She shivered as she recalled the way it had felt to be in his arms.

“I’ll get her to bed,” Derek said. He stood up and gently scooped Mo into his arms and carried her to the bedroom.

Evelyn shut off The Unicorn Princess.

Get control of yourself, Evelyn. He’s off-limits.

Derek came out of the bedroom and shut the door. He headed for the kitchen and then produced a small bottle of wine.

“Where did you get that?” Evelyn asked.

“In the café when we got dinner. We have a nice little kitchen here, and I thought that after today, and you having to endure The Unicorn Princess while I showered, you could do with an adult beverage.”

Evelyn chuckled. “Thanks. Yes, I definitely could.”

Derek poured white wine into two tumblers and joined Evelyn on the couch. “Cheers, then.”

Their glasses clinked and they both took a sip.

“Hey, I want to thank you for watching Mo. I rarely get a chance to be away from her and I never have help…it was nice that she had someone else to focus on today.”

“I don’t mind. She’s wonderful—tiring, but wonderful.”

Derek laughed softly. “Did you never want to settle down and have kids? I mean, you mentioned not even picking another job.”

“I never really thought about kids.”


“No serious relationships since Nathan?” he asked.

She downed the rest of her wine. “No. Still not ready.”


“Oh.” Derek finished his own wine and settled back against the couch.

“And what about you? How long has Mo’s mother been gone?”

“Five years.”

“And?” Evelyn asked.

He shrugged. “I haven’t had much time, what with raising a baby on my own and my work… My wife died during a snowstorm after giving birth to Mo in our kitchen. Uterine rupture and she bled out. There was nothing I could do to save her. She died in my arms. By the time we got her to Sitka she’d lost too much blood and she went into organ failure. And I was left with this tiny baby…this little girl…and I was alone.” Derek clenched his fist. “I didn’t get a chance to grieve. Mo was a newborn and I just had to keep going.”

“I’m sorry.”

And she was. Taking care of a practice and a newborn must’ve been hard. She’d watched her father for years doing the same and she’d been older. She was sympathetic.

“I understand,” she said.

His expression softened to one of appreciation. “I know. You don’t pity me and I appreciate it.”

“Why would I pity you?”

“So many do.” He sighed. “It’s tiring.”

“I admire you.”

Their gazes locked and her cheeks flushed with warmth from the blush she was sure was there.

Derek cleared his throat. “This is why I fight constantly for a hospital—so other people don’t have to feel the agony that I felt when I lost Vivian. When I wasn’t a good enough doctor to save my own wife.”

“It wasn’t your fault, Derek. What happened to Vivian was rare, but it happens. I’m sorry that it did. I understand.”

“I appreciate you listening to me,” he said. “No one seems to want to listen. They just offer condolences, pity, and move on.”

“No problem,” she said gently. “I’m here.”

“Yeah and it’s been nice.”

Her pulse quickened. “Yes. It has been nice.”

So nice.

“It’s not just that, though, that’s been bothering me.”

He took her glass and set it down. His eyes were intense again and she trembled as he moved closer to her.

“What else is bothering you?” she asked, blood thundering in her ears.

“It’s wanting you. I want you, Evelyn, and even though I know you’re leaving, and I shouldn’t… I want you.”

His admission caught her off guard, and made her head spin. “What…?”

“I have been numb for so long and you—you make me feel something again. Anger, frustration and yearning. Dammit, Evelyn, you’re the most beautiful, stubborn, sexy woman who’s walked into Wolf’s Harbor in so long, and I’ve been trying to fight the urge to kiss you again.”

The butterflies in her stomach were swirling around and her body burned with need. Something she’d never really felt before with any other man.

Don’t let him in. Keep him at bay. You’re leaving. You can’t stay.

Only she didn’t listen to that voice in her head. She wanted to feel as well. She’d been numb for so long too. Derek was the only man to evoke this kind of intense, burning desire in her and she wanted him too.