SORRY for the late update Guys……I am busy…..
THANKS FOR YOUR WONDERFUL COMMENTS…..AND HERE ARE MY LINKS OF PREVIOUS EPISODE…..
Snuggling against Sanskar, Swara rested her cheek on the flannel covering his
chest and listened to his heartbeat. Faster than normal. A result of the fever or
“What were you dreaming about?”
His body stiffened, and his breath rushed out, stirring the hair at her temple.
“Something that happened a long time ago.”
She turned in his arms to look up at his face. His eyes squeezed closed, lines
of pain etched deep.
“I’m listening if you want to talk about it.”
When he met her gaze, she stared into the soul of a deeply wounded man.
“I can’t, Swara. It’s not that I don’t trust you…” His throat worked
convulsively as he swallowed. “I just can’t.”
She pulled away a fraction of an inch. His words stung. “All right.” Staring at
the ceiling, she bit her lip, then blurted, “Do you have a girlfriend, fiancée,
significant other, someone I should know about?”
“No.” His voice rose. “Of course not. I wouldn’t have slept with you if I was
involved with anyone.”
Relief surged through her like a torrent, little bubbles of happiness bursting in
her chest. “You said…I thought…never mind. It doesn’t matter.”
“Not a very flattering picture you have of me. What kind of jerk do you take
me for?” He picked at the covers.
She covered his hand with hers. His skin was hot to the touch. Jerking upright,
she touched his brow. Definitely warmer than she liked.
“Sanskar, you’re scaring me a little. I think you need to see a doctor. Now.”
His eyes widened. “Seriously?”
“Laksh, my neighbor, was an army medic. If you really think—”
“I do.” She slipped out from under his arm and stood beside the bed. “If
anything bad happens to you because—” She broke off and worried her lip
between her teeth. “Let’s just say I’m not going to risk losing someone else I…
Reaching out, he snagged her arm. His fingers burned around her wrist. A
smile curved his lips, and the ghost of devilish amusement danced in his fever
“I like the sound of that.”
“Save it for later.” She backed up a step, then rushed forward and dropped a
kiss on his lips. Her heart contracted when he slid his fingers through her hair.
“I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.”
“Definitely, but let’s make sure of it.”
The damned ATV wouldn’t start. So maybe she was doing something wrong.
Who knew how to run one of these things? Not an ex-country girl turned
confirmed concrete junkie. Giving the machine a kick with her borrowed boot,
pain shot up her leg. Swara gritted her teeth and forced back tears.
By the time she reached the little cabin tucked into the woods, she couldn’t
feel her feet. Rapping frozen knuckles against the solid wood portal, she stomped
hard on the porch until a burning sensation assured her they were still attached.
The door flew open. A tall, lanky man with a gray buzz cut glared down at
her. “What’s all the ruckus out here?”
“S-s-s-s-sorry. I got snow in my boots on the way over and—”
“Good Lord, come inside.” Reaching out a long arm, he pulled her over the
threshold. “Aren’t you the girl Sanskar was with yesterday?”
Swara nodded. Her cheeks burned in the sudden blast of heat. Flames leapt
behind the glass window of a woodstove. “I’m Swara Wright.” She pulled off a
knitted mitten and stuck out red fingers.
“Laksh Nobell.” He released her hand. “You’re half frozen.”
“More like three-quarters.” She sniffed and wiped her running nose on the
sleeve of Sanskar’s jacket. “But right now, I’m more concerned with your neighbor.
He cut himself on a chainsaw yesterday, and he’s running a fever.”
Frown lines bisected his weathered face. “Did you take him to the clinic?”
“I couldn’t.” She tucked her numb fingers into the jacket sleeves. “A tree
flattened his truck the first night of the storm, and my rental car is stranded beside
the road with a bent axel. I did the best I could…” The sympathy in his deep
brown eyes was her undoing. Sniffing again, she dashed tears from her cheeks.
“I’m sure your best is mighty fine.” He gave her arm a squeeze. “Let me get
my first aid kit, and we’ll go check him out.”
Feeling as if a two-ton elephant had been lifted from her shoulders, Swara
watched her knight in denim overalls lope up the stairs.
Standing in Sanskar’s driveway next to Laksh’s powerful four-wheel-drive truck,
Swara stretched onto her toes and pecked his leathery cheek. “How can I ever
“No reason to. Sanskar is a friend, and I look out for my friends.” He smiled at
her, his chocolate brown eyes twinkling. “I like you, Swara. You made the best of
a bad situation and didn’t panic. If you ever need anything, all you have to do is
Warmth filled her, thawing the last of the chill she’d been feeling since setting
out that morning. “I appreciate it. Appreciate everything. Even if I’d had a
working vehicle, I’d never have been able to negotiate the road to the clinic.
Thank God they got the downed tree cleared away.”
“Yup, almost back to normal. Power’s on. Another day of sunshine, and the
road will be in tolerable shape. Sanskar, too.” He chuckled. “I mean, a day or two of
those antibiotics should work wonders. Just make sure he takes them all.”
“I will. Thanks, Laksh.”
He nodded, sketched a salute, and climbed into his truck.
Swara walked back to the house, closed the door, and leaned against it, relief
settling in. Sanskar was going to be fine. The visions of gangrene she’d harbored
disappeared with the melting snow. And she had clothes. Real clothes. They’d
stop at her disabled car on the way home. The thought of wearing something other
than baggy sweats and flannel sent a shiver of anticipation skittering down her
“If that smile gets any wider, you’re going to pull a muscle.”
Her gaze snapped to the hallway. Sanskar lounged against the wall, watching
her. Major sat beside him.
“I was thinking about my favorite sweater. It’s shouting my name from its
prison inside my suitcase.”
He cocked his head and frowned. “Are you sure? I thought it was the lace
A giggle burst through her lips. “You must be feeling better. Still, I think you
should go sit down.”
“Only if you come with me.”
The way his gaze strayed down the length of her body nearly convinced her.
Heat flared. For crying out loud, the man isn’t even touching you. Get a grip! She
took a breath. “As soon as I change.”
“If it’s into that lacy teddy, you have my blessing.”
She crossed the room and stopped inches away. The dog whined, and she
reached down absently to scratch his ears. “You’re in no condition for teddies,
lace or otherwise.”
Sanskar tugged her against him. “Wanna bet?”
Wrapping her arms loosely around his neck, she smiled. “No.” Leaning in, she
kissed him lightly. “I’m just so thankful you’re going to be okay. I was worried.
“Does that mean you care, just a little?”
She rolled her eyes at his wheedling tone. “Maybe a little, smarty.”
“Then sit with me on the couch. I’m sure we can think of something to do that
won’t tax my strength.”
“Just as soon as I change. Promise.”
His gaze caressed her face. The look in his eyes… She let out a shuddering
breath, afraid to put a name to it.
“I’ll be right back.”
“I’m holding you to it.”
Swara had promised herself she’d leave as soon as the power was back on and
Sanskar was his healthy, hearty self again, but she lingered. Her rental car was being
repaired. After hours spent on the phone with his insurance company, Sanskar’s tow
truck had been hauled away. The snow was melting. Yet it became increasingly
difficult for her to pack up what she’d pulled out of her suitcase, the pieces of
clothing mingling with his in piles on the floor, usually where she’d discarded
them at the onset of s*x. Once Sanskar got his stamina back, they went several
rounds throughout the house.
If she were honest with herself—and the longer she spent with Sanskar, the
more she was forced to confront her feelings—it wasn’t the lovemaking that kept
her around. It was the unity that had grown out of their relationship. Despite the
short time they’d spent together, being with him felt natural. Even the time
engaged in their prickly brand of banter.
No, it wasn’t just s*xual. And if she were really being honest with herself, it
never had been. She’d fallen for him. After all her resolutions and reservations and
years of being alone, Swara Wright had found love in the unlikeliest place
imaginable. With the unlikeliest man.
Still, reality had to intrude at some point. She had a home and a career
hundreds of miles away.
Turning toward him, she studied his face in the afternoon light shining
through the undraped windowpane across the bedroom. He’d crashed hard after
their latest tussle. Their lovemaking had been tender, slow, drawn out with such
care it had shattered her heart. She feathered her hand lightly over his stubbled
cheek, and a soft smile touched her lips when he sighed in his sleep.
Though she’d thought of little else all morning, she hadn’t known how to
broach the subject of her return to New York. Usually, she didn’t have a problem
putting an end to a relationship. And though this would only be a temporary end—
she hoped—she didn’t want to wipe the soft look from his eyes. The look she’d
basked under since their return from the clinic.
How she was going to live without that look… She didn’t want to think about
Unable to settle down, she rose as quietly as she could from the bed and
stepped carefully over Major on her way out. Swara wrapped a white silk robe
around her waist, glad she’d had the foresight to pack it for the trip south. She
thought about going into the kitchen for some hot chocolate but decided against it
when she found herself at the door to his office.
The first steps had to be taken. Preparation. As she stepped around the jamb
and cracked the door behind her, she hoped Sanskar would continue sleeping
without her beside him.
Ignoring the pang of guilt at planning the initial stages of her return without
his knowledge, she sat down in front of the spiffy-looking desktop and hit the
button to engage the monitor. First up, she would see if there were any more flight
delays out of the Atlanta airport. With the inclement weather moving northwest,
air travel was getting back to relative normalcy in the south.
Releasing a heavy breath, she scanned the flights from Atlanta to New York.
Which one? Several flew out that evening. She wouldn’t even consider leaving so
soon. Biting her lip, she read the list for tomorrow.
The screen blurred. She blinked, surprised at the tears in her eyes and the ache
in her chest.
She wasn’t ready to take this finite step…. Not without talking to Sanskar first.
She would be up front with him, no matter his reaction. Then she would book a
flight and give them plenty of time to say their goodbyes.
Swara cleared her throat, swiped the tears from her cheeks, and opened her
email inbox. There were several messages from clients with projects slated for
completion after the holidays. She couldn’t ignore them forever.
As she reached up to turn off the monitor, the fax machine to her right whirred
to life. She jumped and knocked her elbow against the desk.
A single sheet of paper spat from the printer, overshot the paper tray, and
fluttered to the floor.
Reaching down to retrieve it, the letterhead caught her eye.
The name pierced her memory. So did the corporate logo beneath it. Her eyes
flew over the words underneath the heading….
I’ve been trying to reach you for days. Do they no longer have phone service
wherever it is you have chosen to bury yourself these past few years? Your mother
is requesting your presence here at home on New Year’s Day. I’ve told her not to
get her hopes up as you never answer any of our summonses for the holidays or
any other occasion and that you have distanced yourself irreversibly from this
family. However, if you could be so kind as to drop her a line, I’m sure she would
be most grateful.
Durga Prasad Maheswari Jr.
She stared at the signature, her heart pounding against her br*astbone. After
several long minutes, she crumpled the paper in her hand.
Maheshwari. How had she not seen it? Sanskar had been lying to her the whole
time. Sanskar Kumar was Sanskar Maheswari III, her childhood friend. He’d made
her explain to him who her mother was, where she’d worked, the demise of what
little family she had…. And he hadn’t said a word. Not It’s me, Sanskar I’m
She whirled toward the doorway. By God, she shook with wrath, trembling
and chilled to the bone. “I know who you are.”
His eyes narrowed. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
She held up the fax and waved it in front of his face. “I know who you are,
Sanskar Maheswari III!”