|by M.L. Sawyer|
|Genre(s): Humor, Guilty Pleasures (Contemporary), New Releases, Romance|
Blurb: Mara Loughlin is a depressed and struggling songwriter. After being abandoned by her boyfriend, and receiving harsh criticism on her latest works, she embarks on a soul searching journey to India for inspiration. On a train tour through the Indian countryside, she meets Nirav; a kind and charismatic Indian native who teaches Mara (who he affectionately calls “Anusha”) about culture, passion and love. This is the first steamy, short-read, novella in an upcoming international romance series.
About the author:
M.L. Sawyer is an avid writer and fan of the Romance genres. She has written lyrics, copy and poetry for many years, and being enamored with the exotic, M.L. has now incorporated her own life experiences, and love of storytelling to venture into new literary territories. Her music has appeared on nearly forty albums, and has had radio airplay in major market stations including New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. She’s received many songwriting awards, and is excited to venture into the world of romance writing. M.L. Sawyer lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. Set in India, “Inspiring Anusha” is the first novel in an upcoming international series.
Excerpt: We smiled, shook hands, and offered polite, “It’s nice to meet you’s.”
With the whole tour group accounted for, the conductor prepared to depart and the waiters, dressed in deep burgundy, took our drink and lunch orders.
“Might I join you?” asked Nirav.
“Yes of course. You can help me order.” I laughed a little too loud at myself.
“Well, to start, what do you like to drink?”
“Beer they have.” He proceeded to order for me in Hindi although I knew the waiter spoke English. The conversation sounded like it was going on far too long to just be ordering beer. They shared what seemed to be a private joke and I shifted awkwardly in my seat, feeling out of place.
“Very good, sir,” said the waiter before turning on his heels.
“I am sorry. I took the liberty of ordering for you. I told him to put the monkey brains on the side.”
I felt the color drain from my face.
“Kidding. I assume you have seen the Indiana Jones movies.”
“Oh, yes… That’s very funny,” I answered sarcastically. Within moments, but still not nearly fast enough, the beer arrived and I was surprised to see an American beer with its trademark Budweiser label.
“So, Mar-a. What do you do?”
“That is very American of you to ask what I do before asking for any other details about me,” I said rather bravely as the beer kicked in.
“Right. Ok then. When is your birthday?”
“April 14th. Yours?”
“February 2nd. And now, what do you do, Mara?” The way he said my name made me nervous. He spoke to me with too much intimacy. As if he already knew me but was going through the pleasantries. There was tension, and I wasn’t sure if he felt it himself. Was I tense or was it sexual tension? I found myself feeling… restless.
He was still waiting for an answer.
“I am a songwriter.”
“That’s very interesting. What do you write about?” His eyes were piercing and intolerably sexy.
“Oh… I write about my life, mostly. My own experiences and things.”
“And you are here for inspiration, perhaps?”
I was stunned.
“Yes, something like that.” The words caught in my throat.
I continued, suddenly feeling flushed and a little naked. “Work has not been going well and I’m discouraged. I wanted to find something new. I wanted to see India after hearing some music at a festival.”
“And how are you liking it so far?” He licked his thumb where droplets of water from his glass were clinging.
“Well. I liked the inside of the airplane just fine. As well as the London airport. I got to see the inside of a cab, followed by my hotel room, and then the inside of my own eyelids before getting back into the cab and coming here. So I have not seen much to be inspired by just yet.” I laughed.
“We’ll have to do something about that then, won’t we?”
I was in love with the waiter for bringing food and breaking the unbearable tension.
“Here you are, sir,” he said as he put a few dishes on the table.
“So what am I eating, Nirav?” This was the first time I said his name out loud, and blushed at the ease of it. How intimate I sounded.
“Well, you have basmati and surmai. Rice and fish. And then this plate is Maharashtrian chicken tikka.”
“Do you like hot food?” he asked.
“I do. The spicier, the better for me.” I took a bite and immediately guzzled a glass of water and contemplated pouring it directly into my eyes while I was at it.
“Ha ha! American spicy is a little different, no?” His eyes lit up when he laughed. Dammit.
“Well, we do have McDonald’s if you prefer,” he joked.
I was momentarily offended until I realized that it would be completely American to look for a McDonald’s while in India. I was secretly waiting for Lillian and Jim to ask about one.
“I’m sure I’ll get used to it. It’s delicious though.” I tried to appear sophisticated while my nose ran relentlessly.
I attempted a distraction. “So what do you do?” (despite the fact that I already knew what he did).
“I am a teacher. I teach computers at a boys high school.”
“What made you decide to teach computers?”
“It is very hard in India to find jobs. I found that if you can learn a universal skill, you have a better chance of finding work in other countries as well. It broadens the range of possibility for many.”
“And you, Mara, how did you get involved in songwriting?”
He took a small bite of food after his question, put his fork back down, folded his hands on the table, and waited attentively for my answer. I was horribly, horribly nervous.