You know the What If game?
What if there was this guy...
That’s how this story was born. Julia and I were goofing off and someone said, "What if there was this guy hip deep in mud trying to rescue a calf?"
Then, "And what if he was naked? And another cowboy drove by to help?"
That’s all it took...
Lee is having a pretty bad day. It's hot, the cows are getting stuck in the mud and he's just gotten grit in places a man should never have grit in. So what's a cowboy to do?
Meet the man of his dreams, of course. Collin comes along just in time to rescue him, and Lee and Collin hit it off right away. Even their dogs fall in love. But can these two cowboys keep from getting bogged down in the mire?
Fuck, it was hot.
Lee watched the heat shimmer up off the road for a minute before he found his turn, hopping out to unlock the gate so he could hit the dirt road that led back to the watering hole off Sulphur Creek. He took off his hat and wiped sweat off his brow before he hopped back into the truck, his dog Pie barking at him from the front seat. It was too damned hot for the mutt to ride back in the bed, and Pie was taking it very personally.
The heat had turned most of the watering holes and some of the creek bed into quagmires, and it was Lee's job this week was to check and make sure none of the cattle had wandered through the thick-assed mud to try to get to clean water and gotten stuck.
He toodled down the dirt track, his pick-up bumping along as he and Pie sang along to Garth. Sure enough, when he got to the damned north watering hole, there was a damned heifer stuck in there, her calf wandering along the bank, lowing his damned fool head off.
"Well, shit, Pie. I told old Frank Mayhew he needed to get tanks."
Pie just tilted his blue-gray head, his one blue eye laughing as Lee opened the door and let him out. "You go keep that calf out of the water, brat," Lee said, and Pie took off like a shot.
Sighing, he got the winch rope and looked at the bellering momma cow. Damn it. Lee sat down on the bumper and pulled off his boots. No way was he losing them in that mud; the damned red-brown baby-shit looking stuff would just suck them right off.
And he was out of clean clothes in the toolbox up at the back of his truck bed, too. Well, Hell. He had to go into Meeker to get groceries after this...
He did have him some towels, though, so Lee shucked off his jeans, shirt, and tighty-whities, tucking them away in the toolbox so Pie couldn't drag them off and dunk them in the muck. Silly cow-dog. He tossed his boots and socks in there, too, then locked it up tight, as Pie had learned to work the latch if he didn't use the padlock.
Finally ready, Lee clapped his Stetson back on over the bandana he'd tied over his bald head to keep the sweat out of his eyes.
Grabbing the winch rope again, he started in, wading through the surprisingly cold muck, remembering that the water was always chilly in Colorado, even when the sun was high enough in the sky to fry an egg on the ground. Thankfully the cow was stuck solid enough that she couldn't thrash around too much, but that also meant he had to really work to get the rope around her.
So of course he was naked in the mud and half up on the cow's back looking like he was doing something really nasty when he heard the rumble of a big old engine coming right up the road.
Of course he was.
The big-assed duallie slowed, red paint just a shining. For a half second he thought the damned Dodge would just keep on going, but that would mean his luck'd turned from bad to good. No, that truck pulled off, one tinted window rolling down to show a wide grin, a Stetson. "Uh. You, uh, okay out there, cowboy?"