Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Lately, I’ve really been enjoying enemies-to-lovers romances, so that’s what I’m going to spotlight today. I love the tension and build-up when this trope is used, and the romances are always so swoon-tastic!! Let’s check out some of my faves.
1. The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Synopsis: A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.
The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.
Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.
Passionate and violent, The Bridge Kingdom is a seductive fantasy perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.
2. Poison and Honey by Kristen Brand
Synopsis: Leigh Morgan has known that magic existed ever since an unearthly monster abducted her sister. It’s why she’s in Otherworld now, posing as a servant in its dark, decadent palace. She’s gathering intelligence and working with a small band of allies to bring down the Others and free their human captives. Her mission depends on blending in, so the last thing she wants is to attract the attention of a cunning prince.
Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to the throne. And out of all the servants in the palace, he chooses Leigh to help him. Just her luck.
Now Leigh has to keep her work a secret from a bewitching man who sees right through her–and who’s not nearly as cold and inhuman as he seems. She can’t screw this up, or the humans forced into servitude will never go home. But juggling two conspiracies at once, it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, and the man she’s falling for has her executed for her betrayal…
3. Twelfth Knight’s Bride by E. Elizabeth Watson
Synopsis: Lady Aileana Grant just wants to help her starving clan at Christmastide. So she pilfers some vegetables from the bastard Laird James MacDonald–the Devil, they call him. When the Devil shows up and demands marriage as recompense for the thievery, Aileana can’t believe it when her brother agrees. Even if she’s able to negotiate a severance on Twelfth Night, that’s still two weeks to put up with the laird in enemy territory. She’s counting down the days, even if James isn’t quite the disgusting cretin she’d imagined.
James needs to marry an enemy bride in order to inherit his fortune. Cursed restrictions. He’d been unable to look away from Aileana’s untamed beauty ever since she squared off with him. He might as well handfast with the infernal lass. He’d get his money and perhaps some peace among the clans. He has a fortnight to win the heart of the lady with the voice of an angel despite her sharp tongue.
Twelfth Night is merry and bright as Aileana and James realize a true connection between them. But when Aileana discovers the reason the Devil forced her into marriage, how can she ever believe he truly wants her?
4. The Wedding Crasher and the Cowboy by Robin Bielman
Synopsis: Kennedy Martin is shocked when her ex calls days before his wedding, expressing serious second thoughts. Doesn’t he see his fiancée’s actually the glaze to his doughnut? Now she’s got no choice but to crash his wedding and convince the man he’s with the right woman.
Instead, she crashes into the absolute last man she ever wanted to see: Maverick Owens, her old college nemesis. Maverick is still as awful, infuriating, and just The Worst as ever—even if he looks way too sexy in his cowboy hat. And of course he’s convinced she’s actually at the seaside ranch to ruin the wedding.
Now the only way to get some face time with the groom and save this marriage is to participate in all sorts of pre-wedding events…with Maverick. Stuck on a canoe, making small-talk at cocktail hour, and even a hoedown with her worst enemy? This just might be the longest week of her life…
5. Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik
Synopsis: The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.
Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.
With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.
But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.
6. Heart of a Witch by Rebecca L. Garcia
Synopsis: A vengeful fantasy standalone romance perfect for fans of The Bridge Kingdom and A Touch of Darkness
I’d never particularly liked humans, but I’d never wanted to kill one. Until now.
Hidden in a kingdom that hates witches, I’m forced to hide what I am. With my sister working in a secret dark magic club, and our family’s shop gaining unwanted attention, things couldn’t be worse when the notorious witch hunter, Damian Shaw, comes to town.
When my sister shows up dead, and my family’s name is called into question, we’re forced to adopt new aliases and leave the home we cherished. As I watch my life fall apart, I vow to destroy the hunter responsible, but his punishment would not be swift. Death was too easy.
Redforest is a quaint town, with a church, pretty shops, and like any good town, a dark past. When my family and I move in, I set my sights on the Shaw family, quickly learning everything I can about them. Damian’s son, Elijah, is the hunter’s greatest pride. His heir. His confidante. The only family he trusts.
I come up with a plan. I am going to shatter every good thing in Damian’s life, ending with his son. My goal: make Elijah Shaw fall in love with me, twist him into the very thing his father hates, then kill him.
With my heart challenged, the attraction growing, I find myself trapped in a deadly game. In a twist of fate, Elijah might just end up being the death of me.
7. The Raven and the Rush by Sarah M. Cradit
Synopsis: One raven. One boy. One destiny.
From the USA Today and International Bestselling Author of Kingdom of the White Sea comes a new series set in the same vibrant world: The Book of All Things. Escape into this story of destiny and forbidden love weaving together a fate bigger than man, bigger than magic.
Evrathedyn Blackrook whiles his days away at university, blissfully oblivious to the horrors afflicting his homeland. He escapes into dusty books, content as a second son.
Rhosynora Ravenwood spends her sleepless nights fantasizing of ways to escape her icy, suffocating dynasty. To flee her birthright is to invite a traitor’s penance. To stay is another kind of death.
But time and fate have a way of mending all mistakes.
Evra soon finds himself the new Lord Blackrook. His inheritance is a plague-ridden land, the pyres from his late father’s campaign against magic still smoldering.
His realm’s future in the balance, he travels beyond his borders to a remote northern hamlet, where he meets Rhosyn. The spark between them is immediate; the suspicion even stronger. In Rhosyn, Evra sees her rare magic as the perfect answer to his troubles. In Evra, Rhosyn sees everything wrong with the depraved world of men.
But Evra is out of options. And Rhosyn is out of time.
As they resist the undeniable, forbidden bond growing between them, Evra’s dawning horror of Rhosyn’s fate brings him to an impossible choice.
His home, or her?
8. Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Synopsis: He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.
Love makes monsters of us all.
9. No Words by Meg Cabot
Synopsis: Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest, most beautiful islands in the Florida Keys.
Jo Wright always swore she’d never step foot on Little Bridge Island—not as long as her nemesis, bestselling author Will Price, is living there.
Then Jo’s given an offer she can’t refuse: an all-expense-paid trip to speak and sign at the island’s first-ever book festival.
Even though arrogant Will is the last person Jo wants to see, she could really use the festival’s more-than-generous speaking fee. She’s suffering from a crippling case of writer’s block on the next instalment of her bestselling children’s series, and her father needs financial help as well.
Then Jo hears that Will is off-island on the set of the film of his next book. Hallelujah!
But when she arrives on Little Bridge, Jo is in for a shock: Will is not only at the book festival, but seems genuinely sorry for his past actions—and more than willing not only to make amends but prove to Jo that he’s a changed man.
Things seem to be looking up—until disaster strikes, causing Jo to wonder: Do any of us ever really know anyone?
10. The Elements of the Crown by Kay L. Moody
Synopsis: Talise has a gift that could save her life. In an empire divided into three rings, seventeen-year-old Talise is from the outer ring. This dangerous and crime-laden land has one constant… death. Her only chance for escape is to become Master Shaper—an honored position in the palace court and military. Each year, the emperor chooses one student to receive the title.
After ten years of training at an elite academy, Talise clearly has a gift for manipulating the elements of water, air, earth, and fire. But Aaden, a handsome student from the privileged inner ring, is poised to steal the title away from her.
When they come before the emperor, he is impressed with the great skill both Talise and Aaden possess. He presents them with a set of trials, and she knows this is the chance she needs to prove herself. As long as Aaden doesn’t ruin everything.
But secrets hide in every corner of the palace, masking a conflict far more dangerous than her previous home in the outer ring. Now, she must play along with the emperor’s lies and games, or else she will lose her life to an enemy she never expected.