I love the friction in a love story that comes not from outside conflict but from the leads being very different people who come to love, value, and respect each other.
This is especially fun in Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Romance.
Here are some of my favorite!
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover—for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. Her faith in miracles was lost years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…
Beast Behaving Badly (The Pride Series Book 5) by Shelly Laurenston
Some men just have more to offer. Like hard-muscled, shape-shifting Bo Novikov–part polar bear, part lion, pure alpha. . .
Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth-talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York–all seven-plus feet of him–determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is. . .
Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness–or his hunch that there’s more to this little wolfdog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn’t yet begun to fathom–much as he’d like to. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait. .
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”–the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion–and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities–or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…
Seduction of the Phoenix by Michelle Pillow
A prince raised in honor and tradition, a woman raised with nothing at all. She wants to steal their most sacred treasure. He’ll do anything to protect it, even if it means marrying a thief.
Prince Zhang Jin is a man raised in honor and tradition, so it is a great surprise when he is compelled to claim a stranger as his bride who has neither. Francesca La Rosa is hardly a match fit for a prince. Though beautiful, she is a thief with one thing on her mind–stealing the sacred Jade Phoenix of his people. But the mystery doesn’t end there. With the aid of the spirits of his ancestors he must discover who this woman is, why she would destroy the Zhang Empire and most of all, if she could ever return the love that is growing in his heart.
Heart Duel (Celta Series Book 3) by Robin Owens
Healer Lark Collinson hates the street dueling that is a way of life among the noble families on Celta–it was just such a skirmish that killed her Healer husband and left her a grieving widow. The last thing she wants is to love a man to whom fighting is a way of life–a man like the brashly confident Holm Holly.
All it takes is one brief touch for Holm to know that Lark is his HeartMate, though wooing her will be his greatest challenge. For not only does she despise everything he represents, but the long-standing feud between their families has exploded into even greater violence. Their destiny has been revealed…but at what cost to their own hearts?
Tinker (Elfhome Book 1) by Wen Spencer
Inventor, girl genius Tinker lives in a near-future Pittsburgh which now exists mostly in the land of the elves. She runs her salvage business, pays her taxes, and tries to keep the local ambient level of magic down with gadgets of her own design. When a pack of wargs chase an Elven noble into her scrap yard, life as she knows it takes a serious detour. Tinker finds herself taking on the Elven court, the NSA, the Elven Interdimensional Agency, technology smugglers and a college-minded Xenobiologist as she tries to stay focused on whats really important her first date. Armed with an intelligence the size of a planet, steel toed boots, and a junk yard dog attitude, Tinker is ready to kick butt to get her first kiss.
Horse (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club Book 6) by Candace Blevins
Horse is one of the first non-wolf shifters to be patched into the RTMC after the rule change. He’s a Grizzly Bear, and his old pawnshop has become the MC’s new gun store in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Gabby is a rabbit shifter with a complicated history. Rabbits live in Faerie, but her parents chose to escape to the human realm so they could be together. Tragedy struck twice though, and she was taken to The Summerlands at fourteen to be raised by extended family. She’s grown now and has chosen to come back, even though it means she’s alone in this world.
Bears are loners who are used to getting their way. Rabbits are sexual, social creatures who need a wide variety of partners in their lives if they go outside their own species.
And Gabby’s past is on a trajectory to keep her from the future she wants.
Lindsey’s Rescue: A World Beyond Book 3 by Michelle Howard
Lindsey Ferra signed up for Earth’s Singles Program wanting love, marriage and happiness. She found the first two but the third required a bit of work. Fighting aliens, running from aliens and making friends with aliens all seem to be on the agenda for the day. Her only question now is can she find her way back and will happiness be on the schedule this time.
Senate Leaders Baruk Laars and Zadal Gatar planned a marriage for business reasons. Their wife Lindsey gave them something else…love. Can these two work together to correct their mistake and will Lindsey be rescued before it’s too late?
True love? For neuroscientist Dr. Mia Corregianni, it’s just an unproven hypothesis. But when she loses the heirloom watch her family believes is enchanted with a potent love spell, she fights superstition with superstition by hiring a psychic finder to track it down.
Chase Hunter is a human compass, homing in on whatever the seeker wants most—that is, when he isn’t surfing or actively avoiding anything resembling a real human attachment. Such has been his life since an accident took his family.
Unfortunately, Mia’s case isn’t a simple insta-Find. The catch? To disguise his real mission from her romance-crazy family, he has to pretend to be her boyfriend. He could deal with that if her complicated emotions weren’t blocking his abilities—or if her innermost desires weren’t walloping him upside the head every time he opens himself to his gift.
As the case wears on, their fake romance begins to feel all too real. Scary stuff for a man who’s reluctant to let himself live again. And a woman who doesn’t believe in magic…or love.
Vampires are nothing but trouble…
As far as beautiful vampire Sadie Pemberton is concerned, werewolves shouldn’t be sticking their noses into New York’s supernatural politics. They don’t know jack about running a city-not even that hot-as-sin new vampire-werewolf liaison who’s just arrived in town.
Werewolves are too sexy for their own good…
The last thing Killian Bane wanted was to end up in New York City playing nice with vampires. Unfortunately, he’s on a mission, and when he encounters the sexiest, most stubborn female vamp he’s ever met, he’s going to have to turn on a little of that wolfish charm…and Sadie’s going to learn a thing or two about what it means to have a wild side…
So here I stand, waiting to broker an alliance with the one the Northlanders call The Beast. A being so fearful, the greatest warriors will only whisper its name. Yet I, Gwenvael, will courageously face down this terrifying. . .woman? It turns out the Beast, a.k.a. Dagmar Reinholdt, is a woman–one with steel-gray eyes and a shocking disregard for my good looks. Beneath her plain robes and prim spectacles lies a sensual creature waiting to be unleashed. Who better than a dragon to thaw out that icy demeanor?
And who better than a beast to finally tame a mighty dragon’s heart?