The Doctor's Fake Fiancée

By: Victoria James

Grace took a deep breath as all eyes slowly turned to look to the back of the aisle. The outdoor ceremony was the perfect setting for them. The property, the beautiful New England- style home was now theirs, the vast yard sweeping down to the river the only place she’d wanted to be married.

Dusk had settled and rows of gold Chiavari chairs had been laid out on the grass. Oversized white lanterns flanked each row, and a white runner led to the gazebo Evan had custom-built for today. The air smelled of spring blossoms and lilacs.

“Mommy, I think we’re supposed to walk to Daddy now,” Christopher whispered.

She smiled down at him and squeezed his hand. His little tuxedo made him look ever more the man, and she’d fought tears as she’d gotten him dressed for the wedding this afternoon.

They slowly walked down the aisle, toward the man that made them a whole family. He’d claimed Christopher as his and loved him unconditionally. Evan had made her dreams for Christopher come true.

As she passed faces of people that only a few months ago had been strangers, a warmth and sense of gratitude enveloped her. All these people, this town had swallowed her, taken her and Christopher in and given them what they’d always really wanted—a home. Grace’s eyes were firmly locked on Evan’s.

She clutched her bouquet of roses tightly as Evan gave her a slight smile. Her body came to life as his eyes wandered over her. He was breathtaking in his dark suit and white shirt, with a blue tie that only intensified the color of his eyes.

Evan Manning had rescued them once, he’d restored her faith, and he’d given them all of himself. He was the man in her sketchbook, in her heart, in her soul.

Evan smiled, blinking past the emotion that clouded his eyes as Grace and Christopher walked toward him. His entire family stood at the altar. Family. They were all his family. The people that he’d been so quick to dismiss at one point in his life, were now his entire life.

Jake’s hand briefly touched his shoulder as Grace and Christopher appeared at the top of the aisle. Evan looked past the smiling faces of the guests, the pink and white flowers lining the aisle, Eunice Jacobs’s bright orange hat, passed Dr. Chalmers, to the two people that encompassed his entire world. Grace’s eyes were steady, locked on his, the love brimming from the emerald depths obvious even with the distance. She looked down at Christopher for a moment, who gave her a smile, and then they walked toward him. His son smiled at him and gave him a wave as he held Grace’s hand and made their way down the aisle.

Jake leaned forward. “And here we are, at yet another wedding. What was it you said about Eunice’s being the last wedding you’d ever attend with us?”

Evan grinned and turned his head to look at Jake. Today, he didn’t need a smart-ass retort. He could give one, but he didn’t need to. Today was all about Grace and Christopher and the new life they were officially starting.

Quinn slapped him on the back. “I knew the second those words came out of your mouth you were screwed.”

He smiled as his brothers stepped back and Grace and Christopher stepped forward.

Evan knew that despite everything, all the times Grace claimed that he’d saved them, the young woman and child walking toward him had done the saving. They forced him to be the man he truly wanted to be. These people, this town, they were in his blood. He had no reason to run anymore and all the reasons to stay here forever.

Grace and Christopher finally stood in front of him, and he stepped down, grasping each of their hands in his.

“You look beautiful,” he whispered in Grace’s ear. She smiled up at him, and he knew. He knew he’d found his salvation in Grace.

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To Tracy, my editor:

Thank you for your endless patience, diligence, and enthusiasm. You truly understood Red River and all its quirky characters. It was such a joy to work with you!



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