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“We could,” James said. “But that would really defeat the purpose of the campaign. Not to mention that they’re going to see your face eventually.”

“It’s all local,” Duncan said. “Mostly in the Denver metro area and that’s it. And we’re not going to do a press junket or force you to make TikTok videos or anything like that.”

I obviously had my reasons to not want to plaster my face front and center in a social media campaign. All the same, I was aware of how my hesitation might come off.

“It’s fine,” I said, forcing a smile. “I’ve just seen so many of the younger staff at my old hospital get sucked into social media. Always wanted to stay away from that world.”

“Totally understandable,” Duncan reassured. “We all got into medicine to help people, not to start Instagram pages. Some people just aren’t into social media and I’m one of them. All you’d have to do is come to a photoshoot so we can get some good pictures of you and that’s it. We’ll take care of the rest.”

“That sounds manageable,” I replied. “And if it helps me get settled in Evergreen, then why not?”

Duncan smiled and nodded, pleased with my answer. “It will. And I’d appreciate it.”

James regarded me with skepticism, however. “Speaking of your old hospital, when I called to speak to your supervising doctor about your tenure there, she mentioned that you left on very short notice.”

“What can I say? After speaking to Duncan, I was eager to get started on my new path. And I’m sure Dr. Ruben mentioned that I made sure there was plenty of staff to cover me when I left. She was more than eager to see me move onto the next stage in my career.”

Duncan grinned. “Hope you’re not taking James’ questions personally. All standard practice.”

“Not at all, it’s totally understandable.”

“Great,” Duncan said. “Then let’s get into the nitty-gritty—duties, starting date, that sort of thing…”

The rest of the lunch went well. Duncan and James discussed the finer points of the job, like how I’d be in charge of putting together a staff, doing all the hiring. Turned out that the hospital needed a little more work, so until it opened in a couple of months, they’d be cycling me around Denver, putting me where I was needed and letting me get to know the staff of Pitt Medical.

“Looking forward to having you on board,” Duncan said as we departed. “Got a feeling you’re going to be a huge asset.”

“And I’m looking forward to getting started.”

“Happy to have you,” James echoed. However, there was a slight glimmer to his eye that suggested he was still curious about my background.

We shook hands and went our separate ways, with plans to reconnect the following day to discuss next steps.

The moment I was alone, however, something happened to push thoughts of my new job right out of my head.

The blonde, the same one I’d seen in the restaurant not too long ago, was across the street. And she wasn’t alone. Once more her back was to me as she faced another woman. The two of them chatted for a moment before heading down the sidewalk. I craned my neck to get a better glimpse of her, hoping to see her face.

More traffic arrived, however, once again blocking my view and preventing me from seeing her. The traffic cleared just in time for me to watch the pair turn the corner of the nearest block and vanish.

What was the deal with this woman? Why had I been so drawn to her?

She reminded me of New York, how I’d imagined seeing Georgia over and over. As I turned to head back to my car, I found myself wondering if I’d ever manage to get her out of my head.

Chapter 13


Five months later…

My belly felt tight.

Sitting back from my computer, I placed my hands on my stomach and opened and closed my eyes. I could feel the girls going crazy in there, squirming back and forth like they were playing tug of war.

“Calm down, ladies,” I said. “Stay chill for another month longer, alright?”

The latest draft forMaster and Minotaurwas in front of me, but it was getting well into the evening, and I was having a damn hard time focusing. With no small amount of effort, I heaved myself out of my seat and made my way to the kitchen. My waddle was out of control, like my whole body was swaying back and forth with each step I took. Part of me felt like I was going to drop through the floor of my third-floor condo.

I made it to the kitchen, giving myself a moment to recover by placing my hand on the counter and taking several deep breaths.

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