Read Chapter One of A Fairy Tale Wedding…

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW • AVAILABLE 29TH

CHAPTER ONE

Lucas

One Month Earlier

“Good morning, Mom, Dad,” I said as I walked into our family kitchen.

As usual, Mom was frying up her famous omelets while Dad poured a cup of coffee and settled at the kitchen table with the newspaper. I smiled at the scene that brought back so many childhood memories.

The table alone was nostalgic, being the center of some of our most memorable times as a family. I was four years older than Emma and eight years older than Sarah, but we still had plenty of fun times playing games, doing homework, and eating meals on that old wooden table. 

I was sixteen when my brother, Dylan, was born, so I didn’t have the same relationship with him that I had with my sisters. I felt protective over him, but the age difference made things seem different, and it wasn’t like a usual brotherly relationship.

Another smile came to my face as I remembered the day Mom had caught us using knives to carve our initials in the corner of the big table. I’d expected her to be mad about the marks, but we were really in more trouble for using knives without supervision than we were for doing the carving. I chuckled, noticing that I could still see our first initials in the wood. We had only gotten that far before we were caught.

As the years passed, I would often see Mom running her finger over them when she didn’t think anyone was watching.

Mom finished plating the omelets and set three of them down on the table before looking at me. “Lucas, I am worried about you.”

I still couldn’t get used to hearing my real name come from a family members’ mouth, even my own mother’s. For so many years they had all called me Bubba, but now that I was an adult who was about to become a doctor, the family had finally started calling me my real name—Lucas. Well, occasionally Emma slipped up, but that was Emma being Emma.

Once I recovered from hearing my actual name, I wondered why they were worried. I hated to see Mom looking anxious about anything. She was such a wonderful woman with a big heart and caring soul, and I never wanted her to worry at all, much less know that I was the cause of it.

“Dad and I have been discussing some ways we can help,” she said.

I grabbed a cup of black coffee and sat down at the table. The scent of the omelet made my stomach rumble a bit. “Mom, I don’t want either of you worrying about me. I went to the police station yesterday and officially took out a restraining order on Candy. I’m sure she will back off now.”

What a mess dating Candy had turned out to be. I guess it was difficult to truly know someone, but I really had thought that Candy was a good person deep down. It turned out that I was a poor judge of character in this instance. What had seemed like cute, quirky remarks that were easy to dismiss had turned into a full-blown nightmare.

“I start my internship next week, and I’ll be very busy,” I continued. “Spending all my time at the hospital and having the restraining order will help keep Candy from doing all her crazy tricks. I’m hoping she just moves on and finds something else to waste her time on.”

Dad spoke up, gently setting down his cup of coffee. The look on his face told me that I should be worried, so I held off on taking the bite of omelet, waiting for him to speak.

“I talked to Dale, and to be honest, they are worried about not having this relationship handled by now,” Dad said.

Dale was the head of the hospital in Billings, and he was a good friend of my dad. If Dale was concerned about me, I knew it could be a problem.

“It seems Candy and her father are causing some issues at the hospital, and I’m afraid your name is involved,” Dad said.

I sighed, suddenly losing my appetite. Candy knew how important my career was to me. I knew she had been spreading rumors, but I didn’t know it had reached the ER department where I would be doing my internship. She was really desperate for attention if she was going after the one thing that was important to me.

I also wondered what her father had to do with any of it. It was one thing to have Candy acting out, but her father had always seemed more reasonable, with a good head on his shoulders.

I guess my character-judging abilities failed me there as well.

Looking up at Dad, I saw the look of concern on his face. I’d seen that look before whenever he suspected that I was making a poor decision. That didn’t happen often thankfully. Dad and I had a great relationship. I was one of those kids who wanted to grow up to be just like my dad. It was why I went into medicine, and Dad had supported my choice all along the way.

Growing up with Dr. Cliff Bodin had its blessings and trials. He was one of the most famous cancer research physicians and surgeons in the US. That could be intimidating, especially since I was following in his footsteps, and he was a tough act to follow. But he was also a very loving and compassionate man, which was why his patients loved him so much. Those same hands that healed others guided me without complaint whenever I needed assistance. No matter how busy he was, he always found time to help me.

But the next words Dad spoke shocked me to the core. “Dale and I—and your mom—feel that it would be better if you chose a hospital away from Billings to do your year internship.”

I felt like my heart was dropping out of my chest, and I was momentarily speechless. For years, I’d planned on completing my internship at the Billings hospital. I’d targeted my specialty to those facilities and never even thought about going anywhere else. It also helped that it was close to home so that I didn’t have to move away to some strange city where I would need to start from scratch.

The idea of losing that opportunity infuriated me.

“Are you kidding, Dad?” I asked. “Where else could I go on such short notice? Why should I let her run me off from all the plans I made, from my career I’ve worked so hard to achieve? I am a grown man. I can fix this. I am not going to leave town because of her.”

“Lucas, we talked to Andy yesterday,” Mom said. “We needed to get to the bottom of this. How much do you really know about Candy and her family?”

“Mom, I don’t get involved in my date’s family life,” I explained. “I’m not looking for a long-term relationship. I’m too busy with my studies and my internship to have any time for that. I’ve dated Candy longer than most, that much is true, but it was never anything but casual dating, and she knew that. I never implied that we were anything serious. I thought she understood that, and at first, she never gave me any indication that she didn’t. She can actually be a lot of fun when she’s not being psychotic. We had some good times together, I’ll admit.”

“Lucas,” Dad said. “Andy did some research for me on her family.”

I wondered when Dad had brought Andy into all this. He was a detective for the Billings Police Department and a college roommate of Dad’s, many years ago.

“And?” I asked.

“Andy said her father may have ties to some illegal activities they have been watching for the past year now,” he said.

“What?” I couldn’t believe my ears.

Dad continued. “Andy believes her father is in charge of that activity, but he can’t get enough evidence yet.”

“Dad, the only thing I know about her father is that he runs one of the most famous hotels here in Billings,” I said. “I’ve never heard of him being involved with any illegal activity, and I never heard any rumors about anything like that, either.”

“I am afraid, son, that this time, your fun and games with the fish in the sea approach has put you in a dangerous situation,” Dad said seriously. “It seems your breakup with Candy has pushed her closer to the edge.”

Mom spoke up. “Anyway, we all believe it’s best if you chose a hospital to do your internship that is out of the way and safer for you.”

The shock of it all had faded, but it was replaced with dejection. I had no idea how I was going to handle things. I really needed that internship to move forward with my medical career, and for a moment, my future as a doctor seemed up in the air.

Things couldn’t have been worse.

“Lucas, we have a solution,” Dad said.

At that, I perked up and listened attentively.

“I talked to Dr. Sophie Robertson a few days ago,” he explained. “She’s taking on two new interns this year, and as a favor to me, she decided to take on one more, if you are willing.”

“Dr. Robertson? Where have I heard that name before?” I’d said it aloud but was mostly asking myself.

“She was in New York for a few years and built an impressive career there, but last July, she transferred to Holly Well Springs General,” Dad said. “She’s now the head of the ER department.”

I was shocked, to say the least, and I looked back and forth between my parents. “Are you saying you want me to give up my internship here and go to Holly Well Springs? Do they even have a hospital?” 

I knew they did, of course, because we’d visited the little town that had Christmas all year long many times as I was growing up. And when I was eight, I’d tried to climb the town’s giant Christmas tree and fell. I broke my arm that day and spent a few hours in the ER there.

“What kind of hospital could they have?” I asked. “That town is so small that they’d be lucky to have more than bandages and tape there. I need to do my internship in a state-of-the-art facility, or I’ll never be able to compete in this field. No, I won’t do it.”

Dad had just started to open his mouth to say something else when something came crashing through the big kitchen window.

Glass shattered everywhere. Mom screamed and Dad leaned in, put his arms around her, and covered her head to protect her from all the flying glass.

I felt several stings on my arm and back that I knew would be cuts, but luckily, the three of us were not seriously hurt.

It took a minute of self-checking before we confirmed as much, and we all looked around to find that the window to the kitchen had shattered and glass was everywhere. In the middle of the floor was a big rock with a paper wrapped around it.

I picked it up and unwrapped the paper, and my eyes went wide. Inside was a picture of me with a drawing of a knife aimed toward my heart.

“Don’t think a restraining order will protect you,” it read. “And I really don’t think your family is safe. If I can’t have you, I will make sure that no one else does.”

Fear and anger welled up in me, and I couldn’t decide which was the stronger feeling. Then I looked over at my parents and knew that I had put them in this situation, so I had to fix it. I couldn’t put my family in danger anymore.

I looked from them to the new piece of paper Dad had put before me—a contract with Holly Well Springs General for a one-year internship.

Do I really have an option?

I could just hear Emma’s voice in my head. “Wow, Bubba, you sure know how to pick ‘em!”

 

 

2 thoughts on “Read Chapter One of A Fairy Tale Wedding…”

  1. When a reader started this series..at first thought I felt drawn into this world! I wish you didn’t end the series— I’m sure you need to expand into other characters — I mean this compliment I actually fell into each character you wrote in This series — not often I can say that..you made a family member of this series! Thanks …I will enjoy this next week

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *