The first shot missed Al by just inches, the next one got my shoulder. I dropped us both to the ground and rolled over the top of Al.

Shots were ringing all around us. I heard Robert talking to some of his team before he came to us, “Don’t stand up. They can’t see you on the ground. I need y’all to crawl to the rock just north and east of here. I’ll lay down some cover for you, just stay close to the ground.”

“Roger that,” I replied, rolled off Al and moaned.

“Mac, did you get hit?”

Robert was on the ground, “Allie, are you okay?”

“I… I’m fine, please take care of Mac!” She was scared. I reached out to take her hand.

“They got me in the right shoulder. I don’t know if it went through or not,” I whispered.

“Let me look. This may hurt,” Robert turned me. It hurt like hell. Mind over pain. That’s how I made it through riding bulls for years.  I squeezed Al’s hand. She squeezed back.

“I’m here, cowboy,” she replied.

“Looks like it went through, but it may have splintered,” he pulled a bandana out of his pocket and wrapped it around my shoulder, “This should stop most of the bleeding.”

I loosened my grip on Al, “Yeah thanks, man.”

“Okay, I’m going to lay down some cover. You two get to that rock and stay there,” He moved away from us and started firing.

I tugged on Al’s hand. She came to me, then we started crawling to the rocks. When we got there, I put myself in front of her with her back to the rock. I moaned as I brought my gun up. “Sweetheart, you keep an eye on our back,” She nodded and raised her gun to the side.

“Sam. Angus,” I said into the radio.

“Yeah, bro, little busy here!” Angus spat back.

“Tell me what’s going on,” I replied.

“We have them cornered in the canyon to the south,” He replied.

“Okay, what about Randy?” I asked.

“He’s good. He got the horses over with the help of Wind. Are the two of you okay? You don’t sound so good, bro?”

“I got hit in the shoulder. Robert’s got me wrapped up for now.”

“Okay, sit tight.”

“Roger that,” I put the radio back into my pocket, “Hey sweetheart, how’re you doing?”

She looked up at me, a tear running down her face, “Hey! No, Allyson, I’m fine. I just need it cleaned and stitched up. Then I’ll be good to go.” I kissed her, “I might not be able to hold myself up for a few weeks.” I winked at her, “So, you might half to ride cowgirl style for a while.”

That got a smile from her, “She knew we’d come out together.”

“Yeah, but she missed. Between our men, the Marshals, and the Texas Rangers, they won’t leave this alive if they don’t give up,” I brushed away some stray hair from her face and winced.

“Stop doing that you’re going to start bleeding again,” She moved her free hand to my face, “I’m terrified. Next time I’ll stay at home.”

I kissed her lips very gently, “You’re doing fine, sweetheart. I’m very proud of you.” Then the world went black.

“Mac! Mac, wake up! Mac!”

I heard my sweet angel as if we were separated by miles. I opened my eyes. My head was in her lap, “Sorry sweetheart, I’m back.” I tried to set up.

“Oh, no, you don’t! Just lay right back down until someone comes to get us,” She had her hand on my chest. I smiled at how cute it was, her thinking she could keep me down.


“Mac, come in Mac.” Sam was on the radio.

“Sweetheart, would you get that please,” I closed my eyes again.

She pulled the radio out of my pocket, “Sam! It’s Allie.”

“Hey, sis, is Mac okay?”

“No, he keeps passing out on me.”

“Okay, hang in there, sis! We’ve got all of Cindi’s goons, but she gave us the slip. Robert is heading back your way now.”

“Okay, hurry!” She held onto the radio.

“They’re on the way.”

I smiled, “I heard. I was just resting my eyes, sweetheart.”

A shot came from the Nokota pasture, missing and ricocheting off the rock.

“Sweetheart, open the radio so the others can hear.”

When I heard the click, I started talking, “Cindi, you need to give yourself up. Your men have been taken into custody. You’ll be next. Just give up.”

“No way! I’m going to kill your little plaything. Then I’ll make you remember how much you love me, not her.”

“Not ever going to happen, Cindi. I never loved you. I never will. So just give it up,” The pain in my shoulder was worse. I couldn’t leave Al out here in the open, so I worked through the darkness, “Sam, Cindi’s here just south of our location.” I looked up at Al, “Let go of the button.”

She did. I heard Sam talking immediately, “Hang on! We’re on the way.”

“Cindi, you can’t get away. Give this up,” I looked through the smoke and saw Wind run out and back into the smoke. There was a gunshot and then a scream. Then nothing at all.

I whistled for Wind. She ran out of the smoke to us, “She may have just saved us.”

“Shh, just hang in there until the boys get here,” She brushed my hair out of my eyes and kissed my forehead.

“I love you, sweetheart,” The radio squawked, “Cindi’s secured.”

Sam and Robert walked to us from the dissipating smoke, “So bro, what the hell happened to Cindi?”

I turned my head to Wind, “I think Wind got revenge for her father,” I looked back at Al.

“We need to get him to a doctor. The pain’s too much. He keeps going in and out of consciousness,” Al never moved her eyes from mine.

Sam knelt beside me, “We called Dr. Williams. He’s on the way to the clinic. He’s ready for you and one Marshal.”

“Who…who was shot?” I asked.

“Marshal Tom, he just got winged. You’re in much worse shape than he is bro,” Sam replied.

“Allie, are you holding up okay?” he reached over and took her gun.

I heard the helicopter before I saw it, “Wind go!” She neighed and ran back to the Flying J.

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