The hero is searching for the heroine to ask her to marry him.
Blade reined his mare to a frantic stop beside Odin. He scanned the next section of fence, and his heart lurched in his chest. Red hair flying, arms and legs pumping, Stormy ran toward him.
Chased by Albert Jensen’s worthless bull.
Channeling his fury to steady his hands, Blade pressed the carbine against his shoulder, sighted through the scope, and focused as Sultan closed in fast.
The bull suddenly kicked up its hind hooves and spun in a circle. Then it resumed the chase, this time angling horns straight at Stormy’s back.
It thinks this is a game!
Blade’s body tightened. He had one bullet. One chance to save the woman he truly loved.
Sultan was four steps behind Stormy.
If his aim were off by even a fraction of an inch, he’d shoot her.
Three. A bitter, metallic taste filled his mouth, like he’d been sucking on an old nail.
Sultan lunged. Stormy dodged to the side, stumbled, and regained her footing.
Surefooted, Sultan jerked its head as if trying to hook a fish. Stormy screamed.
Blade was out of time. He held his breath and squeezed the trigger. The rifle shot cracked like a whip.
Stormy collapsed, and Sultan plowed into her limp body.
Dear God, what have I done?
He kicked Belinda into a high-speed dash down the hill, leaped off, and raised the carbine like a club. He’d beat Sultan to death or die trying.
The beast twitched like a dreaming hound, but it was dead. His bullet had taken out one of its eyes; bloody goo dripped from the hollow socket.
She lay cheek down in the grass, legs buried under Sultan’s jaw and neck. She wasn’t breathing.
Unsure how he would go on living, he knelt beside her. His hand trembled as he brushed her hair off her shoulders, but he had to witness what he’d done, understand why she was dead even if the memory—and the guilt—drove him later to madness.