J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “b00k r3vi3w Tours”

Book Tour – Along Came a Spyder

Are your Spidey senses tingling?

At 17, Samira Joshi has only one dream in life. She wants to be a spy.

 And why not? 

Spying runs in the Joshi genes. 

Her great-grandmother was famous for sticking her nose in everyone’s business. Her grandmother had a flourishing side-business of tracking down errant husbands and missing servants. Her parents are elite intelligence agents for RAW.

Yet, they want their only daughter to become a doctor.

When she sees a college friend being trapped by a pimp, Samira does some spying of her own, and discovers the existence of a secret sisterhood of teen spies — The Spyders. And, she wants in!

The question is, do they want her?

To find out, read this fast-paced, gripping YA novel by brand new author, Apeksha Rao.

Book links:

Amazon India: https://amzn.to/3miRgof

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52663172-along-came-a-spyder

Advance praise for Along Came A Spyder:

“A thrilling read with several nail biting moments. Will keep you hooked till the end.”

 Andaleeb Wajid, author of The Legend Of The Wolf

“A fantastic spy story, keeps you on the edge and you can’t stop till you finish the book. A fantastic debut book. Look forward to reading more from the author.”

Kanchana Banerjee, author of Nobody’s Child and A Forgotten Affair.

“Witty, snarky and a thorough entertainer, Along Came a Spyder is a welcome addition to India’s YA genre.”

Shilpa Suraj, author of Love, Marriage and Other Disasters, Saved by Love, and, Driven by Desire

“Apeksha Rao writes a taut espionage thriller with a twist-a-minute narrative that is sure to get all readers hooked. The language is flawless, the characterization spot-on, and the plot is filled with rich details. It is the kind of story that you’d leave all your other work aside to read. Be warned!”

Neil D’Silva, author of Haunted, Yakshini and Maya’s New Husband

Author bio:

Apeksha Rao fell in love with words very early in life. 

While other kids of her age were still learning to spell, she was already reading her older brother’s books and comics. 

She wrote her first story at the age of seven and submitted it to Tinkle, a very popular children’s magazine. 

Writing took a backseat, as she established a thriving medical practice.

But Apeksha rekindled her love affair with words, while on maternity leave. 

She would tap away at her keyboard while rocking her twin babies to sleep, as sleep deprivation stimulated her dormant creativity.

She wrote numerous short stories, that she published on her blog. 

Apeksha has been lauded for her taut and gripping stories, that always come with a twist at the end.

In addition to Along Came A Spyder, she has written The Itsy Bitsy Spyder, a prequel novella to the Spyders series.

A Mumbaikar, born and bred, Apeksha comes from a family of doctors. 

At the ripe age of thirty-four, she wound up her practice and moved with her family, to Bengaluru. 

She is now a full-time writer. 

She is also a die-hard foodie, who’s still trying to find the best vada-pav in Bengaluru.

She has twin boys, who keep her on her toes.

Apeksha’s husband is her inspiration to write, as well as her biggest critic.

Website – https://apeksharao.in/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ApekshaRaoOfficial/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/apekshar

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rao.apeksha/

Book Blitz – Anamika Khanna Falls in Love

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 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55354240-anamika-khanna-falls-in-love
Amazon – https://amzn.to/32BkKFR

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 – https://www.facebook.com/authorshraddhasahi

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/shraddhavs

Instagram – https://instagram.com/shraddhasahi

Youtube channel – https://bit.ly/3jUMCL9

Release Day Blitz – My Heart’s Regret

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About the Book:

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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:

Goodreads * Amazon

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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. 

“Sam, if someone sees…”

“Let them.” She couldn’t care less.

“Sam, please.” The plea was quiet, but it sliced through. “For my father’s sake.”

Her heart broke at the words. She swiped at the tear that escaped and rolled down her cheek. Without looking at him, she stepped out of the car and got into the rear seat. 

Raghav slid into the driver’s seat and put the car in gear.

They drove home in silence, each lost in their own tortured thoughts. It wasn’t long before her house loomed in front of them. 

They were almost at the gate when she spoke, “Are you happy?”

His hands tightened on the steering wheel. “Are you?”

She laughed. The mirthless sound echoed between them as Ahmed Chacha waved them through the gates. “You’re not going to answer any of my questions, are you?”

Raghav sighed. “What’s the point of this conversation? Discussing the past is going to bring us nothing but more pain.”

“Alright. Let’s talk about the present. Why did you come back?”

Raghav brought the car to a halt outside her front door. “I came back for my parents.”

“Never for me,” she murmured. “You left me without a second thought.”

Raghav, who was holding her door open, froze at the soft words. She stepped out of the car and around his still form. She wasn’t going to beg him for answers anymore.

“The thing is, Sam,” the whisper reached her through the violent noises of the stormy night, “You left me first.”

About the Author:

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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

Release Day Blitz – A Lifetime to Move On

~ Release Day ~

About the Book:

When Kumar finds out that his only daughter is in love, he has a tough time coming to terms with the fact that his Doll has grown up already. But his displeasure takes a different turn when he realizes who his daughter’s love interest is.

Sarika couldn’t have been happier at the news of her elder son having found the love of his life. She can’t wait to see him happily married. But the revelation about the girl’s parents numbs her as much as it shocks her.

What is it in their past that Kumar and Sarika need to make peace with, so that their children can find their ‘Happily Ever After’.  Will they be able to do so?

Book Links:

Goodreads

Meet Kumar

Kumar Malhotra’s life revolves around his work and family, especially his only daughter Pia.

At a top position in an IT firm in India’s Silicon Valley, he leads a life of blessed contentment. The only soar point in his life is that his daughter decided to go abroad to study and now even works there. He can’t help but brood for allowing her to fly away so far away from him. And now she seems to have found the love of her life.

In her mid-twenties, he knows he can’t hold it against his daughter to want to settle down happily in a relationship.  He is worried that his image of ‘Daddy Cool’ might come crumbling down if he didn’t stand up to the occasion and give this boy in her life a fair chance.

But now there is one more problem.

He might be a roadblock on the way to her happiness already. Something he did 30 years ago couldn’t be held against his daughter now, could it?  Never in his dreams he would have imagined that the ghosts of his past would come knocking at his door threatening to rob his daughter of her dreams and a happy future.

He hoped that ‘She’ would see reason. Or could he simply make ‘Her’ give in by making her feel guilty for a mistake he made 30 years ago?

About the Author:

Anupriya belongs to that generation of Idiots (the proud ones though), who did their engineering first and then decided on what they actually wanted to do. She completed her MBA in Human Resources and worked in the corporate world for 8 years, before taking a professional break. A mom by day and a reader/writer by night, Anupriya is a die-hard romantic. Yet she believes that love (in any relationship) is a part of life, not, the heart of life. And she aims to bring to the world, stories around this theme. She can be found in the dot com world at her blog http://www.mommytincture.com, which contains her ranting about her experiences in her various roles as a mother, daughter, wife and foremost a human being, all churned together. It is also her outlet to the world where she doles out loads of gyaan on self-improvement and relationship management.

~ Release Day ~

About the Book:

When Kumar finds out that his only daughter is in love, he has a tough time coming to terms with the fact that his Doll has grown up already. But his displeasure takes a different turn when he realizes who his daughter’s love interest is.

Sarika couldn’t have been happier at the news of her elder son having found the love of his life. She can’t wait to see him happily married. But the revelation about the girl’s parents numbs her as much as it shocks her.

What is it in their past that Kumar and Sarika need to make peace with, so that their children can find their ‘Happily Ever After’.  Will they be able to do so?

Book Links:

Goodreads

Meet Kumar

Kumar Malhotra’s life revolves around his work and family, especially his only daughter Pia.

At a top position in an IT firm in India’s Silicon Valley, he leads a life of blessed contentment. The only soar point in his life is that his daughter decided to go abroad to study and now even works there. He can’t help but brood for allowing her to fly away so far away from him. And now she seems to have found the love of her life.

In her mid-twenties, he knows he can’t hold it against his daughter to want to settle down happily in a relationship.  He is worried that his image of ‘Daddy Cool’ might come crumbling down if he didn’t stand up to the occasion and give this boy in her life a fair chance.

But now there is one more problem.

He might be a roadblock on the way to her happiness already. Something he did 30 years ago couldn’t be held against his daughter now, could it?  Never in his dreams he would have imagined that the ghosts of his past would come knocking at his door threatening to rob his daughter of her dreams and a happy future.

He hoped that ‘She’ would see reason. Or could he simply make ‘Her’ give in by making her feel guilty for a mistake he made 30 years ago?

About the Author:

Anupriya belongs to that generation of Idiots (the proud ones though), who did their engineering first and then decided on what they actually wanted to do. She completed her MBA in Human Resources and worked in the corporate world for 8 years, before taking a professional break. A mom by day and a reader/writer by night, Anupriya is a die-hard romantic. Yet she believes that love (in any relationship) is a part of life, not, the heart of life. And she aims to bring to the world, stories around this theme. She can be found in the dot com world at her blog http://www.mommytincture.com, which contains her ranting about her experiences in her various roles as a mother, daughter, wife and foremost a human being, all churned together. It is also her outlet to the world where she doles out loads of gyaan on self-improvement and relationship management.

Anupriya on the Web:Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

Book Blitz – Truly Madly Crazily in Love

~ Book Blitz ~

Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey 

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About the Book: 

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What happens when you can’t let your first love go? What happens when you keep hoping that the one that got away, will be yours again…forever?

Sue is short, vivacious and dreamy. Viv is tall, spirited and focussed. Dressed to the nines on School Social, she bewitches him. He kisses her. She kisses him back. They fall in love. But the kiss that should have sealed their love, becomes their undoing.

Sue is truly, madly and crazily in love with him. There is no one like Viv. She pines for him, but he can’t be hers. Days go by and she is still head over heals in love with him.

When she finally lets him go and is ready to start over, he walks into her life again.

Hearts are broken. Promises are shattered. Lives are wrecked. Love is tested.

In a tale transcending time, Sue and Viv weave a story of love like none other. Will hope, trust and love win the test of time? From Lucknow, to Delhi to London, will Sue finally have her happily ever after? Read this sweet romance to find out.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey

That smile was his undoing. He had fallen madly in love with Sukirti, the girl with a golden heart and the prettiest eyes. He couldn’t dare to lose her friendship, so he never complicated their relationship. It was difficult to believe that it had only been three months since they knew each other. They were inseparable. Their classmates and friends teased them, and boys even made kissing sounds when they were alone with Vaibhav, but he maintained that they were friends. In fact, Sukirti had never given him any reason to believe otherwise. She was a perfect friend and never lead him on to believe that she felt more for him. Once, when they were talking on the phone and somehow the conversation had moved to friendship and love, he had come very close to confessing his feelings to her, but his mother’s knock on the door had saved him just in time.

“Of course, we will talk on the phone Sue, but practicing like this is much better na,” he said, hiding his disappointment at her not being as affected as he was. All he could do was hope that she would come for the farewell. He had something special planned for her.

About the Author:

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Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book I Will Meet You There, a collection of short stories.

Esha is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch. She has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the “Best Short Story”.

Esha has kept her passion for writing alive through her tough assignments in policing because writing is music for her soul. Her TDH hero is her partner for life, her husband Rajiv, who supports her in all her endeavors. When she is not doing either, policing or writing, she is busy dealing with her two bundles of naughtiness, her sons.

Esha on the Web:

Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

Book Blitz! Truly Madly Crazily in Love

~ Book Blitz ~

Truly Madly Crazily in Love

by Esha Pandey 

BLITZ BANNER copy

About the Book: 

KINDLE MOCK copy

What happens when you can’t let your first love go? What happens when you keep hoping that the one that got away, will be yours again…forever?

Sue is short, vivacious and dreamy. Viv is tall, spirited and focussed. Dressed to the nines on School Social, she bewitches him. He kisses her. She kisses him back. They fall in love. But the kiss that should have sealed their love, becomes their undoing.

Sue is truly, madly and crazily in love with him. There is no one like Viv. She pines for him, but he can’t be hers. Days go by and she is still head over heals in love with him.

When she finally lets him go and is ready to start over, he walks into her life again.

Hearts are broken. Promises are shattered. Lives are wrecked. Love is tested.

In a tale transcending time, Sue and Viv weave a story of love like none other. Will hope, trust and love win the test of time? From Lucknow, to Delhi to London, will Sue finally have her happily ever after? Read this sweet romance to find out.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey

Sukirti lingered on at the gate a bit longer than necessary. She wondered if her mother had noticed how she was lost in her thoughts when she walked in. She certainly didn’t comment on it. Sukirti went directly to her room. She had never experienced the kind of rush she felt with Vaibhav. When she was pressed to him on impact because of the speed breaker, it was as if her whole body had exploded. She was tingling wherever her body had touched his. She knew this was different than anything she had ever known. She remembered her elder cousin Garima telling her about her boyfriend and how he made her feel. At that time, she had not thought it was possible to feel like you were on fire. That day, she understood.

Was she developing a crush on Vaibhav?

About the Author:

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Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book I Will Meet You There, a collection of short stories.

Esha is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch. She has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the “Best Short Story”.

Esha has kept her passion for writing alive through her tough assignments in policing because writing is music for her soul. Her TDH hero is her partner for life, her husband Rajiv, who supports her in all her endeavors. When she is not doing either, policing or writing, she is busy dealing with her two bundles of naughtiness, her sons. 

Esha on the Web:

Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

 

Book Tour – Ready for the World

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About The Book Series

Ready For The World – Driver’s Education:

All Brandon Delacruz is asking out of his young life is popularity, riches, and the girl of his dreams. But what he does have are good grades, a ten-speed bicycle, and his two lifelong friends, Josh and Ally, at his side. And together, they’ll navigate their way through the rigors of high school life.

But unlike high school, real life doesn’t come with study guides. Brandon realizes that the girl he’s always dreamed about has been there all along. And as he untangles his feelings for Ally, something tragic happens to her family that changes everything. Now, Brandon will spend the rest of the year balancing his romantic feelings for Ally and his life-long friendship with her while also dealing with tough teachers, classes, and toughest of all, meeting the Filipino parental standards.

Brandon will learn that the world moves pretty fast, whether he’s ready or not.

Ready For The World – Superstar:

He has the girl, the grades, and now, a calling. Brandon Delacruz is going to write the next great novel and he isn’t even sixteen yet. It looks like 1987 is going to be his best year ever.

But his best year quickly turns into his most confusing. Because instead of one special girl in his life, there are two. There’s Ally, his childhood friend, and first love who has turned into the biggest enigma in his life. And then there’s Rachel, a brash and beautiful girl that’s as good a photographer as she is a pool player.

Brandon will learn that life can’t be easily rewritten or edited like a novel. But like mystery novels, things in life aren’t always what they seem. Like comedic books, life is often funny and hilarious. And like the best love stories, life has its share of twists and turns, ups and downs, that are filled with beauty, grace, and sometimes heartbreak.

Book Cover copy

Purchase Links

Ready For The World: Driver’s Education 

Amazon India | Amazon USA

Ready For The World: Superstar

Amazon India | Amazon USA

Book Excerpt from Ready For The World: Superstar

The rat-a-tat-tat of my typewriter was as soothing as waves crashing on the beach. Every keystroke meant another letter, word, or sentence on the page. Every whoosh of the rollers meant another layer added to what I called The Leaning Tower of Paper. Hey, it‘s a working title. My ideas flowed so fast I should‘ve had a radar gun on me. I was in, what athletes like to call, The Zone.

It was in early January 1987 when I realized that it was my destiny to be a writer. I was good at it, I liked doing it, and when I wasn’t writing, I found myself thinking about it. Taking hold of your destiny when you‘re six months shy of your sixteenth birthday is no easy task. For one thing, you have school five days a week with homework assignments every night. If you play a sport, belong in a club, or play an instrument, then that takes up more of your time. When you finally do get home, your Mom and Dad hand you a long list of chores. It‘s not like when you‘re an adult and you have way more time to fulfill your destiny. It‘s way harder when you‘re a teenager.

The rain fell like Niagara Falls outside. Jacob worried that at any minute the giant window would shatter and send shards all over his room. The leaves on the giant oak tree in his yard that hadn‘t fallen in the downpour blew away in the howling wind. His unlucky neighbors caught in the rainstorm scurried for shelter. Their makeshift umbrellas of magazines and newspapers dissolved away in their hands. Jacob‘s ears perked up as thunder echoed in the distance.

Jacob imagined Lindsay‘s car pulling up to her darkened driveway. He would grab his coat and step outside. He‘d hurdle the chain-link fence surrounding his yard. Lindsay would be there waiting for him, flashing that brilliant smile of hers that he knew so well. He imagined walking up to her, standing face to face, with each of them feeling the heat of each other‘s breath…

Of course, that was when my phone rang and I dropped out of The Zone. Normally, I would have pulled the phone out of the wall. But after a quick glance at the clock, I picked up the receiver before the first ring even finished. “Right on time,“ I said.

“How‘d you know it was me?“ Ally asked.

“Because you are nothing if not punctual.“

“Am I that predictable?“

“I prefer to say reliable,“ I said. “It makes you sound more put together.“

Ally and I talked on the phone every night at the same time since she left for vacation. Our, I guess I‘d call it a relationship, had moved along great. Better than great. We weren‘t having those awkward pauses and silences like other people did. We talked like we always did: about the Lakers, about neither of us being ready to go back to school, and about life.

She cleared her throat. “How‘s the book coming along?“

I banged my elbow against the typewriter and the “Z“ key popped off. “Hold on,“ I said as I grabbed the Super Glue. “I‘m listening, I swear.“

“You sound busy,“ she said.

I held the phone with my shoulder and tried not to glue it there. “No, no. Tell me about your vacation. How‘s the weather? Did you go skiing?“

“Cold,“ she said. “And no, I‘m not up for it.“

“Why? Did you break your leg or something?“ I laughed. When she was silent on her end, I tossed the glue down. “Oh God, did you break your leg or something?“

Ally let out a soft chuckle. “No, I‘m packing for home.“

“Cutting the trip short?“

“My dad has some things to do here and Vince wanted to get a little more skiing in,“ she said. “It‘ll just be me.“

A drop of sweat fell onto my glasses. “So, you‘re coming home…by yourself?“

“Uh-huh.“

I cleared my throat. “Um…when?“

“Wednesday,“ she said.

I dug through my hamper for my best dress shirt and saw the giant smear of mustard across the front. “I can pick you up at the airport. I mean, if you want.“

“I couldn‘t ask you to do that,“ she said. “I can just catch the bus home or take a taxi…“

“Ally,” I said. “I’d be happy to help. Don’t worry about it.” I scrambled for a blank sheet that I wasn‘t going to turn into a paper airplane. “What time is your flight?“

“Five o‘clock.“

“Airline?“

“TWA. Flight 1789.“

“Got it,“ I underlined the flight info and circled it twice. “Why are you coming home so early? I mean, I‘m happy you are, but I was curious.“

It was silent on her end. “I want to see you.”

A church choir belted out the “Hallelujah“ chorus in my head. “You do?“

“Yes,“ she said.

“Wow,“ I said. I strummed my fingers on the typewriter as my mind raced with images of Ally in a slinky red dress. “I… I guess I‘ll see you soon.“ I winced as I heard the crack in my voice.

“Brandon?“

“Yeah?“

The line crackled and hummed. “Nothing,“ she said. “I‘ll see you Wednesday.“

“See you then,“ I said. We said our goodbyes and hung up. I felt my heartbeat thumping in my ears. Did I actually hear what I heard?

*****

“She actually said that?“ Josh asked. “Alyson Paige McCartney actually told you, Brandon Jo-Jo Delacruz…“

“That‘s not my middle name,“ I interrupted.

“‘I want to see you,’“ he said. “She used those exact words.“

“Yes,“ I said as I tried not to have the biggest smile on my face. But in my head, I was bouncing up and down like a pogo stick.

Josh smiled. “You realize what this means, don‘t you? You need to step it up.”

“Totally step it up,“ Robbie said.

I took off my hat and scratched my head. “Step up what?“

“My God, do you brush your hair with a fork?“ Robbie asked.

I quickly put my hat back on. “Is it really that bad?”

He bridged his fingers and held them in front of his face. “Brandon, you‘re a six and a half or a seven on your best day. But Ally‘s tall, gorgeous, athletic, and has that half-Filipino, half-white complexion. She‘s like, a ten. You are way, way out of your league here. If you want to be with an angel, you gotta learn how to fly.“

“Hold on a second, if I‘m a seven…“

“Six and a half,“ he said as he stared at my head. “Remind me to give you my hairdresser’s business card later.”

“If I‘m a seven, then what are you?“

“Hey! I‘m not saying that I‘m perfect! I‘m like an eight…and a half.“

“Out of what?“ I asked. “A hundred?“

Josh put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “You know you and Ally are my best friends in the world, right? I‘m pulling for you two crazy kids. So believe me when I say this: if you want this to be the best night of your life, do not, under any circumstances, be yourself.“

“Excuse me?“ I asked.

“He‘s right,“ Robbie said.

“You have to be an even better version of yourself,“ Josh said. “A version that Ally‘s never seen. You want her to think of you as a man and not the kid from down the block. You gotta look the part, sound the part, and hell, you gotta smell the part!“

“Get a bottle of Polo Cologne. Or Drakkar. And for God‘s sake, no Old Spice,“ Robbie said as he flapped his tie at me. “You should come by my store. Our coats are 25% off. With my 20% discount, that‘s like 45%!“

“I see that math tutor you got has done wonders for you,“ I said.

“Look, B,“ Josh said. “We‘re not asking you to change everything.“

“Just the things that matter,“ Robbie said. “Your hair, clothes, and personality.“

Clearly, their idea of pep talk was tossing a drowning man an anchor. But I guess wearing a sweatshirt with coffee stains doesn’t make the best of impressions. “Fine,“ I said. “What do you idiots have in mind?“

Author Pic copy

About the Author

Charmeljun Gallardo is a former Radiologist and author. His first book is Ready for the World young adult book series. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Creative Writing degree in 1996. He is a writer, photography enthusiast, sports fan, movie geek, stroke survivor, and an adventurous foodie. He lives in San Diego, California with his wife and son.

Catch up with Charmeljun Gallardo On

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Release Day Blitz – Love, Truth, and Taking Chances

Love, Truth, and Taking Chances
(The Kapoor Brothers #2)
by Shilpa Suraj

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About the Book:

LTaTC1 copy

Losing his wife to breast cancer has left Arjun Kapoor a broken man. He vows to never risk his heart again. Until the day Vihana Luthra turns up on his doorstep. Vivacious, optimistic and bursting with life, she believes in taking each day as it comes.

Unwilling to love but unable to resist the force of nature that is Vihana, Arjun finds himself drawn into the manic chaos that is her life. And he starts to believe again; in hope, in dreams, in love…

But Vihana has a secret… one with devastating consequences. Will they be able to survive it or will it tear them apart?

Buy Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Check out a few Quotes from Love, Truth, and Taking Chances

Cover w: text
About Shilpa Suraj:

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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.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Book Tour – A Barren Heart

A Barren Heart

by Shilpa Suraj

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About the Book:

A Barren Heart copy

When having it all isn’t enough…

Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfect marriage. They are madly in love – with each other, with their own careers and the home and life they are building in a quiet Mumbai suburb.

Rhea is a successful interior designer with a thriving business while Aman is a commercial pilot who is at peace with his life, on the ground and in the skies! What could possibly be lacking in their picture-perfect marriage?

A baby.

Like most women, thirty plus Rhea Chakraborty, wants to hold her own flesh and blood in her arms. And Aman too wants the same.

Or does he?

After another unexplained miscarriage that takes a severe emotional, physical, and psychological toll on them, Aman isn’t sure if having a baby will complete them or destroy them.

Suddenly, Rhea and Aman find the fabric of their stable marriage fraying beneath the strain of their failed conceptions. Where once they were a team with a common goal, they now find themselves on opposite sides with shifting goalposts.

A Barren Heart is set in so-called modern India and is the story of the struggle of an affluent, educated couple who are still fighting the shackles of societal indoctrination and expectations and losing each other in the process.

Book Links:

Amazon * Goodreads

Read an Excerpt from A Barren Heart

“Aman.”

He powered off his kindle at the sound of her voice. He hadn’t yet made peace with the concession he’d made this morning, but he knew it was the only way forward for them. As a couple. As a family.

“Amannnnn,” she yelled out again. He couldn’t miss the excitement in her voice.

“I’m in here,” he called out. She appeared in the doorway of their guest bedroom a second later. Her hair was a mess, her clothes damp which meant she’d gotten caught in the sudden downpour that had hit earlier that evening and she looked…incandescent. His heart throbbed, the hurt a silent reminder of how much he loved this woman.

“You are not going to believe what happened today.” She launched herself into his arms. He caught her, the motion more reflexive than anything else. Setting her back, he looked at her glowing face. “What happened?”

“Sakshi Garewal, my client from hell recommended me to a friend of hers.”

It lightened his heart a bit to see her so excited about something as normal as a new project. It had been a very long while since she’d found joy in the simple parts of their life. “Congratulations,” he said.

“Guess who it is,” she squeezed his hand.

“Someone famous?” he smiled, her happiness was contagious. “Bollywood or cricket?”

“Bollywood with a bang.” She flopped back on the bed her arms spread out like she wanted to hug the room. “Amyra Sareen.”

“You’re joking!” A low whistle escaped him. “That is the big time.”

“Yes, it is.” She pumped a fist in the air. “I’m going to be designing Amyra Sareen’s apartment. I’ve finally broken into the big league.”

“Congratulations,” he said, again. He was so proud of her. She’d worked her butt off to get to this point.

“We should celebrate.” Rhea shot up from her prone position. “Get ready. We’re going out to dinner. My treat.”

She was halfway to the door when she slowed. “Why are you in the guest bedroom?”

It had taken so long to penetrate. Curiously numb, he watched her as she turned to face him, a frown marring the smooth lines of her brow.

“Aman?”

“I just needed a little space.” The numbness was turning icy now that he had finally said the words.

“Space?” she repeated. “Space from me?” Confusion warred with anxiety as she took a step forward. Aman didn’t answer.

“If this is about the appointment with the doctor, we don’t have to go.”

“We do,” he said, gently but firmly.

“Why? It’s obvious you don’t want to go and I won’t force you.”

No, she wouldn’t. Not overtly. She wouldn’t realise it, but it would fester and she’d resent him. And it would kill him to see her love for him turn into something else. To see her turn into a bitter, frustrated shell of the vibrant, joyful woman he loved.

“We’ll go because you want to.” He stood up from the bed and moved towards her. “Set it up for tomorrow. I have a flight to Dubai scheduled day after.”

“No.” She shook her head, tears standing in her eyes, her earlier excitement leaching away. “I don’t want it enough to lose you.”

“You’re not losing me,” he said, his chest feeling like someone had tightened a vice around it. “I just needed a little space to clear my head.” And he couldn’t do that surrounded by her and her emotions all the time.

“I haven’t left home or you, Rhea. I’m right here. Just in another room for a couple of days. I need to think and I can’t do that clearly if we’re in each other’s faces.”

A single tear slipped out, trailing down her cheek. He cradled her face gently and wiped it away with his thumb. “Go get ready. We have to go out to celebrate.”

“I don’t feel like it anymore.” Rhea pulled back, looking lost and confused. “I think I need to clear my head too. I’m going for a walk.” She left before he could say another word. He heard the front door shut a minute later.

Be careful what you ask for, people often said. As Aman stood alone in the silent, darkening room, he realized that he had all the space he’d asked for, but he wasn’t sure he wanted it anymore.

He wanted to call her back. To bring back the excitement, the happiness she’d come home with. He wanted their life to go back to what it had been before this whole baby story began. He wanted his wife back. The wife who’d radiated joy, whose ambition had driven her to reach for the stars, whose love for him had been his anchor.

But he didn’t know how to turn back time. He didn’t know how to recapture that shiny bubble they’d lived in. He didn’t know how to go back to where they’d been before this whole baby story had taken over their life. So, he took the space he’d asked for and used it to think. To figure out where they went from here, because they couldn’t go back to the past and the present was a ticking time bomb.

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy

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.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Release Day Blitz -A Barren Heart

~ Release Day Blitz ~ 

A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj

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RELEASING TODAY!
Get Your Copy NOW!

A Barren Heart copy

When having it all isn’t enough…

Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfect marriage. They are madly in love – with each other, with their own careers and the home and life they are building in a quiet Mumbai suburb. 

Rhea is a successful interior designer with a thriving business while Aman is a commercial pilot who is at peace with his life, on the ground and in the skies! What could possibly be lacking in their picture-perfect marriage?

A baby. 

Like most women, thirty plus Rhea Chakraborty, wants to hold her own flesh and blood in her arms. And Aman too wants the same. 

Or does he? 

After another unexplained miscarriage that takes a severe emotional, physical, and psychological toll on them, Aman isn’t sure if having a baby will complete them or destroy them. 

Suddenly, Rhea and Aman find the fabric of their stable marriage fraying beneath the strain of their failed conceptions. Where once they were a team with a common goal, they now find themselves on opposite sides with shifting goalposts. 

A Barren Heart is set in so-called modern India and is the story of the struggle of an affluent, educated couple who are still fighting the shackles of societal indoctrination and expectations and losing each other in the process.

RELEASING TODAY!
Get Your Copy NOW!

Releasing On 29th May! (1) copy

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy

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.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

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