Today’s episode of Her Secret Valentine (A Craftie Ladies continuing Valentine Romance) is by Debbie Kaufman. Don’t miss tomorrow’s exciting conclusion to our story. To catch up on any episodes you missed, click on the shoe or one of the links in the sidebar.
Nancy waited for a moment. No one said a word. They must not have seen the blindfold slip. Only a smidgen more and she’d have the peek she needed. Maybe if she just casually adjusted her hair…
“I’m sorry dear. Did I catch some of your hair in the blindfold? Let me fix that for you.” Mrs. Cannoli’s sweet tone sharply contrasted with her ruthless attention to the silken cover. The blindfold snugged mercilessly and every last bit of light peeking through vanished along with Nancy’s hopes of knowing how to make a right decision.
“There you go. Wouldn’t want that thing to slip and spoil the fun. That’s better.” Mrs. Cannoli patted Nancy’s arm.
Not really, Nancy thought. And how is this fun? The fate of her love life was at the mercy of one of Shanna’s never-ending contest entries. Her friend meant well, but all Nancy could think was now her love life was being held hostage all because of an entry form on the back of a marshmallow cream jar. How could she know which man to choose? They all represented good
memories, all were decent men, men whom any woman would be lucky to have in her life.
“Time’s a wastin', Miss Hart. You’ve got two minutes to pick your secret admirer or forfeit the chance for the dream date of a life time.”
What if she chose wrong? What if she didn’t choose the one who was actually in love with her and messed up yet again? She’d thrown away love once the day she ran out of that Atlanta Mall and packed her bags to come to Cupid’s Corner. Since then she’d proven herself successful in business, found wonderful friends, and finally had access to all the amazing shoes a girl could want. Only love was missing from her life, but she’d never felt that same spark she had with Brad. If this contest was another shot at true love, she didn’t want to blow it. But was one of these three men someone she could spend the rest of her life loving? What was wrong with her? It was time to grab life’s brass ring---a happily-ever-after love---and be happy. Why couldn’t she see true love standing in front of her, with or without a blindfold?
“And the clock is still ticking, Miss Hart. Time is running out to choose your secret admirer. One minute.”
Nancy’s thoughts grew frantic as the pressure mounted. She felt herself begin to gasp for the next breath and a cold clamminess settled over her. Her own heartbeat thundered over the murmurs around her.
“Hey,” said Shanna. “Something's wrong.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Mrs. Cannoli. “Everything is going according to plan. In a few seconds, we’ll know who she is going to pick. It’s so exciting!”
Nancy heard both voices as if they came from underwater. The faces of Jason, Paul, and Jean-Pierre swirled in Nancy’s mind, as if they were on a carousel. Round and round, up and down. Jason, Paul, Jean-Pierre. Jason, Paul, Jean-Pierre. All three rode dark mares---brown, black, and spotted. Who did she choose? If they could just give her a minute…
As if on cue, her imaginary carousel picked up speed and the men’s faces flashed past her faster than before. No, no. She had to decide. She couldn’t miss love again. She wouldn’t. If only…if only….
Shanna’s voice sounded above the thunderous beat of Nancy’s racing heart. “I’m telling you, something’s wrong. Look how pale she is, she’s…oh, no. Garth, grab her, she’s going to faint!”
For a half-second, Nancy wanted to argue with Shanna, tell her she didn’t need her private investigator turned boyfriend to do any such thing. Nancy wasn’t the fainting type. She was just feeling a little dizzy. If that carousel in her mind would just stop spinning. Jason, Paul, Jean-Pierre…all behind an empty white charger whose reins dangled across the empty saddle. She realized Shanna was right just as the carousel riders came around again in Nancy’s mind’s eye and provided her with the answer she so desperately sought. Her true love’s name slipped from her lips at the same moment she wobbled on her three-inch heels and darkness pressed inward. Of course, there was only one man for her ….
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