Thursday, January 23, 2014

Her Secret Valentine Part 7

Louise M. Gouge
“It would help if we knew his hair color.” Nancy glanced up from her list of suspects to see Shanna and Garth staring at each other with identical expressions: besotted. For the past two days they’d been meeting in Nancy’s shoe shop to try to figure out who her secret admirer was, but the only admiration in the room was between the two of them.

“A little help here?” She nudged Shanna, who sat beside her.

“Uh? Oh, sorry. What were you saying?” She didn’t bother to look at Nancy.

“Hair color. Our suspects.” Nancy waved her hand in front of Garth’s face, but he didn’t redirect his gaze away from Shanna…or even blink. Some PI, giving all his attention to Shanna instead of to the case. And he’d even been tailing this man before they hired him. For whom?

To be fair, she reminded herself that he’d managed to make a list of all the men in Cupid’s Corner whose height was over six feet one inch. They’d garnered that bit of description from the waitress at the café, then Garth had made inquiries around town. Most of those tall men were either too old, too well fed, or happily married, like Ted.

Not only that, but two more surprise gifts had come to If the Shoe Fits, both accompanied by sweetly corny poems written in an awkward handwriting style, as if the writer thought he needed another layer of cover. Nancy couldn’t complain about the book of poetry—by her favorite author, or the old-fashioned red telephone in the shape of a high-heeled shoe similar to the one whose heel she’d broken in her fruitless pursuit of the tall man. She would treasure both of them as long as she lived. But they still didn’t lead her to her secret admirer.

She exhaled an involuntary sigh full of all her frustrations, and at last her accomplices turned their eyes in her direction.

“Black,” Garth said. “Black hair.”

Nancy started. “Black?” Brad’s hair was black, just like his heart. She huffed out another sigh. Brad was still back in Georgia, probably married to Tanya by now. But Nancy wouldn’t mention that small fact. Besides, lots of man had black hair. Lots.

“You know, Nan—” Garth insisted upon shortening her name, but he never called Shanna just Shan. “The funny thing about this handwriting is that it looks like somebody who’s left-handed tried to write with his right hand.”

“What?!” Nancy grabbed up the paper lying on the table.

“Yeah. See this.” He reached over and pointed to the words with his ever present self-promo pen with his name address, and phone number on it. “You can tell from the slant of the letters and the...”

Nancy didn’t hear the rest of his words. She didn’t need to. Brad was left-handed, and he’d often doodled on napkins with his right when they’d gone out to dinner.

Try though she might, she couldn’t stifle the violent skip of her heart as that information settled into her brain.
Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired imprint. In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 historical novel, Hannah Rose (first place) and her 2011 Regency novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride, (second place). Her most recent release is a Regency romance, A Lady of Quality. Please visit Louise's Web site at


  1. Hmmm, so is this mysterious Brad the secret admirer? What happened between Nancy and Brad back in Georgia? Will Shanna and the PI find love by Valentines day? So many questions!
    Thanks for upping the tension Louise.

  2. And who is Tanya and how dare she come between them. I like tall men.

  3. How fun, Louise! And now the mysterious Georgia man has a name!

  4. Love the way this story is progressing! Thanks for another great segment, Louise!


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