And she was full of questions, about him and about online dating in general.

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Plus, when she went back to look at darkandsugarclue's profile, it had disappeared. As I am recalling the information you shared intrigued me. Please email me with information about yourself and pictures so I can get to know you better.

Duane wrote right back, a long message that sketched a peripatetic life — he described himself as a "computer systems analyst" from North Hollywood, California, who grew up in Manchester, England, and had lived in Virginia for only five months.

Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening.

It had been over two years since the death of her husband of 20 years; four, since she had lost her mother.

The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.

And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …

Amy was charmed — Duane was nothing like the local men she'd met so far.

"You certainly have a great sense of humor and a way with words," she responded.

Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a billion industry.

As of December 2013, 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish and e Harmony.

"It is amazing what people will do without conscience.