Almost a year ago – on 19 October 2017, to be precise, I reached the summit of Kilimanjaro after a long and arduous climb over six days. This was probably the proudest and most exhilirating moment of my life. Before my trip began, I’d already started writing the adventures of Ash and Sean, as they met on a training weekend in Wales (the very same weekend I did myself), and gradually fell for each other as time passed before their trip to Tanzania. I left them at the airport while I went on the expedition myself, and carried on writing when I returned, with notes I’d made along the trail of my experiences.
Summit is out today, a story of fictitious characters following in my own footsteps on the adventure of a lifetime.
Genre: MM romance, Adventure
Length: 62,000 words
Cover Design: Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art
When out of condition divorced lorry driver, Ash Tomlinson, makes the spur of the moment decision to climb Kilimanjaro, he doesn’t consider how much it will change his life. There’s the training, the equipment to buy, the fear of altitude sickness, and of failure. And there’s Sean, a man who makes Ash question what he really wants for his future.
Sean Briggs is a school sports teacher and wishful mountain leader, longing for the chance to lead people on mountain hikes, but never having taken the plunge to do the training course. While he thinks about it, he decides to undertake the trip of a lifetime on Kilimanjaro.
The two men meet on a training weekend in Wales, and afterwards Ash goes home and tries to forget about Sean, but finds it impossible.
When the pair strike out for the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, their physical and mental strength is tested, and their growing feelings for each other help them push through the toughest moments of the trek.
Gradually, the sky lightened. The orange strip grew wider and the blackness above us turned to grey. As we made our way through an area of boulders and rocky outcrops, Phil suddenly shouted out, “Stella Point! Take a break here!”
“We made it!” someone cried.
“Huh, not yet. This is just the crater rim,” another voice responded.
I followed Sean to the shelter of an overhanging rock and we sank to the ground. A porter removed my backpack. Another passed me a tin mug filled with hot sweet tea. I wasn’t fond of tea, but I eagerly gulped it and asked for a refill. It was hot and sugary. That was all that mattered.
As we rested out of the wind everyone switched off their headtorches, no longer needing the light. Those with the most energy who had better gloves than Sean and I did, pulled out cameras to capture the incredible sunrise. Orange turned to yellow and the great burning ball that was the sun hauled itself up, prompting a cheer from those with enough energy.
I looked around me, checking who was sitting nearby and who hadn’t yet arrived. Several people could be seen in the distance, slowly heading towards us with porters carrying their equipment and holding their arms. One was Sally in her bright red jacket, leaning heavily on her porter. When she reached us and was lowered carefully to the ground, one of the crew passed her hot tea and searched in her backpack for food.
“How are you doing?” Sean asked her.
“I’m… okay.” She breathed hard, but her face was determined. “No energy left. So weak.”
“Same here.” Jane sat down the other side of Sally. “God, I can’t wait to get back to my tent.”
“It’s still another half hour or forty-five minutes to the summit,” George said helpfully from where he hovered a few feet away, cupping his mug of tea.
“Yeah, thanks, George. We know.” Jane made a face, but then smiled.
“I’ll make it,” Sally said firmly. “If it takes me until lunchtime, I’m getting my summit photo.”
“Good for you.” Sean wrapped an arm around her and gave her a side hug. “You’re doing great.”
“I wouldn’t say that. It’s the toughest fucking thing I’ve ever done.”
“Which makes you tougher than us, since you’re struggling more and still doing it.” Sean offered her some of his sweets. “Have some sugar.”
After a few more minutes, everyone reluctantly pulled themselves to their feet and gathered up backpacks and poles. The porters who had helped people previously picked up their belongings and walked with them. Sean and I set off at the front of the group, still exhausted, but refreshed from the sweet drinks. We had to make our way a little distance around the crater rim to the highest point, but the path was rocky and steep in places. Despite our enthusiasm, our footsteps slowed again after a few minutes and I mused that I’d never walked so slowly in my life. The bitterly cold darkness had been incredibly tough, but the last hundred metres, for me, was harder. I’d used up just about all my energy reserves, the sugar boost at Stella Point only giving me a temporary crutch.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of 3 ebooks from my backlist.
Choose from: Conflicted, Beautiful Thunder, Cervena, Regeneration, Finding Beck, Favorite Toy, On The Outside, The Short Stories Collection.
Release Blitz Tour Hosted by Gay Book Promotions