In Heat

by ST


“Come on, tracker boy, show us what you got.”

Vin glanced down at his mare's leg, then up at Buck Wilmington who stood a few feet away from him, in all his glory, with his dick at half-mast and a big lecherous grin on his face. If it weren’t hotter than blazes out he mighta been willing to put forth the effort to reach for his gun; instead he pulled the brim of his hat low and settled back against the tree. "Fuck off, Buck."

“Really, Mr. Tanner . . . it’s only fair that since we’ve shown you our rather considerable endowments that you grant us the same opportunity.”

“Go to hell, Ezra." Vin closed his eyes, hoping they’d get the hint and leave him alone. “Don’t remember askin’ to see no endowments,” he grumbled. There was no way he was going to look at Ezra again. No way. He'd just gotten his traitorous body under control from the first time he'd looked at Ez, and then he'd gone and made the mistake of looking at Buck. With a scowl, he wrapped his coat more tightly around himself and folded his arms across his chest, wishing it were December or January again. Buck and Ezra both laughed at him, but he didn't give a shit. Fuckers.

"Leave him alone, you two." Chris Larabee's soft, stern voice was like a soothing balm for the tracker. He could always count on Chris. At least the man still had some sense, unlike those other two yahoos. Vin took a deep breath and let it out slowly, allowing his muscles to relax just a tiny fraction.  He was about to look up and smile gratefully at his best friend, until he saw a familiar black shirt fall to the blanket beside him. Shit.  Vin squeezed his eyelids together real tight, ‘til he saw little white pinpricks of light. No way was he gonna look at Chris.

"Don't pay any attention to them, Vin," Chris told him, and Vin just clenched his jaw and nodded.  They'd suggested -- or rather Buck had suggested they go skinny-dipping, which hadn't been that much of a surprise. Buck was always doing things like that, all the damn time.  What had surprised him were the smoldering looks that began being passed back and forth between Buck and Ezra. Chris didn’t seem to notice and for a while Vin thought maybe his eyes were playing tricks on him, but when they arrived here and finished setting up camp, the two started undressing each other, touching each other, and a lot more. When he’d looked at Chris, his best friend had acted like everything was just fine and dandy, like nothing strange at all was going on, and that confounded him even more.

Vin heard more rustling of clothes and was unable to stop his eyelids from opening just a little, and then it was just too damn easy to . . . *look*. And, shit, Chris looked good. Damn good! All pale skin, long and lean, tight muscles . . .. Damn, Vin gulped and quickly shut his eyes again. What the hell was wrong with him? He shouldn't be having thoughts like this, not about his friends, his comrades. He banged his head back against the tree, hard enough that it should have knocked some sense into him, but unfortunately it didn't.

"Aw come on, Chris," he heard Buck say from a short distance, "it's a hundred goddamned degrees outside and the boy's dressed for a snow storm. I'm just tryin' to save him from having a heat stroke or something."

"Lay off." Chris's voice sounded a lot closer to Buck’s now.

“I’m tellin’ ya the boy needs to loosen up.”

”Is that right?”  Vin was trying real hard not to open his eyes, but the way Chris’ voice sounded, all low and kinda husky, was making it difficult.

“Maybe you need to loosen up too, stud.”  The sultry tone of Buck’s voice made the words sound a lot like a challenge of some sort. All the more reason for him to not open his eyes.

“Is that right, stud?”

Keep ‘em closed, Tanner, if’n ya know what’s good for ya.

“Yeah. Oh, yeah.” Breathy voice, and the sounds he heard next couldn’t possibly be coming from Chris, or even Buck. He couldn’t help it any longer; he had to see. He took a deep breath, steeling himself and then cracked one eyelid open. Holy shit.

He didn’t even realize he had both eyes wide open now. The only thing he was aware of was Buck and Chris were standing by the lake, face to face, the front of their bodies molded together. Buck’s hands were cupped over Chris’ tight ass – an image that sent a thrill up Vin’s spine -- and Chris was holding onto Buck’s hips, thumbs smoothing over the bigger man’s hip bones and they were kissing. Hell, not just kissing. It looked like they were fixing to climb down each other’s throats.

Then something else caught his eye. Ezra was standing just to the side of them, not looking at Chris or Buck or paying any attention to what they were doing. Ezra was looking at him, with that same smoldering look he’d seen the gambler share with Buck all afternoon. Ezra gave him a smile and a two fingered salute – well, three if you counted the appendage waving from between his muscled thighs – and headed for the water.

“I certainly hope there are no snakes in this water,” Ezra commented, his voice sounding just the slightest bit apprehensive now.

Buck and Chris broke apart, both turning to watch the gambler, each wearing a nasty grin. “If there aren’t any now, there will be soon.”

God, had Chris just said that? His Chris? Chris Larabee?

“You sure you don’t want to come, Vin?”

Come? Vin stared at Buck, his eyes wide, his mouth hanging open.

“Come swimming,” Chris distinguished with a grin, nudging Buck with his elbow.

“Whatever,” Buck shrugged, giving Vin a wink. The ladies? man headed for the water, grabbing Ezra around the waste and hauling him in too.

Vin glanced up at the clear night sky; there were about a million stars twinkling overhead and the full moon hanging low, reflecting off the water and casting a surreal glow over everything.  He heard a splash and looked up in time to see Chris glide into the water and over to Buck and Ezra who were trying to dunk each other. Chris sided with Ezra and the two went after Buck, laughing and lunging, making playful threats to each other.  Maybe they were just playing around, normal-like? Maybe he’d had too much sun today and just imagined it all?  He closed his eyes, trying to make sense of everything to himself. At some point he must have dozed off, because when he opened his eyes again, he was startled to find two men lying on the blanket not far away from him, humming and groaning, their nude bodies moving restlessly against each other.  He blinked his eyes, hardly able to believe what he was seeing. It was Ezra . . . and Chris?!  Each with their faces in the other’s groin. Oh, lordohlord!

He jumped up, wanting to get away as fast as he could. Maybe now was a good time to go for that swim? Buck was lying on the shore, arms spread out to his side, soft dick nestled against his thigh – and why was he suddenly looking at everyone’s dicks? He threw his hat on the ground, then stripped his jacket off. Maybe he was crazy? Maybe they all were? What other explanation was there for the things he'd been witness to since they'd turned their four prisoners over to the marshals in Eagle Bend?

He was down to his long johns now, not sure if he should strip out of them too. He didn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. As far as he could tell Buck was asleep, and Chris and Ezra – he still couldn’t manage to wrap his mind around that one – weren’t paying any attention to him at all.  Gazing at the quiet lake, he imagined how nice the cool water would feel against his sticky, dust-covered skin.  One more check to make sure he was alone, mostly alone anyway, then he shucked his long johns and waded into the water. Oh yeah. The water was just perfect. Not too warm and not too cool. Felt nice and refreshing. He sighed and stroked a little ways out, not wanting to get too far from shore. Then he turned, ducking his head under the water then surfacing as he neared the shore again.

A noise distracted him as he stood in the waist deep water, wringing out his hair. Chris was moaning loudly, arching his hips upward and into Ezra’s mouth. He knew he shouldn’t be watching this, but he couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away.  Chris was lying on his back on the blanket, his long legs spread open, his arms wrapped around Ezra’s torso.  And Ezra was on his knees, straddling Chris, his hips rolling and thrusting into Chris’ mouth. Hell. Shaking his head, he looked up at the stars then grabbed his dick and gave it an admonishing squeeze. Behave, he silently pleaded with it, but it seemed that tonight his dick had a mind of its own.

There was a ripple in the water and he realized he was no longer alone. He felt a presence behind him, but before he could turn around he felt two big hands lightly massaging his shoulders and then the hands moved down his chest and over his stomach.  “Hey there, Vin. Thought maybe you could use a hand?” The voice was teasing and breathy, warm and moist against Vin’s ear.

He wanted to protest, tell Buck to keep his goddamned hands to himself, but the words got lost -- stuck in his throat the moment he felt the fingers of that big hand close loosely around his dick.  He was probably going to hate himself in the morning, or maybe as soon as they’d finished whatever it was they were about to get up to. He knew he shouldn’t be giving in so easily, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. Chris was always saying that Buck tended to think with his dick, and now Vin knew exactly what that meant. At the moment, his own dick seemed to be running the show, making all the decisions.

He felt Buck surrounding him, one arm holding him in place, pressing him back against the larger body.  There were words whispered in his ear, Buck coaching him to relax, to let go. Vin thought if he let go anymore, he’d slip clean away and there’d be nothing left of him to find.  A warm wet tongue lapped around the shell of his ear, moving in time with the big hand stroking between his legs. God, it felt so good he could only hope it would never end and then in the next moment his body decided it needed more. He pushed forward involuntarily, rocking into the hand, straining for something and trying to verbalize what it was that he needed. He heard the big man’s filthy chuckle in his ear and didn’t give a shit if he was being laughed at. “That’s it darlin’. Make some more of them noises for me.”  Noises? He was certain that he didn’t make noises. Did he? Somehow he managed to open his eyes, trying to gather a bit of self-control so he didn’t make a complete fool of himself. He noted that both Ezra and Chris were now sitting up on the blanket, still naked and looking straight in his direction. He should probably be embarrassed, probably would be embarrassed, but -- oh god, later. 

He felt the big hand dip lower, cupping and stroking his balls, fingers pressing against sensitive flesh, moving further, and then something that felt huge and slippery, gliding back and forth between his cheeks. Holy shit, he’d never felt anything like this before. And all of a sudden, he just couldn’t hold back any longer. He clenched his teeth and his entire body went tense as his head jerked back against Buck’s shoulder. He heard a scream and all he could do was hope that everyone was okay because he was pretty sure he wasn’t gonna be of much use, at least not for a short spell.


When Vin opened his eyes, he was lying on his back, staring up at the moon – which had moved quite a bit since he last remembered. He felt odd, relaxed and dreamy and his limbs felt heavy and exhausted, and then it all came rushing back to him. Chris and Ezra, Buck, standing in the lake, and oh, lord . . . had that really happened?

“Hey there, pard. How you doing?”

He turned his head and found himself looking into a pair of amused hazel eyes. “Chris?” he said, wondering why his throat hurt and his voice sounded so hoarse.

Chris nodded, looking a little concerned as he reached over to brush the damp hair away from Vin’s forehead. “Had us worried for a minute there.”

“I-“ he tried to clear his throat, found it didn’t do any good. “I did?”

“You went down pretty quick, thought you were gonna drown yourself.”

He couldn’t remember that. Couldn’t remember much of anything after . . . shit.  “Sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say.

Chris laughed and Vin closed his eyes again, took a deep breath; he could smell the lake water on his skin, in his hair; it was better than the grimy, sweaty way his skin had felt a few hours ago.  Then he realized he was still naked -- lying here, next to Chris, completely naked. He opened one eye and glanced at Chris, noticing that he wasn’t the only one naked. He felt his skin heating up and wished there was some way he could just . . . disappear.  Chris seemed completely comfortable lying naked beside him, but then again, Chris had seemed comfortable with pretty much everything that had happened so far that evening.  Which made him wonder just how often this kind of thing happened? How often did the three of them get up to this kind of thing? Maybe a lot, since they sure did seem to know what they were doing. A little thought fluttered through his mind, telling him that maybe he ought to be volunteering for this kind of duty more often?

A few minutes later, Ezra and Buck strolled into camp, Buck carrying an armload of wood and Ezra, empty-handed, brushing invisible debris from the sleeves of his unbuttoned shirt.

“Hate to tell ya this, Ez,” Buck said, dumping the wood into a pile by the fire, “but folks don’t get dirty from watching other folks do all the work.”

“Please,” Ezra replied haughtily, taking off his shirt and shaking it out, “you would have never found that limb if it hadn’t been for my keen eyesight.”

Buck made a rude noise, waved dismissively in Ezra’s direction then practically tore his clothes off and dropped down behind Chris. “Howdy there, Vin,” he greeted with a great big cheery smile, that Vin could hardly refuse to return.


“How are you doing, Mr. Tanner?” Ezra said, and Vin was only a little suspicious when he heard the gambler’s voice at his shoulder.

“Reckon I’m fine, Ez.” He dared a glance behind him and found Ezra nude and lying on his side, mirroring Buck’s position behind Chris. He woulda never guessed that Ezra was all solid muscle under them fancy clothes he wore.

“We thought, for a moment there, that you’d given into the siren’s song.”


“Ya nearly drowned boy,” Buck said, mildly chastising. “Don’t be scarin’ me like that anymore.”

Vin narrowed his eyes; he wasn’t sure if they were puttin’ him on, or not.

“Leave him be, Buck. He’s okay,” Chris said calmly. “Sides,” he glanced over his shoulder with an evil grin, “it’s all your fault.”

“My fault? How d’ya figure?”

“You’re the one who got him all worked up, stud.”

Instead of being offended, a big, shit-eating grin spread across the mustached face. “Well now, I guess you’re right, I should have been more careful. Sometimes I tend to underestimate the power of my seductive charms.”

Vin groaned. “Just . . . stop.”

“That’s not what you were saying a while ago.” Buck waggled his eyebrows. “If I remember right, you were sayin’ something more like—“

“Mr. Wilmington,” Ezra cut him off, “perhaps you could spare us all and find some other activity for that talented mouth of yours?”

Buck narrowed his eyes at the gambler. “Just what are you tryin’ to say, Ez?”

Vin was looking back and forth between Buck and Ezra and therefore was caught completely off guard when his best friend rolled onto his back, reached up and pulled Buck Wilmington down to him. “Shut the hell up, Buck,” he ordered, then cut off any possible response with a deep, passionate kiss.

This had to all be a dream, Vin thought, gazing up into the starry night sky. That was the only rational explanation. Or, maybe he’d somehow gotten a hold of some peyote or something? That would surely explain a lot of things.

“Silence is golden, don’t you agree, Mr. Tanner?”

Well, he’d thought so until Ezra had interrupted that silence. He could almost see the gambler’s smirk, but when his eyes slid toward Ezra there was no smirk to be found, only a pair of green eyes filled with . . . lust?  It sure looked a lot like lust, and this time it weren’t being directed at Buck, or even Chris. Those eyes were looking right at him, practically searing him with desirous heat.

“Ez?” He hated when his voice squeaked like that; made him sound like a damn, fool teenager or something.

Ezra bent low and kissed his forehead, the tip of his nose, his lips and chin . . .. Vin briefly wondered if this was the real Ezra Standish or somehow an imposter? “Watch,” he whispered into Vin’s ear, and gently nudged him to turn on his side, moving to mold the front of his body to Vin’s back.

He felt a little breathless, and a lot like an intruder, as he watched Chris and Buck. Their big, sleek, well-toned bodies moving together purposefully, rhythmically. The two men sure looked like they knew what they were doing. Vin was pretty sure they had to have done this a time or two before.

He felt Ezra’s palm slip over his side, his fingers tracing gentle swirls across his chest and his belly, and he couldn’t help but relax into the soothing touch.  Every now and then he had to look over his shoulder, though, ‘cause he was still having a hard time believing it was Ezra touching him so.

Buck slipped off of Chris then rolled him on his side and spooned up behind him. The two of them were whispering to each other, smiling and trading kisses, somehow maintaining a semblance of intimacy even though they were only a couple of feet away from Vin and Ezra. Then Chris drew his arm up to pillow his head and closed his eyes for a moment while Buck’s attention was diverted to something else. Vin wasn’t sure what he was doing, but he got somewhat of an idea when Chris bent his leg and he could see Buck’s fingers playing back there.  No, he told himself as he tried to watch Buck’s fingers and Chris’ face at the same time, this couldn’t be what it looked like. Could it?

Suddenly he was hard as a nail again, just in time for Ezra’s fingers to start exploring him further down. They trailed over his hipbones, the crease of his thigh, gently tugging at crisp hairs, touching everywhere but the one place he wanted. He had the feeling Ezra was toying with him, maybe trying to torture him or make him beg. Well, Tanners didn’t beg, he reminded himself, then bit down on his tongue when he heard himself make a noise that sounded an awful lot like begging, without the actual words.

His eyes were closed and he wasn’t sure when that had happened. Taking a deep breath, he decided maybe keeping his eyes open would be better. Maybe it would help him keep some little bit of control. As soon as he noticed that Chris was staring straight at him, he pretty much gave up on the idea of self-control, however.

Damn, Chris and Buck looked good together. Chris had his left leg draped over Buck’s and their bodies were moving together, writhing and rocking. They were at just the right angle where all Vin had to do was look down, past Buck’s big, tanned hand and Chris’ hard, glistening shaft to see -- he gulped, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe -- Buck’s thick cock gliding in and out of Chris.  It was fascinating to watch, to imagine Chris allowing someone to fuck him . . . to imagine himself fucking Chris, or maybe the other way around. When he managed to shift his gaze upwards he again met Chris’ eyes, and couldn’t seem to look away. Then he felt Ezra’s leg trying to nudge between his thighs. “Lift up, Vin,” the man whispered, moving his hand to curl around and push up on Vin’s leg.

Vin froze, his eyes going wide, feeling a little bit of panic start to rise. Did Ezra want . . .? Was he going to try to . . .?

He noticed Chris’ eyes, suddenly narrowed and focused on the man behind him.

“Fear not, Mr. Larabee,” Ezra said in a strained voice. “I have no intentions of delving into virgin territory this night.”

Delving into . . . what? What the hell was Ezra talking about? He weren’t no virgin. Maybe he hadn’t gotten up to anything like this before, but that didn’t make him no virgin. And why the hell was he was he talking to Chris about his business anyway? He was about to let them know his thoughts on these matters when he felt something long and smooth slide between his thighs. Oh, Lord. Then Ezra coaxed him to press his legs together more tightly and groaned long and low. “Ah, much better.”

When he looked over, Chris was still focused on him, even as he leaned back practically melting into Buck, moaning and lifting his leg a little higher as if he were trying to spread himself apart, take more of Buck inside. He watched as Chris reached down wrapping his hand around Buck’s hand, both hands moving on Chris’ dick. Then in one quick motion, Buck flipped Chris onto his stomach and began thrusting more forcefully.

Even though it was happening right there in front of him, he was still having trouble believing it. He just couldn’t believe that Chris Larabee was letting Buck, or any man, do that to him. He knew that sometimes men did things like this; he’d even caught a glimpse of it a time or two before, but he’d never allowed himself to think too deeply on the subject. Now, the thought of it excited him, ignited something deep inside, making him yearn to have the same rapturous look on his face that his best friend was wearing right then.

Chris’ forehead creased, his eyebrows drawing together in an almost pained expression and Vin heard Buck whispering, urging him on. Chris whimpered – a sound that Vin decided he really wanted to hear again – and started begging, his voice needy and desperate. “God, please, Buck, please.”  Vin decided right there and then that he really wanted to hear that again too, only instead of Buck’s name, he wanted to hear Chris saying his name, to hear Chris needy and desperate and begging him for release.

Vin sucked in a breath when Ezra gripped him a little harder, then thrust a little more roughly between his legs. At the same time Chris pushed back hard, rising up fully on his hands and knees. “Come on, Buck!”

“Jesus,” he heard Ezra whisper and then the gambler’s whole body tensed and shuddered. Vin felt warm wetness spurting between his legs at the same time Ezra’s hand clamped down around his dick with more force.

What happened next took him completely and utterly by surprise.  Ezra pushed him to his back and climbed down his body and before he could wonder what was happening, he felt Ezra’s tongue lapping at the tip of his cock and then -- “Oh God!”  He was unable to think of anything other than that hot mouth sucking him in, swallowing him down. It felt like his nerves were on fire, his whole body seized, his back arched up and he was pretty sure he let loose a string of embarrassing noises, but hell, he didn’t care.

Long moments later, he forced his eyes to open and look around. Ezra was lying on one side of him, curled up and blinking owlishly, a soft smile on his face.  Vin couldn’t help but smile back.  “Goodnight, Vin,” said Ezra, still smiling as his eyes closed.

“Night, Ez.” When he turned his head in the opposite direction, he found Buck leaning over Chris, both looking content and sleepy. Buck yawned, gave him a wink then bent to drop a kiss on Chris’ bare shoulder. “Night, boys,” he said and dropped down beside Chris. Within a few minutes he was snoring as loud as he always did, and Vin remembered that it was almost impossible to fall sleep after Buck.

For a long, long time he and Chris just lay there, gazing at each other across the narrow space that separated them.  Vin could feel his eyelids getting heavier and heavier, but he didn’t want to go to sleep. The night seemed so peaceful, even with Buck snoring like a grizzly bear. For some strange reason he felt closer to Chris than he ever had before, and the two of them hadn’t even touched each other.  He kept blinking, each time having more difficulty keeping his eyes open and then Chris reached out and lightly grasped his forearm, just like they’d done a hundred times before. “Close your eyes, Vin,” he whispered. “I’ll take first watch.”  Vin sighed, feeling happy and content and a whole lot of other things he was too tired to label at the moment. He wasn’t sure when his eyes closed, but in the last moments of wakefulness, right before he drifted away, he realized he was still holding onto Chris, and he decided he liked falling asleep beside Chris. He liked it a whole lot.

“Vin? Come on pard, time to get up.” He heard the voice, felt someone give him a little shake and he peeled his eyelids open to find Chris kneeling over him. He looked around, eyes bleary, and realized everyone else was up and dressed – even Ezra. What the hell? He never slept this late, or this soundly. Apparently nobody had woke him up to take watch, either. Rubbing his eyes, he sat up slowly. Memories of the night before were already seeping into his mind, images weaving their way through the cobwebs left over from sleep. He looked around the campsite, trying to find any signs that the images he was seeing were true. It hadn’t been a dream, had it?

Chris held out a folded up pile of familiar-looking clothes and it wasn’t until then that he realized that he was naked. He felt his cheeks flush. Nope, last night wasn’t a dream.

It was already starting to get hot out and the sun was still low in the sky.  Buck and Ezra were packing the saddlebags, his included. Chris gave him a hand up, thrust the clothes in his arms and started folding up the bedrolls they’d slept on. “Hurry up,” he said, raking appreciative eyes over Vin’s lean, naked form. “We want to get back to town as early as we can, before the sun gets too high.”

Vin nodded, feeling an urge to cover himself up, as well as another urge which had him hurrying for the cover of the trees.

Once he’d relieved himself and gotten dressed he ambled back toward their camp. Chris was filling their canteens. Ezra was already sitting in his saddle. Buck handed him a cup of coffee and poured the rest over the remnants of the campfire.  “Drink up,” he pointed a warning finger at Vin, “and no complaining about my coffee.”

Vin couldn’t help but grin. This was normal. He took a sip and made a face.  “You sure you remembered to put coffee in this? Tastes like plain ol’ lake water to me.”

“Fuck off, Tanner. It’s a damn site better than that rancid shit you make.”

“Gentlemen, please. As much as I love revisiting this conversation every time we break camp, I feel obliged to remind you that it is in our best interest to get the hell out of this godforsaken desert, as soon as possible.”

“Ya mean you don’t like bein’ out here with us, Ez?”

“It’s not the company, Mr. Tanner,” Ezra took off his hat and started fanning himself. “It’s the climate that I find most disagreeable.”

“Ez don’t like to sweat,” Buck said in a loud whisper, winking at Vin as he double-checked his cinch.

“A gentleman does not sweat, Mr. Wilmington, he perspires. And a true gentleman –“

“--never perspires,” Buck and Vin completed the familiar sentence in unison and then both men rolled their eyes. Buck climbed up onto his big gray and then he and Ezra began leisurely making their way back toward the trail.

Vin was about to reach for his saddle horn, when Chris stopped him.  “Vin, I just wanted to . . ..”

Instead of finishing the sentence though, the man slowly licked his lower lip and then leaned forward, looking a little uncertain, but still determined. Vin felt warm breath against his face and then Chris was brushing his lips oh so gently over Vin’s.  He would have been happy to die right there; thought for sure he’d never feel anything as wonderful as Chris Larabee’s lips pressing against his. But then he felt Chris’ hands on his waist, his tongue teasing for entrance into his mouth and he knew he wanted so much more. All too soon, Chris pulled back and licked his lips again, giving Vin a sultry smile. “Got any plans later?” he asked.

Vin pretended to think it over. “None that I can think of.”

“Good. Could use an extra hand, out at my place.”

Vin raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“If you’re up for it,” Chris challenged, with a suggestive grin.

Vin gazed into the hazel eyes, nearly getting lost in the individual flecks of brown and gold and green. Then he cleared his throat and nodded slowly. “Sure, I’m up for it, cowboy.”  Hell, he was more than up for it, he thought, suddenly feeling as if he’d been poured into a pair of Larabee’s jeans. 

Chris gave him a firm nod and climbed up on his horse, while Vin hesitated, wondering, not for the first time, how the hell Chris managed to swing his leg over a saddle without ever hurtin’ himself.  He winced as he did just that, then tried subtly to adjust himself. Chris just chuckled and reined his horse around, heading for the trail.

Vin had the feeling it was gonna be a long, hot, uncomfortable ride back to town.