when two people meet for the first time, it can be many things – fun, tedious, pleasant, awful, fascinating, boring – and it can be the start of a lifelong friendship or a century of feuding. It can also be love at first sight or hate at first glance, depending on how dramatic the set-up is [or how dramatic you are].
This post is a chance for you to learn of the chaos and commotion that attended the first meeting between Mohini and Aalok of my #Indie romance, ‘No Escape from Love.’
Here’s the cover and the blurb to get you started:
Will the demons from their past succeed in tearing them apart?
After personal tragedy strikes, Mohini Kapoor runs away from the city to her grandparents home in a village in Punjab. Though she manages to pick up the pieces of her broken self, and even builds a life for herself, the horror of her experience is difficult to forget. She buries it deep down inside her subconscious mind until the arrival of a stranger threatens to resurrect the old demons.
Reputed photojournalist, Aalok Ahuja, has to hide out for a few days to escape circumstances beyond his control. When his friend recommends Tejopur, a remote village in Punjab, Aalok expects life to be simple there and, perhaps, even boring – instead, his world is thrown into chaos by a woman more desirable, and vastly more complicated, than any he has ever known.
When their destinies collide, attraction flares, but secrets threaten their new found feelings. Should they cut and run or give love a chance?
Read an excerpt of when they first meet:
Who the devil was this strange, multilingual man?
Mohini’s scrambled senses registered the fragrance of a hundred different blossoms wafting all the way up from her grandfather’s gardens. Though it reminded her frantic brain that she was on familiar territory, it did little to reassure her about anything else.
The man continued to loom ominously, expecting some sort of response from her, but a half-remembered fear paralyzed her vocal cords. In the fading light, he was huge and shadowy and sinister – the long, untidy hair, and the craggy, unshaven jaw did not inspire trust. Was he somebody from her past? What was he here for?
‘Zubaan girvi rakhi aye, mundaya?‘ he sneered, switching back to Punjabi with ease.
Mohini ignored the uncivil reference to her tongue and to the failure of that organ to respond to his question; instead, she focused with astonishment on the ‘mundaya‘ part of his taunt. He thought she was a ‘young lad’?
That stung for some reason and it had her scrambling to her feet. She yanked at the scarf that she’d tied turban-style to keep the hair out of her eyes. Despite her uncertainty and trepidation, she watched with some pleasure as a dumbfounded expression chased the sneer off the man’s face.
‘You’re a bloody woman!’ he burst out in seething anger, annoying her more than he had before. Mohini struggled to tame the curls that blew about in irritating abandon thanks to a stiff breeze; that done, she stretched her tiny frame, trying to stand as tall as her five feet two inches would let her.
It made little difference – he was miles too large, and way too brash to be intimidated by her. He continued to maintain his threatening posture, still looking choleric, so she took a stealthy step backwards.
‘I thought . . . I just . . . What are you doing here? This is …’
The stranger, rude as ever, cut her off with an impatient wave of his hand, and strode back to where he’d been earlier. He peered over the edge of the roof, but by now Mohini had had enough of him. If he intended to leap off, she was all for it. Insufferable man!
He didn’t jump. Instead, he snorted at the bougainvillea that clambered in merry profusion over brick and mortar, then shook his head and turned to snarl at her. ‘Just look at what you’ve done! It’ll never survive the fall.’
He charged over closer to where she stood, and glowered at her in the setting sun. ‘Why did you slam into me like that for? Couldn’t you see where you were going?’
Mohini clenched her teeth. She didn’t respond well to sarcasm or anger. Besides, the obnoxious man was standing too close for rational thought. He filled her field of view and she considered stepping back some more. Perhaps it would be wise to put the water tank between them.
There was a large, sharpened shard of wood wedged into the broken latch of the plastic tank – if she could get her hands on it … but then she figuratively stiffened her spine once again. She lived here, in this hitherto peaceful village, Tejopur. This was her terrace – her late grandfather’s actually – and the stranger was trespassing. Besides, she could hear Bindro singing away downstairs in the kitchen – so help was within shouting distance. Above everything else, she herself was a judoka and her nage-waza had always inspired respect.
Much reassured, Mohini felt it was past time to let the aggressive boor know who was boss. Although sorely tempted to be scathing, it was obvious now that he had misinterpreted her actions, so she decided to deal with him in a civil manner.
‘I did not slam into you,’ she said as reasonably as she could, considering that she wanted nothing more than to knock him out with a large, heavy object and hand him over to the local thanedaar. ‘I thought you were about to ju… er … topple over.’
‘Instead, thanks to you I’ve just ‘toppled over’ my cell phone. Two floors down. Molecules of it are probably skittering all over the property even now.’ He threw his arms about in an unfairly magnified gesture.
Mohini stiffened. Ah well, she had tried – but it was difficult to be polite to a person who didn’t know the meaning of the word.
‘Oh … I’m sorry you’ve dropped your phone; but, how is it my fault if you can’t hold on to your possessions? You shouldn’t be up here, anyway. This is private property.’
‘Yeah, well, I’m sorry too – about all of this,’ the man snapped right back – he stretched the ‘all’ and earned another black look for his trouble – ‘but I’m a guest of the family.’
He pierced her with a sharp glare. ‘Are you supposed to be here? On private property?’
Mohini’s mouth dropped open.
Shamelessly untruthful, gate-crashing giant! He wasn’t her guest – she didn’t even know him!
‘I live on this property, Mister – you are no guest of this family.’ She jabbed with furious vigor at her chest and winced when a rib protested.
Her pronouncement had a vivid effect on the man. The transformation was astounding – he flinched, then his fierce expression crumbled into sheepish embarrassment.
‘Good lord,’ he groaned. A large hand flew up to smack his forehead; the other one he held out in supplication. ‘Damn it, I should have guessed – who else would speak the Queen’s language in this godforsaken place?’
His tone was considerably less belligerent, the eyes almost beseeching. ‘Please tell me you aren’t Mohini Kapoor?’
Mohini Kapoor moved back a step. Two steps.
‘Who are you? How did you learn my name?’
Get your copy of No Escape from Love from Amazon
It’s #FREE on Kindle Unlimited