Title: Paper Hearts
Author: J.V. Speyer
Publication Date: February 9th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A divorce lawyer with a romantic spirit. A cynical television executive who thinks commitment is for fools. They can’t fight their attraction, or their affection. Can they find a way to reconcile their vastly different needs, or will each of them walk away from the best thing they’ve ever had?
Jordan might be a divorce lawyer, but he’s a hopeless romantic. He doesn’t see the two as incompatible, either. He’s never had a relationship last long enough to be with someone on Valentine’s Day, but he’s still hopeful he’ll find the one out there somewhere.
Sam is an executive vice president at a major television network. He spends his days managing programming, much of it centered around romance, and he knows exactly how fake television romances are. His own background of rejection only cements his views on the fleeting nature of affection.
They meet by chance, when Sam’s sister and best friend file for divorce. The divorce is messy, and Sam and Jordan are thrown together often enough to try to make a relationship work. When the winter holidays roll around, the difference in their expectations comes to the fore.
Can Sam overcome his fear of commitment – and rejection? Can Jordan get over his need to define their relationship? Or will they both lose the one thing in their lives that made them happiest?
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“Don’t worry,” Dinesh said, leaning back in his chair. “Legal found a clause in his contract that provided for termination in case of disruptive behavior. He’ll be gone as soon as we can film his death scene. It’ll be messy, too.”
“Good. Glad to hear it. What did my charming sister have to say?”
Dinesh groaned. “That obvious?”
Sam chuckled and sprawled out in one of Dinesh’s visitor chairs. “Call it an educated guess.”
“She’s trying to position things as though she kicked me out, and says she’ll take me back if I go to counseling sessions twice a week with her pastor.” He took two fistfuls of his hair and pulled. “I can’t decide if she’s sincere or if she’s just messing with me, you know?”
Sam scoffed and gently disengaged Dinesh’s hands from his hair. “She’s trying to get more cash out of you. That’s all. What did Jordan have to say about it?” It wouldn’t change his mind about Ida, but he was dying to know Jordan’s take anyway.
Dinesh’s mouth quirked up, just for a second. “Well, he thought the lawyer was being sincere.”
Sam laughed and clapped his hands. “Nice, and perfectly lawyerly. He wasn’t about to trash Ida in front of you, so he had to say it that way. Adorable really.”
“Right?” Dinesh snickered and held his head in his hands. “I definitely picked the right lawyer. Seriously, though. He did tell me he’s seen this gambit work.”
“For real?” Something cold gripped Sam’s stomach. He’d suspected Jordan might be too good to be real.
“Yeah—for couples that were both sincerely religious. He’s never seen it come to anything good in families like ours. Christ, I can’t understand what happened to us. What drove her to find God all of a sudden? What turned her this way? Why are you the only one who got out and stayed normal?”
Sam looked out the window for a moment. “Well for one thing, if everyone else is acting one way and I’m the one who’s different, I’m probably not the normal one. I’m just saying. And let’s face it. None of us has exactly gone down the same road. Mom and Dad were who they were, and all of us kids found our own coping mechanisms to deal with it. The way they were, it leaves a mark on you. For a couple of my brothers—and yeah, I’ve looked into how they’re doing, every time they showed up with their hands out—it was drugs. For another couple of them it was booze. Ida’s tried a few different things now, and an opportunistic charlatan got his claws into her. Me, I found success. Nothing helps you get over your parents’ bullshit as much as being able to buy out the mortgage on their house ten times over.”
Dinesh acknowledged this with a wry grin. “You’re not kidding. I just…for a little while there I was tempted. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could buy some time with that dumb ‘counseling’ session and make her see reason. I love her, and I don’t want to just give up.”
Sam held his breath. “What did Jordan say?”
“I didn’t tell him I was thinking about giving in. He just said he’d never seen something like what she was suggesting work in a case like ours. He definitely left the choice up to me. He didn’t pressure me or anything.” Dinesh picked his head up and gave Sam a long, measuring look. “I think he’s pretty into you.”
Sam knew he was blushing, but he just looked away. “He’s into me now. A week from now, a year from now, who knows? Life is short, Dinesh. Maybe he’ll get religion and decide to go follow some weird pastor.”
“So what, you’re just going to string him along?” Dinesh steepled his fingers together.
Sam stood up and walked to the window. “It’s not stringing him along, Dinesh. If things work out right, we’ll be together for a while. And then when we’re done, we’ll split up. It’s not a big deal if we don’t want it to be.” He rested his forehead against the glass. “And I doubt a divorce lawyer is going to have weird ideas about making a mountain out of a molehill, in terms of our relationship to one another.”
He liked looking out from the windows in the office tower. The network had one of the taller buildings in Manhattan, and Programming was on one of the higher floors. On a day like today, Sam really was among the clouds. He could barely see the people running around down on the ground, going about their lives.
“So many people make these promises, to themselves and each other, and they just can’t do it. They can’t live up to what they’ve promised themselves, and it just winds up being terrible for everyone involved. Look at you and Ida. I thought you guys had staying power. I don’t believe in that stuff, but I figured if anyone had the power to prove me wrong, it would be the two of you.
“No one could have predicted what happened to you. No one could have stopped it either. It’s better to just not fake it, and to enjoy your person while you’re together. Don’t put yourself through all the grief and bitterness that comes with not being able to live up to unreasonable expectations. Enjoy what you’ve got and move on.” He turned away from the window and looked back at Dinesh.
About the Author
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J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem.
J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game or avoiding direct sunlight. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.
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I’m finding all these new releases so far intriguing, I hope you are as well! Happy joyful reading everyone!