"Sweet and endearing with enough suspense to keep the reader guessing until the last page."
Reviewed by Mandy Burns
Posted January 6, 2011
Lucy Valentine's Lost Loves division of her family's
business is allowing her to use her ability to track the
lost to focusing on finding the lost love's of others.
Lucy's new client is looking for her first love from when
she was in a foster home which is proving to be difficult
since the man in question has disappeared after being
released from prison. Lucy focus is split in two as her
desire to help find a missing man draws her attention. With
the help of Lucy's friends she searches for the answers to
solve the puzzle.
Sean Donahue is willing to do everything he can to help
Lucy with the investigative side to finding her clients
lost loves. The man they are looking for is dangerous
enough for Lucy to drop her client but Sean is not willing
to give up on the situation. Sean's past, which he has not
revealed to Lucy, plays a major part in continuing the
search causing confusion in his relationship with Lucy.
Sean is not ready to reveal his secrets just yet proving he
is a patient man, waiting until Lucy is ready to hear what
he has to say.
This is the 3rd book in the Lucy Valentine series. The
characters are sweet and endearing with enough suspense to
keep the reader guessing until the last page. A very
The irrepressible star of "Truly, Madly, " is back in
business. This time, Lucy Valentine will go to the ends of
the earth to find true love for her clients...and maybe
Lucy wants to breathe new life into her family’s Boston-
based matchmaking company. But how? Even though she comes
from a long line of ancestors blessed by Cupid with
psychic abilities, a freak accident left Lucy with only
one special skill: finding things. Car keys, socks in the
dryer, needles in haystacks...and now, in a stroke of
professional genius, lost loves
It’s not long before Lucy’s on a winning streak, helping
old flames reunite and create new sparks. Business is
booming. But when Lucy finds herself involved in a
possible case of murder, she realizes she’s in too deep.
Enter Sean Donahue. Lucy’s handsome fire-fighter turned
private-eye neighbor, Sean is just the man she needsto
help her on the job. Could he also be the man she’s been
looking for all along? When it comes to Valentine, Inc.,
falling in love is always serious business…
Justifiable homicide might be hard to prove, but my had-it-
up-to-here brain was giving it a hearty stamp of approval
as a reasonable defense.
Because if reporter Preston Bailey didn”t stop peppering
my client with annoying questions, I might have to
And because that might be bad for business, I clasped my
hands together to resist the urge. I looked across the
conference table, trying to get Preston to shut up with a
She ignored it.
A month ago when the Lost Loves division of Valentine,
Inc., my family”s Boston-based matchmaking firm, was
officially created, my office had undergone a subtle
transformation. I opted to add a cherry wood conference
table, downsizing my desk to a small corner unit. I liked
the new look, which was usually all warm and cozy, but
right now it felt more like it had the potential of
becoming a crime scene.
“And what”s your favorite brand of underwear, Leo?”
Preston was saying. Long blond hair had been piled atop
her head in a messy knot, strands spiking out every which
way. It was an edgy look Preston pulled off well, but
would look like bed head on me.
Leo Epperson glanced helplessly at me.
“Really?” I asked Preston. “Really? Underwear?”
“What?” Her razor cut blond bangs puffed upward on a drawn
out sigh. “Lucy, everyone knows that your brand of
underwear says a lot about your personality.” She eyed me,
narrowing her blue gaze. “I bet you”re a Fruit of the Loom
girl. Granny panties. Cotton. Maybe polyester. No.
Leo”s sagging cheeks colored.
I shifted in my seat, suddenly uncomfortable in my -hah!-
Victoria Secret cotton undies. “I think Leo and I should
have some time alone.”
Preston”s face paled. “What? No way. I need all the
information I can get. Remember, Lucy, your father agreed
to these articles. And so did Leo.” She smiled at him,
warm, friendly, and sincere.
I had to admit the smile did a lot to soften her angular
features, dull the irritation of her presence. Preston
worked as a reporter for the South Shore Beacon, a small
newspaper with a low (and dropping) circulation. We”d met
a month ago under some not-so-great circumstances and
somehow (my [traitorous] father had his hand in it) she
had talked me into doing an article on my role at Lost
My role being the finder of the lost loves. As in, Lucy
Valentine, Lost Love Locater. I liked the sound of it.
Sometimes good old fashioned leg work was all it took to
track a lost love. And other times… Other times I had to
rely on my psychic ability, a gift that allowed me to find
lost objects-and lost objects only.
That hadn”t been always the case. Once upon a time I”d had
the ability to see auras-like my father, world renowned
matchmaker Oscar Valentine. I”d been born with the
ability, as had all bloodline Valentines. It was a gift
supposedly bestowed upon our family by Cupid himself
centuries ago, but at fourteen my power to read auras had
been zapped out of me by an electrical surge during a
thunderstorm and my gift of finding lost objects had been
For years I believed myself the black sheep of my family
(which was saying something) because the success of my
family”s matchmaking business, Valentine, Inc., relied on
pairing lovers by secretly matching the colors surrounding
them. Feeling like a familial failure, I disavowed my
trust fund and spent years jumping from one dead-end job
to another until I realized that finding lost objects
could be instrumental in finding long lost loves…
Like Leo Epperson”s lost love, a woman named Joanne
“I”m staying,” Preston stated, obviously taking my silence
as an unspoken dismissal.
If only it were that easy to get rid of her.
“All right,” I said. “But no more questions.”
She arched a thin eyebrow. “But-”
“No.” Frankly, she was lucky I let her in the building. We
didn”t have a good history. And it hadn”t gotten any
better after she talked me into locating her long lost
boyfriend only to tell me, once I found him, she had no
interest in rekindling that particular relationship. She”d
simply wanted to document the search for an article for
the Beacon. The reunion may have been a bust, but the
article had been a brilliant success, and because of it
Preston and my father had agreed to extend the article
into a series of pieces.
The publicity had been great-the phone at Valentine, Inc.
had been ringing off the hook with potential clients. The
downside was that Preston was around. A lot.
“Fine,” she said, slumping back in her chair. She left her
digital recorder running on the table.
“Is it still okay with you?” I asked Leo. “I know you
agreed to have Preston chronicle the search for Joanne,
but it”s not too late to back out.”
Please back out, please back out.
“No, no. She”s fine.”
“Thank you,” Preston said, giving me a glare. She then
turned to him and smiled, a hundred watts of pure charm.
Leo winked at her, but not in an icky Anna Nicole Smith/J.
Howard Marshall kind of way. More like a co-conspirator,
we”re-in-this-together, leave-no-man-behind kind of way.
This meeting was going downhill fast.
Leo rubbed a gnarled arthritic finger on the table
top. “Have you had any luck, Lucy? In finding Joanne?”
“A little bit,” I said.
“Is that like being a little bit pregnant?” Preston asked,
a grin pulling on her smug lips.
“I thought you were going to be quiet.”
Preston addressed Leo. “Did I agree to be quiet?”
His face brightened at her attention. “Not that I recall,
though you did agree to no more questions.”
I gave her a so-there look.
She wouldn”t let up. “You”re not pregnant, are you, by any
chance? That would be a great headline. A scoop like that
could take me places.”
Justifiable, my brain hummed.
“No,” I squeezed out. But the word “pregnant” hung askew
in my thoughts, reminding me of my grandmother Dovie, who
was on a quest to see me with child as soon as possible.
Her motivations were purely selfish-she wanted a great-
grandbaby. “Pregnant” also reminded me of Sean Donahue,
the sexy PI who was also now my business partner in the
Lost Loves venture. Chemistry sizzled between us, but he
was dealing with the aftermath of a breakup from a long-
term relationship, and I had commitment issues stemming
from Cupid”s Curse, an ancient hex placed on my family
that prevented any Valentine from matching themselves.
It didn”t bode well for a long-term commitment with Sean.
So we were taking things slowly. Painfully so.
I didn”t want to think about it, so I checked my watch. I
was meeting Marisol, one of my two best friends, in a half
hour for some sort of secret rendezvous she wouldn”t tell
me anything about. “Be there or be square,” she”d said.
How could I possibly resist?
“Leo, you remember Sean Donahue, our in-house
“Sean tracked Joanne to a residence in Lakeland, Florida,”
I said, trying to ignore that Preston was even in the
room. “She lived there until three years ago, but from
there she”s disappeared.”
Small and wiry, Leo was all of five-five and weighed a
hundred fifty pounds at most. Still sprightly at eighty-
three his face normally glowed with good health but was
now wrinkled in concern.
Leo had come to me after hearing about Lost Loves through
a friend of a friend who”d been matched by my father. Sean
and I had been on the case for just over a week.
Leo had met Joanne Thomasino, now Joanne Winston, right
after high school at a Cape Cod beach. They”d flirted, he
asked her out, she agreed. Not six months later, at the
end of 1943, Leo was on his way to the South Pacific to
fight in World War II. Joanne promised to always wait for
His leg bounced. “You think she”s dead, Ms. Valentine?”
“I honestly don”t know, Leo. There”s no death certificate.
But there hasn”t been any activity on her credit reports,
“Wouldn”t that be rich,” he said, flinging his hands in
the air. “All this time she thought I was dead and now she
“Oh, that”s a good quote!” Preston leaned forward to check
her recorder. “Can you say that again? Just in case?”
“Preston,” I warned.
She released an exasperated sigh and pulled a notebook
from her bag on the floor. “…dead and now she might be,”
she murmured while she wrote. She waved her pencil. “Go
on, go on.”
It all spilled out. How Leo had been taken prisoner
overseas, marched to a POW camp. Along the way, many of
his buddies had been killed, dumped into a mass grave. Leo
feared he eventually might be killed as well, and his body
possibly never found. He didn”t want his family to always
wonder what had happened to him, so he”d taken his dog
tags off and thrown them into the grave with his fallen
He sat in a POW camp for four years, well after the war
ended, before finally being released. But the damage to
his personal life had already been done. Two years before,
the mass grave had been uncovered and his family had
received a notice of his death. When he (surprise!)
returned to the States, his family informed him that
Joanne had married another after mourning her beloved Leo.
That other turned out to be Charles Winston. With him she
had one son, David. When Leo found out, he”d been
devastated. It took time, but Leo eventually settled down.
However, he never forgot about Joanne, especially after
his wife passed away fifteen years ago. He”d been looking
for Joanne since.
“What now?” he asked.
The sadness in his eyes tore at me. “We tried all the
conventional methods. Now we try a little bit of the
He nodded, leaning forward. “How does that work?”
“Oh, it”s something,” Preston interjected, leaning
forward. “Have to admit, I thought it all hocus pocus at
first, but Lucy here is the real deal. You”re in good
I scanned her face, looking for any sign of sarcasm
beneath the unexpected compliments. Surprised, I found
none. Well. Hmmph. Color me shocked. “Thank you,” I
She tipped her head in acknowledgement.
I said to Leo, “All I”ll do is hold your hand while you
think of something you may have given Joanne.”
My abilities didn”t come without rules. I could only
locate inanimate objects. Not humans or pets. And I could
only get a reading from the object”s true owner. However,
there were exceptions to my rules. Most notably, gift
giving. It was when objects had two owners-which, in this
case, I hoped would lead Leo straight to Joanne.
“That”s it. The trouble is, if she didn”t keep whatever
you gave her, then we”re back to square one. Can you think
His eyes lit, sparkling. “My class ring. Gave it to her on
our one month dating anniversary. She cried.”
Preston scribbled away. I tried to swallow over a sudden
lump wedged against my windpipe. “Okay, let”s try.”
I reached out my hand. Tentatively, he laid his palm
against mine. Images swirled as the room tilted. After a
minute, I pulled away, fighting waves of dizziness.
“Does she have it?” Preston asked.
Leo”s eyes widened with hope.
I shook my head. “I don”t think so. I saw it in a store.
Not a pawn shop, but more like an antique shop.”
He barked out a laugh. “Antique it is.”
Preston laughed, a tinkly musical sound that didn”t seem
to fit her personality.
I smiled. “It”s mixed in with a box of buttons.”
“So a dead end,” he said.
I didn”t like that term. “Anything else you gave her?”
He closed his eyes, thinking. “I don”t know. I didn”t have
much back then. And Jo and I, well we had to keep our
relationship quiet for the most part because my parents
didn”t take a liking to her.”
“Ooh,” Preston mumbled, jotting notes.
“Why”s that?” I asked, still trying to pretend she wasn”t
“She was Catholic,” he said, smiling. “They were stubborn
about that sort of thing.”
Back in that era, it was probably a big deal.
“That”s so wrong.” Preston shook her head. “People should
have been more open-minded.”
“We snuck around mostly.” Amusement brightened his
eyes. “Had ourselves our share of fun.”
“You devil you,” Preston said, poking him in the ribs with
He loved the attention, blushing to the roots of his white
I bit the inside of my cheek, wondering at the type of
love that would last over sixty years. Amazing. I had to
find her. Had. To. “Did you give her any clothes?
He slumped in the chair. “I don”t think there”s anything
“There has to be!” Preston urged.
Looked like Ms. Professional Reporter had become
emotionally involved in this article of hers.
“I”m sorry, Leo. We”ll keep trying on our end. There has
to be a trail somewhere.”
“Surely, you”re not giving up,” Preston said to me.
My phone vibrated in my pocket, an incoming text
message. “No. I”ll contact the antique store about the jar
Slowly, Leo stood and held out his hand. “Thanks, Ms.
I didn”t offer mine. “If you don”t mind…”
He laughed. “Guess you had enough for today, eh?”
I was still a little dizzy from his reading. It always
took a few minutes to shake off the lingering effects of a
vision. “A little. But please call me if you think of
“Yeah,” Preston said. “Call her.”
He smiled, squinted at us. “You two aren”t related are
We both snorted.
“Us?” I said. “No. What makes you think so?”
True enough, we were both blondes, though mine was more of
a natural honey and hers was straight from the bottle
platinum, but that”s where the similarity ended. I was
five inches taller than her five-foot-three and probably a
good forty pounds heavier, as I didn”t think she weighed
more than a hundred pounds. Her eyes were an inquisitive
blue, mine were smoky amber. She had Kewpie doll lips,
while mine were wider, plumper. I had a long nose, a heart
shape face, eyes that turned slightly downward. Her nose
was upturned, her face a perfect oval, and eyes that were
just a hairsbreadth too close together.
“Just something,” he said.
“Only child,” I added, just for further clarification.
Preston shot a look at me I couldn”t quite place, then
quickly dropped her gaze to the ground.
Odd. Very, very odd. Where were her jaunty remarks? Her
ribbing? It was unlike her not to take a stab at teasing
“Maybe it”s just 'cause you squabble like siblings,” Leo
Okay, the squabble thing I could see.
Leo crossed to the door, stopped, and looked back at us, a
serious spark in his eye. His hands twisted nervously. “I
loved my wife, Ms. Valentine, I really did. But my heart
never let go of Joanne. I”m not getting any younger. If
she”s able and willing, I”d like my last days to be spent
Throat tight and unable to say anything, I nodded.
Preston reached for her notebook, scribbled away as Leo
turned left into the reception area at the end of the
hall. My phone buzzed again.
“You gonna get that or do you like the vibration?” Preston
tucked her notebook and pen into her bag. She hauled it
onto her shoulder.
“You”re very charming,” I told her. I pulled out my phone,
checked the message. It was from Marisol. RECON 1 PM. DONT
I was due to meet her downstairs in fifteen minutes, which
didn”t give me any time to run upstairs to SD
Investigations to tell Sean about my meeting with Leo.
Preston blatantly read over my shoulder. I quickly cleared
“Recon, huh? Reconnaissance? Sounds exciting.”
“Maybe I should come along? Is it for a client?”
My phone vibrated in my hand, an incoming call. I checked
the ID screen-Aiden Holliday, a Massachusetts State Police
Detective Lieutenant. Through him I”d become a consultant
for the MSP helping to solve missing person cases - mostly
cold cases but some current ones as well. Was there a new
Or did his call have something to do with the strange
letters I”d been receiving?
I”d have to keep wondering. A conversation with Aiden
wasn”t something I wanted to have in front of Preston. I
let the call go through to voice mail.
“Not going to answer?” she asked. “Rather rude of you.”
She leaned against the door jamb, smiling. “C”mon, you can
“What?” I asked, biting back a sigh.
“Fruit of the Loom, right?”
She must have seen the murderous look in my eyes because
she quickly said, “I”m going, I”m going.” Halfway down the
hall, she looked back, over her shoulder. “But I”ll be
I didn”t need the reminder.
What do you think about this review?
No comments posted.
Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!