Paper Hearts 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?
“From your lips to God’s ears, right?” He rose and shook her hand, walking her to the door. Her back was straighter, head held higher, than he’d seen in her before.
Jordan rarely got to see that in people.
He doubted he’d get to see it in his next client. He looked out into the reception area and saw a handful of people, all patiently waiting to talk to someone who would help them dissolve their marriages. How had they gotten to such a point? Was love, and commitment, truly a figment of the past? It seemed absurd, but here they were. Almost all of the twenty seats in the reception area were occupied.
He leaned in to whisper to the receptionist. “Jenny, who’s my next client?”
Jenny, a former client of the firm, now in her early sixties, smiled up at him. “Oh, there you are. You’re seeing Mr. Mishra next. He’s the gentleman over there.” She indicated a tall, light-skinned South Asian man in the middle of the seating area. Mishra was handsome, and for a second Jordan indulged in a fantasy about a client seeking a divorce because he was gay and looking for a partner in a law firm.
It was only a fantasy. Mishra might be handsome—beautiful, even—but he was still a client, and Jordan had ethical standards. He made a mental note to spend a little extra time on the rowing machine later to work off that sexual frustration and approached his client.
“Mr. Mishra? I’m Jordan Stafford, your attorney.”
Mishra stood up and offered his hand. He had a good, firm handshake and a ready smile. “Pleased to meet you. Please, call me Dinesh. Should we get started?”
“If you’ll follow me. We can talk in my office.” Jordan started off heading for his office, but he realized after a second that they were a trio and not a pair. He turned around, ready to challenge the interloper, but Dinesh just ducked his head and blushed. “Sorry. This is my brother-in-law—er, soon to be ex brother-in-law, Sam Sheehan. He’s here for moral support. I hope you don’t mind?”
Jordan smiled and shook hands with Sheehan. He’d never had the brother of the other party in the divorce show up to a meeting before. At least the discussion should be interesting. Sheehan was handsome too, and if Jordan had to be cooped up in his office on a gorgeous August day he might as well be locked up with two hot guys.
Damn it, he was going to have to double his time on the rower.
“No problem at all. Right this way.”
The trio sat down in his office, and Jordan took out a recorder. “I usually record these meetings and go back to take more detailed notes later. That way I can focus more on you and less on trying to write legibly. I hope that’s okay with you?”
They both agreed, which was good. Jordan was going to have a hard time focusing on anything that wasn’t the two attractive men in front of him—especially Sheehan, who wasn’t wearing a ring, had no tan line for a ring, and therefore couldn’t be a client. Tall and handsome, with soft brown hair just long enough to grab onto and a suit that emphasized just what a great body he had.
“So why don’t we get started.” Jordan tried to steer his mind away from the brother-in-law. “It helps me to build my case if I know why you’re looking for a divorce, Dinesh. I’m not judging, although I generally don’t work with spousal abusers. In those cases, I usually refer the client to a different attorney.”
Sheehan snorted. “First of all, I wouldn’t be here with him if he was hitting my sister. Second, it wouldn’t get to the point where he’d be leaving Ida. She’d put him into the river.”
Sheehan looked suave and well off. His accent was pure Jersey, and not the Jersey upper crust either. A million questions sprang to Jordan’s mind, but he choked them back. He wasn’t getting paid to poke and prod at the pretty guy’s background.
“Fair enough,” he said, and gave a little smile. “But you’d be surprised what some families don’t seem to mind with regards to their daughters, so attorneys here do disclose this policy with every new client. We don’t want any surprises, Mr. Sheehan.”
Sheehan shook his head a little, startled. Then he laughed, eyes crinkling just a bit at the sides adorably. “Jeez. I thought my dad was behind me for a second. Please, call me Sam.”
“Sam.” Something warm flared up inside of Jordan. “Okay then. We just like for everyone to know what to expect, right out of the gate. Dinesh, if you could explain a little bit about your situation.”
Dinesh’s affability faded a little. Now he just looked sad. “I’ve been friends with Sam here since undergrad. That’s how I met Ida. We weren’t all that close, not until Sam and I shared a place after graduation. Ida came around a lot after that. She even stayed with us for a little while after a breakup, until she got a place of her own. And we hit it off. We fell in love.”
Sam rolled his expressive green eyes. “Everyone does,” he muttered.
“Yeah, well, Ida has a lot going for her, okay? She’s creative, she’s talented, and she’s generous. She genuinely wants to help people, and I love that about her. There’s a lot about Ida I still love, Sam. I’m not thrilled about having to do this, you know?”
Jordan had heard that sentence thousands of times, from thousands of spouses. “Do you think there’s a chance you might reconcile?”
Sam peered at Jordan more closely. “Isn’t that money out of your pocket? You’re a divorce attorney. You get paid to split people up.”
Jordan only kept his face neutral because he’d been trained not to react to outbursts. A lawyer couldn’t get away with that kind of thing. “I get paid, Sam, for my time and expertise. The truth is, more than a few of my clients do ultimately reconcile. I’m happy to facilitate that reconciliation, especially if I can do it in such a way that makes both parties feel more secure. That feeling of security and stability makes the union better and stronger. I’m actually a big supporter of marriage, and I love to see things work out for clients.” He folded his hands together on top of his desk.
“Huh.” Dinesh got a faraway look in his eyes.
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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.