeymoon anyway. The Rainbow’s Edge is an enormous LGBT resort in Southern Florida, and its atmosphere of sun and fun seems to be just what Kenzie needs to help take her mind off of her lost relationship. But can a few hot dances, a mysterious suitor, and a handful of rum runners help her figure out what it is she really wants?
The Goodmans by Clare Ashton
The lovely doctor Abby Hart lives in her dream cottage in the quintessential English border town of Ludbury, home to the Goodmans.
Maggie Goodman, all fire and passion, is like another mother to her, amiable Richard a rock and 60s-child Celia is the grandmother she never had.
But Abby has a secret. Best friend Jude Goodman is the love of her life, and very, very straight. Even if Jude had ever given a woman a second glance, there’d also be the small problem of Maggie – she would definitely not approve.
But secrets have a habit of sneaking out, and Abby’s not the only one with something to hide. Life is just about to get very interesting for the Goodmans.
Things are not what they used to be, but could they be even better?
All the Wrong Places by Karin Kallmaker
Brandy Monsoon is looking for love. Since there’s never a shortage of casual playmates at the tropical resort where she works, most of the time she gets it, too. And if Brandy tires of the perpetually curious—but primarily straight—women, there’s always her best friend Tess for a friendly encounter.
When an all-lesbian tour group arrives for a week, Brandy is sure she’ll be in paradise on earth. Among the guests is lesbian celebrity comic Celine Griffin, who has an obvious interest in an after-dinner Brandy. Celine and Brandy do find explosive pleasure together,—so why does Brandy feel as if that’s no longer enough for happiness?
With days and nights so delicious…who cares about tomorrow?
Big Girl Pill by KD Williamson
Maya Davis is done hiding. It’s left her empty and out of touch with her family. Now she’s a young woman on a mission: getting rid of residual feelings for her former best friend from college. Her plan is to put herself through a wringer by being in Nina’s upcoming wedding and burning away whatever emotions are left, so she can start anew. Her plan, however, has big holes, and everything she’s been feeling rushes through and leaves her thinking that this was a bad idea.
Nina Sterling is a work in progress, torn between being two very different things—the person others expect her to be and who she wants to become. For the past couple of years, it’s been easier to give in toher demanding, steamroller of a mother and her pleasant but controlling fiancé, but with Maya’s return for a lengthy stay in town, and encouragement from Nina’s hilarious cousin, seeds of rebellion are sown.
As Maya and Nina try to patch up the past and get closer, old sparks rekindle, and as they both grow into who they are meant to be, those sparks might just become a fire.
Lucky Loser by Yolanda Wallace
In the high stakes world of women’s tennis, love means nothing. Or at least that’s how Sinjin Smythe sees it. Then she begins to fall for her friend and former doubles partner Laure Fortescue. Having had her heart broken by one player, Sinjin isn’t willing to have it happen again. The talented but oft-injured Brit enters Wimbledon fighting her feelings—and struggling to resurrect her career.
Laure Fortescue has fame, fortune, and a ranking inside the top ten. She has everything she ever wanted. Everything except Sinjin Smythe. As a rule, Laure doesn’t date other players. A rule she would gladly break if it means winning Sinjin’s heart.
Both women reach Wimbledon desperate to claim tennis’s crown jewel—Sinjin because it would be her greatest victory, Laure because it could be her last.
Where does love fit in a game that only one can win?
Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee
Michael, an up-and-coming hyperrealist sculptor from Atlanta, Georgia, is about to get her big break. An expert at carving the female form, she owes much of her success to her muse, best friend, Jess. Michael has been in love with Jess for years but treasures their friendship too much to risk it for uncertain romance.
Jess, a special education teacher, values Michael’s friendship above everything else in her life. Can one passionate kiss change everything she thought she felt about Michael? Can Michael make the choice between a dear, lifelong friendship and capturing Jessica?
Firebird by Savannah Swan
Since her grandparents died, wildlife rehabber Reese Greeley became a hermit with only wild animals and her dog, Cocoa, for company. Juggling the care of dozens of injured and sick creatures in her barn, she’s forged a simple, if lonely, life for herself. Everything changes when her former best friend returns to town with a Purple Heart and a horrific story.
Jean Jardine left Big Woods for the Air Force Academy so she could escape her late father’s abuse. After a harrowing and widely-publicized experience in the Middle East, she’s back, but she’s not the same person she used to be. Hindered by pain and PTSD, she can only see a bleak and solitary future for herself. But when she finds an injured hawk in her backyard, she crosses paths with her best friend from high school.
Jean starts helping Reese with the animals, and the two friends rediscover the rapport they once had—as well as the fact that they’re both into women. But when more hawks are found injured and a wildfire threatens the barn, Jean finds she has to overcome her fears to save the animals. Will Reese be able to help her fly again?
Learning to Swim by KJ
What do you do when your world flips upside down? You take a wild ride with your best friend, fall in love with the person you least expected, and find out that sometimes, instead of drowning, you learn to swim.
Meet Andrea. She’s an executive accountant. Her two best friends, Lauren and Hanna, tease her about being a workaholic, but she doesn’t deny it. Andrea likes to think she’s got a handle on all aspects of her life, but she doesn’t really. For example, Andrea has no idea that Lauren has been in love with her for six years. Andrea has no idea that her life is about to implode when her mum is rushed to hospital. Andrea has no idea that there are moves afoot at work to destabilise her world. Andrea has no idea about any of this and it takes a life changing experience and falling in love with the one who’s been right in front of her the whole time to stop her from drowning. Andrea discovers that changing your life is a little like learning to swim.
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