Title: Elastic Hearts
Author: Claire Contreras
Series: Hearts #3
Publication Date: March 20, 2016
Victor Reuben. Most sought out divorce attorney in LA. Nicole Alessi. Soon to be ex-wife of Hollywood’s biggest star, Victor’s latest client and his boss’s daughter. In such a high profile divorce, they can’t afford any extra drama. Luckily, neither one of them has anything to hide. Unless you count the mind blowing sex they had… Once… Twice… Three times all those years ago. As long as they leave the past where it belongs, they’ll be fine. But with her wearing those tight dresses and him giving her those heated glances, keeping their hands to themselves is proving to be more difficult than either one of them realized. It won’t be long before the paparazzi start to smell smoke, and where there’s smoke…
Elastic Hearts is another sweet, feel-good romance from Claire Contreras. This addition to the Hearts Series brought the characters full circle, encompassing the feeling of family and unconditional love that has poured from the pages of each Hearts novel. Elastic Hearts felt somehow different from the first two books in the series. While Victor and Nicole have a history it is brief and shallow, leaving these two with a lot to learn about one another and plenty of room to grow. Victor and Nicole are given a second chance at a first romance, a unique twist on love that made Elastic Hearts such an intriguing addition to the series. As always, Claire’s writing is exquisite. Her words are mesmerizing, effortlessly bringing her literary world to life and encouraging readers to lose themselves completely within her characters. Claire Contreras has written the perfect pair with Victor and Nicole. Their shared stubbornness and carefully guarded hearts led to some seriously delicious friction. Their story was passionate and all consuming, gripping me with its torturous tension and barely restrained emotions from the very beginning and holding my heart hostage until the end.
“Was I wrong to wonder if he would be tempted to dance along the line of attraction again? He’d turned me away then. He’d probably do the same now. Sadly, my body wasn’t getting the memo. I couldn’t help but wonder how far he would go without breaking the rules.”
Claire Contreras has a true talent for writing characters that are beautifully flawed. They make mistakes and trip over their good intentions, coming across as undeniably human and allowing readers to easily relate to them. Nicole and Victor were definitely characters I could see pieces of myself in and that allowed me to really connect with them and invest myself wholly in their happily ever after. Nicole certainly had her work cut out for her in this book and I adored getting to know her and watching her rise from the ashes of her failed marriage. She exhibited strength and grace as she dealt with her anger, sadness, and insecurities beneath the unforgiving spotlight of Hollywood. Sure, there were moments when I wanted to scream at her for not demanding to be treated better and for giving in to her ex’s ridiculous ideas but I appreciated the way Claire Contreras conveyed Nicole’s conflicted feelings, trapped by the harsh realities of life in the limelight. With Victor, Nicole was vulnerable in a way that made my heart absolutely ache, but she also sparkled in his presence. He fanned the flame inside her, bringing her back to life and she challenged him in return, daring him to want something substantial, something meaningful and real.
“Maybe it was unfair of me to want something this badly and not be willing to work for it. But I knew if I did work for it – if I did go after her – I’d go all the way, and I couldn’t afford to do that.”
Victor was quite the enigma, a collection of contradictions that kept me guessing. He was focused and career-driven, living in a regimented and emotionally distant manner. His apparent aloofness was offset by the tenderness and compassion he exhibited towards Nicole and the scorching hot alpha tendencies that made themselves known in private moments. Victor thrived on the expected and lived for consistency. His view of women however, was that they were temporary distractions for his fleeting emotions and when Nicole returns as a regular fixture in his life, he allows his carefully structured world to unravel by refusing to acknowledge his feelings for her. It was here where I needed this novel to dig a little deeper in order to understand Victor’s view of love better. At what point did he begin to see relationships as a threat to his success? Who told him he couldn’t have both the career he desired and love? What happened to make him think it was best to avoid connections even before he found out who Nicole was? That missing piece of the puzzle, Victor’s personal reason for holding so strongly to his bachelor status, was the one thing that never quite clicked for me.
“Victor’s lips were meant to mold against mine. They were meant to push me over the edge. But they shouldn’t. They couldn’t. We couldn’t. And that was the realization that made me break the kiss.”
While Elastic Hearts didn’t have the intense personal history of the first book or the deep emotional scars of the second, it dealt with the outside pressures that challenge relationships. Victor and Nicole face the judgment of both Hollywood and the courts, forced to deny their chemistry under the harsh scrutiny of the legal system and rabid tabloid reporters. This component of their story delivered a measure of drama that was equal parts intriguing and horrifying. Their ever-changing relationship was like a train wreck I just couldn’t look away from, ensuring that I kept reading to see what would be left when the dust settled. Elastic hearts was well paced and full of surprises. The secondary characters added color to Victor and Nicole’s story, making me smile with their good-natured teasing and heartfelt advice. Claire Contreras conjured up so many emotions from me as I read this book. Victor and Nicole shared encounters that were flat-out, stupid hot along with moments of raw honesty overflowing with regret and sorrow. As with the other books in this series, Claire Contreras took my heart on an unexpected journey that had me effortlessly falling in love with Victor and Nicole and their captivating story.
Claire Contreras sure is a master of her art. I have fallen in love with her Hearts series and a part of me wishes that she’d continue with these characters forever. I’m such a sucker for that second chance at love with a side of boldness and sass, which is what she delivers each and every time. Elastic Hearts is the final book in the series and it was definitely a bittersweet goodbye.
“I knew the girl was a catch, and it would only be a matter of time before somebody else caught her. If she wanted to be caught, I wanted her to have the freedom to make that choice. But first, I’d have her.”
While I can’t say that Victor and Nicole are my favorite of her characters, the dynamic between them definitely intrigued me. These two spent so much time denying their true feelings that I often wanted to shake them. I even went to my friend (who I knew was reading as well) and felt the need to growl a couple of times! However, there was something about Nicole and her journey that I did enjoy. I felt like she was always depending on someone else to make her happy. With the events she is going through, she is forced to mature and figure herself out rather quickly. That growth and change in her is precisely what I love to see in the heroines that I read about. The hero, Victor, has always made me curious, from the moment that we met him in Kaleidoscope Hearts. After finishing the novel, I’m still not totally sure how I feel about him. I admired his tenacity in some respects, but I guess I just couldn’t understand his motivations. It was hard for me to see inside his head and relate to that.
“It was as if he couldn’t just give me the space I needed. As if he got off on telling me to stay away, but also needed to pull me closer.”
The reason this book didn’t blow me away like the previous ones was simply because I couldn’t understand the characters’ motivations. I’m not sure if I was overthinking it or what, but I continuously felt like if they all just had a better system of communication, it would have been a totally different story. I found myself getting frustrated that nobody would just be honest, to themselves or others. There were so many opportunities for Nicole and Victor to express themselves like adults, and that felt lacking to me.
“I’d always heard the saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and took it at face value, but it was the first thing that came to mind. The problem was, now I was in the situation, I realized that in reality it wasn’t one man’s trash. Women weren’t things you could discard. Much less a woman like Nicole.”
I will say that the chemistry between these two could be felt through the pages in an extraordinary way. The build up and sexual tension got to be stifling at times, but only in the best way possible. Elastic Hearts is a novel that will make readers’ hearts race and skip a beat, particularly in those cute moments of togetherness, but also in those instances of turmoil. The ending of the Hearts series is definitely one I wish didn’t have to come, but I’m grateful to Contreras for making me fall in love with kaleidoscope, paper, and even the elusive elastic heart.
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Don’t miss the other books in the Hearts series:
Kaleidoscope Hearts (Hearts #1)
Torn Hearts (Hearts #1.5)
Paper Hearts (Hearts #3)
Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, two little boys, and three dogs.
Her favorite past times are: daydreaming, writing, and reading.
She has been described as a random, sarcastic, crazy girl with no filter.
Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.