Valentines day secret, p.1
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       Valentine's Day Secret, p.1

           Carolyn Keene
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Valentine's Day Secret

  Bess and George are fighting—and Nancy’s caught in the middle!

  It’s Valentine’s Day, but things are not all hearts and flowers for Nancy! While she and her best friends, Bess and George, are making their own stuffed animals at Farmer Fran’s Barnyard Buddies, someone slips a mean valentine into Bess’s animal’s pocket. What’s worse than a mean valentine? Bess thinks it came from George! Now the two are in their worst fight ever—and Nancy’s caught in the middle! How can she sew Bess and George’s friendship—not to mention the Clue Crew—back together?



  Simon & Schuster, New York

  A Ready-for-Chapters Book

  Cover designed by Lisa Vega

  Cover illustration copyright © 2007 by Macky Pamintuan

  Ages 6–9


  A nasty valentine? From whom?

  Bess read the rest of the note through gritted teeth: “Feet are stinky … and so are you!”

  Nancy’s mouth dropped open.

  “It says that?” George asked.

  “As if you didn’t know, George!” Bess snapped.

  “What?” George cried. “You think I wrote it?”

  Bess nodded as she tossed the card and the cow on the table. “I don’t care if we’re cousins,” she said. “We’re not best friends anymore!”

  Nancy couldn’t believe her ears. The three of them were more than best friends. They were a team!

  “But what about the Clue Crew?” Nancy asked.

  Bess grabbed back her fairy horse. “Well, now you can be the Clue Crew—times two,” she said.

  Join the CLUE CREW & solve these other cases!

  #1 Sleepover Sleuths

  #2 Scream for Ice Cream

  #3 Pony Problems

  #4 The Cinderella Ballet Mystery

  #5 Case of the Sneaky Snowman

  #6 The Fashion Disaster

  #7 The Circus Scare

  #8 Lights, Camera … Cats!

  #9 The Halloween Hoax

  #10 Ticket Trouble

  #11 Ski School Sneak

  #12 Valentine’s Day Secret

  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


  An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  Text copyright © 2007 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Illustrations copyright © 2007 by Macky Pamintuan

  All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

  NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  NANCY DREW, ALADDIN PAPERBACKS, and related logo are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Designed by Lisa Vega.

  The text of this book was set in ITC Stone Informal.

  First Aladdin Paperbacks edition December 2007.

  Library of Congress Control Number 2007935960

  ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-4944-2

  ISBN-10: 1-4169-4944-5

  ISBN-13: 978-1-44245-916-8 (eBook)












  “I don’t care if it is Valentine’s Day,” George Fayne said. “Pink hot chocolate sounds gross!”

  Bess Marvin sighed as she smoothed her pale pink sweater over her hot pink skirt. “I can’t believe you don’t like pink, George,” she said.

  “And I can’t believe you two are cousins!” Eight-year-old Nancy Drew laughed.

  Bess and George didn’t think alike or even look alike. Bess had blond hair and blue eyes. George had dark curly hair and brown eyes. But they did have one important thing in common—they were both Nancy’s best friends!

  That day Nancy, Bess, and George were celebrating Valentine’s Day at their favorite store in River Heights—Farmer Fran’s Barnyard Buddies.

  At Barnyard Buddies, kids could pick out a stuffed horse, pig, cow, or sheep and dress it any way they wished. They could even watch a stage show or drink hot chocolate in the store’s Cocoa Café.

  “We have our animals,” Nancy said, hugging her fluffy stuffed sheep. “Now let’s pick out their clothes!”

  “What are we waiting for?” George said. She waved her stuffed cow in the air. “Let’s moooooove it!”

  The girls hurried to the Costume Corral. Dozens of tiny costumes hung on racks. Bess chose a fairy princess dress for her stuffed horse. It was pink, of course. George picked out a baseball uniform for her cow. Nancy didn’t know what to choose—until her eyes landed on the perfect outfit….

  “Check out this neat detective costume,” Nancy declared. She held up a tiny trench coat on a plastic hanger. “There’s a magnifying glass in the pocket!”

  George pulled out the magnifying glass and peered through it. “It works, Nancy!” she said. “Now your sheep can be a detective just like us.”

  Nancy nodded. Not only were the three friends detectives, but they had their very own detective club called the Clue Crew. And their own headquarters were in Nancy’s room!

  “I’m going to give my stuffed animal to Hannah for Valentine’s Day,” Nancy decided.

  She waved to Hannah Gruen, who was sipping tea in the Cocoa Café. Hannah smiled as she waved back. She had been the Drews’ housekeeper since Nancy was only three years old.

  “And I’ll give my horse to George!” Bess said excitedly. “As long as she gives me her cow in exchange.”

  “I guess,” George said. She wrinkled her nose at the fairy costume in Bess’s hand. “But I don’t like fairies.”

  “And I don’t really like baseball,” Bess said with a shrug. “So we’re even-steven!”

  Nancy brushed her reddish blond hair away from her eyes as she looked around for an empty worktable. Suddenly a voice boomed across the loudspeaker:

  “Hey, kids—it’s showtime!”

  Nancy, Bess, and George hurried to join a crowd in front of the stage. Everyone cheered as four teenagers dressed as a pig, sheep, horse, and cow ran onstage. The teens worked at Barnyard Buddies. When they weren’t helping kids build stuffed animals, they were putting on a show!

  “We’re the Barnyard Buddies and we’re here to stay,” they sang. “We’re going to kick it up for Valentine’s Day!”

  The teenagers did a little dance as they called out their names: Michelle! Corey! Tanya! José!

  “So grab your Barnyard Buds,” they sang. “And dress them in some funky duds!”

  Each teen fell on his or her knee as they slid to the front of the stage, mooing, baahing, neighing, or oinking!

  Nancy, Bess, and George clapped and cheered. But everyone went wild when Farmer Fran ran onstage.

  “Yee-ha!” Farmer Fran shouted. The tall woman was dressed in a checkered shirt and overalls. “Who’s ready to have fun ’til the cows come home?”

  Nancy didn’t know what that meant. But she joined everyone else in shouting, “Yee-haaa!”

  “Speaking of cows,” Fran s
aid, “it seems that the stuffed cows went faster than a weasel in a henhouse. So there are no more cows. I repeat: There are no more cows.”

  “Got mine!” George said, giving her cow a shake.

  “But guess what?” Fran called out. “Because it’s Valentine’s Day we’re going to have a special contest!”

  Nancy, Bess, and George exchanged excited looks. They loved contests!

  “The kids who find heart-shaped tickets in their animals’ pockets will win some mighty fine prizes!” Fran explained. “So start building those Barnyard Buddies!”

  Just then Nancy heard George cry out. She spun around to see George glancing around frantically.

  “What happened, George?” Nancy asked.

  “Someone snuck up behind me and snatched my cow!” George cried, holding up her empty hand.

  “Look!” Bess said.

  Nancy looked to see where Bess was pointing. Racing away with a stuffed cow under her arm was a girl with long curly hair. She wore a cow-print sweater, black pants, and cow-print sneakers!

  “It’s Colette Crawford!” Nancy said.

  Colette was in a different third grade class from Nancy, George, and Bess at school. Everyone knew she was a cow fanatic. Some of the mean kids at school called her Cow-lette.

  “Colette!” George called. “Wait up!”

  Colette froze in her tracks. She clutched the cow tightly as she turned around. “What’s up?” she asked.

  “Did you just take my cow?” George asked.

  “Yours wasn’t the only cow in the store, George,” Colette said. “There were plenty before they ran out.”

  “Yeah,” George said. “But mine had a blue baseball cap on its head. And so does the one you are holding.”

  “Oh,” Colette murmured.

  “Why don’t you pick another animal?” Nancy asked. She pointed to Tanya, who was building a tower of stuffed pigs. “Pigs are cute—and they’re supposed to be good luck, too!”

  Colette shook her head and said, “Everyone knows how much I love cows. So one of the last cows should have gone to me.”

  “Not fair,” George said. “Give it back.”

  “Make me, Georgia,” Colette said.

  “Uh-oh,” Nancy groaned under her breath. George hated when people called her by her full name!

  “I said give it to me!” George demanded. As she reached out for the cow, Colette turned and began to run!

  “Get it back, George,” Bess urged. “I want you to make me a cow for Valentine’s Day!”

  George shoved the baseball uniform she was holding into Bess’s hands. Then she shot off after Colette. When she finally caught up, she lunged and snatched the cow back!

  “Way to go, George!” Bess cheered.

  But as George turned, she slipped on some loose stuffing on the floor. Nancy gasped as her friend began sliding straight toward Tanya’s tower of stuffed pigs!

  “Look out!” Nancy shouted.

  Too late.

  George crashed into the tower of pigs. All the pigs crashed down on top of her!

  “Cheese and crackers!” George groaned. She dusted herself off as she crawled out from under the plush pile.

  “I spent a half hour building that piggy pyramid!” Tanya yelled. “Don’t you know that kids aren’t allowed to run in the store?”

  George looked at Tanya in her pig suit. She was pointing to the rules poster on the wall. The first rule was no food at the worktables. The second was no stuffed animals in the Cocoa Café. The third was no running in the store. Whoops.

  “Sorry,” George said. “It was an accident.”

  Nancy and Bess hurried over.

  “We can help you rebuild the pile, Tanya,” Nancy offered.

  “Sure!” Bess said, flexing her arm muscles. “I can build and fix anything!”

  Tanya seemed to think about it as she ran her tongue over her teeth. They were covered with shiny silver braces.

  “The piggy pyramid is my job,” Tanya finally said. “Go find a table and work on your animals.”

  Tanya picked up the pigs as the girls walked away.

  “It really was an accident,” George whispered. “Why did Tanya have to be so mean?”

  “You were running in the store,” Bess said with a shrug. “And you saw the rules. No running allowed.”

  George stopped walking to stare at Bess. “Wait a minute,” she said. “You told me to run after Colette!”

  “I told you to get back the cow,” Bess said. “I never told you to run.”

  Nancy watched as Bess and George argued back and forth. She couldn’t let them have a fight. The three of them were BFF—Best Friends Forever!

  “You guys!” Nancy said. “We came here to celebrate Valentine’s Day, not to fight.”

  George stared down at her sneakers. Bess twirled her hair between her fingers.

  “Look,” Nancy said, pointing across the store. “There’s an empty worktable. Let’s take it before someone else does.”

  “Okay,” Bess sighed. “But then it’s pink hot chocolate all around.”

  “Barf,” George added. But then she began to laugh.

  Soon Nancy, Bess, and George were laughing together. They were still BFF!

  The girls sat down at the table. As they worked on their animals Nancy noticed their friends Trina Vanderhoof, Marcy Rubin, and Nadine Nardo at another table. Marcy was showing off all the valentines she got in class that day.

  Eight-year-old Henderson Murphy sat at another table. Henderson’s father drove the Mr. Drippy ice-cream truck every summer. But there was nothing sweet about Henderson!

  “Look, George,” Nancy said. “Henderson is making a baseball cow too.”

  “Copycat,” George said.

  “You mean copy cow!” Bess giggled. She pointed to the baseball jersey on George’s cow. “There’s a button missing. I can fix that later if you want.”

  “I know,” George said with a smile. “You can fix anything!”

  Bess smiled as she braided part of her horse’s tail. After putting the finishing touches on their animals, it was time for hot chocolate.

  “Remember,” Bess said. “No stuffed animals allowed in the Cocoa Café. That’s rule number two.”

  George lagged behind while Nancy and Bess walked toward the Cocoa Café.

  “I’m just checking my cow’s pockets for a prize ticket,” George called. She shook her head. “No luck.”

  The Cocoa Café was circled by a white picket fence. Nancy, Bess, and George sat down at Hannah’s table. As they sipped hot chocolate, Hannah picked up her camera.

  “Say cheesecake!” Hannah said.

  The girls wrapped their arms around one another’s shoulders and squeezed hard. “Best Friends Forever!” the girls shouted as Hannah snapped the picture.

  It was an instant picture. Nancy, Bess, and George watched as the image slowly appeared. When it did they saw themselves smiling with hot chocolate mustaches.

  “Thanks, Hannah!” Nancy said. She took the picture and slipped it in her pocket.

  “You’re welcome,” Hannah said. “Now go get your animals. It’s four thirty and time to go home.”

  The girls hurried back to their worktable. Bess handed George the fairy princess horse she made. George thanked Bess and handed her the baseball player cow.

  “He’s awesome!” Bess said, hugging the cow. Suddenly a pink heart-shaped paper fell out of the jersey pocket.

  “Maybe it’s the prize ticket!” Nancy said excitedly.

  Bess smiled as she unfolded the paper. “It’s a valentine with a poem inside,” she said. “It says—roses are red, violets are blue …”

  Bess’s eyebrows flew up.

  “What else does it say, Bess?” Nancy asked.

  Bess read the rest of the note through gritted teeth: “Feet are stinky … and so are you!”

  Nancy’s mouth dropped open.

  “It says that?” George asked.

  “As if you didn’t know, George!” Be
ss snapped.

  “What?” George cried. “You think I wrote it?”

  Bess nodded as she tossed the card on the table.

  “You’re still mad at me because I blamed you for running,” she said. “That’s why you stayed behind—so you could write the valentine and stick it in the cow’s pocket!”

  “I can’t even write poems!” George insisted.

  “Not even nice ones!” Nancy agreed. She turned to George and added, “Sorry.”

  Bess placed the cow on the table. “I don’t care if we’re cousins,” she said. “We’re not best friends anymore!”

  Nancy couldn’t believe her ears. The three of them were more than best friends. They were a team!

  “But what about the Clue Crew?” Nancy asked.

  Bess grabbed back her fairy horse. “Well, now you can be the Clue Crew—times two,” she said.

  Bess huffed over to Marcy and her mom. Nancy had a pretty good idea she was asking Mrs. Rubin for a ride home.

  “I believe you, George,” Nancy insisted. “But if you didn’t write that nasty valentine … who did?”

  “I don’t have a clue,” George said glumly.

  “Clue,” Nancy repeated. “Something tells me this is a job for the Clue Crew.”

  “Yeah.” George sighed. “The Clue Crew times two.”

  Hannah loved the detective sheep Nancy made for her. She sat it next to her on the front seat as she drove Nancy and George to the Drew house.

  “I wonder if Farmer Fran will serve green hot chocolate on Saint Patrick’s Day.” Hannah chuckled.

  “Why didn’t I drink pink hot chocolate?” George wailed. “Maybe then Bess wouldn’t have been so mad at me!”

  “George,” Nancy said, “you didn’t do anything wrong. But it does really stink that you guys are in a fight.”

  The minute Hannah unlocked the front door, Nancy and George ran up the stairs to their detective headquarters.

  While George opened up a new case file on the computer, Nancy propped the baseball cow on her bed. Then she studied the nasty valentine. It was a red heart with a smaller pink heart flap over the front. Under the flap the nasty message was written in blue ink.

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