Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

face to face again - Second Destiny by Gloria Silk

"I really enjoy the way Gloria silk writes, she gives the reader all the emotions of a heart wrenching romance plus an in-depth understanding of what motivates the characters." - Hemda, Goodreads


From USA Today Bestselling Author, Gloria Silk

“Beautifully written love story with a perfect happy ever after.” Elizabeth Lennox, Author of the Thorpe Brothers series

What if you and your first love get your happy-ever-after, but within a few minutes you are both left devastated?

Follow the story of a beautiful, frustrated wife and artist who is reunited with the gorgeous hero with Bollywood-good-looks and charisma. When fate brings them face to face again, can they put their past behind, or will their sizzling, intense passion reignite and endanger everything in its path?

Lia Abraham gave up everything for her family and culture—art, autonomy and even self-worth. Worst of all was the sacrifice of Bollywood-gorgeous, idealistic Devraj Shah, when Lia caved in to pressure from both their families. She broke her first love’s heart by marrying the “right” Jewish man.

Nineteen years later, minutes after Lia demands a divorce from her cheating husband, her world turns upside down again; Devraj is at her door. His nephew and Lia’s feisty teenage daughter are repeating history. They’re in love, but the now reserved, enigmatic Devraj is dead-set against the couple’s marriage plans. He is convinced Lia’s daughter will ultimately reject his nephew the way Lia had rejected Devraj.

After years of feeling caged in a loveless marriage, Lia embraces her newly found freedom, and her resurgent passion for Devraj is irresistible. Once again, she surrenders to the true love of her life, but their affair re-ignites opposition from both families. Will Lia’s second chance at love again destroy her loved ones and her dreams?

Torn once again between her love for Devraj, her family responsibilities and her need for true independence, will Lia choose duty over the desires of her heart?



North London – Nineteen years earlier

No. Lia could not go through with this.
If she married anyone, it would be Devraj.
“No!” Her shrill scream reverberated around her in the huge synagogue.
As the cantor stopped singing his holy lyrics to the poignant music, and the Rabbi opened his mouth, Lia swiftly pulled away the veil and the crown off her head and threw it to the ground. Her heart thumping hard, she grabbed her skirt with both hands and turned away from the gaping bridegroom, and refused to look at her grandparents.
Whereas a few moments ago she was numb and unable to walk, now she was all motion.
Among the gasps and shocked voices rumbling through the congregation, Lia bolted up the aisle so fast she prayed she would not fall.
Reaching the huge doors she pulled one cold handle towards herself and the slight screeching of the door made her take in another deep breath.
Racing down the stairs she stopped on the dark wet asphalt. The icy rain dancing loudly off the ground instantly soaked her and her cumbersome dress.
Devraj’s car suddenly shifted from its parked space and she choked out, “Oh, no . . . .” She was too breathless to scream.
Breaking into a clumsy sprint, with the freezing silk swooshing around and between her legs she forced herself to run onto the thankfully quiet London street. But Devraj’s car roared away from her with every second.
She shrieked his name and it echoed and disappeared into the booming thunder and the clattering rain. Uncaring about being soaked through, she took in a deep breath for the cool air to enter through her nostrils and feed her overtaxed lungs. 
Lia screamed again, “Devraj, I’m here! Stop. Please.”
Her throat tightened with tears. She prayed that he heard her or saw her in his rear view mirror. The screeching sounds of his brakes made her release a chocked laugh.
His car came to a halt and she escaped towards her destiny, blinking away her tears and the rain.
Then Devraj was running to her, holding out his arms ready to catch her and hold her forever.
“Oh my Lia, I’ll never let you go again. Never.”
“I’m so sorry, Devraj. I should have listened to you. I can’t imagine my life with anyone but you.”
“I know, my Lia, I know. I love you so much.” His laughter reverberated through his chest into her heart. They were finally home. Together. And nothing and no one could ever stand in their way.
* * *
9 Minutes later

Lia sat up from within Devraj’s protective arms when she heard the repeated urgent blare of the ambulance flying by them.
A few minutes ago, she was on top of the world, having abandoned her family and bridegroom, determined to elope with Devraj, her gorgeous Hindu prince who seemed to have sprung straight from a Bollywood movie set.
Now, here she sat next to him in his cramped sports car, in a soaked wedding dress. The warmth of his arms could no longer keep her from shaking.
Lia knew she could not go through with this crazy idea after all.
“What are you thinking, Lia?” Devraj scanned her face, frowning.
“Devraj . . . I can’t . . . .” Hardly breathing, the pain in her chest grew triple-fold as the ambulance ominously went silent a few yards behind them.
Without daring to look back, she knew it had stopped outside the synagogue.
Her strong instincts warred against everything else. What had she done?
Her grandfather’s heart must have given way under the shock she had just inflicted.
“Here we go again,” Devraj said through gritted teeth. Sighing, he brushed his fingers through his still damp hair. “Don’t say the words I can see coming. Don’t fall for this, Lia. What if it’s a coincidence? And what if your grandfather is fine and it’s a ploy to get you back there?” The agony bordering on anger shone clear in his beautiful hazel eyes. His tension palpable within the car.
Lia bit her trembling lower lip, staring at her clasped, cold hands on her lap. The damp, limp dress full of ridiculous lace and satin made her feel like a foolish child playing dress-up. “We both know this can’t happen. I know what we both want more than life itself, but I also know what I have to do.”
“No, Lia, be strong for us. I beg you. We love each other and we’ll be fine without any of them, your family, my family, Jewish, Hindu, none of it matters. Only us.” He grabbed her but the seat belt stopped her being pulled into his protective arms.
How many times had he repeated these same words to her over the past few months?
“I’m so sorry, Devraj.” Tears blinded her vision of his face, but she could not bear to see the suffering she was inflicting on him yet again.
With all her remaining resolution she unbuckled her seat belt with numb fingers and reached for the door handle. “Please help me, Devraj, by letting me go. I’m not marrying Howard only for my grandparents’ sake but for—”
“No, I won’t let you go, I can’t.” He nearly shouted, grasping her arm. When she looked at his fingers and then at him, he let her go. “Don’t marry him, at least wait until your family no longer have such a hold on you. Then we can marry. I’ll wait for you forever if I have to. Please, Lia.”
She shook her head, closing her eyes. What was the use? They could go round and round like this forever. Like his father’s warning to her only weeks ago, she now finally admitted that no matter how much they craved it, Lia and Devraj could never be together.
Opening her eyes, she would not look back at her first love. Grabbing the door handle, she pushed it open with too much force. Even though her heart was breaking further, she had to go back.


North London Suburbs - Present Day

Something was wrong but Lia could not put a finger on it as she glanced around the long dining table at her in-laws. Her ever-silent father-in-law, Jonathan was nursing his third brandy since their arrival. Nothing new there.
The residual smells of Grace’s famous matzo ball soup, with its swirling rainbow of grease reflecting the chandelier lights, intermingled with the fresh yeasty challa rolls her mother-in-law had baked, as she did every Friday night for Sabbath.
What I wouldn’t give for a bowl of curry at this moment. Maybe tomorrow she would order it with her girlfriends at their bi-weekly lunch date. But tonight routine and tradition ruled this ritual Friday night dinner in London’s suburban Oakwood.
Watching her two silent children Lia concentrated on being in the moment. The only sounds in the slightly oppressive, antique furnished dining room were the delicate clatter of cutlery against the plates and her husband’s response to his mother’s probing questions about his latest problems with his business partner. As usual, mother and son were the two centre stage entertainers, while the rest of them were their audience.
Lia observed Howard. Tonight he seemed even more distracted, obsessed, as always searching for bigger ways to promote his cosmetic-surgery practice, and still waiting to be recognized for his genius.
Nothing new here, either.
Studying his roast chicken breast through his designer glasses, Howard said, “Of course I want him out, mother. My solicitors agree that Tom’s got too unrealistic expectations of me, but I have a busy clinic to run.”
Grace expelled one of her loaded sighs. More questions and reluctant answers ping-ponged between them.
Lia was tired of these conversations, but at least no one expected her to contribute. Most of the time she felt invisible, but that freed her to observe everyone.
She had a busy, uncomplicated life, with a beautiful home and great friends. Her parents-in-law tolerated her well enough. Her children were healthy and for the most part happy.
If she had not pursued her art, it was her own choice, and she had made peace with it.
She swallowed the sudden lump in her throat and reminded herself to be more grateful.
Her husband of nineteen years may not be the perfect mate, but he was a good provider and, mostly, an indulgent father to their children.
Swaying her attention back to their children, Lia glanced at her ever silent thirteen-year-old son, Gabriel—nicknamed Gabe and sometimes Gaby—sat slouching beside her. Then Lia regarded Danielle who sat across from her.
Lia’s spine went rigid.
This was where something was definitely wrong.
Her eighteen-year-old had hardly eaten much in the past few weeks. Tonight Danielle seemed extra moody and withdrawn. What was going through the med student’s mind, sitting with her head downcast?
Medicine seemed to be her passion, but she was not the talkative type if she did have any issues with her studies.
At least Danielle had not gone through with the tattoo or belly-piercing rebellion, Lia thanked God. Where was her funny, vivacious little girl who could not wait to spill her every adventure the moment she burst through the doors after school?
And would she ever resurface?
How could she help her daughter’s sombre demeanor, while the teen appeared to act like a caged animal, yet again wearing those dark, tight fitting clothes Howard disliked?
Lia realized she was again twisting her tight engagement and wedding bands around her ring finger as if they were a double noose. She picked up her fork.
Guilt seeped through her. Were her children noticing her growing discontentment? The English spring weather always brought it on, along with the memories of a lost love.
Danielle broke the momentary silence between her grandmother and father. “Daddy, I have something to tell you.” Those wide shining eyes were a warmer shade of her father’s blue eyes.
Electricity seemed to crackle in the air around Danielle.
“What, sugar-plum?” Howard asked just as Gabe reached across the table for another roll.
“Where are your manners, Gabe?” Howard did not raise his voice, but just glared through arctic-blue eyes. “Ask if you want something.”
“S-s-sorry, D-dad.”
Lia’s heart squeezed hard. Gabe’s stutter never bothered him when mother and son were alone. These days he spent almost all his hours in his room with his books and computer.
Picking up the basket, she held it out to him.
He shook his head. Putting down the basket, she discreetly patted his knee.
He did not pull away, but his expression made her question why she never stood up for him, or took his father to task. Oh, she had, after both children had gone to bed—or in the privacy of their bedroom when they had still shared one—arguing, reasoning with Howard, until she was emotionally exhausted talking to a human equivalent of a brick wall.
“Daddy, will you please listen?” Danielle’s voice broke through her thoughts.
Ever patient with his daughter, Howard glanced at her, resuming cutting his chicken with the precision of a perfectionist surgeon.
“I’ve met my Mr. Right. I’ve been seeing him for a year and I love him. I’d like you to meet him.” Danielle’s honey-gold bob framed her pale face. She sat reed-straight as if expecting an explosion or at least a rare shouting match. “Sanjay is of a different culture—”
At the mention of this familiar name, Lia’s airways seemed stuffed with hardening cement, choking the breath out of her.
Someone’s cutlery clanged loudly against a plate.
“Sanjay?” Both Grace and Howard pronounced the name as if smelling something disgusting.
A warped sense of déjà vu settled over Lia, heat prickling under her arms, neck and up her face.
Danielle stared back at her father. “He’s of Indian background, but—”
“Danielle, are you out of your mind?” Grace demanded in her haughty over-British voice.
“Let me handle this, mother.” Howard continued glaring at their daughter. Wiping his mouth on his damask napkin, he stood up to his full height of five feet seven inches.
Lia could not move.
“You’ve been seeing him for a whole year.” His eyes narrowed slightly. “Why now? I thought we talked about everything.” Lia heard the tinge of betrayal.
“We do, but at first we were just friends, then it became more important and . . . I didn’t think you’d accept him because he’s not Jewish—”
“Glad you know your father so well.” He looked at Grace. “That was tasty, mother.” He thanked her as he thanked Lia after every meal.
He squinted back at Danielle through his glasses, his thinning oatmeal hair shone on his pinkish scalp under the chandelier lights. “This was in very poor taste, to come out with this nonsense at your grandmother’s Friday night table. Now you’ve ruined everyone’s dessert with this rubbish. I won’t get angry, but you’ll never see this person again. Or mention him. It stops now! End of conversation.” Although his voice was firm, he gave Danielle one of the smiles he reserved for his female patients, their best friend and beauty god promising to make them look younger, more beautiful or desirable again.
But as Danielle stared up at him with that brave expression, Lia knew it was far from the end. “No, Daddy. If you won’t meet him, we’ll elope.”
Lia needed water to help her constricting throat, but she could not trust her fingers to pick up the crystal water goblet. Had she not said almost the same words to her grandfather nearly two decades ago, about an intense yet fun loving—Indian—young man?
“If you promise to see Sanjay then I’ll continue my studies after—”
“Like your mother did after I married her?” He sneered. “At least that was only art, no loss to the world. But medicine’s not to be taken lightly, young lady.”
“I don’t care about medicine, never have, and I don’t want a marriage like yours.” Danielle almost shuddered. “I want a real marriage, real love, and I will get it.”
Fists by his sides, lips even thinner, Howard turned to Lia.
For the first time in years, he glared right at her, not through her. “Do you know anything about this, considering the background of this . . . this . . . ?”
“No, but the boy may be—” She started.
“He’s nearly twenty-one, Mom. He’s hardly a boy.” Without glancing at her, daughter and father dueled with each other with the same challenging eyes. “Sanjay’s smart and kind and such a hard worker, Daddy. He’s doing his MBA, and then plans to join his uncle’s business—”
Howard’s hand shot up in front of him. “Spare me the details.”
Watching, Lia’s sense of déjà vu grew stronger and her chest felt overtaxed from ineffective, too-shallow breathing. Devraj had also been subtly groomed for his family business empire. Her memories were torture enough, almost distracting her from the crisis at hand.
“Why have you let this go on, Lia?” Grace asked, blinking profusely while holding her hand against her pearl-clad neck and cream cashmere sweater.
Before she could respond, Danielle said, “Mom doesn’t know anything about Sanjay.” She scraped her chair against the hardwood floors.
Teetering, it righted itself as if not daring to interrupt the drama.
Her chin jutted out in defiance, like Lia’s had so long ago. “I mean it, Daddy. We’ll get married with or without your permission. I’m old enough now.”
Unlike her mother, Danielle was made of stronger stuff. Her contradictory, secretive behaviour over the past few months made so much sense. Knowing exactly what she wanted, Danielle wore a cloak of confidence of someone who was unconditionally adored. Lia was proud of her daughter, yet feared for her happiness, knowing Howard too well.
This could not end well.
“You know the rules.” Howard’s usually sloped shoulders raised in tension, as he shook a chubby finger at his daughter. “If he’s not Jewish you’ve wasted your time.”
“You know that’s a load of hypocritical bull.” Danielle retorted. “Like you’re wasting time with some of your ‘patients’, after going to shul on Saturday?”
It threw Lia off, seeing how Howard’s expression changed from a ruddy pink to the puce shade he turned like he did when talking about a patient who had left him for another surgeon.
“You’ve never talked back to me like this and I won’t stand for it.”
Danielle turned her attention to Lia, anxious eyes sparkling, “Can you talk to him, Mom?”
Lia would meet the young man, but knew she would see a kosher pig fly before Howard gave in or compromised on this issue. That was what she had thought about her grandparents in her teens and she had been right. Even now after so many years of losing them within ten months of each other, she pushed away her sense of great loss. Losing them, her first love and her romantic notions.
Was this the full circle through which she could make it right, if Sanjay was really Danielle’s destined love? Lia was about to speak when Danielle threw her hands up. “What else is new? I should’ve known. No backbone. Well, I won’t turn into you, with no voice, no life. And you’re no better than Dad or Grandma. Just like them, you’re all about the status quo and appearances.” Contempt and defiance made her appear older than eighteen.
“Now just wait a minute, young lady—” Grace started, but Lia interrupted her.
“I was going to say that we should at least meet S-Sanjay.” Her heart skittered at the exotic name on her lips.
“How dare you, Lia?” Grace accused.
Jonathan cleared his throat and said, “Grace, dear, we shouldn’t interfere—” His wife’s glare stopped his words and she turned to her son.
“I blame her for this disgusting turn of events. What will our friends say if they should ever find out?”
“I’ll take care of it, mother. Trust me.” Howard glanced at his Rolex. “Later. Right now, I’ve got to go.”
“You can’t be serious, Howard.” Lia almost whispered in disbelief. “We have to discuss this in private, tonight.”
“When have you ever had a say about anything? I’m the head of this family, so don’t contradict me.” Howard then stared at their daughter. “Understood?”
Danielle continued staring, her bottom lip trembling slightly.
“Don’t you want Danielle to be happy?” Lia spoke clearly, to be heard above the egos in the room. “If she believes she’s mature enough—”
“I don’t think so!” He hissed, his fleshy jaw clenched, and then he turned away.
“Dad, please listen to her.” Danielle said.
She was once again her daughter’s ally.
It felt wonderful. “I mean it, Howard. This could change her whole life. Please let’s go home and discuss this, now.”
Her alien, iron resolve made Howard’s strides falter. He turned to face her. Everyone stared as he pointed at her. “My mother’s right. It’s all because of you and your family filling her head with those Indian movies, and you dressing her up as an Indian princess for Halloween all those years.”
Guilt slid around Lia like a cobra. Although she had stopped watching Bollywood movies, she knew her aunt and her grandmother had introduced Danielle to them when she was little.
“It’s because you’ve refused to join me at shul on Shabbat, neither of our children attend synagogue, even with Gabe’s Bar Mitzvah coming up.” Howard snapped, “I’ll bet Danielle knows more Indian words than Hebrew or Russian, and you’re Russian-born, for God’s sake.”
“It’s Hindi, Bengali, or Guajarati—”
“What is?” Howard demanded.
“There’s no Indian language, there are many different languages and dialects—” She stopped, took in a fresh breath, and added, “but that’s beside the point. I don’t see how a man who goes to synagogue and then stuffs his face with pork at the local rib place can feel so self-righteous, refusing to meet a boy just because he’s not Jewish.”
“Don’t you dare talk to my son like that. I should have stopped Howard from marrying you. If it hadn’t been for my mother . . . you of all people running around with—” Suddenly Lia feared Grace’s next words.
Did Howard and even his parents know about her first love? Had Howard’s grandmother forced him to ‘take a bride’?
But with a quick glance at her grandchildren, Grace clamped her thin lips shut.
“Absolutely right.” Howard said. “You’re lucky I came and saved you.”
Stunned for a moment, Lia fumbled for the car keys, giving them to Danielle. “You and Gaby can wait in the car for a minute.”
As soon as the main door closed, ignoring her mother-in-law, she faced Howard. A sigh reverberated within her almost air-starved lungs. “Please be reasonable. Would you risk losing our daughter over this?”
“I’m not going to lose my daughter.” He barked. “You better go and talk some sense into her. I’ll be home . . . later.” Checking his watch again, he started to retreat. “But, no more discussions. I’m not changing my stand on this.” He threw the words over his shoulder. “Father,” he said as if in after-thought. “I’m borrowing your car until tomorrow, if that’s okay.” Apparently, his sudden plans had priority over his wife’s words and his daughter’s happiness.
“You’ve got to speak to Danielle yourself—now—” But he shut the door on her words.
* * *
In the ten-minute drive back home, Danielle had begged Lia to convince her father at least to meet Sanjay. Her promise to her daughter lay heavily on her.
Now in the relative sanctuary of her own home, Lia retreated into the silent living room on spongy legs. Shock and guilty memories settled over her.
How could one Indian name shatter everything in mere minutes?
Sitting in the darkness, trying to fight off her past memories, her hands trembled and her knotted insides made her feel nauseous. She was afraid to close her eyes lest the vision of that golden-skinned god, the beautiful Devraj, forced itself into her psyche.
Like a dam refusing to be contained, the clips of her own teenage years crashed over barriers erected and supported by the glue of stale family traditions.
Denial and self-talk that she was relatively content with her lot in life had finally caught up with her. To give her children the security of traditional family dynamics, she had made the best of her marriage. But now as she tried to decipher the consequences of her daughter’s news, everything was unraveling like a wool sweater that had seen better centuries.
Lia would fight whoever got in the way of Danielle’s happiness. Unlike her mother, Danielle would get her chance to find out if her first love was her true soulmate.
The young couple would make their own decisions.
Be strong and brave, she reminded herself, just as she had when she had been Danielle’s age, in the same—but hugely different—predicament. Because Danielle had her mother on her side, who now vowed history would not repeat itself.

About the author:
Ever since Gloria Silk was little her passion was creating and sharing her romantic stories with others. She always loved reading contemporary and historical novels that grasped her imagination. Gloria now writes intense, sensuous love stories.

In addition to writing romance and women’s fiction, she enjoys writing intercultural romances and about family bonds. What can be more important in life than love and family?

Born in Russia, Gloria Silk has visited and lived in amazing, exotic places in the world. Loving Europe (especially the English, Italian and French countryside) and the Mediterranean, her other favorite country is Hawaii. She has yet to visit India and Australia, her dream destinations in the name of research, of course!

Being a writer gives her the privilege to explore, travel, and meet wonderful, new and exciting—and sometimes eccentric—people. Her background in English literature, writing, and psychology helps her create unique characters for her stories. Especially the charismatic heroes and feisty heroines who find themselves in sticky situations with each other, their families, and their cultures. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing readers love her warm heroines and the gorgeous enigmatic heroes, like she falls in love with them.

When she is not painting in various media or watching romantic movies, or cooking up a storm for her family and friends, she hangs out with her writing friends and other creatives.

Although she was brought up in England, she now lives – and writes – in the Toronto, Canada, with her own love of her life, soul-mate husband, her gorgeous and fun daughter and her smart, blonde Cockapoo, Princess Bella.

Please email Gloria Silk with any questions or comments at: contact@GloriaSilk.com

Author's Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments: