Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek had the potential for a truly enjoyable tale. Delanie Eastman’s sister has been kidnapped by an evil drug lord. She must outwit the bad guys and get out of the jungle while lusting madly after Kyle Wright, who isn’t everything he appears to be. A similar plot to the highly successful and entertaining Romancing the Stone, the 1983 movie starring Kathleen Turner as a romance novelist who ventures to South America in search of her kidnapped sister. Too bad this book has little of the humor and charm that delighted fans of the movie.
The farfetched plotting of the movie never seemed to be an impediment to the enjoyment because of the characters involved. Though they were thrown into impossible situations they generally acted in realistic and believable, even humorous, fashion. Sadly, this is mot so with Delanie. She’s a kindergarten teacher who’s always been her family’s caretaker. When her sister, who’s been dating a drug lord/terrorist/all around bad guy, goes missing, Delanie goes on a quest to find her. Sounds sort of plausible doesn’t it?
First warning signs on the let’s-get-real-o-meter: Delanie the kindergarten teacher easily gets a job as a dancer in the drug lord Ramon Montero’s Las Vegas casino. She immediately becomes his main squeeze. A super-villain who never once checks up on his new girlfriend, yeah, he’d be successful. And that real-o-meter gets another workout when it’s made clear that Delanie doesn’t actually have to have sex with the nasty man because he’s secretly gay and only needs her on his arm as eye candy to impress his evil cohorts. Once she’s latched on to him he brings her to his settlement in the mountains outside San Cristobal and Delanie spends her nights “jogging” around the jungle compound looking for her sister.
All of this is explained in the first few pages as is the fact that Dr. Kyle Wright, the man to whom Delanie lost her virginity in a seventy-two hour sex marathon four years earlier, has come to Montero’s compound. Kyle’s a genius scientist who is creating small-pox for Montero but is really working undercover for the U.S. government. Soon after he arrives Montero gives Delanie to Kyle and the two are able to indulge their burning passion for each other in more sex marathons. Maybe Montero should attend a Super-villains Seminar and learn how not to bring your enemies to your secret, ultra guarded compound and how not to throw them immediately together to plot against you.
By the end of chapter one my let’s-get-real-o-meter was already in the red zone. If any of the plot or character elements had been handled with a touch of lightness and humor I’d have chucked the meter and gone with the flow. Instead the author layers on the sturm and drang of Delanie and Kyle’s situation on any page that doesn’t have them burning up the sheets, the jungle, and the helicopter (don’t ask). She hates him, she must find her sister, she lusts after him, he must get her away from the terrible danger, he must not reveal any of his burning feelings for her, they have hot sex, they must outwit Montero, they must find Delanie’s sister, they tear each other’s clothes off.
Those passionate encounters the hero and heroine share are a bright spot in the novel. The presence of hot sexual scenes is not an element that is generally high on my must-have list in a romance but the scenes worked here, whereas just about everything else did not. Yes, Ms. Adair does throw in lots of burning and scorching terminology but she also has the couple speaking to and about each others’ passion in language that is real and accessible (not flowery and oblique). The sexual encounters also include a touch of the humor that is so absent in the rest of the book. Too bad passionate sex is not enough to make for a compelling novel.