All He Desires - Nate & Eliza (Crossroads #12)(9)

By: Melanie Shawn

“Well, I’m convinced. I think we should put that on the agenda for our staff meeting.”

Eliza had scheduled a lunch meeting. She figured they could eat and get a feel for each other. The office was small and she wanted to get to know her team as quickly as possible.

Jarmen worked the front office, greeting all of the patients with a smile that put them immediately at ease. She also handled patient and procedure coordination, financing and insurance. There were two dental assistants who were both at the top of their game, Martha and Arturo. Their files were filled with glowing reviews and praises from patients and from her Skype meeting with them, she could tell that they had incredible bedside, or in this case chairside, manners. And rounding out the team was Sako; he worked the back office and took care of billing.

“Great!” Jarmen enthused as she jotted a note to herself as she started towards the front desk. Before she turned the corner she glanced back, causing her chestnut waves to fall over her shoulder. “I’ll give Sako a head’s up, I know that he’s looked into pricing and has a few options that he can present.”

“Perfect!” Eliza could use all the help she could get.

When she and her ex-husband had opened their practice, Doug had taken care of all of the technical aspects of the office and she had handled staffing. She’d actually been the one who’d hired the woman that she’d walked in on him examining…with his penis.

The strangest part of the entire situation had been that when she’d walked in on them, her first thought had not been personal, it had been professional. She’d thought that he was opening them up for a sexual harassment lawsuit. She guessed that said as much about their marriage as his behavior did.

If she was keeping score, she’d definitely been a key player in the path that led to them being game over. Of course, her points had never been of the infidelity variety. But there were a lot more ways to contribute to the downfall of a marriage than cheating. Growing up her mom had always said that there were three sides to every marriage, his, hers, and the truth. The truth was she was a contributing factor in the deterioration of their relationship.

The most glaring example was that her reaction hadn’t even surprised her. She’d found it odd, but not shocking. If she were taking honest stock, the truth was she’d probably fallen out of love, or whatever she’d been in with Doug, by the time they’d hit their first anniversary.

She’d been attracted to him because of his drive and passion. He had wanted her and pursued her intensely. She’d gone along for the ride, losing herself in the excitement of their whirlwind romance and didn’t pay attention to who he really was.

The ink had barely dried on her annulment from her first husband when she’d met Doug and looking back she had to admit he’d been a rebound. A rebound that she’d ended up marrying and starting a business with, but a rebound nonetheless.

Her first husband, Carson Vanderford, had also swept her off her feet. She just hadn’t known at the time that he’d done it as a ploy to get his parents’ attention. Like Neil, he’d come from money, but unlike Neil, he hadn’t been close to his parents. In the eighteen months that they were together, she’d never even met his mother or father. Not until the day that she’d shown up at their small, off-campus house and his parents were waiting for her with annulment papers.

It was explained to her then that Carson had only married her so that he could use her as leverage to get his inheritance early. Apparently, he didn’t have access to it until he was twenty-five, unless he got married and stayed married for twenty-four months. Once it was clear to Mr. and Mrs. Vanderford that Carson actually intended on seeing his plan through, they’d folded like a house of cards.

Carson gained access to his trust fund and Eliza received annulment papers with a copy of the prenuptial agreement that she’d signed. Not that she needed reminding. Even if they hadn’t had a prenup, she would never have gone after him for his money. It wasn’t hers. She’d wanted a husband. Love. Not money.

In hindsight, Carson had been a rebound as well. It wasn’t lost on her that he’d been a stereotypical WASP-looking guy. After her eighteenth birthday, she’d wanted to do everything she could to erase any memories of the Holmes twins from her mind.

So as hurt as she’d been initially from Carson’s betrayal, the truth was she’d been using him as well.

She shook her head slightly. That was her past, mistakes had been made but there was nothing she could do except learn from them.