It was the sort of show where nothing was off-limits. They’d pretty much signed away their privacy for the glimmer it offered. At eight weeks in there were only four left. Desmond, the ex-cop—they thought he was a plant—and Marty who was a lazy slob with a lucky streak. And the two of them, Carly and Joe. In order to survive they’d become inseparable.

On the outside they were the drawcard now, a producer’s dream. Will they? Won’t they?

They bribed a cameraman for a cherished moment of privacy—the secret signing of his hand-written contract beamed live, nationwide. When he turned his camera off they were alone at last. A camera secreted in the scrub caught it all. Three million viewers tuned in. True love live. Their embrace, unrehearsed and unself-conscious, made headlines. It made them instantly famous.

And it destroyed what two months of torturous competition had convinced them would survive any test. Back in society the glimmer burned too bright and Carly was drawn to it, even as it drew her from Joe who hated how they’d been used.