When we got to the barn corral, Half Pint was riding Paint around the barrels we had set up. We watched as she worked with Paint.

“She’s good. What’s her best time?” Al asked.

“She had a 16.632 last Friday,” I said as I stood behind her.

“I could help her cut some time off that if she would be interested,” She leaned back against me.

“I don’t know what her plans are other than she got a full ride to Texas A&M,” She turned in my arms and smiled.

“She’s going to be a great vet. I know she’s done some work with Doc Johnson.”

She raised up on her toes and kissed me. “I just can’t keep my hands or lips off of you.”

I smiled, “I feel the same way. So, touch all you like.” My phone rang, “Hold on to that thought just a second.”

I pulled out my phone. Caller ID read Randy.

“Yeah man. You just left. What’s up?”

“Yes, she’s right here in front of me.”

“Okay, hold on.”

“It’s Randy. He wants to talk to both of us so I’m going to put him on speaker,” I wrapped one arm around her shoulders, so she could hear too.

“Okay Randy, go ahead.”

“Allie, Jake and Cole went to get your truck towed from the ‘Rusty Nail‘, for new tires. But when they got there the truck was up on blocks and the rims are gone as well.”


Allie almost fell. I moved my free arm to her waist to hold her up.

“Allie! You okay?”

“I’ve got her Randy. Did they, or you call Sheriff Clay?”

“Yes, he came and looked at it. He found the tip of a knife on the ground by the rear of the truck. He isn’t hopeful that he’ll find anything on it. Jake stayed with it and he’ll get Mike on it. It could be a few days before it’s ready.”

“Yeah, that’s okay.  Al and I are going into Fort Worth tomorrow. We’ll be back Sunday.”

“Will you keep us posted if Sheriff Clay finds anything?” Al was scared again. I could feel her shudder.

“You bet. Are you going to ride, Allie?”

“Yeah, I thought I might.”

“Maybe I’ll show up on Friday to watch.”

“I’d love that.”

“Okay. Mac, I don’t need to tell you to be careful, right?”

“Nope, I’m on it.”

“Love y’all.”

“Bye man.”

I hung up and pocketed the phone, then turned Al to face me, “You okay?”

“Yeah, but I’m glad you’re here,” She smiled.

“Me too. I think Half Pint’s done. Why don’t you take Bullet out and run him through his paces?”



I was standing on the bottom rung of the fence when Angus walked out the barn door. I waved as he walked over to me, “Hey big brother.”

I looked down at him. Something was bothering him.

“Something wrong?” I asked turning my eyes back to Al.

“Maybe, but I don’t know for sure.” He shifted his weight from foot to foot, “Fred just came in from the north cabin. Someone broke the lock and has been living there.”

I stepped down and turned to him, “Did he see any fresh tracks?”

“No, that’s what’s bothering me. He said maybe a few weeks old.” He turned to Allie, “Damn she’s good. I really don’t see how she does it on that big horse.”

I smiled, “She says she just holds on and lets him run. But, now that I’ve seen her, she’s just that good.”

I turned back to her, “I hope she’ll let me breed him to some of the mares this spring.”

“Oh man yeah! He’d make some beautiful babies.” He looked at me, “How long is she going to be here?”

I smiled, “You need to make room for her tack and Bullet because she’s agreed to marry me.”

He slapped my back, “Yee Haw! It’s about time she came to her senses.”

Half Pint walked up, “Just what’s all the Yee Hawin’ about over here?”

“Allie finally agreed to marry our big brother.” Angus smiled.

“No way, really!” She was jumping up and down.

Al rode Bullet over to the fence. I reached up to rub his ears, “What’s all the noise about over here?”

Half Pint stood beside me on the fence to rub his neck, “So what day’s the wedding?”

“Well, we were thinking about New Year’s Eve because everyone will still be here.” She smiled.

“Small, just family, and plus ones if you have one. Then go to the Rusty Nail for the reception,” I added.

Angus smiled, “And what about the honeymoon?”

Why was everyone looking at me? Well, I’d show them, “I’m not waiting on a honeymoon. So, y’all better stay away from the west wing at night.”

I saw three faces turn red, but only one made my heart skip a beat, “Maybe we’ll go somewhere after the winter calving.” I reached up and held Al’s hand, “Maybe Europe, or a cruise on a private yacht.”

I held her eyes for just a minute longer, “But, to other matters. Someone’s been living in the north cabin.” I looked at Half Pint, “Don’t go off the front land without your gun and a buddy.”

Turning to Angus, “The same goes for everyone. Guns and buddy system until we know where Cindi is and who’s helping her.”

“I’ll get on that right away,” Angus said as he turned to leave.

“Wait just a minute, Angus.” He turned and looked at me, “Allie and I are going to go into Fort Worth tomorrow morning. I’ll need someone to bring Bullet to us on Friday.”

“Jake and I can do it,” Half Pint said.

“Okay, thanks. Make sure Jake knows to be extra careful. Cindi could come after you to get to Allie and me.”

She nodded her understanding.

“Angus, keep me in the loop as to what’s happening here while I’m gone.”

“You bet. Y’all go have some well-deserved fun together,” He turned to the barn where Fred was just going in.

Half Pint turned to the house, “I have some research to do. See y’all at dinner.”



“Would you like to ride into town for lunch?” I asked Al as we groomed Bullet. I was picking his hooves. “I’d really like a strawberry malt.”

I could see her legs from where I was under Bullet. She was standing on her tiptoes to brush his back, “Sure, lunch sounds good. I love that you remembered I love strawberry malts.”

I put the last hoof to the ground and walked to her side. I wrapped my hands around her waist and lifted her up, so she could reach Bullets back.

In her ear, I whispered, “I remember everything about you.” I stood her back to her feet, “How do you manage to brush him on the road?”

She looked up at me, “Well, I usually have a stool, but I kind of liked the help I just got.”

Her eyes sparkled as I lifted her up to kiss her. She wrapped her legs around my waist and I moaned, “Damn woman! The things you do to me.”

I started walking to the door; stopping just so she could put the brush on the shelf, “Angus we’re going to town for lunch. Do you need anything?”

I heard a laugh from the office, “No we’re good. You’d forget what we needed anyway.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” I kissed Al again and walked to my truck.