More than a Convenient Bride

More than a Convenient Bride
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A story of friends…with marriage benefits by USA TODAY bestselling author Michelle CelmerAfter all they’ve been through following the tornado that hit their Texas town, there’s no way Dr. Lucas Wakefield will let his best friend, Julie Kingston, leave because of a green card snafu. The only solution is to propose marriage. But what starts as a platonic arrangement quickly blooms into red-hot desire—until Luc’s ex-fiancée returns to reclaim her man and Julie questions whether happily ever after is in the cards. Good thing Luc has no intention of giving up his passionate new bride without a fight!

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“We’re married now,” Julie said. “I figured you would at least hug me good-night or something.”

“You don’t want me to do that,” Luc replied. “Suffice it to say, I’m a little…overstimulated.”

“So you’re turned on.”

She looked in his eyes and—Whoa. The heat smoldering in their dark depths could have burned a hole through her dress. Her heart flip-flopped, making her pulse race and her mouth go dry.

“You want the truth?” he said.

She nodded.

He leaned in just a little closer. “I wanted everyone to leave the reception so I could lock the door, strip you naked and lick wedding cake off every inch of your body.”

Oh, boy. “Every inch?”

He grinned. “Every inch. However,” he added, “friends don’t do that.”

“Some friends do. And I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that we have to consummate the marriage to make it official and legally binding.”

* * *

More Than a Convenient Bride is part of the series Texas Cattleman’s Club: After the Storm—As a Texas town rebuilds, love heals all wounds…

More Than A Convenient Bride

Michelle Celmer

MICHELLE CELMER is a bestselling author of more than thirty books. When she’s not writing, she likes to spend time with her husband, kids, grandchildren and a menagerie of animals.

Michelle loves to hear from readers. Visit her website,, like her on Facebook or write her at PO Box 300, Clawson, MI 48017, USA.

To Best Friends

Julie Kingston stood and waited in the crowd, her heart overflowing with pride as her best friend and colleague, Lucas Wakefield, prepared to cut the ribbon marking the opening of the new, state-of-the-art Wakefield Clinic. It seemed as though the entire town of Royal, Texas, had shown up to mark the occasion.

The town’s original free clinic once stood directly in the path of the F5 tornado that had ripped through Royal last October. In the blink of an eye, all that had remained of the structure was the concrete foundation. Patients from all over the surrounding counties had lost an important lifeline in the community.

Lucas, who had been a regular volunteer there despite his duties as chief of surgery at Royal Memorial Hospital, hadn’t hesitated to donate the money to rebuild, using some of the proceeds from the sales and licensing of surgical equipment he’d invented several years ago.

Humble as he was for a multimillionaire, he’d intended to keep his identity as the donor a secret, but someone leaked the truth, and the news spread through Royal like wildfire. The town council had immediately wanted to rename the clinic in his honor. But of course Luc had protested when he’d heard about plans for the Lucas Wakefield Clinic.

“This clinic doesn’t belong to me,” he’d told Julie when she’d tried to convince him that he was being ridiculous. “It belongs to the people.”

“This is a huge deal,” she’d argued time and again. “You donated millions of dollars.”

He gave her his usual, what’s-your-point shrug, as if he truly didn’t understand the scope of his own good will. For a man of his wealth and breeding he lived a fairly simple life. “It was the right thing to do.”

And that was Luc in a nutshell. He always did the right thing, constantly putting the well-being of others first. But finally, after much debate, and a whole lot of coercing from his mother, Elizabeth, Julie and his colleagues in the Texas Cattleman’s Club, he relented, allowing the use of his last name only.

Julie smiled and shook her head as she thought back on it. Lucas was the most philanthropic, humble man she had ever known. And at times, the most stubborn, as well.

Luc looked out over the crowd, and when his eyes snagged on hers she flashed him a reassuring smile. Despite his dynamic presence, and easy way with his patients and coworkers, he despised being the center of attention.

To his left stood Stella Daniels, the town’s acting mayor. To his right, Stella’s new husband, Aaron Nichols, whose company R&N Builders rebuilt the clinic. In the six months since the storm, the town’s recovery had been slow but steady, and now it seemed as if every week a new business would reopen or a family would move back into their home.

“I’m so proud,” Elizabeth Wakefield said, dabbing away a tear with the corner of a handkerchief. Julie knelt beside the wheelchair Elizabeth had been forced to use since a botched surgery a decade ago left her paralyzed from the waist down. In the months since Julie came to Royal last October, Elizabeth had contracted a multitude of infections that led to numerous hospital stays, and she now required permanent, round-the-clock care from a registered nurse. Though she was a beautiful and proud woman, she looked every one of her sixty-eight years, and a recent hospital stay for viral pneumonia had left her weak and vulnerable. Originally Luc forbade her from attending the ribbon cutting, but she insisted she be there. After much debate, he eventually caved, and it was more than clear to Julie where he inherited his stubborn streak.

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