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Better Together Ebook

Better Together Ebook

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Better Together: A Small-Town Romance (Book 3)

Main Tropes

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Best Friend's Brother
  • Secret Crush


She’s focused on her job. He’s determined to be a distraction . . .

Being a woman contractor isn’t easy. Alexis Welby moved to Deer Creek Falls to get away from heartache and bad decisions in the city and start her own remodeling business. Now, she finally has a shot at a project that could take her career to the next level. She’s known hunky Zeke Reynolds since they were teenagers and trusts him completely to help her on this make-or-break reno, but can she risk making herself vulnerable again and trusting her longtime crush with her heart?

Zeke Reynolds is gorgeous, charming, and a notorious flirt. He’s a volunteer firefighter, a part-time bodyguard to the rich and famous, and an electrician who’s only too aware of the spark between him and sexy contractor Alexis Welby. Lately the connection has been getting more intense, but how can he convince her to forget these other guys her friends keep trying to set her up with and give him a chance to show her he’s not playing around?

Find out how friends become lovers in this small-town romance.

Intro into Chapter One

­­Chapter 1


Welby tore open another past due bill and threw it on the mounting pile. With a
quick rap on the front door, her best friend Maggie Reynolds-Jacobs walked in.
“Thank goodness you’re here.”

Maggie held up a garment bag.
“Don’t worry, I have the perfect dress for you.”

“I hoped you would, because I spent
the last two hours trying on everything in my closet,” Alexis complained.
“Nothing I have is stylish enough for my date tonight.”

As a building contractor, she
didn’t need an extensive wardrobe. Her idea of dressing up consisted of pulling
on a pair of dark jeans and a nice blouse or sweater. She prided herself on her
kick-ass shoe collection, though.

She didn’t know why she was
worrying so much. It wasn’t like her to fret over her wardrobe, but then she
hadn’t gone to an expensive restaurant since she’d started her own construction
business, Do-Over Renovations, two years earlier.

“Remind me again why I agreed to go
on not one, but four blind dates?”

Maggie handed over the dress she’d
brought and followed her friend into her bedroom. She counted on her fingers. “Let’s
see. One, you haven’t been in a relationship for the entire two years since you
moved here. Two, you were the one who complained about working too much and
never having any fun, and three, you refuse to date any of the men who work for
you. You’ll never find the man of your dreams unless you date.”

Okay, all of those things were
true, Alexis thought as she unzipped the garment bag. The dress Maggie had chosen
was one of Alexis’s favorites, and she hoped she’d look as good as Maggie did
when she wore it. She pulled on the form-fitting black knee-length sheath dress
and turned her back for Maggie to zip her up. The chiffon bell sleeves added a
flirty yet elegant look.

Maggie cleared a space on the bed
and sat. “So, who’s the lucky guy tonight who will have to remove his jaw from
the floor when you walk in?”

Alexis smoothed the dress with her
hands. “A friend of a friend of Paige’s. I’m meeting him at that new upscale
Italian restaurant and wine bar overlooking Lake Superior. He’s sending a car.”

“He’s not picking you up?” Maggie’s
brow quirked.

“No.” Alexis pulled out a pair of
black strappy heels from the long wooden rack along the wall of her closet and
put them on. “He has a late business meeting.”

“Another workaholic. It’s a wonder
you were able to find a day that worked for the two of you,” Maggie said as she
handed Alexis a black sequined clutch.

“Ha ha.” Maggie wasn’t wrong;
they’d played phone tag for a week before settling on tonight.

A horn sounded. “That’s the car.”
Alexis slipped her phone, lipstick, and wallet into her evening bag. “Wish me

“Luck! Have fun. I want all the
details at the grand opening tomorrow.”


aspirin and a pair of sunglasses only did so much for Alexis’s self-induced
headache. She hadn’t indulged on red wine in a long time, and she remembered
why she’d stopped drinking the stuff. Last night the conversation had flowed,
and so had the wine.

The colorful leaves of the sugar
maples lifted silently in the breeze, and a large and vocal vee formation of
Canada geese headed south for the winter. Normally she loved the sound of the
geese flying overhead, but today—way too loud. She released a deep breath,
allowing herself to relax. She had done it, she thought with satisfaction. The
work she and her crew had accomplished in a short time both exhilarated her and
allowed her to make payroll. The Veterans’ Center’s state-of-the-art physical
therapy facility was the first to be built in the northern part of Minnesota.
The center sat on the southern part of breathtaking Balsam Lake in Deer Creek
Falls, population 948, the small town she fell in love with when just a

A stream of people entered and
exited the Veterans’ Center, talking amongst themselves and enjoying the picturesque
fall day. Nothing brought the townspeople out like a grand opening. The
residents had descended on the building’s newest addition with the promise of
free food and music. And to satisfy their curiosity.

Maggie ran up to her, squealing.
“How was your date?”

Alexis placed her fingers to her
temples. “Not so loud.”

Cupping her hand over her mouth,
Maggie side-hugged her and whispered, “So, good then?”

“Actually yes. Too much red wine,
but boy was it good.”

“The wine or the man? Did he ask
you out again?”

“Both. And no, he said he’d call.”

“Well, I hope he does.”

“I hope so. I liked him. I’d definitely
consider a second date.”

A woman with straight,
shoulder-length chestnut hair, dark-rimmed eyeglasses, and a brilliant white
smile approached them carrying two Styrofoam cups of steaming liquid, cutting
their conversation short.

“Hello! I’m Susan Henning and I’m
new to town.” She gestured to a nearby group of women. “Those nice ladies said
you were the contractor and the designer behind this beautiful addition. I
thought you two could use a cup of cider. It’s quite good.” She handed them each
a cup of the steaming beverage.

“Thank you. I’m Alexis Welby and
this is my friend and designer, Maggie Jacobs.”

They glanced over to where Susan
pointed to see who the “nice ladies” were. Rosie Cermak, owner of the town
diner, and twin sisters Elsie Andrews and Emma Nielson, Maggie’s grandmother
and great-aunt, gave a little wave. They waved back.

“Yes,” Alexis continued. “My crew
and I added therapy rooms, the exercise room with swim spa, and the four studio
apartments for short-stay residents. Have you toured the facility?” She
breathed in the scent of apples and spices, then blew on the cider and sipped. Way
too sweet, but she’d drink it because it was nice of Susan to offer the hot
beverage on a cool fall morning.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. Are the
four studio apartments the only housing the Veterans’ Center has available?” Susan

Alexis nodded. “Unfortunately, yes.
We’re hoping for another wing for housing in the future. We don’t have many short-term
rentals in the area available during the summer months, and the few homes that
are for sale would need work to house someone with disabilities.”

Susan looked deep in thought. “I
see the dilemma. This facility will bring men and women from all over the
state, but without housing you may not have a choice but to turn people away.”

“Exactly, but between the city and
the revitalization committee, we are working hard to provide accommodations to
everyone who requires them,” Maggie said.

“It amazes me how much a small town
like this has done already.” Susan gestured to the iron statue near the
entrance. “What a magnificent structure. I teared up when I first arrived. It’s
powerful but evokes a sense of peace and hopefulness for the returning soldiers.
I’m from a large military family, an Army brat. Our country’s heroes deserve
this facility, and this tribute—what an honor to the men and women who have
fought so gallantly for our freedom. It’s truly breathtaking. Do you know the

“That would be me, and thank you.”
Maggie beamed at the compliment.

“You don’t sell items at the lovely
bookstore in town, do you?”

“I do. That’s so sweet of you to make
the connection. The bookstore is owned by my future sister-in-law, Paige
Turner.” Maggie nodded to Alexis. “Alexis remodeled Turner Books and the Eagle’s
Nest, the local hangout downtown.”

“Well, ladies, you are both incredibly talented.
I’ll have to bring my husband, James, to the Eagle’s Nest tonight and check out
your work. We just bought the Whitmore Estate on the west end of the lake as an
early retirement gift to ourselves, and we’re looking for someone with your
talents to update our home.

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