Title: Love in the Wild
A Tarzan Retelling
Author: Emma Castle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 28, 2020
A Sensual, Powerful, And Thought Provoking Tarzan Retelling
Eden Matthews stumbled upon the discovery of a lifetime while photographing wildlife in the deep in the heart of Africa…
A gorgeous god of a man living in the wilds of the African jungle among a family of gorillas…
When he saves her life she’s compelled to uncover the man’s tragic past and the fate which led him to grow up in the wild.
But Eden soon learns she can take man from the wild, but she can’t take the wild out of the man…
When her savage savior soon shows her just want he wants of her…her sensual surrender, she finds she can’t resist him teaching her how to love…in the wild.
Screams. Gunshots. A mighty roar. Deafening silence.
Eden jerked awake as the nightmares broke through her sleep. She gasped when she found herself unable to move. Was this another nightmare? She glanced wildly around the room, trying to make sense of where she was, and found herself staring into the brightest blue eyes she had ever seen. The mud-streaked face from her nightmares was real.
She gasped again and tried to pull away. He held tight a moment before loosening his grip, clear disappointment in his eyes.
Eden scrambled back, and something behind her tumbled across the floor. He sat up and moved around her to collect whatever it was she had disrupted. In the gray light of early morning, she saw him put pieces of skinned mango on a leaf that was bigger than his two hands cupped together.
He grunted, chuffed, and even whistled at her as he held out the mangoes. Eden stared at the food, her stomach grumbling on cue at the sight of the fruit. His mouth curved into a smile, and he nodded to her in encouragement. She reached across the space between them and took a mango, trying not to stare at him. Much of the thick mud from earlier had fallen away to expose his body to her view, but his face was still darkened with it, making it hard to fully see his features aside from those wildly blue eyes.
The trauma of yesterday was still in the back of her mind, but she could now focus on her mysterious savior, this wild and strange forest god. And a god he was. There was a mighty strength to his limbs, and he had a noble bearing that held her fascinated—and more than a little frightened. She was helpless against this man. If he desired it, he could take whatever he wished from her. Yet he gazed upon her with gentle eyes and offered her mangoes.
She took another piece of fruit and was floored by the devastating effect his responding smile had on her stomach, which suddenly filled with butterflies.
“Thank you,” she said, only she felt silly doing so, since it was obvious he didn’t understand her. She bit into the fruit and sighed at the sweet taste. He watched her eat two more pieces before he finally ate one himself. Then he reached for something on the floor and held it out to her.
Midday sunlight caught on the bright gold of a long necklace. It was an ancient-looking necklace with a huge diamond pendant hanging from the center.
“Oh my God . . .”
She was almost afraid to touch it, but he pushed it into her hands before she could refuse him. He curled her fingers around the necklace and patted her closed hands with a tenderness that left her feeling breathless.
“Thank you. It’s beautiful.” She stared at the necklace, and he watched her expectantly. Eden did the only thing she could think of and put the necklace on. He grunted and smiled, as if satisfied with her reaction, and then he opened the trapdoor in the center of the room. He turned, exposing his back to her, and pointed at himself.
It looked like she was going for another ride. She climbed onto his back, more aware than ever of the heat of his body between her thighs, but the dried mud that coated his body was staining her clothes, and she prayed she could find her way to a river or stream or even a pond to get washed up.
He began the descent, and when their feet touched the ground, he let her off his back. The wild man held out a hand to her, and she took it. It was strange to feel connected to this nameless mystery man, but Eden was beginning to trust him as he led her through the jungle. Besides, what choice did she have?
After about half an hour, at least by Eden’s guess, she heard the roar of a waterfall and her heart leapt. She might be able to clean herself off and get something to drink. She glanced back down at herself and cringed at the mud and blood staining her clothes.
The wild man took her straight to a large pool at the base of the waterfall, which poured over a mountainous area nearly two stories tall. The sight was breathtaking. The waterfall was as clear as glass, cascading into a frothy whiteness that settled into gentle ripples across a wide pool that was clear as the sky above.
“Is it safe?” she asked as the man took her to the edge of the water. “I know you can’t understand me, but—”
He turned to face her, his gaze solemn and his lips parted as he whispered one word. “Safe.”
It was almost a hoarse grunt, as though he hadn’t spoken in ages, perhaps ever. Yet she recognized that word, and her world spun as she realized that she might have a chance to communicate with this man.
“You know English?”
He nodded uncertainly.
“How much can you speak?”
He held up his hands and shrank them together in the air.
“Okay, how much can you understand?”
His hands widened apart.
A flood of questions filled Eden’s mind, but right now she had to focus on more pressing needs. The kind that pressed against her bladder.
“I need to use the . . . Wait, you probably don’t understand what a restroom is. I need . . . privacy?” As embarrassing as it was, she squatted down, miming her intentions.
He nodded toward a clump of trees.
“Stay close,” he said in a hoarse whisper.
Eden went over to the bushes and did what needed to be done before she rejoined him at the water’s edge.
“Is it deep? I can swim. I’m just worried.”
“Deep, yes. Safe.” He removed the gold leaf crown from his head and set it down in the grass. Then, without warning, he untied the strips of leather that held his loincloth on and dove into the pool.
Eden had a brief but glorious glimpse of his muscled ass as he disappeared into the water. A cloud of mud circled around where he had vanished, sullying the pretty blue water. Eden waited for him to come up, wondering what he looked like beneath the layers of mud. But long seconds passed and he didn’t come up.
Had something happened to him down there? She took off her hiking boots and socks before hastily wading into the water and diving under to search.
Her heart thundered against her ribs as she dove beneath the surface, trying to find him. She opened her eyes, searching, but all she could see was a blue haze and white bubbles from the waterfall. She surged back up to the surface for air and then shrieked as something curled around her foot and pulled her back under.
Water covered her head, and she reached down to claw at whatever had grabbed her leg, but it was already gone. She swam back up to the surface with visions of crocodiles and snakes in her head as she sucked in a lungful of air. The water beside her churned, and the wild man’s face appeared. He shook his head, and his long dark hair whipped around his face. He ducked below the water again and came back up, allowing Eden her first glimpse of his face unmarred by mud.
She couldn’t have guessed what lay beneath the heavy coats of mud. The chiseled features of a god matched his muscled form. There was a slight cleft in his chin, and the tan skin of his face made his blue eyes glow even more brilliantly. It was difficult to look away from his face. Dark shapes colored his shoulders. Tattoos? They looked tribal in design. She’d never been into tattoos before, but they only added to the mystique of this man.
He swam slowly around her, his lips curved in a playful smile, then suddenly splashed water at her. Eden gasped and instinctively splashed back at him. He let out a deep, rich laugh that made her melt. They swam and played, not quite touching each other, but close enough that she was aware he was completely naked. Eventually her skin began to prune, and she realized that she was drenched in her only set of clothes.
Now exhausted, she started to go back to the shore, but the man caught her hand and motioned for her to swim toward the falls. She followed him and blushed to the roots of her hair as he climbed out of the water and onto a small rock ledge, leaving nothing to the imagination. Then he vanished behind the waterfall. She gripped the smooth rocks at the base of the ledge and pulled herself up, finding it easier than she expected. Then she followed him behind the glass-like curtain of water.
The cave behind the falls was deep and dark, and she could barely see the outline of the wild man ahead of her.
“Wait! I can’t see.” Her voice echoed all around her despite the roar of the falls behind them.
A warm hand caught hold of hers, and she was pulled deeper into the darkness before they stopped. Her feet touched something soft. Animal fur? She knelt and touched it. Yes, it was, but what kind she couldn’t tell. Hands touched her shoulders, pulling lightly at her clothes as though to remove them.
“Wait . . . What?”
“Too wet,” he said in a low voice. “Animal skins need to dry.”
“Skins? Oh, my clothes.” She glanced around, not quite able to see him clearly. Maybe it would be okay to take off her clothes in the dark? Eden hesitated a second and then peeled off her clothes, even her panties.
“Sit,” he urged, and she did, tucking her knees up to cover her body.
“Hey, do you have a name?” she asked the tall, warm man sharing the darkness with her.
“Thorne? Just Thorne? No last name?” Eden tried to see his face as he knelt down beside her on the bed of furs. Her heart jumped in nervousness at what he might do next.
“Son of Keza,” he added quietly.
“Is Keza your father?”
“Mother.” The word was spoken with a fierce tenderness.
“Is she here? Does she live with you?”
There was a long silence. “No. Thorne left. Thorne see them sometimes.”
Eden nearly jumped when she felt a hand touch hers. Thorne stroked a fingertip over her knuckles, the gentle touch exploring and soothing rather than threatening.
“Sleep,” he said in the mantle of darkness. “Thorne protect.”
Eden knew she shouldn’t lie down in her undressed state, nor should she bury her face in the furs and start to rest. But the makeshift bed was soft against her bare body. It was only late afternoon, but she was indeed tired. She was a little cold, but Thorne soon wrapped the furs around her, and she could smell an inviting masculine scent clinging to them. His scent. Clean man and waterfall with a hint of mango. It was a scent she would dream of for the rest of her life, just as she knew she would dream of this wild forest god.
My thoughts 💭
I really enjoyed this Tarzan retelling!Thorne and Eden’s chemistry is amazing. I enjoyed all the characters. The jungle demands vengeance for a wrong committed against it and Thorne was more than willing to help since the fool decided to touch what was his. This was a sweet but definitely steamy read! I was hooked from beginning to end, I definitely recommend.
Emma Castle has always loved reading but didn’t know she loved romance until she was enduring the trials of law school. She discovered the dark and sexy world of romance novels and since then has never looked back! She loves writing about sexy, alpha male heroes who know just how to seduce women even if they are a bit naughty about it. When Emma’s not writing, she may be obsessing over her favorite show Supernatural where she’s a total Team Dean Winchester kind of girl! Join Emma’s Private Reader Group “Emma Castle’s Crew” here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/429283600812685