A Cowboy's Touch

A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter Page B

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Authors: Denise Hunter
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I came with the deal.”
    Short and sweet. Greta wasn’t going to be a fount of information. “Maddy must’ve been pretty young at the time.”
    Greta grunted.
    Abigail tried again. “She told me her mom passed away. That must’ve been very hard on them both.”
    Greta’s lips pressed together in a scowl before she spoke. “You leave that girl alone about her mama. She’s been through enough without being quizzed about her loss.”
    Abigail was too taken aback to speak for a moment. “I wasn’t quizzing her. We were just talking. I lost my dad, and I thought it might be good for her to—”
    “Maybe you should do less thinking and more peeling.”
    Abigail scraped the knife across the surface. Greta had plenty of bark, that was for sure. But Abigail wasn’t dissuaded so easily. “I think it’s great that Wade brought his daughter here to start a new life. Sometimes a fresh start is just what the doctor ordered.”
    Greta’s knife made quick work of the peel.
    “And the town seems to have accepted them. Aunt Lucy has nothing but kind things to say about Wade.”
    They worked in silence for a while. Greta was a dead end if Abigail ever saw one. When they finished peeling and washing the potatoes, she excused herself and wandered into the living room just in time to see Wade opening the door to his pickup.
    Maybe this was a way to spend some time with him, ask a question or two. She hustled out the front door and down the porch steps. He was shutting the door when she reached the truck, and he rolled down the window when he saw her.
    “Going into town?” she asked.
    “Yep.” He turned the truck over, and the engine groaned and sputtered before starting.
    “Could I hitch a ride? I’m needing something from the market.”
    Wade tugged his hat, shifted in the seat. “I could get it.”
    Feeling mischievous, she hiked a brow and gave him a pointed look. “You sure?”
    His eyes darted from hers to the steering wheel as a satisfying flush rose on his neck and flooded his cheeks. “Get in.”
    Abigail smiled. “Be right back.” Feeling exultant at her success, Abigail trotted into the house for her purse, then back down the porch steps and to the truck. She jumped in the passenger side and buckled her belt.
    “I have several errands, so I might be awhile.”
    She recognized his one last effort to ditch her.
    “Great. I can visit with Aunt Lucy at her store while I wait.”
    He put the truck in reverse and backed out. “Suit yourself.”
    It was only a ten-minute ride to town and a ten-minute ride back. She had to be careful not to raise suspicions. Or to be distracted by the manly smell of leather or the nicely shaped fingers curling around the steering wheel.
    Get a grip, Abigail .
    She thought of the embarrassed flush she’d put on his face, which was only now fading away, and smothered a grin. The man had an eleven-year-old daughter, for heaven’s sake. What was he going to do when he had to run to the store on her behalf?
    “Where’s Maddy?” Wade asked.
    “She rode her bike to Olivia’s. She said you wouldn’t mind.”
    “They made up?”
    “Maddy feels bad for Olivia, despite what she did. Your daughter is very compassionate. You should be proud of her.”
    “I am.”
    A few minutes later they pulled onto the road and turned toward town. She searched her mind for a question that wouldn’t put him off. When they passed a neighboring ranch, she recognized the name.
    “The Circle D. That’s your friend Dylan’s place, right?”
    “Maddy said he moved out here after you and she did. You must be close.”
    He spared her a look. “Go way back.”
    “To childhood?”
    “Something like that.”
    “What about your family? Did you leave them behind in Texas?”
    “Dad passed on before I left, and I don’t have any brothers or sisters.”
    “What about your mom?”
    He darted her a look that said she talked too much.
    Abigail shrugged. “Just making conversation.”

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