I stumbled over this topic just today, oopsie. 😅
My cookie is kind of a mix of prequel and side story to my contemporary romance series set in Inverness, Scotland. The trope is friends to lovers.
During a wine degustation, Eleanor meets Darren, her best friend from college whom she was in love with, but never confessed. He asks her to meet and chat. First, she is hesitant because she fears that her feelings might come back. She meets him anyway. As fate would have it, after meeting him several times, she realizes that her feelings for him are still there.
A few days later, he confesses to her that he has evolved romantic feelings for her. As for reasons we don’t know yet, she rejects him and flees home.
The next day she calls in sick at work. A worried Hailey (coworker and female MC in the first book of the series) shows up at her house. Eleanor reveals that she once was married and lost her husband due to a terminal illness. To her, falling in love with another man feels like a betrayal to her deceased husband. Hailey tries to convince her that falling in love with someone new is okay. After all, it doesn’t mean that she won’t love her deceased husband anymore.
After thinking about it, Eleanor realizes that Hailey might be right. She meets Darren and tells him everything he needs to know. They end up dating and getting their happily ever after.