Previously published as one of two stories in Jove's A Heart Speaks, Forsaking All Others now gets its own moment in the spotlight. This favorite of LaVyrle's tells the story of an up-and-coming photographer who is once bitten, twice shy in matters of the heart. Until a model with a heart of gold proves he can be trusted with the gift of her love.
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January 27, 2005
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Excerpt from Forsaking All Others by LaVyrle Spencer
NORTH Star Agency," answered the voice on the phone.
Allison Scott crossed her ankles, rested a heel on her desk, and leaned back in her ancient, creaking swivel chair. "I need the sexiest man you've ever seen and I need him right now," she said, smiling.
"Hey, who doesn't?" came the glib reply. "Allison, is that you?"
"Yes, Mattie, it's me, and I mean it. I need the man to end all men. He's got to be handsome, honed, with hair the color of waving wheat, blue eyesýbut I could get by with brownýa jaw like Dick Tracy's and a nose like the hand of a sundial, a body likeý"
"Hey, hey, hey! Hold on there, girl. What are you using him for anyway, a screen test?"
"Not quite. A book cover."
"A book cover." Allison's voice became exhilarated. "I got the offer about a month ago, and I said I'd see what I thought after reading the book. It came in yesterday's mail, and I took it home last night, read it from cover to cover, and decided to give it a try. I just called New York andýoh, Mattie, this could be the break I've been waiting for. They'll be sending a contract within the week. Now all I need from you is Mister Right for the cover."
"Let me get his vital stats on paper and look through the files and see what I can come up with. Okay, shoot."
Allison's feet hit the floor as she reached for the manuscript, flipped to the right page, and followed the words with her finger. "Blond, blue eyed, virile, handsome, about twenty-five years old, six feet, sinewy . . . God, Mattie, can you believe they really believe men who look like that are worth anything?" Allison slapped the manuscript closed in disgust.
Mattie's voice came back critically. "Were you hired as a book critic or cover artist?"
"All right, I deserved that. It's really none of my business what these star-struck authors put between the covers. This is a chance I've been waiting for, and if they want me to give them a picture that'll convince the readers people fall in love at first sight and live happily ever after, that's what I'll give 'em. You just send me the raw material and watch me!"
"Okay. So describe the woman."
"Ah, let's see . . ." Again a slender finger scanned a page. "Oh, here it is. Early twenties, ginger-colored hair, blue eyes, tall, willowy. And listen, Mattie, hair color is important, seems the readers tend to notice if it's wrong, so shoulder length and ginger, right?"
"Ginger it is. Let me see what I can dig up, and I'll get the photos over to you in tomorrow's mail."
"Okay, Mattie, I appreciate it."