We’ve reached the penultimate one of a five-part series of excerpts from the romantic novel ‘Tick-Tock we’re 30’. This is from the first Indian Mills & Boon author, Milan Vohra. This particular excerpt is sure to set your pulse racing. Read on to find out more about the complex lives of Nishad and Lara.
Milan’s comment about the excerpt:
‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ is about 12 friends, six guys, six girls who are meeting again after 10 years. They’re staying in a rented house in the same Delhi colony they grew up in. Part of the plan for the gang’s reunion was to do all the crazy fun stuff they did back then, in the course of this week. This scene is after all of them have been out playing Holi all day in the middle of Delhi winter. Perzaan had been introduced to the group earlier as Lara’s eminently suitable banker boyfriend but then Perzaan is Perzaan – exuberant, irrepressible, and unpredictable. And Nishad? Well, read on. And don’t expect an excerpt to tell all!
At times like this I yearn for an MMS. Mom’s Mulligatawny Special. That blenderised concoction by way of which she thinks she’s tricked Dad and me into finishing leftover dal and veggies. I’d kill to have one right now. I clear my throat some more, which then grows into a full-fledged attack of phlegm. On second thoughts, I should have at least stayed off the beer. I’m feeling distinctly feverish now.
‘Brandy, hot water and honey,’ Nishad says sagely, appearing out of nowhere like the Cheshire Cat. Only, a lot more attractive. He’s cleaned up well. In that soft grey zip-up jacket and track pants he looks very cosy and, well, almost inviting.
‘Ya. Like that’s going to appear magically,’ I say dryly, continuing to lift and look under mountains of backpacks and shopping bags. Nishad comes up and places a warm snug palm over my forehead. I can smell a very nice woodsy something. I inhale it deeply. His lips twitch ever so slightly.
‘Just clearing my chest, in the absence of Vicks,’ I explain. Ha. Ha. Ha. ‘That smell is just the right strength, not overpowering. But at least I can get it through my blocked nose,’ I babble.
‘Happy to help,’ he says, bemused. His palm is now on my neck, in the sweet spot where it curves in, just above the dip into the neckline of my white T-shirt. He is still making like he is busy checking to see if I have fever.
‘Want to get a closer sniff?’ He laughs and puts his arm around me.
‘Thanks. That’s so sweet of you,’ I continue like we’re still joking, except my heart is beating, in fact, keeps on repeating.
Nishad gently pulls away. With reluctance, that’s obvious.
(Maybe I should tell him Perzaan is not my boyfriend.) Hello? Can we get on with the aromatherapy?
‘Well at least you don’t have fever,’ he says. Hmmm, what other possible explanation could there be for why I’m burning up like this? And what is with this newfound awkwardness and shyness that has started to happen to me around Nishad lately?
‘Come on. You just need to get into bed. Get warm,’ he says, as his eyes rest caressingly on me. My comfy old white T-shirt ends a little above my pale pink M&S candy striped jammies; the drawstring dangling loosely from the waistband on my hips. Self-consciously, I push back my still damp hair behind my ears. Again, it catches on an earring. Automatically I disentangle the few strands that are stuck, aware of Nishad’s warm gaze on me.
‘Is that an offer?’ I croak huskily and not entirely because of the sore throat.
‘It could be,’ Nishad says. A smile lights his eyes tantalizingly. ‘Depends.’
‘On what?’ I smile, arching an eyebrow delicately. God it’s been so long since I did this. I’m sure I look more like some novice practicing in front of a mirror than the confident woman of the world I want to come across as.
‘On how long you’re willing to wait,’ he says jauntily.
He’s nipped out of the door faster than I can say ‘no condom, no sex.’
Milan Vohra gained international recognition when one of her short stories won a nationwide Harlequin short story contest and made her the first Indian Mills & Boon author. Her book ‘The Love Asana’ became a huge bestseller and is being translated into several languages. Milan has also written a play, a musical comedy called “Maid in India’, short stories for anthologies like ‘Vanilla desires’ by Unisun Publishers , Young Adult stories for Penguin in ‘Love like that and other stories’ and also written TV scripts for Sesame Street in India.
Milan’s latest book ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ by Westland is a reflective rom-com about old friendships, new chemistries, and imperfect urban relationships. Milan’s real claim to fame, she says, is that she is the world’s best worst dancer. You can follow her here on Facebook.
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