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Romance/Erotica

12 Immersive Romantic Adventure Stories To Take You Away

Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

KING OF SWORD AND SKY by C.L. Wilson | Avon Books

The legendary romantic fantasy series that started it all from NYT bestselling author C.L. Wilson is now available with stunning new covers! Escape into the mystical Fading Lands and discover a story about a seemingly unremarkable girl, a morally corrupt Fey king, and their eternal battle for true love as they try to save their imperiled kingdom.

What is an immersive romantic adventure story? The first word is easy: immersive simply means the reader will immediately be pulled into the story, whether it’s through the hook, the plot, or the storytelling itself. The stories in this list vary in terms of how the story is told, but they all have that one thing that will keep you going.

As for romantic — I’m a Romance Novel reader, so a lot of these stories have a love story at their center and an emotionally satisfying ending. But they don’t all have a Happily Ever After because a story can be romantic without that. Since I’m me, though, I’m giving you quite a few love stories steeped in adventure and topped with a HEA or Happy For Now.

Adventure is the hardest aspect to define. Very often, we think of an adventure as something that requires a journey, like Romancing the Stone or Outlander. One or both of the characters are out of their element, and there’s a quest or destination involved. Maybe there’s some element of suspense or danger from an external source — someone is on the run, or there’s a quest to save the world (or maybe just a person). Some adventures might take us to exotic or unfamiliar locations, while others happen right in our backyard. As long as there’s excitement and danger involved, either from the environment or from people — or, in the best cases, from both! — we can call something an adventure. (Why then, you’re asking, don’t romantic suspense novels count as adventure? I have no good answer; they just don’t, sorry.)

The books I’ve pulled together are adventures of all kinds. Some are set in the here and now, while others are set in the past or in fantasy lands. Some are a little more serious, while others are light and fun. There are spies, and pirates, and worlds upon worlds. There are some of our favorite romance novel tropes. There are road trips, and kidnappings, and other kinds of over-the-top action. Many of these stand alone, but others are the start of a series.

Now, let’s set off on our own adventure through romantic adventure stories!

Cover of Shaken to the Core by Jae

Shaken to the Core by Jae

A good way to send folks on an adventure is to offer them a natural disaster to survive through, and Jae doesn’t pull any punches with sending her main characters through the wringer in 1906 San Francisco. Kate and Giuliana, two women from very different backgrounds, are brought together when Giuliana comes to work as a maid in Kate’s household. They have a connection, but it’s 1906, and their attraction is unfamiliar and very much Not Acceptable. When tragedy strikes, they have to rely on each other to make it through to the other side of the devastation that ravages the city in the form of earthquakes and fire.

cover of Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura

Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura

If you want something a little more light, Raiders of the Lost Heart is a jungle-based adventure that will draw the eye of folks who enjoyed Romancing the Stone and The Lost City. Academic rivals Corrie and Ford wind up working together on an archaeological dig when Corrie gets kinda tricked into coming to help Ford on the project that he literally stole from under her. She would turn it down, except for the fact that it’s her biggest passion and life’s work to find the burial site of her warrior ancestor. But their search turns into a bit of misadventure when thieves, authorities, and the landscape itself get in their way.

Cover of Olivia and the Masked Duke

Olivia and the Masked Duke by Grace Callaway

A historical Charlie’s Angels, you say? (Seriously, the series is literally called Lady Charlotte’s Society of Angels.) Yes, please.

Livy loves two things: solving mysteries and the Duke of Hadleigh. One of those things is surprisingly more attainable than the other, especially when she is recruited into a ladies’ society of spies. Of course, little does she know that Ben, the duke himself, is also set on helping those in need, all while getting his Victorian Batman on as a masked avenger. As the two are brought together by danger, their relationship evolves in the most unexpected ways. (I will add that there is a notable age gap if that’s not your thing, and she has been in love with him since she was 13.)

Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert Book Cover

Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert

If you’re searching for an adventure story that is surprisingly low-key, this might be the series starter for you. Witch Evelyn steals something from her vampire ex-girlfriend and somehow ends up escaping through a portal to another world. She’s picked up by pirates in the land between realms and must not only traverse this new experience, but also deal with the telekinetic captain of said pirates. And whatever might be going on between them.

cover of What the River Knows

What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez

This magical successor to the Amelia Peabody Mysteries, this book has everything: mystery, intrigue, displacement, an “infuriatingly handsome assistant,” and all the other great things that contribute to a historical adventure story.

Inez is living The Life in 19th Century Buenos Aires — or she would be if her parents were ever at home. When she inherits their fortune after their sudden death abroad, Inez travels to Cairo to find answers from her new guardian and sets on a journey to find the truth about her parents, the ring her father left her, and the old world magic that seems to be drawing her in.

cover of Something Wilder

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Back in the twenty-first century, we’ve got the modern-day successor to Romancing the Stone in romance novel form, in which two people who really can’t stand each other are stuck together in the wilderness for far longer than either of them would like. Lily leads fake treasure hunts through the wilderness, and Leo is the last man she ever wants to see again (okay, maybe her dead dad has that honor, but Leo is pretty close). But when their planned fake treasure hunt turns into a very real Dangerous Adventure, they have to work together to figure out how to get back to civilization.

cover of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

Flying houses, swashbuckling, and the perfect will-they-or-won’t-they of Actual Enemies To Lovers: what more could you want in an adventure romance? Did I mention the flying houses? Cecilia is a novice member of the Wisteria Society who wants nothing more than to prove herself. When she comes across assassin Ned breaking into her house, we’re put on the path of an adventure like no other.

cover of Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha

This is a completed series by Kit Rocha (the new one is all about dragons and court intrigue), but that just means you can slam through it without having to wait for another book to release! The logline for this one is “Orphan Black meets post-apocalyptic Avengers,” and you’re going to get everything that works in those two universes here!

cover image of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Come for the adventure, stay for the Words. Erin Morgenstern has only published two books, but they were both worth the wait for the storytelling alone. Here, we have story upon story upon story, with one reluctant hero at the center. We go from present-day New York to worlds beyond and continue to guess with every chapter. 

(I could wax poetic about this book for several pages, but it’s better to go in knowing very little!)

Book cover of That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

Do you want to laugh your way through an adventure? Kimberly Lemming is your girl. In this series opener, Cinnamon’s family are spice farmers (of course), and you can take it exactly as it says on the tin. Cin gets drunk with her BFF Brie (who, yes, is a cheesemonger), and on the way home from town finds herself on the wrong end of a demon attack. When she surprisingly breaks him out of the haze he’s been cursed into, he…asks…her to help him on a quest to save all demonkind from the witch who cursed them. Road trip, here we go!

cover of A Heart of Blood and Ashes

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Speaking of road trips, two people on either side of a war find themselves unlikely traveling partners in this incredibly violent and gory fantasy romance. (This one is also quite the doorstopper, which few of the rest are.) Maddek and Yvenne each have their own reasons for entering an alliance, and both of them involve bloodshed in some way. But as they travel together, getting into and out of all kinds of trouble, they learn more about each other and themselves.

Partners in Crime cover

Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

Let’s wrap things up with a caper!

Mira and Naveen are very boring people, and they like it that way. Mira has determined that the best way to find the quiet future she desires is to go through a matchmaker, and Naveen would be just the type she’s looking for. If only they hadn’t already met. And dated. And broken up. Now, however, they find themselves spending one wild night in Vegas, dealing with all kinds of Bad Actors. Maybe this will help bring the two of them together?



Looking for more romantic stories of all kinds? Check out these romances your book club might enjoy. Or maybe you’re interested in exploring romancifi? You can find all these and more on Book Riot’s romance page.