Fake Slackers: By Mu Gua Huang


My love affair with the Chinese web novels started when I watched a drama and found that it was based on a webnovel. And so, I fell into this rabbit hole called Danmei literature, especially the Chinese M/M romance webnovels. While it is easier to love these stories, most of the novels lack a good translation, and so never finding their intended international audience. While searching for interesting webnovels, I came across the site Chaleuria which hosts some amazing books. One of the most entertaining webnovel I have read(twice) last year was Fake slackers

Author: Mu Gua Huang

Original Publisher: JJWXC.

Translator: Jury

Illustrator: Lina Ngo 

My Rating: 4/5

 After class placements were decided, the school’s two infamous ‘problem youth’ not only shared the same class but the same desk. They’re clearly good at studies but pretend to be slackers. Faking their own lack of knowledge, from head to toe, they just keep meandering further down the path towards academic oblivion. Have you heard the grapevine about the two older students who always fight over the last place in class? This story is a serious comedy about the little matters of growing up and learning about yourself.



The story is of two boys -Xie Ye & He Zhao who were infamous as Tyrants of East & West wing of the respectively in their first year. In the second year, it so happens that both the lowest performers of the school are placed in the same class and end up sharing the last bench in the class. From their first meeting ( which happens outside the school) to the last scene of the book which follows these two to college, the book is a laugh riot. One is aloof & appears hot-tempered though silently follows his overconfident & shameless deskmate in his misadventures. 

From the earlier part of the story itself, it is clear that both of them are actually having a very high IQ and are capable of being topper not just in the school but perhaps the whole city. Still, for reasons of their own, unknown to even each other they compete to be at the lowest rank. They do not cheat, do not disturb others as long as their sleep & games are not bothered, and apart from their low scores, are almost model students. They both are the undisputed kings in an online game that has battles fought on skills in Chinese, English , Maths etc. The gaming part and the users on the game make for a really funny sub-plot. 

Gradually other students in the class, instead of being scared of their old reputation, start liking and protecting them not just from their scores but also to keep their relationship secret from the school, fearing it will not be good for their reputation. I did not know whether to laugh or cry at their homeroom teacher's efforts to make them learn something and improve their scores. And then once more they totally made their teachers cry when they decide to quit acting and show their true colors. Between these two milestones, is a journey of discovery, care, love, and weird blunders.

It is a sweet and really hilarious situation that these boys and the class find themselves in over the period of two years leading to admission in college. But along this romance, there is a deeper plot of friendship, family, loyalty, and guilt from some choices that others make for us. 

I loved every single character from this class and almost felt sad when the book ended the first time. I re-read the book last month because I really needed that dose of laughter that this story guarantees. Pick it up for good fun and you will not be disappointed. The book has a lot of kisses and fluff scenes and a few graphic sex scenes too, so if that is not your preferred genre, do skip [ those scenes, not the book I hope ;) ] 

Though I read the story partially on the site, You can now buy the ebook from the site or on the kindle store. Chaleuria is a fully licensed novel site for your Boys Love/danmei/yaoi fix. I recommend the site as I found the translations really good to read.

Cover Reveal : Right Kind of Wrong by Shilpa Suraj


One of my recent favorite author for Indian romance fiction is back with a new book :)) 

 


He's dangerous, damaged and doomed but he's hers...

With no name, no medical history, multiple gunshot wounds and enough security to rival the Prime Minister’s, Dr Aria Dubey’s new patient is something more than she asked for. And everything she might just need.

Intelligence Officer Karan Bhatnagar has only vengeance on his mind. Nothing will stop him from seeking justice for his murdered parents. 

Not even almost losing his own life. And certainly not the doctor who healed but couldn’t save him. The woman he can’t afford to fall for. And the killer's next target.

There's only one thing left to do...find the killer and end him before he ends them. Will Karan and Aria risk everything for a love that is all kinds of wrong? And yet, is the right kind of wrong.


Releasing on 26th January!


About the Author:



Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.




Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter




#FaeFriday : Reading Goals of 2021

Fae Friday is an awesome new weekly post created by Kristy at Caffeinated Fae

Here’s the rules:

  • Link back to this page on Caffeinated Fae.
  • If the prompt idea comes from another blog, link to that blog as well.
  • Use #FaeFriday when posting to social media so we can all find each other!
  • Participate when you can and have fun with the prompt!

This week's topic: What are some of your reading goals for the year 2021?




1. Read at least 52 books in a year [ one book per week should be easily manageable ] 

2. Read more books in my mother tongue - Hindi. 

3. Read 5 non-fiction books [ not autobiography though ] in 2021. 

Another side goal is to be more regular on this blog and finish *some* of my pending book reviews from the previous year(s). 

Happy 2021 & happy reading :) 





Review: Six Feet Under by Colin Garrow



Six Feet Under by Colin Garrow
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars 

Asked to investigate the death of a building contractor, taxi-driver and amateur sleuth Terry Bell thinks the dead man’s widow may be wasting her money. But when the trail leads to an old airfield and a brace of brutal thugs, he begins to wonder what they’re trying to hide. Tracking down one of the builder’s former workmates, Terry finds him unwilling to answer questions. When the man is beaten up, the canny cabbie gets a visit from his favourite detective inspector. But DI Charis Brown and her latest sidekick seem determined not to get involved. Until the man is attacked again…  

This is my second book by Colin and it is from the same Terry Bell Mysteries series, book#3 of which I read and reviewed on this blog earlier.

One of the things that I noticed about Colin's books is the treatment of female characters. Colin has some recurring ones and a new one introduced in this book and every single one of them is well written and given good brains and confidence to handle it too. Most prominent is his girlfriend Carol, who is not a sidekick but an equal partner and often compliments Terry in his investigations as well as in his home. Then there is DI Charis who seems to be really frustrated with Terry, but you cant blame her because she is tied by her post and perhaps also some worry for Terry & Carol. 

So, the fact that Terry is not like most leads who single-handedly deal with every danger, but is a sensible curious, and just man who knows when to ask for help and appreciate the people who take time to offer him the same. Six Feet Under was a little slow in building the mystery part, but it had quite good enough twists in the story. It anyway makes up with the colorful characters, the chases, the element of fun mixed into the dangers that Terry & Carol keep finding themselves in and the dangers were quite ramped up in this book for them. I was amused to see Charis showing a little more affection for Terry and her partner Tilly was a good mix into this [ who knows these four might actually become friends in the next one ;)

The language might feel different because of some vocabulary but it is easy to follow and adds to the geographic feel of the setting for the story. In all, this short mystery read was perfect for a single afternoon sitting and would not leave one unsatisfied. 

About Colin Garrow: True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin has published three stage plays, six adventures for middle grade readers, two books of short stories, the Watson Letters series and the Terry Bell Mysteries. These days he lives in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where he writes novels, stories. poems and the occasional song.

Book Links: Amazon US | Goodreads

Book Blitz: Bewitched by Ruchi Singh

 


About the Book:

The eternal dance of attraction, lust and love has been going on since time immemorial.


The divine apsara Menaka descends to Earth at Indra’s behest to distract the sage Vishwamitra from the penance that would bring him unimaginable powers. Menaka succeeds in bewitching Vishwamitra, but her actions are destined to have dire consequences for both.

Eons later, their story is set to repeat itself.

Poorva has always played by society’s rules and ideas of decorum. But what happens when her own loved ones betray her in the worst way imaginable? Does she still have to remain bound by their rules?

Rudra plays with power and people like they are pieces on a chessboard. He has no qualms about indulging his desires, be it money or women, but is determined not to be bound by either.

What happens when these two diametrically opposite souls are brought together by fate?

In the game of power, lust, greed and betrayal, some win and some lose. But are there any winners or losers in the game of love?

Like Menaka and Vishwamitra, are Poorva and Rudra too destined to see their story end in tragedy? Or will the divine power prevail?

Standalone novel from the author of #Bestseller 'The Bodyguard' - Undercover Series #1




Read an Excerpt from Bewitched


The seat had remained vacant, and it reminded her of the premiere night and Samar’s friend… no, Rudra Pratap Maurya. 
Well, he was something. Full of confidence and a little too forward, which normally was the result of being born with a silver spoon. Who would know that better than she? But she wasn’t brash, quite the opposite. Would she be meeting him again today? She might. The thought incited a flutter in her heart. 
Twice during her performance in the last month, she had experienced the same kind of flutter and was reminded of him. Why? She shouldn’t be thinking about another man. She had no right.
A loud noise in the living room brought her out of her troubled thoughts. Mansi was bustling around in the suite and must have dropped something. She would be busy packing their things. They had been living here for more than a month and it was almost like shifting house. 
With a stifled yawn, Poorva got out of bed. Mansi was ready with her morning cup of tea when she came out of her bedroom. 
“He is a womanizer, and from a gangster family to boot!” Mansi declared.
Poorva frowned and picked up the cup. “Who?”
“Rudra Pratap Maurya, or RPM as he is called in his circles. I googled him. His grandfather was rumored to be a don in Mumbai, involved in arms, drugs, and the like.”
“Rumored?”
“And this man RPM… though he doesn’t have anything illegal under his name,” Mansi went on as if she hadn’t heard her, “…last year he had hooked up with three different women.”
“Why are you telling me all this?”
“He is after you.”
“Mansi, come on!” Poorva sat in the balcony chair and yawned again.
“I saw him at the party and then yesterday, he was spinning a yarn about being there at the parking lot just like that. He must have been at the show last night. He has this glint in his eyes, full of lust when he looks at you.”
“Lust! Only?” She laughed at Mansi’s dramatic exaggeration, “Thank you. I’ll be on my guard if I meet him again.”
“If? You are meeting him in an hour.”
Amused, Poorva looked at her with raised eyebrows.
“I’ll not take this month’s salary if he is not present at today’s brunch.”
Poorva’s phone pinged bringing the bizarre conversation to an end.


About the Author:
Author of Amazon Bestseller Romantic Thriller 'The Bodyguard', Ruchi Singh is an IT Professional & Novelist, writing stories under Romance & Suspense Genre. She is a bilingual author and writes in both English & Hindi.

Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi also publishes romantic short reads under 'Hearts & Hots' collection, besides being a contributing author to many anthologies.
 
A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favourite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.


Contact the Author:









Release Blitz : In Debt To Her Millionaire Foe (Millionaire Foe Quartet # 2) by Aarti V Raman

 



She Hates Him But She’s In Debt To Her Millionaire Foe 

Releasing on 25th October


About the Book:

When the songbird owes the business tycoon...

Former gangster, Devansh Thackeray has finally managed to carve the life he’s always aspired to.
Building a chain of seven-star hotels all over the world, a reputation for being an honest businessman...and all the women he could ask for.
Ansh’s life is perfect. Or so he thinks.
Because he is about to hit by a lightning bolt from the past that’ll make him question everything he’s worked so hard for.
And her name is Kahini Palekar.
Kahini’s life is a nightmare.
She works three jobs to pay off the loan sharks circling her.
But, Kahini doesn’t mind because she also gets to do the only thing she’s always wanted to do.
Sing.
Even if it is at a shady nightclub in the backstreets of Goa, the beach paradise of India. 
Kahini’s day of reckoning arrives when Ansh arrives back in her life, right when she’s almost assaulted by the manager of the nightclub.
Ansh offers both salvation from her debt and a chance to sing at the most exclusive wedding of the decade.
But there’s just one catch.
Kahini hates Ansh’s living guts and blames him for the destruction of her life.
Even though he was the boy she once recklessly gave her heart to.
Can Ansh get to the bottom of the problems plaguing Kahini or will this songbird fly away again after repaying her debt to him? 
Meet the Millionaire Foes - rising from ruin through ruthless ambition, these self-made tycoons have everything. Except, the heart of the one woman who means everything.

The Millionaire Foe Quartet series contains four steamy romances set around the world, each of which can be read as a standalone. 



Read an Excerpt from In Debt To Her Millionaire Foe (Millionaire Foe Quartet # 2)



Ansh entered the bar when the lights had dimmed, already in a foul mood from the altercation he’d had outside Grungy’s.
The term “bar” was a loose translation for what the seedy confines really were. It was set in a shady part of Calangute Beach, where the locals lived. It was not the area the posh, firang tourists frequented. The air here smelled of brine and fish and cheap liquor.
The smell of the ocean was everywhere.
It was, after all, Goa the beach paradise of India.
And to everyone who came here, it promised nothing but a good time.
The patrons of Grungy’s, the small-time bar that operated till four in the morning during season, had that look about them. They were local men, embittered and looking for cheap thrills. And some willing victim to provide that for them.
Ansh knew the type. They resented the tourists for showing up and flinging their foreign currency around and expecting their silly demands of room temperature water and late-night cruises to be catered to.
And they really resented needing the silly tourists and their foreign currency too.
A classic catch-22.
But, tonight, these patrons, and that was a loose term too for what the customers of Grungy’s were, were not looking for foreign currency or cheap thrills.
They were all gathered on the rickety tables that the bar owner had graciously provided and murmuring amongst themselves while the poorly-named stage was being set up.
She was the main act tonight.
Ansh frowned and sank deeper into his chair while the bar-back set him up with a glass of the local feni – a local toddy made from fermented coconut water and rum. He frowned deeper when he saw the lipstick mark around the edge of the shot glass and gingerly cleaned the lip with his monogrammed handkerchief.
Places like these reminded Devansh Thackeray of his squalid past.
He couldn’t stand them anymore.
Then, the spotlight hit the stage. The band struck a chord and a woman in black walked up to the mike.
Ansh sat up straighter.
Was she going to start stripping or something? He hadn’t heard the best things about these places on the wharf and this one didn’t have a stellar reputation either.
And, what the hell was she doing here anyway?
He’d sent her plenty of funds seven years ago, deposited in the account her brother had set up for both of them when he had turned eighteen.
Kahini had enough money to keep her in style, because he’d instructed the company’s bankers to always replenish the funds in that account should the need ever arise. The need had never risen, to the best of his knowledge. Even though he knew the money would never bring back her dead brother.
So, was she doing this for kicks?
Some poor little rich kid slumming it thing that all the society madams were doing these days?
He honestly had no idea. And that ate at his insides, like the strength of the feni he’d gingerly taken a sip out of.
Ansh had come here to find out what the hell she’d been up to the last seven years. Since the last time he’d seen her and she’d flung bitter, accusing words at him.


About the Author:

Hi, I’m Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal. I have been a former journalist, editor, and even a sometime-teacher before I plunged into my dream job. That of being a full-time writer.
In fact, my three favorite words are ‘happily ever after.’
This comes in handy as I primarily write bestselling contemporary romantic women’s fiction, which is all about living happily, after going through some hard times.
My more notable works include the Geeks of Caltech and Royals of Stellangård series, Something Old, Something New, More Than You Want, and The Perfect Fake among others. My chicklit family drama, The Worst Daughter Ever, has been picked up for screen adaptation.
I always love to hang with you, my dear reader friend. I’ve created Writer Gal’s Reader Pals on Facebook for this reason and I hope to see you there.
If not, I’m there on all social media as @aartivraman but I’m most active on Instagram




Cover Reveal : Love, Scandal & Second Chances by Shilpa Suraj



~ Cover Reveal ~

Love, Scandal, and Second Chances
by Shilpa Suraj

I am a big fan of Stories that Shilpa writes. I have read and loved the Kapoor brother series a lot and you can find preview book's reviews on the site here. Here is the final installment in the Kapoor brother series. 


About the Book:
Arav has only ever loved one woman, Disha. But, she broke his heart to further her ambitions. 
Years later, she's achieved everything she set out to but at a steep price. She wants to come home but home doesn't want her and her work won't let her.
Arav knows Disha needs his help and the boy he once was can't walk away. 
But while his heart is large enough to forgive, it hasn't forgotten. 
Can they overcome the bitter hurt of their shared past, face the scandalous present and find their way back to each other? Is this their second chance at love or a first chance at redemption?


About the Author:



Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.







Contact the Author:



#BookReview : Kulti by Mariana Zapata



Genre : Sports Romance / Contemporary Romance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

Unless it is a fantasy book, I have rarely picked books over 350 pages. Not YA / romance books atleast. I am more used to having my love story play out in the middle of the book and then work with other sub plots till the end. So, when I saw the length of Kulti on Storytel being 16hours long audio, my calculation put it somewhere around 550+ pages. And then I read the reviews highlighting how it was a slow burn romance. [ A slow burn story has a significant amount of development both for the individuals and for the pair throughout the novel, with romantic tension that builds up till the very end ] and let me tell you, it was worth spending all those hours with this story.   

  
Kulti is the story of Sal Casillas, a professional soccer player who had a big crush on the now-retired German player Reiner Kulti. Kulti, being the driving force for her to pick up this sport and work hard to reach the top position in her club and in this sport. The story begins when Kulti is announced as the new assistant coach for the Sal's team. Finding her crush and idol in such proximity is a dream come true for any person, and even if they start on wrong foot and almost declare war on each other, there is admiration for each other's skills. This admiration turns into friendship and leads to deeper feelings for both Sal & Kulti. 

As mentioned earlier, it is a slow buildup to the romance, so all the events that help them know themselves and each other better are written so beautiful to create a natural progression of feelings. I loved it when Sal stood up for herself and her family without concern for consequences. And even if she did not like Kulti's actions, she helped him out of tough spots every time without expecting anything [ maybe just a thank you, which took its own sweet time to happen ]

"Every single thing that has ever happened in my life has led me here, Sal. Destiny is a ladder, a series of steps that takes you where you're supposed to go. I am the man that I am, and I have done the things that I've done, to get me to you."

The story gave enough focus on the sports, the team, the league, and all the ways the players sacrifice for reaching the heights that others take for granted. Even if I do not know much about soccer, I could connect easily to the story and I enjoyed the various things Sal & Kulti did outside the field - playing other sports, teaching kids, training, Sal's job etc.  I even enjoyed the scenes where they just sat on a couch nursing their injuries and watching tv. It was this kind of wholesome feeling that their friendship and this story has. A special mention to Sal's dad who is my next favorite character after the leads. He was amazing as a parent and totally adorable as Kulti's fan. I could totally relate to his reactions and actions around Kulti. 

I loved reading Kulti so much that I have already picked another of Mariana Zapata books for next month. 


View all my reviews

Cover Reveal : The Wrath of the Hellfires (Vikramaditya Veergatha#4) by Shatrujeet Nath


Patience is a Drawn Bow.
Rage, its Relentless Arrow.


Shukracharya’s plan to break the unity of Vikramaditya’s Council has borne bitter fruit. Friends have become sworn enemies, and brother has turned against brother, setting Avanti on the path to self-destruction.

Even as Vikramaditya prepares to counter a Huna invasion, a rebellion brews within Ujjayini, while a devious conspiracy is hatched to humiliate him. With Indra’s spies swarming the palace and Shukracharya making a bold bid to take the Halahala, the king is dangerously close to the brink of defeat.

Alone and abandoned by those dear to him, fighting to protect his wife and his people, trying his best to keep his promise to Shiva, will the Samrat rise one last time to defend his love, his city and his honour?

As the asura and deva forces muster in a final, desperate gamble to claim the Halahala, The Wrath of the Hellfires brings an explosive conclusion to Vikramaditya’s epic tale of action and adventure.


Other Books in the Series:




About the Author:


Shatrujeet Nath is the creator of the runaway national bestseller series Vikramaditya Veergatha, a four-book mytho-fantasy arc which comprises The Guardians of the Halahala, The Conspiracy at Meru, The Vengeance of Indra and The Wrath of the Hellfires. Described as “a new face to Indian mythology” by DNA, Shatrujeet writes for movies and web shows as well. His also the author of The Karachi Deception, an Indo-Pak spy thriller.




Book Blitz ~ Anamika Khanna Falls in Love by Shraddha Sahi

 


About the Book:


How far would you go in love?

A few missed calls? Liking every post of his on FB? Landing in the hospital when you fall from a tree because you wanted to see into his room?
Anamika Khanna is madly in love with Rahul…
How can someone be so blind? Why can’t she see how much I love her? Will my confession jeopardise our friendship?
Vikram Lobo, the bookworm has developed muscles and lost the soda bottle glass-es. But he can’t stop his heart from skipping a beat when he sees Anamika.
Rahul, the high society Adonis wants nothing to do with the gauche, middle class weirdo who’s following him around. Until she moves into his league…
Laugh out loud at Anamika’s antics and follow her on the roller coaster that is her life!


Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Meet Vikram Lobo


If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d choose to be with Anu. She’s the sun and the stars and the reason for my heart to keep pumping. We’d probably go to Coffee Day - I’d have an espresso and she would order a frappe. And of course, she would realise she’s broke and I’d pay and she’d try to calculate how much this amount plus all the frappes of the past would total to!

If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?

I would spend the day with Alistair MacLean - the writer. He’d teach me how to research a book and how he turns simple sentences into stories that come to life before your eyes. And He’d tell me about his Marie - the one in all his books!

What is your idea of perfect happiness? And, what is your current state of mind?

I would be the happiest man in the world if Anu realises Rahul is a stuck up ass and forgets her stupid infatuation.
Right now, I’m wondering why she can’t see the love shining in my eyes? She’s such a beautiful,   fiery, crazy girl - I just can’t stop loving her. I try to chat with other girls and respond to their flirting, but my heart just isn’t in it.

What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue and why?

Honesty is overrated. If I tell Anu how much I love her, she’ll stop being my friend. It’s better to lie than risk not having her in my life. Also if I tell her what a dirtbag Rahul really is, she’d never believe me. In her eyes, he can do no wrong and I’m just not being supportive.

Tell us 3 things about yourself that the readers do not know about

- I also stalked Rahul once just to see if I was taller than him - and I am! Take that, you arrogant Richie Rich!
- I’m even ready to join Dad in his sanitary ware shop if that means I can have a steady income to support Anu.
- I’ve begun writing a romance novel (under a pseudonym, of course!) - a far cry from the violent detective stories I always write. 



About the Author:

Words have been the centre of Shraddha’s existence for as long as she can re-member. Fed up with her constant demand for books, her parents asked her to write her own. And so, it began!

She’s an ophthalmologist with a specialisation in Glaucoma. She juggles her profes-sional demands with her new label of tennis mom and the larger than life charac-ters that live in her mind, demanding to be manifested.

She has written A Doctor in the House (Partridge), A Great Fall (Juggernaut) and The Case of the Counterfeit Currency (Mango Books) and also has an anthology of poems (F.I.S.T) (Pothi Books)

Shraddha finds herself attracted to stories about women – strong ones, funny ones & kick ass survivors. Her self-deprecating humor tends to stay with you long after you’ve shut the book.


Author Links:
Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Youtube



Release Day Blitz ~ My Heart's Regret by Shilpa Suraj


About the Book:
Samaira Reddy, the girl in the big house, the Bade Sahib's daughter, only wants one thing and one person...a life with her childhood sweetheart, her Rags.

Raghav Cherukuri has always been known as the driver's son. And has also always loved his Sam, the girl he can never have and never forget. And so, he leaves her and his life in Hyderabad behind.
But now, Raghav is back. A Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy, he is the success he’s always wanted to be. And yet, he has failed.
Samaira is meeting the ‘perfect groom’ her family approves of…A man whom Raghav can never be.

Can it finally be their time to be together? Or has their happy-ever-after passed them by?

This novella was previously part of the anthology Something Old Something New.


Book Links:



Read an Excerpt from My Heart's Regret:



“Why did you leave?” The question shot out of her taking them both by surprise. They stared at each other, a wealth of memories flooding the space between them. Years of hurt, months of pain and a million unspoken words crowded around them.
“Don’t.” He turned away from her, shaking his head. “Don’t do this.”
“Why not? You don’t think I deserve any kind of explanation?” 
He opened the rear door of the car in response. “Are you ready to go home?” 
“Home?” She laughed, a bitter sound that floated in the air. “Is that still home to you?”
“Are you ready to go back to your home?” The slight emphasis felt like a slap across her face.
“And that’s the truth of it, isn’t it?” She watched his face for a clue to his feelings. She found none. He was as stone-faced as ever.
“You don’t think of it as home anymore. When you left, you didn’t just leave to study and start your career. You left everything behind. Your home. Your past. Your…”
“Yes.” His acceptance cut her off mid-rant. “I left it all behind. The poverty. The insults. The humiliation. I left my life here behind.”
“Is that all you left behind?” The words sliced through the night like a knife.
Raghav just stared at her, his eyes a cauldron of bottomless emotion. On a growl of frustration, she slid down from the car and stomped towards the door he still held open. Yanking it from his hand, she slammed it shut. Then she walked around the front of the car to the passenger door and got in.
A storm was coming. A loud rumble of thunder could be heard and the wind was picking up outside the car. It blew a lock of his unruly hair into his eyes. 
He didn’t notice but she did. Even through the tears stinging her eyes, she noticed everything about him. 
Raghav continued to stand, motionless by the rear door, his tightly clenched fists the only evidence of the emotion raging inside him. The first drops of rain started to pelt down drenching him in seconds.
Finally, he moved towards where she was sitting. Leaning down, he rapped on the window to get her to put it down.
Samaira obliged, arching an eyebrow in challenge.
 “Get out.” The words were gritted out through clenched teeth.
“No,” she snapped the word out.
“Go sit in the back seat.”
“No,” she said again as she settled more comfortably into the seat. 


About the Author:



Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.
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Fake Slackers: By Mu Gua Huang

My love affair with the Chinese web novels started when I watched a drama and found that it was based on a webnovel. And so, I fell into thi...