“I’ll drive!” Private Investigator Garth Willowby motioned for Nancy and Shanna to climb into the yellow Thunderbird. Before the ladies buckled their seat belts, he floored the accelerator and was in pursuit of the black sedan. Both cars wove along the beach road that led into town. The sedan stopped near the café, and a lone man jumped from his car and hurried toward one of the side streets that dead ended at the
. Cupid's Corner
“Where could he have gone?” Shanna glanced up and down the street and then placed her hand on Mr. Willowby’s arm. She stared up at him and fluttered her long lashes. “What’s your plan, Garth?”
“M…my plan?” Evidently overcome by her nearness, his face turned as crimson as raspberry cream sauce slathered on top of a chocolate torte. He patted her hand and smiled a lopsided grin as if he’d forgotten the reason for their search.
The sound of the merriment grew so intense that Mr. Willowby glanced away from Shanna and toward the source of the hearty revelry. His gaze narrowed. “Seems there’s a gathering at Cupid’s Corner Bed and Breakfast.”
He motioned to the women. “This way, ladies. We may find
’s admirer after all.” Nancy
The B&B was a quaint Victorian surrounded by a white picket fence and wide front porch. Mr. Willowby held the gate for the ladies, who quickly entered the well manicured grounds. They climbed the steps, but before they could knock, the door opened, and a handsome man – the man they had seen at the beach – bowed with a flourish.
“Welcome to your Valentine Dream Come True, Nancy Hart.” Taking her hand, he gently urged her forward. “We’re so glad you followed the clues.”
“You…you mean the roses…the poetry…the cherry Lifesaver?” she stammered.
The doorman nodded. “We’ve been waiting for you. A few friends from your past.”
The interior of the B&B was warm and welcoming, and some of her trepidation eased when Mrs. Cannoli, the concierge, rushed forward. “Isn’t it exciting?”
“Isn’t what exciting?”
asked, totally flummoxed. Nancy
“Why the contest you won.” The concierge’s eyes widened. “Don’t you remember entering the contest, dear?”
“The Valentine Dream Come True Contest on the back of the marshmallow cream jar?” Shanna asked, her voice faltering.
“That’s the one,” Mrs. Cannoli said with a nod of her curly, gray hair. “The one to find your secret Valentine.”
“There’s been a mistake.”
hooked her arm around her friend’s waist and shoved her forward. “If Shanna
entered the contest, she should be the winner.” Nancy
Mrs. Cannoli’s face clouded. “But your name is on the entry,
. You have to play the game.” Nancy
“That’s right, dear. Your admirers are in there.” The concierge pointed to the closed parlor door. “Three lucky gentlemen. They’ll tell you something about themselves, and you have to guess which man is your Secret Valentine. But, first, you need to be blindfolded.”
could object, Mrs. Cannoli
tied a silk scarf over her eyes. The parlor
door creaked open. Shanna giggled nervously. Mr. Willowby laughed, too, and
added a “By Jove, this is turning out to be quite an exciting evening.” All the
while, Nancy remained
in the dark. Nancy
“Hello?” she called out, unsure who would answer.
A hand—twice the size of her own--touched hers. “
do you remember me? We knew each other in Nancy . I took you to the Fox Theater, and we watched a rerun of Gone With the Wind, which you loved. I’ve brought a dozen red
roses and a box of chocolates in hopes you’ll choose me as your Valentine.” Georgia
“Jason, is that you?” She recognized the voice. Or thought she did.
He took a step back, and a second person moved closer. “
dear, surely you remember when we toured Atlanta
and picnicked on shrimp and grits and sweet tea along the banks of the . I brought heart-shaped truffles and
chocolate covered strawberries in hopes you’ll choose me.” Chattahoochee River
A third person approached her. The scent of aftershave brought back memories she had tried to forget—not of Brad but of someone else. Someone very special. Her knees went weak and her heart hammered in her chest.
, my love.” His
voice was deep and rich and enticing. “Do you remember me?” Nancy