Home > Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7)(16)

Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7)(16)
Author: Kristen Ashley

All nice people, but in our time, even if this time was hours and included alcohol consumption, they had not become BFFs.

Deke, fortunately by that time, was gone.

But at that moment in my life, I had that shell of a house and not much else. I didn’t have friends to hang with, things to go out and do. I’d bought my house but I hadn’t really started my new life.

And now it would seem that Deke would be in that house, day in, day out, for weeks, working on it.

With me there.

Yeah, God was feeling frisky and the blank way Deke was staring at me, I knew this was very frisky.

I stared back, thinking, in Wyoming, he only gave me a minimal spark. The drink, our brief discussion and him asking me out for a ride were the only ways I knew he was into me.

Now there was nothing. Not even words.

Finally, he gave me words.

“Max is gonna show me around but could take a look before he gets here, you let me in.”

God, I was staring up at him mute and barring the door. And he’d been staring back, mute, waiting for me to get out of the way.


“Right, of course,” I murmured, stepping back and to the side.

He moved in, ducking his head slightly to do so.

The door wasn’t small, it was normal height.

Deke just wasn’t.

He moved in to about the place I’d stopped dead to look at the space when I’d first entered it and he did just that.

Stopped dead.

Then he muttered, “Jesus.”

I left the door open and headed his way, coming to a stop not very close, and agreed, “I know.”

He didn’t look at me but approached the stack of drywall, inspected it, glanced around and finally gave me his attention.

“Gonna need at least ten times this for this job,” he stated.

“There’s more in the garage.”

Though, that being so, I didn’t think there was ten times more. As far as I could see, there was another stack about that height.

He didn’t nod or anything, just moved to the pile of wood flooring. He studied it briefly before heading to a blanketed cabinet.

He pulled back the blanket to expose a few inches of the wood and mumbled, “Custom-build.”

I said nothing because he knew it was and so did I.

He wandered to boxes of grout, tile, and I watched, trying to figure out a way to get out of this.

I couldn’t tell Max I didn’t want Deke doing the work because I had no reason to do that. I could ask that he switch Deke out for another guy on one of his other jobs but I had no reason to do that either. And Max and I both knew I needed the work done so I couldn’t back out and say I’d wait for the full team.

I was stuck.

Stuck with days in, days out of a man who moved me with one meeting then stood me up and didn’t remember me working in my house.


The voice came from my front door and I turned to see Max walking in, hand wrapped around a travel mug, smile on his handsome face, and I was not surprised I was so deep in my thoughts I didn’t even hear his truck approach.

“You got here before me,” he said to Deke.

“Yep,” Deke agreed to the obvious.

Max looked at me. “Hey, Jus—”


It was not loud but not normal level either, it was quick and it sounded desperate.

It was all this because, in front of Deke, I couldn’t have Max calling me Justice and maybe reminding Deke we’d met, something I had not done.

I pulled it together and said, “Jus. Or Jussy. Sorry, that’s what friends call me.”

Max gave me a funny look before he shook it off and replied, “Right. Cool. Jus. Good to see you again.”

“You too.”

I shoved my phone in my overalls pocket as Max approached to shake my hand.

I shook his and he noted, “So you’ve met Deke.”

“Yeah.” It was my turn to agree to the obvious.

“Great,” Max said and looked to Deke. “Told you it was a big job, man.”

Deke didn’t agree to this assessment.

He stated, “Weather’s gonna turn. She needs insulation. She got a furnace?”

Max nodded, heading toward Deke. “She’s got one, AC too, ducts in. Been months, Deke, think they’re good but need you to go over them and install the thermostats.”

“Insulation first,” Deke returned.

Max shook his head. “Got that equipment working at the Porter place next couple of days. It’ll be free on Thursday.”

“Can’t drywall without it, Max. And she needs the walls up,” Deke retorted.

Max looked to me. “Got a choice, Ju…uh, Jus,” he started. “We recommend that you blow foam insulation in and that’s what’s on your job spec. Lasts longer, works better, keeps utility bills down, doesn’t settle or need replacement as quickly, keeps rodents and bugs out, doesn’t hold water. Deke’s right, we were ready to spray the foam in before this build came to a halt. Deke can sort out your furnace but not much more he can do until the insulation is in. You want him to start, we can get cellulose or fiberglass but it’s not recommended.”

“Work on the deck.”

Both Max and I turned to see Deke had moved to stand at the big window where the kitchen would someday be.

When he had our attention, he kept his on Max and declared, “Not a priority but she’s got the lumber somewhere, can get that going. Spend today inventorying what she’s got here, make sure it’s what she wants and it’s enough. We need more, you get on that. Something she doesn’t like, she works with Mindy to order it so we got it when we get to it. Spend the rest of the time after I get heat sorted out until the equipment is free on the deck. Weather turning and if we have a rough winter, that deck might not get done until spring.”

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