Virtually Yours, a contemporary romance anthology that includes my novella Something Old and Something New, is on sale now for $0.99 at your favorite retailer. Come celebrate the release with us TODAY April 11th on Facebook, from 6 to 10 EST.
Eight authors took on the concept of an internet service to pretend you are dating.
Virtual Match is your one-stop shop to convincing those nosy relatives, the too friendly coworker, or your ex that you’re off the market. We’ll match you up with an attentive boyfriend or girlfriend. Texts, emails, phone calls, and even gifts. A virtual love life is all the fun of being in a relationship–well, almost all the fun–and none of the commitment. Our matches know how to stay discreet and convincing.
All fun and games, right? …Honestly, this idea gives me the creeps, and so my take on it includes an ex-husband out for mischief — possibly even revenge. Here’s the description so you can see what I mean.
Something Old and Something New by J.R. Pearse Nelson: Delia has finally managed to kick her cheating ex-husband to the curb. In a parting jab at her lack of tech savvy and need for companionship, the ex signs her up for Virtual Match. The texts from the virtual boyfriend are as creepy as the idea and getting stranger, but she can’t figure out how to stop them. When an old friend—that’s all it can ever be—shows up on her doorstep, Delia is pushed to retire old heartaches in favor of a new vision of herself and her future.
Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.
Delia held her head high and smiled to herself as she entered the restaurant—an upscale place in the Midtown area, sure to have Shaun nervous as hell. That’s exactly what she’d wanted. Mention of her money always set him on edge, and she’d been twisting that knife recently.
Why not? She and Shaun didn’t have anything else to lose.
Twice divorced before thirty.
She couldn’t get the imaginary headline out of her mind.
The Maître d’ escorted her to their table, and she took her seat across the table from the most handsome man she’d ever met, probably for the last time.
Shaun sipped from his ice water and watched her. He was dressed to the nines, his hair slicked back neatly, as if to mock her choice of restaurant by showing up looking the part. He wore her money well. But his eyes were not warm; they were not soft and caring. Sometime in the last two months, they’d gotten mean.
When she didn’t react to Shaun’s stare, he broke eye contact and took a file of papers from his dark leather messenger bag—the one she’d bought him for their second anniversary—and laid a stack of papers on the table between them.
She studied her meticulously maintained manicure, her eyes avoiding the pile of papers, signatures and twin dates now staring up at her from the dotted line.
Well. That was that.
“Excuse me, I need to visit the ladies’ room,” Delia said softly as tears suddenly threatened. She rose from her chair and retreated, hoping her anger and sadness weren’t evident to Shaun or anyone else. She needed to compose herself; she would not be seen getting upset with her stupid now-ex-husband in public. She couldn’t save their marriage, but she could salvage her pride.
Delia did what she could to stay out of town gossip. She was a reporter for the Sacramento Observer, but she was as used to being in the news as creating it. Her father was the mayor, and he’d been a high-power trial lawyer before that, from old money in this city. Her uncle was a congressman. Delia was used to keeping her affairs to herself, used to the demands of being a public family. The TV news had a field day with any little thing they could get their hands on these days. And the mayor’s bad-girl daughter getting divorced for the second time was sure to be fodder for the twenty-four hour news cycle.
Bad girl. Heh. If she was going to be labeled that way, Delia wished she’d taken more advantage. She should wear skimpy clothes, and drink and smoke at a nightclub. That would really make Mother twitch.
Delia washed her hands slowly in the ladies’ room, thankful that there was no mirror above the sink. She did take a glance in the full-length before returning to her table to ensure she didn’t wear evidence of nearly breaking down.
She returned to her seat wishing to be anywhere else.
Shaun shoved up the sleeve of his sweater and ogled his watch, both of which were expensive and purchased with Delia’s money, looking for the final escape.
“I need to get back to the office.”
You mean the office secretary?
She’d finally asked for a divorce after catching him cheating three times in four years. With three different women. The latest was the secretary at the real estate office where Shaun had started as a temp last fall.
Her phone pinged with a new tone, and she picked it up from the table, wondering what the heck had been insta-installed now. She couldn’t keep up with the rapid change in these silly devices. As long as she could connect to her phone contacts, maps, email and Facebook, she was golden.
This was a text message, from a number—a name—she’d never seen before.
CRAIG: WELCOME TO VIRTUAL MATCH. MY NAME IS CRAIG, AND I’M EXCITED TO BE YOUR MATCH.
Another text came in while she was still trying to make sense of the first.
CRAIG: I CAN’T WAIT TO TALK TO YOU. I’M SO GLAD WE MET.
Shaun stood up to leave, and she saw him grinning as she tried to decide how to reply to the mystery text. “Oh, did your new boyfriend text you already?”
“What?” Delia asked. “I’m not seeing anyone. Not that it’s any of your business anymore.” She gestured to the newly signed divorce papers.
He laughed. “Sure you are. Or at least, that’s what it’ll look like. You should learn a little more about tech, Delia. Like to lock your phone. Friendly word of advice.” His smile wasn’t friendly at all, it was malicious and mean and not at all the man she’d thought she was in love with.
“What did you do?”
“I just bought you a little help with your social life. A new ‘virtual boyfriend’ is the only hope you have for company, sweetheart.” He leaned in, his breath hot on her cheek. “It’s the least I can do, taking such a slice of your dough and all.”
He walked off.
Delia shut her eyes, allowing herself a few heartbeats of horror and embarrassment in the privacy behind her eyelids. She composed herself, discipline asserting its guiding hand.
She looked at her phone, brow furrowed. She swiped the screen, scanning for anything new, but she couldn’t see what Shaun was talking about. All of this stuff on here. So many parts of life with Shaun to disentangle from her own now that she’d cut him loose.
The money was worth it, knowing she wouldn’t have to come home to him again, knowing she wouldn’t have to wait and wonder when he was coming home to her.
She was free.
She ordered lunch. She most certainly was not returning to her car before she had lunch. Shaun’s manners be damned.
Had she really thought they’d sit across from each other and have a meal?
She didn’t know what she thought. What was right in this situation?
The waiter brought her salad, and she placed her napkin in her lap and lifted the salad fork, the familiar motions calming her a little.
As she stabbed into her salad, a smile lit up her face.
She was free.
That’s a small taste of just one of the books you can get now for $0.99. A great chance to try out some new authors! Find it now on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and many other smaller retailers, or read it through your Scribd subscription!
For giveaways and games, remember to celebrate the release with us TODAY April 11th on Facebook, from 6 to 10 EST.
Happy reading! Happy release partying! 🙂