Authors: Chase T. A.
A Totally Bound Publication
Mountains to Climb
ISBN # 978-1-78430-122-4
©Copyright T.A. Chase 2014
Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright July 2014
Edited by Sue Meadows
Totally Bound Publishing
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2014 by Totally Bound Publishing, Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
What’s his Passion?
MOUNTAINS TO CLIMB
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Sometimes the past can be the biggest mountain to climb.
Toby Schwartzel has never forgotten Jensen Brockhoff, the man he loved and the one who disappeared six years ago. He thinks he’s moved on, but when Jensen appears again and wants to explain what happened, Toby realizes he hasn’t gotten over Jensen. He’d only built up walls to keep from being hurt again.
Jensen Brockhoff left New York City and Toby Schwartzel for several reasons. All of them had to do with drugs and alcohol. He’s clean now and the only thing he’s addicted to is mountain climbing. His passion for the sport has got him through the last six years. But after a particularly harrowing fall on Denali, Jensen knows he has to go back to tell Toby the truth.
Will Toby and Jensen discover they’d never moved past the love they had for each other all those years ago? Or are the mountains between them too high to climb?
Everyone has mountains that need to be scaled—literally and figuratively. This is for those who face those mountains with courage and grace.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmark mentioned in this work of fiction:
Audi S5: Audi AG
Stepping in the bar was almost like getting hit by a car from the noise. Not that Toby Schwartzel had ever been struck by any kind of moving vehicle. He didn’t think a bicycle counted. He paused in the entrance to give himself a chance to adjust to the sound level and to scan the crowd, searching for any of the guys from the firm.
“Hey, Toby. We’re over here,” Simpson called from one of the back corners.
After acknowledging him with a wave, Toby wound his way to the bar where he ordered one of his favorite microbrews. While he waited for the bartender to pour it, he glanced around, checking out the possible hook-ups. It was Friday night and Toby didn’t have to work during the weekend, so he was looking for a little fun.
“Here you go, Toby.” Gray slid his mug across the wooden surface.
“Thanks, Gray. This is for you.” He slipped a five-dollar bill in the tip jar before taking a sip.
“I see your friend finally dragged himself out from whatever rock he’d been hiding under.” Gray jerked his head over toward the corner where Toby’s gang hung out.
“What friend?” He frowned as he tried to figure out whom Gray was talking about. All his friends were accounted for. Well, that he knew of anyway. He’d been so busy working on closing a big deal for a client during the last three months that he lost touch with a few of them that he didn’t see all the time at the office.
“Brockhoff. Saw him come in with Simpson.”
Someone yelled for Gray at the other end of the bar, so he shot Toby a quick smile before walking away.
Toby was frozen to the floor.
What the fuck is Jensen Brockhoff doing back in town? Why the fuck hasn’t he called me in six years? The bastard couldn’t be bothered to tell me he was leaving. All I got was some ridiculous email about needing to get clean. Now he didn’t worry about letting me know he’s back. I should just leave.
His phone vibrated in his pocket and he pulled it out to see he had a text from Simpson.
Get your ass back here, fuckhead.
He should’ve known Simpson wasn’t going to let him leave.
I think I’m heading home.
Sighing, he pouted as he sent that reply. He’d been eager to relax, drink and take some stranger home to fuck him into his mattress. It’d been a while since he’d had sex with someone else. Lately, it had been his hand and his dildo.
Fuck no! Brockhoff isn’t here to see any of us. He wants you.
There was a winking smiley face at the end of Simpson’s text.
Toby rolled his eyes, still not convinced it was the best idea for him to go over there. He wasn’t sure he could control his need to punch Jensen in the mouth for leaving like that.
Get a fucking grip! It’s not like you were partners or anything. Just friends with benefits. It wasn’t like he owed you anything.
Yet he did think that Jensen at least owed him the respect of telling him that he was leaving town, instead of just disappearing. Maybe he shouldn’t feel so bad since Jensen hadn’t informed anyone else either.
Tough. You deal with him, Simpson. I’m going home. I’ll see you in the morning.
He finished his beer then set the mug on the bar, turning to push his way through the growing crowd to get to the door. Just as he was about to make his escape, Simpson stepped in front of him.
“Don’t be a fucking coward, Toby. Go back there and face that ass.”
Toby shook his head. “I have nothing to say to him. It’s not like we were in a relationship or anything, Simpson. We were just fuck buddies.”
“Bullshit. I know you thought you were more than that to Jensen. Hell, I was just a drinking buddy of his and I was pissed when he bugged out like that. All he sent you was some idiotic little email that explained nothing. I poured your ass into bed when you drank yourself stupid for almost an entire week after he disappeared.” Simpson grabbed Toby’s arm. “I’m not going to let you run away from him. Don’t let him take this away from you.”
“I don’t want to face him. I don’t have anything to prove to Jensen or you for that matter, asshole.” Toby poked Simpson in the chest as he took a step toward him. “I’m frigging embarrassed that I reacted that way. We never made any promises to each other.”
“Then why are you running from him? Go back there. Have a good time. Pick up some guy and take him home. Prove to Brockhoff you don’t give a flying fuck about him or what he did.” Simpson took a hold of Toby’s wrist before dragging him off to where the rest of their friends were standing or sitting.
As much as Toby didn’t want to go, he also didn’t want to cause a scene. He wasn’t interested in having everyone stare at him while he pitched a fit about not going anywhere with Simpson.
“I hate you,” he muttered at Simpson.
“Whatever, asshole. Suck it up and prove you’re over him,” Simpson whispered in his ear then nodded in the direction of Jensen.
That was the thing. Toby wasn’t sure he would ever be over Jensen Brockhoff. Toby reluctantly turned to face Jensen and seeing him for the first time in six years, his mouth dropped open. Jensen’s smile held a hint of hesitation as he met Toby’s gaze.
“What the hell happened to you?” Toby couldn’t help asking.
“Fell off the side of a mountain,” Jensen answered before easing to his feet then limped over to where Toby stood. “It’s great to see you again, Toby.”
Jensen was about to hug him and Toby shook his head. Toby took a step back, staring at his ex-lover the entire time. Jensen’s light brown hair was caught back at the nape of his neck, so his face was exposed to the light. Jensen had a black eye, a split lip, and a bruise on his right cheek. He also wore a brace on his right wrist and Toby had already noticed the limp.
“You look like shit, man,” Toby commented, trying hard to ignore just how much he wanted Jensen to wrap his arms around him. But he couldn’t accept that anymore. Friends didn’t hug like that, even friends who used to be lovers.
Jensen chuckled. “Well that’s what happens when your first belay holding your rope malfunctions and you drop thirty feet before the second one can take up the slack. Unfortunately, it wasn’t soon enough and I hit the side of the mountain. Busted up my face, my wrist, a couple ribs and twisted the shit out of my ankle.”
“You weren’t kidding about falling off a mountain.” Toby clenched his hands, resisting the need to touch Jensen and make sure he was all right.
“It was my third time climbing Denali, man. I didn’t have any trouble the first two. Should’ve known it wasn’t going to be the charm for me.” Jensen shook his head. “Luckily, Jigger and Cat were with me, so they helped cart my ass down to base camp. Then the wildlife guys had to come in and truck me out.”
“Why didn’t your friends take you to the hospital?” Simpson asked what Toby had been thinking.
Jensen chuckled. “I wasn’t about to ask them to postpone their climb. Weather around Denali is wicked. It can change in the space of five minutes. You’ll have sun and relatively blue skies one minute. Then you take your eye off the situation, and a storm’s rolled in. No one in their right mind wants to be caught on that mountain in the middle of a storm. I told them to go back up. I hung around the camp until the officers got there.”