The Doctor's Fake Fiancée

By: Victoria James

Grace had seen the conversation as a sign. She needed to thank the man who had saved their lives. She baked a batch of their favorite cranberry muffins and wrapped them up in cellophane with a big red ribbon. And Christopher had spent an entire hour drawing his hero a picture.

“Chris,” she whispered, turning in her seat to look at her son. He stirred slightly, his dark hair rumpled. She smiled at the sight of him, his faded Spider-Man shirt hugging his thin frame. He’d insisted on wearing it, explaining his logic that he should wear a superhero, since Evan Manning was one. “Come on, honey, time to wake up; we’re here.”

She turned to the front and collected her keys, dragging her hands down her face as she caught a glimpse of herself in the rearview mirror. If Ronald McDonald had an older, crazier-looking, dark-haired sister, she’d be her. Except Grace probably looked even worse, because she didn’t have the access to that kind of heavy makeup.

She attempted to smooth down her curly hair but, when that didn’t work, frantically searched her purse for something to tie it back with. She chewed her lower lip as she held a Spider-Man shoelace in between her fingers. It could work. No one would notice if she wrapped it tightly. Working quickly, she finger-combed her curly hair into a high ponytail. And then frowned at her reflection. Well, whatever. Good enough. It’s not like she was here to pick up Evan Manning and impress him with her looks…or lack of. She was here to thank the man. Profusely. He’d saved the most important person in the world to her. Her concern over her pathetic appearance seemed trivial in comparison to the real issues they faced.

Christopher yawned loudly. “Where’s Dr. Nevan?”

“Dr. Evan. I think he’s inside. Ready to go?”

Her son stretched and then bopped his head up and down quickly. “I’ve never met a real live superhero.”

Grace stifled her groan as she opened her door. The superhero fixation was reaching new heights and showed no signs of slowing down. She helped Christopher out of the car, and they held hands as they walked up the flagstone path to the front porch.

The small waiting room was empty when they entered. Grace frowned as they stood in the doorway. It was odd for a doctor’s office to be so quiet. The practice she’d worked at for years had always been bustling, and phones were always ringing—even when it was closed. Maybe this was what small-town family practice was like. The cellophane crinkled as she balanced the plate of muffins on her hip and walked toward a French door that separated the waiting room from what must be the examination rooms. She winced at the loud creaking of the old door but walked through anyway.

They could hear a man’s deep voice speaking, filling the otherwise-quiet space. She stopped hesitantly outside the first room, Chris bumping into her. Seconds later, the man said good-bye and hung up the phone. Her heart hammered incessantly as she waited for him to turn around. When he didn’t, she cleared her throat and knocked on the door.

The man turned in his chair and slowly stood. He must recognize her.

Her mouth went dry as she stared into his striking blue eyes. Everything was arresting about the man. Perfectly chiseled jaw, high cheekbones, and a mouth that was somewhere between sensual and severe. A few strands of gray visible amidst his thick, dark hair. She noticed the outline of the broad shoulders, tapering to a narrow waist and long, lean legs.

Good God, she was checking out their unbelievably gorgeous rescuer.

And she was dressed in pregnancy jeans with a Spider-Man shoelace holding her Ronald McDonald hair up.

Chapter Two

Evan stared at the woman who’d been in his mind, his memories, for a year.

The same woman he’d saved from a car wreck.

When he’d run to the car that was filled with smoke, he’d had no idea what condition the occupants would be in. His heart had stopped, seeing the woman lying motionless, her face bloody as he climbed into the car. Adrenaline had kicked in. And when he saw the little boy in the backseat, something in his gut had propelled him to work faster, harder. Failure hadn’t been an option. But he’d been seconds too late, and now he was left to deal with the repercussions. His injured hand clenched in his pocket. His girlfriend and fellow surgeon, Alexandra, had left him, disgusted that his career had to be put on hold due to his injuries and they were no longer professional equals.

In the hospital, during his grueling recovery, he’d have nightmares of the woman and her little boy. He’d dream they both died. He’d hear their cries mixed with his. The staff at the hospital he’d been sent to reassured him the woman and child were fine. That was all he needed to know.

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