Return to the Mountain
Title : Return to the Mountain
Author : P.D. Singer
Series : The Mountains, Book #5
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 200 pages (e-book)
Published : March 22, 2013
Caddy Gary Richardson hungers for the lush life of the wealthy golfers he escorts around the course at Wapiti Creek. The contrast between his tiny trailer at the edge of a mountain town and the luxurious ski and golf resort is something he’s learned to live with but not like. Gary wants the fancy condo and late-model car not just for himself but for his childhood friend turned lover, Seth Morgan. He’d settle for security for the two of them, but even that seems out of reach.
Seth is content with Gary and enough spare cash for greens fees at municipal golf courses. Going pro is beyond his means, even if he plays well enough to win on the championship resort courses. Gary would do anything to fulfill Seth’s dreams, even things he’d rather keep to himself. When an unheard of opportunity knocks, Gary can answer or resign himself to living on tips from affluent tourists.
But Seth can’t live with that answer when it means his trust has been betrayed. He has to let go and hope the man he loves will find his way home.
When I started this book I quickly found myself unable to stop turning pages and becoming quite invested in how everything was ultimately going to work out for the main pair in this story. All that, despite the fact that I found one of them, Gary, to be woefully misguided, and someone I was quite challenged to feel sympathetic towards (and wanted to slap a few times!). It worked for me due to the author’s excellent and captivating writing skill. Be aware before you read this one that PD Singer tends to throw complex situations at her guys!
While this book could be read as a stand- alone, it is part of a series set around the Colorado resort of Wapiti Creek and the town of Phippsburg, and the people who live and work there. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the entire series. The main characters here, Gary and Seth, are new to the series. We are treated, however, to cameos by Allan and Mark (“Snow on the Mountain”, “Fall Down the Mountain” & “Cross The Mountain”). I was pleasantly surprised to see the character of Ricky Santeramo from PD’s sublime work “The Rare Event” playing a sizeable role here (“Return” takes place mostly before the timeline in TRE), and not so pleasantly surprised to see the presence of Edgar Wolfe from that same story. 😦
Gary and Seth grew up near Wapiti Creek, and are best friends turned lovers. Gary’s Dad was an abusive despicable man who also stole money from Gary. As soon as Gary was of age he left and went to live with Seth and his Mom, who welcomed him like another son. Seth and Gary work hard as caddies and at various restaurant jobs in the resort town to make ends meet, but money is always very tight. Seth is content in this simple life with Gary. Gary has dreams of never having to want for anything, of being able to afford to give Seth the finer things in life that he sees others around him enjoying every day, such as custom made golf clubs, luxury condos and fancy restaurant meals. It’s more than the finer things though. It isn’t just the finer things. Gary would love to not sweat simply making the rent and paying for gas. One day when Seth becomes ill and they have emergency medical bills and medications to pay for, and zero to pay it with, Gary remembers an incident that happened to himself and Seth in the past and decides to get on his knees to make some quick money (Nooooo! 😦 ). It’s easy in a town where wealthy, thrill seeking men, who appreciate Gary’s angelic blond good looks, abound. Gary does end up telling the truth about this to Seth, who says he understands Gary reasons for doing it, but he implores Gary to promise never to do it again. Gary tells Seth he can’t promise he’ll never feel desperate enough not to do it again (slap!) Yeah, this play on words is something Gary interprets one way and Seth takes a whole nother!! o.O
One day on the golf course, Gary ends up caddying for Ricky and Edgar and overhears talk about the stock market, and how these men are brokers from New York. Actually, Ricky is not yet a broker, he is there as Edgar’s boy toy, and is acting in that capacity in exchange for an internship at Edgar’s firm. Uh, yeah, smarmy indeed. Ricky befriends Gary, and starts paying big for Gary to take his place entertaining Edgar. Gary figures he’s done this before, sort of, it’s easy money, and he’s doing it to benefit himself and Seth – right? (slap!). One thing leads to another…Gary gets a crash pillow talk course in how much money can be made as a stockbroker and soon Edgar is offering to take him back to New York as his “personal project”, with a promise to give him the opportunity to learn. He even says he’ll fix it so that Gary can sit for brokerage licensing exams later that year. Seth agrees to Gary leaving for New York since Gary was so excited by the opportunity for financial stability (mmm, no, Seth did NOT know the terms…slap!).
I would have loved to have known more of exactly what was going in Seth’s head throughout this story. He is happy, sweet and a whiz with golf clubs although not with a textbook. He also appears to be clueless and a bit dense about what’s going on around him in general……or, is he??! I was cheering for Seth and his strength when he eventually confronted Gary, and then never backed down when he rejected Gary based on the deceit – not the on- the- job sex.
I felt the set up that would explain Gary’s behavior was a case well presented, but I was never quite on board with it, with his choice of what he did for money and why. I kept thinking the guys never asked friends for help, they could have lived with Seth’s mom again if needed, etc., but then, we wouldn’t have this story! In his pursuit of finding a way to make money, and in his eyes to provide for Seth, Gary lost sight of “them”, of the entity of Gary + Seth. More importantly, Gary was not treating Seth as an equal and an individual while blindly pursuing what he thought best for Seth.
The author does a fabulous job of showing full on how Gary redeems himself. He never strays down a general path of moral decadence simply because he achieves some financial success. Gary was always totally and genuinely in love with Seth, and doing what he saw as ultimately a good thing, completely with Seth’s best interest in mind. From that end he never strays. Is it enough for Seth to take him back?
Note – the only on page sex is between Gary and Seth 🙂 . PD obviously used research about the financial field she accumulated for “The Rare Event” to help tell an engaging story here as well. Kudos! I’m looking forward to what happens on the mountain next!
What kept this from a higher rating is that I felt a need for more of Seth’s thoughts on everything.
Rated 4 stars by Dianne