This is one of my favorite tropes, because how closely it tracks with MC's in full-denial. I absolutely adore MC's that somehow think a few days of passion will be easy to shake off. I love when characters unexpectedly catch feelings for the "just a bit of fun" partner. What do you love about this trope? The denial, the negotiation, something else entirely? What are your favorite "Just a fling" romances?
This year I really enjoyed Ainslie Paton's odd-couple, temporary roommates with benefits romance, The Love Coupon (m/f, contemporary). Their romance has an end date and everything turns complicated when their hearts engage. I loved how inconvenient and confusing those feelings became.
Mia Hopkins's Thirsty (m/f, contemporary with POC MCs) is another of those, it is just temporary, turns into more romances. Sal has been out of prison for a little less than a year, trying to get his life together when his housing situation falls apart and he moves into Vanessa and Chinita's garage in exchange for clearing it out. She was the good girl next-door that he never had a chance with when he was a teen. Their affair is hot and time-limited but both of them start feeling much more for each other than they dare admit.
Stripped by Zoey Castile, (m/f contemporary with POC, ownvoices heroine) this Magic Mike XXL inspired fantasy has a burn-out quarter-life crisis having teacher, Robin, falling for the stripper who moved in downstairs. The twist here is that while they know they only have a few months together, Fallon fails to tell Robin that his stay in NYC is even shorter than they thought.
Billie and Drew have an arrangement. He wines, dines and pampers her while paying her madam well for the time they spend together. Billie works hard to remember that despite all his affection, she isn't Drew girl, or even his mistress but a sex worker for hire. But after Drew leaves to go find a wife, she discovers she is very inconveniently pregnant. Destiny's Surrender by Beverly Jenkins's Billie is fabulously prickly and determined and really deepens and complicates the it was just a fling trope into marriage of convenience/marriage in trouble romance that was absolutely engrossing. (m/f america-set historical, POC MCs).