If there’s a setting more romantic than a savage steamy jungle, I haven’t found it. Anyone who’s fantasized about being alone in the wilderness with Indiana Jones will be lost in this tale before you can say “malaria vaccine.” In the market for a Road Romance? Look no further.
The story begins with Grant Sullivan, retired military expert and reluctant hero, crouching in the brush of a Costa Rican jungle as he watches Jane Hamilton Greer, whose father has hired Grant to get her safely back to the States. An unsavory fellow called Tupelo, who believes Jane knows the location of some top-secret microfilm, is holding her hostage. Grant becomes annoyed when he sees the so-called “hostage” sunning herself in her captor’s back yard as if it were Club Med. He assumes she’s a shallow, empty-headed debutante. When we get inside Jane’s head, however, we discover it’s a front; she has escape plans of her own. Grant’s late-night rescue attempt leads to a tussle that gets ugly when Jane plants her knee in a place most likely to leave a lasting impression.
In response, Grant gags her, binds her, and throws her over his shoulder. Needless to say, they don’t like each other at this point, but Grant has a job to do and Jane knows she needs him to survive. Soon Grant comes to appreciate her determination, her stash of nifty supplies, and her body. Jane is impressed with Grant’s competence, his ability to keep cool under pressure, and his body.
Jane’s character made the book for me. There’s a lot to like about her. Physically, she resembles a regular woman, not a Miss America contestant. She’s brave, optimistic, and survival savvy, but she has very believable moments of anger, fear, and insecurity. A traumatic experience as a child has made it difficult for her to have close relationships. The only thing I found improbable was that, given her wariness in relationships, Jane fell so completely for Grant in only two days.
Grant is everything we know and love about Linda Howard heroes. He’s tough, masculine, and handsome, and he doesn’t waste time trying to be polite. He’s feeling physical stirrings for Jane before the gunfire has completely died down. In a nude bathing scene similar to the one in Heart of Fire, Jane is made aware of her effect on him. As the saying goes, seeing is believing.
There were moments when I wished for a chance to knee Grant myself. When they’re found by Tupelo, Jane throws herself at him as a strategy and Grant gets the wrong idea. Later, when Jane tries to explain, he rebuffs her not once but three times. While it annoyed me that he took his sweet time to acknowledge his feelings for Jane, I admired his self-awareness. As a hired assassin he’s spent years being emotionally detached. It’s natural for him to question his ability to sustain a normal relationship with Jane. Not that it stops him from seducing her. No locale is safe from their burning passion. They make love in their tent, a cave, a shower, and (eventually) a bed. These scenes are hot stuff – and not just because the story’s set in the tropics. They would still smolder if they took place in Antarctica. This couple is also a good match out of bed: Jane is the first woman to challenge Grant, and his damaged psyche brings out her tender, nurturing side.
Midnight Rainbow is a fast-paced escapist romp, with likable characters and a few surprises thrown in. It’s a great way to while away afternoon if you can handle some mild violence and a shiver-inducing snake encounter. Just be sure to sit near a fan and stay hydrated.