Book Review: Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain

P.D. Singer

The Mountains

2nd Edition

Take a break from academics, enjoy the Colorado Rockies, fight a fire now and then. That’s all Jake Landon expected when he signed up to be a ranger. He’ll partner with some crusty old mountain man; they’ll patrol the wilderness in a tanker, speak three words a day, and Old Crusty won’t be alluring at all. A national forest is big enough to be Jake’s closet–he’ll spend his free time fishing.

Except Old Crusty turns out to be Kurt Carlson: confident, competent, and experienced. He’s also young, hot, friendly, and considers clothing optional when it’s just two guys in the wilderness. Sharing a small cabin with this walking temptation is stressing Jake’s sanity–is he sending signals, or just being Kurt? And how would Kurt react if he found out his new partner wants to start a fire of a different kind? Jake’s terrified–they have to live together for five months no matter what.

Enough sparks fly between the rangers to set the trees alight, but it takes a raging inferno to make Jake and Kurt admit to the heat between them.

First Electronic Edition published by Torquere Press (2009).

Bonus Short Story: Into the Mountains

Long before he met Jake, Kurt Carlson climbed Yosemite with his best friend, Benji. But after a storm traps them halfway up the face of El Capitan, Kurt has to accept that their friendship isn’t what he thought.

Fire on the Mountain was a hot read!  I’ve found over the last several months, my enjoyment of M/M erotic romance novels has risen and fallen and risen and fallen as I’ve read a number of meh book and a few great books.  Fire on the Mountain was one of the fantastic ones.

I have to admit that for the first half of the book (or maybe the first two-thirds), I was enjoying it, but wasn’t entirely sold on it.  The friendship between Jake and Kurt was fun and Jake’s attempts at suppressing his horniness for Kurt were enjoyable.  There’s a nice amount of tension to keep the story going… and then the forest catches fire.  And, like the trees, the smouldering lust building up between Jake and Kurt explodes into a roaring ball of flame.  The moment of first sex was so perfectly timed and written — it could have easily felt out of place amidst a forest fire, but Singer expertly writes the scene such that I can totally see two guys going at it while the world burns not more than twenty feet away.  All of the scenes that follow the explosion of love, which could have been so corny now that the love was out and clear to everyone, were also very well written and enjoyable to read.  The relationship between Jake and Kurt felt very real.

And on more technical matters — I found the writing in Fire on the Mountain to be very well done.  Singer writes with a clarity and strength that was refreshing.  And of particular note are all of the scenes covering the technical side of forest fighting.  While it would have been easy to make it feel out of place and laborious — like she was trying to prove to the reader she can do research — Singer instead weaves the facts into the story so well that I never once felt I was being lectured to as a reader, or that Singer was out to prove her research capability.  She writes with an understanding of the subject such that I wouldn’t be surprised if she spent time herself as a forest fire fighter.

The bonus short story at the end (Into the Mountains), while interesting in that it shows how Kurt ends up as a forest fire fighter, was, I think, a little out of place.  After finishing the final chapter in Fire on the Mountain, the reader is on a high having just experienced the joyous love and scorching sex between Jake and Kurt… and then we get a short story that features Kurt with another guy a few years earlier… and it doesn’t go so great…

That being said, it’s really just the placement of the story that I find iffy.  The story itself was a fantastic read, too.  Whereas in Fire on the Mountain, Singer wrote with expertise on forest fire fighting, in Into the Mountains, Singer writes about rock climbing with similar expertise.  The tension that builds (both sexual and otherwise) was well done and the fall-out afterward, while disappointing for the characters, was an entrancing read.

Fire on the Mountain is an excellent novel and one of the better M/M erotic romance books I’ve come across in quite a while.

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