I've done it! Thanks to my awesome powers of persuasion, elusive-but-dreamy TV star Simon Valentine is starring in our new romance documentary!
It wasn't easy, though--Simon thinks his status as prime-time financial guru turned celebrity is ridiculous! He says he now steers well clear of affairs of the heart, but surely he must have one romantic bone left in his body?
Much as I'd like to find out firsthand, I've sworn off men after a disastrous ending with my last boyfriend. Must remain professional--though it won't be easy...we're filming in the most romantic city of all....
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Harlequin Enterprises, Limited
April 01, 2012
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Excerpt from We'll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart
We hear that MediaOchre Productions are celebrating a lucrative commission from Channel 16 to make a documentary on the romance industry. MediaOchre are keeping the details under wraps, but rumours are rife that an intriguing combination of presenters has been lined up. Stella Holt, still enjoying her meteoric rise from WAG to chat show host, says that she is 'thrilled' to have been invited to front the programme, but remains coy about the identity of her co-presenter.
One name being whispered is that of the economist, Simon Valentine, whose hard-hitting documentary on banking systems and their impact on the very poorest both here and in developing countries has led to a boom in micro-financing projects that is reputed to be revolutionising opportunities for millions around the world. Valentine, a reluctant celebrity, shot to fame with his crisp analysis of the global recession on the news, and has since become the unlikely pin-up of thinking women throughout the country. MediaOchre are refusing to confirm or deny the rumour. Roland Richards, its flamboyant executive producer, is uncharacteristically taciturn on the subject and is sticking to 'no comment' for now.
'No,' said Simon Valentine. 'No, no, no, no, no. No.'
Clara's cheeks were aching with the effort of keeping a cheery smile in place. Simon couldn't see it on the phone, of course, but she had read somewhere that people responded more positively if you smiled when you were talking.
Not that it seemed to be having an effect on Simon Valentine.
'I know it's hard to make a decision without having all the facts,' she said, desperately channelling her inner Julie Andrews. The Sound of Music was Clara's favourite film of all time. Julie had coped with a Captain and seven children, so surely Clara shouldn't be daunted by one disobliging economist?
'I'd be happy to meet you and answer any questions you might have about the programme,' she offered brightly.
'I don't have any questions.' Clara could practically hear him grinding his teeth. 'I have no intention of appearing on your programme.'
Clara had a nasty feeling that her positive smile was beginning to look more like a manic grin. 'I understand you might want to take a little time to think about it.'
'Look, Ms...whatever you're called...'
'Sterne, but please call me Clara.'
Simon Valentine ignored the invitation. 'I don't know how to make myself clearer,' he said, his voice as tightly controlled as the image that stared out from Clara's computer screen.
She had been Googling him, hoping to find some chink in his implacable armour, some glimpse of humour or a shared interest that she could use to build a connection with him, but details of his private life were frustratingly sparse. He had a PhD in Development Economics--whatever they were--from Harvard, and was currently a senior financial analyst with Stanhope Harding, but what use was that to her? You couldn't get chatty about interest rates or the strength of the pound--or, at least, you couldn't if you knew as little about economics as Clara did. She had been hoping to discover that he was married, or played the drums in his spare time, or had a daughter who loved ballet or...something. Something she could relate to.
As it was, she had established his age to be thirty-six and the story of how he had quietly used his unexpected celebrity to revolutionize the funding of small projects around the world. So great had been the uproar in response to the programme he had written and presented that the big financial institutions had been forced to rethink their...