Discover more from The Writer Gal Letter
One year on, life goes on
And an edition full of updates and announcements!
I’m listening to It’s Time by Imagine Dragons as it’s my alarm ringtone - letting me know I have to get off the writing and get on with a meeting. I am dashing off to a TikTok Zoom call, so this edition is going to be a quick listicle. But it is an important one so do read through till the end!
What’s in this edition of The Writer Gal Letter?
What’s coming up for the rest of the year in the Aarti-verse
Postmate, we’re coming up on the first year anniversary of Thathu passing away. And I am…at peace. It feels weird to say this when I was so heartbroken for so long and was so sure I’d never feel joy or peace again. But, here we are. A year later and I’m…at peace. I am not just coping with the changes life has thrown at me, I am adapting to them. As someone who abhors change I was certainly in the thick of it for most of this year.
It was only in July, once I consciously decided to not write Crave at this moment in time and make my writing heart happy that I got some measure of control back. Yes, Crave is still happening, Postmate, I am still going to finish up the Ruthless Billionaires (unlike poor Prince Michael’s story). But it is a heavy book and it might become a super dark book and it is going to be SUPER-THICCCCCC - like 120K words plus easy.
Crave is Delayed
With all that in mind, I am canceling Crave’s Sept 30 pre-order. I am still niggling around the corners of the plot and making sure the plot matches with the romance and does not overpower it (which is my biggest worry with Crave). So, if you’re the awesome reader who pre-ordered Crave, you’ll get a notification from Amazon saying the pre-order is canceled.
You have not been charged for it so the excruciating wait of having me write it and release it…is the only loss here.
I know a lot of you are waiting eagerly for it, and I am so grateful for the love for Nashit and Pehel’s conclusion. And it is next on the release docket, I just need a bit more time to write it to my and your satisfaction! So check TWGL for more updates on the book - it’s the first place I’ll spill the beans.
Tainted Lies is canceled till further notice
My dark romance Tainted Lies is also canceled till further notice, Postmate. I had so much fun writing the lighter type of book, with all the trademark Aarti V Raman angst and competence porn, that I want to see what it feels to stay in one lane and write contemporary romance for the next few series.
I will definitely be writing Tainted Lies in the future - but not for now. :)
Aloha is HERE and doing so well!
Thank you so much for the support you’ve given this anthology, Postmate. This was the fastest story I’ve written - all 10K words of it. And it flowed free and easy and so damned hopeful, Postmate. I loved the little glimpse we got into Nihaal and Mili’s life during the events of Tempt.
It hit the Amazon top 100 and was #19 in Apple Books! So much money raised for Hawaii by amazing readers like you, Postmate.
The anthology will be available for a limited time, so grab it now and get to reading. Check out the blurb for Beginnings below.
Newlyweds Nihaal and Mili are on their way to a romantic honeymoon destination. All Formula One driver Nihaal wants is to flirt with his wife and show her how much he loves her. Even if it means braving the wrath of her family.
But, with fixer Mili still keeping secrets from him, can their happy ever after truly begin?
Beginnings is a sweet-angsty and spicy short story set in the Aarti-verse of the Ruthless Billionaires.
You’re well aware, Postmate, that I am endlessly fascinated by connecting the stories I tell. Whether it is through cameos of couples across series, easter eggs that even I forget I placed in the stories (remember how Mason casually says Nihaal is his cousin in A Millionaire Foes’ Reunion) and cliffhangers that do not get resolved - looking at you Filthy Rich Vice :P
So, I had a really great idea on how to write the Blaze epilogue - apart from the one I already shared in the book. And one that really encompasses their journey so far.
I have plans to do a massive - Where are they now - for all the books, at some point. But, I won’t tease you with more unwritten stories and instead simply say that Blaze has an epilogue now! A proper one.
And it connects to the story that began in Beginnings. :D You might even say the events of the Blaze epilogue take place during Beginnings :D
I’ll be sharing it soon, Postmate so be on the lookout for it.
You’re Just Not My Type Epilogue 2!
I heard you, Postmate, and a few ARC readers who wanted more Max and Niva to get a full sense of their ending.
Niva and Max are ALSO getting a second epilogue. I was wracking my brains as to what this one would be about, but then an ARC reader wrote a comment in her sweet review and it sparked the idea for the scene I’m sharing.
This one will also be available as a downloadable so you can read it in peace, later on. And will be the official ebook and paperback epilogue - once I upload it to Amazon - so you have more Max and Niva to fall for.
This is a spoiler-filled epilogue (duh!) so please do read the book before you get to it.
Here you go, for those of you who’ve finished Max and Niva’s story.
A few weeks later
“I told you so,” Mom said smugly.
I gave her a droll look. Stopped short of rolling my eyes because I absolutely did not want her to fly across the country just to swat me. My mom was unpredictable like that.
She looked triumphantly at my dad sitting next to her, grinning softly, paternally at me. “Did I call this or what?”
Dad nodded. “You’re always right. We all know it. Stop torturing, Niva.”
“Yes.” I clicked my tongue, nodding vigorously. “Stop torturing, Niva.”
She glared at me. “I’ll stop torturing you when you start telling me what’s happening in your life. And I don’t have to hear about it from Preetika’s mom, when we accidentally met at the temple last week.”
“Mom,” I whined. “I told you already. I wasn’t dating Max then. We just pretended to date so Preetika and the others would leave me alone and I wouldn’t look like a loser in front of my college friends.”
Mom’s face fell a bit. Dad looked concerned.
“Niva, you’re not a loser,” Dad began uncertainly.
“I know.” I cut him off immediately. “I absolutely know that. But…” I sighed. And leaned back in my chair and looked at the stunning view of the bridge. It never failed to move me. The fog rolling in through the Pacific, the bridge holding on in suspended animation, the tiny ant-like cars moving at a fast clip.
It was a little like magic.
And a lot like life.
I loved Max’s apartment for the views alone. And the perks of having a removable showerhead to play water games with him when he wasn’t busy working twelve hours a day, implementing the STEAM-ship initiative and making sure Gods of Guilt ran smoothly. Sometimes, I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at his sleeping face and wondered how he’d become so important to me. That I could not imagine life without him anymore.
Not the best version of my life, anyway.
I faced my parents now, both of whom had identical sorrowful expressions on their lined faces. “I felt like a loser with them, you know. I felt like a loser with myself,” I admitted softly. “How did you raise a child to not know when a man was being absolutely shitty to her? How did I not know? “
“Niva!” Mom’s whisper was shocked. “I didn’t know you felt so strongly about Kevin.”
“I don’t. I do not. I just…” I glanced at the love of my life, humongous headphones in place over his well-shaped head. I did not want him to hear this part and hold it over my head even more. “Max showed me how a good man treats the women he cares about.”
Filthily in bed and like a strong respectful partner out of it.
“The way Max is with Marley, the way he is with all the people at work…with me.” I couldn’t stop a tremulous smile from breaking out on my face. “He is so good, Mom. Such a decent person. Being with Max made me realize I was settling for crumbs with Kevin, with my other boyfriends. And I will never settle for anything ever again.”
Mom sniffed and gave Dad a trembling smile. “I told you he is exactly what she needs. He is strong and won’t put up with any of her bullshit.”
Dad squeezed her hand and smiled in approval. What was he going to say anyway? Yes, you’re right, my dear.
As it was, Mom was never going to let me live this down.
She’d found the love of my life for me. She was better than any dating app.
Ugh. If I wasn’t so sublimely, supremely happy I’d be waging war with her for trying to push her choices on me. But in this one instance, she actually was right.
“Hey,” I protested, because I had to defend myself. “I’m good for him too, you know. I mean, if it wasn’t for me, he’d not even have a company to run. Or…remember to have dinner on time.”
I grinned as I remembered the way I’d enticed him to come to dinner the other day. By dropping one piece of clothing on his laptop. I was in a sexy bustier and leather pants, one of my boots off and one on, by the time he looked up.
Of course, he’d first had me and then dinner. But they didn’t need to know that.
“You’re the smartest, Niva,” Dad agreed. “Max is lucky to have you too.”
“Where is he?” Mom searched behind me. “I wanted to talk to him.”
I turned the tablet around toward the couch where he was working. He’d kept his laptop on a little pillow and was bopping his head to whatever Swedish death metal nonsense he had on, intensely concentrating on the lines of programming he had on his screen. The green lines reflected on his glasses and I was reminded, sharply, of that day in his office – the first time I acknowledged to myself the depth of the attraction I felt for him.
Instant and immediately. Fathomless.
“Max,” I called out, pitching my voice across the room.
Marley was out for a stroll in the park with Veronica so I didn’t bother regulating my tone.
Max did not look up.
I gave my parents a shrug. “Boyfriend mine!” I yelled.
It barely made a dent in his focus. So, I got up from the chair I sat on, next to my favorite window nook in the penthouse. Holding the tablet in one hand and my healthy snack – a fruit plate – and walked over to him.
Mom and dad talked in hushed undertones as I made my way over to him.
I kept the tablet on the coffee table in front of him. He still did not look up.
I shrugged at my waiting parents and then poked him in the shoulder. Hard.
“What?” he muttered. “What the fu—” He stopped when he saw my parents on the tablet screen. “Hi uncle, aunty.” He smiled endearingly, making my heart lurch in my chest. “Sorry, time slipped by me. I forgot we were doing a call with you today.”
Mom’s face wreathed in smiles. “That’s okay, Max. I understand. Besides.” She beamed at me, truly gloating now. “I got some alone time with Niva.”
“More like torture time with Niva,” I muttered under my breath.
He squeezed my shoulder out of sight of the screen, removing his headphones and setting the laptop aside so he could give the call his full attention. “How are you, aunty? And uncle did you get that blister checked with the doctor? Sometimes these things get infected and…”
I strolled away from the couch, taking my fruit plate with me. Giving Max time to talk to my parents. Which he did with enthusiasm and care, like he did everything that mattered to him. And me.
I looked at the view again and cataloged the wonderful turns my life had taken since Game Day exploded into the world. Hearing Max talk baseball scores with dad with mom’s occasional inputs.
The Selfie Wall went viral all over the world, with videos pouring in from everywhere. The #illbeanything hashtag became so popular that GMA even did a segment on it, inviting Charlie on to the show to talk about the game.
Max was invited too but he wasn’t the type to sweat in front of the cameras. My geeky man was content to lead from the shadows. Just one of the reasons we worked so well. I was happy in the spotlight, he was happy to let me have it.
The talk show appearance, combined with positive reviews from basically every streamer catapulted us to next level and got the game in the hands of soccer moms and golfing dads.
Now Charlie was off doing press with every major news outlet, talking up the STEAM-ship Initiative as well as how cool and game-changing Gods of Guilt was. Flying to different parts of the world where required, working Nyah to the bone.
She wasn’t happy about the constant jet setting, but Charlie was adamant about having her by his side. And Charlie could be extremely persuasive when he wanted to be.
We’d not spoken about the Firestarter1 fiasco after Game Day. And, to be honest, I didn’t mind it all that much. I mean, in a twisted sort of way, I even understood why Charlie was spying on me.
He didn’t want me to be another Sam – a force he couldn’t control.
So, yeah. We existed in uneasy truce, helped by the fact that I didn’t have to see him everyday.
Now, what Charlie did was a small footnote in the story of my life.
Max and I held the fort at the office. The investors had slunk back to Quebec, tails between their filthy rich legs, aware that they could not sell the game now without looking like all-time assholes. So they gave us whatever we wanted – money, stock options, raises for the team, exclusive rights to develop the next expansion however we saw fit…
It was fun, managing everything with my boyfriend. Working together and coming home to him. So far, we weren’t sick of each other.
But I wasn’t naïve to think the state of euphoria would last.
Stupendous sex could only get you so far. Although it truly was stupendous.
I grinned, forking fresh mango into my mouth. The taste was sweet and tangy, flavors exploding in my mouth.
“Niva,” Max called out. “Your parents want to talk to you.”
I jogged back to the couch, finishing off the berries before handing the papaya to Max who loved it. I couldn’t stand the papaya, but I suffered through it for the sake of my mango. But not today. Today was a bit of a cheat day.
“I was just telling Max you should come home for the long weekend. It’s been a few months’ and we miss you,” Dad said. “Max agrees,” Mom added snidely. As if that was the most important thing.
Having Max agree.
I nodded. “Yeah, we will figure something out. We’re anyway thinking of flying to London for Christmas.”
I was not going to let Max and Marley go without support across the Channel.
I was stuck by a genius idea. “Why don’t you talk to Uncle Jack, Dad? See if he is okay with having you and Mom over too? Really make it a family celebration?”
Max’s eyes, indulgent so far, almost bugged out of his glasses. What are you doing? He mouthed.
“That’s excellent, Niva. Let me text Jack right away and see if he is okay with it. I mean, of course he would be.”
They signed off with love yous and goodbyes after that, excited about the plans I’d thrown at them.
When the call ended, Max pulled me over his lap, grabbing me by the ankle.
“Umph.” I landed on him with a thump, my butt hitting his thigh. “Give a girl some warning, man.”
“What was that about?” He ran a hand over my leg.
I hadn’t shaved so I felt the prickling of leg hair as his palm came in contact with my skin. But hey, I was a productive woman with a demanding job. I did not have time for grooming every day. He was just going to live with it.
And Max never minded. He was more interested in what was between my legs than what was on it.
“That was me doing what I do best?”
“Which is what? Make everyone’s lives crazy with insane plans?”
I looped my hands around his neck and played with the hair on his nape. “Managing it so your father can drink and reminisce with my father. My mother has someone to shop and go on spa trips with your mom. So you, Marley and me can actually enjoy Christmas. Without looking like ungrateful children.”
He grinned. “Damn. That’s diabolical, Neevs.”
He was pleased with the idea of not having to constantly be on guard with his parents. Watch out for Marley and make sure she didn’t have a relapse of the time before.
It was exhausting, I’m sure. And if I could help it, I wanted him to have ease and comfort and love in his life.
“I know.” I grinned back. “I’m a force to be reckoned with.”
“I’m going to miss that energy from next month.” He squeezed my thigh, his blunt fingertips brushing against the insides in a way that made. Me. Crazy.
“I’m just changing jobs, Max. Not breaking up with you.” I tried to keep an even tone but it wasn’t easy when he looked at me with all that intense focus, while his clever fingers did things to me.
I’d sent in my resignation letter last week and Charlie had grumbled about it but accepted it in the end. I didn’t have a job yet but I had a kickass resume now with lots of accomplishments that were right in my skillset and that I was excited to replicate for another company so I was optimistic something amazing was just around the corner for me.
I was even sure what I wanted to do now. The exact thing I’d done for Gods of Guilt. Help launch games by doing a deep dive into the way the players interacted while making sure the gaming community was enriched by the game and the company.
In other words, manage everything like only I could.
It was fun working with Max for now, but I wanted to spready my wings, fly on my own. See what else I could do. All while knowing, he was there to anchor me. While I helped him reach the stars and beyond. In binary code, of course.
“Breaking up?” He blinked from where he was playing with my legs. “What do you mean, breaking up?”
“I’m not, boyfriend,” I teased him. Then I leaned in and gave in to the urge. Kissed him with a tiny bit of tongue. “It doesn’t matter if I work or not or whatever, you’re stuck with me for life now.”
“Oh yeah?” He murmured against my lips.
“Fuck, yeah,” I answered.
“Mom is sick with gloating. She made this happen for us.”
“Well…” He kissed the corner of my lips. His coding session forgotten for the moment. “We can’t disappoint her then, can we?
I plucked his glasses off his nose. “I could hate her for knowing me so well.”
“But you don’t,” he said confidently, laying me down on the couch, and ranging himself over me. Every single part of our bodies aligned together. In perfect, hard-won sync.
I sighed. And looked at his handsome face. Now peppered with a goofy smile. I had wondered the first day I met him, if he even knew how to smile and have a good time. Now I knew the answer.
His smile took my breath away.
And I would always make sure we had a good time. Because he made sure I had the best time. In bed, on the couch, on the kitchen counter, in the shower with the removable showerhead…
“I truly don’t. Well done, mom.”
“Niva?” Max whispered right before he kissed me.
“Stop talking about your mom when I’m trying to fuck you.” He sounded so peeved and slightly embarrassed. As if he didn’t want to do dirty things to me while I talked about my parents. Like the good guy he was.
I laughed – in delight and joy - and gave myself up to him and whatever he wanted to do to me. He was perfect for me.
I wouldn’t have him any other way.
That is all I have for this edition of The Writer Gal Letter, Postmate. I’ll be back next week - with free books, paperback news, and more.
Till then, read Happy Ever Afters and smile a little.