Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Excerpt from PD Singer


Granite towered over the two young men, reaching half a mile into the blueness of a soft California sky. Pale crystals glittered against the morning, streaked with dark veins of diorite. El Capitan beckoned in the early morning sun; figures could be seen clinging to rock well beyond arm's reach. No picture Ansel Adams had ever taken compared to the reality of the monoliths jutting out of the earth. With almost too much to look at, Kurt Carlson had to focus on this one—Rock was too small a word. Monolith didn't tell the grandeur. He'd stood atop Half Dome, feeling small in the majesty of Yosemite, where the bones of the world lay bare to men. The thanks had formed a lump in his throat then, and now, at the base of the titan, Kurt could barely swallow.
"If you really wanted to get to the top, we could have hiked up the valley by the falls." Carabiners loaded with pitons, hex nuts, and 'friends' clanked against each other on the webbing harness slung over Benji's shoulder.
Trust Benji Shaffer to blow a hole in the poetry of the moment. He could be such a killjoy sometimes. "You first." Kurt also clattered with every movement. He adjusted the webbing of his equipment rack where it twisted under the loops of blue and red climbing rope that he wore like bandoliers. He hadn't scrimped and saved for a year for this trip to hike up the back way.
"Of course I go first. You think I’m going to let you lead on El Capitan?"
"Fuck yeah, I'm going to lead on El Cap; you think I want to risk coming unzipped again?" Kurt had trusted the protections Benji had set on Half Dome last week. His stomach churned with the remembered fall—only two pitons had jerked out of the stone when he'd slipped on the traverse, but twenty feet of straight down could have turned into twelve hundred feet and an abrupt halt for both of them.
"The rock flaked, Kurt. I've never had a placement fail before; it could have happened to you."
"Did happen to me—that's why I'm leading." Kurt didn't want to start this climb by snarling at the guy his life would depend on for the next three days, but he still sported the bruises from smashing into an unforgiving chunk of the Yosemite National Park. He squinted up the wall. "How'd those Canadian dudes get there ahead of us?" The group of three men had had the camp site next to theirs; the five climbers had passed a flask of tequila around the campfire the night before, telling stories of adventures on other big walls.
"By getting up at oh-dark-thirty. You want to wait until they get up another pitch?"
"I don't want to follow them at all. One high-velocity shit storm per trip is enough." A hazard of being lower on the rock when Nature called; too bad there was little hope of having the climbing route to themselves. They'd come a little too close to taking direct hits from the team above.
"Hey, if you'd been looking up, you'd have seen his bare ass."
"There's a time and a place, Benj. This ain't it." There had never been a time or a place with Benji, probably never would be, not that Kurt hadn't nurtured a few dreams of hot nights, lazy mornings, and enough trash-talking to be sure they weren't getting sentimental. One out of three, and don't expect more. He’s your roommate, not your lover.

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Pam's shared the opener from Into the Mountains, the bonus story that comes with Fire on the Mountain. Here's a chance to learn a whole lot more about Kurt!

 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.

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.

Find it at Dreamspinner, Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and your other favorite ebook sellers.

6 comments:

  1. Perfect piece for the picture. I loved the whole Mountain series. Everyone should snap it up.

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  2. Great snippet for that picture. I'm another fan of The Mountain series, and am looking forward to the next one!

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  3. Is it just me, or does Benji need a good thwap with a clue-by-four...? o_O

    Angie

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    1. A clue-by... Oh! That's a good one, and yes, he does.

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