Note: This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
"So what's your ending?" I asked, my gaze finding his again.
His eyes raked over me, stopping for an extra long moment in specific areas: my throat, my lips, my eyes. Finally, his lips spread into a slow, wide smile that would've made me feel like I was melting in front of him, had it not been for the reality of story. He baited me with that smile, and I took it, leaning forward in my seat as I waited. When he had me where he wanted me, he leaned closer, until his mouth was right beside my ear, and then he whispered the words.
"Real love stories never end."
Mia Bennett and Jensen Reynolds were each other's best friend. They fell in love, believing that happily-ever-after was an inevitability. But one thoughtless mistake cost them that, leaving Jensen no other choice but to break the heart of the only girl who could ever claim his. Through the years, he's kept watch, his heart tearing piece by piece each time she shared herself with someone else. They've lived separate lives--she still in Santa Barbara with her family and their circle of friends, he in New York with the family he created and his job--because that's how she chose it to be, leaving no room for him, and he capitulated.
Then fate steps in, the erstwhile lovers and avoidance is no longer an option. Mia's in New York for a few months to work on a magazine shoot about giving love a second chance and Jensen happens to be one of the article writers. All Jensen has ever wanted is a chance to be with Mia again, but her broken heart has never fully mended and falling for him again is a chance she isn't willing to take. But the time has come for them to face their past, and if he hopes to have the future he rarely allows himself to dream of, he'll have to prove to her that he's not the boy he used to be and that they have a present worth taking a risk for.
Paper Hearts is the second novel in the Hearts series from bestselling author Claire Contreras and takes place after the events in the prequel novella Torn Hearts. I'm going to highly recommend that the books be read in order (i.e. begin with Kaleidoscope Hearts, follow it up with Torn Hearts, and then proceed to Paper Hearts) for a more well-rounded and complete reading experience. Mia Bennett avoids Jensen Reynolds whenever he travels back to Santa Barbara from New York and when they do end up in the same place, the awkwardness is palpable, as seen in the first book, and the novella explains their joint history.
The heart is an amazing thing, able to figuratively break but still helping you stay alive even when you feel like dying. It can even break more than once and continue to survive even though you think it'll never be whole again. Both Mia and Jensen lived through the heartbreaks they both experienced and caused, and if love were a logical thing, they would have gone on and made a greater effort to find other people. But the heart wants what it wants and these two simply never fell out of love with each other because true love doesn't give you that option and fate finds a way to reunite two hearts even when it seems improbable.
Kaleidoscope Hearts has been on my tablet ever since I bought it on sale some time ago and I downloaded Torn Hearts for free once it was available, waiting for Paper Hearts to be published so that I could read them back to back to back. Experiencing this series has resulted in a myriad of thoughts and emotions, and while her Darkness books showed her writing capabilities, the stories of both Elle Reuben and Oliver Hart and Mia Bennett and Jensen Reynolds prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Claire Contreras has a gift for touching the souls of her readers with her writing. Five-plus stars for 2015 favorite Paper Hearts. ♥
10 September 2015 09 September 2015 (early release!)
Date Read: 09 September 2015
Learn more about Claire Contreras here.