As the snow fell harder, Meredith’s breath caught as something moved in the woods ahead of her. She gripped the phone tighter as a man with long black hair emerged from the tree line and blocked her path. He stood there for a moment, before stepping to one side. “Afternoon.” His dark gaze lingered on her.

The hair on the back of her neck rose.

He seemed vaguely familiar. Did she know him? Despite her unease, she nodded politely as she hurried by. She sped up, hearing footfalls behind her, muffled on the snowy path. In her haste, she missed her footing. Her feet slid, and unable to regain her balance, she fell. Arms outstretched, her phone flew forwards. She landed on the cold ground with a thud.

Meredith cried out, pain shooting through her palms as the snow-covered rocks bit into them.

Running footsteps headed her way and a pair of muddy black boots stopped in front of her. “Are you all right?”

“I think so.”

The owner of the voice wasn’t the dark haired man she’d seen. She took the outstretched hand and let the stranger help her. She gazed up into concerned brown eyes. A lock of brown hair fell over his brow under the peaked cloth cap. High cheek bones, a faint smile, and a firm grip, all took her breath away far more effectively than the actual fall did.

Wow. He was definitely not the first bloke she’d seen.