Trouble At Lone Spur

Trouble At Lone Spur by Roz Denny Fox Read Free Book Online

Book: Trouble At Lone Spur by Roz Denny Fox Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roz Denny Fox
cowboys was asking for trouble. Take, for instance, Kyle Mason’s experience at the neighboring Drag M. Last year he’d hired a woman cowpuncher and bragged to anyone who’d listen about being the area’s first equal-opportunity rancher. Far as Gil knew, there’d never been a fight among Drag M hands till Maggie Hawser came on board. After, they’d had plenty. More accidents, too. Not that it was all Maggie’s fault. And not to say she wasn’t a good hand. Some of the men admitted they’d spent so much time mooning over her they’d gotten careless.
    But lovesick cowboys were only half the problem. Maggie’d up and married the clerk at the feed store. She left Kyle shorthanded in the middle of branding. Drag M wranglers moped around for months and spent weekends in town raising hell.
    Come to think of it, there’d been an unusually large number of Lone Spur horses throwing shoes this last week—meaning Gil’s headaches had already started. It was a good thing Ben had sent Rafe out with the notes from the twins’ teachers, or he might not have come in yet and learned what his manager had done.
    Those notes spelled more trouble. Of a kind Gil didn’t want to think about tonight. Giving Shady Lady’s neck a final pat, he went back to the house and upstairs to bed.
    I N THE MORNING at breakfast Gil contemplated the best way to tackle the twins’ teachers’ concerns. As usual when his mind wrestled with a dilemma, the boys’ yammering passed right over his head. Suddenly, as if through a fog, Gil heard Dusty gloating about a “neat trick” they’d pulled on Melody’s mother last night. That got Gil’s attention.
    “Sneakin’ out to put those bats in Mrs. Robbins’s bedroom after she went to the barn was easy as eatin’ pie, wasn’t it Rusty? I wish we coulda seen what happened when she went to bed. Buddy Hodges said bats always get tangled in girls’ hair. I bet Melody’s mom screamed up a storm.” Dustin laughed around the mouthful of pancake he’d stopped to shovel in.
    Gil choked, spewing coffee over his place mat as his second son wiped a milk mustache from his upper lip and ventured, “I think we shoulda waited, Dusty. That was a good supper she fed us.”
    “So? She wouldn’t have if Melody hadn’t bugged her. She didn’t want us there. I could tell.”
    “Hold it right there.” Gil raised a hand, then slammed it on the table as he gazed in horror from one boy to the other. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You two know bats carry rabies.”
    Dustin looked smug. “We didn’t touch ‘em, Dad. They came from Rafe’s bat trap. We opened the box and shook ‘em out in her room. Same as we did that old bull snake we put in her bed last week.”
    Gil counted to ten under his breath, then he exploded. “Remember that rabid coyote I showed you last year? We discussed how painful treatment is for our horses. I assumed you knew it’d be as bad or worse for humans.”
    Dustin stuck out his lower lip. “Men are smart ‘nuff to not get bit. Can we help it if girls are stupid?”
    Livid, Gil rose over his sons. Grounding them for life was too lenient. Through a haze of anger Gil heard his white-haired houseman bang a cupboard door and grunt. “Spit out what’s on your mind, Ben. It can’t get much worse.”
    “Time somebody teaches them knot-heads some respect,” he said. “Lord knows they don’t listen to me. It’s a cryin’ shame, the shenanigans they pull on folks. I tell you, Gil, I’m too old to be kickin’ the frost out of kids meaner than oily broncs.” In cowboy lingo he’d likened the twins’ need for discipline to breaking a bad horse—which, Gil knew, laid Ben’s feelings squarely on the line. He loved the twins.
    So, the lady had told the truth, Gil fumed. No doubt the teachers’ notes regarding disrespect in the classroom were on target, too. Had he closed his eyes to behavior he should have seen all along? Well, they were open now. Gil wadded his napkin

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