Are you a person that (even if you don’t want to admit it) just eats up enemies-to-lovers stories? When you can feel the tension radiating off the page? Tbh, it’s one of our favorite tropes, and for good reason—it’s just too entertaining!
If you’re like us (and you probably are), you’ll love this list, inspired by Kunal and Esha from The Tiger at Midnight. If you don’t believe the searing romantic tension between them, do yourself a favor and check out this trailer, please. And to read a bit about these two, and nine other pairings we can’t get over, keep on scrolling!
10 Enemies-to-Lovers Romances
WE CAN’T HELP BUT ADORE
1. Kunal and Esha from The Tiger at Midnight
The cat and mouse chase in Tiger of Midnight is so thrilling! Kunal and Esha are from two warring countries, and from the first time you meet we can fill the tension. Kunal goes from being intrigued and swept away by her beauty, to finding his Uncle dead with clues that Esha is in fact the culprit. What? He goes on a hunt to find her, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat every step of the way trying to see what will happen between those two!
When Esha and Kunal’s paths cross one fated night, an impossible chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.
As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both the soldier and the rebel must decide where their loyalties lie: with the lives they’ve killed to hold on to or with the love that’s made them dream of something more.
2. Jude and Cardan from The Cruel Prince
Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude and Cardan are QUITE a pair. The hatred between this human and royal fae has enough tension to cut with a sword. They both use their position to challenge one another when no one else would ever dare and that “respect” is exactly what keeps the rage (and the passion) going.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
3. Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows
As a Drüskelle, Matthias was always taught to hate and hunt the Grisha. As a Grisha, Nina had good reason to fear Drüskelle as they saw her as an abomination. It isn’t until they end up shipwrecked and have to depend on one another for survival that they are able to set aside their prejudices to realize that there’s more than meets the eye.
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
4. Akos and Cyra from Carve the Mark
Cyra’s family is responsible for killing Akos’s father and kidnapping both him and his brother as children, so it’s safe to say that these two don’t start out on the best of terms. But when fate forces these two together, they realize they may share a common goal of putting an end to a brutal regime, and what better way to get sparks flying than plotting a rebellion?
Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth have grown up in enemy countries locked in a long-standing fight for dominance over their shared planet. When Akos and his brother are kidnapped by the ruling Noavek family, Akos is forced to serve Cyra, the sister of a dictator who governs with violence and fear. Cyra is known for her deadly power of transferring extraordinary pain unto others with simple touch, and her tyrant brother uses her as a weapon against those who challenge him. But as Akos fights for his own survival, he recognizes that Cyra is also fighting for hers, and that her true gift—resilience—might be what saves them both.
5. Feyre and Rhys from A Court of Thorns and Roses
What starts as a seemingly simple random encounter becomes so much more as Feyre delves deeper into the Faerie world’s history, and we found ourselves hooked by their connection even from his clandestine visits to her cell. How were we supposed to know everything that would unfold after?!
The way Rhys went from Amarantha’s lackey to someone who allowed Feyre to grow, helped her with her depression, and taught her to read solidified his place in our hearts. Make way for the High Lord and High Lady of the Night Court.
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
6. Jules and Liam from Everless
Jules is on a mission, and nothing can stop her. Except maybe… Liam?
In a land where time is money, Jules takes a job at the Everless estate to help her dying father. A prince at Everless, Liam, comes off cold and staunch—and even dangerous—from the very beginning. But, as Jules’ journey unfolds, she learns that there is more than meets the eye. Does Liam stop Jules from completing her task? Or does he, despite all the odds, help her?
7. Zuri and Darius from Pride
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri isn’t impressed with the judgmental and arrogant Darius, even as Zuri’s older sister starts falling for his brother, Ainsley. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding… and something more.
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius…
8. Em and Cas from Ruined
In Ruined, Em is posing as Cas’s betrothed—in order to kill him. The book actually book opens with a brutal ambush to take the aforementioned betrothed’s place, and we promise it doesn’t let up! Let’s just say things get complicated and Em begins to fall for soft-hearted Cas… while still planning to take down his whole family. The lengths she has to go to in order to conceal her identity while forming genuine emotions is just… ugh.
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined—completely lacking any magic—she is determined to get revenge.
Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everything he holds dear, including his son.
9. Dimple and Rishi from When Dimple Met Rishi
Okay, so maybe they’re not exactly enemies, but considering Dimple throws coffee on Rishi at their first encounter, well… we think it’s enough to earn them a place on this list. Plus, we just like to talk about them. The cuteness that these two give us… we can’t get enough!
Dimple Shah knows what she wants—a break from her family, and particularly from her Mamma’s obsession to help her find the “ideal Indian husband.” But for now, she’s just happy to attend a summer program for aspiring developers. It’s there she meets Rishi, a hopeless romantic who finds out his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him and he’ll be tasked to woo her. And he’s up for the challenge. Dimple’s love is for coding alone, yet something about Rishi sparks her interest. Is Rishi the one for her?
10. Warner and Juliette from Shatter Me
Ahh, what more can we say about these two that we haven’t already said? Even with the hate, the tension between Juliette and Warner from the very beginning is so intense, it’s no surprise they become something way more then “enemies.” Even as a ruthless leader, he melts around Juliette and shows Juliette her true power. However, in his obsession to use Juliette as a weapon, he also hurts her. And when Juliette learns she can touch him without him feeling pain, that set us over the edge. This enemies to lovers story is golden!
No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon. Juliette has never fought for herself before…