CHAPTER 5

As they sat in the kitchen eating the sandwiches that CJ had fixed earlier, Bo, Lamar, and Hoyt watched the news reports about the fire. It was under control and almost completely out.

"Dang it, CJ! When did you bring that acid home with ya, huh?" Matt always fussed like a two year old when it came to getting a wound cleaned up.

"Mattlock William Houston you better hod still! I mean it, or your butt is going to the ER where it really should be. One more word and I'm going to hog tie you and load you in the truck and head that way!" CJ wasn't taking any more of matt's complaints.

The men at the table looked at each other and snickered. But they did notice that matt and had suddenly become quiet. Hoyt and the others looked over where he sat on a stool at the kitchen counter being patched up.

With a very serious look on his face Matt looked up into CJ's eyes. "Really? Would you really?" He acted like he was excited.

"Matt!" CJ smacked him on the back of his head and Matt burst into laughter along with the other men.

Hoyt's phone began ringing. As he reached for it he did his best to quit laughing." Yeah, Sanchez, what have you got?" He listened as the officer filled him in on the events of the day. "Alright, thanks for the info." He hung up and turned to look at Matt. "We now have an ID on the sniper. Mrk Fuller." He waited to see if Houston would remember who he was.

"Mark Fuller? The guy that got busted in the smuggling case a couple of years back?" He took a drink of iced tea.

"The same. Evidently Fuller still carried a grudge against you for testifying at his trial. He "stole" the sniper rifle and ammo from a collector - who is now having to anser some questions. And that explosion you told me about? It was the 4-wheeler he used to get onto the property. I have a sneaking suspicion that he had something to do with the wildfire as well."

CJ rested her hands on Matt's shoulders. "What about the officer who was shot?"

"He's going to be fine. It went straight through, just like Houston's." Hoyt stood up. "Well, as much fun as this has been, I better get going." He stepped away from the table and started to push the chair in when he got a strange look on his face.

"You okay?" Matt saw the expression on his friend's face.

"Yeah, fine. See you later." He turned and slowly waked toward the door. The three cowboys looked at each other and burst into laughter once again. Hoyt turned to look at them. "What's so funny?"

"Try a nice long soak in a hot bath, Hoyt. It'll work wonders for rider's rump." Matt gave him a wink and a smile.

Muttering something under his breath, the lieutenant shuffled to the door and left.