|As suspected, it showed positive. Suddenly the cabin seemed claustrophobic and the need for air was overwhelming. Deciding exercise would fuel her need, Lily went out through the French doors. She crossed the yard to the trees where it was cooler. She was glad to be wearing a ventilated halter-top while her jeans protected her legs from wayward branches and weeds. Deeper into the trees, she came across a small creek. As she crossed over, her flip-flops caught on a hidden tree root and she lost her balance and fell to her knees. She extended a hand to prevent pitching forward while her other cradled her midsection in a protective gesture. This time, her womb wasn't empty. She smiled.
Lily got up and brushed off her jeans. With melancholy appreciation, she noticed how green everything was as if she were viewing it all for the first time. She breathed in the fresh scent of the growing plant life, smiling at the rabbits and squirrels ducking away as she approached.
Wading through the foliage, the covering of trees lessened as she neared the other side. A road running parallel to her property was a few yards ahead and she was crossing out of the trees to it when a sensation of being watched tingled along the back of her neck. She stopped and scanned the area behind her. Seeing nothing amiss, Lily still hastened her step until she reached the dirt-paved road. It was dusty and it would take her longer to get home, but it was flat and the air had cooled.
Despite the cooler air and without the protective cover of the trees, Lily felt the sun beating down on her head. She tightened her ponytail, wrapping the long ends into a makeshift bun to get it off her neck. She wasn't far from the main street that ran into town when a vehicle turned onto the dirt road. Great! She just prayed it wasn't the sheriff at the wheel of the blazer. The vehicle made short work of the distance and her stomach plummeted. It was him. He stopped beside her.
"Why haven't you called me back?" He glowered.
Lily stiffened her shoulders and ignored him by continuing her pace. Some interesting variations of curses came from his direction, but her steps didn't falter. She had no desire to speak to him. A message she intended to make clear…a message he obviously intended to ignore. The door slammed and seconds later, a vice-like grip grabbed her arm.
"I asked you a question," he gritted between his teeth. "And what are you doing out here anyway."
"What's it look like I'm doing? I'm walking. That's Detective 101, Sheriff." She wrenched her arm out of his grasp and took off again.
Chanting a few more obscenities, he reached for her again. She spun around, her temper blazing.
"How many times do I have to flush before you go away?" She yelled.
Fire shot from his eyes before in a sudden fierce movement he scooped her up and carried her to the blazer. She beat at the tight grasp around her waist. When that didn't work, she resorted to scratching and kicking, but her wedge-heeled flip-flops were ineffectual as he easily held off her attacks. In desperation, she reached for his gun. He didn't guess her intentions until she'd unsecured the latch on the holster. Realization made him bark out an incredulous laugh and he checked her hand.
"You little she-cat!" He countered. "What are you going to do, shoot me?" He shook his head in exasperation. "Don't you know reaching for an officer's gun is an automatic jail sentence?"
"Then arrest me, Sheriff!" She spat, breathless from her exertions.
"What's wrong with you?"
He swung her down and used his body to brace her against the blazer.
"Nothing. I told you I felt like a walk so I'm walking. What's the mystery?" Her voice was heavy in sarcasm.
"Why didn't you return my calls?" He asked unmoved by her ire.
"Maybe I didn't want to," she said childishly.
"Well maybe I was worried," he returned.
"Well maybe you should've called your wife. No wait," she said, pausing in mock perplexity. "Maybe you should call Rachel instead."
His gaze flashed angrily. "Did my deputy tell you about Rachel too?"
"No your deputy didn't tell me about Rachel," Lily mimicked jealously. "Your sister did. Enlighten me Jet, how many women do you need to feed your ego?"
His heated blue eyes searched her face before settling on her mouth.
"Get in the truck," he said softly.
"Are you taking me to jail?" She tilted her head in defiance. "Because that's the only way I'm going anywhere with you."
He gave her an exasperated look and before she could protest, opened the door and lifted her in. He followed and clamped a hand on her arm to prevent her escape from the passenger side.
Deftly starting the blazer with his left hand, Jet slammed it into gear and performed a U-turn. Lily sat beside him, her lips mutinous; attention straight ahead. She couldn't stop him from manhandling her, but he couldn't force her to converse with him. She'd combat him with her silence and see how he liked that.
A flash in the trees near where they'd been standing caught in the corner of her eye. She searched along the area to capture it again, but it was gone. She encountered Jet's raised brows. Discounting the fact that she wasn't speaking to him, she definitely wasn't going to tell him she was seeing things again. She jerked her attention back toward the front.
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