AAR Loves… Partners to Lovers Romances Part Two

When AAR staffers started suggesting titles to include in our AAR Loves… Partners to Lovers romances, we had so many favorites that we decided to split the list in two. Our first list, partners in law enforcement, military, and espionage, can be found here.

Part two of our list is our catch-all: any kind of partnership in pursuit of a goal outside the official world of law and order. We’ve got dancers, ghost hunters, lawyers, actors, and more! Have you read any of these, and what did you think?  Have you got some suggestions for great books we could add to the list?

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

When Kit Lowell’s father dies in a car accident, she can’t talk with anybody about it – her friends don’t understand, nor does her widowed mother, and her Indian grandparents don’t interact with the family because Kit’s dad was white.Then she sits next to neuroatypical David Drucker in the cafeteria, and his first words, “So your dad is dead,” actually come as a relief. Kit can’t let go of the accident, so she asks David to help her examine the physics of it. The two of them become friends, allies, and maybe even more as they investigate, but the truth can push people apart as easily as it pulls them together. This YA story is partners-to-in-love rather than lovers, but it shines for its truthful depiction of the high school social scene (including bullying) and the bond the characters develop.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles

Robert Caldwell, journalist for The Chronicle in London, has inherited a dilapidated old house called Caldwell Place, and he’s anxious to sell it. Unfortunately, he’s stymied in his attempts because the house appears to be haunted. He calls renowned ghost-hunter Simon Feximal, hoping he can get rid of his ghosts. Instead, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the handsome and enigmatic man. As Simon tries to rid Caldwell Place of the spirit that haunts it, the spirit gets up to one last trick – compelling Robert and Simon to give in to an uncontrollable lust. In The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, Robert chronicles the twenty years he spent with Simon – as his assistant and lover. Tender, spooky, and marvelous, this partnership is one of Ms. Charles’ best.

Buy it on Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

A Charm of Magpies series by K.J. Charles

Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies – and he needs magical assistance, fast. Enter the idiosyncratic magician, Stephen Day, who thinks he has good reason to hate Crane’s family, but unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats and the threat to Crane’s life is most definitely supernatural. This Earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude… and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless.  The writing is excellent, the world building sublime. A partnership that turns to love and ongoing danger, wherever Lord Crane and Stephen Day go.

Buy the series at Amazon

Think of England by K.J. Charles

It’s pre-WWI Britain, and former British officer Archie Curtis is on a mission… to a house party. After losing three fingers on the battlefield due to a faulty batch of guns, he’s on the hunt for the dastardly group behind the sabotaged weapons. But when he arrives, he discovers the house party isn’t quite what it seems, and he’s not the only agent on the case. Daniel da Silva, a decadent Jewish poet, is an annoying fellow guest at the houseparty. He seems to delight in teasing Archie…until he saves his life with a blowjob that blows his mind – and his cover. Spies! Villains! Intrigue! Sex! Think of England pairs complete opposites Archie and Daniel as they slowly solve the case and fall in love. It’s smart, suspenseful, and filthy, and excellent in every way.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Daphne Pembroke’s brother has been kidnapped by men who think he’s the hieroglyph scholar of the family, when really, it’s Daphne. She bails aristocratic scapegrace Rupert Carsington out of Egyptian prison to help her track down her brother, figuring he’ll be the brawn to her brains. Yet as they survive traps, crocodiles, ship sinkings and sandstorms, Daphne starts to realize that she’s stronger than she thinks – and that Rupert has a genius all his own.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Dance pro Gina Morales is assigned Alaskan reality survivalist Stone Nielsen as her partner on the competition show Take the Lead. Stone needs the money he earns week by week; Gina needs a win to be invited back the following season. The two of them join forces to not only master the dances, but the public image component of reality TV, where absolutely everybody is a potential anonymous tabloid source and you never know when the cameras are running. And the heat between them that’s scorching on the dance floor keeps following them offstage…

Buy Now: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Widdershins series by Jordan L. Hawk

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man. Jordan L. Hawk’s Widdershins is set in Victorian, New England, with a good, punchy and creepy horror/supernatural story at the centre of the narrative. Slightly H.P. Lovecraft in the world building, with an adorable love story that strengthens and entwines throughout the ten book series!

Widdershins, an archaic word for “counter clockwise”, is a fictitious thriving, old New England industrial town. It is given context by its proximity to Boston and Salem, but the author has created a town that keeps the reader slightly off balance. Percival, is a brilliant, but extremely shy philologist; shunned by his rich family and bullied by the other staff at the museum – except for feisty Christine, the equally brilliant (and put-upon) Egyptologist. Enter the mysterious and gorgeous Griffin Flaherty, an ex-Pinkerton, now private detective with a bizarre murder case to solve, and we’re off.

Hawk paints the portraits of both Griffin and Whyborne extremely well – gradually adding details until we see these two men as they come to see each other. Period settings are always difficult, but the author pulls it off and creates a sense of another place and another time.

Buy the series at Amazon

Spirits series by Jordan L. Hawk

In late nineteenth century Baltimore, scientist Henry Strauss is determined to prove the supremacy of science over superstition by perfecting and marketing his Electro-Séance as the alternative to spiritualism as peddled by fraudulent mediums.  When he receives an invitation from a wealthy New York industrialist to take part in a contest pitting his scientific method against traditional mediumship, Henry is confident of success and determined to win the prize.  When he arrives at the venue and meets his opponent, the darkly handsome Vincent Night, Henry is somewhat rattled by the man’s overt flirtatiousness, but it only spurs him on.  He doesn’t want to feel the attraction that is humming between them – but before long it becomes clear that they will have to work together if they’re to stand any chance of defeating the threat facing them and save the lives of the house’s other inhabitants.  The stories are all self-contained, but the relationship between Henry and Vincent develops throughout the series; there’s a diverse cast, the characters are all well-drawn, complex individuals and the stories – good, old-fashioned tales of evil spirits and things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-  are entertaining and well-told.

Buy the series at Amazon

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

After investing years of eighty-hour weeks in their Chicago law firm, J.D. Jameson and Peyton Kendall are horrified to learn that only one new partner will be selected from their class. The judgment will be made based on how the two perform in landing an enormous class-action lawsuit for the firm. Suddenly, the arch-rivals are teammates, learning to be admire and even find attractive all of the things that made them competitors, but their teamwork comes with an expiration date as partner selection looms. An enemies-to-lovers story via partnership, this one sizzles and shows James’s legal background in its realistic depiction of the Chicago law scene.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker

In the London Celebrities series, the characters in each novel are partnered up in the pursuit of a theatrical hit.  Set in and around the world of London’s West End, the stories take place amid the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd, the backstage backstabbing, the gossip, rivalry and intense camaraderie of theatre companies mounting high-status, high profile productions. Our review of its most recent instalment, The Austen Playbook, says:

It’s got all Ms. Parker’s trademarks; the two principals are wonderfully appealing, the secondary cast is well-drawn, the dialogue is snappy – and most importantly, it’s got the depth, emotional resonance and soul-deep connection between the leads she’s so good at creating.

Buy the series at Amazon

Sold Short by Ainslie Paton

The third story in Paton’s unique contemporary romance Sidelined series sees business partners Dev Patel and Sarina Gallo going from friends to ‘it’s complicated’ when Sarina tells Dev she wants to have a baby with a sperm donor. Dev discovers he’s not really keen on that plan and offers himself up as the baby daddy instead. The result is some interesting family and workplace challenges as Dev and Sarina negotiate a new relationship.

Buy it at: Amazon

Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh

The partners-to-lovers trope appears in several books in this series about humans, shapeshifters, and race with mental powers called the Psy, but the series has to be read in order, so don’t skip to the ones listed here. In Branded by Fire, changeling cat Mercy and changeling wolf Riley struggle to resist their sexual attraction because they belong to different packs and are both dominants. However, they are forced to work together to rescue a kidnapped researcher, and even their strongest intentions are no match for such proximity. Shards of Hope begins when two Psy warriors, Aden and Zaira, find themselves in a murderous trap and cooperate to escape – into hostile changeling territory. Zaira believes herself so psychically broke and unstable that she places no priority on her own life, instead focusing on saving Aden. There are other books in the series that align to this trope (Bonds of Justice, for example – a human cop and Psy law enforcement) but at this point, it’s more efficient to just recommend that you read the entire fantastic series.

Buy the series at Amazon

Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas

Teenager Millicent Graves married the Earl Fitzhugh to unite her tinned goods fortune with his impoverished title. For Millie, it was love at first sight; for Fitz, it was the curse that separated him from the woman he loved. Millie locks down her feelings and focuses on being the best friend and partner she can be to Fitz, first in restoring the family estate and second in developing and growing the canned food business. Working together, Millie and Fitz become friends, and without realizing it, Fitz starts to see Millie, love, and relationships in a new way. This romance sets the standard for arranged marriage stories.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Pas de Deux by Lynn Turner

Zach Coen casts Mina Allende, ballet superstar, as the lead in his new musical, which he will both direct and costar in. This requires, naturally, extended practice of sensual choreography, and watching Mina with her diva attitude collide with Zach’s intense perfectionism is sizzling.

Buy it at: Amazon

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Interested in finding more books AAR Loves..?

Check out these posts:

Yes We Can! Our Favourite Activist Heroines

Romances featuring Refugee Heroines

Romancing it Royally – Some of our favourite royal romances

AAR Loves… Historical Romances featuring scientist heroines

AAR Loves… Romances featuring music and musicians

AAR Loves… Romances featuring realistic parent/child relationships

AAR Loves… Partners to Lovers romances – Part One (Military, law enforcement etc.)

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