For the past week they’d seemed to be in a competition. Well, he seemed to think that they were at least. Christofer had taken it upon himself to try and take over her job. She had to admit that it was really interesting to watch him try. Every morning she got up to find the kitchen a mess and a cursing Christofer trying to make breakfast for his sister.

She would hide her smile as she quickly put together breakfast and allowed Marta to choose between the two. For some reason Marta always picked her breakfast over Christofer’s burnt and somewhat distorted versions. Same thing happened at lunch and dinner. Sometimes he would simply give up when he saw her at the stove and storm off to the barn for a few hours. Every time he lost his patience, which was pretty much every time that he saw her, he would say the two words that would guarantee him a sore spot. It was like a compulsion with him now.

Cloe would do something like the laundry before he could and he would get pissed when Marta thanked her. Those two little words were always followed by the thump of Marta’s cane and a few choice words from Christofer as he glared accusingly at her. About five days ago she’d stopped counting how many times she’d been fired. She was pretty sure it was up to two hundred and fifty, give or take a few cane swats.

“I can see you smiling,” he bit out.

She simply shrugged as she focused on her blueberry muffin.

“Fucking tattle tale,” he muttered followed by, “Ow!”

Cloe smiled sweetly as she looked over at him, holding up the plate of muffins she'd made and with an innocent expression asked, “Muffin?”

He glared first at her and then at the plate of muffins before his eyes shot to the burnt French toast that he'd tried to make. He opened his mouth and she knew what was coming.

“Don’t even think about it, Christofer,” Marta said. “My arm is starting to get sore from tapping you.”

“Good! Then maybe you’ll stop!”

For a moment, Marta looked thoughtful while she broke off a chunk of muffin and made a show of eating it. Christofer’s eyes narrowed on the action before he glared accusingly at Cloe.

“No, I don’t think that I will,” Marta said before she focused back on her paper.

Christofer mumbled something under his breath while he stared at her. Cloe sighed as she picked up the muffin plate and brought it to the counter, knowing he wouldn’t eat any of it. He never did. According to Marta, he was on a special protein diet. She didn’t question it since she knew what a bitch a metabolic disorder could be on a person.

“Cloe, could you please give me a ride into town this morning? I would like to spend most of the day at the Senior Center.”

Cloe smiled. For the last four days Marta had spent her mornings at the Senior Center. She suspected that a certain Mr. Goodfellow had something to do with it, but she wasn’t going to say anything, mostly because of the man sulking at the table.

“Sure, I can do that on my way to the hardware store,” Cloe said, immediately regretting the slip when Christofer’s head snapped back in her direction.

“Why are you going to the hardware store?” Christofer demanded.

Marta of course answered. Cloe was willing to bet the woman was enjoying thumbing her nose up at her brother.

“She’s picking up the supplies to paint the house.”

“The hell she is! That’s my job.”

“Uh huh,” Cloe sighed. Just like everything else, he only wanted to do it so that she couldn’t. “I’m ready to go if you are, Marta.”

Marta pushed her empty plate towards Christofer and grabbed her purse and cane. “I’m ready.”


Christofer dug his hands into his pockets to keep from strangling little Miss Perfect whose muffins always came out looking like muffins, making his look like dog shit on crack coc**ne.

He almost ran into Cloe when she suddenly stopped in front of him. “Marta, do you want me to pack you a sandwich?”

No, she doesn’t, Christofer thought smugly. Granted, it was his fault that his sister couldn’t stomach eating sandwiches any longer, but that was beside the point. There was finally something that little Miss Perfect could offer his sister that Marta wouldn't accept.

“No, thank you, dear,” Marta answered from the front hall.

“Guess she doesn’t like your cooking after all,” he whispered close to her ear, deciding to rub it in.

Cloe looked over her shoulder at him, giving him a knowing smile. “I bet she never asked for seconds when you used to cook, now did she?”

He glared at her, feeling his teeth try to push through. She was getting on his last damn nerve. He should just do the world a favor and put her over his knee and spank that beautiful ass of hers.

She reached back and petted his cheek with a coy little smile that instantly set his blood on fire. “Just because she eats my cooking doesn’t mean that she likes yours any less,” she said, somewhat appeasing him. She started to walk away only to pause and look over her shoulder with a teasing smile as she added, “Of course, it doesn’t mean that she likes it any more either.” She gave him a wink before walking away, leaving him fuming.

He was still fuming a minute later when he followed Cloe and Marta outside. Cloe raised an eyebrow in his direction. “And what do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m coming with you,” he said as he walked past her, snatching her keys out of her hand. “And I’m driving.”

“That’s fine with me. I never turn down a cute chauffer,” she said teasingly as she climbed in the backseat, leaving him stunned.

Did she just call him cute? The horn honking startled him and brought his glare to Marta who gestured at her watch impatiently.

“They start Bingo in twenty minutes. Hurry, Christofer!”

He rolled his eyes as he climbed in the driver’s seat and adjusted it and then readjusted it. Damn, she was a short little thing. Of course he liked that. He liked that she looked small and made him want to wrap his arms around her and-

“Comfy?” she asked wryly from the backseat.

-strangle her.

His eyes met hers in the mirror and she smiled sweetly and, definitely, innocently back at him.

“Christofer!” Marta said impatiently.

“Give me a minute, woman, while I adjust the seat from midget to man-sized,” he grunted as he shifted the seat again.

“Too bad everything in the driver’s seat isn’t man-sized,” Cloe muttered under her breath, too low for the human ear to catch, but not for him.

“I heard that!”

Her brows arched as she frowned at him. “No, you didn’t.”

“I assure you, sweetheart, everything is sized correctly,” he said, looking in the rearview mirror, shooting her a wink as his words hit home.

Christofer decided then and there that he really liked it when she blushed. Marta sputtered something about him moving his butt and Cloe looked out the window. Her cheeks were still bright red when he pulled in front of the Senior Center ten minutes later. Before he could get out and help her, Marta was climbing out and a man in his seventies was standing there smiling at her and giving her a hand.

Before Christofer could demand an introduction to the man who was manhandling his sister, Marta waved him off and headed inside the building.