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Let The Fireworks Begin: Enemies-To-Lovers in Romance

by Em Petrova


In a romance story, the enemies-to-lovers dynamic sets the stage for a rich palette of conflict and contention. If there’s any type of plot element that puts the Happily Ever After in jeopardy, it’s this one. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you from the realm of science fiction romance.

Aeryn Sun and John Crichton from the Farscape television show represent a quintessential enemies-to-lovers couple. He’s a scientist lost in a faraway galaxy. She’s a renegade soldier on the run. Holy cow, do they ever go at it. If they’re not exchanging stinging barbs, they’re exchanging stinging blows. Woven into their constant bickering is a burgeoning passion that is as strong as their eventual abilities to compromise with and trust one another.

In Nathalie Gray’s Agent Provocateur,Troy and Mercury start off as diehard opponents. Move over, Russell Crowe.Reading about their combat is like watching a private gladiator match in my head. That kind of foreplay makes for some very intense attraction, not to mention hawt sex!

C.J. Barry’s unmasked features a heroine who squares off against the space pirate intent on scoring a piece of her family’s successful shipping company. Torrie and Quade’s first altercation is fraught with peril and one driven by their wildly opposite goals. However, when they finally earn each others’ trust, the moment is that much sweeter.

Another romance hero and heroine who start off as sworn enemies are Alpha and Lt. General Thomas Wharington from Catherine Asaro’s Alpha. Let me tell you, that android super vixen puts her hero through the wringer—and then some. The beauty of the story is that Thomas recognizes her potential to evolve and is relentless in his ambition to help her to, you know, be all that she can be.

Not only am I lucky enough to read and watch such exciting enemies-to-lovers tales, I had the privilege of writing one as well. Here’s the basic premise of Queenie’s Brigade, my new sci-fi romance from Red Sage Publishing:

“After ruthless invaders occupy Earth, a military starship captain must convince the headstrong leader of a remote prison colony that her band of convicts represents Earth’s one and only chance for freedom.”

Captain Drake is a charismatic and honorable Alpha hero whose goal of saving Earth conflicts sharply with Queenie’s goal of leading her exploited people to freedom. Needless to say, Drake and Queenie have an abundance of issues to work through if they’re ever going to discover the qualities that make them so right for each other.

In short, I’m determined to entertain you with Queenie’s Brigade.

I also hope you’ll check out a few of the other titles I mentioned. An enemies-to-lovers tale really makes a romance couple work hard to achieve their HEA. Speaking of endings, readers deserve nothing less than that kind of high-octane satisfaction.


Cathy Pegau October 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Loved both Alpha and Agent Provocateur. The inherent conflict of E-T-L is my cuppa (and something I’m using now;) ). That being said, there needs to be a good reason WHY they are enemies and an even better reason why the couple hooks up. I’m sure you’ve done that just fine, Heather!

Congrats on the release!

Heather Massey October 2, 2011 at 12:33 am

Hi Cathy! Thanks for dropping by, and for your kind words.

Oooh, I’m already intrigued to read what you’re working on. I agree, the reasons behind being enemies needs to have deep roots; otherwise it feels like the h/h are just pieces being moved around on a chessboard to a contrived situation.

One thing I love about sci-fi romance is that it’s just *filled* with potential for the enemies-to-lovers dynamic and features books that are doing it in a really fun way. I’m always game for more.

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