Truly, Madly
by Heather Webber
(St. Martinís. $7.99, PG)† ISBN 978-0312946135
****
Heather Webber kicks off a new series called ďValentine, Inc.Ē with Truly, Madly.† Lucy Valentine comes from a long line of matchmaking psychics who can read peoplesí auras and find their perfect mates, though a curse on the family dictates that no Valentine will ever stay happily mated themself.† Lucy, however, lost her own abilities at age 14 when a power surge zapped them away.† Now, her only psychic ability is being able to find lost objects.

Lucy is called in to run the family business, Valentine Inc., when her father heads to the Caribbean to recuperate from an illness.† She reluctantly agrees, figuring she can bluff her way through for a couple of weeks.† But her first client is a man searching for a long-lost love, to whom he gave an engagement ring before she disappeared.† Lucy has a vision of the ring.† Unfortunately, itís on a dead body.† But whose body?† And where?

Lucy decides to ask for help from Sean Donahue, a PI who rents the office upstairs.† Sean is a former firefighter who turned private eye for reasons of his own, and heís attractive as all get out.† He seems to find Lucy quite appealing, too.† Soon Lucy and Sean are up to their elbows in a mystery, and Lucyís particular talents might be far more valuable than she ever imagined.

Truly, Madly is a fun story, and both Lucy and Sean are both delightful.† Lucy would love to explore a relationship with Sean, but she hasnít seen a single happy Valentine couple yet, and sheís leery.† Her grandmother offers some sage advice, and her two best friends are there to lend support.† Then thereís Sean, who seems to want her but holds back.† Whatís he hiding?†

The story is told in first person, so we donít get into Seanís head, but his story comes out by the end of the book.† Itís not what readers will be expecting.† And since this is the first of a series, Lucy and Sean merely dip their toes into the romance pool.† More to come, letís hope.† Meanwhile, the story is funny, fast-paced, and vastly entertaining.† Both Lucy and Sean are characters worth knowing.† Readers should be aware that this is a light mystery with a romantic element, but Lucy spends as much time with her friends and grandmother as she does with Sean.† Itís the start of a romance, perhaps.

The mystery is intriguing but isnít placed front and center in the plot.† This is really Lucyís story, designed to allow us to get to know her and her special abilities. As a stand-alone romantic suspense, it falls a bit short, but as an introduction to a series, itís fine.† I think readers are going to enjoy the future exploits of Lucy Valentine and the hunky PI upstairs.† I know Iíll be looking forward to them!†

--Cathy Sova


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