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“Listen, you’re a gorgeous girl from what I can see behind the mask but tonight, I’m just not—”

“Hey!”

A booming voice cutting through the classical music coming from the band on stage and the din of the crowd caught my attention. I looked in the direction of the noise and spotted Finn. He was dressed in a black tuxedo, a matching black mask on his face that made him look like Zorro.

“There you are old man!” he stepped over to me and clapped his hand down hard on my shoulder. “Been looking everywhere for your ancient arse!” His voice was thick with the same Dublin brogue that I spoke with.

“Ancient?” I asked, putting some mock outrage to my tone. “Get off it, man – I’m what, eight years older than you?”

“Aye,” he replied with a grin. “Old enough to have some salt and pepper in your hair.”

The woman smiled.

“I think it’s sexy.”

“Oh, I’m sure you do, love,” Finn said. “Crow’s feet or not, this man’s been beating ‘em off with a stick since we were in secondary school.”

The woman grinned even more broadly.

“Oh my God, listen to you two! I feel like I’m in the middle of Dublin instead of Denver.”

“Well, I hope you enjoyed it while you could, love,” Finn said. “Because I’ve got to steal this tall drink of water away from you.”

Relief washed over me. “Aye? What’s the craic?”

Her eyes lit up as she pointed at us. “You said it! Like they did in the show!”

I kept my attention on Finn as he spoke. “Private conversation, sad to say. This man’s the newest doctor at Pitt Medical – got to go over a few things with him before the night’s over.”

The excitement on the woman’s face turned to disappointment.

“That’s boring. You’re really going to talk about work stuff during a party?”

“I am indeed,” Finn said. “Being a doctor’s not all glamour, you know.” He flicked his green eyes onto me. “Now, mind if I peel you away from the lass?”

“Sure, sure.”

I shrugged, giving the woman a, “sorry, but what can I do?” look as I walked off with Finn. Moments later we were back in the crowd, making our way through the tight knots of the city’s elite.

Even with the masks, I could still make out some familiar, famous faces – the DA and the Mayor, for starters. Pitt Medical was absolutely huge, and when Duncan and his team threw a party, it was always a successful turnout.

The DA went out of his way to give me a nod and a wave. My daughter, Cammy, worked at his office, so we’d met each other more than a few times.

“You know,” Finn said as he led me through the party with his arm around my shoulder. “That has to have been about the most damn pathetic sight I’ve ever seen in all my years on this earth.”

“What’s this about?” I asked. I glanced up to see that he was leading us to the bar. Good thing, too – my drink was almost gone.

“Noah bloody McMurray, I swear to Christ. You had one of the most gorgeous women at this party ready for a ravishing and you appeared as if she was trying to sell life insurance or some such.”

I put together at what he was getting. “Finn, don’t tell me you were watching the entire time.”

“Of course, I was! I looked up and saw you and that sexy little thing and started wondering, could this be the night that my nearly celibate friend is going to actually make a connection with a woman? I swear, for a second, I thought I saw the old Noah, the one who’d left a trail of broken hearts through Oxford during our premed years. Then, I got a closer look, saw underneath that mask of yours,” he reached up and gave my red and gold mask a tug, “that you couldn’t have been more bored.”

We arrived at the bar, and he raised his hand. A black-clad bartender hurried over, and Finn quickly ordered a couple of whiskeys.

“I wasn’t bored,” I said. “I just…wasn’t all that interested in talking.”

“Uh-huh,” he sarcastically replied. “In other words, you were bored.”

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