Title: Blood on the Mountain (The Mountains #4)
Author: P.D. Singer
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Blood on the Mountain (The Mountains)
Genre: M/M contemporary, action adventure romance
Length: 210 pages
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary Review: Woo hoo! Another Jake and Kurt book. My Christmas is complete :).
Jake Landon thinks a second ranger season in the Colorado Rockies with Kurt Carlson is close enough to heaven, and a national forest is big enough to be his closet. Pharmacy school—and the luxuries of electricity and running water—can wait, maybe forever, as long as Jake doesn’t have to come out. He doesn’t plan on Kurt’s vision of his future being as narrow and direct as the single track roads through the trees.
“Your future, your fear, and me,” Kurt tells Jake. “You can have two of the three, so choose wisely.” Jake may have no choices left after they stumble on armed men guarding a beautiful but deadly crop that doesn’t belong among the pines and spruces. Angry men with guns are only one danger in the Colorado wilderness, and Jake’s reluctance to come out is now his smallest problem.
Kurt’s skills and Jake’s silver tongue may not be enough to get them out of this mess—how much of the blood shed on the mountain will be theirs?
I love this Mountain series by PD Singer. Whilst this is the fourth novel in the series, you can just as easily read it straight after the first book Fire on the Mountain, which I reviewed here. The story follows on a year after that first book, or a few months from Snow on the Mountain. Jake and Kurt are back as forest rangers, back in the cabin where they first came together. Things are a bit tense between them though. Jake wants to put off going to Pharmacy school and Kurt wants him to go. Jake wants to stay in the closet whereas Kurt is becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to be open. When the pair discover something dangerous in the forest, they are catapulted into a tense situation which may end up with one of them being killed.
Like many books in this series, the beginning of this book is quite slow. This is not a criticism because it allows us to get acquainted with these wonderful characters as well as to show the changes that have happened since we last saw them. The story is taken from Jake’s first person narrative, and so we see all the confusion he feels about his future. Kurt is still the careful, wonderful man he always was, but there’s a slight hardness to him now, as he tries to convince Jake that he can’t delay going to graduate school any longer. I thought the author had done well to show the feelings on both sides through such a limited narrative. This tension between them is the main complication in their relationship and it takes the whole book to resolve. Through the book I wasn’t sure which way the decision would go and that added a uneasiness to the story which kept me reading. I wanted to know how the story was going to end and when it did, I was wholly satisfied with the way that things worked out.
Also in the first part of the book, there’s a short episode set at a rodeo. I had a bit of a deja vu moment when I read it, until I realised that the author had incorporated a now out of print story, Eight Seconds on the Mountain, into this book. The short story actually works well within this book because it sets it within a better context and also fits in with what we learn about Kurt’s past in the book. In fact, another highlight of the book overall were the glimpses we gain into Kurt’s past and his family.
Alongside the relationship difficulties, the men are thrown into a very dangerous situation which had me on the edge of my seat. There was one point where I wasn’t sure I wanted to read on because I was so emotionally involved and I didn’t know whether I could cope if anything bad happened! As it is, the story managed to skillfully toe that line between genuine thrills and fear, and not scaring the reader too much. There’s a scene in a tent about half way through which I was reading almost peeking behind my fingers because I was worried about what was going to happen! There aren’t many books which can affect me like this and this book really does showcase the talent that this author has for mixing heartfelt and genuine romance with scenes of action and danger. There’s some a real ‘hold onto your hats’ moments but these are balanced by the tenderness between Kurt and Jake.
As with all the books in this series, the beauty of nature is a key feature. This time it’s man, not nature which causes the most threat and Jake’s delight in his surroundings comes across strongly. There are moments of wonder and also poignancy which are bound tight with the setting. I learned a few new things too, which is also a bonus.
Overall, this book was simply delightful. The mix of quiet moments and tense action scenes made this a real page turner and we learn so much more about Kurt’s past and see his feelings about being with a closeted lover. More than that though, this is a wonderful romance with very sympathetic characters, lots of tenderness but some great sex scenes too (the strip archery was a particular favourite). If you liked Fire on the Mountain then you are going to love this one too. I did and can highly recommend Blood on the Mountain.