The Doctor's Fake Fiancée

By: Victoria James

His deep voice was filled with confidence, his gaze unwavering. She crossed her arms and ignored the flush that was making its way up her neck at the mention of them being in love. “I’m not a great liar—”

“This isn’t a lie that will hurt anyone. Most likely no one at the gala will even speak to you. And you don’t have to lie to my family.”

She frowned, thinking. She would be helping out the man who had saved their lives; she would get a steady job. After the accident, she’d had to quit full-time work because Christopher had needed so much care. He’d been in the hospital for a month. Financially, she’d barely been holding on before, and after, she’d resorted to cutting so many corners, it had felt like they’d previously been living in luxury. She’d never forget the night Chris was discharged from the hospital, and instead of taking him home to his own bed, they had been greeted by a lock on their front door. She’d been a few weeks behind on rent and the landlord had locked them out. The next morning she’d begged him and they’d regained access by Grace withdrawing money from her credit cards to pay rent. The rest of the year all she’d been able to manage was part-time work, but then they’d let her go last week. She couldn’t keep living so close to the edge. Not with Christopher. Today’s job interview in Toronto was for a full-time position. But what Evan was offering…

“It’s one month. Then I’ll be back in Toronto, and Dr. Chalmers will be here. He’s great to work for. And there’s an impressive benefits package. I also know a nice house I can get for you and your son for a few months. It’s on the river. It’s been newly renovated and restored. It’s even fully furnished, because the house is staged for sale.”

She broke his stare and looked down at her shoes. She was torn between embarrassment and elation. A furnished house on the river? Full benefits? “That doesn’t really sound like something I could afford—”

“I know the owners. You tell me what you can pay, and I’ll see to the rest.”

Her heart pounded. This was too good to be true. “What about school for my son?”

“Great elementary school in town. My niece goes there. She’s about his age. I’m sure you can get him in there next week. People in Red River are really accommodating, friendly. If they can’t take him on Monday, you can bring him with you to work.”

This was absurd…and compelling. It would mean doing something impulsive. But it would also mean a steady income, a place to live, and a new start. After the year they’d had, maybe this was just what they needed. “Well, I need to see the school. I can’t just stick him in any old place. It’s not that he even liked his other school, really—”

“Go today. I’m sure they’ll give you a tour. Oh and uh,” he cleared his throat, his blue eyes doing a rapid perusal of her from head to toe, “you need to dress for the job.”

She glanced down at her clothes and tried not to look embarrassed. She hadn’t exactly dressed to impress. And it was pretty obvious she was so not the woman a man like Evan Manning would date, let alone be engaged to. “I used to wear scrubs at the other office.”

“Not here. Just business casual. Fridays are usually even more casual.”

Business casual. The closest she had to that was broke-mom casual, and that would not do. But she also didn’t have the spare cash lying around to invest in a new wardrobe.

“I also need you to dress for your job as my fiancée.”

Her mortification peaked to an all-time high, and she couldn’t help but pat her hair gently. Maybe at one time she’d have been insulted, but she knew she wasn’t the type of woman Dr. Manning would date, and there was no point in being egotistical about it. “How exactly would your fiancée dress?”

He gave her a dispassionate once-over, and she fought the urge to cross her arms defensively. Again, this didn’t matter. This was not a personal thing. Obviously the man could attract anyone he wanted, so it would be unbelievable for him to have a frumpy, ho-hum fiancée. “Feminine. Stylish. Sophisticated.”

Those were three adjectives that could in no way describe any of the clothes in her small closet at the moment. Really, what did she wear? When she had her medical-receptionist job, most of the girls wore scrubs, which had been great for her, because she could buy them super cheap. But what he was asking she did not have the budget for. Her cheeks warmed like her old toaster oven about to overheat. They were not in the same league at all.

“I’m not really sure I have the clothes—”

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