My kitchen Rules S09E01
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Home > The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1)(8)

The Gamble (Colorado Mountain #1)(8)
Author: Kristen Ashley

“Anyway, I’ll just –”

“Sit down,” he ordered, dropping the fork on the counter and moving to the fridge.

“I’m sorry?”

He had the fridge open but he looked at me. “Sit down.”

“I thought I’d –”

“You need juice,” he declared and pulled out what appeared to be the cranberry juice I bought in Denver.

“Really, I should just –”

He closed the fridge and pinned me with his eyes. “Duchess, sit your ass down.”

Well. What did I say to that?

I didn’t know but I started, “Max –”

“Ass on a stool or I’ll put it on a stool.”

Was he serious?

“Max, I need to –”


“I’m sorry?”

“You need to eat. You haven’t had anything in two days.”

I forgot about him being somewhat rude and definitely domineering and felt my head move forward with a jerk at the same time I felt my eyes grow wide.

“What?” I whispered.

“You been out of it for two days.”

I looked out the window as if the landscape could tell me this was false (or true). Then my eyes went back to Max.

“Two days?”


“It’s Tuesday?”


“Oh my God,” I whispered.

“Sit down, Nina.”

Too shocked by the knowledge that I’d lost two whole days of my timeout adventure, without another word I moved forward and sat down on a stool. Max poured me a glass of cranberry juice and set it on the counter in front of me then he moved away.

“Coffee,” I muttered, “please.”


“Two days,” I whispered to my cranberry juice before I took a sip.

“You remember any of it?” he asked and my eyes moved quickly to him.

His back was to me and he was pouring a cup of coffee.

Now, what did I do?

Did I tell him yes, I remembered him taking care of me? Giving me medicine, keeping me hydrated, wiping my brow, getting into bed with me and holding me until the tremors went away, changing my t-shirt, stroking my back? Did I tell him I remembered him being so sweet?

Since I wasn’t intending on thinking of any of that (ever), I decided to lie.

“Remember any of it?” I parroted.

He turned and walked the coffee to me. “Yeah, you were pretty out of it. Do you remember any of it?”

I nodded as he set the coffee cup in front of me and affirmed, “I was really out of it so actually, no. I don’t remember anything.”

He watched me for several seconds then he dipped his head to the coffee cup and asked, “Do you take cream?”


He grinned. “Yeah, Duchess, cream. You got that in England?”

“We don’t call it cream.”

“What do you call it then?”

“What it is. Milk.”

“All right, you take milk?”




“One what?”

“One sugar.”

He was still grinning but he shook his head and went to the fridge. He pulled out a gallon jug of milk and set it on the counter by me. Then he pulled out a huge, unopened bag of sugar and, if I wasn’t wrong, I bought that bag in Denver too. Then he set that next to the milk. Then he opened a drawer and got me a spoon. Then he turned to his bacon.

I opened the bag of sugar while I said, “I don’t think I could do bacon.”

“Bacon’s for me. You’re getting oatmeal.”


He cracked two eggs into the side of the skillet with the bacon and the bacon grease and I stared. Then he walked to a cupboard and pulled out a box of instant oatmeal.

I spooned sugar in my coffee and then I stared at the gallon jug of milk. Then I looked at my mug. Then the milk. Then back.

How was I going to get a splash of the milk in that huge gallon jug in my mug without making a mess?

Then I heard, “Honey, you gonna will it to pour itself in your cup with your eyes?”

I looked at him and asked, “Do you have a little pitcher?”

He threw his head back and burst out laughing, that was deep and gravelly too.

I stared again. What was funny?

“What’s funny?” I asked when he got control of his hilarity.

“Don’t throw many tea parties, Duchess,” he told me still smiling like I was highly amusing.

I wasn’t sure I liked him calling me “Duchess”. Okay so, the way he was saying it now was kind of sweet in a weirdly familiar and even somewhat intimate way. The way he said it two days ago, I wasn’t so sure. It was almost like he was making fun of me except now it felt like he thought I was in on the joke.

“Maybe you could stop calling me ‘Duchess’,” I suggested.

“Maybe I couldn’t,” he returned, came toward me, picked up the gallon jug, splashed a huge dollop of milk in my mug, making coffee and milk plop up and out on the counter then he turned back and poured, without measuring, a bunch of milk into the instant oatmeal.

“My name is Nina,” I told him.

“I know that.”

“Maybe you can call me Nina.”

“I’ll call you that too.”

“Rather than Duchess.”

He’d put the milk back in the fridge and walked back to me, grabbing the bag of sugar, his eyes came to me before he turned toward the oatmeal. “You want a little pitcher for your milk, you’re definitely a Duchess.”

I decided to let it go. In about half an hour he wasn’t going to be calling me anything because I was going to be in a rental car and on my way to Denver.

“Whatever,” I muttered and took a sip of coffee.

Then I watched as he spooned sugar in the oatmeal. One spoon. Two. Three. Four.

“Is that for me?” I asked on a rush when he dipped in for spoon five.

His torso twisted and his eyes came to me. “Yeah.”

He was making me oatmeal and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, so I muttered, “Um, I think four sugars will do it.”

Two would do it, actually one would have done it, but I’d settle for four.

“Your wish…” he muttered right back but he sounded amused.

I decided to let that go too.

He put the oatmeal in the microwave started it up and then headed back to the skillet. He flipped his eggs expertly then using the fork, pulled the bacon out and, without draining the grease off, he put it on a plate I hadn’t yet noticed. The plate already had two slices of toast slathered in butter and grape jelly.

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