In the heat of the jungle, two men from worlds apart find common
Oxford anthropologist James Litchfield is on an expedition
in the Congo when he’s attacked by a panther and rescued
by a naked man who bursts from the wilderness like an avenging
angel. James learns the local legend of the ape-man who wanders
with the mountain gorillas and determines to encounter him again.
After slowly cajoling the wild man to trust him, James bestows
the name Michael on his savior. As he learns to communicate
with the jungle man and teaches him about his own kind, James
fights a deep attraction. He’s certain Michael’s
apparent reciprocation of his desire is only because James is
the first human of either sex he’s ever encountered. For
his part, Michael is overwhelmed by the new world opening before
him and the man who arouses a powerful mating instinct in him.
Complications bring Michael into disastrous contact with the
rest of the expedition. While James suffers from malarial fever,
Michael is caged. Soon both are on board a steamer back to England.
It is there that their long suppressed desires break free and
they come together with passionate frenzy and startling intimacy.
Despite Michael’s limited speech, the two men are able
to communicate and bond on a deep level.
But will they be able to sustain this relationship when the
pressures of society tear them apart? And after years of isolation,
can Michael find his place in the world of men?
The Romance Reviews, J9, 5 stars
JUNGLE HEAT is a must read for its outstanding storytelling,
wonderful characters and emotional romance. This is a Tarzan
retelling as an MM romance and was one of the most enjoyable
books I've read recently.
The Erotic Reader, Terescia, 8 star
The author's skill is apparent from the start and her characters
leap off the page. Michael was an amazing character and even
James was a man of the times. No unrealistic acceptance for
homosexuality for the period setting in this story, and that
was also something I liked. The sex was sexy and the story was
entertaining. Jungle Heat is an excellent book and if you're
tempted, you should give it a try!
Jessewave blog, Aunt Lynne, 4 star
I found the beginning of the book especially interesting as
James and Michael try to work around their communication issues
and James tries to teach Michael. I liked watching the two attempting
to work out what the other wants and means, and Michael’s
refreshing views on life as someone without the trappings of
society as we would have known it at the time. Those looking
for a historical romance involving two people from very different
worlds coming together should pick up this story.
Babbling About Books blog, Katiebabs, B
Jungle Heat should appeal to readers who enjoy historical romance
and showcasing two male characters as the main couple. The love
scenes were spicy. Nothing else is sexier than when a man living
in the wild is tamed in public, but very much the opposite in
closed quarters with his mate and true love.
Joyfully Reviewed, Nannette
A timeless tale told with a fresh perspective. Making the legendary
Tarzan a gay man is an exciting, erotic, and intriguing gamble
that pays off. Bonnie Dee does a great job creating a realistic
plot and credible characters. I’ve always wanted to read
a gay version of Tarzan and this is exactly what I hoped it
Mrs. Giggles, 79
Still, there is some good chemistry between Michael and James
here. ...Michael is a well-drawn character who is lonely and
seeking a place to belong as well as someone to love. James
isn't a patronizing Von Trapp father figure character like I
feared him to be at first, he's actually a pretty good foil
Congo Free State, 1888
Odd One watched, as still as the tree trunk by which he stood,
not moving more than his eyes as Old Grunt had taught him. His
pale, furless skin caked with river mud was nearly the same
gray-brown as the tree. His light hair was also matted with
mud and his face smeared so only the whites of his strange blue
eyes might give his position away. He could never hide in plain
sight like the Others, but he did the best he could.
Something was moving loudly through the underbrush—a
foolish animal without enough sense to slip quietly between
the leaves or to step lightly on the ground. The footsteps were
different from any creature he’d ever heard, a heavy tread.
It sounded as if there were more than one. He judged that the
approaching animals had the weight of a leopard but not the
stealthily padded paws.
Excitement tingled through him, making the hair rise on his
nape. He clenched the sharpened stick in his fist, pressed his
back against the rough bark and waited for whatever was coming.
One of the creatures made a sound as it came closer. Not a
screech or cry, not a groan, hoot or whimper, but a noise unlike
anything he’d heard before yet strangely familiar. A dim
memory struggled to float up in his mind. He reached for it,
and it was gone.
His heart pounded and he breathed faster as he glimpsed one
of the creatures between the leaves. It walked upright on two
legs just as he did and like the Others did some of the time.
He wanted to leap forward, to see all of it at once instead
of flashes through the undergrowth.
There were two of them, one walking behind the other. The pair
communicated back and forth with their strange calls. He caught
his breath. These were like the sounds he sometimes made when
he was all alone in the forest, the noises his throat and tongue
made that none of the Others could duplicate.
The pair moved into the clearing in front of him where they
stopped and stood looking around. His heart raced even faster.
The two creatures looked like him, or what he’d seen of
himself reflected in still water. Their faces and hands were
naked like his with the same prominent noses and fully formed
lips. Hair grew on the lower part of their faces. Their bodies
were covered with something that was neither fur, skin nor scales
but something completely foreign.
One of them took a thing off the top of his head and ran a
hand through sweat-flattened hair—hair like his, not fur
as most animals had—and white like the streaks in Old
Grunt’s ruff. These animals were his kind. There were
more in the world like him. He wasn’t alone.
He turned his attention to the other one, studying the face
closely. The creature’s brows drew together in a frown
as he communicated with his partner, using hand motions to emphasize
the sounds coming from his mouth. His hair was brown. He was
younger than his companion. Odd One couldn’t take his
gaze from the creature’s eyes, the way they blinked and
moved and squinted when his mouth widened to show his teeth.
Baring teeth meant aggression to the Others, but the stranger
didn’t appear angry. He seemed pleased. His eyes crinkled
at the corners and lines grooved his cheeks. A quiet chuckling
sound rumbled from his chest and came out his mouth.
A warm feeling rushed through Odd One. He found himself mimicking
the stranger’s expression, his lips lifting at the corners,
his teeth showing. What would the strange animals do if he came
toward them now? He would drop his sharp stick on the ground
and come with his head lowered, his eyes down-turned to show
his intention wasn’t to harm. Would they make their noises
at him and welcome him as one of them? But he wasn’t of
their clan so maybe they would drive him away. Better he stay
still until they’d moved on, then follow and learn more
about the invaders in his world.
He waited and watched. After the two bent down to look at something
on the ground, they rose and headed back in the direction from
which they’d come. Odd One followed, slipping silently
over the forest floor without rustling a single branch.
James couldn’t shake the feeling something was watching
him and Professor Hatchett as they forged their way through
the wood. Dense foliage surrounded them on all sides, and the
canopy overhead filtered the light, giving the impression of
being under murky green water. The primary purpose of the expedition
was to catalog the flora, fauna and primitive people that inhabited
this area of Africa. It was the kind of study James had dreamed
of all his life. But he hadn’t counted on the unsettling
feeling of vulnerability that the isolated place gave him. Nature
here was huge, powerful, untamed rather than displayed in a
museum case, zoo or park as it was in London. Every time they
hiked away from the base camp, James felt he’d be swallowed
by the jungle, never to return to civilization.
There probably were eyes watching them. Animals were abundant
on this tropical mountainside. And birds. He’d never seen
so many colorful birds. Even the flocks of pigeons inhabiting
Trafalgar Square couldn’t compare in number. Parrots’
raucous cries were nearly deafening, especially in the mornings
as they heralded a new day.
As he trudged along the path he and Hatchett had beaten through
the undergrowth, James suddenly realized why he felt especially
unsettled today. The birds were too quiet, as if the presence
of something dangerous had made them fall silent. The cheeky
birds had never seemed too alarmed by the presence of foreigners
in their midst before, but today even the gossiping colobus
monkeys high in the canopy were mute. The silence was ominous.
Was a threatening predator upsetting the natural noise of the
“Hold up, Professor,” James called to Hatchett.
The older man obligingly halted, removed his pith helmet and
mopped his brow with the sweat-drenched handkerchief from his
pocket. “What am I listening for?”
James scanned the area, trying to see between the trees and
green leaves, ignoring the brilliant flowers or flashes of feathers
as birds darted to and fro. He knew jaguars sometimes hid in
the branches overhead and leaped down on their prey. One of
the big cats might see a strolling Englishman as a weak, easy
James reached for the holster at his side and pulled his revolver.
He had no wish to harm any of the beasts they came across. This
was no game hunting trip. But in order to measure, photograph
and catalogue the local fauna, the scientists must sometimes
collect specimens of the beasts. He tilted his head back and
scanned the branches overhead, searching for a spotted pelt,
but there was only green, green and more green.
Suddenly there was a flurry of movement in the woods and a
streak of gold burst from the undergrowth in front of him. A
leopard bounded across the clearing. James raised his gun to
shoot but knew claws and fangs would rip him apart before a
bullet stopped the beast, and that was assuming his aim was
good. He depressed the trigger at the same moment a blur of
motion from his right intercepted the beast hurtling toward
him. A man exploded between him and the leaping leopard, arm
raised, and drove a spear into the animal.
The big cat gave an unearthly scream and twisted in mid-air,
knocking the spear from its side. Landing paws down, the animal
vanished into the brush as quickly as it had appeared, yowling
as it ran.
James sucked in a breath and chambered another round in the
Enfield just in case his rescuer decided to attack him with
that spear. The naked man, covered in mud from head to toe,
turned toward James. For one breathtaking moment they stared
at one another, primitive and modern man connecting across the
vast chasm that separated them. Worlds apart yet both human,
their gazes stitched them together.
James’s heart pounded so hard he could hardly hear. An
honest-to-God aboriginal stood before him. He wasn’t slight
as the Pygmies of the Congo were rumored to be but stood average
height, his build lean and well-muscled. It was difficult to
distinguish his mud-covered features, but beneath the gray mud
his skin did not appear to be dark like the natives James had
encountered so far in Africa.
James’s gaze flicked over the man’s face and body
to fix on the hand clapped to his shoulder. The primitive had
been shot. James’s bullet had missed its target and winged
the man who’d rescued him. He took a step forward and
reached out a hand. “You’ve been hurt.”
As quickly as the leopard had disappeared, the man melted into
the forest, the lush tropical plants closing in behind him.
James started after. “Wait!”
Hatchett came up beside him and grabbed his arm. “Don’t
try to follow, lad. He could be dangerous.”
Considering the man had gone out of his way to save them, James
doubted it, but he knew there was no way he could catch up with
a native who didn’t wish to be approached. Disappointment
flooded him. This may have been his one chance to interact with
an unspoiled primitive and he’d ruined it by moving too
fast and frightening the man away.
He stooped to pick up the man’s spear from the ground
and examined the pointed end. “Look at this.”
“No iron, which isn’t surprising. But this doesn’t
even have a head of stone or bone,” his mentor said. “This
is hardly a spear at all. Merely a sharpened stick.”
They both marveled over the point, which appeared to have been
charred in fire then shaped with something hard—perhaps
a bit of flint. It was amazing the thing had even pierced the
leopard’s hide. Nevertheless, it must seem an engineering
marvel to its owner, who’d labored to make it. The stick-spear
would be a loss to the hunter.
James weighed the weapon in his hand, testing its heft and
balance. He could leave it here in case the man returned for
it, but as an artifact of a primitive culture it was too precious
to surrender. He raised the stick like a walking staff, feeling
the warm, smooth groove left by the other man’s hand.
A shiver went through him at the sense of connection to a life
so utterly foreign to his own.
“Well, that was remarkable.” Hatchett’s voice
drew him back from his reverie. “Come. Let’s return
to camp before something else befalls us. It must be nearly
time for tea for my stomach’s rumbling.” The older
man started down the trail.
With a last look at the emerald leaves hiding the spot where
the man had disappeared, James followed after him.
Odd One clutched his upper arm where the wasp had stung him,
pulled his hand away to examine it and found blood coating his
palm. Perhaps not a wasp sting after all. There had been a sharp
thunderclap of a noise right before he was stung. If he hadn’t
been so intent on stopping the leopard, he might have been frightened
by the sound. As it was, his entire attention had been focused
on saving the foreign creature before the jungle cat ripped
open his face.
Now he was hurt and the strangers had walked off with his weapon.
He had no choice but to follow them, not only to find out where
they came from but also to get his sharp stick back.
Odd One packed cool, damp leaf mold against his oozing wound.
He looked up the mountain where the Others would be foraging,
then he turned and trotted after the strangers. They hadn’t
attempted to hide their trail, but instead blazed a path through
the forest that was easy to follow.