All He Desires - Nate & Eliza (Crossroads #12)(2)

By: Melanie Shawn

As she leaned back in her chair she did her best to hold at bay the panic that was rising up in her like a flash flood. Her thumbs grazed against the pads of her fingers, a nervous habit that she’d never been able to break.

In an effort to distract her mind, she glanced around her office. Her new office. The walls still held pictures of Dr. Lewis’ family. The transition for her taking over Smiles on Riverwalk had been a quick one. In fact, most of the patients were still not aware of the change in ownership.

Dr. Randall Lewis had served Harper’s Crossing and all of their dental needs for over thirty years. As far as Eliza knew, he’d planned on staying at the practice for another ten years at least. But when he’d suffered a mild heart attack a little over a week ago, his wife of thirty-five years had put her foot down and demanded that he retire immediately.

His first call had been to Eliza and it could not have come at a better time. She’d received it after walking out of her divorce attorney’s office. She’d figured it was just her mentor calling for his monthly check-in. Dr. Lewis had kept tabs on her all through school and into her professional life. She’d almost ignored the call, but she’d known that he’d just keep calling. She was glad she’d picked up.

His offer had been a lifeline when she’d felt like she was drowning. Her entire world had been turned upside down and inside out. She hadn’t just walked out on her husband after walking in on him, bare-assed, on top of their nineteen-year-old dental assistant in exam room two. She’d also walked away from her practice. She’d let her ex-husband buy her out of their condo and business because the thought of ever stepping into either place again made her stomach turn. Thankfully, her plan had been to return home right after college, so she was licensed in both states and she wasn’t due for renewal for three months.

So here she was. As of yesterday, she was back in her hometown to start her new/old life. She’d packed up what belongings she’d wanted to take with her and driven straight through the night and arrived at the small duplex she was renting yesterday afternoon. Her parents had left Illinois two years earlier to move to California after her dad retired from his law practice.

They were both very happy in Palm Springs and had sold her beloved childhood home. She’d wanted to buy it at the time, but her husband had talked her out of it because he’d wanted to put all of their resources into the practice they were in the beginning stages of starting. He’d always been on the controlling side, she’d just never expected him to be on the cheating side.

Her feet warmed from the heated fur now covering them. She glanced beneath her desk at the only male she’d ever had a healthy relationship with. Farmer, her Golden Retriever. Farmer had been with her since her freshman year in college and was very in tune with her emotions. She’d named him after Kevin Costner’s character Frank Farmer in one of her favorite movies, The Bodyguard.

One night when she was walking back to her dorm after a late-night study session at the library, a guy had come out from behind a tree and grabbed her. Before she’d had a chance to react, the guy was tackled to the ground by a stray dog. The dog held him by the neck and kept him there until the police arrived. Farmer had rescued her that night and she’d rescued him right back. Since her dorm did not allow pets, she’d moved out to an apartment and he’d been by her side ever since.

Two years ago, she’d gotten Farmer certified as a service dog and he’d started working in her dental office as a dental therapy dog. He’d been a huge success. In fact the pediatric portion of their business had exploded. Kids who had anxiety about being at the dentist immediately calmed when Farmer was beside them.

“Dr. Young, Becca Sloan is on line one for you,” a female voice sounded through the intercom in the otherwise quiet room.

“Thanks, Jarmen. And please, call me Eliza, or Liz, or Liza.”

Dr. Lewis had been old school and had required the staff to refer to him in a more formal fashion, but Eliza was new school. She didn’t mind if her patients called her Dr. Young, but her co-workers were another story.

She picked up the phone and pushed the button that was lighting up. At her offices in Oklahoma City, all of the calls were routed through on the computer. The front desk communicated with everyone on a chat that would pop up on the screen. But here they were still using intercoms and landlines. There were computers, but they were probably ten years old and the programs were all outdated, upgrading them was #115 on her spreadsheet. As well as transferring all of the patient files into a computer program instead of the paper system they were using now.