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The Cutest Valentine Ever

By: Joannie Kay
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: �2015 by Blushing Books� and Joannie Kay
10 Chapters / 32,171 Words
Heat Level:
4.8 Out Of 5 (4.8 on 8)   |  Write a review
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Lindy Cole is on an enforced vacation because her boss, famous lawyer Ben Cross, is afraid she is going to have a stress induced heart attack by the age of thirty! When she stops for lunch in a little town that seems to call to her, the owner of the cafe exclaims that Lindy looks like the woman in the painting in the large parlor of the Dorland Estate. Lindy is amazed, but decides to go and have a look. The next thing she knows, she is thrown back in time, and meets an angry Cole Dorland who doesn't believe her when she insists her name is not Elizabeth, but Lindy Cole. Cole is so frustrated that he turns Lindy over his knee and spanks her so soundly that she is sobbing. It is only after he releases her that he realizes she is not the spoiled Elizabeth!

Chapter One

Lindy loved all things historical, and while she was on this enforced vacation, she decided she might as well do something she enjoyed. She’d been driving aimlessly until she came upon this old town, and she suddenly decided she needed to stop and have a look around. She found a caf� in the middle of downtown and the woman behind the counter stared at her in shock. “Oh my word, if you don’t give a body a start!”

“Me?” Lindy asked, looking around her to make sure the woman was speaking to her. “Why? Do I have dirt on my face?” she asked, positive the woman had mistaken her for someone else.

“Lordy, no! Let me guess, you belong at the mansion?”

“The mansion?”

“Well, yes! Aren’t you part of the Dorland family?” The waitress was staring at her as if trying to decide who she was. “You look just like the woman in the painting!”

“I’m so sorry, but I’m just passing through town, and felt like stopping and taking a break. I don’t know anyone here.” Lindy was positive that would be the end of the discussion, but the woman, whose nametag said she was Helen, shook her head in disbelief.

“That’s not possible, child. You need to go to the Dorland Estate and take the tour. If you don’t think you look like that woman in the painting, then I’ll buy you a piece of pie!”

“What time is the tour?” Lindy asked, intrigued. It wasn’t every day that her presence brought on such a strong reaction, even in the courtroom, and she was considered one of the best criminal attorneys on the East Coast!

“Every hour on the hour,” the woman answered. “Would you like something to eat in the meantime?”

“I would, please. Do you have any vegetable soup?”

“We sure do. I made it fresh this morning, from scratch. I’ll get you a bowl. Do you want a milk or soda with that?”

“Milk sounds real good.”

“I thought so. No Dorland ever drank soda if they could have milk!”

Lindy just smiled and shook her head as she took a seat at the counter. Helen was quite the character, but Lindy was used to characters, and she was used to reading them for their innocence or guilt. It was that ability that brought her success at such a young age. That and the fact that her boss’ reputation as a defense attorney was stellar. He didn’t believe in age restrictions, but he did believe in working too hard, and Ben insisted she take an entire month off from work and do nothing but travel and sightsee. Still, Lindy’s instincts were working just fine and she could tell that Helen believed every word she was saying to Lindy. It made Lindy curious and she decided to go and see the mansion. If nothing else, it would give her a good story to entertain Ben with when she returned home.

The vegetable soup was truly good, and was indeed made from scratch. Lindy loved to cook, and her specialty was soups. She knew good soup when she tasted it. “Mmm mmm good!” she said, more to herself than to anyone else, but Helen heard her.

“I’m glad you like it. Making soup is simply a wholesome thing to do. I’ve taken a lot of flak from folks who think I should buy it in cans, but as long as I own this place, the food will all be homemade. When I can’t make it myself, it will be time to sell out and take my name off the window.”

“Soup is my specialty,” Lindy shared. “I don’t buy canned soup� well, that is a lie. I do keep several cans of chicken noodle soup in the cupboard in case someone gets ill, but that is it. Like you said, making soup is such a wholesome thing to do, and it is how I relieve stress and relax.”

“What is your favorite soup to make?” Helen wanted to know.

“Beef vegetable,” Lindy said without hesitation. “Yours is almost a ringer for mine. I add just a hint of garlic,” she told Helen with a smile.

“I’ve never thought of trying that, but I will the next time.”

“It’s not necessary, but it does add a suggestion of flavor that most people can’t figure out,” she said with a grin. “I think I will take the time to go and take that tour. How do I get there?” Lindy asked for directions.

“You aren’t pulling my leg?” Helen asked in disbelief. “Honey, I won’t tell no one you’re here if you don’t want them to know.”

“Helen, I’ve never been here in my life. I’m shocked by your reaction to me, even though I can sense you are being completely honest with me. I have never heard of the Dorlands. I’m on a forced vacation, and just happened to drive through here. Something about this town just called to me and I stopped. I really don’t know where the Dorland estate is, but I’ll admit you have me more than a little bit curious.”

“You just have to be related in some way.” Helen studied her face intently. “I can tell you aren’t pulling my leg. Just stay on Main Street about a mile out of town and you’ll see a large sign. You pull in and park, and the painting I want you to see is in the large parlor, above the fireplace. You come on back and we’ll talk later and see if we can figure out how you’ve come to be so far away from the Dorland family that you know nothing about them.”

Lindy took out her billfold to pay for her soup and glass of milk, but Helen told her to put it away. “I’m pleased you loved my soup, dear. It’s a treat to cook for someone who appreciates good soup.”

“Thank you, Helen,” Lindy said with a big smile. “I’ll stop back after the tour.” And she would tell Helen then that her mother was adopted, and there was no trace of her origins anywhere. Lindy had already tried to discover her mom’s roots, but there was no paper trail, just a poor little baby left on the steps of a church, and placed in a good home. Lindy’s maternal grandparents were everything she could have wanted her grandparents to be, and her mom always said that she was blessed they were the ones who chose to adopt her. Still, wouldn’t it be a great coincidence if she found a clue that would give her mom a bit of closure and some information about why she was abandoned as a baby?

Lindy pulled her jacket tighter against the chill in the air as she made her way to her Lexus down the street. It didn’t take long for the heater to take the chill off the car, and Lindy had to smile when she was able to pull right out onto Main Street. Nothing like home!

Lindy was feeling stranger by the moment as she drove along, and she was relieved when her cell phone rang. She quickly checked the Caller ID and learned it was Ben. “Hello, Ben! Do you have some overwhelming case that you need my help with?” she asked hopefully, and then listened to him chuckle.

“I’m just callin’ to see where you are and what you’re doin’ with your time off, Lindy.”

“I’m in a small town in Georgia called Dorland, and I’m on my way to tour the Dorland estate. Helen, the woman who owns the caf� in town says I look just like the painting on the wall, and she bet me a piece of pie that I would think so, too.”

“Now, that sounds interestin’. A real mystery.”

“It does. I’m wondering if I’m going to learn something that might give me a clue about where Mom came from.”

“Just tread lightly, little girl,” Ben warned in his deep voice. “People might not want old affairs of the heart exposed to the world.”

“But, Ben, it is almost Valentine’s Day; what could be more perfect?” she asked in a teasing voice.

“One of these days, Linda Sue, I am going to turn you over my knee!” Ben threatened, but they both knew it was just words.

“You could tell me that you are swamped and need me to come home to help you with a case,” Lindy suggested.

Ben chuckled. “Just what I thought; you are tryin’ to get out of this vacation, and you have another three weeks left, little girl. Seriously, Lindy, you relax and enjoy this time. Maybe even have a little romance. You need to take some time to smell the roses, or you’re going to die of a stress induced heart attack before you turn forty. You can afford this vacation; pick up some brochures and relax and enjoy this time. When you come back to work you’ll feel refreshed, and that is all I want for my favorite little girl in the entire world.”

“I love you, too, Ben,” she said emotionally. It was nothing short of a miracle how they’d met. She was in the park, sitting on a bench, and wondering what she was going to do with her life if she didn’t pass the bar. Ben sat down beside her, commenting on what a beautiful day it was. They talked of general things, and she was shocked to realize that she felt as though she had known him forever because he had the gift of putting people at ease. He finally asked her why she was worrying, and she confessed she was waiting to hear the results of her bar exam. Ben nodded and calmly told her that he was confident she’d passed. He then offered her a job as a legal assistant until she found out for sure. Lindy trusted her instincts and agreed, and when she received the news that she had passed, Ben asked her to join his firm. By then Lindy had researched him and learned he was the famous Benjamin Cross. She said yes immediately, and she’d learned so much from him since then.

Once she was off the cell phone, the sense of d�j� vu returned and Lindy felt as though she’d traveled this same road many times. The sign indicating the Dorland estate was right ahead and beckoned to her; as she turned into the paved driveway, she had a flashback to an earlier time, when the trees were newly planted and the path leading to the house was all gravel and not paved blacktop.

She slowly rounded a bend in the driveway and got her first view of the house she knew as well as she knew the back of her own hand! What was happening to her? She somehow managed to park her Lexus in the provided parking lot, and then she looked around her, wondering why she knew what awaited her inside.

Lindy made sure she grabbed her purse and hung it on her shoulder, and double-checked to be sure she had her keys before she locked her car. Ben was always preaching that she couldn’t be too careful, and he’d insisted on paying for her to take self-defense classes she didn’t want to take. However, the first time that she’d gotten too close to the truth when defending her client, and the real killer tried to kill her, too, she realized how valuable those self-defense skills were to her wellbeing. She now was the proud bearer of a black belt, and she taught self-defense to women.

Still, it was a simple matter to lock her car doors, and Lindy did so, thinking of Ben’s smiling face each and every time she did. She honestly had a daughter’s love and respect for the man, and she was truly blessed that he came into her life that day. Ben insisted that he was drawn to her, too, and he claimed that it was God who planned their meeting that day. Lindy didn’t argue with him.

“Daddy, look!” a young girl yelled in excitement, pointing at Lindy. “It’s her!”

The man turned to look at Lindy, and then said to his daughter, “It can’t be her, baby. The woman in the painting lived a long time ago.”

“But, she looks just like her!” the child persisted.

“She is probably a granddaughter or a great-granddaughter, baby.”

“I want to ask her!” The child ran over to stand in front of Lindy. “Are you related to the woman in the painting?”

“I don’t think so, but I’ve never been here before, and I haven’t seen the painting. You are the second person today who thinks I look like the woman in that painting, however. I am stunned and I came to see for myself.”

“You must be related. Is your last name Dorland?”

“No, it isn’t. I’m Linda Sue Cole, and my friends call me Lindy. And you are?” Lindy asked, offering her hand to the little girl to shake.

The child shook her hand enthusiastically, making Lindy smile, and said, “I’m Rebecca Middleton, and we’re here from Ohio.”

“I’m from North Carolina, Rebecca. It is nice to meet you. I love the fact that you notice things around you, and that you aren’t afraid to ask questions.”

“Mom says I’m nosy,” she said, wrinkling her nose.

“My mom used to say that about me, too, but now I am an attorney, and it comes in very handy.”

“I know who you are now!” the child exclaimed. “Daddy, we saw Lindy on television, remember? She found out that man was innocent, and saved his life and put the real bad man in jail!”

“Yes, I do recall that. Rebecca and I said that you were the attorney we wanted if we ever were falsely accused of a crime,” the man said with a smile. “I’m Tom Middleton, by the way. It’s so nice of you to take the time to talk to Rebecca.”

“Her curiosity reminds me of me when I was her age,” Lindy confessed.

“I hope you will check into your ancestry and see if you are related in any way to Elizabeth Dorland, the woman in that painting. The resemblance is uncanny; it is as though you posed for the artist.”

“I can’t wait to see the painting!”

Tom took out his billfold and removed a card. “I know it’s asking a lot, but if you check on this, would you let us know what you learn? My email is on the card, and Rebecca and I would love to hear from you.”

“You have a deal,” Lindy promised, and was touched when Rebecca put her arms around her waist and hugged her! Lindy knew the child was genuine, and it was easy for her to return her affection.

Tom mouthed ‘thank you’ over Rebecca’s head, and then took her hand and said, “We need to move on, baby. We have a lot to do today.”

Lindy didn’t know why she didn’t want to go in by way of the front door, but she knew there was another door on the other side of the house that came into a library. She walked around the building, and easily found the door. It was as if the home belonged to her, and Lindy was overwhelmed as she tried to understand what was happening to her. She turned the doorknob, and the door opened easily. Lindy stepped inside, and even the smell of the leather bound volumes was familiar. There was a library table in the center of the room, with six chairs around it. The fireplace didn’t have a fire set at the moment, but Lindy knew how cozy it was to sit in one of the two chairs flanking the fireplace and read well into the night. The floors were gleaming and clean, and the large rug under the table and chairs was beautiful. It was not familiar, however.

Lindy heard voices just before the large double doors leading into the library opened. The two young men seemed familiar, and her head started spinning.

“Miss, how did you get in here?” One of the teenagers approached her, a smile on his handsome face. “This room is not part of the tour. Oh my God! Who are you? Justin, come look at this lady! Are you a cousin?”

“I honestly don’t know. Ever since I drove into town this morning people have told me that I look like the woman in the painting hanging in the large parlor. May I see it, please?” she asked.

“We’ll take you, miss,” Justin said formally, taking her elbow. “Get the door, Jason,” he ordered, and Jason hurried to do his bidding.

Lindy saw the tour heading up the wide staircase and was pleased that they would have the parlor to themselves. She could have led the way, but in some way it seemed fitting that the two young men were escorting her. The large parlor was simply beautiful and well preserved. There was no doubt, however, that the large painting above the fireplace was meant to be the focal point of the room. The piano in the corner beckoned to her, and Lindy was positive that she’d spent hours sitting on the bench and playing!

Justin walked her across the room, and when he stopped, Lindy looked up to see herself looking back. The woman in the painting was named Elizabeth Dorland, and she was dressed in the height of fashion for the time. Her lace-trimmed green dress matched the green of her eyes, and the red in her hair looked like flames of fire. The room suddenly started to spin and Lindy fainted. From far away she heard a man’s voice calling to her�

“Elizabeth, wake up now. You are supposed to be the hostess this weekend, and you are neglecting your duties!”

A stern man stood there, frowning at her. “I am sorry, sir, you are mistaking me for someone else. My name is Lindy Cole.”

“Do not play games with me, young lady, or I will turn you over my knee and spank you soundly!”

Martha on 09/24/2015 07:27pm
A fun story full of love. I couldn't put it away until I finished.
Martha on 09/24/2015 07:27pm
A fun story full of love. I couldn't put it away until I finished.
E.Rains on 03/05/2015 06:21pm
Great story. This was a sweet, fun read. with a surprise ending.
E.Rains on 03/05/2015 06:21pm
Great story. This was a sweet, fun read. with a surprise ending.
Denise on 02/20/2015 10:06pm
This is a very innocent and sweet story. I loved the characters and would also love to read more about them. I think it is wonderful when the writer makes her heroine a strong character that can take care of herself. This is the case in this story, as well. I felt more connected to the modern day Cole as opposed to the 1800 day Cole. It ends very well, but would still like to know more.
Denise on 02/20/2015 10:06pm
This is a very innocent and sweet story. I loved the characters and would also love to read more about them. I think it is wonderful when the writer makes her heroine a strong character that can take care of herself. This is the case in this story, as well. I felt more connected to the modern day Cole as opposed to the 1800 day Cole. It ends very well, but would still like to know more.
Redrabbitt on 02/11/2015 03:41pm
What a delightful love story that crosses time. Lindy Cole, attorney, is sent on a month long vacation and stops in a quaint town and they tell her she looks like the lady in a painting at the Dorland Estate. It is a historical home and gives tours. When she arrives, she has a déjà vu feeling come over her and it doesn't leave. When she sees the painting of Elizabeth Dorland, she faints but wakes up in the 1880s. This tale takes us into the life, love and marriage of Lindy and Cole Dorland. But what happens when they die after 48 years of marriage. When Lindy comes to after fainting and she is back in 2015. This story is charming with fun characters, witty dialogue, plenty of spankings and lots of love.
Redrabbitt on 02/11/2015 03:41pm
What a delightful love story that crosses time. Lindy Cole, attorney, is sent on a month long vacation and stops in a quaint town and they tell her she looks like the lady in a painting at the Dorland Estate. It is a historical home and gives tours. When she arrives, she has a d̩j vu feeling come over her and it doesn't leave. When she sees the painting of Elizabeth Dorland, she faints but wakes up in the 1880s. This tale takes us into the life, love and marriage of Lindy and Cole Dorland. But what happens when they die after 48 years of marriage. When Lindy comes to after fainting and she is back in 2015. This story is charming with fun characters, witty dialogue, plenty of spankings and lots of love.

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