How Did I Lose My Passport — and Find My Love

Title: How Did I Lose My Passport — and Find My Love
Author: JM Cartwright
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Story (31 pages)
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn

One Sentence Review: An absent-minded cardiology researcher gets stuck in London and an unexpected surprise in the form of his boss.


Attending the cardiology conference in London was important for Dr. Howard Vandenburg’s career — missing the cruise ship and losing his passport and then having to face his boss, hospital COO Michael Sullivan, were not so good for his career. But when Michael takes Van completely by surprise complete with a plan that will change life for both of them, what’s an absent-minded researcher to do?

This is a Torquere Press Charity Short. All proceeds benefit Doctors Without Borders.


Airhead-y Van is in London for a conference, but gets to talking about work and loses enough time that he misses his boat — literally. Hoping to catch up with the cruise at its next port, he heads to Heathrow take a plane, only to somehow lose his passport between the ticket counter and security. Not sure what to do next, he is shocked and embarrassed to find that the administrator of his hospital, Michael, has just arrived at the airport seemingly to help him out. Michael wants to help him out, all right, taking Van to his hotel to make it all better and to offer a totally unexpected proposal.

As it goes with anthologies, there are good and even great stories, some that are so-so and some that aren’t even that, and though I suspect there will be readers who will think this is a cute and sexy little story, I admit that it mostly rubbed me the wrong way. While I do know it is difficult to pack a lot of character development and plot into a book with an under 10k word count, it can be done. I’ve read them. Here, it didn’t happen for me.

I think part of it was that I didn’t connect with either protag, and especially Michael. The narrator Van is a walking cliché, the stereotypical absent-minded professor — from his crazy hair, messy clothes, and forgetful nature — who is distracted by everything in his head and bumbles around in life. Although he at times was cute-ish in his obliviousness, I unfortunately pictured Jerry Lewis without the dorky facial contortions. Outside of that, I didn’t feel like I got to know him much other than his devotion to his profession and that he is a virgin with a cap “V.”

And Michael, he was completely one-dimensional and somewhat incredible for me. I think I actually disliked him. I think part of it was his arrogance, which came through clearly. Another part was that I had no idea what drove him to be attracted to Van, and because of this the proposal he offered seemed odd (to say more about this would be to include spoilers). In fact, it was one of those “What?!” moments for me. Perhaps if the story had been longer, and/or if we were given access into Michael’s head, that could have been fixed for me.

Also, Michael’s over-use of the endearments “sweetheart,” and “baby” grated on my nerves. Most everything that comes out of Michael’s mouth once they arrive at the hotel had one of those endearments — oh, with “honey” thrown in once in a while — attached. I counted 27 “sweetheart”s in the last 20 pages.

A few other things: Michael’s sudden appearance at Heathrow at the exact moment Van needed help felt contrived to me. Plus, I couldn’t determine if this was supposed to have BDSM-light or D/s undertones, which I’m not sure is a good thing (if I couldn’t tell, that is). There were a few moments that indicated it might go in that direction, but it then felt abandoned. Finally, the writing felt a bit underpolished. As I was unable to find any other title attributed to this author — and unless it’s a pseudonym of an established author — I will assume it is his/her first effort. The writing was generally decent, so I do think that there is a good base and with time, it will become more sophisticated.


An okay story that I had some problems with, but perhaps other readers of the genre would like just fine.



  • Thank you for your feedback on the story. You’re challenging me to do better – and I shall persevere.

    JM Cartwright

  • I haven’t read this yet, but I saw on the Torquere Livejournal that this is the writer’s very first published story. There’s so many SIPs in that “buy all” package and so little time to read, but I’ll have to find the time, ’cause I’m curious about new authors.

    Aunt Lynn, I’ll now be picturing Jerry Lewis in the lead role.

    • Good evening Eden. So many stories, so little time… I am more than willing to take chances on new authors and both have been incredibly surprised and unfortunately have had my expectations met in not a good way. Like I said, the writing is decent, just needs some polishing, and with experience, this could be a good writer.

  • Spot on review, Aunt Lynn. I bought this story because it was for charity and the blurb sounded cute. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much to recommend about it. I think 3 stars is very generous.

    The number of “sweethearts” made my jaw drop. How could no one catch this before it went on sale? And such one dimensional and unbelievable characters. At least my money is going to a charity I support, but I won’t be buying anything more from this author.

    • Hi Maraehl. I would be willing to give the author another go for a sequel to see if is any better for me. But yeah, the “sweetheart”s…damn near threw the eReader across the room.

  • Lynn
    This story would drive me crazy especially Michael’s characterization which does make him seem underdeveloped. Also, if you couldn’t tell the theme then something was really wrong with this book.

    I don’t think I’ll rush to read this one. 🙁 Luckily, most of the other stories in the anthology seem to be well written.

    Thanks for this Lynn.

    • Yeah, a few things didn’t work for me, but may for others. There are so many to read in this anthology, so if this doesn’t seem to be the one for you, then there are definitely others.

  • I did enjoy this story for what it was. Unfortunately I’ve met a few professors in my day who were pretty close to Van. LOL On my site the author said she may look at doing another story that lets you get to know Michael better, so maybe that would flesh it out better for people who felt like you did.

    So far I’ve been finding all of the stories pretty good in this anthology, not all amazing, but I’ve only had one or two so far that I haven’t really connected with. But hey, different strokes. 🙂

    • It’s just an example of how we all are different, which is what I love about us readers. I didn’t connect here, but you did, and I am sure there are some that are vice versa.

      I would be willing to pick up a sequel if it meant I would get to know Michael better.


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