It's storytime, Postmate!
Meet the Ruthless Billionaires (all over again)
I’m writing this edition of The Writer Gal Letter listening to Willow by Taylor Swift, because I think it might be a Pehel-Nashit song. All angsty and pining :D
But, I kinda realized something when I sent the Geeks’-specific newsletter last time around. I assume everyone knows everything about the books that have come out or will come out. That they read the welcome letter when they join TWGL. But maybe you don’t, Postmate. And that’s totallllly fine.
Because, this means it is story time! *rubs hands in glee*
Introducing the Ruthless Billionaires and their women
In the Geeks’-specific newsletter, I mentioned that Lily and Kit’s story had a surprise villain - Drake Fallahil, Lily’s brother. And, this is a lesser-known fact but Drake was initially just two lines in the first Geeks’ book, with orange hair and a winning smile. But, he stayed with me for years until I finally gave him his own story, beginning the Ruthless Billionaires series.
Man, this series has been ongoing since August 2021, with Claim, then a brief detour into Ruin (correctly called Chaos now) in November 2021, then May 2022 saw Burn, and August 2022 saw Blaze come out. I just wanted to get that out of the way just so you know I know the importance of finishing this series.
Okay, back to story-time.
So, Ruthless Billionaires was my answer to everything fucked up with our world - the one percenter of the one percenter ruining this world for the rest of us for profit. I wanted to write about people, men and women, who wanted to save the damn world in their own ways. And who had the means to do it. This didn’t mean they were pushovers or betas of any kind.
The heroes, Drake, Nihaal, and Nashit are filthy rich. But they are also incredibly brilliant at what they do (which is the way they make their ungodly sums of money). And when someone is incredibly brilliant, they are also single-mindedly focused on the things they do. They have no time for distractions or what they perceive as wastes of their time.
Especially when the distraction is pretty, smart, and brings them to their knees…:P
Drake and Anya
Drake’s a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who ends up opening the world’s first trillion-dollar green fund. It is an ambitious project, heck. It is world-changing. And so, everything is riding on it for the poor boy from Minnesota that Drake really is. It’s the main reason he moves to Singapore - the world’s first Smart Nation with untold resources at its disposal.
And it’s where he meets the woman who will change his life forever. Nope, it’s not the heroine. It’s a spoiled heiress who can’t believe Drake doesn’t want her forever. She makes life very difficult for Drake (which equates fucking with his business) and instead bets him a lot of money that he won’t find a wife in three weeks.
Drake, of course, rises to the challenge especially when the business-fucking begins. And, as luck would have it, ends up meeting the most intriguing woman in the most intriguing of circumstances - Anya at a rave party organized by a business associate. Anya’s doing something she should not be doing and Drake steps in to save her. And…heated words and caresses later, she is smart enough to be his contract wife for the foreseeable future.
Anya, a scholarship MBA student who also works two jobs, is caught up in a terrible situation at home. So, she can’t believe her luck runs out when she meets the most famous billionaire of all time and he offers her marriage. She won’t go down so easy, though, no matter how sexy he looks in his boxers. She hates all rich people and, specifically, him for blackmailing her into a loveless relationship.
What ensues is a battle of wits and tempers which leads to steamy, smexy angst and epic smutty times.
But, it is the soft parts of Anya, her vulnerabilities I loved exploring. When she is alone and bereft and realizes no one in the world will let her just be. Or, when she is stunned at Drake casually arranging for her mother’s knee replacement operation on the day of their wedding. And Drake can’t understand his own feelings (and the fact that he has them at all) for this woman who is so clever, so clear-sighted and so much younger than him!
Claim’s my age-gappiest book to date, at thirteen years.
And Anya has a partner-in-crime in Drake’s efficient, machine-like executive aide de camp - Mili. Mili’s not afraid of her godly boss and definitely on Team Anya :d And I loved that she was the one who made her boss see reason when he did the dumb thing and…
Mili and Nihaal
Anyway, the point being, Mili was so efficient and self-sufficient and well-settled, with her superior brains and advice that the best thing I could do to her was taking it all down a notch with her.
Make her feel. Entirely and solely. With no stopping or respite.
So, first, I sent her to a small town near Kolkata (where I gave my TEDx Talk and fell in love with the city) for emotionally damaging reasons. Then I gave her an unsolvable problem to solve - bringing a broken family together for the dad’s funeral. Then, I gave her Nihaal Bhatnagar.
Nihaal, at first glance, is actually not that brooding. Not like Drake or Shane from Chaos, Renegade’s Xander with his actual cross, all the Millionaire Foes and the Geeks. They all have excellent reasons to brood and do so magnificently, but Nihaal is actually charming. He smiles. A lot.
He is also a Formula One god so he isn’t just smiles and surface charm. He is dedicated, focused, patient, and brilliant. (Of course, am I right?) And he is about to enter the last leg of this year’s championship and win it when Mili barges into his life and hotel room. Figuratively! It is a moot that he is totally nekkid when she does so and she kinda loses her mind when she sees him and…yeah, I keep writing those kinds of scenes, Postmate. I can’t help it.
Nihaal and Mili both have intense baggage. And are equally stubborn. So to make them both fall was no easy task. They resisted a lot.
Enter plot point - a totally cruel will that Nihaal’s estranged, billionaire father wrote right before his death. The will requires both Bhatnagar kids - Nihaal has a younger surgeon sister - and the heirs to the vast fortune of the Bhatnagar Stud and Race Farm (it’s a mouthful so we just call it The Farm), to marry in order to inherit.
So, of course, Nihaal decides the fixer will fix his problem. She will marry him and save everyone the trouble of finding him a suitable bride. Mili’s all strategy and no emotion so she says yes. Except, emotions have tangled her up for a long time now. And, Nihaal’s the last straw that cracks her open…oh, so deliciously.
They are fire together, Postmate. Whether they are arguing or talking business or just dancing with each other. So Burn and Blaze, Nihaal and Mili’s duet, is my steamiest book to date, barring Tell Me Your Secrets and In Bed With Her Millionaire Foe (which begins with elevator banging).
This brings me to the last ruthless billionaire. And the woman who tempts him from minute one…
Nashit and Pehel
Since Nihaal, the intended heir and son, did not want the legacy and tradition of racing Thoroughbred horses. The responsibility fell joyfully to the Bhatnagars’ foster kid, Nashit. He came one day to The Farm and stayed, becoming Krishna Bhatnagar’s right hand man. Raising his younger sister all on his own.
He is silent, broodingly so (haah, that’s back), and is quite easily the hottest, most physical hero I’ve ever written. But he has dreams and he is about to see them realized now that it’s his turn to be the hero he desperately knows he can never be.
He was not close with Nihaal who chafed at the idea of horses and running The Farm, but Pehel and he were close childhood friends. And…well, I can’t give any more of that away without it becoming a spoiler.
But there is one thing I can share: Pehel is very different from Anya and Mili. She does the right thing, the dutiful thing. She keeps the peace no matter the cost to herself. The only rebellion she ever displayed was choosing to study medicine when her father wanted her to take over The Farm once Nihaal moved away.
This makes her a very layered woman. Because people who do everything for others have so many emotions bottled up in them. So many desires. Right? And, most of Pehel’s since childhood, have revolved around her best friend, the tall, hulking giant, Nashit, who is now the Operations Manager of The Farm.
I’ll actually not say much more. Instead, I’ll just share this snippet from the prologue of Tempt (Ruthless Billionaires 4). Okay? :)
Tempt (Prologue - unedited and subject to change)
He dreamed of death and violence.
Of bones breaking and blood spattering on a ground soaked with it.
He could feel himself bunching the muscles of his hand to an iron-clad fist. The thing that pumped into his veins a poison that couldn’t just be blood. Not when he was filled with unnamed rage. His fist tightened, the knuckles standing out in stark relief. As did the veins snaking out of his very skin, trying to come out.
And strangle the man, the opponent foolish enough to think he could beat the man they called Chattaan – Fortress. For his ability to take all the beating in the world before felling his opponent.
He raised his fist. A mighty god filled with untrammeled power.
And he looked down at the man, the puny mortal who was bleeding and broken in front of him. Weaving on his feet, one eye shut from the blows he’d rained on him, almost certainly breaking the delicate cheekbone. His lip split apart so a steady stream of blood trickled down.
At that moment, he didn’t feel his own bruises. The single rib that was broken in three places making it hard for him to take a goddamn breath. The bone from the rib had punctured his lung so blood poured from his own mouth. In an ending stream. His other shoulder was dislocated, hanging useless from its socket.
But he was still on his feet. He could still make a fist.
So he’d done it.
“Please…stop,” the man in front of him mumbled. He was in piteous shape. Truly.
One of his fingers was bent out of shape and he’d heard a bone crack on the guy’s abdomen when he’d pummeled his kidney. He just hoped the damage wasn’t permanent.
But it was a vague hope. One he didn’t even believe in, himself.
It was the hope of a nice guy. One who didn’t break bodies and souls and spirits for a living. It was the hope of the man he wanted to be.
The man he was wasn’t that man.
He was death incarnate.
He raised his fist higher.
The man, his opponent, put his dukes up. His fingers creaking and groaning with the motion. He weaved again, this time out of intention.
It was no use.
He brought his fist down. A good hard roundhouse punch, thumb tucked in just like he’d been taught all those years ago by the best in the business – Sultan Dada. The bones of his hand made contact with the man’s chin and nose.
And physics did its thing.
Just like they showed in the movies, the man was jerked off his feet, unable to defend himself. His hand flailing, landing a weak hook to his chin that glanced away. The man flew a full foot in the air, the force of the punch taking him right off the ground. The man groaned a death groan as he went down. First his neck snapping back, followed by his vertebra and his abdomen and then his lower half followed.
He went down, as he was always going to.
And only then, only then did he hear the cheers and coarse slurs around the arena. Blood and gore and his own sick swam disgustingly inside him even as the ump raised his hand and declared him the victor.
He stood there for a second, not weaving, he wasn’t a weakass punk bitch. He’d stand on his two feet.
And only then he lay down so the ground could swallow him whole. The screams of the crowd playing in his mind like the cacophony of hell.
And the cacophony had just one name.
“Nashit,” he heard again. Soft and insistent. The most beautiful voice in the world.
He stirred, his blood still pumping hard and fast from the dream he was half buried in.
“Nashit, wake up.” A warm, soft hand touched his open chest. Quested for his fast-beating heart.
He snapped his eyes open at the action.
Stared into eyes the color of whiskey warmed by the firelight. Rich and somnolent. Addictive. Ruinous.
“Pehelia.” His voice was hoarse, far too intimate for it to be proper. From arousal. From bloodlust. He caught her wrist with a grip that was just short of punishing. “Ki korche?” He lapsed into Bengali, because his waking mind couldn’t comprehend seeing her here.
What are you doing?
He’d asked her. But he was screaming it inside.
She was too close. Too hot. Too alive.
“It’s nearly four am. I saw you sleeping here, outside. So, I came to check on you,” Pehel answered.
He sat up, quickly buttoning up the cotton shirt he’d opened while sleeping. And almost dislodged her from where she’d been kneeling over him. He wished he could scramble away from her without it looking like a weak punkass bitch move. He was not himself. His brain still caught up in the last moments of killing some faceless man like he’d done countless times just a few a years ago.
He was on edge.
And she looked ready to be needed in her sleep shorts that showed all her curves (and she had not shed any of those even now) with the lacy bows on the shoulders, the tops of her breasts just barely peeking above the lacy neckline.
Nashit lowered his eyes.
Bastard, his conscience whispered. You’re a bastard for looking at her like that after dreaming about killing a poor motherfucker. She’s young. Untouched. Innocent. How dare you?
“Quaoar is about to give birth any minute,” he murmured. Still unable to look at her, willing his blood, his body to cool the fuck down. “So, I thought I’d stay down here and make sure she’s okay. Not alone.”
“Oh, that’s so kind of you.”
He could hear the smile in her voice. The warm appreciation for the nice thing he’d done. And he despised himself.
I’ll continue this prologue and tell you more about Tempt, Nashit, Pehel, and (AWESOME thing) super soon, Postmate. And more news about other things happening in the Aarti-verse.
Till then, be all kinds of good and hydrated,