Monday, May 13, 2019

Enemies to lovers: The BEST trope

My latest release, Evening the Score, is an enemies-to-lovers sports romance where I really wanted the hero to be a hot asshole and the heroine a kickass girl to knock him off his horse. It was challenging to write someone who was mean and then have them redeem themselves through the story. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes ever and I wanted to highlight not only my latest release, but also some of the best ones I have read.

Evening the Score:

Fiona Davis and Gideon Titan have nothing in common—except their mutual dislike of each other. But when they’re stuck coaching together for four months, each battle sparks flames, turning them into enemies with benefits…

Fiona Davis is an over-talkative college senior unsure what she wants to do with her life who volunteers to coach a baseball team at the suggestion of a charity close to her heart. Gideon Titan is an injured MLB player desperate to save his career, whose manager volun-told him to coach the youth team to rediscover his love of the game.

She hates his attitude and extravagant, multiple-car-owning lifestyle. He hates her constant need to prove herself and the way she snorts when she laughs. They both hate the six days a week they’re forced to see each other. What starts with a snarl boils into a sexual tension they both resent, but…the only time they aren’t arguing is when they’re naked.

They did it all backwards: enemies, co-coaches, lovers, then to some version of friends. If they want anything more, someone has to take the first step. There’s not a chance in hell it’ll be Fiona...unless Gideon can prove he’s worth the risk.

But making sacrifices is asking a lot for two people who know what it means to lose.

Hero Inspiration

Henry Cavill.  My favorite Henry is option B or D but imagine this face on the body on the cover. YUM.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Shut the fuck up. The baseball-playing star of my fantasies Gideon Titan?” Spit left my mouth and my pulse raced at the thought of that perfect specimen of a man. His poster hung in my room. He had starred in my dreams more than a handful of times. His eyes, abs and smile…I shivered. Wishes did come true. The receptionist at the Los Soles stadium gawked at me and I held up a hand. “Forgive my language. But please clarify. Who will I be coaching with again?”

Her gaze darted to the door as a blush crept up her neck. “Uh, Gideon Titan. He’s volunteering for the season for the fourteen and under baseball team. You’re paired together.”

“Cool.” Ohmigod. “Thank you.” I tried my best to remain calm and smiled while she printed off the schedule. She chewed on her bottom lip so damn much I wanted to smack her. I couldn’t be the first person to lose their shit at the chance to meet Gideon Titan.

He defined the term masculine. He put all men to shame. For a baseball-lovin’ southwest chick, he was it. When he was in full form, he was the epitome of perfection. Even with his injury and slight limp, I would take any invitation he offered. I left her desk with the practice schedule, reading about the forty games within four months, four games a week after two weeks of full practice.

Fucking Jade. Amazing, beautiful Jade. I called my pseudo-boss from the non-profit I had volunteered at for the last four years. She was my best friend, mentor and the version of a sister I’d thought my real sisters would be. She answered on the first ring her voice cheery. “Lo?”

“Gideon Titan.”

Jade’s breathy laugh traveled through the phone. “Surprise?”

“Hell, yeah. Best surprise ever. When I asked to get involved with youth sports, I was thinking more like pee-wee soccer. Not baseball. How did you do this?” The fresh air hit my face as I barged through the exit and I couldn’t contain my grin. November in Phoenix had perfect weather—I intended to enjoy every drop of it.

“Well, I know a guy who knows a guy…plus, you’ve put a lot of work into our programs that focus on high school kids. You’re great with them and this will be a good fit. You can talk about the dangers of texting and driving and get to coach one-on-one with Gideon Titan. I see this as a win-win.”

The stab of pain came and went—I was used to the wave of grief whenever Justin crossed my mind. It got easier to not react to it. I cleared my throat and wiped my suddenly sweaty palms on my jeans. “Thanks for thinking of me for this. I’m grateful. And hello? Gideon. Freaking. Titan.”

“Yeah. I heard he can be a real asshole, but I want every detail.”

My brain wasn’t in the right place to fully comprehend her words. I laughed it off. With a face like Gideon’s, he could ramble on and on about stupid, irrelevant information and I’d still be happy. “You misheard it. I’m sure they meant to say he’s a hot piece of ass.”

Jade sighed, ignoring me. Typical Jade. “Anyway, crazy. We need to talk about that job offer that is still unanswered.”

My throat closed and I let out an awkward grunt. “Mm, yeah. Sure.”

“I’ll let you go enjoy your moment to think about Gideon, but I need an answer, Fi. See you at the office soon?”

“Yup.” I hung up, took a deep breath and started the drive to the shitty two-bedroom apartment I’d moved into a month ago with a former co-worker. I’d made enough the two years before, waitressing at an IHOP, and had saved every last penny to be able to live on my own my senior year. I adored my mom and my childhood home but shit—I needed to cut the cord and live my life. Her meddling personality got in the way, despite her good intentions. I wasn’t a bitch, but I wanted to be independent even if it killed me. Yeah—I had a stubborn thing going and I was damn proud of it.

Jade’s words weighed heavy on me the entire drive. Volunteering at Texting Too Late had started out small to help me cope with Justin’s death. But it had grown into more. Once a month had become twice, and twice a week had become almost daily. The foundation was amazing and it gave me a fulfillment I needed to deal with the guilt, but could I accept a full-time position knowing damn well every day would remind me of him, and my secret?

I gripped the wheel tighter and scoffed at all the couples holding hands. What the fuck? It’s like noon on a Tuesday—why are they just strolling down our shitty street? I parked in the covered carport, spying Michelle’s Toyota, and checked my phone before heading into our modest place. Jade: You would get to see me every day. Jade: Diane knows you kick ass with all the money stuff I avoid. Fiona: Keep the compliments coming. It’s good for my ego. Jade: You could pick the music station? Fiona: I would choose 2000s R&B and it’s still a maybe. I pocketed my phone and pulled my hair up into a ponytail before walking inside. I was quite proud of the way I handled donations to TTL and that our rating had gone up in the past three months. I allocated about fifteen percent of all donations for maintenance, freelance work and advertising, but Jade had proposed moving it to twenty and keeping me on full-time with pay. Diane—the president and founder—agreed.It had insurance, great benefits and a good salary for a non-profit. I would work with Jade, who was pretty fucking awesome, and have a job on the table before graduating.


Nah. Not today, grief. I straightened my sho 
ulders, pushing down the negative spiral I was sure to have. I avoided feelings. Tied up, sewed shut. I hadn’t had a relationship that amounted to more than awesome, gravity-defying sex since I was eighteen, but that didn’t really count, and I was okay with it. Sex was easy. Attention was easy. Feelings were not. Feelings did not lead to happiness. I came across as wild, reckless or cold to most, but it didn’t bother me. It was safer, smarter and survival. Light rock music carried from our place and I plowed through our front door. I had news and Michelle Benning needed to hear it.

“Michelle. Get your ass out here right now.”

“What is it?” She waltzed out of her room, just to the right of the kitchen. She wore the ugly blue apron and had her hair done up. We both had our secrets, our pasts that defined the core pieces of us. But I hadn’t asked her what hers were, nor had she asked me. We enjoyed each other’s company and I didn’t require much more than that from my first roommate besides my mom.

“Guess who the fuck I got paired with to coach this team. Guess.” I plopped onto our long-standing burgundy couch. It had been a family piece and my mom had given it to us. It smelled like an old basement, of stale popcorn with a mix of lemon furniture polish. I loved it. Michelle ran her manicured red nails over her chin, humming in thought.

“My mind is blank. Tell me.”

“Gideon Titan.” I smirked, pulling up a picture of him on my phone. “The Gideon Titan.”

“Fuck me sideways.” She snatched the phone out of my hands. “I want to sit on his face.”

“Girl, join the club. I want him to sit on my face.” I fanned myself with my free hand. “I have to send him an email, or reach out to him somehow. Practices are four times a week! Then, forty games.”

“I hate you.” Her dark brown eyes widened, her hand going to her heart. “I’m not one of those jealous bitches. But I could cut you right now.”

I snickered. “I don’t blame you. Here, will you help me type out an email to him? Or should I call? What do you think?”

She took the schedule from my hands and skimmed the bottom line—contact me for details. She pursed her lips. “He left a number and email. What would you rather do?”

“It makes more sense to text, right?” Nerves took over. I would be texting someone whose face was plastered all over our city. Wow. But what if he’s driving?

“I think so. If this wasn’t Gideon Titan but some random person, you would text, right?”

“I’d rather call. I’d want to talk about logistics and division of coaching duties. It’d be easier to talk than type.” I wiped my palms on my jeans. “Shit.”

“Girl, this is insane. Call now. I want to hear his voice.” She grasped my hand, with her face a little too happy, a little too eager. I couldn’t blame her, though. My excitement and nerves took center stage and the reality of the situation had me stiff. “Call.”

“Okay, okay!” I skimmed the informational sheet the woman had given me and his number sat at the bottom. Gideon Titan’s number. I dialed it, hesitating for a second before pressing call. Then it rang. “Shit. Ah!”It rang three times, each tone causing more sweat to form on my brow. The fourth ring, he answered.

“It’s Gideon.”

His voice was rough and strangled, but my body reacted to it anyway. My legs clenched together, the deep tone affecting me way too much. Michelle said something to get my attention and I cleared my throat. “Hi, Gideon Titan. My name is Fiona—”

“Who fucking gave you my number?”

His sudden verbal attack made me jump. My tremulous voice gave me away, I was sure. “Los Soles, sir.”

“Why?” Something shuffled in the background, the accusation clear as day. “What do you want?”

“We-we got paired to coach the fourteen-blue team.” Goddamn my nerves.

“Christ.” He released a long, aggravated sigh. “I don’t need another coach. Tell them you can’t do it and never call this number again.”

Then he hung up.

The first spark of anger began in my stomach. It worked its way up to my chest, then to my neck. I wanted to murder this guy. He was an asshole of epic proportions. Michelle’s eyes were the size of small saucers.

“Did he for real just do that?” Her brittle voice matched mine.

“Yeah. The fucker hung up on me.” I fisted the paper into a crumpled ball. “Fuck him.”

I hit redial, his rough voice answering the same. “Listen, asshole. I’m coaching with you. I want this opportunity. So fuck off. I’ll see you at the first practice.”

Then I hung up.

“Oh my god. What did I do?” I threw my phone onto the small coffee table. Michelle’s face remained unmoving, as though my actions had frozen time. Whoever cusses at Gideon Titan?

Interested in this story? You can get it at the following places!

Snowe’s Favorite Enemies-to-Lovers

  1. The Hating Game | Sally Thorne
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

  1. Something about you | Julie James
Fate has thrown two sworn enemies...Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other's arms...Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

  1. Beautiful Bastard | Christina Lauren
An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling.
Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He's exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family's massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who'd been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day.

Despite the rumors, he's never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe's so tempting he's willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office. As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they're willing to lose in order to win each other.

  1. Two Weeks Notice | Whitney G
To Whom It May Concern: I am writing this letter to formally announce my resignation from Parker International (& the arrogant, condescending CEO) effective two weeks from today. This was a VERY EASY decision to make, as the past two years have been utterly miserable. I wish his next executive assistant all the luck in the world (she'll need it) and if my boss should need me to do anything over the next two weeks, kindly tell him that he can do it [his] goddamn self... Sincerely (Not Really), Tara Lauren
That’s the version of my two weeks’ notice I should’ve sent to my boss, because the more professional version - the one where I said I was "grateful for all the opportunities," and "honored by all the rewarding experiences" over the years? That letter was rejected with his sexy, trademark smirk and an “I highly suggest you read the fine print of your contract...” So, I did. And now I've realized that unless I fake my death, poison him, or find a way to renegotiate my impossible contract, I’m stuck working under one of the cockiest and most ruthless bosses in New York. Then again, I thought that was the case until he called me late last night with an emergency proposition...

  1. Wallbanger | Alice Clayton
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an 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...

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

I love the enemies to lovers trope. So much inherent conflict. Your newest release sounds awesome! Major congrats. :)