“Ha … I’ve crossed over to the dark side, Ma. Too late to return home again,” she thought. The black coffee she sipped did nothing to clear the confusion in her head.
Dipika pushed her limp, dank hair out of her eyes, struggling to make sense of the menu in front of her.
That bastard was stringing her along, she knew it. All his false promises meant nothing, she thought wearily while gazing at the menu.
She looked up to find Rupali rushing over to the table.
“Dips, darling, so good to see you,” said Rupali, trying to sound upbeat and cheerful. She almost recoiled as she hugged Dipika.
The stench of body odor and some other strange pungent aroma permeated the air around her.
Dipika looked awful; her usual dark circles worse than ever, hair dank and limp, and lips cracked and blistered. She never used makeup, but this was truly the worst Rupali had ever seen her look in a long while.
“Are you okay, babe?” she asked in a soft whisper. The answer seemed apparent – she was not.
Dipika made a superhuman effort to sound and act normal.
“I haven’t been too well, Rupa. That’s what I had called mom about. Hope she didn’t worry you girls. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. I just haven’t been sleeping much lately and it’s telling on my health.”
Rupali was sure that Dipika was depressed about her father’s upcoming death anniversary.
“Listen, baby … you are going through a tough emotional phase right now. It will get better, I promise. Meanwhile, we are all there for you, okay?” She hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.
Dipika nodded listlessly. Poor Rupali, such a good friend, always looking out for her. Dipika felt a million miles away from her right now.
They finished their coffee and made their way over to a few shops. Rupali could tell Dipika was having trouble walking and put it down to her mystery illness. Psychosomatic symptoms, probably, given her bouts of depression. All she could hope for was that whatever it was, it would clear up and her friend would get back to normal.
Dior, Valentino, Lanvin; there was truly no dearth of high-end brands in the latest styles in the Dubai malls. The girls finally agreed on a stunning Chanel dress, stark and beautiful, in black and white. When Rupali tried it on with the blue turquoise earrings the shop assistant provided, she loved what she saw in the mirror. The hunt for matching shoes took them to the Shoe District where even Dipika was seemingly revived by the stunning collection of Christian Louboutin. Rupa convinced her to pick up a pair of strappy stilettos in hot pink with a gold trim.
Rupali hesitated for a few seconds before charging her card. Sometimes she felt guilty about spending Rohit’s money. However, he had always told her that appearance meant everything – sleek, sophisticated and expensive clothes were his natural choice and, now, hers as well.
Finally, exhausted with their shopping, the girls headed to the parking lot where Rupali’s driver was waiting for them. She asked him to first drop Dipika off at her apartment on Sheikh Zayed Road before heading to her own home.
On her way home, she quickly called up Anjali.
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About the author
Finding the Angel is the debut full length romance by Rubina Ramesh and I must say the author has found her place. The story is rightly paced, neither too fast nor too slow. The hero, arrogant, attractive and damaged is bent upon retribution – the stuff fantasy is made of (though you wouldn’t like them in real life) He’s a man with loose morals and little respect for the heroine. However, the heroine’s love transforms him. A mystical touch to the traditional heirloom makes it more meaningful. Enjoy a glimpse of Indian royalty and sinful luxury in this blow-hot-blow-cold love story.
Warning *spoilers* ahead!
While I enjoyed the way the author writes, I found a few niggles. For instance, I wish he had voiced that he trusted her before he hit upon the evidence. Also, the girl was reminiscent of old Mills and Boon heroine, as at times she didn’t utter a squeak against the hero’s riding roughshod into her life. She could have displayed more spunk, I think.
All in all, a palatial fantasy romance. Read it for the royal setting and well paced story.
1857 Dust of Ages is a slim book with a story woven around the events presaging the Mutiny of 1857. It describes the role of British in weakening the Indian royalty and establishing more than a foothold in administration. The book is well researched, the language is simple and the romance which forms the central role in the novella holds attention.
The book is written in a back and forth way switching between past and present. The mystery of the unlikely marriage is maintained and highlighted by the growing dissension between the aristocracy and the British command. The language is passive at times and events jump forward in a ploy to serve the mystery.
Since the book is slim, the story could easily have been written as a novel depicting the whole story. As it is, the ending is abrupt and jarring and leaves the reader wondering why it has been divided into multiple volumes. A clear disclaimer regarding the continuity would also help the readers.
Read it for an imaginative glimpse for colonial India but be prepared to read other volumes to get the whole story.
Find the book details in the book spotlight on this blog:
‘Everything, except you.’ He put his hand on hers, gripping it on the rail. He felt her jerk in shock. Contact rapidly evoked what time hadn’t sufficiently buried.
‘I have missed you. A lot more than you think.’ His whisper grated the air close to her.
‘Don’t let’s go there, Revath.’
His fist curled even more strongly on hers. He wished he could heed her words. They were sanity. A timely warning. But the storm inside was let loose. He took away his hand but only to grasp her upper arms to draw her close.
‘Do you think any woman could be what you were to me?’ Her eyes widened as the words registered and he felt her relax slightly, the tension ebbing from her.
‘I mean it, Stuti.’
She didn’t resist as he brought his head close to hers. His mouth touched her cheek and then irresistibly, inevitably, her mouth.
Time seem to dissolve. His head swam with the rush of feeling. He realized he had been only half alive as a surge of sensation invaded his body, rushing through his veins with the speed of storm winds.
He didn’t care if her mother in law saw them. He didn’t care if the staff did. He didn’t care if the whole of Rajasthan became a witness to the kiss. All he knew was he needed it. Needed her surrender to the rage of emotions swirling inside both of them. He was sure of that. She felt it too. He could feel the trembling in her, the shiver of anticipation as the initial shock of the kiss dissolved into insidious acceptance.
He was intoxicated by the scent of flowers, the sweetness of nectar. Her mouth parted and he deepened the kiss, not able to tell her but needing to show the emotion that was alive and tingling in his every fiber. She clung to him, fingers digging in his shirt and the vortex intensified to a sucking maelstrom.
This was what he wanted. Needed. The woman in his arms was all softness and desire. The hunger spread more quickly than he had thought possible. Her mouth fused to his, clung, parted and clung again and the flame of wanting became a fire. Her fingers tugged at fistfuls of his shirt. She moaned, the sound heady, hitting his gut and evoking a fierce possessiveness that made him catch her to him with force.
A wail came from somewhere distant and the next moment Stuti pushed against him and backed away to the railing. Widened eyes looked at him, a flush on her skin.
‘Don’t do that again, Revath. We can’t go back. Not now.’
She was gone.