Today’s niche trope is not so niche. It’s kinda everywhere, from books to movies to TV. It’s a perennial favorite for a reason, though, and that reason is sweet, sweet TENSION. Having the question of “who gets the bed? How do we share?” shoved into the character’s faces basically forces them into a pivot point in their relationship.

If they’ve been denying their feels, they will be feeling some kinda thing ALL NIGHT. If they’ve been trying to keep it to ‘friendly friends zone’, guess what? They will be making a decision, one way or the other. If they’re rivals forced into sharing space, ooooh the snark and unwilling attraction! There are endless different, delicious ways to include this trope and as a reader, I love to find out how the author is going to pull it off.

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Let’s start the post on some contemporary romance. Dark romance is having a HUGE moment in the spotlight lately, of course in contemporary but also in fantasy romance. I haven’t included those right up front because a) they are not for beginners (cough *Haunting Adeline* cough) and b) most of them include more “forced proximity” than the traditional “only one bed” dilemma.

For this you can try The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas (fake boyfriend plus the travel trope, what’s not to love?) Managed by Kristen Callihan (the grump is forced into proximity with the sunshine character they ‘can’t stand’, and then we get their POV to find out they are already so far gone. I love it SO MUCH.) Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle, (see my previous comment, it happened again but in the Colorado Rockies with a killer after them) Whiteout by Adriana Anders (Imagine the grump forced to share a sleeping bag with the sunshine one in a survival situation and, you guessed it, the grump’s POV is a DELIGHT.) The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (such a clever modern twist on this trope!) and, if you want to walk on the dark side a little, Twisted Hate by Ana Huang (the trigger warnings list is comparatively short for this one, but it still has great simmering tension).

If you’re like “No, SE, I don’t need your vanilla recommendations. I can handle the twisted ones and I love me some actually-bad villains”, then you can try some books with legit kidnapping, stalking, masks, and dubcon putting the “forced” in “forced proximity”. May I emphasize again the need to read those trigger warnings first, though. Try some Dark romance The Ritual by Shantel Tessier , That Sik Luv by Jescie Hall, Den of Vipers by K.A. Knight, (bonus: it’s a reverse harem!) Prisoner by Skye Warren and Annika Martin, Slashed by Thalia Sanchez or Lights Out by Navessa Allen. I’ve read and can wholeheartedly recommend Prisoner, Haunting Adeline, Slashed, and Lights Out.

This trope is rather a staple in Historical romance, and I was spoiled for choice. Given the strict social conventions of the time, “only one bed” pretty much guarantees a direct turn into “marriage of convenience” and, of course, a lot of tension. For clever takes on this literary theme, try A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare, Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean, The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan, Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian, Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins, Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt, or The Devil is a Marquess by Elisa Braden. All good solid choices with great characters and thick plot.

I’m so excited to see Fantasy romance becoming more of a thing. The world building is the most lovely mix between some of the things I love about historical romance and whatever else the author feels like throwing in, especially magic! Try reading The North Wind by Alexandria Warwick, Midwinter Mail Order Bride by Katie Wilde, Bound to the Battle God by Ruby Dixon (BONUS Sworn to the Shadow God, also by Ruby Dixon). From Blood and Ash by Jennifer Armentrout, Iron and Magic by Illona Andrews, The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter, or Demon From the Dark by Kresley Cole.

The best for last, my absolute favorite genre of Alien/SciFi romance. Luckily for me, SciFi romance is jam-packed with only one bed situations. Hold by Claire Kent, Contaminated by Amanda Milo, The Challenge by Alana Khan, Guarded by the Snake by Layla Fae, Defended by the Alien Gladiator by Presley Hall (Bonus Her Alien Savior, also by Presley Hall), Captive of the Horde King by Zoey Draven, Knot for Nest by VK Ludwig, Naffon by Honey Phillips, The Alien’s Challenge by Ella Maven, Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon (yep, Ruby uses this trope all the time and you can also find it in multiple books of hers like Bad Guy).