A Cowboy’s Touch, by Denise Hunter is a great read. The characters are well rounded and compelling, and the story balances perfectly between the healing promise of love and the tension of secrets untold. I read the book in one sitting.
Abigail is a top notch reporter banished to backwoods Montana to get her blood pressure under control and keep an eye on her elderly Aunt. Bored, she takes a job as nanny to a sweet little motherless girl. In no time at all Abby finds herself between a rock and a hard place when she discovers her hunky but reclusive employer, Wade, whom she is falling in love with, is none other than J.W. Ryan, Rodeo Cowboy. Several years earlier J.W. had abruptly disappeared from the limelight under a cloud of suspicion over his wife’s murder. His innocence is just the story Abby needs to save her reporting job and her mother’s magazine, Viewpoint, from getting the ax, but Wade doesn’t want his story told — how can Abby choose between her new love and her family? And isn’t it her civic responsibility as the Truthseeker to let the public know Wade’s side of the story?
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
Visit the author’s website.
Wade’s ranch home needs a woman’s touch. Abigail’s life needs a cowboy’s touch.
Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.
Abigail Jones isnâ€™t sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade–despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Abigail Jones knew the truth. She frowned at the blinking curser on her monitor and tapped her fingers on the keyboard-what next?
Beyond the screen’s glow, darkness washed the cubicles. Her computer hummed, and outside the office windows a screech of tires broke the relative stillness ofthe Chicago night.
She shuffled her note cards. The story had been long in coming, but it was finished now, all except the telling. She knew where she wanted to take it next.
Her fingers stirred into motion, dancing across the keys. This was her favorite part, exposingtruth to the world. Well, okay, not the world exactly, not with Viewpoint’s paltry circulation. But now, during the writing, it felt like the world.
Four paragraphs later, the office had shrunk away, and all that existed were the words on the monitor and her memory playing in full color on the screen of her mind.
Something dropped onto her desk with a sudden thud. Abigailâ€™s hand flew to her heart, and her chair darted from her desk. She looked up at her bossâ€™s frowning face, then shared a frown of her own. â€œYou scared me.â€
â€œAnd youâ€™re scaring me. Itâ€™s after midnight, Abigailâ€”what are you doing here?â€ Marilyn Jonesâ€™s hand settled on her hip.
The blast of adrenaline settled into Abigailâ€™s bloodstream, though her heart was still in overdrive. â€œBeing an ambitious staffer?â€
â€œYou mean an obsessive workaholic.â€
â€œSomething wrong with that?â€
â€œWhatâ€™s wrong is my twenty-eight-year-old daughter is working all hours on a Saturday night instead of dating an eligible bachelor like all the other single women her age.â€ Her mom tossed her head, but her short brown hair hardly budged. â€œYou couldâ€™ve at least gone out with your sister and me. We had a good time.â€
â€œIâ€™m down to the wire.â€
â€œYouâ€™ve been here every night for two weeks.â€ Her mother rolled up a chair and sank into it. â€œYour father always thought youâ€™d be a schoolteacher, did I ever tell you that?â€
â€œAbout a million times.â€ Abigail settled into the chair, rubbed the ache in her temple. Her heart was still recovering, but she wanted to return to her column. She was just getting to the good part.
â€œYou had a doctorâ€™s appointment yesterday,â€ Mom said. Abigail sighed hard.
â€œWhatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?â€
â€œGoes out the window when the doctor is your sister. Come on, Abigail, this is your health. Reagan prescribed restâ€”R-E-S-Tâ€”and yet here you are.â€
â€œA couple more days and the story will be put to bed.â€
â€œAnd then thereâ€™ll be another story.â€
â€œThatâ€™s what I do, Mother.â€
â€œYouâ€™ve had a headache for weeks, and the fact that you made an appointment with your sister is proof youâ€™re not feeling well.â€
Abigail pulled her hand from her temple. â€œIâ€™m fine.â€
â€œThatâ€™s what your father said the week before he collapsed.â€
Compassion and frustration warred inside Abigail. â€œHe was sixty-two.â€ And his pork habit hadnâ€™t helped matters. Thin didnâ€™t necessarily mean healthy. She skimmed her own long legs, encased in her favorite jeans . . . exhibit A.
â€œIâ€™ve been thinking you should go visit your great-aunt.â€ Abigail already had a story in the works, but maybe her mom had a lead on something else. â€œNew York sounds interesting. Whatâ€™s the assignment?â€
â€œRest and relaxation. And Iâ€™m not talking about your Aunt Eloiseâ€”as if youâ€™d get any rest thereâ€”Iâ€™m talking about your Aunt Lucy.â€
Abigailâ€™s spirits dropped to the basement. â€œAunt Lucy lives in Montana.â€ Where cattle outnumbered people. She felt for the familiar ring on her right hand and began twisting.
â€œShe seems a bit . . . confused lately.â€
Abigail recalled the birthday gifts her great-aunt had sent over the years, and her lips twitched. â€œAunt Lucy has always been confused.â€
â€œSomeone needs to check on her. Her latest letter was full of comments about some girls who live with her, when I know perfectly well she lives alone. I think it may be time for assisted living or a retirement community.â€
Abigailâ€™s eyes flashed to the screen. A series of nonsensical letters showed where sheâ€™d stopped in alarm at her motherâ€™s appearance. She hit the delete button. â€œLetâ€™s invite her to Chicago for a few weeks.â€
â€œShe needs to be observed in her own surroundings. Besides, that woman hasnâ€™t set foot on a plane since Uncle Murray passed, and I sure wouldnâ€™t trust her to travel across the country alone. You know what happened when she came out for your fatherâ€™s funeral.â€
â€œDad always said she had a bad sense of direction.â€
â€œNevertheless, I donâ€™t have time to hunt her down in Canada again. Now, come on, Abigail, it makes perfect sense for you to go. You need a break, and Aunt Lucy was your fatherâ€™s favorite relative. Itâ€™s our job to look after her now, and if sheâ€™s incapable of making coherent decisions, we need to help her.â€
Abigailâ€™s conscience tweaked her. She had a soft spot for Aunt Lucy, and her mom knew it. Still, that identity theft story called her name, and she had a reliable source who might or might not be willing to talk in a couple weeks.
â€œReagan should do it. Iâ€™ll need the full month for my column, and we canâ€™t afford to scrap it. Distribution is down enough as it is. Just last month you were concernedâ€”â€
Her mother stood abruptly, the chair reeling backward into the aisle. She walked as far as the next cubicle, then turned. â€œHypertension is nothing to mess with, Abigail. Youâ€™re so . . . rest- less. You need a breakâ€”a chance to find some peace in your life.â€ She cleared her throat, then her face took on that Iâ€™ve-made-up- my-mind look. â€œWhether you go to your auntâ€™s or not, Iâ€™m insisting you take a leave of absence.â€
There was no point arguing once her mother took that tone. She could always do research onlineâ€”and she wouldnâ€™t mind visiting a part of the country sheâ€™d never seen. â€œFine. Iâ€™ll finish this story, then go out to Montana for a week or so.â€
â€œFinish the story, yes. But your leave of absence will last three months.â€
â€œIt may take that long to make a decision about Aunt Lucy.â€
â€œWhat about my apartment?â€
â€œReagan will look after it. Youâ€™re hardly there anyway. You need a break, and Moose Creek is the perfect place.â€
Moose Creek. â€œIâ€™ll say. Sounds like nothing more than a traffic signal with a gas pump on the corner.â€
â€œDonâ€™t be silly. Moose Creek has no traffic signal. Abigail, you have become wholly obsessed withâ€”â€
â€œSo Iâ€™m a hard worker . . .â€ She lifted her shoulders.
Her momâ€™s lips compressed into a hard line. â€œWholly obsessed with your job. Look, you know I admire hard work, but it feels like youâ€™re always chasing something and never quite catching it. I want you to find some contentment, for your health if nothing else. Thereâ€™s more to life than investigative reporting.â€
â€œIâ€™m the Truthseeker, Mom. Thatâ€™s who I am.â€ Her fist found home over her heart.
Her mother shouldered her purse, then zipped her light sweater, her movements irritatingly slow. She tugged down the ribbed hem and smoothed the material of her pants. â€œThree months, Abigail. Not a day less.â€