|Cover By Meredith Russell|
No one has every understood Mitchell Askett. The bad boy. The alcoholic. The loser. Buying into the Ellery Mountain resort and placing down roots in the community for himself, his sister and his niece puts him on the radar of the Fridays and Dr. Liam Wolfe.
When his new happiness is threatened by family and by disaster he begins to lose faith, until Liam shows him it’s okay to ask for help..
“….R.J. Scott wrote a beautiful contemporary romance that never sugar
coated the pitfalls of life, but delivered a well- crafted story of
acceptance and love….”
“….If you like romantic love stories filled with wonderful, realistic,
unselfish characters, then you will enjoy this book. Thanks, RJ, for
another visit to Ellery Mountain and its lovely residents….”
Originally published with Pride Publishing, this title has been re-released with Love Lane Books. There is new cover art and the manuscript has been re-edited but the story remains the same.
If you already bought this book, simply email a copy of your receipt, on or after 3rd September, to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a free replacement with the new cover art.
Ellery Mountain Series
Book 1 – The Fireman and the Cop
Book 2 – The Teacher and the Soldier
Book 3 – The Carpenter and the Actor
Book 4 – The Doctor and the Bad Boy
Book 5 – The Paramedic and the Writer
Book 6 – The Barman and the SEAL
Book 7 – The Agent and the Model
Buy Links – eBook
The Jeep Diva – 5/5 – “….R.J. Scott gave life to each of the Ellery Mountain books as each dealt with realistic issues that are attainably able to be solved. The Doctor and the Bad Boy delivered tenderheartedness and familial love that spoke of how the world should really be… R.J. Scott wrote a beautiful contemporary romance that never sugar coated the pitfalls of life, but delivered a well- crafted story of acceptance and love….”
Rainbow Book Reviews – If you like romantic love stories filled with wonderful, realistic, unselfish characters, then you will enjoy this book. Thanks, RJ, for another visit to Ellery Mountain and its lovely residents.
MM Good Book Reviews – 4/5 – “….I say if you love hot men finding love, some angst and drama with problem parents, great friends (who are all hot) and a great new relationship, then you have to read this story….”
|Click cover to enlarge|
Because Two Men are better than One – 4/5 – “….There is something about this whole series that gives me the warm and fuzzies!….”
Joyfully Jay – 4/5
– “….All in all, this was a well-rounded story—with a bit more depth
than the previous one in the Ellery Mountain series and characters that
were finally not so easily fixed. The addiction didn’t magically go
away and this made The Doctor and the Bad Boy a much more compelling
read in my opinion….”
Paranormal Romance Guild – 5/5 – “….R.J. Scott is getting better all the time. The story of Dr. Liam Wolfe is no exception. The good doctor has been standing by and supporting all of his friends in Ellery and their new relationships. It is tough being one of the last single gay men in town, but he is happy for his friends….”
Sensual Reads 4.5/5 – “….This is Book Four in the Ellery Mountain series and the heroes in these stories are such wonderfully warm men that every one of these tales will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart for the way love comes their way….”
Mitchell Askett knocked firmly on the door then stepped back. After glancing down at the piece of paper with his hastily scribbled instructions, he again checked the cabin. There was no number on it or sign to indicate this was where Brenda Skylar lived, but the directions had led him this far.
“Uncle Mitch,” Bobbie called from the car. “It hurts. I feel sicker than before.”
“I’ll be with you in a minute, sweetheart.” Mitchell knocked on the door again. If there was no answer, at that point he would skip finding where he was supposed to be staying and meeting the other owners. He’d find the nearest hotel room and get his niece tucked up into bed. Maybe if he was really clever he could locate a shop in Ellery that sold dry crackers, or eggs. He always liked eggs when he had a hangover. Not that twelve-year-old Roberta was facing the awful post-alcoholic binge effects like he did. No, she just seemed to be suffering from car sickness. Or she had a bug. Or something.
“I’m gonna be sick,” she whined. Mitchell was torn. No one was answering. He should just go and find the hotel, or hell, maybe even a doctor, just to get her checked out.
“I’ll be right with you,” he called.
To be fair, they’d been driving on and off for quite a few hours and their diet had consisted of whatever they could get from gas stations en route. At twelve, he would have jumped at the chance of a road trip fuelled entirely on chocolate and Doritos, but the normally buoyant Bobbie had refused everything he’d offered.
The front door finally began to open.
“Unca Mi—” he heard, then the sound of a car door opening and retching.
Suddenly torn between what he had come here to do and what he needed to do, he threw a hurried “Sorry” to whoever had just answered the door then jumped the steps back down to the car. Sliding to a halt around the passenger side, which faced away from the cabin, he stared in horror for a second. Not only had Bobbie been violently sick, but she was curled in a ball and sobbing.
Without further hesitation, Mitchell crouched down next to her and in a smooth move had her up in his arms.
“Baby? Are you okay?” Stupid question, but all he wanted was for her to open her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” a voice broke through his concern. Holding Bobbie protectively close to him, he swivelled to face the owner of the soft words. A short woman with grey hair and a concerned look on her face stood with her arms outstretched like she wanted to take Bobbie from him. He tightened his grip, only for Bobbie to whimper at the hold.
“Does she need a doctor?” the woman asked in a rush.
“I don’t know,” he said. God, he felt worse than useless. What would Annabelle do? Not that he could remember his sister having to deal with a sick Bobbie, as Bobbie was usually one healthy child.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” She touched Bobbie’s head. “She’s very hot.”
“She complained of stomach ache, but it’s been getting worse.”
“Let’s get her to the hospital.”
Mitchell felt suddenly as sick as his niece. Hospital? That sounded like this was serious. He’d only been responsible for her for two days and he’d already fucked up.
“Hospital?” he said.
“Our doctors are there—we just need to get her looked at. Wait…” The woman ran up the steps then came back out almost instantly. In her hand she had wipes and some keys. She locked the door behind her then came and climbed into the back seat.
“Give her to me,” she ordered firmly. “You drive.”
“I’m not— I don’t…” he stammered. Bobbie was curled up in his arms, then her head lolled back and suddenly Mitchell’s instinct to get things done kicked in. In seconds, he had her laid with her head in the woman’s lap, and he pulled a blanket from behind the seat up and over her.
“Where?” he asked quickly. Bobbie was crying quietly and the woman shushed her gently with soft words.
“Left out of here and down into Ellery,” she said.
Forcing the car into gear, Mitchell wheel-spun on the loose gravel and the car lurched as it gripped and surged forward. In a few minutes, he was back at the road. Only when they were on the main route to town did he speak again.
“Is she okay?”
“She’s very hot, and listless,” the woman said.
Mitchell realised he couldn’t keep thinking of her as ‘the woman’.
“I’m Mitchell Askett. Mitch.”
“I know who you are, Mr Askett. Brenda Skylar.”
“The little girl…my niece, Roberta—we call her Bobbie.” Or Bobs when she was cute, or Roberta Jane when she caused mischief.
Brenda had a cellphone in her hand, talking to someone, possibly the hospital, but Mitch had to watch the road. He came to a three-way stop and for a moment was confused, then realised which way he needed to go. Down. Into town. Where was the hospital? The last time he’d been in Ellery, he was only twelve or so, the same age as Bobbie. All he remembered was that the limousine he had been riding in had a mini bar and that he’d had his first taste of brandy. It hadn’t made him sick but it had taken the edges off the anxiety inside him.
They hit town and he spotted the sign for hospital and in no time at all he was pulling up at the Emergency Room door. Maybe the doctor would be elsewhere, but Bobbie was shaking and crying and in pain. The ER was certainly the place to take her. He threw the car into park, jumped out and pulled Bobbie into his arms. She reached a hand up around his neck and gripped hard to his long hair. Just like she used to when she was a baby. Compassion, love and fear warred for dominance. A small group of people waited at the entrance, but Mitch saw none of it. Someone took Bobbie from him and in the next instant she was on a gurney and all Mitch could hear was shouted words like ‘ultrasound’ and ‘emergency’. He ran in after them, then stopped at the glass internal doors beyond which he could see two women and a man checking Bobbie out.
“What is it?” he asked. He was so scared he could feel the acid of it eating away at him. He’d made Annabelle let him have her. He’d forced his sister to think Bobbie would be best off with him in Ellery while she was at her lowest point. And now Bobbie was in there, unconscious. Was she dying? What had he done?
“Come and sit down,” Brenda said gently. She had her hand on his arm and pulled him away, but he shook it off and refused to move. “I think it may be appendicitis,” she said.
Horror gripped Mitch. He’d read about that, seen it on TV shows, where being sick all of a sudden turned into a fight for life and poisoning in the body.
“Fuck,” he cursed. “No.”
“She’s in good hands,” Brenda said firmly. “Doctor Wolfe and Jamie have it under control.”
The names were a blur—all he could see was his flesh and blood lying so still beyond the glass door.
“Sir? Did you understand me? Can you sign consent?” someone asked. “Are you her father? Hello? Sir?”
Mitch met green eyes that held so much compassion that it made his heart ache.
“Uncle,” he managed.
“Can you sign for us to operate?” The green-eyed guy looked determined. What was he asking? What was Mitchell going to be signing?
“Your niece has appendicitis, she’ll need to have it removed,” Green-Eyes said patiently. He didn’t seem at all pissed off that Mitch had clearly not heard a word of what he guessed had been a lengthy explanation. Mitch glanced down at the guy’s badge. Paramedic. Jamie Llewellyn. Paramedics knew what they were doing. He should trust this Jamie.
He signed consent where he was told and without another word Jamie moved back into the room where Bobbie lay. The other man in there looked up and over at Mitch and nodded. Then in a flurry of movement the two men disappeared out of another door with two nurses trailing them until all that Mitch was looking at was an empty room. Left suddenly bereft, he slumped and rested his head on the glass. What the holy hell had just happened?
“She didn’t want her Doritos,” he murmured. “I should have known. She never turns them down.”
Brenda pulled him gently and this time he allowed himself to be led until he could feel a chair at the backs of his knees and in one loud exhalation of breath he fell into the chair. He winced as the set of three joined plastic torture devices shifted under his sudden fall.
Brenda sat next to him. “Do you want to call someone? The girl’s mother…your sister or sister-in-law?”
Mitchell shook his head. They’d get a call in to his sister if it was an emergency, and God, this probably qualified on all levels. But putting a call in to the rehab switchboard didn’t mean she would take it, or if she would actually care at this moment in time. Depended on where in her cycle of depression she was—and two days ago she hadn’t looked good at all.
“I’m Roberta’s guardian,” Mitchell lied. He wasn’t officially a guardian in the eyes of the law. He was, however, Bobbie’s uncle—that had to count for something. He’d deal with the fallout later, but right now the last thing he needed was any kind of legal problems… Or, worse, for his parents to find out what he had done. They didn’t even know Annabelle was sick again, let alone that he had taken it upon himself to remove Bobbie from all the crap she was in the middle of.
“Can I get you anything?”
Mitchell blinked at her and shook his head. He felt spaced out and lightheaded. What I wouldn’t give for a Jack Daniel’s at this very moment. Something to settle me so I can think. Fuck. That thought had crept up on him. Cricking his neck, he stood.
“I need to move the car,” he said. “I’m blocking the entrance for emergencies.”
“I’m sure it will be fine, we don’t get a lot of them.”
Mitchell looked up to see Jamie standing in front of him.
“Why aren’t you in with Bobbie?” Mitchell snapped the question. In small towns it was all hands on deck, right? If Jamie was a trained paramedic then he should be in there with Bobbie.
“She’ll be fine,” Jamie said softly. He had taken a step away and Mitchell wondered how much temper and anxiety he was carrying in his expression.
Mitchell held out a hand to shake and Jamie accepted it. “Sorry, man,” Mitch offered in apology. He needed to keep his infamous temper in check if he had a hope in hell of pulling off being a responsible guardian. May as well start with someone who was a damned expert who could help Bobbie.
“No worries,” Jamie replied with an understanding smile. “It’s only my third day here but I’ve known Doc Wolfe for years. Your daughter is being looked after by the best there is.”
“Niece,” Mitchell corrected.
“Niece. Anyway, as I was saying, emergencies aren’t as frequent here as they are in Knoxville. If you want, I’ll take your keys and move the car just in case, then come back and explain what’s happening.”
Mitchell didn’t argue. He handed over his keys and took the proffered coffee that Brenda returned with. He must have been in major panic shutdown mode to have not even seen her leave. He sipped at the disgusting black fluid but savoured the caffeine as it hit his system. Brenda didn’t talk at all and Mitchell welcomed the silence. He internalised his worry and all the random thoughts shooting through his head at this point.
“All done. I put it out front in visitor parking.” Jamie handed him the keys. “So. From what I saw it is appendicitis. Has she been poorly for long?”
“She’s been off her food for a few days.” Ever since I had her mom committed then dragged Bobbie on this insane journey to a new future. “She said she had tummy ache, and I asked her where the pain was, but she said it was all over, so I didn’t even consider appendicitis. Then on the journey here she was sick at the last gas station, then again outside the car when we got to Ellery. When I picked her up she was so hot. I didn’t notice before. I just assumed…” I should have noticed.
“Don’t beat yourself up on that,” Jamie offered quietly. “As parents, or uncles, we’re not infallible.”
“What are they doing to her now?”
“I imagine they’re carrying out an appendectomy. I won’t bore you, but if appendicitis is the diagnosis then the appendix will need to come out.”
“What else could it be?”
“I am fairly sure it’s appendicitis, but Doc will let you know when he’s done. They will want to get it out to avoid perforation, which can lead to an abscess or possible diffuse peritonitis.”
Mitch buried his head in his hands. None of that sounded good. “Fuck.”
“I’ll be at the emergency station, but if you come with me I’ll show you to the family room where you can wait.”
“Do you want me to come with you?” Brenda asked. Mitch glanced at her. A stranger by all accounts. He didn’t need anyone else in the room with him. He had plenty of ghosts in his past that provided all kinds of weird company in his head.
“I’ll be fine,” he began. “I need to come and find you again after…”
“When you’re ready,” she said. “I’ll check back later.” She patted him on the shoulder then, with a smile and a goodbye for Jamie, she left.
“This way,” Jamie encouraged. In a daze Mitch followed and listened to words explaining where coffee was, where a phone was, even how long this could all potentially take. He left as well and Mitchell was suddenly in blissful peace in a silent, empty room. The walls painted a bright cheerful yellow were probably supposed to counteract the miserable colours in his thoughts. It didn’t work. Nor did the magazines that were all at least three months old. He picked up a copy of National Geographic and stared at the cover, which showed some kind of ancient temple against a blue sky. How long he focused on that he didn’t know but it was his cellphone vibrating in his pocket that snapped him back to the here and now.
He checked the screen. Mom. That call he could ignore. She was used to that and he’d hate to disappoint her any more than he did already. There is no way she could know about Annabelle yet—he considered he had a couple of weeks before anyone would find out. The summer break was nearly over and, of course, Bobbie’s old school would query it when Bobbie didn’t turn up for her first day in the new school year. Given it was his mom that paid the other school, she would probably be contacted and informed. That would be the day Mitchell had to begin fighting to keep Bobbie with him until Annabelle was better.
He stuffed the phone back in his pocket and slumped back in the chair. His hair had come loose from the tie it had been in when Bobbie had tugged at it and he cursed when the end of the length dipped into his cold coffee. The door marked ‘Bathroom’ was only a few steps away, but he hesitated to go out of the main room just in case someone came to find him. He pushed his hands into his jeans pockets, hoping to hell he could find a tie, or anything. Hell, he’d go with an elastic band at this point. The feel of soft leather against his fingers was a relief and he pulled out the length that had snapped last week.
It took a few tries but eventually he had the hair pulled back from his face and tied with the strangely knotted twist of leather. The weight of it away from his neck was a sudden feeling of freedom. He stood up and under the air con until he was cooler. Then he sat. Then he stood. Then he just did what came best to him. He paced from one side of the room to the other and repeated every curse word he knew.