They meet, they fall in love, and they live happily ever after. That’s normally how a courtship recipe works, right? Not in these romance novels! Inside the pages of these books, you’ll find that the protagonists take another route to happily ever after: they have a prank war. The prank war becomes a medium in which the characters get to be their real selves while also falling in love with their nemeses.
Plotting and thinking of creative ways to design successful pranks is time consuming. Because they’re so focused on them, the characters spend a lot of time thinking about each other, from how to make each other miserable to how it would feel to kiss. Slowly, the protagonists realize that their feelings are getting compromised. Their original goal is long forgotten—now the only thing left to do is confess their love.
Unfortunately, there is a dearth of queer romances featuring prank wars. I was unable to find any. But if you are familiar with a title, we’d love for you to share it with us on social media.
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Imagine falling in love, then getting engaged, to finally be months away from your wedding when you realize you don’t love your fiancé anymore? Well, that’s what Naomi is going through and she wants to break it off. But breaking it off means paying for the wedding, and she does not have the money to do that. The next best thing? A prank war with your fiancé to see who breaks first!
Naomi and Nicholas are a couple I will forever remember. What starts as a prank war turns into love. Thanks to elaborate pranks, you get to witness the moment where their thoughts shift, and it is glorious to see it happen.
To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters
Estranged spouses start a prank war that leads to flirtation and finding their way back to the love they once harbored.
Lady Violet and Lord James married five years ago, but after they get into a big fight, they decide never to speak to each other again. They’re still married, though, so when Violet receives a letter telling her that James is unconscious because he fell off a horse, she runs to his side…only to find him well and happy inside a tavern.
This is the catalyst that starts a war of tricks and pranks between them. They will come to realize that maybe they don’t actually hate each other and can fall in love again in this historical romcom.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Lina, a wedding planner, never expected to be left at the altar. Her job is to create and give her clients their happily ever afters, so not getting hers seemed like a slap in the face. Years later, she is about to get the job opportunity of her dreams, but a small problem arises: she has to work side-by-side with the man who messed up her failed nuptials, the best man and her ex’s brother, Max.
While working together, Lina is still not over what Max did years ago, so she gets even in various ways—fun, laugh-out-loud ways that somehow make these two grow closer. But there are many obstacles on their way to a future together, one of them being Max’s brother. Also known as…Lina’s ex.
Sweet On You by Carla de Guzman
Sari is content with her life until a baker moves in next door and tries to steal her café customers. His arrival coincides with her sister moving away from home, so you can say that Sari’s week is not going great. She also has to figure out where to find baked goods that are as good as the coffee she makes. And the guy next door is not helping her at all.
These two strangers soon become nemeses and enter a prank war that everyone in their little community believes to be courtship in disguise. Sari and Gab think differently, but their hearts and heads can’t come to an understanding in this Christmas romance.
Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson
A new student has just arrived at Harper’s tiny boarding school, and he has befriended her twin brother, Cole. Harper can see Sterling is a terrible influence, and she doesn’t want her brother to get caught up in his pranks and mischief.
But then the two of them have to work together to save Cole from the mess he got himself into. Plotting together instead of at each other is a change they didn’t see coming. It horrifies Harper to discover that maybe they aren’t that different, and that getting along isn’t that complicated. Would falling in love be the next step in this prank war?
Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese
Willa is soccer’s next superstar. Her life revolves around the sport, so most of the time she doesn’t get to her college classes on time. When she needs the class notes to catch up, her professor points at Ryder, her flannel-wearing, bearded classmate, to help her out.
Because of a misunderstanding, his relationship with Willa gets into frenemy territory quickly. They start a war of teasing, pranks, and all-out fun stuff to finally make them realize that their frenemy status may really be something else entirely (possibly nearing “I think I’m in love with you!”).
Feud by Phyllis Bourne
Feuding neighbors are the stars of this romance. Alex is a Bridges and because of that, she has inherited a house at the most perfect time. But it’s not so perfect for Justice Lawson.
Justice has been biding his time to get that money from the Bridges and Lawson’s feud clause to start his breakfast restaurant. On the last day, he arrives at the lawyer’s office to find out there is another Bridges! He can see his future dissolving in front of him, only to get a good look at Alex Bridges. His new enemy and…the woman who has captured his attention.
Though they enjoy the creation of the pranks they come up with, the attraction they feel is undeniable. But would they be able to forgive and forget this feud?