Why would anyone want perfection when they could have Vaani Jaishankar instead?
Aditya Khamankar was a chartered accountant who built his life on a bedrock of numbers. For no matter what happened, numbers and math never let you down. They stayed the same. And that fundamental fact defined many of his choices. He was the obedient son, the diligent student, the overachieving employee, the reliable friend. All he wanted in his life was routine and sensible discourse. All he craved in that same life was peace and quiet. And then his senior partner’s flighty daughter came home. And life as he knew it was never the same again…
Reality television villain and tabloid fodder, Vaani Jaishankar lived for the arclights. The notoriety, the glamour, the larger than life noise that came with it held her in thrall. Until the industry she loved and the people she trusted used and abandoned her. And now, she was back home. Darkening the doorstep of her childhood home, something she’d sworn she’d never do and working in her father’s accountancy firm…Could God just take her now already? And then there was her father’s business partner…
What happens when Perfection meets Flawed? Do the cracks beneath his façade show? Or is it as well hidden as the foundation of grit and ambition her shiny polish conceals?
When attraction wars with common sense and love burns a fiery rope that ties them together, Aditya and Vaani need to decide if this is enough…If they are enough for each other? For the world doesn’t believe they are and the world isn’t done with them yet…
The bloody suitcase’s gimpy wheel broke off and the whole thing listed to one side. With a tiny scream of frustration, Vaani righted the now muddy suitcase and straightened. She took a deep breath as she stared at the house in front of her.
Her childhood home. The home she’d grown up in, the one where she’d learned to walk, to talk, to do pretty much everything including curling her eyelashes. It looked the same, exactly the same. A bougainvillea plant bloomed along the circumference of the compound wall, the pop of colour painfully bright in her current mood of gloom and doom.
The roof tiles seemed to have been recently replaced, she thought absently as her gaze took in the brick red tiles that gave a cottagey kind of look to the otherwise cream coloured bungalow.
She stood there, her useless suitcase by her side and stared at her past. Memories of banging doors and screaming ‘I’ll never set foot in this house again’ rose up in front of her practically taking on corporeal form.
“I hate you all,” she whispered the words she’d screamed years before. It was the last thing she’d shouted at her family before she’d stormed out of the house, dragging this same suitcase with her. She’d been so sure, so confident, so stupid…
A loud car horn had her startling and her suitcase fell over again. The lid flew open from impact and the overstuffed suitcase disgorged its contents. Vaani stared in dismay as her clothes littered the driveway of her parents otherwise neat-as-a-pin compound.
It was only as her gaze tracked her hot pink bra did she realise that it was draped over a perfectly polished black shoe. The car honking at her! Oh no, her bra was dangling off her father or brother’s shoe. Kill her now. A strike of lightning maybe? But nope, the clear blue skies meant that wasn’t an option.
Slowly, ever so slowly, she looked up at the man standing in front of her. Not her father or brother. Her heart soared in relief at the realisation before sinking like a stone at the sight of his forbidding expression. Angry glower, clenched jaw, nasty scar, and dramatic frown. Yes, whoever this was, he wasn’t impressed by Vaani. All six feet plus of taut muscles and frozen disapproval. Which was a new experience for her. Vaani usually had men falling at her feet in a haze of lust, not tapping an angry foot draped in a hot pink bra at her.
“Who the hell are you and what do you think you are doing here?” the man bit out.
“Who the hell are you?” Vaani tossed back, genuinely bewildered. Had her parents sold the house or something? Even if they had, Rahul Anna would have told her. He was the only family member who still kept in touch with her. Despite being in the Navy and off on a ship most of the time. Which said a lot for her estrangement from the rest of her family.
But that wasn’t a problem for now. Her problem for now looked to be the mountain of muscles who didn’t seem to realise he was wearing her bra on his foot.
“Aditya Khamankar,” he said grimly like that was supposed to mean something to her.
“Okay then Mr. Khamankar,” Vaani replied crouching and grabbing an armful of distressed jeans. “Don’t just stand there. Help me clear up the mess you made.”
“Yes, you!” She stuffed clothes back in her suitcase haphazardly. She would figure out how to fit everything later. “You honked at me and broke my suitcase.”
“I honked at you because you were standing in the middle of the driveway and staring into space. But how exactly do you manage to blame me for your suitcase disaster?”
She noticed he hadn’t moved an inch as she scrambled around on the ground collecting her fashion debris.
“May I have my bra please?” she asked politely, pointing at his shoe and hoping to shame him into being a gentleman.
He glanced down at his shoe, one eyebrow slowly rising at the sight of her bra still elegantly draped over its tip.
“Stop gaping and give it to me,” she ordered, losing patience with the whole drama. She had to still deal with family drama once she entered the house. She wasn’t interested in driveway drama with random strangers.
“You look familiar,” he said slowly, as he removed the bra from his shoe and held it out to her.
Oh God. Here they went again. Honestly, Vaani was so tired of the fans and their constant requests for selfies and autographs.
“Look, now is not the time, okay?” She made a vague shooing motion with her hand. “I’ll pose for a selfie some other day. Right now, I am here for quality time with my family and don’t want to be disturbed.”
Now, both his eyebrows shot up. She reached for the bra, but he tightened his grip on it and she found herself engaged in a weird tug of war with Muscle Man for her own underwear.
“You’re Shravan Uncle’s daughter.”
Yuck. He knew her father. If that didn’t put him on her shitlist, she didn’t know what would. She pulled at her bra again, but, again, he didn’t let go. He just kept staring at her with that frown on his stupid face.
Okay. It wasn’t a stupid face. It was actually a nice face. All manly and craggy and, she was pretty certain, it was a hundred percent natural. She was sure this man had never injected his face with anything or had any other work done on it. If he had, he would have first fixed that nasty scar on the right side of his face. It extended from his temple to halfway down his cheek, jagged and slightly raised.
She wondered how he’d got it. Maybe he’d held someone else’s lingerie hostage and she’d been attached enough to it to attack him with a knife. Vaani didn’t care quite that much about hers. But, it was the principle of the thing. It was her bra after all.
“Look.” She flashed her trademark pouty smile. “I realise keeping a celebrity’s personal stuff as a souvenir is a thing and I’m sure you’d love to keep this bra for, you know, private bedroom stuff, but-“
He dropped it like it had turned into a live flame in his hand. And then, to add insult to injury, he rubbed his hand on his pant like he was trying to rid himself of the feel of her bra.
Annoyed, Vaani opened her mouth to say something biting and sarcastic, she didn’t know what, but she knew she would think of something good. And then she heard his voice.
Of course, he would be the one to find her like this.
Two years ago, when he’d told her she brought nothing but shame and embarrassment to the family and the family name, she’d stormed out of the house vowing to never return until she proved him wrong.
And here she was, standing in his driveway, with a broken suitcase, nothing to her name but the clothes stuffed into it, and a pink bra in her hand in lieu of the white flag of surrender she should actually be waving.
She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and turned to face the man who’d sired her and deserted her.
“Hi Appa. I’m home.”
About the Author:
A published author with Harlequin India – Mills & Boon India Collection and Juggernaut, Shilpa Suraj’s books have hit both the Hot New Releases and Bestseller lists on Amazon. Her next novel, tentatively titled ‘Wrong,’ has been contracted by Rupa Publications and will release later this year. She is also part of the Flipped Anthology by Harper Collins and had an audiobook book Insta Reddy release with Storytel.
She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.
An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.
After completing a short story earlier this year, which goes along with the Renegade Series, I decided to switch gears and focus on finding an agent. Well, I’m here to tell you this is no small feat! In fact, it seems almost impossible. So far, I have sent query letters out to approximately 60 different agents, and gotten rejection letters from half of them. Some haven’t bothered responding at all. It’s very frustrating, to say the least. I’ve even received form letter rejections like this one:
“Thank you so much for querying me with your project. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel it was a good fit for my current list. As I’m sure you know, publishing is a subjective business and what isn’t right for me may be perfect for another agent or publisher. Please know I wish you all the best with your future endeavors.”
Are you kidding me? It makes me wonder if this agent even read my query and sample chapter. Although it’s less common, I have received reject letters with helpful (or what the agent thinks is helpful) suggestions on how to snag an agent.
I realize that getting rejections is all part of the process. That’s why I have been self-published for so long. As I’m sure you know, many famous authors got rejected at first, including Stephen King, Maya Angelou, Ray Bradbury, Judy Blume, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Mitchell, just to name a few. Of course, they all eventually got picked up by an agent or publisher, and the rest is history.
My husband knew an author in Ft. Collins, Colorado, who had received so many reject letters that he said he wallpapered his bathroom with them. Not a bad idea! After much perseverance, he participated in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, made millions, and started his own newspaper. Now that’s inspiring!
Even though it is ego deflating and exasperating at times, I’m still determined to persist with the hope that, some day, I’ll find an agent. Wish me luck! (And thanks for allowing me to vent.)
The favorable reviews just keep coming! Here are a few more five-star reviews for my novel, A Rebel Among Us, which is the third book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, everyone, for your awesome reviews!
A Rebel Among Us is a terrific novel about the Civil War period. J. D. R. Hawkins is a fantastic author that brings the characters to life thanks to her vivid descriptions. The emotions really pop and are a great catalyst for all the action around it. I really enjoyed reading it.
A historical novel about the Civil War, book 3 of the series. It is a well-written fictionalized history tale about a man that has been wounded in action and is picked up by four sisters that helped him to become healthy again, one of them asked him for a favor and now he is living a big dilemma about helping the one that saved him or not because he will be seen as a traitor. Captivating story with a well-defined background and well-described characters. I think is better to read books 1 and 2 first, but this can be understood without them.
A Rebel Among Us by JDR Hawkins is book three in the Renegade series. You should absolutely pick up these books in order for the best experience. In this one, David Summers is being nursed back to health when he learns his Confederate brothers left him in Pennsylvania after Gettysburg. He has to decide if he’ll try to blend in to help a friend or if he’ll make his way back home. I have enjoyed this series and this book. If you are looking for a great historically set novel series with a wonderful plot, I can’t recommend this one enough.
A Rebel Among Us is a powerful and well-written novel written by J.D.R. Hawkins. Set during the Civil War era, a Confederate soldier by the name of David Summers was found injured and bleeding by a group of girls, who take him in and mend him back to health. A love story between David and one of the girls, Anna, develops, which comes with its own set of challenges. Hawkins did a fabulous job of making the characters relatable, as well as really making this historical timeframe detailed and realistic. Would highly recommend!
I have recently received more five-star reviews for my novel, A Rebel Among Us, which is the third book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much for the reviews! (The one about the sci-fi trilogy cracks me up!)
“A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War,” is the third book in the “Renegade Series” by author J.D.R. Hawkins. Fans of historical fiction and history as a whole are sure to enjoy this exceptionally well-written story and series. The plotline truly is imaginative and captivating, and you will find yourself thoroughly immersed with each and every turn of the page.
A rebel among us is a gripping tale of love and war set in the American Civil War. The author does an excellent job of creating a believable historical context, while still crafting a compelling romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are well-developed and the plot is filled with unexpected twists and turns. The tension between David and Anna is palpable, and you can’t help but root for them, even though their love is forbidden. If you’re a fan of historical romance or just love a good love story set against the backdrop of war, this book is definitely worth checking out.
A fabulous third edition to the mind-blowing sci-fi trilogy. The protagonist wakes up to a new reality and finds himself under the care of four estranged nurses. How the story progresses from this point onwards makes the central plot of the story. It’s one of the best sci-fi thrillers out there with equally amazing additions. I would highly recommend all sci-fi lovers grab a copy of this amazing saga and get immersed in the mysterious world. A must-one to have!
A Rebel Among Us is a story that mixes many genres; it starts like a war novel and then transcends into a complex romantic story. It’s a great book to sit and analyze, the writing of J.D.R Hawkins continues to be intriguing, being this one the third of a fantastic series.
A Rebel Among Us is an excellent novel written by J.D.R. Hawkins. It is book number three in The Renegade series and it tells the story of David Summers and his internal fight between love and duty. This is an interesting book with a compelling plot and captivating characters. I enjoyed it a lot and I strongly recommend it.
The writing of this book is a mix between elements of a mysterious story and historical facts. The premise is well thought and the narrative is full of details about the time and setting. The character development is good and it’s really easy to get involved in the reading. I recommend all of J.D.R Hawkins adventures to all readers. Enjoy!
I’m going to start by saying that this fiction fascinated me. The characters are exceptional and the plot super entertaining. I loved how the author put all that together to create a great saga. I look forward to reading more books by this author. I definitely recommend this complete saga.