'Romance writer Bronte Huntington has vowed she will never settle for anything less than ‘the one.’ When pleasant red-haired dentist Ryan moves in next door he just doesn't fit the bill. They have plenty in common but Bronte wants nothing more than friendship with him.
Then it looks like Bronte’s dreams have finally come true when dashing Sebastian Fairfax rescues her on his horse after she has an accident in the countryside around her idyllic little cottage. Sebastian is tall, dark, handsome, and heir to a massive country estate!
But is Sebastian the one? Or will Bronte’s romantic dreams of the perfect hero turn out to be as fictional as her novels? And will Bronte's temperamental cat ever stop getting in the way?!'
Bronte liked walking, and often found an hour marching around the woods helped clear her head. It had solved many a tricky plot problem in the past. But she didn’t usually set off in this direction and it wasn ’t too long before she broke off her musings and realised she was completely lost.
Trying to think clearly, and remember everything she’d ever heard you ought to do if you find yourself lost in the countryside, Bronte assessed the situation: she had no phone with her, no torch, no map, not even a compass — not that she was confident she’d have known what to do with it if she did have one. She wasn’t sure where she’d come from and seemed to have been wandering in circles, either that or there were a lot of identical fallen trees around here. She knew she needed to come up with a plan, and quickly.
Deciding she’d be better able to work out where she was if she could see more, and knowing the woods couldn’t actually as large as they seemed at the moment, Bronte walked in as straight a line as possible, figuring she’d eventually come to the edge of the wood.
She focussed firmly on putting one foot in front of the other and not stepping in anything too muddy, doing her best to ignore any strange rustlings and hoots around her. Her calves began to ache as the ground became steeper.
When, with a huge sigh of relief, she finally emerged from the trees and found herself in more open countryside, she realised she must actually have been climbing steadily for longer than she thought . She was now at the top of a hill, in the distance she could make out the lights of the town.
Thank goodness, she thought to herself, pleased she’d been able to find her way out by herself. If she just worked her way down, she could warm up in Camille’s house, and she was sure her friend would give her a lift home. She’d sneak into her cottage without Ryan seeing her and work out what to say to him tomorrow.
Unfortunately, she’d somewhat underestimated quite how steep and slippery this side of the hill was. She was about a quarter of the way down when she lost her footing. She gasped as she went down painfully on her ankle.
She tumbled over and over down the muddy hill, her hair was pulled and her face scratched as she crashed over twigs and nettles. She finally came to a stop thanks to a large patch of brambles. She was soaking wet, filthy and in pain.
She could still make out the lights from the town. Blinking back tears, she attempted to stand, but her right ankle gave away immediately, the sharp, swift pain making her cry out. What was she going to do? There was no way she could get home by herself in this state, and no one knew where she was. She didn’t even have her mobile phone with her to call for help.
The landscape seemed darker and far more sinister than it had earlier. Any sensible thoughts about what she should do left her, and she began to panic and screamed out frantically, “Help! Help! Can someone please help me?!”
She shouted until her throat was sore, and then finally she heard something: the sound of a horse’s hooves coming closer, and then a deep male voice calling, “Is someone there?”
“Yes! Yes! I’m over here!” Bronte replied, relief flooding through her.
From out of the shadows an ominous figure approached. A horse came into view, making its way gingerly down the muddy slope. She could just make out the person riding it. Her rescuer jumped off his steed and knelt beside her. As he came close enough for her to be able to see something of his features, for a moment all her pain and discomfort was forgotten. He was tall and strapping with wavy black hair. He wouldn’t have looked out of place on a catalogue photoshoot. What caught her attention most were his brown eyes with their long, dark eyelashes. Her heart skipped a beat.
“Are you alright?” he said.
“No, not really!”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Sebastian. Can you tell me where it hurts?” he asked, remaining reassuringly calm.
“Everywhere!” Bronte sniffed and tried to stem her tears, which had begun to flow freely, partly from pain, partly from the great relief of being found.
A sympathetic smile broke out across his face. He took off his coat and placed it around her shoulders.
“Can you tell me anywhere it hurts in particular?”
“My ankle. I fell on it.”
“Can you walk?”
“I don’t think so, I can’t even stand up.”
“You’re very lucky I came along when I did, I should have turned back for home a while ago. Put your arms around my neck.”
“So I can help you up.”
“Oh, thank you,” said Bronte with embarrassment.
She sat herself up and as instructed put her arms around his neck. He lifted her up gently. She was acutely aware of what a state she was in, but her overwhelming feeling was one of surprise at just how easily he was managing to carry her.
Before she could protest, she found herself on the back of the horse. She squealed as the animal took a small step forward, worried it would either slip on the mud or gallop off, leaving her clinging onto its reins for dear life.
“It’s alright,” her saviour said, showing her he had hold of the bridle.
He leapt up behind her in the saddle, taking up the reins with his right hand and putting his left arm around Bronte to hold her steady. She tensed up immediately, jarring her sore ankle and making her wince.
“Would you like me to take you to the hospital?” he asked.
“No, thank you. I don’t think anything’s broken, I just need to get warm.”
“Then, may I give you a ride home?”
“Would you be able to drop me at my friend’s house? She lives in the town.”
Bronte gave directions as best as she could, and leant back against Sebastian. She was exhausted and frozen, but nonetheless quite enjoying the experience of being properly rescued for the first time in her life.
Arriving at Camille’s house, Bronte’s knight in shining armour swung himself off the horse, landing elegantly on the ground, then lifted Bronte down and carried her effortlessly up the stone steps.
Camille opened the door. “Oh my goodness! What happened to you?”
“An altercation with a hill,” Sebastian answered for Bronte. Her teeth were now chattering despite all her efforts to still them. “May I bring her inside?”
“Of course!” Camille stood aside, seeming distinctly impressed by Sebastian carrying Bronte over her threshold and into the sitting room, where he placed her gently down on a sofa.
“Is there anything else I can do for you?” he asked Bronte.
“No. Thank you so much for rescuing me,” she said, “If it hadn’t been for you, who knows how long I would have been stuck out there. ”
“I’ll leave you with your very capable friend then. It was a pleasure,” he replied, smiling. He turned to Camille, “Please contact me at the Fenworth Estate if Bronte needs anything. I’ll see myself out.”