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
Book 8 – The Sinner and the Saint
Buy Links – eBook
Paramedic Jamie Llewelyn moves to Ellery to start a new life away from the City. Attached to the hospital and working for his friend Liam Wolfe he's happy—even if he has to keep coming up with excuses to miss the Friday meet ups. He had peace and he could finally make a difference in a community that needed him.
When he and Max rescue John Doe from a crashed car balanced on the edge of a ravine Jamie didn’t know but his life would never be the same again. John opens his startlingly violet eyes and suddenly Jamie is falling hard. If only John didn’t have a gun and could remember why he’d shot the passenger in the car. Then maybe passion could change into something else. Love.
Joyfully Jay – 5/5 – “….The Paramedic and the Writer was by far the best installment so far in the Ellery Mountain series. Its painstaking slow build, the reluctant lovers, and the careful way in which they watched over each other was just lovely to read!….”
MM Good Book Reviews – 4/5 – “….The development of the Ellery series is continuing and broadening its horizons, we learn how Daniel’s Veteran house is coming along and we have a new development of a homophobic attack in the usually gay friendly Ellery. I can’t wait for the next instalment of these sexy men, what may await us as the Veteran house is opened, and they get their first client in The Barman and the SEAL….”
Mrs Condit & Friends Read Books – 4/5 – “….This is a charming character driven story with a smooth plot flow, and characters who are solid , down-to-earth, and could be your next door neighbors. The backstory lays a great foundation for the storyline, and RJ has done a fantastic job of deftly weaving each story in the series together into a seamless and glorious whole. The men are hot,and the sex is even hotter, without being slutty or over the top.
RJ’s style of writing is eloquently clear, clean, and concise. I really like how she has a wickedly delicious way of packing all the humor, angst, passion, and action of a much longer story into this short one. I really enjoyed reading this, and if you’re looking for a quick, but VERY satisfying book, then this is the book for you….”
Paranormal Romance Guild – 5/5 – “….Fans of the Ellery Mountain series will not want to miss this one. These are keepers. The continuing storyline revolving around Daniel's Veterans Center is as captivating as the Friday night gatherings and the other interesting characters in this town. Watching the Center evolve and how all the friends work together to get things done is amazing. I want to go visit these people in real life. I want to meet them….”
Jamie Llewellyn didn’t do early mornings. He had never quite got used to waking up at the ass-crack of dawn for any reason, not even emergencies or early shifts.Unlike Daniel and Max, who thrived on the early mornings and were chatting about a TV room and exchanging sarcastic remarks while stretching, ready to go for a run.“I hate early mornings,” Jamie muttered. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously when he caught Max grinning and Daniel reaching into his shorts pocket and handing over a five-dollar bill.
“You should have known it was the first thing he’d say,” Max said. He placed the note in his pocket and zipped it. “You’ll never win.”
“I thought he would at least say good morning,” Daniel groused.
“When has he ever done that?” Max crowed.
“Guys. I’m right here,” Jamie reminded them. “And given both of you fell asleep in your drinks last night at the planning meeting at The Alibi, then you can’t talk. Some of us work well in the morning, some of us ordinary people at night.”
Daniel glanced at Max, and the two of them began laughing in earnest. Jamie turned his back on them, so they didn’t see him smiling along with them. Instead, he used the advantage to begin the run and get ahead. Max and Daniel were both competitive—it didn’t take them long to realise he’d gone and within a minute they had caught up. The three men fell into a companionable rhythm. The direction took them out of the cabins where they had met and into the forest behind. Jamie didn’t need to think about the direction—it was so familiar to him now. Through to the road, over the road, across the bridge, down into Ellery, then back to the cabins with a punishing uphill finish.
The time in the forest was more steeplechase than run—jumping fallen trees and small stream beds—and by the time the road was in sight, Jamie was feeling the warmth in his muscles. They crossed the road and made their way to the narrow bridge over the canyon between the two levels of Mercury Peak. Jostling for position, Jamie decided he’d let the other two go first, and it was lucky he did. In holding back for those few seconds, he glanced over the side of the bridge and saw the car.
“Max! Daniel!” He slid to a stop as he shouted. Peering over the edge, he tried to make out what the hell had happened. But it was Max with the experience and Max who suddenly was on point with this.
“Hell,” he said with an added curse. “Car, off the road.” He indicated back to the barrier on the corner. They hadn’t even seen the bent and buckled metal. Max leant over the bridge, and Daniel passed him his cell phone.
“Car off the road under the bridge at Mercury Peak,” he relayed to emergency services. “Through the barrier. We’ll need shoring. It’s right on the edge. No sign of passengers—”
“Wait,” Jamie said. He concentrated on the driver side where he thought he’d just seen movement. Then he saw it again. A hand gripping the open window covered in the scarlet of way too much blood. “There’s someone in there.” Without conscious thought, he was up and over the rail and scrambling down as far as he could get. He was about six feet away when the car slid away from him. Only a few inches but it was enough to have him stop still.
“Max, the car’s sliding!” he yelled up.
“Stay where you are!” Max shouted. “I’m coming down.”
Jamie opened his mouth to protest. If the car had moved because of him, then adding Max to the equation was going to have the car falling over the edge. But Max knew what he was doing. Not everyone was like his ex-boyfriend, Zach.
Not everyone wanted to put their life at risk, whatever the cost.
He watched as Max carefully made his way towards the car. Instead of taking the direct route, as Jamie had, he moved slowly and tested the ground before each inch.
“Help…” The word was faint, but Jamie had become attuned to small voices in challenging situations.
“We’re here,” he called to the driver. “Help is coming to you. Stay very still.”
There was no answer. He hoped to hell that meant the guy was still and not unconscious. He concentrated on locating ingress. The driver’s door looked intact, but the entire windshield was gone. Jamie’s inspection tracked the outside of the vehicle, a blue sedan, of which make Jamie couldn’t see. This close it was easy to see someone under the car. Little more than three or four feet away from where he was, Jamie found himself staring into sightless eyes and so much blood and damage that it was clear this guy was dead. His face was a mess, carved and bloody, and his neck looked broken from the unnatural angle of his head.
“Passenger through the windshield and wedged under the car,” he summarised for Max. The fireman wouldn’t be able to see the body from the side he was approaching the wreck. “He’s dead,” he added. Max nodded and carried on to the trunk of a tree that grew at a crazy angle from the side of the peak. It had probably been that which had saved the car from going the whole distance into the ravine itself down the sharp drop. Max finally disappeared, and Jamie imagined the large man checking to see how unstable the car was.
“Help…” The word was fainter.
God, Jamie wanted to move. Every fibre of him needed to check the driver out, but he couldn’t—years of training and he was still like a statue until he got the all-clear. Finally, Max crawled back up.
“We’re okay. It’s steady for now,” he said, “but wait. I’m coming to you. I need to counter some of the weight.”
Max steadied himself by digging his feet into the mud and pushing back; then gripped the underside of the car hard. He looked over at Jamie and nodded. They didn’t discuss what they were doing. Max was doing his thing, and Jamie hadn’t hesitated to climb down to help with injuries. It was what they did.
“Help’s coming,” Max said. In the distance, Jamie could hear sirens. There would be lifting equipment, but who knew how hurt the guy in the car was? Time was a luxury they couldn’t afford. He slowly slid forward until finally he was right by the car. The driver’s door opened easily, and Jamie got a clear look at the driver. One hell of a lot of blood, but he was still in his seatbelt.
“Can you tell me your name?” Jamie asked as a matter of habit. Asking a name gave a first responder a level to work at. Was the patient aware? Did he know his name? Was he capable of talking?
The man muttered something that sounded like ‘no’, but Jamie couldn’t make it out.
“Where does it hurt, sir?” he asked quickly. He needed to get a feel for whether the guy was able to talk coherently.
“O-o-over…” the man stuttered. “All…”
Jamie got himself a better foothold and leaned in to check his pulse. He couldn’t see the primary wound that had caused all this blood and considered that maybe it was from the dead passenger. Then when the driver shifted it became evident—a slice out of his thigh, and he was losing too much of the red stuff.
“He’s bleeding,” Jamie called urgently. As he said it, the car shifted another inch, and the metal groaned.
Max cursed. “Pull him out.”
Jamie reached in and checked that there was nothing trapping the man’s legs. “What’s your name, sir? Can you hear me? We need to get you out of here.” Jamie could smell gasoline and knew that they had to get away.
“Jus’…leg…” the victim said. He opened his eyes and stared right at Jamie with a gaze so deep blue it was near violet. Shakily, the injured man reached for the belt. “Help…” he said. His voice was raw. “Out.” His hand slipped and Jamie caught it and instead assisted him release the belt. Under his own steam, the driver moved towards Jamie, who cautiously helped him free. The car shifted a little, and he could hear Max cursing up a storm. With a final tug, the victim was clear and lying half on Jamie. Something hard was between them, and when Jamie shifted a little, he could see a gun gripped in the driver’s hand.
“Clear,” Jamie called. Max must have let go as a ton of Ford teetered for a second then crashed in three loud bangs down to the river at the bottom of the two-hundred-foot ravine. Jamie pulled the gun out of a loose grip and tossed it to where Max was, then held his patient tight. He immediately realised that they were sliding as the car had torn away mud and grass. Max grabbed them both and dug into the dirt to stop the slide. Jamie cast a grateful look his way then focused entirely on John Doe. He rolled him off as soon as it was safe and realised he had an unconscious survivor in his hands.
“He’s still bleeding,” Jamie summarised. He ripped off his running top and pressed it on the open wound.
“Take his weight, they’re sending down a gurney,” Max said quickly. Jamie nodded and held as steady as he could.
Max assisted the guys at the top by getting John Doe on the lifting apparatus, and suddenly it was just Jamie and Max left alone.
Jamie knew the guy would be whisked away. St Martin’s Hospital in Ellery could probably handle it.
“Your turn,” Max instructed. Jamie blanched as he saw the rope and the harness. He hated the feeling of those things. Stoically he allowed Max to truss him up and winced as the harness dug into him. Then before he knew it, he was dangling from the bridge with the ground out from under him. Don’t look down. He looked down. The base of the ravine seemed way farther than two hundred feet, and he could see the mangled heap of car—he couldn’t see the body of the dead man, though. Max and the rest of the crew would have to take the old road that wound its way to the base to retrieve both man and car.
Jamie gave a situation report as soon as he had his feet on the ground. They unbuckled him, and he saw Finn and Daniel waiting to one side.
“He's okay,” Jamie reported to Finn, who immediately relaxed. It was hard having a boyfriend who was a first responder when you were one yourself and knew what could happen. “He’s bringing up a gun that the driver was gripping hold of. Freaking Hercules held the car on the tree. Just to warn you, though, he’s cut his hands up.”
Finn frowned. Jamie could see the indecision on Finn’s face. As a lover, he wanted to run over and see what injuries Max had. As a cop on scene—and with the chief also being here—he had to show restraint.
“Talk to me,” Chief Mayfield said to Jamie brusquely.
“Two occupants in the car, sir. The driver, belted, alive, bleeding from a leg wound, contusions to the head and neck. The passenger, crushed under the car, pretty messy, looks like he went through the windshield. He’s deceased on the scene and at the bottom of the ravine with the car.”
“Did you get an ID on the driver?”
“No names,” Jamie reported. “I didn’t check for ID.”
Max clambered back over the bridge and looked at the assembled group for Finn immediately. They exchanged nods and Finn looked relieved.
“Max, we have a full contingent of volunteers and the heavy lifting equipment cover from the city. You get your hands looked at.”
“There’s nothing wrong with my hands,” Max defended. He closed them into loose fists. No one could fail to see the wince as he did this. “I’d like to be part of the team recovering the vehicle.”
Mayfield shook his head. Pointing at Max’s hands was enough to make it very clear Max was being ordered to have them looked at first. “Jamie already told us what you did and the extent of injuries,” he said.
Max frowned at Jamie. He didn’t debate the point, but it was easy to see the disappointment on Max’s face. Jamie felt for the big guy. He knew what it felt like. When you were first on a scene, you wanted to follow the entire situation to the end. Get closure. Jamie understood that, but it was also his responsibility to make sure any injuries were covered. Sometimes you had to accept the hand you’d been dealt and not argue.
“Sorry,” he mouthed at Max. To Jamie’s relief, Max shook his head and smiled.
“Not your fault,” he mouthed back.
Finn huffed. “I’ll take you back to town.” Finn began to walk to his car, and Jamie followed with Max reluctantly trailing them. “Idiot wanted to stay. There could be tendon damage. Stubborn ass,” Finn said under his breath to Jamie as they neared the car. Jamie felt uncomfortable being shown this glimpse into Finn and Max’s relationship.
“I’ve seen worse,” Jamie said. Finn glared back at him, and Jamie ran his finger and thumb over his lips, pretending he was zipping them. When Max reached the car, he was clearly high on the adrenaline of the situation, and he reached for Finn before dropping his hands. Finn was worried, Max was high. Finn was tense, Max grew quiet.
Jamie didn’t want to be in the middle of that heated debate when it happened. Max should get his injuries treated, but at the same time Finn would not have wanted to be shipped off to the hospital if he felt he had a job to do.
The tension in the car was thick, and Jamie was pleased when they reached St Martin’s. He got out as quickly as he could and left Finn and Max to themselves in the quiet and private car park. He didn’t want to witness anything that the guys wouldn’t want him to see. An argument, stress or kissing—all of that was private.
He glanced back to see Finn cradling Max’s hands and staring at his lover with an incredible look of tenderness on his face before raising the hands to his lips and kissing each one.
Jamie pushed aside the envy at such a natural gesture. Zach had never shown anything like affection, on or off the job. At times like this, Jamie could only imagine what it was like to be in love.
Twenty-seven and his experience with proper, healthy relationships was limited. And no, Zach didn’t count. When he thought about it, he’d never really been in love.
Jamie jumped the last five steps of the stairs and slid to a halt in front of Liam’s desk.
“You’ll kill yourself one of these days.” Liam didn’t look up from whatever he was doing.
“Just checking everything works,” Jamie said. What had happened that morning had brought back too many memories for him to contend with. Reassuring himself he was alive by jumping from near the top steps was his usual way of proving that. He didn’t expect anyone to understand his weird logic.
Liam made a noise somewhere between a huff and a laugh. The doc was used to him by now. They’d worked together in Knoxville, and when Jamie had been ready to leave the city, it was Liam he had turned to. They were friends, and despite Jamie wishing there could have been more at some point, he was, in general, happy with the friendship level.
“How’s our patient?” Jamie asked.
“Which one?” Liam said absently.
Jamie sighed then leaned with his hands on the desk. “Oh, you know, the guy we saved from dying a fiery death this morning,” Jamie said.
Liam looked up at him and frowned. “There weren’t any burns on the patient,” he said. He sounded confused and Jamie at that point knew the doc had his mind on something very distracting.
“What’s wrong?” Jamie asked. He peered at what Liam was doing. Piles of files teetered dangerously close to the edge of the desk and Liam appeared to be filing. In a hospital the size of St Martin’s with only ten beds and three doctors, everyone multitasked. When he had been interviewed for the fourth paramedic position, it had been with the proviso that he would cover nursing shifts when needed—something he’d willingly agreed to. But filing? Liam wasn’t known for his skills with filing or indeed paperwork in general. “Doesn’t Abby usually do that for you?”
“She’s not back yet from Knoxville.” Liam looked up as he said this and the heap of papers moved even closer to the edge. Jamie reached over and stopped the movement.
“I didn’t know she’d gone.”
Liam shuffled some papers, so they lined up then hole-punched them. He had his tongue poking out and a fierce look of concentration on his face. So damn cute—no wonder Mitchell walked around with a perpetual smile on his face. “She went yesterday—family emergency or something. I wanted to make sure she didn’t come back to a mess.” He attempted to place the newly punched papers in the file, but he’d punched the holes in the wrong place. Jamie snorted a laugh but tried to hold it in when Liam glared up at him.
“I need to start a folder on our John Doe,” he said. “You watching me is putting me off.”
Jamie picked up on one thing Liam had said. “We don’t have his name yet?”
“No ID, no distinguishing marks. The cops are putting a trace on the car but it’s pretty badly burned. As is the guy who was caught in the fire when the car exploded in the ravine, and forensics is taking their sweet time. We should know soon.”
“How is he doing?”
“Not awake yet, but that isn’t a bad thing. He’s dosed up.”
“I’m finished for today. I’ll get coffee and go sit with him for a while.”
Liam nodded thoughtfully. He knew Jamie did that on his downtime—spending time with patients who were stuck in the hospital. Even unconscious ones. Then there was a gleam in his eyes. Evidently he saw a way to get back at Jamie for his snort of laughter at the hole-punching. “I know you’re desperate for a man, Jamie,” he said with a waggle of his eyebrows, “but sitting with an unconscious guy is a new low.”
“Ha freaking ha,” Jamie responded. He was used to Liam’s teasing about his less-than-nothing love life. “I thought given he’s mostly unconscious that I might get someone who’ll listen to me without pulling my chain over hair colour,” he deadpanned.
“You can’t help being a throwback,” Liam grinned. It was a long-standing joke that Liam was one of the only people who could tease Jamie about his dark red hair. “You’ll have to get Finn to let you pass,” Liam said dryly. “He’s on a weird kind of guard duty until we find out what the hell happened. Who the gun belonged to and why there is a dead guy whose crispy remains are under a car.”
Jamie chose to focus on Finn having to stand outside a hospital room. “I bet Finn hates standing around,” Jamie said.
“Let’s just say that after Max risking his life over the side of the bridge and getting hurt, being told to stand outside a door for an eight-hour shift isn’t going down so well.”
Jamie resolved to take his friend a coffee too. Finn had been good to him since he’d moved to town. As had Finn’s boyfriend Max. He liked that the two of them seemed so sickeningly happy. He wanted that. Not every boyfriend was like his ex, Zach. Some partners actually cared about each other. One day he would have that.
After grabbing two coffees, he sauntered up to Finn, who was pacing the small area in front of the hospital room. Finn stopped when he saw Jamie and fell on the coffee like a starving lion on a gazelle. As soon as he’d taken the first sip, he closed his eyes.
“Heaven,” Finn near whimpered.
“Thought it could help. I came down to check on the patient,” Jamie explained.
Finn didn’t even blink at that—just concentrated on his coffee. Being a paramedic attached to the small hospital meant Jamie had free rein to wander its sterile halls. No one would question Jamie visiting the guy he and Max had saved.
“How’s Max?” Jamie asked.
Finn shook his head. “Dumbass was signed off for three days, but he insisted on going into work—says the Mayor needs a project worked on.”
“You wouldn’t expect anything else from him,” Jamie offered. “You’d do the same.”
“When did you get so wise?” Finn asked.
“What do you mean ‘get’? I’ve always been this way,” Jamie deadpanned. With a smile, he held up the coffee as a salute then went into the room.
Jamie glanced around the white space and assessed the machines hooked to their John Doe and the wires and tubes that kept the patient asleep and hydrated. He placed the coffee on the small table and checked the clipboard with all the notes. The leg wound was clean, and it appeared the patient was otherwise in good health.
Then he took a closer look at the man himself, at the long lashes sweeping high cheekbones and dark hair falling over his forehead in a mess of soft layers. At least they hadn’t had to intubate him, so Jamie got a clear look at full lips, which were slightly apart as the man slept on, oblivious. His head lacerations looked raw and extended from his hairline to the eyebrow over his left eye. Jamie remembered the eyes. The intriguing shade of near violet and the fear in them when John Doe was trapped in the car.
He settled into the nearest chair. He always believed that even unconscious patients needed to have noise around them and luckily Liam hadn’t called him on it. He would often sit with patients for an hour and chat on about everything and nothing, or if they were conscious, he would listen to their stories.
“Hi, I’m Jamie Llewellyn, the paramedic who spotted your car,” he began. “Thought you might like some company.”
* * * * *
Jamie checked vitals one last time then decided to leave John Doe to his peaceful sleep. He closed the door behind him and caught Finn and Chief Mayfield mid-discussion. Finn had handcuffs in his hand and a serious expression on his face. Jamie didn’t interrupt and only spoke up when the chief walked away.
“What’s up?” he asked quickly.
“They traced the registration of the car to a guy in Knoxville. When law enforcement turned up to the address, they found a body. The calibre of the bullet matches the gun on the John Doe in there.” Finn nodded towards the room. “We don’t know for sure, but given he was holding the gun, he’s considered a suspect. I need to follow procedure.” He held up the cuffs.
“You’re cuffing him? He’s unconscious,” Jamie protested.
Finn nodded grimly. “No choice, Jamie.”
Jamie followed Finn into the room and watched as Finn closed the metal around the bed and John Doe’s wrist. The sound of them closing was so damn final.
Jamie’s gaze slid to the patient’s right hand. Was the man on the bed a murderer? Had he killed the passenger whose sightless eyes Jamie had stared into? And why was Jaime thinking the man couldn’t be guilty of anything? All because he had pretty eyes and soft hair?
Liam was right. He was losing it.