One and Only
One and Only
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 292 5-Star Reviews
Elizabeth has always dreamed of opening her own legal aid clinic, but her work as a criminal defense attorney made it impossible. Moving to Montana was supposed to be the beginning of her new life but, when a ruthless criminal follows her, no one is safe.
Blake has everything he’s ever wanted—except Elizabeth Sullivan. Unlike the other women he's dated, she isn't impressed with his billion-dollar business, fast cars, or penthouse apartments. She expects more from him than he’s prepared to give and that scares him more than losing everything.
Chapter One Look Inside
Chapter One Look Inside
Elizabeth waved her hand at the red-brick building. “This is it. What do you think?”
Her brother didn’t seem impressed. “It’s a dump.”
“It’s a little rundown, but that’s because it’s been empty for five years.” She refused to be deterred by the graffiti splashed across the walls, the boarded-up windows, or the trash littering the parking lot. This building represented the beginning of her new life in Montana. And Elizabeth knew better than most that nothing worthwhile ever came easy.
Daniel peered through one of the few windows that weren’t broken.
“I’ve got the keys if you want to look inside?”
“Has it passed a sanitation inspection?”
Elizabeth hunted through her bag. “It’s not that bad.”
“Your standards have slipped since you left Cedar Rapids.”
If her brother had seen some of the other buildings she’d looked at, he wouldn’t be so quick to judge this property. “This is the best I can afford. I thought you would be happy for me.”
Daniel took the front door key out of her hand. “I am. But this isn’t what I imagined when you said you wanted to open a legal aid clinic.”
“I’m not afraid of hard work.” Elizabeth stepped inside the building and stomped her boots on an old doormat.
“I don’t think you have to worry about a little snow and mud.” Daniel scowled. “No one will notice a few more muddy footprints.”
Elizabeth looked at the carpet. He was right. At some stage, squatters had made their home in the derelict building. She just hoped they weren’t here now.
She walked around a pile of smelly newspapers and smiled at what would be the reception area. “Can’t you see how amazing it will be?”
Daniel wasn’t looking at the mahogany reception counter or the huge storage area off to one side. He was staring at the ceiling, opening the windows, and shaking his head when the door into the next room wouldn’t close.
“The ceilings are water-damaged. You’ll need to check the roof for leaks. The carpets are threadbare, the whole building needs to be painted, and it smells like a trash can. Are you sure there isn’t a dead body in here somewhere?”
“Not since I last checked. I know the building has some issues—”
Daniel’s eyebrows rose.
“—but it has the most potential of any building I’ve seen. It’s close to town, opposite a bus stop, and in my budget. I’ll create an incredible clinic that will change people’s lives.”
Her brother walked along the hallway. He looked in each room, shaking his head at most of them. When he was finished, he opened a door and walked around the backyard.
When he was finished, he stared at the building. “It isn’t any better from here. Did you get a builder’s report before you bought it?”
“There wasn’t time. The property only came on the market yesterday. The realtor had five viewings booked for today and a lot of online inquiries. I had to buy it quickly or someone else would have taken it.”
“And that would have been a problem because?”
Elizabeth’s glare bounced off him like a boomerang. “You thought the clinic was a great idea.”
“That was before you bought this building.”
As they moved along the outside of the building, Daniel rattled off another list of things she should check. When he mentioned asbestos, Elizabeth shuddered. She knew from reading the newspaper just how expensive asbestos removal could be.
Not for the first time, she wondered if she was crazy to take on such a big project. But if there was one thing the last twelve months had taught her, it was that she could do anything she set her mind to.
While she was having chemotherapy, she’d dreamed of opening her own family law clinic. Those dreams had given her something to focus on, something to keep her sane.
Daniel frowned. “You’ll need a lot of money for the renovation.”
“I know. I made an allowance for that in my budget.”
“And it won’t happen overnight. It’ll take months to complete.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“You’ll need permission to start a clinic on this site.”
“I’ve already seen the staff in City Planning. They don’t have a problem with what I want to do.”
Daniel sighed. “In that case, congratulations. It takes a lot of courage to take on a project of this size.”
“It’ll take a lot more than courage to finish the renovation. How good are you at painting walls?”
Daniel grinned. “If my boss buys pizza for lunch, I can be the best painter in Montana.”
“I’ll bring you pizza each day you’re here.”
“You’ve twisted my arm,” Daniel said, “Consider me your slave.”
Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. “Thank you. I know this isn’t your idea of the perfect building, but it will be amazing.”
* * *
Blake rubbed his temples. For the last few hours he’d been reviewing the marketing plan for the launch of a new app his company had developed.
Eight staff, twelve months, and two million dollars later, Jefferson Technologies had worked every kink out of the world-first computer application.
Medibot, their diagnostic robot, had the potential to transform health services around the world. But if they didn’t get the app in front of the right people, it would be an expensive flop.
His phone rang and he looked at the time. Midnight. He should have gone home hours ago, but the traffic heading out of Manhattan had been horrendous.
He was tempted to let the call go to voicemail, but old habits were hard to break. His father had drummed a solid work ethic into him. An unanswered call was a lost customer. And after fifteen years of managing his own company, his customers were still the most important part of his business.
He reached for the phone. “Blake Jefferson speaking.”
“Why are you still at work?”
Blake sat back in his chair and smiled. It never failed to amaze him how quickly one woman could make him happy. “Maybe you should tell me why you’re calling me. It’s ten o’clock in Montana. I thought you’d be worried about your beauty sleep.”
Elizabeth Sullivan, defense lawyer extraordinaire, snorted. “You must be tired. There are so many cutting responses I could make to that statement, but I won’t.”
“That’s not like you. Are you feeling all right?”
“I’ve never been better.”
“So why are you still awake?”
“I’ve got a lot on my mind.” She hesitated before continuing.
That should have given him a massive hint something was wrong. He’d known Elizabeth for eighteen years and she never stumbled over what she wanted to say.
“Have you found a match for me?”
It took Blake a few seconds to work out what she meant. When he realized she was talking about his company’s Crazy Love app, he sighed. Daniel, her brother, had found his happy ever after using the computer program. And now Elizabeth was determined to find hers.
Blake could have told her she didn’t need his relationship app. All she had to do was smile at someone and they’d fall for her in two seconds flat.
“Why the hurry?” he asked.
“I’m thirty-six years old. Isn’t that enough of a reason?”
“Not from where I’m sitting. I’m a year older and I’m not in a hurry to find Ms. Perfect.”
“So I heard,” Elizabeth muttered. “Daniel told me you’re not dating Chantal anymore. Did she get tired of your Lamborghinis and superyacht?”
“I don’t know. She left before I could ask her.” Chantal was like most of the woman he dated. Being seen with a billionaire was so much better than eating a cheeseburger with your friends. For women like Chantal, the holy grail of social success was to marry one of the suckers they targeted.
Blake wasn’t a sucker, but Chantal had fooled him.
“I’m calling about your dating app. You told me the VIP service would match me faster than the standard registration. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t heard anything.”
“Perfection takes time.” Blake picked up his pen and doodled on a sheet of paper. The reason she hadn’t heard from his company was because he’d done nothing about her application. And he might have slightly exaggerated the effectiveness of the VIP service. Mostly because he didn’t have one.
“I don’t have a lot of time.”
His pen fell out of his hand. “What do you mean?”
“It’s nothing like that. What is it with you and my brother? I’m not getting sick again.”
“You had breast cancer, not the flu.”
“And you think I don’t know that?”
Blake sighed. He’d annoyed her and that was the last thing he wanted. “I was worried about you, that’s all.”
“I’m a big girl. I can look after myself.”
That’s what she always said, but Elizabeth was just as vulnerable as anyone else. Three years ago, she’d almost married a scumbag. He’d broken her heart and Blake wasn’t about to let that happen again.
“I’ll look into your application and see what I can do.” He crossed his fingers and hoped she couldn’t see his nose growing.
The top of his desk was littered with reports he still had to read. He’d barely left his office for three weeks and he needed to get away. Maybe Elizabeth’s call was meant to give him a reason to forget about work and head to cowboy land.
He hadn’t seen Daniel or Elizabeth for a few weeks. If he booked tonight, he should be able to catch a Friday afternoon flight to Bozeman.
“What are you doing this weekend?” he asked.
“I thought you were taking a break from sending people to prison.”
Elizabeth sighed. “You know I specialize in family law now.”
Yeah, he knew, but he didn’t want Elizabeth to think he remembered everything her brother told him.
“I’m not working at the Family Center this weekend,” she continued. “I’m meeting an architect and someone from a construction company. I’ve bought a building. I’m finally starting my own legal aid clinic.”
He sat forward. “You’ve what?”
Elizabeth laughed. “I’ve surprised you. That would be a first.”
“Did Daniel see the building before you bought it?”
“My brother doesn’t need to be involved in every decision I make. But for your information, I took him there this morning.”
“He said it has potential.”
Blake knew as well as Daniel that ‘potential’ could cost a lot of money to fix. “What’s the building’s address?”
“I know how your mind works, Blake Jefferson. If I tell you the address, you’ll find all the information you can about the property, then tell me I’ve made a mistake.”
“Not necessarily,” he muttered. “If you’ve done all the usual pre-purchase inspections and document searches, you’ll be okay.” The silence on the other end of the phone wasn’t reassuring. “Did you even look at the building file?”
“Of course, I did. I spoke to City Planning, too.”
“Aren’t lawyers supposed to be cautious when it comes to signing contracts?”
“I didn’t have time to be cautious. This felt right.”
“So do a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean you jump feet first into trouble. I’ll book a flight to Bozeman and let you know when I’m arriving. While I’m there, I’ll give you another copy of the Crazy Love questionnaire and you can show me the property.”
“You’ve lost my answers to the other questionnaire?” Elizabeth sounded worried.
“I’m not sure, but it wouldn’t hurt to complete another one.”
“You could email it to me.”
“I could, but it’s just as easy to bring it with me. I haven’t seen Daniel for a few weeks and I want to go skiing.” He hoped she saw nothing strange in what he wanted to do. Because some things were better done in person. Especially where Elizabeth Sullivan was concerned.
Fans of Netflix's Virgin River series will love this small-town, feel-good romance!
Elizabeth has always dreamed of opening her own legal aid clinic, but her work as a criminal defense attorney made it impossible. Moving to Montana was supposed to be the beginning of her new life, but when a ruthless criminal follows her, no one is safe.
She does everything she can to protect herself, but staying with Blake wasn't part of her plans. Especially when he's her brother's best friend and the man who broke her heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Wow! Romance, mystery, and suspense. Talk about four amazing happily ever afters!”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "I've always been a sucker for sweet romances, and this one hits the spot perfectly!"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "A feel-good romance that I'll be recommending to all my friends."