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My One and Only

My One and Only

4.2 692
by Kristan Higgins

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Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can't help that Nick has come


Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can't help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick's eyes, Harper's always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Higgins gives likable divorce attorney Harper James a second chance at love in this funny, poignant romance. Harper is horrified when her stepsister, Willa, announces that she's marrying the brother of Harper's ex-husband, Nick Lowery. Harper and Nick married young, and while their relationship quickly flamed out, the spark between them never really died. Due to a travel snafu after Willa's wedding, Harper and Nick are forced to journey across the country together. Soon, Harper is examining the reasons their marriage failed, her unresolved feelings for Nick, and her abandonment issues. Harper's jaded views on love and marriage add both humor and pathos, as do several secondary characters struggling with their own relationship troubles. Readers will be cheering for Harper all the way to the cutesy rom-com ending. (Apr.)

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"Stop smiling. Every time you smile, an angel dies."

"Wow," I answered. "That's a good one."

The man with the negative attitude sat at the bar, looking as if he was living a bad country-and-western song—no woman, broken truck, dead dog. Poor slob. "Listen," I said. "I know it's sad, but sometimes, divorce is just the euthanization of a dying relationship." I patted his shoulder, then adjusted his white collar, which was just a bit off center. "Sometimes our hearts just need time to accept what our heads already know."

The priest sighed. "Listen to her with that ridiculous line," he said to Mick, the bartender.

"It's not ridiculous! It's great advice."

"You're evil."

"Oh, my," I said. "You're taking it harder than I thought."

"It's true. After all my hard work, you swoop in and ruin everything."

"Father Bruce!" I said, feigning hurt. "There was no swooping! How cutting!"

The good father and I were at Offshore Ale, Martha's Vineyard's finest bar, a dark and charming little place in Oak Bluffs and a favorite place for locals and tourists alike. Father Bruce, my longtime friend and the immensely popular pastor of the island's Catholic church, could often be found here.

"Now come on, Father," I continued, sliding onto a stool next to him and tugging my skirt so as not to flash him. "You and I are actually a lot alike." He responded with a groan, which I ignored. "We shepherd people through life's hard times, guiding them through an emotional minefield, the voice of reason when reason is lost."

"Sad thing is, she believes it, Mick." I rolled my eyes. "Stop being a sore loser and buy me a drink."

"Marriage ain't what it used to be," the priest grumbled. "Mick, a bourbon for the shark here."

"Actually, just a Pellegrino, Mick. And Father, I'm going to strike that last moniker from the record." I smiled generously. Of course I was a shark. All the best divorce attorneys were.

"I take it you lost again, Father?" Mick said, adding a slice of lemon to my sparkling water.

"Let's not discuss it, Mick. She's gloating as it is."

"I'm certainly not gloating," I objected, reaching over to move another patron's beer, which was in danger of being knocked into Father B.'s lap. "I have nothing against marriage, as you will soon see. But in the case of Starling v. Starling, these two were doomed from the day he got on bended knee. As is one in three couples."

Father Bruce closed his eyes.

Though on opposite sides of the divorce issue, Father B. and I were old pals. But today, Joe Starling, a lifelong parishioner in Father Bruce's parish, had come into my office and asked me to begin divorce proceedings. There'd actually been a race to my door, and Joe won. He was…let's see…the ninth parishioner in the past two years to do so, despite Father B.'s best efforts at weaving together the fraying bonds of matrimony.

"Maybe they'll have a change of heart," Father Bruce suggested. He looked so hopeful that I didn't remind him of one hard fact: not one of my clients had ever backed out of proceedings.

"So how's everything else, Father?" I asked. "Heard you gave a killer sermon last weekend. And I saw you power walking the other day. Your new heart valve must be working great."

"Seems to be, Harper, seems to be." He smiled—he was a priest, after all, and had to forgive me. "Did you perform your random act of kindness today?"

I grimaced. "No. It was a senseless act of beauty." Father Bruce, viewing my soul as a personal campaign, had challenged me to, in his words, "offset the evil of your profession" by doing at least one random act of kindness each day. "Yes, yes," I admitted. "I let a family of six go in front of me at the cafe. Their baby was crying. Does that pass?

"It does," said the priest. "By the way, you look nice today. A date with young Dennis?"

I glanced around. "More than a date, Father." Wincing as John Caruso accidentally-on-purpose bumped into my back, I pretended not to hear his muttered epithet. One grew used to such slurs when one was as successful as I was. (Mrs. Caruso got the condo in the Back Bay and the house out here, not to mention a very generous monthly alimony payment.) "Today's the day. I plan to present the facts, make a convincing case and wait for the verdict, which I completely expect to be in my favor."

Father Bruce raised a bushy white eyebrow. "How romantic."

"I think my view on romance is well documented, Father B."

"One would almost pity young Dennis."

"One would, except the boy has it made, and you know it."

"Do I?"

"Please." I clinked my glass against Father Bruce's and took a drink. "To marriage. And speak of the devil, here he is now, all of four minutes early. Will wonders never cease."

My boyfriend of the past two and a half years, Dennis Patrick Costello, was…well. Picture every fantasy you've ever had about a hot firefighter. Uh-huh. That's right. Eye candy didn't even begin to cover it. Thick black hair, blue eyes, the ruddy cheeks of the Irish. Six-two. Shoulders that could carry a family of four. The only fly in the ointment was a rattail…a long, anemic braid to which Dennis was senselessly attached and which I tried very hard to ignore. Be that as it may, his physical beauty and constant affability always gave me a little thrill of pride. There wasn't a person on the island who didn't like Dennis, and there wasn't woman who didn't break off midsentence when he smiled. And he was mine.

Den was with Chuck, his platoon mate on the Martha's Vineyard Fire Department, who gave me a sour look as he headed to the far end of the bar. Chuck had cheated on Constance, his very nice wife. Not just once, either. Nope, he'd pulled a Tiger Woods, eventually admitting to four affairs in six years of marriage. As a result, Chuck now rented a single room in a crooked, 600-square-foot "cottage" out on Chappaquiddick and had to take the ferry to work every day. Such are the wages of sin.

"Hi, Chuck! How are you?" I asked. Chuck ignored me, as was his custom. No matter. I turned to Dennis. "Hey, hon! Look at you, four minutes early."

Dennis bent down and kissed my cheek. "Hey there, gorgeous," Dennis said. "Hi, Father B."

"Dennis. Good luck, son. I'll offer up a Hail Mary."

"Thanks, Padre." Apparently not curious as to why a priest would be praying for him, Dennis smiled at me. "I'm starving. You hungry?"

"You bet. See you around, Father Bruce," I said, sliding off the bar stool. Dennis gave me a smoky once-over—that was, after all, the point of my dress and painfully high heels, which bordered on slutty. I wanted Dennis's full attention, and, as he was male, showing a little breast wasn't going to hurt my case.

Tonight, I was popping the question. Two and a half years with Dennis had shown me that he was very solid husband material. Good heart, steady work, decent guy, close family ties, quite attractive. It was now or never. at almost thirty-four, I wasn't going to hang around and be someone's girlfriend forever. I was a person who made lists and took action, and Dennis, bless his heart, needed direction.

First element of the plan.. feed Dennis, who needed to eat more often than an infant. A couple of beers wouldn't hurt, either, because Dennis, though he seemed quite happy with our relationship, hadn't yet brought up the subject of marriage on his own. A little mellowing wouldn't hurt.

And so, half an hour later, a pint of Offshore Nutbrown Ale already in him and a massive blue-cheese-and-bacon hamburger in front of him, Dennis was telling me about an accident call. "So I'm trying to get the car door off, right, and all of a sudden, the thing comes flying off, hits Chuck right in the nuts, and he's like, 'Costello, you asswipe!' and we all just lose it. And the thing is, the old lady's still in the car. Oh, man, it was priceless."

I smiled patiently. Firehouse humor—for lack of a better word—was crude at best. Nevertheless, I chuckled and murmured, "Poor thing," meaning, of course, the old woman stuck in the car while the brawny men of the MVFD clutched themselves and made testicle jokes. For Chuck, I felt only that justice had been served. "Was the driver badly hurt?"

"Nah. Not a scratch on her. We wouldn't have laughed if she was decapitated or something." He grinned cheekily, and I smiled back.

"Glad to hear it. So listen, Den. We need to talk."

At the dreaded words, Dennis's smile dropped. Blinking rapidly, as if I was about to punch him in the face, he groped for his half-pound, overladen burger as if for protection—defensive body language, something I often saw in the spouses of my clients. Best to move in for the kill. I folded my hands neatly in front of me, tilted my head and smiled.

"Dennis, I think it's time for us to take things to the next level, you know? We've been together awhile, we have a very solid relationship, I'll be thirty-four in a few weeks, next year is advanced maternal age, medically speaking, so let's get married."

Dennis jerked back in alarm. Drat. I hadn't sounded terribly romantic, had I? Maybe I should've gone for a more sentimental note, rather than a recitation of the facts. This is what I got for practicing in front of a dog, rather than a human. Then again, there was nothing wrong with being straightforward.closing arguments, if you will.

My boyfriend answered by shoving a good quarter of the giant sandwich into his mouth. "Mmm-hrmph," he said, pointing to his bulging cheeks.

Well, resistance was expected, of course. Dennis was a guy, and most guys, with only a few notable exceptions, didn't pop the question without a nudge. And I had been nudging…I'd admired an engagement ring of one of Dennis's cousins three months ago, commented on Dennis's love of children, telling him he'd be a good dad, mentioned my own desire to procreate.but so far, nada. I assumed Dennis needed something a little more, er, blatant. A kick, for example. Didn't most men need a good swift kick?

"Now don't panic, hon," I said as he chewed desperately.

"We get along great. We spend most nights together, we've been together for more than two years, you're thirty now, you know you want kids…It's time. Don't you think so? I know I do." I smiled to show him we were both on the same team.

Dennis swallowed, his chiseled, gorgeous face now pale. "Uh, listen, dude," he began. I grimaced—dude? Really? He noticed. "Sorry, dude," he said. "I mean, Harper. Sorry." Dennis closed his mouth, opened it, hesitated, then took another massive bite of burger.

Fine. I would speak. It was better that way. "Let me go on, okay, Den? Then you can say something. If you still want to." I smiled and maintained eye contact, which was a little hard, given that Dennis's eyes were darting frantically. Also, the Red Sox game was on, which didn't help, as Dennis was a rabid fan. "Den, as you know, I spend my entire day dealing with crappy relationships. I see the mistakes people make, and I know what to avoid. We don't have a crappy relationship. Our relationship is great. It really is. And we can't be in limbo forever. You're at my place most nights anyway—"

"Your bed is wicked comfortable," he said sincerely, stuffing some fries into his mouth. He offered a few to me, but I shook my head, my own salad more of a prop tonight.

"No thanks. Back to the subject…" I leaned forward a little more, giving Dennis a better glimpse of my cleavage. His eyes dropped the way Pavlov's dog drooled, and I smiled. "Our sex life is certainly good," I continued, reminding him of our finer moments. A woman at the next table, who was trying to convince her toddler to eat a fried clam, gave me a sharp look. Tourists. "We obviously find each other attractive, don't we?"

"Most def." He gave me the wide, even smile that rendered so many women speechless. Perfect. He was now thinking with the little head, which would help my case.

"Exactly, hon. And I make a great living, you have. well, a solid salary. We'll have a very comfortable lifestyle, we'll make beautiful babies, et cetera. Let's make it permanent, shall we?" I reached down for my bag and withdrew the black velvet box. "I even picked out the ring, so we know I love it."

At the sight of the two-carat rock, Dennis flinched.

I closed my eyes briefly. "I paid for it, too, so don't worry. See? This isn't so hard after all, is it?" I gave him my firm court smile, the one that said, Your Honor, please. Can we stop screwing around and get this done?

Father Bruce and Bob Wickham, head of the church council, made their way over to the table next to our booth. The priest shot me a knowing look, which I ignored.

At that moment, Jodi Pickering, Dennis's high school girlfriend and a waitress here, shoved the prow of her bosom into Den's jaw. "Are you all set here, Denny?" she asked, ignoring me and giving my soon-to-be fiance a docile, cowlike gaze.

"Hey, Jodi, what's up?" Dennis said, grinning past her 36-Ds to her face. "How's the little guy?"

"Oh, he's great, Denny. It was so nice that you stopped by the game the other night. He just loves you! And you know, without a father in the picture, I think T.J. really needs—"

"Okay, we get it, Jodi-with-an-i," I said, smiling pleasantly up at her. "You have an adorable son and are still quite available. Dennis, however, is with me. If you would just take your boobs out of my boyfriend's face, I would deeply appreciate it."

She narrowed her eyes at me and sashayed away. Dennis watched her departure as one would watch the lifeboats paddling away from the Titanic. Then he swallowed and looked at me. "Listen, Harp," he began. "You're…you know…great and all, but, uh…well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? I mean, why change a good thing? Can't we just keep hanging out together?"

Again, totally expected. I straightened up and tilted my head a few degrees. "Dennis," I said firmly, well aware that this kind of circular conversation could go on forever. "This isn't high school. We're not kids. We've been together for the past two and a half years. I'm thirty-four next month. I don't want to hang out indefinitely. If we're not going to get married, we need to break up. So.shit or get off the pot, honey."

"That was beautiful," murmured Father Bruce as he opened a menu.

I favored him with a withering glance, then turned back to Firefighter Costello. "Dennis? Let's do this."


Meet the Author

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA TODAY bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The New York Journal of Books and Kirkus. 

Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two atypically affectionate children, a neurotic rescue mutt and an occasionally friendly cat. 

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My One and Only 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 692 reviews.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Even when I wanted to put duct tape over Harper's mouth ("Stop talking! Stop talking right now!"), I loved her as a character. Even when I wanted to smack Nick upside the head and say, "Hello? Take some responsibility here, Bozo!" I loved him. Kristan writes characters that are so real they practically jump off the pages at you, and I just don't know how she does it book after book. She is a master at putting them in situations that are so cringeworthy that you just know that if they happened to you (and somehow, you could totally see them happening to you, no matter how ludicrous they seem) you'd want to die right then and there, but somehow, they survive. Just when all hope is lost, she has a character quote Yoda, (the classic "Do or do not. There is no try." Of course.) and somehow we all make it through. If you've never read a Kristan Higgins before, do yourself a favor and pick one up. Any one. Really, you'll be glad you did. (And for the record, I absolutely did not go on the Barnes and Noble website every day for three weeks clicking the "Tell the publisher you want this book in ebook format" button until it showed up as a Nookbook. Nope, that definitely wasn't me. Even if it had been, I never clicked it more than once a day. That would be wrong.)
readingdiva11 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book!! Kristan Higgins just gets better and better. I have read all her books but I think this one is my favorite!! great story, great romance and a hint of comedy too!!I downloaded this to my Nook the first day it was available and I read it in 2 days. Could not put it down. Enjoy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read all of Kritan Higgins books and this is her best yet. Love the characters and back story. Very sweet and real love story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Martha's Vineyard Divorce attorney Harper James is mortified with the news that her stepsister Wills is marrying Christopher Lowery her former brother-n-law in Glacier Park, Montana. She and Chris' brother Nick married very young, but their marriage failed though the desire remained stratospheric as both realize when they meet in Big Sky Country. Following the wedding of Wills and Chris, to their mutual chagrin Harper and Nick travel cross country together due to a mix up. On their trek, she begins to relook why their marriage failed and why she still loves him in spite of having Dennis the firefighter as her boyfriend for more than a couple of years; mostly her introspection focuses on abandonment. This is an amusing lighthearted at times frantic second chance at love romance as Harper and Nick flirt, fuss, and fight while causing havoc across the country. The story line never turns serious as Kristin Higgins provides a wonderful jocular road trip starring a delightful divorce lawyer with a real experience on her résumé and a hunk of an architect who is her one and only, but is that enough. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! Great weekend read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked most of her books, this one was just okay. The main character was annoying.
Eilishagra More than 1 year ago
One reviewer noted that she wanted to tell the main character, Harper, to just shut up at one point. The reviewer didn't get it, or Harper at all. I don't understand how when her character was so richly drawn, with such detail and love that I wanted to hug her. I was completely fascinated with Harper's complexity. Harper's love interest, Nick, is intense, lovely, irritating, sweet and just such a guy. You'll want these two to get together so much it aches. Kristan Higgins has written what I consider to be one of the finest novels of this type I've ever read, and I read voraciously. Her characters are deeply real, their journey is hilarious and sad and poignant - all the best things a book can be. As I read My One and Only I was struck by the depth of these two characters, illustrated by their growing up wounded in a modern family situation with experiences that so impacted their adult relationships. Best of all, they overcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of books by Kristan Higgins and I always love the story lines and find myself laughing out loud at the characters. I bought this book within a week of its release and was excited to read it, but I was pretty disappointed. I did not like neither Nick nor harper's characters too much. All in all I would say that I would have preferred to check the book out from a library rather than purchasing it. I don't see myself reading it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Kristan Higgins books. This one, I feel, is her best yet!! You will laugh and maybe even cry a little, but it's all good. Definitely worth the read. Be prepared to not be able to put it down.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice and easy read. Time to relax while this book keeps you captivated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time putting it down because it was so funny and yet so romantic. I did laugh out loud for sure. I thought the characters were well thought out. Ups and downs of their lives made you want to keep turning the page
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good fun read, just he right amount of sex, not too much but a touch. Makes my reading more enjoyoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not want to stop reading this book.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
Harper and Nick run into one another at their siblings wedding. Yes, you heard that right. Her sister is marrying his brother. It is a weird situation all around. Harper is begging her sister to stop getting married. To wait and see how things go. They have not known each other long. It worries Harper, since for her sister it is her 3rd marriage already. Nick admits to her he still loves her. Even when she brings a soon to be ex-boyfriend to the shindig with her. He saves her when tragedy strikes, and she realizes that her feeling for him may still be there. Nick and Harper married young themselves, and had a misunderstanding that grand slammed its way into a divorce. If only they had a good example, or strength and trust in one another - they would have made it. This visit gets prolonged since, she cannot get home and has to road-trip it with Nick or wait several days for a flight. They seem to get along pretty well and it helps smooth over some ruffled feathers on the way back. I enjoyed the character development and I am glad how it turns out.
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KH writing is exquisite and this is no exception. This is a lovely book with real characters, depth and humor. Loved every minute of it.
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I loved this book. One of my new favorites.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of Kristan Higgins' books--maybe because it was my first. The flashbacks were truly heartbreaking, and while that storytelling device doesn't always work for me, this time it did. The book is not a total downer, definitely fully and light in a lot of places, with characters put in some odd and unconventional situations!