Squealing like a little girl, Johnny jumped and tossed the spatula into the air. Gasping for breath, he slapped a hand to his heart and scowled. “Dammit, Paige. You scared the shit outta me. Why didn’t you say something?”
“I did,” she bit out. “Why are you in my kitchen?”
“It’s Raymond’s kitchen,” he corrected with a sardonic smile. “How is he, by the way?”
“In ICU, recovering from heart bypass surgery. While he’s gone, you’ll refrain from waltzing in and out of the house as if you live here. You live in the bunkhouse. And since I’ll be spending most of my time at the hospital, you’ll need to take your meals at Toot’s.”
He hissed like a snake and grinned. “I can tell you’re still angry about me taking responsibility for knocking you up. I was hoping by now you’d have cooled off and come to your senses, but—”
“Oh, I have come to my senses. There’s no way in hell I will ever marry you. Toss whatever you cooked on a paper plate and get out of my…Raymond’s house.”
“Aww, come on, Paige. You don’t really mean that.” He sent her sad, puppy-dog eyes and started to walk toward her.
Paige raised her hands and shook her head. “Don’t come near me, or I’ll kick you in the balls so hard you won’t ever stand straight again. Get out of this house or I’ll call the sheriff.”
“Fine. I’ll leave,” he promised, sliding a pile of scrambled eggs onto a paper plate. “But you are going to marry me. I’ll win you over soon.”
With a wink and a smile, he turned and strolled out the back door.
Paige clenched her jaw, then raced to the still swinging curtains and flipped the lock. Then she retraced her steps and secured the lock on the front door, barring the delusional prick’s access to the house. As she strode toward her bedroom, her cell phone chimed. Paige eased onto her bed and read the message.
Ashton: Where are you, and why did you leave without waking me?
I’m home. You were sleeping so soundly, I didn’t have the heart to wake you.
Ashton: Next time, wake me. I enjoyed falling asleep with you but hated waking up to a cold, empty bed.
Sorry. It’s just…I needed to get home and get changed before I head to the hospital.
Ashton: I would have driven you.
I appreciate that…and all you’ve done. I can’t ask for anything more.
Ashton: Yes, you can, and you damn well better if you need any help. Text me when you get home from the hospital tonight.
Paige promised she would, then flopped back on her bed and smiled. Had last night actually gotten them back on track? Was Austin extending an olive branch? If so, she was ready to give him back the whole damn tree.