A Cowboy's Touch

A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter Page A

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Authors: Denise Hunter
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    The July issue would release soon. If that was the first issue of the countdown, they had until the end of August, which would be the September issue. Abigail would have to dig around and find answers, turn in the column by mid-August at the very latest. She’d have to notify her mother earlier, so the cover and column space were properly planned.
    Abigail cracked open the door and listened. She could hear water running in the kitchen. Maddy was at Olivia’s house, and Wade was out feeding the cows or something.
    Abigail clicked shut the door again. “I have a big story I’m working on,” she said quietly.
    “In Moose Creek?”
    “Believe it or not.” How much should she say? She supposed there was no point in holding back now. “It has to do with Maddy’s father. You’re not going to believe this . . . He’s J. W. Ryan.”
    “What? J. W. the ex-rodeo— that’s why you asked me about him last week?”
    “He goes by Wade Ryan now. I can do research in my spare time, find out if he’s responsible for his wife’s death. I don’t have answers yet, but I’ll get them. Especially now.”
    “Just finding him is news, Abs. Are you sure it’s him?”
    “Holy cow. You said Wade was cute, but J. W. is a total hunk.”
    No kidding. An image of him flashed into her mind. The one of him from the Sexiest Man website, smiling, all cocky. It was a look she hadn’t seen since she’d been here. Not even close.
    “I don’t know,” Reagan was saying. “No doubt it’s the story of a lifetime, probably enough to spur a ton of sales—”
    “Okay, definitely. There’s not a woman who follows celebs who wouldn’t buy that issue. But as your sister and as your doctor, I’m concerned about your hypertension.”
    “I’ll monitor my symptoms.”
    “Mom’s going to kill me. Are you taking your meds, watching your diet, exercising, limiting your sodium?”
    “Yes, Dr. Jones.”
    “It’s nothing to joke about. I want weekly reports of your symptoms, and I want you checking your blood pressure every week.”
    “I mean it, Abigail.”
    “All right, I will. I promise.”
    “It’s not like there’s anything I can say to change your mind anyway.”
    “You know me too well.” She had a mission, and she was going to see it through. For her mom and all the people who worked at Viewpoint . Their livelihoods depended on her.
    “If anyone can uncover the story, it’s you. And I agree it would be the sure thing to save the magazine. Just be careful not to overdo, sis, okay?”
    “I’ll be careful.” Abigail heard the water shut off on the other end of the line. “You have fun with Dr. Right. I want a full report. Now, go soak away your worries.”
    “All right. Stay in touch.”
    “Will do.” Abigail turned off the phone, her mind already on Wade’s story. It would catapult Viewpoint to new heights. But she needed answers, and she wasn’t finding them online. She was going to have to get them from people. Without their becoming suspicious.
    She put the phone in her purse and left her room. A clank sounded in the kitchen, and she followed the sound. Greta was pulling something from a low cupboard.
    “Need help with dinner?”
    The housekeeper rose unsteadily, holding a large black pot. “No, thank you. Where’s Maddy?”
    “At Olivia’s.”
    Greta frowned, her forehead puckering. “Isn’t that Shay’s girl? The one who stole her bike?”
    “They made up. Olivia invited her over, and I encouraged her to go. I think they could both use a friend.” Abigail saw what might have been begrudging approval. “Sure you don’t want some help?”
    Greta set a bag of potatoes on the counter. “Help yourself then.”
    Abigail opened the bag and took a paring knife from Greta. The woman set to work on a potato and had it peeled before Abigail was half done with her first.
    “Have you worked for Wade long?”
    “Pee Wee was his first hire, and

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