Hot Trend: Friends To Lovers
While the trope of friends to lovers has been around since the beginning of the romance genre, recently I have been seeing it more and more in the erotica genre. In fact, in the past few months’ digital publisher Ellora’s Cave has released several novellas that feature friendships between the heroes and heroines that span decades. However, some authors are more successful than others when it comes to evolving a couple’s relationship from platonic caring to red-hot sexiness. Which of the "friends to lovers" tales works best? Check out my critiques of three recently release erotic novellas below.
Regardless of this story’s ridiculous premise (which includes a never ending game of Truth or Dare between the main characters), Devlin is the author most successful at showing the true bonds of friendship between her hero and heroine. The story is pretty much one long conversation between Daniel and Kaitlyn which reveals the characters’ personalities as well as their long-standing attachment. Sprinkled with some funny insider-y jokes between the couple, and the result is that the author has created a fun, charming story that shows sometimes friends do make the best lovers.
I really wanted to love this story, but the author made it difficult. As a feisty tomboy, the heroine, Angelica, could have been such an interesting character. But instead Zaines has her make some very strange choices (the least of which is pleasuring the hero, in his office, in the middle of a work day, out of revenge after he taunts her that she cannot possibly be as good "on her knees" as she claims). Add to this a bland hero who thinks calling his heroine his “own personal porn star” is a compliment, and this story is a complete mess. But perhaps the most disappointing part of the novella is that the author completely fails to show the friendship between David and Angelica. They start the story in the middle of a fight and they never make up long enough for their romance to ring true.
From the opening page of Stivali’s work it is clear that Shari and Jon are best friends. And yes, they do seem to know every single detail of the other’s life. Unfortunately it is never clear why they have been “just friends” for the past decade. Sure, Shari was recently engaged to marry someone else, but even before this neither character made a move on the other. Without a clear impediment to their romance, the plot for this one becomes thin. One thing that this story does have going for it, however, is a truly good guy hero. Jon is definitely someone to take home to the parents.
You can download all three of these e-novellas available from Ellora's Cave now. Want more genre coverage? Check out the Everything Erotica Page!