Toby has a great finance job, money, and good friends. He has no problems finding hookups since his friend Jensen disappeared six years ago. When Jensen shows up again, however, Toby knows he has never gotten over him.
Jensen left NYC when the fast and hectic pace of his job, late night clubbing, and drugs overwhelmed him. He’s gotten himself clean and his new addiction is mountain climbing. The high he feels at the summit has helped him battle back his drug addictions. After falling off a mountain, it’s Toby’s face that flashes before Jensen and he knows he has to go see him.
Toby and Jensen both had strong feelings for each other years ago, but with both of them thinking they only had a friends with benefits relationship, Jensen was able to keep his addictions well hidden. One look confirms they have never gotten over each other, but Toby may not be able to move past the mountain of hurt between them.
Mountains to Climb is a short story and the timeline, about 24 hours, is short as well. Toby is just likable right away as we see him meeting friends for drinks and thinking its time for a hookup. Toby has not been in a relationship since Jensen abruptly left and he is shocked to see him at the bar. After falling from Denali, Jensen was injured, is still banged up, and Toby tells him he looks like “shit.” It was a nice change to have a character arrive for a second chance not looking absolutely perfect.
The story then moves along as Jensen goes after Toby to apologize, explain, and attempt to get him back. And sometimes the talking just has to wait to get other activities out of the way. Their story was interesting as we see their connection, both sides of their feelings towards each other, and the lifestyle they were living years ago.
Just a couple of things to get around. Jensen very conveniently made a lot of money in his 20s and never has to work again, so it’s no problem for him to travel the world mountain climbing. Jensen sort of swapped one type of addiction for another, and there was just not enough time to explore the impact of this. In their discussions, Jensen tells Toby if he had a relapse it would be only Jensen’s problem to deal with. I had an issue with this statement as if they were in a relationship, it would be both of their problems. There was a small continuity issue with how Jensen found out Toby’s new address in the beginning of the story compared to what Jensen told Toby later in the story. It’s minor, but it is present. There is talk about Jensen’s climbing partners who he trusts and who keep him grounded. Toward the end of the story, he talks about new climbing partners for his next trip. This takes us away from Toby and Jensen in the short time we had to spend with them.
The author, T. A. Chase, stated in an interview that Mountains to Climb will be made into a full length novel. For now, it is a good introduction to two guys looking for a second chance at love with the one that got away.