Whatever it was, she knew it couldn’t continue—and if other people were noticing it then Mo might notice it, and she couldn’t let that happen.
“I will not humiliate you further, Dr. Pearson, but be advised that I have reported your inaction to the Alaska Health Board and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Small town or not, the people of Wolf’s Harbor matter.”
Mark opened his mouth to say something further, but instead spun around on his heel and stormed off.
Evelyn took a deep breath, trying to calm her ire. Her pulse was thundering in her ears and she was still fuming.
Mark had basically written off the people of Wolf’s Harbor because he felt they were backward for wanting to live a simpler life. He obviously didn’t know that he was messing with a Wolf’s Harbor native.
And really he didn’t need to know that.
It wouldn’t make any difference anyway.
She took another deep calming breath. She needed to focus. She had a job to do. A delicate procedure. And she wasn’t going to let someone like that get into her head and screw it up.
* * *
Derek purposely kept away from the hospital because he didn’t want to distract Evelyn.
Oh, who are you kidding? You don’t want to be distracted by her.
Last night, walking her home, when they had been staring up at the northern lights all he’d wanted to do was take her in his arms and kiss her. And he’d done just that because he hadn’t been able to control himself.
The scent of her hair was still burned into his brain.
The feel of her soft lips against his.
The way his blood had burned with desire for her.
How he’d wanted her even more.
And for the life of him he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had so much fun. When he’d felt unburdened and free.
It was nice.
It had been a long time since he’d cut loose.
Mo’s grandparents took her a lot during the summer, but he never really enjoyed himself without her. Usually, he was lonely with her gone and would work to fill the void.
He was still missing Mo, but it had been nice spending the evening with Evelyn and watching her handle the two other surgeons. It was a side of her he quite liked.
Strong-willed, stubborn and headstrong.
She had backbone and integrity.
He admired that in her.
So what was he so afraid of?
Having his heart broken again and, worse, having Mo go through the pain of losing someone she loved.
It was better to keep his distance. He must have temporarily lost his mind last night, when he’d taken her in his arms and kissed her.
He went up to the hospital to see if Evelyn wanted to have some dinner and to ask how the procedure had gone. He found her in the obstetrical patients’ wing at the charge station, charting and grinding her teeth.
Derek frowned, hoping that nothing had happened to Jennifer and Joe’s baby.
“Evelyn?” he said cautiously.
She glanced up and then smiled, but the smile was brief. “Oh, hey. Where have you been all day?”
“Keeping out of your hair,” he said. “Is everything okay?”
“Yes, why would you…? Oh.” She shook her head and tsked under her breath. “Just a run-in with Mark before the procedure. It set me on edge.”
“How is Jennifer doing?”
“Good. She came through with flying colors. The baby’s heartbeat is strong. Now I’m just waiting on the testing of the fluid. Joe and Jennifer are staying here until Wednesday, but they’re in good hands if she goes into labor. We can head back to Wolf’s Harbor tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I got a message from Janet that there’s a new pregnant patient in town and she’s quite nervous.”
“They always are.” Evelyn chuckled. “Not that I blame them. I’d be terrified.”
The words surprised him. “You don’t want kids?”
“No,” she said. “I like kids but…it’s terrifying.”
He was disappointed in her response, and then he was annoyed with himself for caring and for thinking about her constantly. What was going on with him?
“I came by to see if you wanted some dinner.”
“I would love some,” she said. “Where are you thinking?”
“The hotel restaurant? You should really get some rest before the long drive back to Wolf’s Harbor. And we have to pick up Mo on our way out of town.”
“Okay, let me go and make one last check on Joe and Jennifer and then I’ll change out of these scrubs. It’s going to take a couple of days for the labs to run the amniotic fluid. I can’t sit around here waiting, though I want to. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Derek was relieved that Jennifer Yazzie had come through the procedure with flying colors, but he had never doubted that she would—not with Evelyn taking care of it.