It cut and ruffled the new growth of hickory leaves beside her shoulder, like a bird soaring through the trees at warp speed. Her head jerked around. Trent was running toward her with his arms airborne, his beige raincoat ballooned behind him like a cape.
He pushed her off the path, then hit the ground sideways. He slid into the underbrush, shoulder first, and roughly pulled her down on top of him.
Another high-pitched crack echoed across the meadow.
Trent’s hard body jolted beneath her.
He enveloped her in his arms and rolled her to the side, pressing her head into his broad chest. The musky scent of his aftershave mingled with the pungent tang of dried weeds and earth sent her senses into overload. The weight of his muscular thighs pushing against her equally muscular thighs sent a shudder pulsing through her. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “I’ve got you.”
They lay motionless in the tall warm grass, side by side, for what seemed an eternity. Until the only sounds she could hear were the soft, protesting whir of insects and the rapid, steady thumping of his heart.
Annabel lifted her head and stared at the line of dark stubble along his chin. “What the hell was that?”
“Probably a poacher.”
“A poacher? Are you serious? Here?”
He loosened his grip on her shoulders. “The forest across the road belongs to the inn. There’s no fence. All we can do is post No Hunting signs and hope for the best.”
“So, how do your guests feel about dodging bullets? I bet this place stays packed.”