Take one part Cupid's Curse + two parts unsolved cases, then divide by one former firefighter turned investigator that failed to leave the heat in his former profession....stir in a little nosy reporter and TADA! You've got yourself a masterpiece.....or so this Insatiable Reader believes.
Meet Lucy Valentine. Many would dream of her carefree lifestyle. The ability to have money if she wishes, (although she turned down her family's trust fund), the option to work in whatever field she deems worthy, the best of friends, a quaint yet lovely cottage to call home....and oh, yes...she's the black sheep of the family thanks to her special "gift" taking an unexpected turn. Lucy was born into the Valentine family. Each member of their lineage has possessed the "gift" to be able to see a person's aura. Said to be given to them by Cupid himself, they decided to put this talent to good use and created Valentine, Inc.....a matchmaker service. The ironic part about the whole set up? Nary one of the Valentine clan is able to claim their own true love thanks to "Cupid's Curse" (basically, it prevents them from finding and keeping a long-term relationship....valid reason? Maybe. Convenient excuse....hmmmm....).
Where does Lucy come into all this? The problem comes occurs around Lucy's 14th birthday. She receives an electric shock that scrambles more than a few minutes of her life. It crosses the wires on her "gift", making her unable to see auras, but able to find whatever belonging a person has lost from a mere hand shake. Convienent if you need your keys, but not so much if you're looking for your soulmate. When Lucy is put in charge of the business for a few weeks thanks to a not-so-scandalous affair regarding her father and a mistress (you'll have to read it to find out exactly what I mean, but it pertains to Cupid's Curse), things could get a little shakey. Lucy not only finds herself in the middle of a missing persons/murder case and a struggle to discover how her talents may be used to help a lost child, but she's up to her elbows in trying to keep herself focused on work and work alone. You see, the family's in house investigator is away for the week as well and wouldn't you know it, his former firefighter turned investigator (*h*o*t*) brother is filling in for him.
Enter one, Sean Donahue. He's a man with a slighty shady past, but nothing that would stop most women from falling head over heels for him. Lucy is not immune to his charm by any means either....in fact, a rather peculiar thing happens when she shakes his hand. Images not of the past or something he has lost flash through her mind.....but images of the future....their future to be precise or at least a potential meeting in a less than business setting. What's going on with her "gift" now? Will Lucy be able to clear up the investigations she's involved herself in without fanning the flames of temptation? (flames, former firefighter...HA!...couldn't resist!) You'll have to read it to find out!
Now, let's talk storyline. Despite the predictable nature of several occurrences (okay, so her gift is to find lost things, and she can get a read off of things given to another person, yet she felt helpless to aid in the lost child affair....hello? The child would be wearing clothes given to him by the parents....well, what do ya know....she ends up figuring something out similar to this as well), the story still maintains an air of mystery. (well, being a mystery book we'd hope so...but I digress...) There are plenty of twists and turns that you won't see coming as well as the shocking surprise of an ending. (Nope...you WON'T see this one....definite shocker.) It's got the expected "who-dun-it" aspect, mixed with a bit of romantic flourish (not romance like ROMANCE novel, more like Twilight-esque, but turned up a notch or two...). After a little exploration of her site, it stands to reason why the book mixed these elements so well....her other published works were mysteries, and romance.
The cast of characters are not easy to forget either. From totally relatable Lucy, to her over-bearing (but loving) grandmother Dovie, to her best girl friends, and even her family's driver Raphael....you'll find it hard to say goodbye as you turn the final page. Oh, did I fail to mention Sean Donahue? (hehehe) Yes, you won't want to forget him either (or the butterflies he sends your way....*SIGH*).
The release date (as of the post) is set for 02/02/2010! There is a small sampling of the sequel at the end of this book (currently listed as Deeply, Desperately) as well as the mention of a third novel planned. I definitely will be keeping my eyes open for it as I simply must know how the story continues!
Review copy received courtesy of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. (THANKS!) Check out their site for new program offerings each month.
Until next time....happy reading!