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Your favorite Action-Adventure Romance? Shannon Stacey wants to know (and so...

Today’s guest post comes from Author Shannon Stacey who is self publishing the next in her Devlin Group books. The last time I read a Devlin Group book was back in 2009 and I really enjoyed it! Then Stacey left to write straight contemporary which I also enjoyed but I’m not sorry to see her return to her Action Adventure series. She approached me about writing a piece about her own appreciation for the genre and I thought you’d get a kick out of it.

Please leave your recommendations for action-adventure romances in the comments but click on the rafflecopter to enter!


Action-adventure romance. I love writing it and I love reading it, but sometimes it’s hard to find it. Whether it’s limitations on categories by retailers and retail platforms or nobody caring about the distinction as much as I do, action-adventure romance is usually found filed under romantic suspense. Even my Devlin Group series is classified as romantic suspense, but I personally call it action-adventure.

Unfortunately, part of the problem is that it can be hard to define, is rather subjective, and it’s an “I know it when I see it” sort of thing.  For some, if there’s danger or a bad guy with a gun, it’s romantic suspense. For others, it’s defined by whether or not the identity and motivation of the villain is known from the beginning. I personally find I’m drawn to dark and edgy romantic suspense, but action-adventure that has something of an action movie feel, especially (though not always) if there’s also humor involved. To bring television into it, I never miss an episode of Criminal Minds, but I’ll make popcorn and cancel plans for Hawaii 5-0.

I think I first fell into action-adventure romance with Lindsay McKenna’s Morgan’s Mercenaries series. The Love and Danger miniseries-within-the-series, to be more precise. I picked up a copy of Morgan’s Wife (Silhouette Special Edition, October 1995) somewhere and was hooked. It took me a while, but I eventually found the entire series. Then, in the summer of 1996, Prince Joe came along and Suzanne Brockmann’s Tall, Dark & Dangerous series made its way onto my keeper shelf. Of course, that blurs the lines a little more as it could also be classified as military romance.

In trying to find action-adventure romance today, I have to rely a great deal on covers and back cover copy for books on the romantic suspense shelves. The KGI series from Maya Banks. Vivian Arend’s Adrenaline Search and Rescue series. The Associates series from Carolyn Crane, who won the romantic suspense RITA Award for Off the Edge.

I just grabbed an old Linda Howard romance, Heart of Fire, and didn’t even balk at the Kindle edition’s price because Angela James recommended it on Twitter for fans of Romancing the Stone. That movie is arguably one of the greatest action-adventure romances ever, so if there’s a book like it, I want it. Another of my favorite Hollywood action-adventure romances is Shoot to Kill, which starred Tom Berenger, Sidney Poitier and Kirstie Alley, and came out in the late ‘80s. I’d like a book like that movie, too.

So I’m curious how you all feel about the line between romantic suspense and action-adventure, or if you even think there’s a distinction. But mostly, I’d really love recommendations for your favorite action-adventure romances, no matter when they were published. I feel a reading binge coming on!


We’re hosting a rafflecopter giveaway for the new Devlin Group book, No Place to Hide. The book goes on sale on Wednesday, August 20.

ShannonStacey_NoPlaceTohide (1)

Jack Donovan went through hell and back to save Isabelle once. Now she’s back in his life, hunted by an assassin so elusive some claim he’s only an urban legend. More than just a gun for hire, the killer is driven by a pathological need to take down his targets and, when Isabelle escapes the bullet meant for her, Jack knows he’ll strike again. The only way to keep her alive is to keep her close, and Jack’s about to learn what hell really is.

In the year since Jack rescued her from a guerrilla compound and then walked away, Isabelle Arceneau has begun to put her life back on track. Now somebody wants her dead and Jack is once again her only hope for survival. As the Devlin Group races to uncover the killer’s identity and Jack and Isabelle go on the run in a desperate bid to keep her alive, she knows she can trust him with her life, but never again with her heart.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Ren Puspita
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 07:02:43

    I love Blade of the Rose by Zoe Archer. Rakish and charming heroes, ass kickin’ heroine, exotic places around the world and fast paced action. Just perfect! :)

  2. azteclady
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 07:24:51

    Yes to Zoe Archer–also, if you like steampunk adventure romance, her and Nico Rosso’s Ether Chronicles, and Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas.

    I need to think some more on this, because Suzanne Brockmann’s Tall, Dark and Dangerous, and her Troubleshooters series would have been the next recommendation.

    But if you did enjoy Linda Howard’s Heart of Fire then you’ll like the quartet that starts with Midnight Rainbow, and also the Mackenzies, starting with the third one.

    I’ll have to come back later with more titles (I need more coffee)

  3. Anna Hackett
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 08:12:02

    I think romantic suspense, action romance and adventure romance are all a little different. Action-adventure is more than just danger and a bad guy with a gun. It has to have that sense of a quest, the search of some object/person/thing of importance (Romancing the Stone is an obvious example). By the way, I love Heart of Fire as well!

    I think Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series captures action-adventure romance perfectly. And they are so much fun! Blades of the Rose get my vote too. I have an old blog post on some favorite action romance reads and Smart B*itches also had a post on recommended adventure romance

  4. Shannon H
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 08:33:07

    I second the Meljean Brook recommendation, the Iron Seas series is great.

  5. pooks
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 08:41:56

    For hot fun, humor and lots of Cajun/South Lousiana madness, I highly recommend Toni McGee Causey’s Bobbie Faye series. The first one is Charmed and Dangerous, and there are three of them, plus some short stories.

    Full disclosure–she’s a friend, but she’s also a kickass writer.

  6. cleo
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 09:09:55

    Interesting post. I’d never thought about the distinctions, but I definitely prefer action-adventure to romantic suspense. I really hate reading about serial killers, especially in my romance, and there are too many serial killers in RS, but not that many in action-adventure. I also have a bit of a weakness for a good road trip romance, and those can overlap with action-adventure.

    Almost all of the examples that I can think of are historicals or pnr.

    JAK – my favorite re-reads are Deception (regency with pirate maps), Ravished (regency with dinosaur bones), Absolutely, Positively (contemp from the 90s), and her early Harmony books.

    Several of Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty stories have that action-adventure vibe (and everyone should read them), including her latest Pinkgang Li mysteries.

    Darlene Marshall writes about pirates and privateers in the early 19th C and they’re great. My faves= Sea Swept (serious tone) and The Bride and The Buccaneer (this is a romp, complete with pirate treasure and double crossing).

    Bone RIder by J Fally – it’s a book that reads like a summer block buster. It’s not for everyone (it’s mm, plus an alien – and a couple of the early scenes with the alien and human host are a little dub-con) but I loved it. Sunita wrote a great review.

  7. leslie
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 10:14:57

    I like the Samantha Jellicoe series by Suzanne Enoch. She’s a cat burgler and he’s a billionaire……it’s funny, suspenseful and very romantic.

  8. Nicolette
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 10:58:46

    The first book that came to mind was “Out of Control” by Suzanne Brockmann.

    In movies, it has to be “The Saint” with Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue.

    And of course, if you’ll willing to add SF into the action-adventure mix, Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Cordelia’s Honor” gets added to the mix. As, I guess, do her fantasy novels.

  9. hapax
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 11:31:35

    Pretty much everything I thought of was fantasy or science fiction: Bujold, of course, but also the Lee / Miller Liaden books (especially the early ones), Sherwood Smith (CROWN DUEL/COURT DUEL) etc. — I guess you could include Meljean Brooks Iron Seas books here.

    Other than that, Suze Brockmann is still an autobuy (though the last few titles have been definitely meh) and… oh! ELIZABETH PETERS! Everybody knows Amelia Peabody (and the Vicky Bliss) series), but she wrote a bunch of standalone not-quite-Gothics, not-quite-romantic suspense, that are definitely worth tracking down (even though they’re a bit dated to be really “contemporaries”.

    (bonus points for her Jacqueline Kirby series, which are mysteries and not romances, but the author is a librarian/romance author and the books are a nice satirical take on romance publishing industry of the 80’s — sort of like Orianna Papazaglou (Jane Haddam)’s marvelous Patience McKenna mysteries.)

    And that got *waaaay* off-topic, didn’t it?

  10. Kate Meader
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 11:33:25

    One of my faves is Amazon Lily by Teresa Weir. It has a Romancing the Stone feel to it as it’s set in the, well, Amazon, so there are snakes and spiders and humidity. The hero, Ash, really stands out – a brawling, cynical pilot who according to PW “smells of the jungle and the cockpit… reads Mad magazine and quotes Tolkien.” I have fond memories of this one.

  11. Kim
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:18:12

    An early book of action adventure with some great romance is The Wind & The Sea by Marsha Canham and Joanna Bourne’s spy novel series.

  12. azteclady
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:31:55

    @hapax: Elizabeth Peters standalones? *off to find them*

  13. library addict
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:49:17

    I loved Shoot to Kill. You’re the only other person I’ve seen mention it.

    It’s not available on DVD in the US, but I also loved Year of the Comet with Penelope Ann Miller and Tim Daly. It’s an action/adventure/comedy set in London, Scotland, and France and would make a great romance book.

    Addison Fox’s recent House of Steele series from Harlequin Romantic Suspense is more on the Action/Adventure side. It consists of 4 books: The Paris Assignment, The London Deception, The Rome Affair, and The Manhattan Encounter

    Many of the books in Cindy Gerard’s Black Ops Inc series also qualify, though they could also be considered quasi-military romances. There’s lots of adventure and humor. The series starts with my favorite Show No Mercy

    There’s also Merline Lovelace’s Samantha Spade Mysteries (All the Wrong Moves, Now You See Her, Catch Her If You Can), Cleo North trilogy (The First Mistake, The Middle Sin, The Last Bullet) and her long-running Code Name: Danger series.

  14. autonomous
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:49:55

    For anyone who likes SF Adventure, Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy is a lot of fun. For romantic suspense (and bromance between the male leads as the series progresses), I’ve enjoyed Pamela Clare’s I-team books. For historical adventure, I also love Canham’s pirate romances and Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible. Alas, Zoe Archer hasn’t worked for me.

    @Anna Hackett: I agree with you regarding the distinctions. I also have enjoyed Brook’s Iron Sea series.

  15. hilly
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:51:54

    I liked Karen Robard’s “Night Magic”.

    I add my voice to the chorus for Meljean Brook’s steampunk, for Lois McMaster Bujold’s fantasies and S.F., and for Elizabeth Peters’ contemporaries (dated now). Of the latter, I have a special fondness for the Vicky Bliss series & John Smythe (for those of us who are partial to to Peter Whimsey). They tend to involve world travel and multiple concussions. ;-)

  16. LSUReader
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 14:54:48

    I really enjoyed Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose quartet of a few years ago–excellent books with unique settings and adventures, great characters and beautiful covers. Jennifer Rardin’s Jaz Parks series frequently has a James Bond quality to it, full of uniquely clever (and infinitely useful) gadgets with which to vanquish vampires and other creatures. Iris Johansen’s older Eve & Quinn books were good, and full of adventure. (The newer ones not so much.)

    I know it’s historical romance, but the excellent, new Sherry Thomas book (My Beautiful Enemy) has a large action adventure back story set in China that’s told in flashback.

    In movies, it’s hard to beat the action adventure of the original Star Wars trilogy or the original Indiana Jones trilogy.

  17. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 15:39:52

    Thanks for all the great recommendations! My credit card won’t be thank you. :)

    I have quite a few of them in my TBR, like Zoe Archer’s Blade of the Rose series and Darlene Marshall’s pirates, but they keep getting bumped for contemporaries. Clearly I need to move them up the list. And I love Meljean’s Iron Seas series. I’m waiting for her barbarians under her new name (which I need to go gather info on right now.)

  18. MrsJoseph
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 15:41:25

    I’m pretty old school with my action/suspense – Lisa Marie Rice, while formulaic, hits my spot time and again.

  19. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 15:41:59

    @Anna Hackett: I think romantic suspense, action romance and adventure romance are all a little different. Action-adventure is more than just danger and a bad guy with a gun. It has to have that sense of a quest, the search of some object/person/thing of importance (Romancing the Stone is an obvious example).

    After pondering this, I totally agree with you. I hadn’t thought about the sense of quest before, but that makes sense to me. So I guess No Place To Hide is more action romance (like an action movie), rather than action adventure romance. (So now I need to write one of those.)

  20. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 15:43:59

    @MrsJoseph: Did you see Lisa Marie Rice had a new release from Carina Press on Monday? Midnight Vengeance, from her Midnight series!

  21. Maureen
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 16:38:24

    I enjoy Lisa Marie Rice’s stories.

  22. cleo
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 16:39:00

    I’ve thought of more:

    Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase.

    The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale – the plot is full of WTFery, but the emotions are spot on.

    For SFR space opera, Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair is excellent. It’s enemies to lovers, with a virgin android hero.

    Zoe Archer also has a couple space opera novellas – the first is Collision Course.

    I hadn’t thought of it before, but I agree that the idea of a quest is key to action adventure. The quest is why they’re on the adventure.

  23. TerryS
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 17:02:07

    Without repeating so many favorites mentioned several times already, this took some thought. Other authors who have a few books I would classify as action adventure are Elizabeth Lowell and early Cherry Adair. Diana Duncan wrote a series of 24 hour books with lots of action taking place in 24 hours that I really enjoyed.

  24. Judy W.
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 19:51:01

    Ok, I’m going to suggest something you might not consider. Kresley Cole and Dark Desires After Dusk. Remember? They had to go on a quest/adventure to get her to Groot? Good Times! Also, Tessa Dare and A Week to Be Wicked when they go on this awesome road trip adventure? Member? He never called her by her real name but every name with the same letter on purpose. Loved him!

  25. Anna Hackett
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 20:24:46

    @Shannon Stacey: I guess if we get technical, action-adventure romance is a subset of action romance which is a subset of romantic suspense. I’d better stop there since I love action romance and could talk about it all day!

    No Place to Hide sounds like action romance (yay – I’ll be checking it out) and if you write an action-adventure romance I’ll definitely read that.

  26. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 20:30:35

    I’m seeing a lot of recs for historical, which I keep telling myself I need to read more of. I’ve read hardly any in the last few years. Ironically, I own many of them because my mom’s Kindle is on my account and, when I see reviews and recs, I buy them and send them to hers. Now I should send them to mine. I love it!

  27. ML
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 08:18:20

    Seconding the Amazon Lily recommendation. Weir wrote some amazing adventure books.

  28. Sandra
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 09:43:13

    I think Christy Reece has a good action-adventure romance series (Last Chance Rescue)

  29. Heather Greye
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 10:10:14

    I love action-adventure romances and they are SO hard to find. I agree with @Anna Hackett in that I always think of them as a having a quest component.

    Elisabeth Naughton’s Stolen series from a couple years ago are action-adventure romances.

    Not a book, but the action-adventure romance that ALWAYS sucks me in is the The Mummy. It’s got everything!

  30. flchen1
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 11:09:20

    Ditto-ing the recs for Joanna Bourne, Jeannie Lin, Meljean Brook, Suz Brockmann… adding Ann Aguirre–both her YA Razorland trilogy and her adult series (Sirantha Jax, Dred Chronicles, Corine Solomon; also wrote as Ava Grey and co-wrote as Ellen Connor) are action packed :)

  31. Michele Mills
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 11:40:20

    I’m actually not a big fan of Romantic Suspense, but I do love action in a romance novel. It’s a bit hard to find the distinction, but when I do, I’m thrilled! I especially agree with the suggestion of Joanna Bourne’s spy books and Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas- so fun and smart! And I too am EAGERLY awaiting Meljean’s new Barbarian books! Where are they Meljean?!! I needed them yesterday (no pressure).

    I’d also rec Pamela Clare’s historicals. Her MacKinnon Rangers series has tons of action and swoon worthy heroes. Terrific!

  32. wikkidsexycool
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 11:52:46

    Ditto for Shoot to Kill. A fav movie of mine.

    When I couldn’t find enough action adventure romances with diversity among the lead characters, I ended up creating my own. I enjoy Kresley Cole, but her characters aren’t diverse enough for me. I’ve got an Alpha Girl series featuring a Puerto-Rican Valkyrie, and the first one released features a Maori-African American she-wolf called RAZHER.

    I’ll definitely check out many of the recommendations listed here, so thanks to all who posted them.

  33. Jen
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 13:17:32

    I LOVE romantic adventure! I know she’s been mentioned a bunch, but I just have to give another huge vote for Zoe Archer. She is probably my favorite romance author right now. Pretty much everything she’s written so far falls in the romantic adventure category. The Blades of the Rose series is amazing. The first book is not my fav, but keep reading because they each get better, and the 4th book is just so, so great. And then the Ether Chronicles and Nemesis, Unlimited series are both wonderful too…I don’t think I could pick a favorite! Archer was interviewed for the DBSA podcast a while back, and she said she’ll be writing non-adventurey historicals for now. I nearly teared up at that! I’m sure I’ll enjoy her new books too, but I’m really going to miss the adventure component.

    And now to add to my TBR pile by picking up the titles people are mentioning here…

  34. Susan Proctor
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 16:36:08

    Amazon Lilly is one of the best. Weir is such a good author. This was the first I read of the three I think of (Amazon Lilly, Heart of Fire by Howard, River of Eden by Tara Janzen was Glenna McReynolds) and it was a groundbreaker at the time. I remember reading an interview with her at the time the book came out in 1988 where she said the editor had requested she tone Ash’s roughness a lot to not scary us reader off. I wished I could have seen what she took out and changed! Speaking of Tara Janzen, I really enjoyed all the Steel Street books, except for the last one that was messed up. Both Penny McCall’s All Jacked Up and Nina Bruhn’s Shoot to Thrill started a pretty good series too. And one of my all time favorites is Hot by Julie Harper (Elizabeth Hoyt). She followed with “for the love of pete” to tell Agent Dante Torelli’s story, but guess she’s only writing Maiden Lane series now. That’s a shame. I agree Suzanne Enoch’s Flirting with Danger is great too.

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