After making a page for my favorite romantic comedy authors months and months ago, I’ve been obsessed with creating listicles in my head. All of my favorite tropes and themes, a page for each! What a glorious thing! That may take awhile, but here’s one to hold you over:
I love a good story about friends becoming more. Especially if they’re pretending there’s no “more” in the equation. I laugh whenever a character says, “just sex.” Or some variation of that. I want to tell them, “Sure, that’s what you think. Just you wait.” Every single time. But I never get sick of it.
Here are some of my favorites, listed in alphabetical order (I’ve already played favorites enough by narrowing my list down to 10!):
Friend-Zoned by Belle Aurora
This book is straight up hilarious. And the friendships in this series are the best ever. Most FWB books have a lone girl and guy hanging out with each other outside of their regular circles of friends. This book and series has this huge group of friends that have some of the best platonic relationships I’ve ever read.
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Nikolai Leokov never thought he’d fall in love with the only girl he’s ever befriended.
Valentina Tomic has issues with commitment after the ultimate betrayal.
When Tina decides to make broody Nik’s day better, she never thought she would end up friends with the hard man.
Nik has never had a woman be so affectionate to him without expecting something in return.
Nik and Tina cordially invite you to read Friend-zoned.
A story of friendship, humor and love.
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
This is also one of my favorite LOL books, and one of my favorite books in general. It was one of the first books I read in the romance genre after graduating college, and will go down in history as the first book to make my boyfriend asking, “why are you sitting in silence cracking up?”
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NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL & USA TODAY bestselling indie author Alice Clayton delights readers with the sexy, laugh-out-loud romance of Caroline and Simon in Wallbanger, the first book in the Cocktail series!
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an–um–intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed “dating hiatus,” and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise.
So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…
In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight.
Floored by Melanie Harlow
My favorite thing about Melanie Harlow’s books is how free and honest the sexual relationships in this series are. And each of the couples has their kink. The way that Floored had the whole “hate sex with the former bully” going for it was amazing, if only for Erin’s reactions to her own behavior later.
***This is a full-length, standalone, contemporary romance.***
OK, fine. I’ll confess.
While my house was being robbed, I was in the shower indulging my favorite Brad Pitt fantasy (the one with the Troy costume and the handcuffs.)
But where is the justice in the world when the first cop on the scene is the former bully next door? How dare that arrogant jerk grow up to be six-foot-three inches of solid muscle with gorgeous blue eyes!
I can’t stop thinking about him. Or his handcuffs. Or his dirty mouth. Or the way he still likes to boss me around these days, only with a lot less clothing.
(Another confession—I like it now, too.)
But we’re totally wrong for each other…aren’t we?
“Floored embodies what a lighthearted read is supposed to be. It is the perfect blend of humor, sex, and heart. I absolutely loved it.” — Claire Contreras, NYT Bestselling Author of Kaleidoscope Hearts
Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren
This is one of my all-time favorite books forever and ever, and not just in the “friends with benefits” category. Hanna is so different from the other female leads in the series – quiet and nerdy. Chloe and Sarah were so independent and confident, even if they had their weak moments. Hanna was just so endearing, where Chloe, for example, is intimidating. And Will…just, yum.
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A bombshell bookworm. A chronic Casanova. And a lesson in chemistry too scandalous for school.
When Hanna Bergstrom receives a lecture from her overprotective brother about neglecting her social life and burying herself in grad school, she’s determined to tackle his implied assignment: get out, make friends, start dating. And who better to turn her into the sultry siren every man wants than her brother’s gorgeous best friend, Will Sumner, venture capitalist and unapologetic playboy?
Will takes risks for a living, but he’s skeptical about this challenge of Hanna’s…until the wild night his innocently seductive pupil tempts him into bed- and teaches him a thing or two about being with a woman he can’t forget. Now that Hanna’s discovered the power of her own sex appeal, it’s up to Will to prove he’s the only man she’ll ever need.
Frigid by J. Lynn
For some reason, Frigid will always be a book where I remember exactly where and when I read it, and my reactions. It wasn’t even, like life-changing or earth-shattering, but it was just really, really enjoyable and fun.
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For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie.
Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.
Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.
But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.
Checkmate by R.L. Mathewson
So, I guess this is more of an “enemies with benefits” book than a “friends with benefits” one. But I was already in love with anything having to do with the Neighbor from Hell series by the time this, the third book, came out. It made its way into this category for me, maybe just because I share Rory’s love of hot cocoa.
There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that was just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.
As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil’s bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not…
She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.
Playing for Keeps by R.L. Mathewson
This is the first book in the hilarious Neighbors from Hell series, and I immediately fell in love with this group. Haley was the nerdy, quiet girl I could relate to. And Jason was just freaking hilarious. He just sneaks into your heart between sarcastic and arrogant comments.
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Done with being the world’s biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to change starting with the aggravating neighbor who has too much charm and not enough restraint. What she didn’t expect was to be sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won’t let herself forget just what the bad boy next door is capable of.
The last thing Jason expected was for his little shy neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers. After he decides to take her under his wing he can’t help but notice that she fits very nicely in his life. Now the only thing left is to convince her that this is anything but a game.
Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid
Regular readers know that Penny is one of my favorite authors. Combine that with a funny and hot Italian dude I cast as Joe Manganiello in mah brain, one of my favorite tropes, and baked goods, and you’ve got a spot on this list.
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Friends Without Benefits can be read as a standalone, is a full length 120k word novel, and is book#2 in the Knitting in the City Series.
There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she’s unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love.
But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse,
Love & Lists by Tara Sivec
This is another books that’s “snort constantly, can’t read while eating or drinking” kind of funny, as all Tara Sivec books are. Since it’s the first spinoff, it’s great because you know more characters, better than you do in the first series. I tend to enjoy myself the further into this kind of series we get because we know the supporting characters so well.
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Love and Lists is the first book in the Chocolate Lovers spinoff – Chocoholics: The foul-mouthed offspring tell their stories.
Twenty-five-year-old Gavin Ellis has always had the love and support of his family ever since he was a little boy and couldn’t stop talking about his penis. He’s also always had their unsolicited advice and uncanny knack of embarrassing him at all costs. Now that he’s an adult and trying to convince the love of his life to love him back, things haven’t changed very much from when he was younger.
When Gavin’s best friend Tyler suggests he make a to-do list of items that will ensure he wins the girl, Gavin is one-hundred-percent on board: after a few six packs.
After puking in the shrubs, a bad experience with Viagra, a Sex-Ed course gone wrong, and a slew of other mishaps courtesy of his family and friends, Gavin is pretty sure this list will be the death of him.
Sometimes, trying to make someone love you with a list isn’t always the best idea.
Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young
On Dublin Street was one of the first contemporary romances I ever read, and remains one of my favorite series. So obviously whenever Samantha had a friends with benefits storyline (one of my favorite tropes) within the series, I went crazy. There’s more than one FWB storyline in the series, but this one’s my favorite book.
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The follow-up to the runaway bestsellers ON DUBLIN STREET and DOWN LONDON ROAD
Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.
Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.
The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left brokenhearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…
More Friends with Benefits Books:
- Falling for His Best Friend by Katee Robert: Two best friends and a baby? Hilarity must ensue. The plot was a little meh for me, but the friends with benefits chemistry was off. the. charts.
- Forbidden Nights by Lauren Blakely: This book had everything on my personal checklist of great books.
- Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen: A nerdy girl, a jock, and a bucket list. Read this book if you like sports romances and nerd love, too. 🙂
- Intercepted by Emma Hart: Some banter can only be had between best friends – people who know everything about each other. This book had it, and I loved it.
- Overruled by Emma Chase: Despite Stanton being a douchenozzle most of the time, Sofia puts up with him – but gives him a ton of shit for it. And that’s what makes them friends instead of just lovers.
- Recipe for Temptation by Gina Gordon: This book had the best opening scene I’d read in ages. 🙂
- Stars in Their Eyes by Lauren Blakely: A paparazzo and her temporary (and secretive and hot and British) sidekick team up.
- The Consequence of Loving Colton by Rachel Van Dyken: Do not read this book while drinking liquids. It’s too funny. This universe straddles the line between ridiculously funny and ridiculously annoying so well.
- The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn: When it’s time for a virgin to write a sex scene, it’s time for her to go out and get some. You know, for research. 😉