Discover more from The Writer Gal Letter
September Book Club Biz
The Writer Gal Letter Novella
Postmate, I’m writing this edition of The Writer Gal Letter listening to Death Cab For Cutie’s I Will Follow You Into The Dark. It’s been a few years since I heard this song, but the lyrics are so GOOD! “If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, illuminate the no’s on their ‘vacancy’ signs, if there’s no one beside as your soul embarks, I will follow you into the dark.”
This is pretty much the ride-or-die sentiments expressed by all Aarti-verse characters, right?
What’s in this edition of The Writer Gal Letter?
A writing update and a secret update I’m not allowed to share yet!
The next chapter of No Other Love
Freebies from the book clubs
I am eagerly plotting the last Ruthless Billionaire and his enemy bride while also basking in the love the Grumpy Gamer and his Sunshine assistant with stilettos are getting! You. Are. Incredible. Postmate. I also will have a brand-new bonus epilogue in the next Writer Gal Letter edition, Postmate.
And a sweetly sweet excerpt from my Aloha short story - Beginnings.
And I have such a grin on my face as I type these words because of a call I had today…which I cannot talk about. But, suffice it to say, it’s all because of you.
BUT, loyal Postmates have begged me for the next installment of No Other Love, so let me get on with it!
No Other Love - Chapter 16
Now, without any more fuss, let me share the next chapter of my sweetly angsty, second chance, marriage in trouble, small-town romance novella starring a desperately nerdy doctor and his feisty surgeon wife!
Author’s Note: I’ll be writing down the English translations of the Indian words to this story, as I introduce you to Indian culture :) If you’d like to read the previous chapter, click here.
Fun fact: This novella is actually set in a town founded by one of my oldest friends. I’ve been fascinated with Aronda since I heard her talk about it back when we studied together and wanted to set a story here forever! Vikrant and Anika’s is the one finally. :D
‘May I talk to you, Anika?’ Vikrant’s mom, Laxmi, asked diffidently a few hours later, standing at the threshold of the room Anika had shared, really shared with Vikrant.
Anika paused in the act of packing her stuff, spread all over the bed. The sari blouse clenched in an unconscious fist. She made a deliberate effort to relax it. It worked. Kind of.
‘Sure, Aai. Please come in.’ Anika mustered up a smile from somewhere deep inside her.
It turned puzzling when Vikrant’s Baba, Yogesh, followed her too. They came in and stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. Anika awkwardly cleared up her lingerie from the side of the bed and waved them over.
They glanced at each other before Laxmi took a seat on the bed. Baba sat on the dressing table pouffe. She wore a silk sari, one that Anika remembered she’d gifted her for Diwali and her natth (nosering) was a brand-new piece of jewelry. Baba wore his customary kurta pajama, looking, for all the world, like a more refined, regal version of Vikrant.
They made a handsome couple, with Vikrant inheriting the best of both of their genes. Something that would now not happen with her and Vikrant. Not that she’d actively thought about having children even with him, wanting to focus on her career for now.
The sheer loss of it had tears smarting in her eyes. She blinked them away rapidly.
‘Is there anything you needed?’ Anika asked them politely in Hindi. She still wasn’t fluent in Konkani enough to have a whole conversation in it.
‘Yes, there is,’ Laxmi said, slowly, in Hindi.
It took Anika a moment to realize the expression on their careworn faces. Desperation.
‘Tell me, Aai. What is it?’
‘Did Vikrant tell you why we aren’t staying with him?’
‘No.’ She shook her head, confused at the sudden question. ‘He didn’t. He just told me you were still living in your old home.’
‘When he came back, my son looked like a ghost. He had no joy in him,’ she said the words carefully. As if she’d rehearsed them many times. ‘I thought he’d be happy coming home, back to us, running the local hospital. That had always been his dream. I was even prepared to tolerate having you here with him because he loved you.’
Anika’s fingers clenched tight against the stethoscope she was packing in her bag. She controlled her breathing with effort.
‘But when you didn’t come, I was overjoyed. He wasn’t,’ Laxmi said brokenly. ‘My son’s been half-alive, he goes through the motions and his hospital has made a world of difference to this town, to us... You know he was the one who detected the blockage in Baba’s heart?’
Anika sat down, squashing her properly folded saris in the process.
‘But he doesn’t care. Not about this hospital. Not about himself.’ She shot her husband a miserable, tear-filled look. ‘Not about us. When we said we’ll give him time to adjust to living here without our presence, he accepted it. He didn’t even argue. And he’s never once asked us back after that. After Baba’s surgery, he slept on the mat in his room till he recovered but didn’t bring us back here.’
Tears trickled down the woman’s face and Anika felt each word batter her tender heart to a million pieces. ‘I don’t understand, Aai. Why are you telling me all this now?’
‘Because, Anika, I never understood why my son would suffer the way he’s been suffering till I saw him with you. This house…’ Aai waved a hand around the bedroom, which was so much like the bedroom Anika had once described to Vikrant. ‘It’s yours. My son built it for you. We are guests here. And I’m afraid…’ She shuddered from the weight of her tears.
Baba put a consoling hand on her shoulder.
‘I’m afraid if you leave this time, he will follow you. And he won’t come back to us.’ She folded her hands in a pleading gesture. ‘Please, don’t take my son away from me. I know I deserve it after I took him from you but …’
Anika moved closer to her and wrapped her in a hug and Vikrant’s mother broke down completely. She looked at Baba’s emotional expression and swallowed all of her tears and misery. There was no point in telling these people they’d won, they had their son back… they’d clearly lost as much as she had.
If not more.
God, what a fucking mess.
‘I’m sorry, Aai,’ Anika said after she stopped crying. ‘I should have been nicer to you before.’
‘You are from Mumbai.’ Aai said it the old-fashioned way, Bombay. ‘It’s not like you knew anything about our customs and traditions. I could have been nicer to you and taught you too.’
Anika smiled sadly. ‘It’s okay. It’s in the past. You take care of Baba and Vikrant now, okay? You’re the lady of the house.’
Aai shook her head, tears dripping off her nath. ‘No, Anika. You are. I hope you see that.’
The words still swirled in Anika’s brain as she walked to the bus stop, dressed in the clothes she’d come to Aronda in – khaki shorts, a white tank top and a shirt over it.
Vikrant had left for the hospital before anyone was up and so he didn’t chauffeur her…or even tell her goodbye.
Actually, everything Laxmi had said had been a bloody revelation to her, one she couldn’t fully process without crying her heart out.
But, if it was true, Vikrant hadn’t picked his parents over her. He’d not abandoned her.
And his points over how her folks treated him were valid too. He was a proud man, come from humble beginnings so her father’s taunts would have hurt him extra-hard. Yet, he’d kept silent for a long time before being pushed to the breaking point.
And…this morning, there had been something in his eyes…right before she’d said she was leaving.
Anika wanted to think it was hope. Because that meant…that meant he cared. He loved her like she loved him and all of the pain they’d been through was not a waste.
She bit her lip, uncertain, hopeful, wanting to believe in them even when there seemed no reason to.
A small dust storm approached the empty bus stop. It was afternoon in Aronda, which meant susegaad aka siesta time. She’d expected to be alone for the next two hours till the bus came.
So it was surprising to see someone out and about. The surprise turned to shock when the dust storm came to a stop in front of her. And it turned out to be Vikrant. On a motorbike.
‘What are you doing here?’ she asked, bewildered. ‘I thought you had to monitor Neelima and the baby’s condition.’
‘I’ve left Preetika, the nurse, in charge for the moment.’ Vikrant straddled the pavement, quietening the bike to a purr. ‘I have something to say to you.’
‘If it’s goodbye, I don’t want to hear it, Vikrant.’ She turned blindly away from him.
‘Ani, please.’ He touched her wrist. ‘Please. I want to show you my favorite place in this town. And after that, if you want to go, I’ll drive you back to Mumbai myself. I promise.’
No Other Love will return next month…
The Kissing 💋 Books Club September Offering
This month’s KBC freebie is Lola West’s If You Love Someone. And excuse me, while I drool over that pretty in pink hot cover! It’s a country rockstar in the making meeting the love of her life in a staid and responsible cowboy. Sign. Me. Up! Plus the book is giving me Nashit-Pehel Tempt AND Crave vibes so I am eager to read it myself.
Get the book by smashing the pink button, yeah?
With a mane of red hair, and cowboy boots to match, eighteen-year-old singer/songwriter Kat Bennett steals the show, every time. She’s talented, she’s saucy, she’s shamelessly brazen and since she was in diapers, she’s only had eyes for her neighbor, cowboy Billy Morgan.
Hunky blue-eyed nineteen-year-old rancher Billy, embodies responsibility. He’s loyal, thoughtful, brawny, and hard-working. In a perfect world, he would have spent his entire life following Kat and making her happy. But, after a family tragedy, it’s his job to tend to his three spirited younger brothers and precocious little sister. So, he can’t venture far from his ranch life in Big Sky Montana.
Kat dreams of being a rockstar and has the chops. Billy stays up nights worrying Kat’s talent will propel her beyond their small-town country life. Will Kat’s opportunity of a lifetime tear these star-crossed lovers apart?
In this hot and heavy first love prequel to Kat and Billy’s second-chance romance, readers are introduced to the entire Morgan tribe, a tight-knit family of ripped and rowdy ranchers. When the Morgans get together, shenanigans abound. If this is your first foray into the Big Sky Boys Series...well, howdy and welcome to the family!
The Romantic Suspense Co-op September Offering
This month’s Romantic Suspense Co-op offering is Gwyn McNamee’s hunkalicious Dead Reckoning. And I promise you this one is miles better than the MI7 tragedy that I still love with all my heart. #ethanhuntforlife. But also, #pathaan. If you know, you know.
Okay, with a name like Reaper and a job well…leaving bodies behind, I’m salivating over DR right now. Especially because Reaper is salivating over a brunette who might be the link to all the bad stuff in the world :D
And that cover was an inspiration for when I asked Merril to work on the To Love Honor Avenge/To Love Honor and Betray covers! It’s kinda perfect, isn’t it?
Check it out. Then hit the shiny pink button and grab the book, kay?
Alright, Postmate. This is all the news I have for today. I promise to be back soon with more writing news and updates and all the goodies!
Till then, please continue reading all the books (especially You’re Just Not My Type!)