Found In Lost Valley is the fourth edition of the Seven Devils series about the Dalton family raised by patriarch Nick. This story carries a familiar plot along a common path written in an entertaining fashion.
Seth is a liar. When he was twelve years old, he and his mother hooked up with Job Dalton. It was the happiest time of his life. His father was an abusive man and in fact, was in prison for murdering a man in a fight. His mother was sincere in her love, but less than successful in her pursuit of the good life. Just as Seth thought things were turning around, Job and his mother were killed in an avalanche. Job’s brother Nick took Seth into his family and raised him as a Dalton. Seth grew up knowing that Job was not his father, even though many in the family thought it possible. He knew his father was in prison, that he had an even meaner uncle and he carried their “bad genes”, but he lied when asked and said he had no one.
Now, many years later, he carries the guilt that he never told anyone this. He is a successful lawyer and is contemplating returning to Lost Valley to open up a law office.
Amelia Miller is a friend from the past who also carries old wounds. Being raised by parents who loved her, but who constantly fought and threatened divorce, has left scars. Luckily Amelia had wonderful grandparents in Lost Valley. She would be sent to live with them when things got rocky in her home. Hence she led a very unsettled youth. It was only during the time she spent with her grandparents that she felt truly loved and part of a family. She too, has returned to Lost Valley and operates their legacy, a bed and breakfast nestled in this idyllic Idaho town.
Seth and Amelia have known each other for years. In fact, in high school they shared one searing kiss neither has forgotten. Seth decides to stay at the bed and breakfast and these old feelings start to rekindle. Then Amelia breaks a small bone in her ankle and Seth decides to help out – after all, it was his shoe she tripped over.
Love comes easily and these two mature adults have a wonderfully romantic time of it. The only intrusion is their past. Seth feels he cannot offer a woman anything knowing he has lied and everything he has should not belong to him. Amelia has already been through one short-lived marriage and divorce, and although she yearns for more, isn’t sure it is in her to find paradise.
The story is fast moving and enjoyable. When the two are not feeling sorry for themselves, they are a fun couple to watch. The sexual tension builds nicely and they truly have a wonderful romantic time falling in love.
The only thing that doesn’t work is Seth’s need to take on this guilt and have it control his life. I never felt either “secret” was so damning that it required so much angst. Uncle Nick is a smart man, and it seems like he knew all along what was what. Yet Seth acted as if his past was a deep dark skeleton in his closet that would cause everyone to hate him and turn on him if they knew, regardless of the man he has become.
Amelia is a hardworking lady who feels guilty when she can’t do what needs to be done. She is wary of Seth, yet falls hard for him. She accepts what he can give her without too much fuss, as she also feels she is not the best bargain in the world. Although she was feisty in many ways, this lack of confidence when it came to love was less than endearing.
Since this is part of a series, many familiar faces are back and traipse through the pages. This seems like a nice family and does make me what to check back on some of those stories.
Familiar, yet well written with plenty of charm, Found in Lost Valley is heartwarming in its own way. Accept it as such and enjoy.