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Home > The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1)(5)

The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1)(5)
Author: Kristen Ashley


His head tipped to the side, he studied my face and he asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I lied.

“You don’t look too good.”

Immediately a different, stupid, senseless, idiotic feminine trait reared its ugly head and I took affront.

“Thanks,” I snapped sarcastically.

His lips tipped up at the ends and he took a step toward me.

I took a step back.

He stopped, his brows twitching at my retreat then said, “I mean, you don’t look like you feel well.”

“I’m perfectly fine,” I lied.

“And you don’t sound like you feel well.”

“This is how I sound normally,” I lied yet again.

“It isn’t how you sounded last night.”

“It’s morning, I just woke up. This is my waking up voice.”

“Your waking up voice sounds like you’ve got a sore throat and stuffed nose?”

I kept lying. “I have allergies.”

He looked out the windows then at me. “In snow?” I looked out the windows too and when he continued speaking I looked back at him. “Nothin’ alive in the ice out there that’ll mess with your allergies, Duchess.”

I decided to change the topic of conversation however I was becoming slightly concerned that I was getting lightheaded.

“How did I get here?” I asked him.

His head tipped to the side again and he asked back, “What?”

I pointed to myself and said, “Me,” then pointed to the floor, “here. How did get here?”

He looked at the floor I was pointing to, shook his head and muttered, “Shit.” Then he looked back at me and said, “You were out. Never saw anything like it. Figured you were fakin’.”

“I’m sorry?”

He took another step toward me and I took another step back. He stopped again, looked at my feet and then for some reason grinned. Then he looked back at me.

“I waited awhile, called the hotel to see if you’d checked in. They said no. I called a couple others. They said no too. So I went after you, thinkin’ maybe you got yourself into trouble. You did. I found your car in a ditch, you asleep in the back. I brought you and your shit to the house. You were out like a light, dead weight.” His torso twisted and he pointed to my suitcase which was on a comfortable looking armchair across the room then he twisted back to me. “Put you to bed, slept on the couch.”

I was definitely getting lightheaded, not only because of being sick but also because of what he just said. Therefore, in order not to fall down and make a right prat of myself, I skirted him, walked to the bed and sat down or, if I was honest, more like slumped down.

Then I looked up at him and asked, “You put me to bed?”

He’d turned to face me, his brows were drawn and he didn’t look amused anymore.

“You’re not okay,” he stated.

“You put me to bed?” I repeated.

His eyes came to mine and he said, “Yeah.”

I pulled at the t-shirt and asked, “Did you put this on me?”

The grin came back, it was different this time, vastly different and my lightheadedness increased significantly at the sight.

Then he said, “Yeah.”

I surged to my feet and then my vision went funny, my hand went to my forehead and I plopped back down on the bed.

Suddenly he was crouched in front of me murmuring, “Jesus, Duchess.”

“You took my clothes off,” I accused.

“Lie down,” he ordered.

“You took my clothes off.”

“Yeah, now lie down.”

“You can’t take my clothes off!” I shouted but I heard my loud words banging around in my skull, my head started swimming and I would have fallen backwards if my hand didn’t come out to rest on the bed to prop me up.

“I can, I did, it ain’t nothin’ I haven’t seen before, now lie down.”

I started to push up, announcing, “I’m leaving.”

He straightened and put his hands on my shoulders, pressing me right back down. My bottom hit the bed and I looked up at him suddenly so fatigued I could barely tilt my head back.

“You aren’t leavin’,” he declared.

“You shouldn’t have changed my clothes.”

“Duchess, not gonna say it again, lie down.”

“I need to go.”

I barely got out the word “go” when my calves were swept up and my body twisted in the bed. I couldn’t hold up my torso anymore so it also fell to the bed. Then the covers came over me.

“You had medicine in your groceries. I’ll get that and you need some food.”

“I need to go.”

“Food, medicine then we’ll talk.”

“Listen –”

“I’ll be right back.”

Then he was gone and I didn’t have the energy to lift my head to find out where he went. I decided to go to my suitcase, get some clothes on and get out of there. Then I decided I’d do that after I closed my eyes just for a bit. They hurt, too much, and all that sun and snow, I had to give them a break, it was too bright.

Then, I guess, I passed out.

* * * * *

“Nina, you with me?” I heard a somewhat familiar, deep, gravelly voice calling from what seemed far away.

“How do you know my name?” I asked, not opening my eyes and I would have been highly alarmed at the grating sound of my voice if I wasn’t so very tired.

“You’re with me,” the somewhat familiar, deep, gravelly voice muttered.

“My throat hurts.”

“Sounds like it.”

“And my eyes hurt.”

“I’ll bet.”

“And my whole body hurts.”

“You’ve got a fever, Duchess.”

“Figures,” I murmured. “I’m on holiday. Fit as a fiddle through my boring bloody life, I go on holiday, I get a fever.”

I heard a not in the slightest unattractive chuckle and then, “Honey, I need to get you up, get some ibuprofen in you, some liquids.”



“How do you know my name?”

“Driver’s license, credit cards, passport.”

My eyes slightly opened and that was too much effort so I closed them again.

“You went through my purse.”

“Woman sick in my bed, yeah. Figured I should know her name.”

I tried to roll but that took too much effort too so I stopped trying and said, “Go away.”

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