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Men of the Jungle, #2

Waking up in an Ecuadorian prison with no recollection of how he got there, Galen Hall, knows he's in deep trouble. The only thing he knows for sure is he's facing a murder charge and has no memory of an alibi. Suffering from a concussion, an infection and temporary memory loss, Galen does the only thing he can do. When his best friend arrives to help, he brings the woman who sent him fleeing the Amazon to begin with.

Botanist Dana Rutherford can't believe that one night of steamy jungle passion has her carrying Galen Hall's baby. After all, the man's practically a stranger. Deciding to raise her child on her own, she discovers Galen is a prisoner in a town full of corruption. Unknowingly helping a jailbreak, Dana finds herself on the run and face to face with the hunky, green- eyed devil that's changed her life forever.

Unplanned by Jerri Drennen is the second book in her Men of the Jungle series. The book is full of action, sharp dialogue and diverse characters. The pace moves fairly fast and the plot takes several twists and turns as the story progresses. I would recommend reading the first book in the series, Untouched, as the main characters in this book where introduced there as well as some of the secondary characters.

Galen Hall is a damaged hero; he's young, attractive and a survivor. Having survived the foster care system as a child, he's grown into a successful jungle guide, whose dream is to marry a rich woman and become her arm candy. He's actually somewhat bitter towards women and has a personal code of making sure to stay away from innocents. A code he's broken by getting involved with Dana Rutherford, a botanist who helped him when their tour group was attacked. Now a couple of weeks later, Galen still thinks of Dana and can't get her out of his mind, drinking himself into oblivion has become his only distraction until he finds himself in prison and accused of murdering a man he's never met. He never thought Dana would come to his rescue again or that he'd finally met the one woman who would make him want to be a better man.

Dana Rutherford is an interesting character; young, attractive and smart; she's also secretly an heiress to a large fortune. Raised by her older brother, Dana's had a hard time knowing who she can really trust. She hasn't had many relationships with men and until she met Galen, she'd never been intimate with one. Discovering their one night of mind blowing passion left her pregnant, she's facing decisions about her future including whether or not she should tell Galen about their child, especially since he made it clear he wouldn't have gotten involved with her if he'd known of her innocence. When she discovers he's being held in a South American prison for a murder he didn't commit, she has no choice but to become part of the team planning his rescue. No matter how angry he makes her, he's the father of her baby and still the only man she's attracted to.

The scenes between Galen and Dana are full of angst, verbal sparring and sexual chemistry. They really can't get enough of each other. The biggest obstacle to their relationship is Galen's overall distrust of women, due to an incident from his past, and his inability to understand his feelings for Dana. He's really kind of a jerk throughout almost half of the book. Dana has her secrets though; she doesn't tell him about the pregnancy and is somewhat hypersensitive regarding her lack of experience. While I liked what Ms. Drennen did with Dana's character and her character development, I felt that Galen's background was never really addressed and the emotional damage he was suffering under is not something I feel would have been resolved without counseling. I was disappointed in how under-developed his character was.

The end of the story is full of action as the entire group is in danger and it looks like none of them may make it out of the area alive. Will Galen regain his memories in time to prove his innocence and will he finally open his heart and let Dana in? You'll have to read Unplanned to find out. I look forward to seeing where Ms. Drennen takes this series next.

Book Blurb for Unplanned

Galen Hall wakes in a Ecuadorian jail with a murderous headache, a murder charge, and a memory gap where his alibi should be. How does the jungle guide prove his innocence? His best friend comes to help, only to bring with him the woman whose unplanned love sent him fleeing the Amazon to begin with.

One night of steamy jungle passion has botanist Dana Rutherford carrying a stranger’s baby. While coming to terms with raising a child on her own, she learns of the father’s captivity. In a town where corruption reigns, she unknowingly initiates a jailbreak, and finds herself again face-to-face with the hunky, green-eyed devil who has changed her life forever. 

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2011 3.50