You must be at least 21 years of age to view this blog.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

TLR Chapter 57

Mutt keyed his walkie in and called Jax.  "Jax, Mutt here, come in please. Over." 

Jax looked up at Heath when he heard the radio crackle.  Heath nodded and the young man returned the call.  "Jax here.  Where are you Mutt? Over."

"We're out looking for Troy. We found what we think is his trail and we're following that. Over.”

"But where are you?  How far away? Over"

"We're at one of the springs, watering the horses. So, about ten, fifteen miles? It looks like he and Taz were here, and the trail leads upstream from here so we're going to go in that direction once the horses are rested. Over."

Jax looked at Heath again then handed him the radio.  "Mutt, this is Heath. Over" the doctor said.

Mutt could feel the blood rushing from his face and his heart rate increased.  Busted.

"H…hello Heath, Over." Mutt replied weakly.

The other brats heard Mutt talking to Heath and their faces showed the same reactions.

"Listen to me, little boy." Heath ordered. "We will handle this mess when you get back but for now we want you all to stay together.  Find Troy then make a camp. Stay there till morning. Over."

"Yes sir." Mutt replied, struggling to breathe normally. "Mutt out." he said before turning to the other men.  "Well, let's keep following his trail.  He's got to be close by, those tracks aren't too old."

"Heath sounded upset," Ryan said.  "Do you think the others know about us leaving?"

“‘We’," Little Jake said tonelessly. "Heath said 'we'. Yeah, I think they all know right now."

"Crap." Jarrod muttered, "So much for getting back before we were missed."

“We are so dead," Little Jake groaned.

Bo looked back and forth between the upset young men. He wondered if he was going to get a dose of what the twins had coming from Shorty as well.

Ryan sat his horse, looking paler than usual, and Mutt's normally tanned face was the color of light coffee.

"Look," Bo said pointing to a small figure in the distance.

Brian took out his binoculars and looked in the direction that Bo was pointing.  "It's someone walking. It's got to be your guy.  No one else would be out this far for a casual stroll."

Mutt took the binoculars and adjusted them to his face.  "Yep, that's him. Let's go!"

"Where's Taz?" Little Jake demanded.

"We'll find out what happened when we get to him. Let's get going." Bo ordered, tapping his horse’s sides to get him moving.

The group caught up with the winded and hot young cowboy in a matter of moments.

"Thank God we found you!" Mutt said.  "Everyone is on the alert, and we're in a mess of trouble."

"Found me?" Troy asked, "Was I lost?"

"Where's Taz?!" Jacob demanded, ignoring the other man's words.

"Easy, Little Jake, it's more important that we found Troy." Jarrod said quietly. 

Not wanting the other men to know he was thrown he answered.  "A rabbit startled him and he took off when I was resting him."

"He's probably back at the stables by now." Bo surmised.

"Yeah, Taz is crazy but he's not stupid." Mutt joked. "I'm sure he's fine.  What about you, Troy?" he asked as he got down from his horse to remove dried grass and leaves from Troy's hair. He noticed the dirt on Troy's back but didn't say anything else.

"I'm ok, just tired." The young cowboy answered.  "How far are we from the resort?"

"Better than ten miles, and it's getting late.  Heath told us to camp for the night and sit tight until the others can come and get us." Mutt replied.

"You better call them and let them know we got Troy and are making camp," Brian told Mutt. "And I’ll try to contact Con." He said and walked away from the group.

"Which means we have to set up shelters and do a little hunting for our dinner." Mutt added.  He checked his pockets and smiled when he found a small roll of fishing wire.  One problem solved.

Mutt took his walkie from the pack on his horse’s back and keyed into channel one.  "Mutt to Heath, come in Heath. Over."

"Heath here.” The doctor answered on his own walkie.  “Go ahead Mutt. Over."

"We found Troy.  We're going to set up camp in the big meadow beside the upper stream. I have my knife and some fishing wire, and Little Jake and Jare are already looking nearby for firewood. Over."

Heath looked at James who nodded.  "Ok, Mutt, you guys stay together and stay safe. Over.”

"Both Brian and Ryan are with us so we have protection. Over"

"Has Brian tried to contact Con? Over" Heath asked

"He's doing that now, sir. Over." Mutt replied.

"Mutt, just who is with you?" James growled taking the radio from Heath.  His tone was unmistakable.  He was not happy.

Mutt stopped short when he heard James's tone.

"Well, there's me, Little Jake, Jare, Bo, Ryan, Troy and Brian. Over." He answered.

Bo took the radio from Mutt.  "Bo here, James," he said.  "Sorry for the mess but we'll be ok.  We are all experienced in the woods. Over"

"I'm holding you to that Bo.  We'll be discussing this tomorrow. Over and out." James ended the call.

While James spoke to the boys, Heath went to the land line and called Jeff and then Coral to let them know.  Coral found Ricky and put the man's immediate fears to rest.

"Dead...we are so dead," Little Jake moaned.

"Discuss?" Mutt said, going another shade paler.

Even Troy knew what that meant.

"He's just going to talk to us.  What's everyone so worried about?" Bo asked.
"Yeah talk but not with his mouth," Jare added squirming a little.

"And I'm willing to bet that Shorty is going to have a discussion with you for not going to him and telling him what was going on, Bo." Mutt said quietly.

"But... he can't be mad at me," Bo tried to laugh it off, "It was an emergency, we had to find Troy.  They have to understand that, don't they?"

"Oh they understand alright.' Ryan said.  "They understand that we all left and didn't talk to them first."

Bo suddenly went pale and sat down on a nearby boulder.  "He wouldn't... I mean... would he? Do to me what he did to you, Jare?" He asked uncertainly.

"Well, being new here he might not, but I wouldn't count on it." Jare answered.

Bo went paler, if that was possible. 

Hearing a noise behind him he turned to see Brian walking back into the beginnings of their camp followed by another man slightly taller and a bit older then he was.  The other man was leading his horse and a pack mule.

The older man walked straight up to Bo and stuck his hand out.  "I don't believe we've had the pleasure of meeting yet, Bo.  I'm Constantine Falcone, head ranger here at Teardrop Lake Resort and this scallywag's husband." He introduced himself while pulling Brian's head to him by way of an arm around his husband's neck.

Bo forced a smile and held out his hand to be shaken.  "Nice to meet you, Mr. Falcone."

"Call me Con, everyone else does." The older ranger said with a smile. 

"Thanks... Con." Bo replied, feeling a little more at ease than he had been.

The ranger looked over at Troy.  “And you must be our missing guest?”

“Yeah, that’s me only I wasn’t lost,” Troy grunted defensively.

"Come on and help unload the mule guys." Con ordered with a smile.  "I'm pretty sure the lot of you have to be starving by now." He said looking up at the darkening sky.  "Just so you know, Mutt, you are more like twenty miles out.  I found you all by following your trail and Brian led me the rest of the way."

"Good thing we're not stealthy then." Mutt replied with a grin as he, Jarrod and Jacob went to the mule to unload the food.

"It's not a lot but I figured we could take our chances with fishing to round out our dinner." Con said.

"I was just about to go do that." Mutt answered. "I have some fishing wire that I always keep with me, and I was about to go cut a branch to turn into a pole."

"How about we do a little rabbit hunting while we're at it?" Troy asked.  "I have a grudge against one in particular." He joked.

"The one that spooked Taz?" Jarrod asked.

"Yep." Troy replied.  "He was a nice fat one too."

"Let's just stick with fish and the rations I brought with me." Con said with a smile.  "I want to save my ammunition in case of an emergency."

"Little Jake, Jare, we're going to need more wood than that." He directed as the boys brought the provisions toward the little fire pit they'd built.

"Yes sir." The boys answered in unison before turning as one to go hunt for more dried wood.

Bo set about cutting pine branches to make bedding.  Con and Brian searched in the bags to find the rope they always carried with them on long trips and began to tie some of the fallen branches into frames for a shelter.  Bo brought the longer pine branches over as he cut them and the two rangers expertly tied them onto the frame to form a roof and sides.

Mutt and Ryan went fishing while the others built the shelters and the fire.  Mutt took off his tee shirt and used it as a net to put the fish in as they were caught, and then as a basket to carry them back to the camp.

"Your shirt is going to smell like fish forever after this." Ryan joked.

Mutt shrugged and grinned.  "It's all for a good cause. I can live with it for a night."

"You're a better man than I am, Charlie Brown." Ryan said.

The others looked on in surprise as Ryan and Mutt walked back into camp with a tee shirt full of fish and singing 'Charlie Brown' loudly.

"He's a clown, that Charlie Brown. He's gonna get caught! Just you wait and see! Why is everybody always pickin' on me?"

"I'm glad to see the two of you in such a good mood. And I'm especially glad to see those fish." Bo said with a grin. "We have beef jerky and water."

"Beef jerky. Delicious." Mutt replied with a trace of sarcasm. "Well, I suppose it's better than nothing, especially if we hadn't caught all these fish.  Let's get them cleaned and cooked. I'm starving."


Back at the resort Shorty had fed Ryan’s little kitten and had put the rest of the horses into their stalls.  He was just finishing up feeding them when he heard a snort behind him.  He turned to see Taz waiting at the gate to his stall. 

Shorty slowly walked up to the big horse looking around to see if he brought anyone home with him.  Not seeing anyone he patted the horse's nose and fed him an apple slice before beginning to remove his saddle and tack.  "Well, at least one of you has sense." He murmured. He quickly stripped the saddle and blanket from the big palomino.  He led him into his stall checking him for injuries.  After giving him a quick brushing and filling his feed bucket with grain and making sure the water was fresh, Shorty headed to the bunkhouse to call James.

"Harrington," James answered his phone.

"Hey James, Shorty here.  Taz just wandered in rider less.  He's not hurt but I'm not sure where Troy is."

"Con just called.  They found Troy, and they're all together in the far meadow.  They're going to camp out for the night and make their way home tomorrow morning. I just got off the phone with Jeff and Coral and was just about to call you."

"Thank God, they're all ok." Shorty sighed in relief.

"Until I get my hands on them." James joked. "I know that Ricky, Mr. Gonzalez, is relieved to hear that his partner is alright, but I foresee a lot of unhappy brats in the near future."

"Yes, and there will be at least two of them here."

James cleared his throat. "What do you plan to do about Bo? He had a large part in this, and as your second, should have spoken to you immediately about what was going on."

"We'll have a talk.  I want to hear his side first." Shorty said.  "I'll play it by ear until I hear the facts."

James sighed. It was going to be a tough decision and he didn't envy Shorty for having to make that call.  "Call me if you need back up." He said finally.

"I will, James." The vet answered.  "This little adventure might be good for him.  He seems to be as stubborn as Duke when it comes to accepting that he's a brat."

James laughed.  "If he didn't know before, he will after tonight.  Once he sees how the others act he can't help but to see himself in them. He already gets along like gangbusters with Jarrod and Jacob... and Mutt come to think of it."

"Oh, I'm sure he's getting a dose of reality." Shorty agreed.  "He's a great guy and I'm glad he settled here."

"Yes, he did fit right in, like the missing piece of a puzzle.  He's a good addition to our little family."

"Yes, yes he is," Shorty said with a wishful tone.

James smiled even though Shorty couldn't see it.  "Well my friend, it's been a long day and I have my own brat to talk to about his involvement today.  I know you'll do the right thing by your boys, and by Bo once they're all safely back."

"Thanks James, It'll be strange without them in the bunkhouse tonight but I should try and get some sleep too." Shorty said.  "Talk to you tomorrow."

"Good night, Sam." James said fondly before hanging up.

"Nite JW," the vet said hanging up the phone.  He wandered into the kitchen to find something to eat.

As Shorty passed the kitchen table his hand fell on the jacket that the horse wrangler had left on the back of the chair.  Shorty squeezed the material and felt that small jolt again.

There was no getting around it, Bo was getting under his skin.


All of the men pitched in to clean the fish, which were soon roasting on a jury rigged spit over the fire.

"Beats beef jerky." Brian said as he tore off some of the succulent fish.

"Beats nothing at all." Con reminded him with a look.

"We were ok," Mutt said self-consciously.  "We all know how to camp out. We'd have been ok if no one found us till morning. I mean, after all, we had Brian with us."

"Yes you did, but the first thing Brian should have done when he found you is call me," Con said eyebrow raised.

"I'm sorry about that, Con.  I guess I just got caught up in the moment." Brian replied, blushing. "If there'd been an emergency I'd have called you immediately.  I'm sorry." He repeated.

"I know, little boy," Con whispered hugging his husband.

Jarrod and Jacob looked on mutely, hoping that Con's ire wouldn't be aimed at them.  They were already more concerned about what Shorty would do to them once they got home.

Mutt saw the hug and wished for the millionth time that he was home and in Jeff's arms, regardless of what Jeff would do to him.

Ryan found himself missing Coral's hugs. He looked down at the piece of fish he'd been eating, suddenly not hungry any more as he wondered if his little kitten was missing him.

Con looked around the group.  Shaking his head, "Nothing about today seems to have been thought out, and I know most of you know better."

The twins felt their faces heating up and they both knew it wasn't from the fire that was crackling merrily. "Yes sir." They said.

"I guess none of us really thought this out. I'm sorry too, Con." Mutt replied.

"I'm glad you're here though." Ryan said quietly. Even though you're going to lead me to my doom in the morning. He thought

Bo wrapped his big arms around the twins.  "We were all wrong today but I'll have to take the blame.  I should have talked to Shorty before heading out."

"I'm glad you are all sorry now, but you'll all have to answer to James and your tops." Con said.

"Oh, man," Mutt complained quietly, "He's gonna tear us a new one.  And then there's Jeff. I'm pretty sure he's not going to be quiet about it either before he skins me alive."

Troy looked on with a mixture of amusement and concern.  Granted Ricky had learned a lot since coming to the resort, but he worried that there was another switching in his future, if Ricky was as angry as the other Tops were going to be.  "You are all brats?  You all let your partners punish you?  And you laugh about it?"

Mutt looked ruefully at Troy.  "Yes, we're all brats, and we all let our partners and husbands and mentors discipline us when they feel it's deserved. And right now, none of us can say we don't deserve to get our rumps roasted."

"We laugh because we know that they won't give us more than we can handle and no more than we deserve." Jarrod pitched in.

"And because we know that once it's over, it's over and done with." Little Jake added.  "It's gonna happen Troy, so we can either worry about it all night or make the best of it tonight." He continued.

"For myself, I hate having to wait, but it's sort of out of our hands right now." Mutt said. "There's no sense losing sleep over it. Otherwise we'll be tired and sore." Mutt tried to joke.

Troy shook his head, "This is all my fault.  If I hadn't rode Taz off none of you would be in trouble." he almost cried.

Jacob and Jarrod silently agreed but said nothing.

"You riding off is not why the guys are in trouble, Troy." Con said.

“Then why are they?" Troy snarled.

"Because we rode off without telling anyone where we were going, or what had happened." Bo replied. "We all broke that rule and we all knew better."

"Yeah, we wanted to help you but we also wanted the adventure," Ryan agreed.

"Yeah, if I'd told Jeff what had happened instead of saddling up and riding out without a word I wouldn't be in trouble now."

"And if it hadn't been this it probably would have been something else." Jarrod said grudgingly.

Brian was quiet at his husband's side.  He hadn't run off with these guys but he knew he was in trouble for not calling Con right away.

"Shorty is always telling us we're trouble magnets." Little Jake joked.

"And now that I've admitted to being a brat, I guess I am too." Bo laughed, despite his concern over what Shorty would do to him.  He was no less at fault than the twins, more so since he was older and should have used his head.

Mutt huffed a laugh.  "Welcome to the club." he said.

"Hey, we're all brats except for one of us here." Jarrod said with a sly grin.

"Yeah, we can take him if we stick together." Little Jake added.

Ryan grinned, getting the joke.

Mutt cried, "Attack!"

All of the brats, including Bo, pounced on Con and started tickling him.

Con looked up and laughed as he was gang piled by brats.

"OK, OK, I GIVE," Con laughed.

Mutt looked back at Troy and smiled, glad that his plan had worked, and that Troy didn't seem as upset and worried as he had before.

The brats all returned to where they'd been sitting and finished the fish, chatting and laughing until Con told them it was time to go to sleep.

Bo bedded down close to the twins and Mutt moved his bed closer to Troy.

Ryan laid down on the other side of Troy, and Con and Brian curled up together.

"It'll be ok," Mutt whispered to Troy, who began to look nervous again in the moonlight.  "Tomorrow might not be the most fun you've ever had, but you'll be all right. We’ll all be all right."

The horses stood guard in the meadow.  They would warn Con if they had any visitors during the night.


Back at the resort Jaxon sat in his recliner in the living room and could overhear only parts of what James and Heath were talking about.  He could just hear them saying that he had a bad habit of keeping things from them when he thought he might get his friends in trouble.  At the moment they were discussing what his punishment should be.

"First he tried to hide Mutt the first time they'd met, rather than admit to Jeff that he was there.  Then he hadn't told us about Mutt going to visit his mother, then he neglected to tell us about how he'd managed to fall out of his wheelchair, and this time he told no one where Mutt had gone or why."  James had said, containing his anger and disappointment.

When they finally confronted him about it, Jax said, "But I didn't know what they were doing was wrong, this time. It never occurred to me that none of them told any of you where they were going, and it didn't cross my mind until I heard you all talking about not knowing where anyone was."

"The point is, Jaxon, you did know that Mutt and the others were going, and whether or not they told their Tops, you should have told us.  Immediately."

"I'm sorry." Jaxon said quietly.

"We know you're sorry, hon, but that doesn't change the fact that you keep your knowledge of other's misdeeds to yourself and only tell us when you're backed into a corner.  Loyalty is fine, it's admirable, but when it puts your friends in harm's way and you keep their secret, then it's unacceptable, and makes you as guilty as they are."  Heath said.

"It's considered lying by omission." James said sternly.

"What... what are you going to do with me?"  Jaxon asked, his voice quivering.  Would they kick him out? He wondered.  Or would they give him a dose of what the others were probably getting.  He wasn't thrilled with either option.

James went into the study and brought out a notebook and pencil and wrote something on the first page.  "Heath and I talked about it and agreed that this isn't a spanking offense.  However we did agree that writing lines would probably get the point across more quickly.  I want you to write this one hundred times.  Neatly.  You should be able to finish this before dinner.” He said handing the book to Jaxon. 

Heath drew their brat toward the kitchen table, took the book from Jaxon, opened it to the page where the lines were to be written and settled the young man at the table.  "Get to work.  I'll be checking on you from time to time."

Jax sighed and began to write his lines.  After the tenth time he could write it without having to look at the original as a prompt but the meaning of the lines eluded him.  He could hear Heath emptying the dishwasher behind him. He put the pencil down and wiped his face. “Heath, I don’t know how this is helping?”

“Finish and we can talk about it then.” 

The young man sighed, picked up the pencil and continued to write.

It wasn't until he wrote, ‘ Loyalty, honesty, and friendship are hard to come by... its unconditional, its heartfelt, and it's always being honest with those who matter the most.’ for the 37th time that the meaning hit.

He paused in his writing and looked up at Heath.  "I'm so sorry." He said sadly.  "I get it now."

"What does that line mean to you?" Heath asked gently, leaning against the counter he'd been cleaning.  James, who had been reading the paper in the living room, heard the discussion and walked into the kitchen.  He leaned against the door jamb but remained quiet as he listened to Jaxon's interpretation of the quote.

"It's fine that I'm loyal to my friends, unconditionally, just as they are to me." Jaxon began, "But the key to loyalty is honesty... I wasn't honest with you, and as a result I wasn't being loyal to you, the people who matter most to me."  He confessed.

"Very good, hon." James praised, pushing himself off of the door jamb and putting an arm around Jaxon.

Heath walked over and put an arm around him as well.  "I'm glad you understand now."

Jaxon blushed a little under the praise, although he was somewhat embarrassed that he'd had to write it so many times before the meaning had sunk in.  He looked up hopefully at the two men.  "I understand now.  Do I still have to write this 100 times?"

Heath looked at the pages that Jaxon had written, then looked at James, who also leaned over to read the lines.

"No, you don't have to write them 100 times," He said.  

Before Jaxon could breathe a sigh of relief and thank him, James said, "You already wrote them 37 times, so you only need to write them 63 more times.  You should be able to crank them out in no time.  Just remember to write them neatly or you'll have to rewrite them." He reminded.


"We can start from one if you have a problem with it." Heath replied in a matter of fact tone.

"No sir, that won't be necessary." Jaxon said quickly.  "I'm writing. I'm writing."

Heath and James exchanged a smile over Jaxon's head and went back to what they'd been doing.


  1. maravillosos capítulos

  2. I read this whole thing in one day, I started at 7am and didn't get done until 130am.
    Love it! Can't wait for more

    1. WOW, and thanks. We are happy you love TLR and the guys who share their lives at the resort. I'll post a few more chapters soon. I think we are complete up to Chapter 61.

  3. ¡¡Por favor!!
    ¿Cuando lo próximos capítulos?
    ¡Muero de ansiedad!!

    1. Please don't die, I'll post some soon.
      Thanks for loving our guys.