Smashwords Edition

© 2011 by Tamara Allen

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"Well? What do you think?" Whit gazed across the miles of ink-stained oak to where Charlie Hadley sprawled against cracked leather, his customary scowl mostly hidden behind a scrap of badly typed copy. It wasn't the scowl that worried Whit. It was the extended quiet in a room that was normally loud and frequently blue with Hadley's rants. "Best thing you ever read? Pulitzer material?"

Hadley lowered the copy to the desk and looked at Whit. The dollop of amusement mixed with an even smaller dollop of sympathy made Whit's heart drop a little further than it had the last time—was it only two weeks ago?—that he'd turned in a story Hadley had no use for. If Hadley took it, it would be less out of interest than dwindling hope that time and patience would give him back one of his best journalists.

"What do I think?" Hadley shook a Camel out of the pack at its post beside the smiling wife and kids. "Mrs. Grasby's parakeet will love it."

"So I'll get a Pulitzer for most popular birdcage liner." Whit looked longingly at the cigarettes. Probably just as well he was out of pocket. Camels didn't sit well on an empty stomach. "You taking the story?"

"You think I ought to?"

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