Good Enough to Trust(3)

By: Zara Stoneley

I shoved my hands a bit deeper into my pockets and shuffled back a bit in what I hoped was a casual way, and tried to ignore the way they seemed to have edged that little bit closer. They were just cows after all, and even though I never was much of a country girl surely I wasn’t going to run away from a group of vegetarian bovines?

Not me, Miss I’ll-do-Anything-Once? I don’t know what hurt most, my teeth biting into the softness of my bottom lip or my nails digging into the palms of my hands, but either way I didn’t exactly feel relaxed and at ease.

So much for being at one with nature, eh? Bugger.

Even breaking eye contact with the small group of furry monsters didn’t help much, looking up the mist-laden hill as far as I could, which believe me wasn’t far, just made me shiver inwardly. If I carried on like this I’d be a nervous wreck before the day was out, and I hadn’t even started to do what I was here for.

I had to be mad to be doing this today, tramping across the strange, unwelcoming countryside. Last time I had been up here it had been sunny, no cows in sight, and after a few minutes of climbing we’d turned around and stood silently in some kind of awed amazement. You could see for miles, across the rough tufts of grass, along the craggy, rock-scarred hills and out to sea. But today if I turned around all I’d be able to see would be—a broad chest.

“Well, well if it isn’t Mrs. Doolittle.” Accompanied by a deep male voice that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a Welsh male choir. Except this wasn’t Wales, and the burr tinging the edges of the voice was closer to a Cornish burr. But it was deep and full, and with a hint of strength. Presumably for bellowing across the Cornish hills, competing against whatever the elements was throwing out.

I must have looked as blank as I felt, probably because all the blood had drained from my brain to my hammering heart, just in case I needed to make a run for it.

Though God knows where, Mr. Built-like-a-brick-shit-house was on one side of me, and a herd of, for all I knew, mad cows on the other.

“Talking to the animals?” He nodded at the cows behind me, and I had a horrible feeling they were creeping closer while I was distracted. But I couldn’t stop looking at him and that voice was like a dose of syrup, all gooey and warm, and strong.

Did I mention strong? I’m a sucker for a man who sends out an aura of control, even if I am the last girl on earth who’d want to be told what to do.

I shook my head to try and clear the weird thoughts.

“I like cows.” I wasn’t quite sure if the mad rush of adrenalin was because of a fear I was about to get squished by cows, a dread I was about to be attacked by a strange man on a hillside, or whether it was something that wasn’t fear at all. Fear and excitement were close bed mates. “You’re not a mad axe murderer are you?”

“Not the last time I checked.” He tipped his head to one side and I could swear there was a glimmer in his eye that was more friend than foe. “Don’t get many of them down here in Cornwall, no demand.”

“You’re not in collusion with the cows?”

“Nope, no collusion, I’m a work-alone kind of guy.” He was grinning, a broad grin spreading like sunshine across his face, and he reminded me of Charlie, okay it was in a totally improbable way that would make anyone laugh at me if I said it. But he did, it was the openness, the ‘let’s laugh togetherness’ about it. He looked kind, and non-judgemental, which was sexy. Well, it could have been the rush of blood back to my nether regions, once my brain had stepped down from red alert, which made him seem sexy, anyhow it didn’t seem to matter.

I grinned back and had a crazy urge to hug him. But then who would be the weird one?

“Don’t suppose you do, get axe murderers I mean, not many people to murder I suppose.”

“Not this time of year.” He was still studying me, trying to work out which planet I’d come from, no doubt. “But those aren’t cows, you know.”

“They are.”

“Those are bullocks, girl. Big boy bullocks.”

For a second I thought he said bollocks, which made no sense at all, but the big boy bit did.

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