"The thought of him kissing me caused so much panic that I quickly shoved it out of my head," she says in PEOPLE's exclusive sneak peek
Kate Gosselin might be one step closer to letting her guard down.
In PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek at Monday’s season finale of Kate Plus Date on TLC, potential suitor Jeff invites Kate over for dinner at his house — and it goes surprisingly well.
“Throughout the evening, one of my goals was not necessarily to make a move, it was to feel her out and to see if that was a possibility,” Jeff explains to producers in a confessional. “So I eventually put my arm on the back of the couch, kind of around her. I don’t recall her settling into that too well, if at all, but she didn’t reject it. She didn’t move away.”
Indeed, Kate’s body language remains relatively open as the two settle into the living room after the meal, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
“[It was] amazing,” she says. “Messy and amazing and good and delicious. Actually, very well-chosen, very well-planned. You can cook. You get a stamp of approval.”
Still, she’s surprised that he invited her into his home, and says as much.
“Why?” he asks. “Do you not trust people easily?”
“Oh no,” she replies. “Have you not figured that out yet? … I trust people but it takes a long, long, long time. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
When Jeff reaches over to gently brush a strand of hair out of her face, Kate jumps, clearly taken aback by the briefly intimate moment.
“Can’t see your eye,” he says.
“I have two,” she jokes.
“Did that freak you out?” he asks.
“No, it’s fine,” Kate replies, laughing nervously.
Later, Kate admits she had no idea how to behave in the moment.
“I’m a shy person. I do talk a lot, so probably not textbook shy, but I am,” she tells producers. “The thought of him kissing me caused so much panic that I quickly shoved it out of my head. I hope he does, I hope he doesn’t, yes, no, I don’t know — where’s the door?”
“I don’t sit there like, I wonder what he’s going to do next,” she adds. “I’m very in-tune to people, their behavior, their words, I’ll break it down. But I think when this romantic-y stuff happens, I don’t know, I just disappear, apparently. Because that part always eludes me.”
And while they’ve only just met, Jeff seems to understand her.
“I think that even though Kate can come across somewhat standoffish, and understandably so, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to find love or have romance or even just enjoy the company of someone in a closer, more intimate setting,” he says. “So I get that and it didn’t feel unnatural. It just felt like, that’s her.”
Kate, 44, divorced her husband Jon Gosselin, 42, in 2009 after 10 years of marriage. The two share 15-year-old sextuplets Hannah, Leah, Alexis, Joel, Aaden and Collin, and 18-year-old twins Mady and Cara.
Speaking to PEOPLE Now in June, the TLC star said she’s careful about who she lets into her life.
“I used to look for qualities that I liked as a person, but now I have to look for qualities that we all like,” she said of her and her kids.
“It’s not a secret I went through a very public divorce,” she added. “That wasn’t pleasant. I feel like for that very reason, I am very guarded, and I don’t tend to trust people. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I certainly don’t want to rush into another relationship. The pressure is on for it to be positive and successful for all of our sakes.”
The season finale of Kate Plus Date airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.