Being a probation officer isn’t the easiest job, but Rami finds it rewarding. He especially likes seeing prison guard, Fen, when he has to visit the prison. There is an attraction and a flirtation and just when Rami thinks he may be able to see Fen outside of work, life intervenes. Rami doesn’t make it back to the prison for a while after his brother dies and he has custody of his toddler nephew, Charlie, and when he returns, Fen is no longer there. Rami can’t shake the memory of the man and when Fen rescues Rami when his car brakes down halfway up a mountain in a snowstorm, Rami is sure he must be dreaming.
Fen has been living on Christmas Mountain far away from the prison that used to be his job and his life. It’s been eighteen months since he last saw Rami and Fen can’t even believe that Rami is now snowed in with him in his home. The attraction between them is stronger than ever, but Fen doesn’t do casual, and Rami isn’t staying on the mountain, even though his sister and her family live at the top of it. The men both have baggage they are carrying around, but Rami and Fen belong together and life without each other doesn’t seem like a possibility anymore.
The feeling of a great Garrett Leigh book is here on every page of Christmas Mountain. Rami and Fen appeared in Salvation working with Dante Pope and both of them and their chemistry made me definitely interested in learning more about them both. You don’t need to read Salvation, but Dante appears here as well and with reference made to their past, I did appreciate having seen all of their story.
Rami and Fen are both in difficult times in their lives. Rami is raising Charlie and he has a lot to sift through with his brother’s death and Charlie’s mother. He’s having such a hard time that he gets in his car determined to get to his sister’s place and when he doesn’t give any thought to the weather, his situation becomes worse. Fen is struggling with the aftermath of an incident at the prison and he’s reluctant to talk about it. So, these guys both have a lot to sort through on their own, but seeing each other again settles something inside of them.
I could totally believe that these guys were still thinking about each other. They had already formed a friendship and been on their way to their first date, so seeing each other again is both shocking and soothing. Fen wants Rami so much he doesn’t even know what to do with all the thoughts in his head, but he also knows he can’t give himself to Rami for only one night and the fire between them gets stoked to the highest of heat.
Leigh excels once again in character development and dialogue and there is dry humor and laughter through tragedies large and small. The secondary characters of Rami’s sister and her family add great depth to the story, and everything comes together in this book expertly as the backstories of both men are woven in. The story takes place on Christmas Mountain and is set around the holidays, but in true Leigh style, it is not an overdone holiday book, which suits my tastes perfectly as well. This book was a pleasure to read from start to finish with Leigh at the top of her game as Rami and Fen find love and a life they never envisioned high up on Christmas Mountain.