“Oh good, you’re still here.” Teddy Thompkins, the second-year surgical resident at Boston City Hospital, barreled through the door of the doctors’ lounge and into the open chair next to Dr. Galen Burgess.

“Where else would I be?” Galen didn’t look up from her computer screen. It was already seven thirty pm, and she had at least another couple of hours’ worth of notes to catch up on before she even thought about going home. She paid little mind when the door opened again, even when a chorus of voices sang from behind her. The residents’ lounge was like a turnstile for young doctors in any and all state of mind and body. Singing was hardly unusual.

“For she’s a jolly good fellow…” Galen finally spun her chair around to see what the ruckus was all about, only to find three of the other residents on her team standing expectantly in front of her holding a mammoth cake with even bigger smiles on their faces.

“Congratulations, Chief,” Teddy gushed, filling in the silence left by the decrescendo of their off-key melody.

Congratulations? For the life of her, Galen couldn’t come up with anything she or her friends had to celebrate.

“What are you jerks all worked up about now?” she asked.

“You haven’t heard yet?” Carly, the sweet, mousy Intern with the world’s curliest hair, asked.

“Heard what?”

“Of course she hasn’t,” Teddy said. “Too busy saving lives all day.”

“You’re such an ass-kisser.” Carly stuck out her tongue at him.

“I really have no idea what you guys are talking about. I was in a whipple all day with Mueler and just finished an add-on lap chole that wasn’t supposed to go to the OR until tomorrow. Now, if someone wouldn’t mind filling me in…”

“You’re chief resident!” Teddy nearly exploded, seemingly eager to be the first to share the news with his best friend of the last couple of years. 

Chief resident? The words sounded jumbled and foreign, and Galen struggled to make sense of them with a mind surviving on two hours of sleep and too busy sorting out antibiotic choices for an abdominal abscess on the floor upstairs.

“I am?” she whispered.

“Have you practiced sounding surprised?” Carly was teasing her.

“I forgot they were announcing it today…”

“Come on, cut your cake. We spent a lot of money on this thing,” Teddy said. “And then, we’re going out for drinks. Lots and lots of drinks.”

Galen smiled, just a little at first, and then more and more until her grin felt like it might actually take over her entire face. “Anyone have a knife?”

The group looked at each other blankly and then began patting down the pockets of their white coats.

“A whole room full of surgeons, and not a single one has a knife?” Galen couldn’t resist badgering them.

“Here! I’ve got a ten-blade!” Teddy pulled a scalpel out of his locker.

“Good enough.” They laughed as Galen tried to slice the cake with the same precision she used in the OR and dropped the ragged pieces onto a brown paper towel. “And you all better keep your traps shut about these cuts.”

Once they’d finished licking the frosting from their fingers, Galen kicked her feet up on the table and folded her arms behind her head. “That was great. Thanks, guys.” She smiled at them. “Now all of you get out of here so I can finish my notes. Go home. It’s eight thirty.”

Teddy got up first, and the others followed. “Hey, you’re the chief.”

Chief, Galen thought as she looked around the now-empty lounge. I could get used to that.


Chapter One

Nine Months Later


Statistics have shown that more hospital complications happen in July than in any other month. Galen never let that thought get too far away from her when that time came every year.

July 1—the day medical students suddenly become doctors. There’s no good way to transition what are usually essentially children from a position of observer to caretaker, decision maker…lifesaver. But that’s what Galen would be there for. The chief resident is expected to guide the fledgling physicians into the world of medicine with as few casualties as possible. She only hoped she would be up to the task.

“Can you smell that?” Teddy said, pushing his mound of home fries and bacon to the register of the hospital cafeteria.

Galen took a small sip from the steaming cup of coffee in her hand, not caring that it was hot enough to scald the inside of her mouth. She’d been on call all last night and hadn’t dozed off for more than five minutes before the trauma pager went off. A little soft-tissue burn might wake her up some. “What? Your impending heart attack?”

“No. That.” Teddy turned his nose up to the air and sniffed dramatically. “Fresh blood. New interns.”

“Is it July already?” Galen tried her best to sound nonchalant as she handed the cashier a five and walked off with Teddy trailing behind.

“Oh, don’t pretend you’ve forgotten. This is the biggest day of your chiefdom. The time for you to flex your muscles.”

“Thanks, Ted. I was doing a good job not worrying about it too.” Galen hit the button for the elevator, too fatigued to imagine her legs carrying her up the four flights of stairs to the lounge. She loved her job, but it had been a long night with hours spent in the OR trying to repair the lacerated liver of a thirty-year-old woman who’d been hit by a drunk driver on the way home from an AA meeting.

The elevator doors glided open onto the fifth floor, where a strikingly tall man with silver hair and a stern brow stood waiting.

“Good morning, Dr. Burgess,” Galen said coldly. From the first days of her Internship, her father had insisted she call him Dr. Burgess at the hospital. Not that she minded. Henry Burgess was more of an attending to her than he was a parent, anyway. The brief eye contact flooded her with awkwardness, and she quickly snagged her pager off her scrub pants. “I’m sorry. I have to take care of this.”

“Of course. See you in the operating room. And don’t forget, it’s July first.” As if summoned from the bowels of the hospital, the elevator swung back and opened its doors for her father’s always-grand departure.

“How long do you think that fake page trick is going to work on him?” Teddy asked once they’d started walking again.

“Oh, it doesn’t work. Dr. Burg…my father is many things, but stupid is not one of them. He knows as well as I do that there’s no page. But it gets us both out of having to talk to each other any longer.”

“I don’t know how you manage to stand across an OR table from him for hours at a time if you can’t even make small talk in the hallway.” Teddy shook his head.

“That’s different. There’s no small talk in the OR. He does his thing, and I do mine.”

“And what happens when you screw up and he has to tell you what to do? He is your attending, after all.”

“That’s easy,” Galen said, pushing open the door to the lounge. “I never screw up.”




Galen loved everything about being in the OR. She loved the smell of the powder from her sterile gloves. She loved the constant blips from the monitors that meant her patient was doing well under her knife. She loved the pace her pulse increased to when she made that first incision. Even operating with her father couldn’t taint that sensation. In fact, operating was about the only time she liked her father.

Jen, I’ll take a number-eleven blade, please.” Galen let her gaze linger on the petite scrub nurse at the foot of the OR bed just long enough to bring out the crimson around her brow. They were covered with surgical masks and caps, but Galen didn’t need more than her eyes to flirt. 

“Eleven blade, Dr. Burgess.” Jen handed the scalpel to her and glanced at the floor coyly.

Galen’s father cleared his throat. “Are you quite ready to start, then?”

“Yes, sir.” Henry Burgess was more than likely very aware of Galen’s flings. Everyone at Boston City was.

Galen didn’t have to go far to find women. Plenty right there in the hospital were interested in getting to know her better. Jen had been the nurse on a handful of her cases when she asked Galen to get a drink across the street at the bar inside the Hilton one night. She hadn’t made it halfway through her first glass of rosé before whisking Galen upstairs to a room for the rest of the evening. Nights on call can be long, and if the pager remains quiet, there isn’t always a lot to pass the time. Galen never had a hard time finding company, whether it be Jen or someone else. She wasn’t after more than that, and everyone knew it.

“Have you met the interns yet?” Galen’s father never expressed much in the way of emotion. Unless, of course, that emotion was disappointment. He was an expert at disappointment, his favorite target for which, of course, was his daughter.

“Not yet.” Galen didn’t look up from the monitors in front of her as she watched her laparoscopic instruments maneuver gracefully through her patient’s abdominal cavity. 

“And why not? As chief resident, it’s your job now.” For just a micro-second, Galen glanced over to meet her father’s cold glare. Damn it. She corrected herself quickly, but it was already too late. “Dr. Burgess. What is the first rule of laparoscopy?” 

“I’m sorry, sir.” Galen kicked herself under the operating table.

“That’s not what I asked. What is the first rule, Dr. Burgess?”

“The first rule,” she said, careful not to so much as blink, “is don’t ever take your eyes off the monitors.”

“Correct. And what did I just see you do?”

“I took my eyes off the monitors.” Galen knew arguing with her father was like sparking nuclear war. You simply weren’t going to win.

“You’re a fifth-year now, Doctor. Chief resident. You should be setting an example as a surgeon, and as a leader. I expect better from you.”

“Yes, sir.”

They completed the rest of the procedure in near silence. So much for never screwing up.




Rowan Duncan had been waiting for this day as long as she could remember. Or, at least since March 15. Match Day—the day that fourth-year medical students across the country learn where they’ll spend the next three to seven years of their lives. She was a solid student who managed to graduate toward the top third of her class, but residencies are competitive. Especially surgical residencies. And Rowan wanted nothing more than to be a surgeon.

She walked down the seemingly endless hallways of Boston City Hospital like an Amish tourist in downtown Manhattan, still in disbelief that she was actually a doctor, never mind a doctor at one of the best hospitals in the country. The novelty was wearing off quickly, though, as she glanced at her watch and realized she would be late if she didn’t figure out where the hell she was going. She had to ask someone.

“Excuse me?” The next person to cross her path was a tall, young doctor with stern eyes and short, golden-blond hair poking out from underneath her scrub cap.


“I’m looking for the North Elevators. Can you just…”

The woman’s face softened a little, and she pointed to a sign directly above their heads.

“North Elevators…Right…” Rowan’s face burned. “Of course they’re right there…”

Without a word, the woman smiled and continued down the hall, and Rowan followed the signs to the elevator bank only a few short steps away.




Don’t you have a meeting to be at, Chief?” 

Galen was trying to catch up on her morning’s worth of charting when Teddy found her in her new office. “Not until two pm.”

“It is two pm.”

Galen glanced at the clock on the wall, one of the few decorations she had up so far, and leapt to her feet. “Shit. Thanks, Teddy.”

Her first day with the fledglings and she couldn’t even be at her own meeting on time. No. She could work with this. Attendings are always late. In fact, no one important was ever on time for anything. Galen could just tell them she was in surgery…an emergency surgery. As she raced down the hall, she thought of the coolest possible procedures she could—a ruptured aortic aneurysm? No, how about a massive spleen laceration from a car wreck? Hell, why not make it a multi-systems trauma? The interns won’t know the truth…

“Dr. Burgess.” The interns wouldn’t know. But her father would. Why was it such a surprise to her that the man who so badly wanted to see her fail would be there, watching, scrutinizing her every move? “You’re late.

“I’m sorry, everyone. I was…” The shoebox conference room was wall-to-wall with white-coat-donning, doe-eyed new doctors, but she could only stare at the heartless battle-axe who’d helped create her. “Charting. Paperwork sucks. Get used to it now. Which brings me to my first point.” She shifted her gaze away from her father and back to the room. “Surgery is not sexy. It’s consults, and turfing, and long, grueling hours on your feet. This is not Grey’s Anatomy. You want sexy, go to plastics. You want to work? You’re in the right place.”

She scanned the faces in the crowd, soaking in the look of horror and possible regret that was all but a rite of passage to a new surgeon, until she stopped at one she recognized. Elevator Girl…She was cute, with that long, straight brown hair and those smart little glasses. She perked up a little but then stopped. No. You can’t fuck the interns, Galen. Satisfied she’d scared the shit out of her new protégés, she looked back at her father, who was staring back at her with the subtlest of approving grins. He nodded once, got up, and left the room. 

“Rounds start at five thirty am. That means you better be here at four thirty to review your labs, ins and outs, events, everything. When you show up on my rounds in the morning, you better be familiar with everything about your patient. I want to know what he ate for breakfast. I want to know what his last four white counts are. I want to know what shade of yellow his pee is.” A soft chuckle broke out from the back row. “That’s not a joke. Know everything, or find yourself in clinic.” Silence. “Any questions?” After a brief pause, all ten hands in the room shot up. Galen once again found herself drawn to the shy one with the bad sense of direction. “You. Elevator Girl.

She liked the color the girl’s cheeks turned, and she found herself picturing her naked, flushed body sprawled out across her own bed. No. Stop that, damn it. “Rowan. Rowan Duncan. Dr. Duncan, now…I guess,” the girl said.

“Do you have a question, Duncan?”

“I do, actually.” Galen’s belly warmed a little at Rowan’s seemingly shifting confidence. “When do we get started?”




“So, that’s our chief.” A tall, redheaded woman wearing an expensive-looking pencil skirt under her white coat had moved to Rowan’s side.

“I guess so.”

“She’s a piece of work, huh?”

Rowan nodded but hadn’t quite figured out what to think about her new boss. She certainly seemed tough, but Rowan had expected that. What chief resident wasn’t tough? But there was something else about her. Something Rowan couldn’t look away from. Dr. Burgess could be as mean as she wanted to be—Rowan could only hope to be half the surgeon she was someday.

“I’m Makayla, by the way.” The redhead smiled at her kindly.

“Rowan. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too. I’m sorry the rest of our group is too busy ass-kissing to introduce themselves to us,” Makayla said.

“Ass-kissing isn’t my thing.”

“Mine either.” They laughed, and Rowan’s anxiety deflated.

“You want to get a coffee?” Rowan asked.

“Love to.”


Chapter Two

The fact was, Rowan had already been told an enormous amount about her new chief resident. Maybe Galen had forgotten, or maybe she just didn’t care, but it almost seemed a rite of passage for the outgoing interns to dump all the department gossip on the incoming ones. And Dr. Galen Burgess seemed to be prime gossip material. Everyone in general surgery knew she could sew better than most attendings. But they also knew she jumped into bed with half the hospital—the other half was men. That was the rumor, at least. Rowan didn’t know how much truth there was to this, and really, she didn’t care.

Her hometown of Euless, Texas, just outside of Arlington, wasn’t so crazy about lesbians, but she wasn’t like all the other conservative Southerners she knew. And that included her family. Who Galen slept with really didn’t matter at all to Rowan. Besides, she was happy with Brian.

Rowan’s boyfriend, Brian, still lived back in Texas. They knew that when she began applying for residencies, she’d be living in some other part of the country. Brian had a good job with a software company in Austin, and besides, Rowan figured she probably wouldn’t have a lot of attention left to give him over the next six years anyway. She knew they’d probably get married eventually. She loved him, after all. He was good to her. He let her be a surgeon.

“What’s the deal with Dr. Burgess anyway?” Makayla blew the steam from the top of her coffee as they walked back up the stairs to the residents’ lounge. “Galen? Can we call her Galen? Or do we have to call her Dr. Burgess?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, obviously she’s gay. Look at her, am I right? Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with that. If she were a guy, I’d probably be all up on that…”

For some reason, Rowan’s skin crawled a little. “Yeah.”

“Well, I heard she, you know, gets around. Nurses mostly. Apparently she doesn’t touch other surgeons.”

Rowan wanted her to stop. “I just want to see her operate. I heard she was doing whipples in her second year, almost completely unassisted.”

“Is that true?” Makayla opened the door.

“It’s true.” A warm, unfamiliar hand landed on Rowan’s shoulder, and she turned around slowly.

Dr. Burgess…”

“Galen is fine. Really.” Galen smiled softly at her, and a trace of what looked like coyness sent Rowan’s stomach tumbling. “And, for the record, it was the beginning of my second year, and the attending actually left the room for half the case. If you’re going to talk about me, at least get the facts straight.” She smiled again and gently patted Rowan on the back, breezing past them into the lounge.

Rowan might have been mortified, but Makayla could hardly contain her giddiness. “Was it just me, or was she flirting with you?”

“What? That’s ridiculous.”

“I’m pretty sure she was. You aren’t—”

“No!” Rowan snapped at her. “I mean, no. I’m straight. I have a boyfriend back home. We’re probably going to get engaged soon.”

Makayla shrugged. “Well, either way, I’d use this to your advantage, Duncan. Think about all the surgeries you could get in on.”

Was Makayla seriously suggesting that Rowan flirt with her to scrub in on cases? She’d heard of surgeons going to some low places to operate, but pretending she was a lesbian? Jesus. She had a conscience. “I’m good, thanks. I’ll just get in the old-fashioned way. You know, hard work?”

“Yeah…good luck with that.” Makayla crossed the room and sat on the sofa, immediately chatting up one of the tall, handsome third-years they’d seen earlier, leaving Rowan alone.

Duncan.” Galen suddenly hailed her from one of the nearby computers. “Come get your OR schedule.” 


“No. I have to print it in my office. It’s just around the corner.”

Rowan swallowed hard and followed her out the door and down the hall. Her chief made her nervous. Of course she did. She was the chief. Instilling anxiety was in her job description. The problem was, no one made Rowan nervous. At least not in the way that caused her to constantly wipe her palms against her scrub pants.




“Shut the door.”

Rowan’s heart seemed to be pushing its way out of her sternum, beating so hard it was almost painful, but Galen seemed to remain as cool and confident as ever.

Sure, Dr. Burgess.

“Seriously. Galen. My father is Dr. Burgess.” As Rowan laughed nervously, Galen took a seat in the expensive-looking leather office chair she’d probably had shipped from Italy. “No, but really. My father. Dr. Henry Burgess? He’s the chief of surgery here.”

Stupid. Rowan silently scolded herself for forgetting such a crucial piece of the hospital hierarchy. Of course she knew that Galen’s father was the department head. Henry Burgess was a legend at Boston City.

“Right. I thought you were being…Never mind…”

“Sit.” Galen’s commands were sharp and free of suggestion, but somehow, Rowan found them more than a little endearing. Her face warmed a bit more as she remembered Makayla’s earlier accusations. Galen was not flirting with her. Wait. Was she? Even if she was, Rowan reminded herself…Brian.

“Doctor…Galen.” She swallowed hard, strangely uncomfortable with the informality of the encounter. “Before we start, I just wanted to tell you how incredibly embarrassed I am about earlier. I promise I know my way around an abdominal cavity much better than I know my way around the halls of this place.” She quietly commended herself on such a witty rationalization.

Galen smiled. It was a slow, kind smile laced with promises of all sorts of things Rowan didn’t understand, framed by her big, bedroom eyes. “I’ve been reading up on you, Duncan.” Rowan’s heart once again exploded into a tiny firestorm that pulsed all the way down to her feet.

“You have?”

“I have.” Galen angled her chair slightly and hitched her ankles together. “Top of your class at UT Austin. Made quite a name for yourself at Dartmouth too. Hatcher-Johnson Fellow in your second year of med school. Even published three times in the New England Journal of Medicinestudent section.”

Rowan’s ears suddenly burned. “Four times, actually. It was four.” As soon as she heard the words leave her mouth, she immediately wanted to take them back. Fantastic. Her first real meeting with the chief, and she was not only bragging but correcting her.

For a long time, Galen sat in silence, her eyes narrowed and fierce, looking Rowan over until sweat built around the waist of her scrubs. And then, that same enchanting smile peeked through, and Rowan didn’t know whether to be relieved or afraid. For a paralyzing moment, time had stopped, and she was overwhelmed with the inexplicable urge to stand up from her chair, walk over to Galen, and straddle her lap, burying her face in her neck and letting Galen’s hands drift up her scrub top. The burning in her ears spread over the top of her head and down her neck, and she prayed she wasn’t actually speaking these thoughts out loud. What was wrong with her? God, maybe I am a lesbian?She laughed internally at the thought, dismissing it as her composure quickly returned. 

“Huh. I like that confidence, Duncan. I hope you turn out to be as good with your hands as you are with your head.”

Galen smirked again, and this time, Rowan had no doubt in her mind she was being catcalled. It was flattering, she had to admit. And she couldn’t help but notice the dampness that had grown between her legs.




“So? How’d it go?” Makayla was waiting around the corner from Galen’s office when Rowan left.

“Fine. It was fine.” Her breathing was just a little too labored for her not to notice that something inside her was off.

“Why are you all flushed, anyway?” Before Rowan had to answer her, Makayla grabbed the piece of paper out of her hand. “Let’s have a look here, shall we?” She ran a long finger down the page and squinted hard. “Lap chole, Burgess. Lap chole, Burgess. Ventral hernia, McIntire. Overnight call…Burgess.” Makayla grinned uncontrollably as she looked up from the schedule. 


“What? Come on now, Rowan. You’re a Dartmouth girl. An intern scrubbing in on so many of the chief’s cases? Be smart.”

“I don’t know what you mean.” There couldn’t be even an ounce of truth to Makayla’s theory. Galen Burgess was a surgeon—a professional. No way would she manipulate the schedule so she could flirt with an intern. And a straight intern at that. Please!

“Here. Take a look at mine.” Makayla handed her a carefully folded sheet of computer paper with tiny, pristine handwriting in the margins.

“Umbilical hernia, McIntire. Lap chole, Conway. Lap chole, Patel. Ventral hernia, Burgess. Overnight call, Phillips…” Rowan continued to scan the page for signs of Galen’s name anywhere, as Makayla waited with a knowing twist to her brow.

“See? I think I’m with Burgess, what, three times all month? She has you with her three times this week alone.”

“I just can’t believe she would fix our schedules so she could…”

“Hit on you?” Makayla chuckled wryly. “I told you she likes you. And you’ve heard the rumors about her as much as I have. She’s a playboy. Surgery is the only thing she likes more than women, and if she can have them both? Well, you get it.”

Rowan grabbed her schedule back from Makayla’s tight grip. “You’re wrong.”

She’d been in her residency for only six hours, and already she was making waves. Makayla was a gossip. That was becoming clear quickly. But there was something about her that Rowan liked anyway. Back in Texas, she didn’t have many friends left. The area she came from didn’t exactly tend to breed overachievers like herself.

Most of the people she’d gone to high school with were living at home, working blue-collar jobs and having babies. Nothing was wrong with that, she told herself. But it just wasn’t her. She’d met a few girls in Dartmouth she’d become close with, but they were all in their own residencies now, scattered across the country. None of them had much time for anything else. Really, Brian was all she had.

But Makayla seemed to have her heart in the right place, even if her mouth was a little loose at times. And Rowan got the distinct sense that Makayla was genuinely looking out for her.




Rowan sat in the on-call lounge for the next several hours. All the other interns had gone home for the day, knowing they’d be starting at four am the next morning and basically every other morning after that for the next five years. But Rowan stayed, pretending to be practicing her one-handed knot ties while quietly deciding whether she should confront Galen.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know anyone else was in here.” Rowan turned, startled to see a good-looking man with a mop of wavy brown hair and a surgical mask hanging from his neck.

“No problem. Please, come in.”

The man, who really still looked like more of a boy, smiled kindly and moved to open his locker. “I’m Teddy, by the way. I’m a second-year.”

“Rowan Duncan. I’m—”

“An intern?” He took out a sandwich and began aggressively shoving it into his mouth.

“How did you guess? Do I smell or something?”

Teddy laughed. “It’s a small program. Everyone knows everyone here. I just haven’t seen you around.” He finished the last piece of his sandwich faster than Rowan had ever seen anyone eat and took a seat on the couch next to her. “So where are you from, Duncan?”

Texas.” She liked Teddy instantly. Something about him was warm and easy—a stark contrast from most of the others she’d met at Boston City so far. 

“Really? Whereabouts?”

“Arlington. Just outside. An even smaller town called Euless. I know, I know. It’s Conservativeville, USA.” She rolled her eyes, always feeling the need to defend her hometown to everyone in the Northeast. 

“I was going to say you don’t have an accent.” Teddy laughed again, and Rowan was more comfortable than she’d been since she woke up that morning.

“No. No, I don’t. Not everyone from Texas sounds like an episode of Howdy Doody, you know.” 

“That’s too bad, really. I was hoping I’d get to see you lasso someone in the OR soon.”

“I didn’t say I don’t know how to work a rope.” She grinned at him. “Listen, Teddy. You said everyone here knows each other pretty well, right?”

“Too well, actually.”

“I know this may be way out of line, since I’m the new kid, and if it is, just stuff some gauze in my mouth or something…

“Ask me whatever you want. Off the record. Besides, I was the new kid all of five minutes ago. I get it.”

“The chief…You know her well, too?” Rowan felt her heart rate take off for the millionth time that day. Jesus, if this kept up she’d need to take a beta blocker or something.

“Galen? She’s my best friend around these parts. And I’m pretty sure I’m hers. Or, maybe not her bestfriend, but like, definitely a really good friend and…Well, anyway, that’s beside the point. What’s your question?”

“There’s a lot of talk about her. You know, people say that she…They say she has a…” Rowan selected her words carefully. “A history with a lot of people here. Sexually…” So much for careful.

This time Teddy’s laugh was booming and sounded almost uncontrollable. “You mean does Galen sleep around?”

“More or less, yes. That’s what I’m asking.” The room was suddenly hotter than a Texas summer.

“Let me put it this way. The only thing Galen loves almost as much as surgery is women. And if she can combine the two? Well…You get it.”

Rowan was nearly certain Makayla had read some kind of secret residency handbook she had yet to see. Maybe she was right about Galen after all.

“Thanks. Well, I’ve got to get going. It was nice to meet you, Teddy.” She jumped up from the couch abruptly, grabbed her bag, and headed for the door.

“Hey, wait. Why do you ask? Are you interested?”

She kept her back to him, terrified her face would give her away. “In Galen? No. I have a boyfriend. I’m straight.”

“I see.”

For whatever reason, she’d found herself justifying her sexuality more in one day than she’d had to in her entire life.