Rating: 4.5 stars
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Jake Landon chose to take a position as a ranger in the mountains so that he could figure his life out. After a bad experience with friends, Jake’s feet were planted firmly in the closet with no intention of stepping out any time soon – if ever. Assured that he would spend the fire season with a crusty, old mountain man as a partner, Jake was well on his way to peace of mind when it came to his choice to keep his sexuality a secret. Then he met his partner, Kurt.
Kurt Carlson is only a few years older than Jake and Jake is immediately attracted to him. Jake tries to convince himself that he only sees Kurt as a friend. That works for weeks until, after a putting out a fire, Jake watches Kurt cool off in the water – which starts a different kind of fire in Jake. Now all he can think about is how badly he wants Kurt and how it could ruin any friendship he ever had with his seemingly straight partner. Casual nudity, spying on private moments in the woods, and the constant closeness are driving Jake crazy. He knows that he either needs to tell Kurt how he feels or he needs to leave. A deadly fire and fear bring Jake and Kurt together and decisions are made in the face of disaster that seemed like a good idea at the time, but bring up more questions for Jake and possible rejection.
Fire on the Mountain is a great friends-to-lovers story. The relationship between Jake and Kurt is a slow build, although the attraction was immediate. Jake has only taken the job as a ranger so he can work through some of this own problems and confusion about being gay in the peace and quiet. He had planned on going to Pharmacy school but took a year off before starting in order to figure his life out, and now he’s stuck with his dream man for six months all alone, in very close quarters. Kurt is gorgeous, self-confident, self-assured, and easily likable. He has had relationship problems in his past that seem to cause trust issues. The friendship and trust Jake and Kurt share only adds to their romantic relationship. I liked these characters from the beginning. Jake is finding out who he is and what he likes even though he tried so hard and for so long to fight it. And Kurt is a catalyst to Jake’s character. He pushes Jake to cross boundaries he didn’t want to necessarily cross.
The story was told in first person point of view from Jake’s perspective. All too many times when reading first person, I have a hard time with all of the introspection and inner monologue of the one character. I had no such problem with this book. Jake’s thoughts and feelings gave basis to the storyline and kept the plot on course.
The only real problem I had with the book was the change in Kurt’s character. He was portrayed as a confident man throughout most of the book, but once feelings and a possible relationship came into play he turned into a vulnerable, insecure man. I don’t know if the author meant the self-confident side to be a sort of mask covering up real insecurities, but the sudden change kind of threw me for a loop. There was such a drastic change that it was almost like the character had two different personalities. We never really got Kurt’s side since the story was written from Jake’s point of view.
Fire on the Mountain is a re-edit and re-release. I didn’t read it when it was first published in 2009, but I can honestly say that I am happy with this version of the story. There is also a bonus short story, Into the Mountains, at the end of the book that gives a background and insight to Kurt’s story, and background and history of characters is always a plus in my book.
I really enjoyed this book. It is filled with a great friendship, a budding romance, action, adventure, and even some Robin Hood references. I definitely recommend reading Fire on the Mountain by P.D. Singer.
Cover: More beautiful cover art by Reese Dante. The fire in the Colorado mountains as a setting, although dangerous makes for a wonderful cover.