Today we have an exclusive excerpt from THE REARRANGED LIFE by Annika Sharma! Make sure you scroll all the way to the end for an exclusive giveaway!
The Rearranged Life Synopsis:
Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She's even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.
When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya's entire life changes.
Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.
As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.
The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart
A smirk crosses my face as I reread this morning’s texts. After countless drafts, I’d fired off the first volley to James, and his response had made me so glad I’d taken initiative. For someone who tries to take every opportunity, I sure did freak out over nothing.
Thanks again for last night. I had an amazing time, I’d sent.
-So did I. Next time, we need to find a place that’s open all night :)Who says there’s going to be a next time?
-Please. There will be.
Getting cocky, I see.
-Not cocky. Just confident, he corrects me, and using deductive reasoning.
Always the lawyer, counselor. You’re right on the money.
-I do my best, doc. I’m glad you want to see me again.
I was hoping to, tonight. Do you have plans?
-I do, now, with you.
“You look pretty,” he says as he walks up to me.
My jeans and tunic top suddenly feel like a ball gown. He kisses my forehead, and I can still feel the soft pressure there as we pay for our drinks.
Time freezes as the sky turns from periwinkle to deep blue to black. We walk toward the stadium with no destination in particular, talking about everything from why fall is my favorite season to the fact that he is a Penn State football fan, and used to go to all the games with the colors painted on his chest.
“My mom told me she wouldn’t pay for my funeral when I died of pneumonia,” he tells me with a chuckle. Sports are a difference in our interests. He thinks I’m funny for not being a fan of the big football program here, and I tell him he’s beginning to sound like Sophia, who moped for three days when she was unable to purchase student season tickets because they sold out in minutes. “Our senior year is going to suck!” Sophia had cried, clicking the refresh button on her browser like it would change the outcome.
“Soph, I’m pretty sure the success of our senior year isn’t dependent on whether we’re cheering on a football team,” I told her patiently, but she whined about it anyway. Before James and I know it, we’ve come full circle.
He proposes going to the arboretum so we cross the street toward the law school and soccer fields. Walking along Park Avenue is like balancing two worlds–cement dorms and all the classroom buildings on the left, and farms and greenery on the right. The arboretum glows in the distance, its neat pathways and plants lit up by the soccer field lights a block away.
James catches me watching him and gives me a shy, faint smile. His eyes travel down my arms, and his right hand slowly makes a move toward my left. I hold my breath, and the clouds of moisture I’ve been exhaling into the atmosphere dissipate as I wait for him. Every millimeter closing the gap between us is in slow motion, and the tingle in my nerves intensifies, reaching a peak where I want to scream just to break the anticipation. His fingers skim the inside of my forearm and leave a trail of sensation behind them. As his hand travels slowly down my wrist, mine responds. My fingers find his and twine with them. It takes all of two seconds, but feels like much longer.
The stars, twinkling in all their glory, brighten and align themselves in perfect concentric circles as if the universe is creating the perfect setting for an epic romance. Everything around us, from the breeze to the shifting grass, has a softly whispered undertone: This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let it happen. The charge between our hands ignites and feels like it’s bursting out from within me. Or maybe that’s just my heartbeat. I have never felt such contentment or wonder. This is where I am meant to be.
Annika Sharman Bio:
Annika Sharma was born in New Delhi and brought up in the United States, where she moved with her parents as a baby. A proud alum, she graduated from Penn State University with dual degrees in Biobehavioral Health and Neuro-Psychology, and minors in Biology and Human Development and Family Studies. She received her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education before pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer, landing her agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group while daylighting as a preschool teacher. The Rearranged Life, her first novel, was written in the month before graduate school.
Annika, a Gryffindor and Scorpio, spends much of her time dreaming of adventure, working on her next book, going on Starbucks runs with family and friends, shopping online and watching superhero movies.
The Rearranged Life is available now, published by Curiosity Quills Press.