chapter 13
chapter 14
As Sanskar folded Swara into his embrace, a glimmer of gold in the warm light
caught his attention. He squinted at the curio cabinet he’d given Sumi. Back then,
he’d been afraid his father would find out and dish out another serving of
disapproval. Now, he hated that he’d been afraid, and later unable, to tell the
woman who’d been more of a mother than his own what she meant to him.

He eased Swara out of his arms and rose to his feet. Crossing to the cabinet,
he stuffed a hand in his pocket, glad he’d given in to the impulsive urge to bring
the angel Swara had made so long ago with him. In case he seriously needed to
grovel. In case she clung to doubts about the place she’d always held in his heart.
He opened the cabinet and gently plucked out the angel he’d given Sumi. “I
miss her, you know,” he murmured.
“No. I don’t know.” Though her voice lacked censure, her honesty stung.
Sanskar pulled in a deep breath. “My father never told me about her death, you
know. I hate that I never got to say goodbye. I hate that I wasn’t there for her…for
you.”He turned to find her watching him. A flicker of pain passed over her face
before she attempted a smile. It trembled at the corners of her mouth. “I
survived… I understand—”
With a shake of his head, he turned to stand in front of her and fished the
angel out of his pocket. Keeping his fingers closed around it, he levered himself to
both knees in front of her. “No, it’s not okay. Hold out your hand.”
Puzzlement creased her brow, but she extended her hand palm up, fingers
“I brought this with me in case you made me beg. If you’d spent just a little
more time in my office, you’d have seen it sitting right next to the fax machine.
There to remind me of you, what you gave to me, the peace you brought.” He
uncurled his fingers and gently pressed the angel into her palm. “It’s always been
you, Swara. Will you add this to the collection? Can we make it ours?”
A soft gasp escaped her lips as he pulled his hand away and revealed the
childhood trinket. Her eyes lifted to his, tears giving them a bright sheen. Sanskar’s
heart rolled over, the enormity of feeling swelling behind his ribs making it
difficult to speak. God, if he didn’t watch himself, he’d end up in tears too.
He blinked anyway, just to make sure. A chuckle slipped free. “I don’t have
anything with me to do this the right way. I figured I’d be lucky if you heard me
out.” He laid his palm over hers, trapping the memento between them. “You’re my
angel, and I want to build a life with you. Say yes, Swara?” Holding onto her
gaze, he willed her to understand the pain, the regret…all the fulfillment she alone
could give him.
As tears trickled down her cheeks, Swara nodded, and the vise around Sanskar’s
lungs let go. He hauled her onto the floor in front of him, wrapping her tight in his
embrace, barely making out her whispered, “yes” before claiming her in a hungry
He’d missed her. Ached for her. Now that she was in his arms, the past no
longer a mountain between them, he was certain in a thousand lifetimes he’d never
get enough of her sweet flavor. Not even forever could satisfy his need….

A mirrored silver ball lowered to the countdown on the TV in the corner of the
room. Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year!
Sanskar deepened the kiss, and Swara clung to him, breathless. Finally he
released her, and she gasped for air. Longing for this man sizzled through her.
“We could have gone out. Could have joined the masses in Times Square,” he
said, pointing at the TV. “It is our first official holiday together.”
She leaned against him and let out a sigh. “I’m pretty happy right where I am.
I don’t need pizzazz and hoopla, Sanskar. Some of the happiest moments of my life
were spent in a cabin tucked away in the woods.”
Stroking the hair back from her brow, his hand paused. “Uh, about that
cabin…” He cleared his throat. “I realize your life is here in Manhattan.”
Swara scooted around to face him and took both his hands in hers. “Yes, it is.
My company is important to me. But it doesn’t have to be my whole life.” She
pressed their twined fingers against her br*ast. “There’s room in here for more.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”
A smile curved her lips. “Did you think I was going to make you give up
everything for me?”
“Now that you mention it…”
She punched his arm. “Funny man. Feeling pretty cocky since I’ve said yes?”
He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Just relieved.” He rolled his eyes.
“You have no idea how relieved.”
“Oh, I think I do. I was so certain I’d blown it for good with you. I let hurt get
in the way of our happiness.”
“I was a bigger idiot not to trust you.” He grinned. “Just ask Laksh. He’ll tell
“Laksh is a wise man. He knew all along we’d work it out.” She grinned. “I’m
actually looking forward to hearing I told you so and getting a big, sloppy dog kiss
from Major.”
“Until then…”
He bent his head and kissed her, his mouth claiming hers, stoking the fire
inside her. When they broke apart, she let out a shuddering breath.
He pressed his forehead against hers. “It’s after midnight. Time for bed?”
She nodded. “It’s a new year. What better way to start it.”
“I can’t think of one.” Sanskar lifted her into his arms and settled her across his
lap, his hand sliding beneath her shirt. “A time for fresh beginnings.”
She quivered as his fingers trailed across her ribcage and traced the underside
of her br*ast. “New Year’s resolutions?”

“I have two. The first is to make you happy. Always. The second is to stop
hiding from my past. I need to build a life for myself here with you.”
Swara looked into his beautiful blue eyes and saw the glint of determination in
them. “At Maheshwari Industries?”
He shook his head. “I want to go forward, not back.”
“The Swara Way is always looking for new talent.” She smiled. “I can vouch
for your creativity.”
He ran his finger along her jaw. “I do want to get involved with your work,
but I was thinking more along the lines of your charitable causes.”
Warmth flowed through her. “Really?”
“Yeah. I’d like to give something back. I think it’s about time.”
She framed his face in her hands. “I do love you.”
He rose to his feet with her in his arms, his eyes alight with teasing. “I’m
going to let you show me how much.”
She scattered kisses across his face as he headed toward the back of the
apartment. “Big of you.”
“Isn’t it?” He hugged her tight, his hand curving to her bottom.
“About your cabin,” she said on a breathless gasp.
He pushed open the bedroom door. “It’ll be our refuge, our place to go when
we want to be alone together.”
As she slid down the length of his body until her toes touched the carpet, she
looked into his eyes and smiled. “Then we definitely haven’t seen the last of
***The End***


  1. silence

    I read all the episodes of ur ff today…. It was really good and ur writing skills are really really good….

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