THE FIVE-DAY REUNION
by Mona Shroff
Harlequin Special Edition
They ended their marriage but they never fell out of love. Law student Anita Virani hasn’t seen her ex-husband since the ink dried on their divorce papers. Now she’s agreed to pretend she’s still married to Nikhil until his sister’s wedding celebrations are over—because her former mother-in-law neglected to tell her family of their split! The closeness they share during the marriage act gives Anita new insight into the man she once loved so deeply. And reignites Nikhil’s feelings for her…
She was struggling with pinning pleats behind her left shoulder when Nikhil groaned. She watched him through the mirror as he slowly attempted to sit up in bed. He ended up lying back down, holding his head.
“Electrolytes next to you,” she said, finally securing the pin. The sari sagged a bit, but whatever. She’d managed it in the end.
She tried not to look at him. He was ridiculously handsome first thing in the morning. Tousled dark hair and scruff on his chin. The soft, bewildered look in his dark eyes, matched with a slight pout of full lips.
She had always loved waking up next to him. He was sexy and handsome—some mornings, she couldn’t believe her good fortune. That she was the one who got to wake up next to him every day. That she was the one he loved above all else.
Or so she had thought.
“Electrolytes.” She raised her voice a bit. “On the nightstand.”
He started at her voice, which only made him moan again. “Neets?”
He really needed to stop calling her that. “Anita,” she corrected him as she donned large dangly earrings and a necklace and reached for her matching bangles, desperately trying to ignore how sensual her name sounded in even his dry-throat voice.
“What the hell are you doing in my room?” he croaked at her.
“Right now, it’s our room. We’re supposed to be married, remember?” Her bangles jingled as she slid them on, the sound reminding her of wedded bliss.
“I’m trying to forget.”
Did he remember kissing her? Didn’t matter. “You certainly tried to forget last night.” She looked at her phone. “You have forty-five minutes to get up and be presentable. The grah shanti starts at eight thirty.”
He grunted. She walked over and shook him. He reeked of alcohol.
“What are you doing?” he grumbled, clutching his head in obvious pain.
“Tina’s first puja is in forty-five minutes, downstairs, and you need to be there.” She handed him the glass of electrolytes. “Though I get paid regardless of whether or not you show. I told your mother I would not be responsible for your attendance.”
He sat up and took the glass, looking at it like it might bite him. “I’m sure she drew up the appropriate documents.”
“No. I did.” She smirked at him.
He scowled at her as he sipped the electrolytes
Mona is obsessed with everything romantic, including chocolate, coffee and wine. PW calls her "a writer to watch" and Sonali Dev called her first novel, Then, Now, Always a "sweet, angsty romance." She's blessed with an amazing daughter and loving son who have both gone to college. Mona lives in Maryland with her romance-loving husband.