All He Desires - Nate & Eliza (Crossroads #12)(5)

By: Melanie Shawn

Eliza didn’t have to refer to the chart in her hands to know that the Mrs. Holmes that she’d be treating was not Leonora. She may not have seen her in almost a decade, but she seriously doubted that woman would ever bring a smile to anyone’s face. And Leonora’s bite was worse than her bark.

When she glanced down at the file she saw that she would be treating Ada Holmes, Neil’s grandmother.

Oh, thank God.

Ada Holmes or Nana Holmes, as those close to her called her, was indeed a spitfire just as Jarmen had described but she was also one of the kindest, most generous and most entertaining people that Eliza had ever known. She’d always gravitated to the matriarch of the Holmes family at any gathering, formal affair or social event that she’d been obligated to attend as Neil’s girlfriend. The truth was, she’d missed Ada terribly over the years and was excited that she’d get a chance to see her again.

And in fifteen minutes that was going to happen. There was only one thing that was keeping the reunion       from being completely stress-free. Ada Holmes could see through people like they were made of freshly Windexed glass windows. Neil used to tease her and say that she was a human lie detector. He’d boasted that there was only one person in the world that he couldn’t con, his grandmother, which looking back should’ve been a red flag, but she’d been young.

The last thing she wanted was for the woman that she respected to know that her life was a mess. She also had to practice not having any reaction whatsoever when the inevitable subject of her grandsons came up…especially Nate. She had fifteen minutes to get her best Lady Gaga on and work on her p-p-p-poker face.

Chapter 2

Nate Holmes was in work mode. Which meant he was so consumed with the case that he didn’t hear the knock at his door, or hear it opening, or hear anyone enter or, from the irritated sound in Darla’s voice, hear the first few attempts she’d made to get his attention.


When he finally snapped out of his trance he looked up and saw that the office manager was standing beside him. Darla was in her eighties, with a thin frame that looked as frail as fine china and a voice as rough as sandpaper. He would’ve thought that her vocal chords had been damaged from years of smoking, but as far as he knew she’d never picked up a cigarette in her life.

Darla had served in the Army at a time when roles in the military were limited for women and she’d been assigned to administrative detail. She’d mentioned that all the other girls had smoked, but she’d always been frugal and had only allowed herself one “indulgence.” Instead of spending her hard earned paychecks on nicotine she’d opted to spend them on “hose.” Which, Nate discovered meant nylons. Apparently, they’d been very big in the forties.

“Your grandmother is trying to get ahold of you,” she rasped. “She said it’s an emergency.” With that declaration she turned on her orthopedic shoe heels and headed back to the front of the office, which she ran tighter and with more authority than any drill sergeant he’d ever served with.

He picked up his cell phone and saw that he’d missed two calls from his nana and had a string of text messages that all read variations of the same thing: Emergency! Time sensitive! 911! Call now! Pick up your phone!

If it was anyone other than Ada Holmes declaring a state of emergency, he would not be as calm as he was currently. But since the last time she’d classified a situation as “a matter of life and death” and the cause had been the pizza delivery man not giving her peppers before he drove away—he now took her Bat-Signals with a grain of salt.

Over the past few years he’d tried to warn her that she was going to be the “grandma that cried wolf” and that one day there would actually be an emergency and her family wouldn’t take her seriously. But in typical Nana Holmes fashion, she’d shut him down with the precision of a heart surgeon wielding a scalpel. She’d simply responded with the argument that at her age, ignoring anything she deemed an emergency could mean the difference between life and death. He’d never mentioned it again and always responded as if her house was on fire.

He pressed the call icon and lifted the phone to his ear.

“You need to come pick me up. I’m late.” Nana wasn’t big on small talk or niceties. Some people found her abrasive, but he found it refreshing. “Your brother was supposed to give me a ride to the dentist, but he’s a no show.”

The fact that his twin brother hadn’t shown up was not a big surprise, but the fact that Nana had depended on him for a ride was. It was no secret in the Holmes family that Neil wasn’t dependable. In fact, for years Nana had joked that Neil was as useful as a cat in a dog show. Their dad had referred to him as being as dependable as a flat tire on more than one occasion. Their mom had always babied and defended him and claimed that everyone was too hard on him. Nate had always kept his opinion of his twin to himself. He kept most things to himself.