Daisy’s rugby-obsessed big brother had shouted those two words with reliable consistency as she grew up – instinct kicked in and she scanned the sky. The cricket ball headed straight for her, as did a fifteen-stone fielder. Oh God, should she run left or right? Rooted to the spot, she watched transfixed as the fielder leapt into the air, arm outstretched to catch the ball. He missed by at least two feet.
Duck! Duck, you stupid cow and the ball will miss you.
But the fielder wouldn’t. He flailed backwards and Daisy closed her eyes, preparing for the impact. Oddly, it came from her right as someone knocked her sideways. Her eyes opened in time to see a male hand pluck the ball from the air as his other arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her to him. They fell, her head bashing the baked ground and she lay gasping for the breath he’d knocked out of her, all too aware of cricket pads and some divine aftershave. Was it the fit batsman?
The fielder stood where she had moments ago, grinning. ‘Nice catch.’
The batsman sat up, laughing, and tossed the ball to the fielder. ‘She certainly is.’ He leant over, his hair flopping into his eyes, and gave Daisy a curious smile. ‘Hello.’
Thank God for sunglasses because it was the fit batsman and his smile, one that had to be sponsored by Colgate, had Daisy staring like a loon.