Page 7

"Zoe, I--Oh God!" he said, clutching his chest and stumbling back.

"What?" she asked, looking anxiously around herself as she held a large brown muffin against her chest.

With a shaky hand he pointed at the offending item that she dared bring into his house. "What the hell is that?"

She looked down and frowned. "My muffin?"

"How could you?" he demanded hoarsely as he shook his head in disgust.

"What the hell are you freaking out about?" she demanded, looking around again.

"That shirt!" he said, pointing wildly towards the Red Sox shirt that she dared to wear in his presence. "What the hell were you thinking?"

She sent him a look that clearly stated that she thought he was crazy. He inwardly snorted at that. He wasn't the one sporting a f**king Red Sox shirt.

"I was thinking that it was cute and comfortable," she said, shrugging as if it were no big deal.

Oh, god, he was going to be sick. He stumbled forward and snatched the muffin out of her hand.


"I need sustenance to deal with this, woman!" he snapped before taking a huge bite of her muffin. It took a split second before the taste hit and when it did he ran past her and headed for the small wicker basket trash can she had by her couch and spit the entire bite out, but that wasn't enough. The horrible taste was still in his mouth.

"It wasn't that bad, was it?" she asked, worrying her bottom lip.

He threw her a disbelieving look as he rushed past her into the kitchen. He threw open her refrigerator and nearly wept with relief when he spotted the nearly full gallon of orange juice. He grabbed the jug, tore the cap off and tossed it into the sink behind him as he started chugging the orange juice, hoping that it would take that god awful taste out of his mouth.

"Okay, now you're just exaggerating," she said, sounding exasperated, but the nervous look on her face told another tale.

He narrowed a glare on her as he finished off half her orange juice. Gasping, he pulled the gallon away from his mouth and cringed when he tasted a hint of that scary muffin. When she opened her mouth to say something, he held up a hand to stop her and chugged the rest of the orange juice.

"What the hell did you just try poisoning me with?" he demanded, still panting.

"Hey," she snapped, placing her hands on her generous hips. "No one told you to steal my muffin!"

"I needed nourishment after the scare that you gave me! How could you wear a Red Sox shirt in front of me?" he demanded, jumping back when he spotted the large plate of dark brown muffins on the counter. "And what the hell kind of muffins are those?"

"Apple," she mumbled, worrying her lip again.

"Apple?" he repeated in disbelief. His eyes shot back to the things that had no business being called muffins and shook his head in disbelief. He'd never seen a brown, almost black apple muffin before and he was a man who knew his muffins.

She threw up her hands and let them drop by her sides. "I'm not a good cook. Okay? Are you happy now?"

He looked between the plate of muffins he swore just moved and her tee shirt that needed to be incinerated and shook his head. "I'm truly at a loss for words here," he muttered.

Zoe blew a strand of hair out of her face as she continued to glare at him. "Is there a reason you came knocking on my door at six-thirty in the morning besides to remind me that I can't cook?"

Trevor blinked. "That's not enough?"

She growled and he couldn't help but smile.

"Actually, I came back to tell you to move your car and to find out why the hell you left your window down last night," he said, moving to fold his arms over his chest when something caught his eye.

His stomach growled viciously as he reached over and snatched an iced honey bun off her counter and ripped it open.

"Please help yourself," she said dryly.

"Thanks," he said, taking a huge bite of the delicious treat. As he ate the snack he did his best to appear innocent as his free hand slowly made its way back to the pile of individually wrapped baked treats that she foolishly left lying on the counter for anyone to steal.

With an eye roll, she stepped past him and pushed the treats his way. "Just take them."

"Thanks," he said, grabbing them and not giving her a chance to change her mind.

As he ripped open a cherry pie and dug in he watched as she grabbed a plastic shopping bag and held it out to him. "Put them in here," she said.

His eyes narrowed on her and the bag. "Why?" he asked cautiously, afraid she was trying to steal his treats.

Just what kind of sick game was she playing?

"Forget it," she said on an exasperated sigh, heading back to her cabinets. As he snacked away he watched her go through each cabinet and pull out yummy treats that caused his poor neglected stomach to rumble.

A few minutes later when all his treats were long gone and he was downing her last Coke, she handed him three shopping bags full of junk food.

"What's this?" he asked, taking them.

"I've decided to go on a diet," she said, pulling her hair back into a ponytail.

He visibly winced, remembering what he said last night and feeling like an ass**le all over again. "If this is about what I said last night I'm really so-"

"It has nothing to do with you," she said, cutting him off. "I've just decided to make some changes in my life."

Guilt was a real bitch, he decided.

"Are you going to my uncle's for an interview?" he asked, hoping she would so that he could get rid of some of this damn guilt he had over insulting her. He still didn't know what the hell he was thinking. He'd never been that rude to a woman before and he'd dealt with some real bitches over the years. If his aunt ever found out what he said.....

Oh shit, he really hoped she didn't tell his aunt.

Zoe shrugged. "It's worth a shot."

"You don't sound too sure," he noted, leaning a hip against the counter.

"I'm not expecting a good reference from my old boss," she sighed. "I don't think I'm going to find a job anytime soon so you might want to start looking for a new tenant."

That wouldn't work for him, he realized as he looked around the surprisingly clean kitchen. Not only would he still feel like an ass**le for what he said, but then he'd be stuck with either his cousin living here or some tenant that annoyed the shit out of him. He wasn't about to lose his perfect tenant, not if he could help it.

"How about this?" he said as Zoe picked up the plate of muffins and thankfully tossed them into the trash, "if my uncle doesn't hire you, which I'm sure he will," he'd make sure of it, "then you can work for me."

"Doing what exactly?" Zoe asked, washing the plate and putting it in the dish strainer.

"Cleaning, laundry, running errands, taking care of the lawn, shit like that," he said, feeling quite proud of himself for coming up with the idea.

She narrowed her eyes on him. "Would I have to cook?"

God no....

"Um, no that's okay," he said quickly.

"How much an hour?" she asked hesitantly.

"Eight bucks an hour?" he suggested, liking the idea more and more. It would certainly free up his load and let him enjoy what little free time he had. This could definitely work for him. Too bad she couldn't cook. "Actually, even if my uncle does give you the job you can still have this one to earn extra money."