“Ms. Simi K. Rao does a tremendous job of weaving the customs and traditions of a prearranged Indian wedding. I was pulled into this vast country and treated like royalty as I read and savored the many traditions foreign to western culture. I was amused and bemused with this enchanting, culture-filled coming of age story about the jitters and joy of preparing for a woman’s big day.” ~~Chiara Talluto, Author of Love’s Perfect Surrender.
Here are some recent reviews on my new book MILAN–
“A captivating look into the developing relationship of a young couple falling in love for the first time while honoring family traditions. Throughout the wedding planning, the bride-to-be is in a constant state of nervous excitement and total confusion that will keep you guessing until the very end. An absolute joy to read.”
—Yvette Klobuchar, bridal dress designer and author of Brides Unveiled
“MILAN is an interesting combination of today and yesterday in India, ultimately bringing Mili, twenty-four but innocent and immature for her age, together with Ahaan, a bit older but more in tune with the customs of their country. This story of their arranged marriage, (still practiced in their country), goes through the accepted steps of bringing their union to fruition. The story follows through the Roka (unofficial engagement), the Sagai (formal engagement ceremony) and other preparations for the magnificent wedding which her father insists on, taking the reader along for all the rituals and experiencing all Mili’s continuing uncertainties as she leaves her childhood home to make her new life with her husband’s family.”
—Nancy Sweetland, author of The House On the Dunes
“In Milan, Simi K. Rao has created a delightful story and a glimpse into of an enduring part of Indian culture. Mili’s family wants her to marry Ahaan, an old acquaintance, but as a modern young woman, Mili is reluctant, fearing that she’ll be forced to abandon her career in music. But fortunately, Mili isn’t the only modern person in the pair, and the two embark on a journey that includes old traditions and a promise from the groom that guarantees Mili her own passions in life. But the best part of the story is the realization for Mili that Ahaan appears to be much more than a husband chosen for her. Despite her initial resistance, she might fall in love. Rao writes with flair and includes the colors and scents and sounds that many of us associate with modern India. Without being the slightest bit didactic, Rao educates us, too, about Hindu traditions and the beauty of language describing the bonds and promises of love and marriage.”
—Virginia McCullough, author of The Jacks of Her Heart
Yes! You are invited to the wedding of Mili Bharadwaj and Ahaan Kapoor!
Please join me as they prepare for their life together in my 3rd book—
MILAN (A Wedding Story)
Milan meaning in Hindi ‘a coming together’—a beautiful story of a traditional arranged marriage that transforms into a real life fairytale, set in the quaint hilltown of Coonoor in the lush Nilgiris (blue hills) in South India.
You will also learn about Hindu marriage rituals, the many colorful traditions as well as sample India’s sumptuous cuisine. Come join me as I embark on this journey. You will not be disappointed. 🙂
BUY IT TODAY ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
This book if I get around to finishing and publishing it will be called ‘NOW & FOREVER‘. It is the continuing saga of Shaan and Ruhi who you met in INCONVENIENT RELATIONS BOOK 1. It abounds with passion and suspense. Below is chap 2. Enjoy!
“Shaaaaaannn! I’m sorry for all I’ve done! Don’t leave me. Please!”
He didn’t resurface.
“Pleeeease Shaaaan!” Ruhi screeched at the top of her voice trying to outdo the wind that kept flinging the words back onto her face.
Still he didn’t pay heed. Did he not wish to? A panic seized her entire being. That must be it! He’s riled at me! God what have I done?! This can’t be happening! He can’t do this to me!
Scrambling to the side of the raft she readied to jump back into the muddy waters when several hands gripped her legs and hauled her back.
“Let me go!” She yelled, kicking at her captors with all her might and spluttering as a wave washed over the side of the raft. “I have to go to him! He needs me!”
They didn’t listen, instead, held her down but it was proving tough to do. She was nimble and desperation lent her limbs vital strength despite her injuries. She kicked, missed, then kicked again, this time connecting as someone let out a loud yowl and the hold loosened. She tried again to pitch herself overboard, but was overpowered and flipped on her back.
“Are you off your head kid?” Andy Sr. got in her face. “Do you want to kill yourself?”
“I will do what I want! Get off me! Don’t you see? Heeees drowning out there! I nnnneed to save his life!” She continued to kick and scream even though she could feel her strength failing. Her Shan had put himself in danger to teach her a lesson and she felt guilty as hell. Then she began shaking violently as her sensorium started to fade and her head took a trip to the clouds. She was feeling woozy and nauseated. Andy Sr’s voice receded, drifting to the end of a long tunnel. His face became distorted, all squiggly with fuzzy lines and shapes.
“Shan!” She wailed again in despair, holding on to consciousness for dear life.
“Kid…you are in shock. You’ll surely die if you jump in now. You’re bleeding from your leg. It needs attention. Your young man is healthy and strong. My son will get him out fine!”
“No!” She was growing weaker yet she wasn’t giving up. “He won’t return till he sees me, I know…. I can’t…can’t let him die. I have…. to go to him….” Her arms flailed wildly trying to beat her captors off, when suddenly there was a flash of light followed by a pitch darkness.
After what seemed like an eternity, Ruhi blinked open her eyes in a tiny enclosed space, which looked vaguely familiar. She moved then cried out in pain. Someone was jabbing at her right leg repeatedly with a sharp knife. Gasping, she pushed herself up onto her elbows and spotted a large gash that had been sewn up and whoever had done it was definitely no Pablo Picasso. Then everything began falling in place and panic gripped her insides again. “Shaaaan! Where are you? Shan! Are you alright? Why don’t you answer me?”
“Finally you are up!”
“What?” Ruhi gazed in confusion at the woman who was smiling widely at her. OMG! She is the same bitch who caused me to lose my mind! “No!” She exclaimed trying to scoot back. “Go away! I don’t want you near me. Where is Shan?”
But the bitch looked unruffled. “It’s all right. I was asked to keep an eye on you. You’ve been out for a long time. And who is this Shan? Are you talking about your husband?”
“Yes I am.” Ruhi replied glancing around recognizing the place to be their tent but what was the bitch saying? She’d been out for hours?
“What happened to him? What happened to my husband?” She demanded sternly of the woman, but her eyes betrayed the dread she felt.
“I bet he’s fine. Ole man Andy told me when he brought us back here after you crashed out. He fixed you up then went back. Don’t worry, he was sure his son had rescued him.”
“Then ..then why aren’t they here now. It’s getting dark and we started early in the morning. They can’t take that long! You aren’t telling me everything!” Ruhi said, grabbing the woman’s shoulders and shaking her. “Is he dead?! Tell me. Is he?! …Did I kill him?!”
“Of course you did not! You’ve got to be mad!” Stella retorted calmly. She could see the young woman was as deeply in love with her man just as he was with her and the poor child was terrified. She tried to pacify her by stroking her arm but her offer was rudely rejected. “It was an accident. You did no wrong. It takes much longer to ride upstream. We had to take a detour which happens to be twice the distance. Calm down, he’ll be fine! He’s strong and won’t give up so easy.”
“No.” Ruhi shook her head. “You’re wrong. He’s stubborn just like me. He won’t come back till I say I’m sorry. He just won’t! I need to go to him!” She stood up, then wobbled as a wave of dizziness hit her.
“You’re weak and in shock with all the pain and blood you lost. Here drink this!” Stella handed her a flask and when Ruhi refused, she forced it into her hand. “Drink if you want to go to him.”
Ruhi looked doubtfully at her before taking a tentative sip, then immediately began to splutter and cough. “What is this?”
“Brandy.” Her companion smiled at her reaction. “Drink some more. It’ll do you good, warm you up.”
True, Ruhi felt a welcoming heat spread down her throat. But she gave the flask back. “No, I can’t afford to lose my senses. Not now!” She tried to get up again and this time managed to stay upright. Encouraged, she ducked out of the tent and saw that twilight had settled in.
“Why wouldn’t he come back? I could see he loves you very much.” Stella asked following her out.
Ruhi glanced back at her and burst into tears. “Because I’m a fool that’s why! And he’s deeply hurt. He has been nothing but kind and caring while I’ve always treated him badly, accusing him and calling him names for no reason whatsoever. I made a mockery of his love.” Then she saw the puzzled look on Stella’s face. “You won’t understand.”
She turned to the river and frantically scanned its expanse. She was fighting a feeling of despondency. Yes I need to be punished with nothing less than execution for my deed but please God not this way, not by taking him away from me! ..Please!
She noted some movement downstream. A couple of men were heading their way.
“There! They are back!” Stella exclaimed excitedly.
Yes they were back. Ruhi saw both the Andys looking tired and drawn. But where was Shan? She hobbled toward them as fast as the throbbing agony in her leg would allow. “Where is he? Where….?” Just then her eyes spied them carrying something wrapped in a blanket, something long and heavy. “Nooooo!” She screamed, gasping as her chest contracted in anguish.
“This isn’t true…It can’t be true!” She stumbled after them as they headed into the tent with their burden.
They didn’t say anything bit laid the tall bundle down gently on a sleeping bag.
She dropped to the ground and scrambled to pull off the blanket, desperately hoping it wasn’t him. But it was. It was her Shan.
“Nooooo! It is true! He’s dead! I killed him!” She wailed piteously collapsing on his chest.
“No kid. He’s just out cold. He ain’t dead.”
“What?” Ruhi looked up with bloodshot eyes and was surprised to see both the father and son smiling. So there was still hope, it wasn’t all over. She shook Shan’s shoulders, calling out his name but he didn’t stir.
Andy Sr. placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “He might have a concussion though I didn’t see a scratch on his head. He’ll come around…just watch over him.”
Ruhi stared at him in disbelief. “He’s unconscious! There may be internal injuries! He needs a doctor. You have to take him to the hospital. You can’t leave him like this! Call 911!”
Andy Sr’s reply was somber. “We’ve no signal down here and the landline in the camp is dead. The nearest phone is way down in that direction,” he said pointing his fingers to the south. “And the only way there is a gruelling 10 mile hike which I’m pretty sure no one’s up to. What we can do is stay on the lookout for the chopper patrol and hope they see our flare when they fly by.”
“But…he’ll die My husband will die! Please, you’ve got to do something!” Ruhi cried desperately.
“Listen kid.” The old man squatted down next to her. “His breathing is regular and his pulse is strong. He’s just hypothermic and needs to be warmed up real good. You can do it. Take off his clothes and wrap him up. We have plenty of extra blankets. I’ve seen this happen plenty of times. He’ll be right as rain by morning.”
“No. You’re lying. You can’t leave him like this. You can’t let him die!”
Andy Sr. gently squeezed her shoulder and after handing her several blankets his son had just brought in, left, after saying he’d work on trying to get help. “Just keep him warm.”
“No. Please don’t go. I need help!” Ruhi cried but they didn’t appear to care. The blond bitch, she too exited after giving her a tight hug, leaving the flask of brandy behind.
Feeling helpless, not knowing what else to do, Ruhi turned to examine Shan. She ran her fingers gently over his pale face, his scalp and neck and skimmed his body over carefully with her eyes. Yes Andy was right; she didn’t see any wounds either. And he seemed to be breathing just fine but why wasn’t he opening his eyes?
“Oh what can I do? Shan please tell me! Why did this happen? You must really hate me now. I’m such a horrible creature to have brought you to this!” She burst out passionately, then bent down, and held his face tenderly between her hands. “Oh… darling! Darling! Why did you do this? Why do you love me so much? Why did you hurt yourself? You should have let me be. I’m so stupid and foolish. I was blinded with jealousy. I couldn’t see you being nice to another woman. Don’t you see?”
“Please open your eyes and say you forgive me…please listen to your Ruhi!”
She grabbed his hands and rubbed them hard just the way he’d done the night before. Tears sprung from her eyes when she remembered how he’d scolded her for keeping her wet clothes on.
“And you are not even shivering!”
She unbuttoned his shirt and quickly got rid of his clothes, hesitating only momentarily before removing his underwear. Then, drying his body the best she could, she cuddled up against him, wrapping the blankets around both of them. Placing an ear on his chest she felt reassured by the loud and even rhythm of his heart as also by the feel of his breath warm against her open palm.
Gently kissing his cold lips she blurted, “I’m mad, utterly mad about you. I adore the very ground you walk on. If anything happens to you, I’ll surely die… I love you like… like I’ve never loved anyone else in my life. It’s a feeling I never imagined. And when you said you loved me too, I felt that God had given me the best gift ever! Please…don’t take away that gift! Penalize me…do whatever you want with me, but please live for me!”
Her mouth grazed his cheek then slid loving across his rough jaw and she felt her heart squeeze in agony.
“I’m so impulsive and crazy! I don’t know what I’m doing or what I’m going to do. I just do it. It’s terrible to be me!”
“Shan! Please!” She sat up and tapped sharply on his cheeks, then, propping his eyelids open with her thumb, she checked his eyes with the LED lantern and she saw the pupils react– grow smaller and bigger.
“I don’t know what it means but I cannot let you die! Got it Shan? You’re not allowed to leave me! Say you forgive me just once and if you wish I will …I will go away. Even though it’ll surely kill me. But I’m willing to do it for your sake. If that’ll make you happy.”
But regretting her words right away, she instead chose to compromise and addressed his chest with the utmost sincerity. “From now on, I promise to be an obedient wife. I’ll follow your wishes to the T, be compliant, submissive and never ever think for myself again…never…”
“Really? You won’t?”
Startled, she glanced up, and saw him looking at her with his eyes wide open and they were twinkling with amusement.
“You… are alright?”
He smiled. “Yes.”
“Oh!” A look of joy and relief transformed her face. She smiled then laughed and pulling his head to her chest, hugged him tight. “You’re fine! God be blessed you are fine!”
She rained blissful kisses on his face. “He listened to my prayers, he saved you. I’ll be forever grateful to him! He can count on me as his devotee for life!”
“Uh..huh Ruhi. I was actually fine all along.”
“I… was never in any real danger.”
“What do you mean?” She drew back, confused.
“It was just a little game. Tit for tat.”
“A game?” She shook her head in bewilderment. “Then what about what Andy said?”
Shan grinned looking slightly abashed. “They agreed to play along when I told them I wanted to show my wife whose boss.”
“You did what! You dared to play such a filthy dirty trick on me, that too of the worst kind! Making me suffer thinking I’d lost you. Think you’re dead when you were perfectly fine all along?” Her eyes welled up with tears of reproach. But the very next moment her hands curled up into fists and pounded on his chest. “How could you, how could you be so unimaginably cruel? How could you?”
He sat up, locked her hands in his and tried to pull her into his arms but she fought him. “But of course what else could you do? How can I expect mercy when I show none?”
“No darling, I didn’t mean it that way! I’m so sorry.” He said.
“No! Don’t!” She pushed him away and moved back. “Don’t say sorry. It’s me who is sorry! I’m mad…insane…my mind …my bloody crazy brain makes me do all these bizarre things”
She said fiercely, her eyes wild and bright. “I don’t deserve a man like you. You are way too good for me. Go away please…before…before I hurt you anymore. I’m not worthy of your love. I never was. It was all just a beautiful dream I saw.” She turned away and flung herself face down on the sleeping bag.
“No Ruhi! Don’t you ever say those words again!” He pulled her up and forced her to look at him. “Are you off your rocker?”
She shook her head, her face filled with abject pain. “No it’s the truth. I don’t deserve you. You are so sweet and tolerant and I, I’m the worse kind of bitch that ever lived. We aren’t meant to be together. I’ll surely wreck your life..or what’s left of it. Its better we part now.”
“Oh you sweet, stupid girl” He smiled, drawing her into his arms and rocking her gently. “Can’t you see? You’re the only reason I’m alive right now? Without you, I’d be breathing but my soul would be dead. You and you alone have shown me what love is, to rejoice in the feeling, to be driven to the brink of madness just to be near you, to hear your voice.”
“Then why…did you pretend?”
“Because I wanted to hurt you.” He said gazing intensely at her. “I wanted to make you suffer the way I did for the horrible words you said. What made you do so? Tell me.”
She sucked in her lips and screwed her eyes shut searching for a reason which would satisfy him.
“I… don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe the sight of that woman next to you made me anxious, reminding me of the pain I’d felt and I, without thinking just blurted it out, even though I knew you’d never hurt me again, because…” she shrugged her shoulders.
“Because you’ve started to take your hubby for granted, knowing he’s so crazy about you that he wouldn’t lift a finger no matter how mad you make him, right?”
“I guess…” She stared at him in wonder. “You seem to know me better than I do myself.”
Shan chuckled. “Confessions of an armchair psychologist.”
She then said in a desperate tone, “Can you forgive me? Give me a second chance? I promise I won’t play with you again. I give you my word!”
He shook his head.
“What..? You won’t?” She looked aghast.
“Never!” His expression remained stern.
“Never… will I forgive you if you change yourself even a teeny, tiny bit. Understood?”
Her eyes filled with confusion again. “But why?”
“Because I love you just the way you are, your games, your charades, they surprise and delight me except…”
“I’d like to be forewarned, so please give me a sign, so I can prepare myself instead of getting nearly killed like I did today.”
The corners of her mouth lifted and her eyes fluttered bashfully thrilling at the intensity of his affection.
“And now for your punishment…”
“What..?” Her eyes widened in surprise as he gently lay her down and settled himself over her.
“This brute of a husband is going to make love to his spunky wife!”
She blushed pink. “Is that a punishment?”
“Don’t you consider it one? Like you declared so vehemently this morning?”
He could see her fighting a smile as her color deepened and she looked away.
“Hmmm…this is something I’m going to have fun with.” He said hooking her untamed tresses behind her shoulder then calmly taking her earlobe into his mouth.
She sucked in her breath sensing the sharp edges of his teeth then moaned as his mouth moved down to make love to her throat.
“Stop it!” She gasped pushing him back. “Please!”
“Oh c’mon!” His brow furrowing with irritation. “You know you can’t say no to me!”
She retorted while trying to catch her breath. “Yes…I can’t. When you kiss me, even touch me, I lose myself, leaving you free to do anything you want!”
“So? Let’s get on with it!” He muttered bending to take possession of her lips.
“So…!” She continued to resist thought clueless as to why. “I, I wish to see if I find you just as irresistible otherwise!”
“Ruhi! You are f***ing loco!”
She giggled nervously. “Guess I am. Why? Are you afraid you’ll lose?”
“Absolutely not! I’ll make you beg and you won’t even know it!” He grinned warming up to the challenge. Then propping himself up on his elbows on either side of her torso, he enveloped her entirely within his sensuous gaze.
They stared at each other, neither wanting to give in yet knowing the inevitable was just a matter of time.
She tucked in her lips to prevent them from quivering. The pace of her breath had heightened. She was on the edge of losing the battle of wills and knew he could sense it too.
Suddenly a coy smile lit her face. “Hmm…this is way too one sided.” She said wrapping her arms around his neck and was pleased to see him startled. “I want to see if you can resist me too.”
“Of course I can!”
“I don’t believe so.”
What is she trying to prove? This is becoming intolerable. His mind was already on its way to getting addled when he felt her soft feet curl around his ankles and her hands like feathers glide over his naked back before her long slim fingers dipped into the hollow of his spine.
Shuddering with uncontrollable desire he gave up and pulled her roughly onto his lap. “Stop it darling!” He cupped her face roughly in his hands. “Stop this torture. You know very well what both of us want.”
Her eyes closed in passive acceptance and she lifted her arms allowing him to pull off her linen top. Her breath fought to escape the confines of her chest as his fingers slipped under the straps of her undergarment and slid them smoothly down her shoulders and in another instant the barrier gone and she felt his muscular ruggedness grazing her firm young flesh.
Embracing her with an ample tenderness like one would a fragile new born babe, he lay her back down and nibbled at the sensitive skin along the base of her neck. She quivered with ecstasy as his mouth relished the flavor of her skin; her dazed brain paid scant attention to the words he whispered.
“I love you with a blind passion which has no equal in this world or beyond. I’m not a man of many words so I guess I was trying to transcribe them through my actions. Please, forgive me if I hurt you…I never meant to.”
She let out all her pent up breath in a prolonged sigh arching her back when she felt his warm tongue paint her throat then run down the valley between her breasts to the gentle swell above her waistline. A loud sob escaped her mouth when his mouth sucked and teased her sensitive midriff and his hands defined the smooth lines of her flank.
She gasped clamping her feet down hard on the ground when she felt his hand slip between her thighs. Her fingers gripped his scalp tight attempting to resist the eventual.
But he didn’t let go, instead slid up and began exploring her torso with his mouth, leisurely tracing the rifts and valleys of her rib cage setting her dermis on fire and then as her breath turned ragged and struggled to find a rhythm, he scaled her smooth and firm mounds of enticing flesh and locked on them as if to find sustenance and heavenly solace.
She whimpered crying out his name.
“Oh sweetness of my heart.” He heeded her call by coming up and gently licked the moisture off her eyelashes, then unable to hold himself any longer sought her mouth and proceeded to suck them dry.
She coddled his strong shoulders in her arms and hugged his waist snugly with her thighs even though the movement greatly aggravated the stinging pain in her leg. He, accepting the invitation, instantly thrust and locked himself securely inside her and this time she went along willingly with him on an unforgettable ride to a yet undiscovered celestial object.
Ruhi gazed at the silver moon through the window of their double walled tent while Shan rearranged the sweat ridden locks around her face and licked the beads of perspiration off her forehead.
“Love is such a simple word yet it packs a meaning so sublime. Nothing else compares to it. I’ll give everything up for you darling. Promise to never ever leave me again, will you?”
She turned to look at him and said somberly. “I will never leave you. Ever.”
“So, was I a brute?”
His words prompted an instant shy smile from his spouse who then turning her face into his neck placed a feather light kiss.
He let out a sigh of relief. “Phew! You’d got me worried there.”
Her head remained nestled on his shoulder.
“Darling why so quiet?”
“I was wondering what heaven is like? Is it like a sudden flash of blinding light which envelopes you in its brilliance, saturates your entire being with pure bliss then leaves making you pine for more?”
“Did you experience something like that?” He asked smiling.
She nodded blushing. “And you?”
“Hmmm…” he sighed turning his face to the moon. “Like the most dazzling meteor shower anyone has ever witnessed.” Then, jerking her plaint body against his, he grunted. “And the best thing about it is I can summon it at will, anytime, anyplace. Just like now.” He kissed her again.
To buy INCONVENIENT RELATIONS BOOK 1 and my 2nd NOVEL THE ACCIDENTAL WIFE click HERE!
My 3rd book ‘MILAN- A WEDDING STORY’ will be out soon!
“Oh now I understand why… That little stunt you pulled at Sunshine’s…” Ruhi said.
“Yes stunt or dare, whatever you wish to call it. It was a very slick way of showcasing your machismo, your virility, the extent of your dominance over your wife. That you don’t need to woo her with gifts or flowers. All you need to do is touch her and she will submit willingly to any degree of humiliation. You kissed me just so you could impress Sunshine!” Ruhi said nearly spluttering with anger.
Jesus! How blind can this silly girl get? Shan thought and took a step forward; “No that wasn’t my intention at all. I kissed you because I wanted to. Sunshine had nothing to do with it.”
“Oh really?” She leaned closer, “Is that so?” She glanced around. They had begun to attract quite a few curious stares from the passers-by. Her attention turned back to him. She said, “Then I dare you. Do it right here, in public. Show me, convince me that it wasn’t just a cheap gimmick.”
She smirked when she saw his jaw tighten, “Why…what are you afraid of Shan? It’s a free country isn’t it….like you once said. And I’m your wife or you could even imagine me to be your girlfriend…or a…”
“Shut up Ruhi and let me do it properly, will you?”
And shut up she did…and moaned softly, clinging to him as he kissed her…deep, unbridled, hot, delicious...thrilling as his scraggly jaw pricked her delicate complexion, trembling with desire as his rugged frame crushed hers…closing her eyes as the world began to spin dangerously.
Her eyes were still shut and she was smiling, breathing hard when after several moments he withdrew, albeit reluctantly. He had to hold her up for she was dead weight in his arms. He winked at a couple of gaping onlookers, then whispered into her ear,
“You are the only girl in my life whom I’ve ever wished to impress…and for that I’m willing to do anything…even jump off the tallest cliff. You just have to ask me.”
Finally she opened her eyes and stared at him in awe.
“Now if my quixotic wife’s demands have been met ever so slightly, can we finish the rest of our argument at home or…,” he growled into her ear, “if you are game we could even start a scandal right here. I’m sure these folks won’t mind.”
“Nooooo!” She gasped flushing beet red and shoved him away. “Let’s go home!”
Like it? Want more? Your wait will end soon!
Meanwhile to get familiar with our favorite couple Ruhi and Shan read Inconvenient Relations Book1. Get it here!
The cover of my next book– MILAN- A Wedding Story
‘Milan’ in Hindi meaning ‘a coming together’.
As soon as I saw the beautiful cover in red and gold depicting a traditional North Indian wedding procession where the bride in her doli (palanquin) is being transported to her husband’s house, I fell in love with it. And I hope you do too! Not just with the cover but with the story- A real- life fairytale!
When a daughter turns marriageable age, what should a responsible father do?
Easy. Wed her to the most suitable boy who comes knocking on the door. Jai Bharadwaj, Madhu’s father and owner of The Serenity Tea estate in the idyllic Nilgiris would’ve probably liked to do the same, but being who he was, he had to ask her first. What would she say?
The book will be out SOON!
Meanwhile you can read the first few chapters HERE!
And get my other books HERE!
Yes I am writing! INCONVENIENT RELATIONS BOOK 2– the continuing saga of Shan and Ruhi. Expect a lot more Insanity this time around from this sweet and sexy couple.
The Book is tentatively titled Now And Forever.
Here’s a SNEAK PEAK for my dear readers—- ENJOY!
Author’s note: Picking up the story from we left off in Book 1. Shaan and Ruhi have just consummated their marriage and it is the morning after—
The Grand Canyon:
A bright light pierced the eyeball and ambushed the retina, shattering precious sleep from those weary eyes; a more irritating phenomenon couldn’t be conceived nor tolerated.
A graceful arm rose and flung itself across that bewitchingly delightful visage and a command emanated from those bruised and battered ruby red lips…
Ruhi heard a sharp intake of breath.
Curiosity now gaining the upper hand, she blinked and found herself in direct confrontation with a pair of eyes whose color closely resembled the bark of a Monterey pine, like decadent dark chocolate. The aforementioned creatures were subjecting her figure to a very minute inspection and apparently quite relishing it!
Several moments passed before it dawned on her that it had been no freaking dream.
She stared back, holding his gaze as gentle warming rays of sol slanted their way through the small square opening and bathed her golden. She was lying there stark naked, with barely a stitch on; her body on display for his exclusive amusement!
Her heart skipped several beats and eyes screwed shut in confused panic as she recalled in vivid detail the uninhibited transgressions of the night past. She crossed her arms over her chest attempting in vain to restore some of the lost dignity and winced as she crossed her legs, her nethers complaining having borne the brunt of the uninhibited assault.
Shaan’s lips parted in wonder as he watched a deep pink suffuse her torso and creep up her cheeks. How could the most beautiful creature in the world, his Goddess of love of whose temple he had appointed himself sole guardian, manage to become even more irresistible? And to add to the ambrosial palate her eyes were spitting fire! He could feel his insatiable appetite stir within his groin again. God! I need to have her before she reduces my life to shambles..as if she hasn’t already!
Parking a possessive hand on a dainty hip he squeezed it hard then leaned down close so she could feel his warm breath fan her burning face. She shuddered then writhed in mortification as she sensed desire replace her affected anger. No! I need to stand my lost ground though I have no clue why.
“So?” She inquired.
“So?” His brow arched in amused curiosity.
“Am I taken?”
He stared at her in disbelief for a brief moment before throwing his head back and laughing out loud. “God! How beguilingly innocent can you get? It’s unbelievable!” He wrapped his leg around her pelvis, communicating his need in no uncertain terms and was pleased to witness her skin to pucker with excitement. “Yes my darling. You can consider yourself officially deflowered.”
A quiet ensued as she weighed the information.
“Did you enjoy it?” He queried.
“What a dumb question to ask!” She retorted.
“Dumb? Now I really want to know. Did you?”
“Absolutely not!” Her eyes flashed. “I’m black and blue both inside and out!”
“It’s only natural,” he said with a tinge of remorse. “Uhm… the more we do it the better it’ll get. And… you made me wait so long that I couldn’t control myself…you are,” he paused to savor the contours of her shoulder that made her let her breath out in a hiss before she turned her face away. “you know you are undeniably ravishing, more so now than ever!”
“You ..you are a brute!” She censured loudly while reaching for her clothes.
“Brute?” He was stunned. Nobody had called him that before.
“You call this..this lovemaking?” She managed to hook her fingers into the back pack.
He regained his cool. Madam was trying to ditch her beloved. Hitching a sturdy arm around her waist he pulled her back. “Because it is love making…” He said kissing the back of her bare shoulder, running the tips of his fingers over her nude arm, causing her to purr and stretch luxuriously like a satisfied cat.
“You are so mean!” She insisted.
“I am not. And your body is telling an entire different story!” He forced her to turn on her back trying to overpower her will. His lips reached for her mouth, knowing that to be a failsafe method of breaking her resolve.
She struggled her mind resisting the temptations of her body, upsetting his effort to have her at all costs, until finally he let go baffled beyond belief.
He watched silently as she turned her back on him and swiftly covered herself with some random attire. “Where are you off to?”
She turned back, her face all flushed from their exertions. “Uh…I’m going to try to get a quick wash before everybody gets up.”
“Then…? Don’t you remember, we are supposed to go white water rafting today?”
“Uhmmm..yes. But there aren’t any compulsions.” He said lying back and cushioning his head on his arms, a wide grin settling on his face when he saw her turn away in chagrin at his body’s flagrant display.
“But ..I want to go. Don’t you?”
“I wanted to earlier..but not now..not after last night. You know what I want…what you want.”
She shivered when she felt his fingers slip inside her blouse. “No..I can’t lose this opportunity. I..I’m going even if you don’t want to come.”
Emitting a wretched cry, she wrenched herself from his grasp and slipped outside the confines of the tent. After pausing for a fraction she ran, no… hobbled to the river while the lower half of her body screamed in protest.
She found a small secluded spot behind a large boulder where a shallow pool of water had lodged. Without a second thought she waded in, feet skimming over the river rock worn smooth by eons of erosion, deeper and deeper till her waist was submerged letting the cool wetness seep inside her skin, numbing the burning pain which was making her brain run amok. Standing there, waiting for her harried breath to calm, she ran her gaze far and wide absorbing the early morning light as it bounced off the rippling waves as they rushed in their endless quest, in all the brilliant colors of the rainbow. Her hands tried to catch them but failed, her fingers acting like a sieve.
Then she saw a face in the water, but failed to recognize it. Confused she splashed before realizing it was none other than of her own.
She had changed. Ruhi Sharma had changed. She didn’t belong to herself anymore, instead she bore his indelible stamp and it frightened her, bewildered her, urging her to make a run for it, so to take a breath that wasn’t enmeshed with his. For he influenced her every notion, manipulated every idea that occurred in her mind causing her to invariably sway to his tune.
But wasn’t that the way it was supposed to be? Isn’t this the day, the moment she had been waiting for all along?
Then why do I want to resist?
She thought for a moment before proclaiming aloud– “because I’m me… I cannot not be me, even though I am his.” The constant churn in her mind, appeared to slow down some.
Sensing a flurry of activity upstream she glanced in the direction and spied the Andys preparing for the upcoming adventure.
“Do I really want to battle the seething river? Hell no!..But…” Her lips curved into a wicked smile as she plotted. Her brain’s naturally hewn abilities still very much intact. It was very hard for her to disregard the distinct pleasure she felt while perceiving her spouse’s irritated face.
Shaan on the other hand was experiencing a plethora of emotions. What have I done to make Ruhi run away from me? Did I really hurt her? God forgive me if I did, for then I’m a rogue indeed! Why in hell couldn’t I control myself instead of pouncing upon her like a hungry wolf!
He sat up, legs crossed and berated himself over and over. “And the gall I had to ask her how she felt! F***! I’m sick indeed!”
Then he recalled the way her delicate fingers had fluttered over his back, how she had whispered his name, saying she loved him, dearly with no reservations. And those very words had driven him insane with what he felt was boundless love, prompting him to take liberties with her body. Not for one moment had he paused to think how she’d feel. And she had borne the assault silently.
“How I wish she had said no, but then, would I have paid heed? No, because I was in heaven, all at the expense of my lovely wife.”
‘There are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason. Let it flow….’
“Let it flow?” He asked himself. “Like hell I will! I can’t! I simply can’t! I need to find out what she’s up to!”
Hurriedly throwing on what he had worn yesterday, not caring in the least for the wildly unkempt picture he painted, Shaan thundered out of the tent. Then, after casting a quick look around, he strode rapidly toward where saw a hubbub of activity.
He stopped a few paces away, observing young Andy help Ruhi put on her life jacket. He must have said something funny, for she broke into a smile then burst out laughing and her voice like sweet poison stabbed at his heart.
How could she allow it? He closed his eyes, gritting his teeth in blind fury when he saw the handsome guide’s fingers graze her bare arms.
“Hey bud! Wanna rock and roll? Your pretty friend seems all set for the ride!”
All Shaan wanted to do was wipe that smug smile off that face and shove it up his ass! But he had an audience and she was watching very closely. He accepted the deep orange jacket reluctantly.
Fortunately their group was small enough to fit into one craft. They were four men including himself, the Andys (father and son), a middle aged heavy set man called Steve and two women including Ruhi and Steve’s girlfriend Stella whose conspicuous accent betrayed her Down Under origin.
Stella was obviously very fond of the great outdoors as evidenced by her deep sun tan displayed to great advantage by a ridiculously miniscule bikini. And she obviously had a thing for men for she quite openly flirted with Andy Jr. then switching over to Shaan, subjected him to a frankly appreciative look which escaped her very loud and boisterous boyfriend’s attention but not Ruhi’s, who looked ready to drive her Swiss army into the woman’s gut given the slightest chance. Seeing her thus, Shaan chose to play it up some more. He began by giving Stella his most brilliant smile and offered her a hand aboard, which she accepted gladly, then settled herself down next to him in the aft—apparently the most stable part of the boat— saying she was afraid of becoming river sick. “This is my first rafting trip you see!”
He knew she was fibbing but didn’t care because it served his plan perfectly well. He then added flame to fire by making conversation which basically amounted to nodding at appropriate intervals as Stella jabbered nonstop, and appearing intrigued when she acquainted him with her adventures while skinny dipping near the Great Barrier reef.
“Care if I buy you a beer sometime handsome?”
“Huh?” He turned to her with a start; his attention distracted by the antics of his wife, who had brazenly chosen to take her place at the bow and was behaving like he didn’t exist.
“You’ve got a brave lass there my fellow!” Andy Sr. muttered.
“Brave my foot! I wonder if she even knows how to swim properly!” Shaan replied curtly but his expression betrayed his anxiety.
“Don’t worry lad. My son, he’ll take care of her.”
That’s exactly what I’m afraid of, Shaan thought.
But soon the frazzled nerves and injured egos were set aside as their trip began with the towering red sandstone walls hemming them on both sides and the sounds of the Colorado filling the air.
It began at a sedate pace, the gentle current carrying the raft forward offering them vistas they’d never come across before. As the Andys took turns extolling the history of the river and the canyon, the passengers stared around in awe, watching as the walls came closer then drifted apart playing hide and seek with the sun.
“OMG! A waterfall!” Ruhi jumped up squealing in glee and sure enough when Shaan followed her gaze he spotted it too–a narrow jet of water cascading down sheer rock into a spectacular turquoise pool below.
He smiled, at least she’s enjoying herself. So am I, though I wish so bad it was just the two of us.
And then all of a sudden, the mood of the river changed.
“Hold on folks! Rapids!” Andy Jr’s excited voice rang out.
Shaan felt Stella’s hand pulling on his arm, as the raft dipped. And then, when it felt almost certain the thing was going to capsize, it came right up again to the collective relief of everyone abroad.
Ruhi’s sure to have had enough of the excitement, she will want to come back to me now, Shaan thought with confidence.
But Ruhi was Ruhi. There was now a predictability to her impulsiveness and it seemed to get worse as he got to know her better. She was riding on a high, having for once escaped unscathed from the rapids, and at the same time was bristling with righteous indignation too.
What does he think of himself, coochie cooing with that big chested bimbo? He thinks I can’t take care of myself? That I will disintegrate without his lordship’s benevolence! I’ll show him and that bitch what Ruhi Sharma is made of! She doesn’t balk in the face of danger, rather she takes it head on! Lifting her chin up and squaring her delicate shoulders, Ruhi looked straight ahead and prepared to face the unknown.
Just then she felt a hand clamp down on her elbow. It was Shaan’s and he was glowering down at her with undisguised ferocity.
She tried to shrug him off but his grip only grew stronger. He grunted in a low threatening tone. “Enough daredevilry for one day. You’ve proved whatever you needed to prove. Now come to the back with me.”
“Never!” Tossing her pigtail to one side, she shot back with unparalleled tenacity. “Not while you have that piece of white trash practically sitting on your lap! Or have you forgotten what happened not so long ago?”
Her arm dropped to her side.
“Ruhi! How can you?”
Her chutzpah wound down a few notches when she realized what she’d just said but it wasn’t enough to make her back down.
“To your places please everybody, Hang on tight! This one is the mother of them all!” Andy Sr. yelled out sharply and he meant business.
Shaan sat stunned unable to digest what his wife had just told him when the powerful river decided to display its might again but this time to an unbelievable degree.
“Hold on tight y’all!” Rang out another warning, just as the water began to churn turning from muddy brown to frothy white in an instant. They heard a massive roar as the raft bucked and rode the waves not unlike a helpless rider at a rodeo who hangs on precariously for dear life hoping the bull tires before he falls and gets trampled to death.
Soaking the passengers to the bone, the water like thousands of sharp barbs raining on the flesh, the raft went under a massive wave and then after what felt like ages of relentless struggle surfaced again.
His breath caught in his throat, Shaan sprang up scanning the heads desperately and just as feared, she was missing. He tried to think, stay calm, praying silently while his eyes skimmed the waters.
“It’s ok! These guys are experts! She’ll be fine!” Stella shouted above the din grinning reassuringly.
“She won’t! Because she’s my bloody wife who always does what she wants! Goddamnit!” He hollered back, then spying the unmistakable orange jacket not too far away, dived in.
Ruhi’s lungs were bursting for air as she was tossed around mercilessly like a helpless toy. Sharp jagged rock cut in to her exposed skin. Fear was overcome by the need to survive, to see his face again. She tried to hang on, to whatever solid surface she could find. But her fingers, numb from the icy cold slipped, tearing her nails off their beds. Yet she didn’t feel a thing because she had to make it. She needed make it.
I love him God. Please let me see him one last time. Please? She prayed fervently, just as her mind began its descent into unconsciousness.
Then a miracle—she was grabbed from behind and as sure as can be was carried to safety.
Strong hands reached down and she was hauled back onto the raft.
Panting for air, thanking God for answering her prayers, she waited patiently for his arms to hold her again. But she waited in vain.
She looked around in panic, eyes wild and desperate. For the briefest moment she thought she saw him looking directly at her, his face rife with hurt, before his head disappeared under the water.
“Shaaaaaannnnnnn!” She screamed. But the river swallowed the sound.
What happens next? —- AM WRITING!
MEANWHILE GET BOOK 1 at these LINKS!
Standing in front of the large bathroom mirror, she combed her long thick hair. Should I leave it loose or braid it? Should I put on makeup or go bare? Should I wear all my bangles or just a couple of them? So many questions! Why don’t all men come with a user guide.
She braided her hair, glossed her lips, chose a pair of gold bangles for each side, and figured she was done. Then she offered a silent prayer, thanking God for the absence of her mother-in-law.
Tea and breakfast.
What? Herbal raspberry tea bags and Cheerios! And this man expects me to eat? Her spirits taking a dive, she put her head down on the table and mournfully longed for a piping hot refreshing cup of masala chai with cauliflower stuffed paratha on the side…Mama!
“Still off in neverland?”
She sat up, startled, to gaze dolefully at him while he smiled cheerfully at her, looking handsome and crisp in casual white shirt and jeans. Why was she always at a disadvantage?
“Care for some hot pizza?” He swept a large colorful cardboard box in front of her nose. “Authentic Neapolitan from our very own Tony’s. My favorite!”
She didn’t care for it, too cheesy.
He frowned at her while she pursed her lips together feeling helpless.
“This is crazy! If you don’t eat, you will disappear in no time. Then there wouldn’t be anything left to send back home!”
She glared at him acutely hurt. They had just reached here, and he was already thinking of sending her back home? What did he take her for?
“I guess I’m homesick.”
“Ah! I see. How stupid of me! Your parents must be terribly worried!”
Getting up immediately, he dialed her home; and yes, they were in a state of panic.Hearing their voices, she nearly broke down…wanting to reach out and touch the loose end of her mother’s sari.
“Accha. All right, I shall hang up now,” she said and handed him the phone, just as a tear threatened to roll down her cheek. She rushed to the window—the purple flowers had taken on a silver hue.
Imagine how much a new Indian bride has to deal with—
A husband who is practically a stranger, in-laws—and if she is accompanying him to a foreign land; new living conditions, new culture, and a new way of life.
As someone who has been through a similar experience I can tell you the task is not easy. These are the times when memories of home hurt the most.
In my book ‘Inconvenient Relations’ I have through my protagonist Ruhi tried to elaborate on what it is like to be a new bride in a foreign land.
You can find out more about my books here.
Masala Chai: Spiced Indian tea. The spice usually consists of cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, black pepper, star anise and cloves.
Paratha: popular Indian flatbread prepared fresh from whole wheat dough, and served either plain or stuffed with a variety of vegetables like radish, cauliflower, potato, methi (fenugreek leaves) or paneer (fresh Indian cheese.)