This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual activities between males.  If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, leave this site now. 


The author retains all rights to this story.  No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the permission of the author.

Note: Thanks to Tim and Rock for feedback on the draft chapters.  I owe a special thanks to Robb for doing the final proofreading and catching all those silly little errors I missed.


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by Jeff Allen



Micah and I kissed for a long time. We ended up rolling around on the floor grinding our hard cocks together through our pants. It was sooooooooo good!

We didn't say a lot, although there was a lot of moaning. At some point, we got our shirts off and our pants unbuttoned and pushed down around our knees.

We were sort of preoccupied with our kissing, grinding, and groaning and didn't hear Grant and B.B. come up the stairs.

"Dayum, I did not need to see that!"

B.B.'s voice was like a bucket of cold water being splashed on us. We tried to separate, but our legs were twisted together. Since our legs were still inside the legs of our pants, it was pretty hard to separate too far.

I tried to cover my erection that was peaking over the waist band of my boxers while Micah worked on disentangling our legs and pants. Both of us turned bright shades of red.

B.B. and Grant were laughing so hard they were rolling on the floor.

Micah finally managed to free himself from our intertwined pant legs by pulling his legs completely out of his pants. He stood up with his hands on his hips facing Grant and B.B. His rapidly deflating dick was still poking out of the fly of his plaid boxers. "Don't you guys know how to knock?"

That sent Grant and B.B. into another round of laughter. Micah stood there and glared at them.

After a minute or so that seemed like an hour, Grant finally managed to say, "We would have knocked if the door had been closed. I'm sorry, bro. Truly, I am sorry. B.B. and I will go to my bedroom for a while."

They picked themselves up off the floor and started to leave the room. Just as he was going through the door, Grant turned and said, "I'm glad you two finally figured out that you like one another. B.B. and I will be next door, but we really won't expect you to come over tonight. It looks like you still haven't finished what you started. We'll see you in the morning."

He winked at us and closed the door behind him.

Micah and I looked at one another and then broke out laughing.

When our laughter subsided, he pulled me up to a standing position.

"How about we finish what we started?"

I nodded.

"Let's get on the bed. We'll be covered with carpet burns if we stay on the floor."

He turned off the DVD player, put on some music, locked the door, and turned out the light. On his way to join me on the bed, he peeled off his boxers. His dick was again standing at attention.

Needless to say, Micah and I didn't get a lot of actual sleep that night. I'd had some experience in giving blow jobs with Joey and Kevin. Micah told me that he'd only had oral sex with one other guy before me. If that was the case, he was a natural talent. Man, he knew just what to do. He brought me to the edge at least a half dozen times and then backed off. The kissing was almost as wonderful as the blow jobs.

This was a new experience for me. With Joey, sex was just an extension of having been friends for years and years. With Kevin, I realized later that sex was everything. Even if he hadn't tried to rape me, our time as a "couple" would have been limited because we didn't have anything in common outside of sex. With Micah, there was an emotional connection that enhanced the sex. Boy, did it enhance the sex!


The Christmas Holidays were fantastic!

Christmas Day was spent with Marty, Trey, and his whole extended family. I had spent so many Christmases with only Marlene for company. Now, I had my son; I had my lover/partner; and I had more friends than I'd ever had in my entire life. I was a happy man.

We spent the day at Parker and Karl's. Donnie and TJ were there, of course, along with Grant and Micah. If they weren't enough, five more of Parker's `cubs' arrived with their partners or wives and children. It was quite a household. It was almost everything I remembered from Christmases when I was growing up. It was crowded. It was noisy. There was a ton of food. Everyone got presents. The thing that was different was that no one argued. No one stormed out of the house in a huff, and no one got drunk like my mother used to do every Christmas. Instead of arguing and drunkenness, the day was filled with laughter and love.

Marty and Micah had informed everyone that they were boyfriends the week before. They took a lot of good natured ribbing from folks at the Christmas gathering, but they handled it well.

On New Year's Eve, B.B. had a party for some of his friends. Parker and Karl were the chaperones. Marty, Micah, and Grant were invited and were going to spend the night. That left Donnie, TJ, Trey, and me without parenting duties for New Year's. So the four of us got together for one of TJ's delicious dinners.

Just the week before, TJ and Donnie had finally finished remodeling their downstairs bedroom and bath. They'd started the project way back in the fall before I'd really gotten to know them. They'd talked about it as the never ending project, but now it was finally completed. It had involved pushing out the wall at the back of the house to make room for the enlarged bedroom and bath. When Trey and I arrived, Donnie and TJ were anxious to show us the end result.

It was very well done. The expanded bedroom suite had ample room for their king sized bed, a walk-in closet, and the enlarged bathroom. The most spectacular thing about the bathroom was the large Jacuzzi tub set into its own glass walled alcove. The alcove looked out to the woods at the back of their land.

"Jeez," Trey exclaimed when he saw the tub, "that thing's big enough that you could have a party in there! How many people can fit in there?"

Donnie gave a chuckle and pulled TJ into a hug, "We've only tried it with TJ and me. We put lots of candles around the edge and had a great time. Grant now refers to this as the `orgy tub'."

Dinner was roasted game hens with black bread stuffing, sour cream and chive potatoes, and asparagus. Delicious. I had caffeine free diet coke while the other guys drank wine. After dinner, we relaxed in the living room with more wine and diet coke. About 10:30, TJ produced bowls of ice cream with strawberries and raspberries. Again, delicious.

I leaned back against the side of the couch with my legs extended, and Trey nestled in with his back to me. He'd had more to drink that night than I'd ever seen before, and he was in the very mellow but not quite giggly stage of semi-intoxication. The pressure of Trey's lower back pressed against my crotch caused a little swelling. I knew Trey could feel it because he wiggled a little against me and chuckled. Donnie and TJ were on the floor in front of the couch. Donnie had his back pressed against TJ, and TJ's right arm was under Donnie's arm and his hand was gently rubbing Donnie's left nipple through the fabric of his shirt. I figured TJ's dick had to be getting stiffer as we talked because every so often he would give a gentle push with his hips into Donnie's rump.

We talked. Nothing special to the conversation. Some local gossip. Some local politics. Some about our boys. Some just stories from our past...well, mostly Trey, Donnie, and TJ's past.

Donnie drained the last bit of wine out of his glass, then got up and went into the kitchen for another bottle. TJ stayed lying on his left side on the floor, displaying a serious bulge in his crotch.

Donnie came back with the new bottle of wine. While out in the kitchen, he had opened the top four buttons of his shirt and pulled his shirt tails out of his pants. He refilled Trey's glass, checked my diet coke which was still okay, put more wine in his and TJ's glasses and then resumed his position nestled up to TJ on the floor. TJ's arm moved under the untucked tail of Donnie's shirt and began gently caressing Donnie's chest. My cock pulsed at the sight, and Trey responded by pressing his body harder against mine.

My left arm was draped over Trey's shoulder. I moved my hand to the soft skin of his neck and then opened the top three buttons of his shirt and began running my fingers through the hair on his chest. At the same time, I bent down and nibbled gently on the top of his right ear. I knew he loved it, and I got the response I expected. He sucked in his breath, arched his back against me, and began kneading my thighs with his hands.

I looked down at Donnie and TJ. Donnie was now lying more on his back as he and TJ kissed, his right hand was working to unfasten TJ's belt. His shirt was now completely unbuttoned exposing a smooth and dark chocolate colored chest and stomach. His pants were unzipped and open. I watched as TJ moved his right hand inside Donnie's pants toward his balls. The motion of TJ's hand further stretched the fabric of the briefs that seemed starkly white against the dark color of Donnie's skin and clearly outlined his erection. As I watched, a wet spot of precum appeared on the fabric of the briefs at the end of his semi hidden penis. Donnie moaned.

Trey shifted to lie more to his right side. He roughly used his left hand to pull up my sweater, pull my shirt tail out, and run his hand inside my shirt to finger my right nipple. I sighed and moved my hand deeper inside my lover's shirt so I could reciprocate by fingering his left nipple. Trey moaned again. My man is very vocal when he's turned on.

"Uh, guys." It was TJ. "We've got some choices here. We can continue like this until we're all naked and Donnie will have the rug burn from hell on his back tomorrow; we can retire to separate bedrooms (I think one of the beds upstairs has clean sheets), or we can carry this party into our bedroom and find out just how many people will fit into that Jacuzzi. Pat and Trey, it's your choice. Donnie and I are cool with any of it."

Trey pulled back so we could look at one another. Trey had told me that he and TJ had slept with each other on a regular basis in high school and college before TJ and Donnie became a couple. He'd also told me that he and Brian had played around with Donnie and TJ on several occasions, but that he had always ended with Brian and Donnie had always ended with TJ. I made my decision and mouthed `Jacuzzi' to him. He smiled and nodded.

Trey looked over to Donnie and TJ and said, "Jacuzzi."

Donnie sat up. "If someone would pull their hand out of my pants, I'll go start the water."

TJ laughed and gave Donnie's hard dick a squeeze before letting go. As Donnie went toward the bedroom, TJ got up on his knees and crawled over to Trey and me. It was kind of comical. His shirt was half unbuttoned, and his hard dick was sticking out of the open fly of his pants, swaying from side to side as he crawled over to us.

He put his left hand on the back of my head and pulled me into a kiss. I'd been kissed by TJ before when we were greeting or saying good-bye. This time he used tongue. Then he sat back on his heels and said, "Pat, you know that Trey is like a brother...actually more than a Donnie and me. You're Trey's man. He loves you. Becausehe loves you and especially because you love him in return, Donnie and I consider you to be our brother in the same way that Trey is our brother. Does that make sense to you?"

I choked up and tears came into my eyes. "Thank you."

Trey and I disentangled ourselves, picked up our drinks, and followed TJ into the bedroom. As soon as he got into the room, TJ started stripping. Donnie's clothes were already in a pile by the bathroom door.

I'd never seen either TJ or Donnie naked, so while I took off my clothes I watched TJ as he finished disrobing. His muscles were well defined and lean, the kind of muscles you get from lots of hard work. He had a moderate amount of dark brown hair on his chest that ran down his belly in a wide band to merge with his thick forest of pubic hair. His circumcised cock stayed erect as he disrobed. It emerged from his pubic bush at a forty-five degree angle. I judged it to be a good seven inches in length. His scrotum was filled with two nice sized balls. His legs were hairy, but there wasn't much hair on his nicely shaped ass.

When the three of us were naked, TJ came over and gathered Trey and me into a full body hug. Trey and TJ are a couple of inches shorter than me, so their dicks came together underneath my balls and lifted them a little. Man, I thought I would shoot right then. TJ kissed Trey and then me. He took our hands and led us into the bathroom. We grabbed our drinks along the way.

Donnie had the Jacuzzi filled with water and the jets running when we entered the bathroom. He was sitting on the edge of the tub. His dark milk chocolate skin stood out against the light colored tile surrounding the tub. The only light in the room came from six candles spaced around the alcove windows. There was enough light for me to see that Donnie was pretty well endowed. He was circumcised like Trey and TJ. His dick had lost some of its fullness, but it was still a respectable weapon.

Trey and I set our glasses down on the tiles away from the edge of the tub and eased ourselves into the water. It was just right and the Jacuzzi jets felt really good against my skin. The tub was a good bit larger than the one in Trey's bathroom, which easily fit the two of us. Even so, it was tight quarters for all four of us. Legs and arms were all a tangle.

We explored each other's bodies for a long time. Long enough that the timer turned off the Jacuzzi jets. I wasn't always certain whose dick or balls I was caressing, but it really didn't matter. Donnie leaned over and gave me a kiss. Wow! He was a really good kisser...but not as good a kisser as Trey.

Trey straddled me and settled his butt down on my cock. As we kissed, he rocked back and forth rubbing his hard cock against the skin of my belly. As he rocked, the tip of my dick passed over his anus and got stuck at the entrance. The warm water in the tub acted as just enough lubricant that the head of my dick slipped into him. He arched his back and moaned.

My dick slipped a little farther into him. He put his head beside my ear and whispered, "I want you, but I don't know if we can do this with just the water as lube."

I hugged him to me and lifted him so that his butt was out of the water on the tiles surrounding the tub. I lifted his legs in the air and dove in between his legs. I tongue fucked him, depositing as much saliva as I could into his hole. As he relaxed, I moved my tongue deeper into his body and was rewarded with very appreciative moans.

I felt movement beside me. Donnie climbed out of the water and lay down on his back next to Trey. TJ stood up beside me and pulled Donnie's willing ass toward him. TJ grabbed a bottle of body wash, squeezed some onto his hand, slicked up his dick, and handed the bottle to me.

As I applied the body wash to my member, TJ slowly sunk his dick into Donnie. Mere seconds later, I was slipping my hard dick into Trey's willing ass.

TJ and I pumped our lovers in sync. We started slow, sped up, then slowed down again when our lovers showed signs of getting too close to a climax. Twice. Three times. Four times we went to the edge and pulled back. I knew I wouldn't be able to control myself the next time. As my climax built, I could tell that Trey was going to lose it, too. From the sounds coming from Donnie, I knew he was close as well.

Trey's climax came. His first shot hit my chin. His ass muscles clenched down on my cock and put me over the edge. I drove into him. I came and came. Donnie and TJ erupted together. Donnie's body tensed and I saw his dick spew out creamy white jism onto his brown skin before TJ collapsed on top of him.

When I was able to start breathing again, I slowly slid my dick out of Trey's ass and stretched out next to him on the tiles that were surprisingly warm. "Hey, I thought the bath tiles would be cold."

Donnie answered, "We had hot water pipes put in under the tiles. I didn't want to freeze my ass off when superman here decided to get frisky."

"Good idea."

We all slept in TJ and Donnie's big king sized bed, with Trey and me cuddled together on one side and Donnie and TJ together on the other.

Everyone except me had slight hangovers in the morning. No hangover is one of the up-side things about not drinking. Donnie made omelets for breakfast, then Trey and I left for home. We were having the whole group...TJ, Donnie, Parker, Karl, Robert, Sean, and of course all the kids...over for snacks and munchies during the New Year's Day bowl games.

The next five months were fantastic. All sorts of good things kept happening in our lives.

The family court up in Illinois finally agreed with my petition, so I didn't have to keep paying child support to Whitney even though Marty was living with me. The court even made Whitney and her husband pay child support to me retroactive to the time Marty came to live with me. Of course, most of that money went to cover the cost of my lawyer, but it was worth every penny. With the lawyers paid off, the money I had been sending up for child support and the new income from my ex for child support, I was able to replace my old Saturn, the car that had been burned in the house fire. Donnie gave me a good deal on a two year old Subaru Outback. Trey had been always more than generous in allowing me to use his BMW X5 whenever I needed it. I know that's what partners are supposed to do for one another, but I just felt better knowing that I had a car of my own. Of course, Marty would be using my car when he turned sixteen and got his driver's license at the end of May, so when that happened I'd probably be back to using Trey's car again.

Trey and I continued to grow in our love. He was my best friend as well as my life partner. One night he asked me if I wished that I'd come out sooner. I told him that I hadn't been ready to come out until I'd found the right man...him.

We palled around with Donnie and TJ. Trey and TJ had been best friends since high school, and Donnie and TJ had helped my man get through the rough time after Brian's death. There was a bond between the three of them that would last a lifetime. But during that winter and spring, Donnie and I began to develop our own bond of friendship. Donnie was honest with everyone. Well liked and respected in the community. He was kind and gentle with a quick sense of humor, and he and I shared the similar experiences of having been married and divorced before realizing that we were gay.

The four of us played around in Donnie and TJ's spa tub three other times after New Year's Eve. All three times were totally unplanned, developed naturally, and strengthened the bonds between us. During those times, there was a lot of body contact and kissing among all four of us, but Trey and I always ended up together as did Donnie and TJ.

The developing spring brought new life into the wildlife refuge. It also meant that I needed to spend more time being the game warden. Fishing season started in March. That meant I had to expand my rounds to cover as many of the trout streams in Carter County as possible.

One warm weekday in late March, I wrote eight citations for fishing without a license! That was a personal record. One of the citations was to the same guy who'd fought (and lost) his citation for fishing inside the game reserve the year before.

I told Trey about it while were washing the dinner dishes.

"Is this guy a local?"

"Yeah, so it's not like he can claim ignorance of the refuge boundaries. He acted all surprised and cursed me out, just like last year. I wouldn't be surprised if old Mr. Finch didn't try to fight the citation again."

"Mr. Finch? Like in Roland Finch?"

"Yeah, that's the guy. Do you know him?"

"Man, that's Donnie's former father-in-law. That man is pure mean. He and his wife won't have anything to do with Donnie and the boys."

"Because of the divorce? I thought Donnie's wife ran out on him."

"She did and took all the money they had when she left. Donnie almost lost his business. Parker had to guarantee a loan for him so he could keep going. No, it isn't because of the divorce. Finch and his wife never wanted anything to do with Donnie or the boys because Donnie's black and the boys are half black. He's also the drunk driver who T-boned Parker back when I was in college."

"You're kidding me."

"Nope. Roland Finch is mean as a snake and twice as slippery. Watch out for him."

"What's he do for a living?"

"Nothing that I know of. He's been fired from most places in town."

"Well, the man has a brand shiny new Dodge Ram pickup with all the bells and whistles. He must be getting his money from someplace. Maybe he won the lottery."

"Watch out for him, okay. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him."

"Gotcha. I won't turn my back on him."

"Good." He gave me a quick kiss. The kiss turned into a second kiss that was a little less quick. The third kiss took us back to the bedroom.

The rest of the dishes would still be there in the morning.

In late May, Marlene and I were out checking licenses on the fisherman in the trout streams up in the northern part of the county. In the early afternoon, Marlene stepped on a broken bottle that was in one of the streams and put a deep cut in the pad of her right front paw. She was bleeding like crazy. I carried her to the truck, wrapped the paw in an old tee shirt that was behind the front seat, and hightailed it to the vet's.

It took several stitches to get the wound closed. The vet gave me several absorbent doggie booties and told me that she needed to stay in her crate in the house as much as possible for the next week or so to help the paw heal and to prevent infection.

Marlene looked at me with big sad eyes the next day when I closed her in her crate and headed out the door. She'd been my constant sidekick for five years. It felt strange to be making my rounds without her.

The weather in late May and early June is stranger than normal in the North Carolina mountains. Sometimes, the weather is fantastic. Pleasantly warm and sunny. Other times, it seems like winter is trying to make an early comeback. Sometimes, that all happens on the same day.

The morning was sunny and the temperature climbed to the mid seventies. A great late spring day. By one in the afternoon, the clouds were rolling in and the temperatures were dropping. By three, the clouds had settled down to the earth in a thick, cold fog. It was probably in the high forties. It was getting miserable.

I decided to check a couple more trails in the wildlife refuge and then head home. The soccer team had an out of town game. I intended to get home early and have a pot of chili ready for Trey and Marty when they got back.

I could see fresh tire tracks on the second trail. I drove my truck slowly up the trail. About half a mile in, I saw Roland Finch's big Dodge truck pulled into a clearing. I left my truck at the edge of the clearing so that it blocked the road and walked cautiously up to Finch's big Dodge. There was no one in the truck, but there were several bags of freshly dug ginseng roots in the bed. I'd found my poacher! Wild ginseng caught a high price on the black market. That explained Finch's new truck.

I didn't know whether or not Finch was alone. In case he had a helper with him I planned to call for back up from the sheriff's department, but first, I wanted to do something that would disable the truck. I knelt down beside one of the back tires, took the cap off the valve stem, fished my keys out of my pocket, and pressed the head of one of the keys into the opening of the valve stem. The tire began to deflate with a noisy hiss. When the tire was deflated to the point where the rim was on the ground, I moved to the front tire and did the same thing.

I was deflating the second front tire when it happened. My attention was on the deflating tire. The hiss of the air coming from the tire and the wet vegetation muffled the sound of movement behind me. Something cold and hard smashed into my back. I went face first into the dirt.

I started crawling to get away from my attacker. I was struck on my right shoulder blade. My arm went numb immediately. I knew I had to get away from my attacker or I'd be dead. I hadn't finished deflating the second front tire. It looked like there might be just enough room for me to crawl under the truck. As I twisted my body to move under the shelter of the truck, I looked back and saw my attacker. It was Finch. He was hitting me with the shovel he'd been using to dig the ginseng roots. He swung the shovel again and connected with my left hip. My cell phone absorbed some of the blow, but it still hurt like hell. I got my upper body underneath the truck and was trying to get my legs under also when Finch abandoned the shovel and stomped on the back of my left knee with his heavy work boot. I heard a popping noise and I knew the knee was dislocated. He stomped again and landed on my right ankle just before I pulled it under the cover of the truck.

I wiggled as far under the truck as I could. Finch knelt down in the wet grass and poked the end of the shovel toward me. Fortunately, it didn't reach me. I was safe...for the moment.

"You son of a bitch! What did you do to my truck? The damn tires is flat! You've been a boil on my ass for a year now, Ranger Man. Too bad you weren't in that ole cabin when I torched it."

So he's the arsonist. Figured. I should have suspected him. Jeez, I wonder how bad I'm hurt.

"Looky what I found, Ranger Man. The keys to your truck. Looks like I won't hafta walk outa this woods after all. I'll be home all snug and warm drinking a good whiskey while you're freezing your ass off out here. Don't see any cuts in those tires. Looks like you jest let the air outa `em. Is that what you did, Ranger Man? If'n that's the case, then I can get them tires blowed up. I'll be back, Ranger Man, and I'll bring my deer rifle back with me."

The pain in my shoulder, knee, and ankle was increasing every second. Finch used his keys to open one of the doors on his truck. After a few seconds, he slammed the door shut. I heard the chirp as he used the key fob to lock the doors. I watched from under the truck as he walked back toward where I'd parked my pickup. He had the shovel in one hand and a whiskey bottle in the other. He weaved a little as he walked and took swigs from the bottle. He was already half drunk! If I was lucky, he'd pass out before he managed to get back to town in my truck.

But I couldn't depend on him getting so drunk he couldn't come back. I needed to find a way out of there.

I heard my truck start up. Finch ground some of the gears as he maneuvered to turn my truck around. The sound of the engine gradually faded.

I pulled my cell phone out of the holster on my belt. It was broken into three large pieces and very dead. Even the battery was cracked. So much for the GPS chip in my state-issued cell phone.

I tried to guess my physical condition. Some feeling was returning to my right arm and shoulder, but it hurt like heck to move them. Broken shoulder blade or broken collar bone. My money was on the shoulder blade.

It hurt to move my right foot and ankle. At least a bad sprain there. My left knee felt like it had been hit by a bulldozer.

It started to rain as I tried to claw and wiggle my way out from under the truck. My left arm was useless. Maybe it was both the shoulder blade and the collar bone.

Out from under the truck, I rolled over on my back and struggled to a sitting position. I scooted on my butt to the back bumper of the truck and tried to pull myself up. Big mistake! My knee and ankle protested having any weight put on them. I fell to the ground and hit my bad shoulder sending a bolt of pain through me that was so intense I passed out.


It was already dark when Marty and I got back from the soccer game. It had been a hard fought game, but our guys had finally pulled it out by scoring a goal in the last minute of play.

Pat's truck wasn't at the house when we arrived. He'd thought he'd be home in time to start dinner for us, but it didn't look like that had happened.

As we pulled in, Marty reminded me that B.B. was supposed to come over to the house for tutoring. Even though B.B. was a junior, he was taking biology with the sophomores and Marty had been helping him with the class.

"Call him and tell him to come over in about an hour. It looks like your dad is late tonight, so I'll throw something together for dinner. We should be done by the time B.B. gets over here."

"Cool. If dad hasn't been home, Marlene is probably desperate to go outside. I'll take her while you start dinner. I'm hungry."

"When aren't you hungry? Remember that she's not supposed to run around on that paw."


Once inside, I headed for the kitchen while Marty freed Marlene from her cage in the laundry room. I scanned the kitchen for something that would be fast to prepare. The evening had turned cold and rainy. I decided to whip up a pot of chili. It wouldn't have a chance to simmer very long, but there would be leftovers for the next day or the day after.

I'd gotten the meat browned and into the pot with the tomatoes and onions when Marty came back inside. He had Marlene by the collar.

"Trey, Marlene's acting really weird. She didn't want to come back inside. I had to grab her by the collar."

"She's been cooped up all day."

"No, it's not that. She kept trying to go down the driveway. I wonder if there's something out in the woods."

"Could be. Deer or something probably."

Marty started to set the table. Marlene went to the door and scratched at it.

"Marlene, stop it."

She looked at me and then barked at the door.

"Marty, would you take her back outside again. She acts like she's still got to go. Put a leash on her in case there is a deer out there in the woods. She's not supposed to be running around on that paw."

"Okay. Come on, girl, let's go back outside."

I'd just popped some frozen crescent rolls in the oven when Marty and the dog came back inside.

"She really doesn't want to come inside. I almost had to drag her. Whatever it is out in the woods must be real interesting."

Marty and I ate quickly. Marlene kept her watch by the door. B.B. arrived about the time the dishes were done. Usually, Marlene would be up and trying to lick B.B. to death. This time she stayed by the door and just whined a little when he came in. Odd.

I had some grading to do, so I spread it out on the kitchen table and started in on it while I waited for Pat.

Another hour went by. Marlene picked her head up and listened. I heard a vehicle coming down the driveway. It didn't sound like Pat's truck. I looked out the kitchen window.

Caleb Stuart was climbing out of his sheriff's patrol car.

My heart jumped up into my throat and I gripped the counter top as he started walking toward the front door. I could tell by the way he was walking that this wasn't going to be good news.

(To be continued)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Some of the characters who play parts in this story were previously introduced in "When Love Comes" (last posted in the College section on Sept. 6, 2001), "Love of a Lifetime" (last posted in the College section on May 19, 2003), "Finding Family" (last posted in the College section on June 5, 2008), "Construction Job" (last posted in the College section on July 24, 2008), or "Swamp Rat" (last posted March 15, 2010 in the High School section). While not necessary, readers may find it useful to read the earlier stories posted on this site.  All of the Adams State/Carterville stories listed above as well as my other stories are also posted at


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