In no time, there was a knock at the door, “Come on in,” I called as I held Al close.

The door opened, “Angus, would you see if Joe can get free from the bar and come in too.”

He turned back out the door as Randy came to sit on the table in front of us, “Allie are you okay?”

She said yes, but I knew differently. She was scared. She was holding my shirt again and had her face buried in my chest.

Randy looked at me, “Tell me what’s going on.”

I looked him in the eyes, “Wait until Angus and Joe get here. Al may not be able to set through the telling more than once.” I dropped my head to hers, “Have you seen Cindi around lately?”

“NO! Not since you dumped her sorry ass.” He stopped, “Is she back?”

“I don’t know, but if she is, I’ll press those charges I didn’t four years ago. I told her to stay away from family and she knows that includes you and Al.” I placed a kiss on Al’s head. “She stole my stallion. Then had him put down for no reason other than to get back at me.” Al shuddered in my arms, “It’s okay she won’t hurt you, sweetheart.”

Angus and Joe walked into the office and closed the door, “Okay bro, what’s up?”

I took a deep breath and Al held on tighter; like just talking about Cindi was going to bring her to us. “Cindi’s what’s up!” I stopped and looked each of them in the eyes, “It was her record Al broke and she threatened her. Told her to quit racing or she’d have a bad accident. On her way home, her trailer tires were slashed just like on my truck.”

“Oh shit,” Angus said, “She surely wouldn’t come back here. Would she?”

“I don’t know. The restraining order is still in effect so if she comes to the Rocking R I’ll have her arrested. But….” I looked at Randy, “you don’t have one so Al would be at risk at the Flying J.”

When I said that Al moaned, “She really scared me in Las Vegas. I didn’t even stay for the buckle ceremony. I just asked them to mail it to me with the check.” She sat up and looked at Randy, “Sorry I didn’t tell you what’s been bothering me.”

He dropped down to his knees in front of her, “Hey it’s okay. We’ll take care of it.” He looked at me, “Maybe she should stay with you at the Rocking R.”

I nodded in agreement, “Al sweetheart, what do you want to do?”

She looked at Joe, Angus, Randy, then me, “I don’t want to be any trouble to you. If I stay with you she may cause you trouble.”

I moved a stray piece of hair behind her ear and wiped a tear with my thumb, “You’ll be no trouble at all.  Like I said, if she shows up I’ll have her arrested.”

She looked at Randy, “What do you think?”

He smiled at her, “I think you should stay at the Rocking R with Mac. I’ll bring Bullet to you tomorrow.”

She nodded and rested her head on my shoulder, “Okay I’ll go with Mac. He can follow me.”

She stopped, “Joe do you know the three cowboys who were trying to hit on me tonight?”

I held her a little tighter, “No, I’ve never seen them before. Why do you ask?”

She shuddered, “The big one, I think I’ve seen him with Cindi before.”

“Well, Cindi knows not to come into the bar. She’s been banned for life. But maybe we should be extra careful.” Joe replied, “I’ll go out and see if they’re still here.” He turned and walked out the door.

“Angus, I’d like to have extra security around the house and barns for the time being.” I looked at him, “And that new hand we hired last week, keep a close eye on him.”

“Will do.  I’ll have Fred watch him.” He turned to Randy, “I’ll talk to you about the breeding later. I think I should head home and get twenty-four-hour security set up.” He too walked out the door.

Randy stood up and looked at us, “I told you, y’all are good together.”

Al gave a little giggle, “You talking to me or Mac.”

“Why little sister, to both of you. I’ve been telling you both that you belong together.” He walked to the door, “But Allie, I would feel a lot better if you would ride with Mac and let me send someone to pick up your truck.”

She looked up at me as the door opened, “Do you agree with Randy? Do you think even with you following that there may be trouble?”

Before I could answer Angus spoke from the door, “It doesn’t matter what Mac or Randy think Allie. You’ll not be going anywhere in your truck tonight. All four tires are cut to shreds.”

When Angus was done talking, I stood up with Al in my arms, “That settles it then. I’m taking Al to the Rocking R tonight. Randy, you need to get Bullet there first thing in the morning.” I looked down at Al, “We already know Cindi is just crazy enough to also hurt horses.”

“Angus, ask Joe to find the security tape for the lot and get it ready for Sheriff Clay. Maybe they can see who did the slashing, then come back and follow us home.”

When Angus got back we walked out the back door; Randy on my left and Angus on my right, Al in my arms. At my truck, Randy opened the passenger side door. I sat Al in, buckled her seat belt, and closed the door. I turned to Angus, “Follow us home. Randy, we’ll see you tomorrow. Maybe one of your boys can come in and take care of Al’s truck.”

“Yeah, will do. Just let me know when y’all get to the ranch so I’ll know she’s safe inside.” Randy put his hand on my shoulder, “I know you’ll take care of her, but it goes without sayin’ that I’m only a phone call away.”

“I know man, you’ve always had my back.” I walked to the back door of my truck and pulled out a blanket, opened the front and got in. I put the blanket around Al and made sure she was okay. I thought she would be asleep before we left town, “Al, you okay sweetheart?”

She smiled and nodded; never opening her eyes. I moved out when Angus was behind us and headed to the Rocking R.


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