Under the Covers in Other Lands: 7 Hot International Romances That Will Rock Your World
I love reading hot contemporary romance set outside the boundaries of “Westernized” countries. It’s not just for the cheap “virtual-travel” of it. I mean, teleporting mind, heart and soul to other lands—Thailand with a turn of a page, Brazil in a waterfall of description—is, no doubt, a pure thrill. Journeying to far off places from your own bed, PJ’s on, clothing unwrinkled in the closet, bank account fuller for it—a great reason to tear into an internationally set romance read.
And the sensual settings (and people) of a tropical paradise or the thrilling excitement of a big metropolis never-before experienced are alluring, mind-broadening, heart-opening, for sure, but there’s still more to it for me.
Of our favorite romance novels, which stand out most? Which ones impact us, riot in us, make us re-read and shout them out, then re-read again?
To me, they’re the ones with the largest range on a scale of emotion and layering. The bigger the struggle—namely internal!—the bigger the triumph. I believe we read for the absolute value of supreme emotion and growth. The ultimate challenge, the sharpest contrast—the extremes of our heroes and heroines’ journeys—separately and then together—offer that absolute depth we crave and grow from.
Because who could pass up the chance to delve into characters who are not only struggling in the outlandishness of life in general, but then face the degrees of potential tumult in a different land where language alludes, cultures clash, comfort zones crumble, surroundings and processes and traditions baffle and threaten. A 180-degree from our norm and a ride toward pure romance-novel thrill!
So without further blathering, here are some hot contemporary romance recs (post-millennia, closer to the here and now 😉 from other lands. Cozy down and strap in—these romances will take you on some wild rides, without a doubt… and without leaving home.
A hot screenwriting Aussie hero! Enough said, right? Not at all. This hot contemporary romance goes deliciously deeper than that. American Julia Evans unlocks her chains of normalcy by traveling solo to the tropical wonderland of Brazil—though it doesn’t seem so wonderful alone… Until she meets Blake, who is running from his own issues.
Separately—or together?—they must navigate Brazil, their sexual magnetism (some super-sparking sexy-time… heat level 3.75), expectations, and their own insecurities. Between the writer’s introspective characters and the gorgeous description of setting, I absolutely went to Brazil every night for three very late nights—in my bed…without my hubby knowing it—until I reached Rebecca Brook’s solid and satisfying happy ending. An absolute must read.
This sweet and sexy (heat level 2.5) New Adult romance is a trope that melts my heart. A foreigner and a native must conquer such differing world perspectives to get their game on and go on to love from there. American sorority girl an medical student Annie is trying to bolster her chances for a top-notch medical school, and a 28-day medical excursion in Nicaragua is the ticket. Filipe, our ultra hot and super sweet doctor—and Nicaraguan native—has a few feelings for this spoiled foreigner.
Severe annoyance is one. Hard and deep lust—grown from a decade back when he and his sister were foreign exchange students in the States, hosted by Annie’s family—is another. All of those feelings—and then some—get magnified as their medical excursion through the tropical jungle rolls on. Written with an edge of humor, this relatable and sassy story captures the wonderful details of the locale and the cultural rifts between the couple. A satisfying HFN—it gave me the feels, for sure.
This is romance bordering on chic lit, but it made my list. Hilarious, heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time, Hannah is more or less alone in a strange country. Mmm… another obliterated comfort zone. She’s followed the love of her life, perfect and sexy Sam (heat level 2.5, fun sexy times!), from London to Hong Kong, but Sam is unexpectedly shifted to an office not in Hong Kong and only returns to Hannah every so often. Her journey of self-discovery flies from there.
Between the exotic feel of Hong Kong and the cute and catchy Hannah, this story has a total Bridget Jones Diary feel to me—love! Now, you do need to grab the next in the series for the HEA, but to me there’s an HFN here in Misfortune Cookie… Hannah finds herself and her place in the world—wherever that happens to be at the time—and so is maybe readier now to find her match. Either way, I really dug this read.
Here’s a multileveled Mmmmm… Fallen from grace at home, American kindergarten teacher Olivia Clarke escapes to teach in rural China—and is the epitome of lonely and out of her element! She meets fellow loner Jarek McLean (hot factor x2… carpenter and former military interrogator) and the emotional—and physical—roller coaster roars on from there.
She’s strong, which I love, and she needs to be to fight through Jarek’s distant demeanor. The writing is smooth, the banter is punchy, the pace is quick. A yummy heat level 4 with a solid HFN—I do recommend!
Australia (“Western-Civ.” but it took me away, so I included it.
So funny, this read. City girl Cassandra, a “dirty” corporate PR exec, is sacked by surprise and heads to the backcountry of Beechville, Australia. There she meets Ranger Mac (in chapter 5, but hang in there) who plays hard to get (all the way ‘til even later, but it’s worth the wait… even at heat level 2).
Really well written, snarky, introspective in a totally comical way, and for a Yank like me, I had no clue what so many of the Australian terms meant, and loved it! A potoroo? And the wildlife and setting were vibrantly described, topped off by the hilarious journey Cassandra takes to personal awareness and grounding, bringing the hot and brooding Ranger Mac along for the ride. A satisfying HFN for me.
The Maldives (Island near…)
This romance is no vacation, though it begins with the heroine, Anna, an American English teacher, breaking away from her life, her boyfriend, and an obvious rut. She’ll be tutoring teenaged cancer patient (in remission) TJ Callahan. For the summer. In the Maldives.
But on the way, they crash land and wash up on an island in the Indian Ocean. Days, weeks, months of surviving together, they find themselves…and each other (yes a little taboo here, and so well done!) Real love, heat level 2 and a HEA, this story was emotional and it was hot!
Liberia, Morocco, then Columbia, U.S., and back to Africa…
This international hot read has a high-octane action plot with a heat level 4. And yes, to get your HEA-fill you must read both books, but it’s no twist of (or gun shot to) the arm.
Alpha hero and heroine Marc De Sant and Lily Brewster not only take us through and beyond the African unknown (to most of us), but they pull us through an extreme f*ck-love-hate-kill-love relationship of electricity, danger, and emotional growth and triumph. Talk about out of the comfort zone; they’re in the kill zone all the way home. A do or die—but you should totally do this!—read.
There you are… loneliness, escapism, loss and discovery, passion and mind-blowing possibilities—and even some very real danger. So let’s get out of our comfort zones—take a hot and heartfelt trip abroad. I can almost guarantee you’ll come back from your international book-excursion a changed person…or, at the very least, entertained to the core. 😃
What international settings do you want to read more of?
What hot romances can you recommend?
And… where’s your own personal fantasy romance take place?
by Rissa Brahm
Released: May 24th 2016
Series: Paradise South #1
Published by Self Published
Luck. Lust. Love.
Wedding planner Isabel Ruiz is cursed. Her hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico agrees, considering her tragic track record. Alone and loveless, she creates fairy-tale weddings for others. Her only distraction? The occasional anonymous fling. So to avoid further tragedy, her rule, one–night–only, is never broken…
Self-made millionaire Zack James is in town for his brother’s wedding, when a sudden spell of depression hits. Maybe burned out by his fast and luxurious lifestyle? Not even his two female companions hold any interest.
That is, until he meets Isabel.
She humbles and captivates him, reigniting his thirst for life. With her, Zack feels more alive than ever. To his delight—and her dismay—they share a deep bond, a sensual connection, and one mind-bending night.
Zack must have her – to complete him. And Isabel must escape him – to save him.
Their game of catch and chase leads to lust-turned-love. For Isabel, it's fate’s cruelest joke. But Zack won’t quit, positive he’s the cure to her curse. Can he convince her to risk everything with him? Or will it all go south…in paradise.
**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language, and adult situations. HEA.