BRAD SIEVERS, previous advertising executive…
So, how do you know the ‘heroine,’ Jessie Van Dyke?
Jessie and I went to high school together. But I hadn’t seen her in 10 years — until the night of our reunion. We figured out we’d worked at the same advertising agency, although at different times — and that was kind of weird.
I understand you had ulterior motives for attending the reunion.
[chuckles] I wanted to see my high school crush, Aimee.
And how did that go?
Let’s just say that running into Jessie changed the direction of the whole evening — not to mention the rest of my life. At one point she made a comment about people in advertising being shallow. She touched the lapel of my suit.
What did you think of that?
That was a bit unnerving, actually. But it wasn’t a come-on or anything, that was obvious.
What made you decide to leave advertising and go into search-and-rescue?
That’s a pretty complex question…after I was laid off from my job…shoot, Jessie probably knows the answer to this question better than I do.
Why do you say that?
Jessie’s got a way of looking in and through a person, if you know what I mean. She’d probably say that I needed fulfillment in my life. The things I used to enjoy didn’t interest me anymore and I felt kind of…oh, I don’t know…flat.
What kind of ‘things’?
Drinking, partying…women. I was a bit…ah…cavalier in my love life before moving to Colorado.
What do you do instead?
Well, the bills have gotta get paid, so I pitch in at my friend’s print shop. All that computer tinkering I did in high school has paid off. I sure made a lot more in advertising, though.
What about hobbies?
I play basketball with Micah. I guess you could say he’s one of my best friends besides Ryan. He’s African-American, to be politically correct. Man, my mom was weird about that; I never realized she’s prejudiced until I introduced her to Micah…
What’s your favorite part of search-and-rescue?
Other than saving lives? [smiles] Rappelling. Ryan and I go sometimes, just for the hell of it. He’s the one who mostly taught me. He’s pretty good for a young shit.
How would you say you’ve changed because of Last Chance Rescue?
Well, that’s the whole point of the book, isn’t it? The better question is what didn’t change. I wouldn’t want to give anything away or spoil anyone’s surprise, but I will say that I’m no longer cavalier about women and sex.
Any final thoughts?
I just want to say, for the record, that I did not throw up on that first rescue!
JESSIE VAN DYKE, Iraq war veteran, paramedic and search-and-rescue team member…
So, what were you doing before Last Chance Rescue?
I spent twelve months in Iraq as a paramedic before moving to Colorado, and I’d been in Colorado for a couple years when this all started.
What was Iraq like?
I don’t like to talk about it much. It was pretty intense.
Didn’t you get married after that?
I don’t like to talk about that, either. I’m a pretty private person.
What did you think of Brad when you saw him at the reunion?
I thought he was shallow, but it underneath that I could sense a little vulnerability. I was curious what he’d do if I challenged him on it.
Is that why you took him on that first ride-along?
I could see he wanted it badly, and the guys were like, ‘ah, come on, let him come.’ It wasn’t really my decision; it was the team leader’s. It was supposed to be a routine search; Brad was not supposed to see what he saw…
How did he end up on your search-and-rescue team?
I have no idea! I sure never expected him to move to Colorado! Or to get out of advertising altogether. That was a pretty big, hairy, audacious thing to do! But I will say, he’s damn good at it.
So what do you do to pay the bills?
I work as a physical therapy assistant. It’s a pretty sweet deal. They’re supportive of the search-and-rescue team and they cut me a lot of slack.
What do you do with your spare time?
I spend whatever extra time I have at Last Chance Ranch. I even ‘adopted’ a horse named Mistletoe, who’d been on the Premarin production line. And you won’t want to miss the birth of her baby, Holly!
Have you been riding long?
I hadn’t the first clue about horses when I moved to Colorado; all I knew was that they were the most magnificent creatures I’d ever seen. When I left the service, I had to make a delivery to Madeline, the owner of Last Chance Ranch — it was a favor I owed a dead friend — and the moment I set foot there I knew it was a healing place. Once I learned to ride, I was hooked.
I heard you have a ‘thing’ for cowboys.
[chuckles] I’ve always been attracted to cowboys. They have very nice behinds and they tend to be the strong, silent type.
How about a certain cowboy in Last Chance Rescue?
QUINN BELMONT, Iraq war veteran…
How do you know Jessie?
She was one of our medics in Iraq, and we had some of the same friends. But the way I come back into her life in Last Chance Rescue … well, let’s just say it’s a shock to both of us.
Will you tell us a bit about Iraq?
Damn, you don’t really want to hear about that, do you?!
If it would help to understand you …
Look, if you haven’t lived it, you can’t understand it. We were out there getting sniped at and blown up by suicide bombers and Improvised Explosive Devices. I saw a lot of nasty stuff — legs and hands blown off, head injuries … hell, I was injured twice myself.
You lost friends there?
Everyone lost friends.
I heard you lost two of your closest friends.
[Long sip of beer.] My girlfriend … and Max. Me and Max were close …
Is that when you started drinking?
I was drinking long before that. Drinking was only the start of my problems when I ran into Jessie in Last Chance Rescue … and I didn’t like that she had all these guy friends. Guys and girls can’t be ‘just friends,’ you know what I mean? She was way too friendly with some of them. Especially Brad.
Sounds like you were jealous.
I wouldn’t put it that way. She and I, you see … we were connected by what had happened to us in Iraq.
But you threatened Brad.
That’s an exaggeration. I just didn’t like him much. Although I guess it’s a good thing he was around the night I overdosed …
Will you tell us about that?
No can do. You’ll have to buy the book!