“I decided to find you, throw myself at your feet, and beg you to have mercy on me. Honestly, I’ll accept whatever you choose, Kelsey. Just don’t ask me to live apart from you again. Because...I can’t.”
“There are many different types of kisses. There’s a passionate kiss of farewell—like the kind Rhett gave Scarlett when he went off to war. The kiss of I-can’t-really-be-with-you-but-I-want-to-be—like with Superman and Lois Lane. There’s the first kiss—one that is gentle and hesitant, warm and vulnerable. And then there’s the kiss of possession—which was how Ren kissed me now.
It went beyond passion, beyond desire. His kiss was full of longing, need, and love, like all those other kisses. But, it was also filled with promises and pledges, some of which seemed sweet and tender while others seemed dangerous and exciting. He was taking me over. Staking a claim.
He seized me as boldly as the tiger captured his prey. There was no escape. And I didn’t want to. I would have happily died in his clutches. I was his. And he made sure I knew it. My heart burst with a thousand beautiful blooms, all tiger lilies. And I knew with a certainty more powerful than anything I’d ever felt before that we belonged together. ”
“You know you are in love when you see the world in her eyes, and her eyes everywhere in the world.”
“No matter what happens, please remember that I love you, hridaya patni. Promise me that you'll remember."
"It's a pet name our father used to call our mother. It means...wife of my heart.”
“You didn’t think I’d let you go alone, did you?”
“No, but I’m grateful that I had you with me.”
“Grateful is all I’m going to get, isn’t it?”
“What else were you hoping for?”
“Adoration, devotion, affection, infatuation, or just plain finding me irresistible.”
“Sorry, Don Juan. You’ll have to live with my undying gratitude.”
“I was just slipping my pajama top over my head when I heard Ren bellow, “YOU ate ALL of my peanut . . . butter . . . COOKIES?”
“I once told Ren our story wasn't over.
And it's not.
“One's enemy is often the best teacher of tolerance.”
“Kishan spoke intently, "Kelsey is all that a man could ask for. She's perfect for you. She loves poetry and sits endlessly content while listening to you sing and play your guitar. She waited months for you to come after her, and she has risked her life repeatedly to save your mangy white hide. She's sweet and loving and warm and beautiful and would make you immeasurably happy."
There was a pause. Then I heard Ren say incredulously, "You love her."
Kishan didn't answer right away, but then said softly, almost so I couldn't hear it, "No man in his right mind wouldn't, which proves you aren't in your right mind.”
“Tarzan-like men are my weakness, apparently.”
“He seized me as boldly as a tiger captures his prey. There was no escape. And I didn't want to. I would have happily died in his clutches. I was his, and he made sure I knew it. My heart burst with a thousand beautiful blooms, all tiger lilies. And I knew with a certainty more powerful than anything I'd ever felt before that we belonged together.
He finally lifted his head and murmured against my lips, "It's about bloody time, woman.”
“I find that all people are fundamentally alike. We are one human family. Perhaps we have different clothes, our skin is of a different color, or we speak various languages, but that is on the surface only. We all have dreams and seek for things that will bring true happiness. To know all the world, I just need to learn about myself.”
“I shoved him. "Kishan. Kishan! Wake up!"
He woke only halfway and pulled me closer. "Shh, go back to sleep. It's not morning yet."
"Yes, it is morning." I pushed against his ribs. "Time to wake up. Come on!"
"Okay, honey, but how about a kiss first? A man needs some motivation to get out of bed."
"That kind of motivation keeps a man in bed. I'm not kissing you. Now get up.”
“... A hot shower is going to feel heavenly."
He raised an eyebrow. "Would you like to go first."
"No, you go ahead."
His eyes twinkled as he regarded me, "It would be more heavenly if you told me you wanted to conserve water."
My mouth opened in shock. "Kishan!"
He winked at me. "I didn't think so. Can't blame a guy for trying.”
“If a king owned a pearl without price, a gem he cherished above all. Would he hide it away, bury it from sight afraid others would take it? Or would he display it proudly, set it in a ring or crown, so that all the world could behold its beauty and see what richness it brings to his life? You are my pearl without price.”
“All things considered, I'd rather have monkeys," Kishan shouted.
I shivered. "Tell you what. We'll rent King Kong and The Birds. Then you can decide."
He yelled as he ran from a swooping bird, "Are you asking me on a date? Because if you are, it will definitely give me more incentive to come out of this alive."
“Softly, Kishan said, "And it seems that the only girls I'm ever interested in... always belong to Ren.”
“You said parachute. You think we're going to parachute out of here?"
"I don't think so."
"Ah, come on. Tigers aren't afraid of heights, are they?"
"This isn't about heights. This is about being extremely high up in a tree and hurtling out bodies into oblivion based on a strange fabric that you now claim is a parachute.”
“A deep rumble echoed in his chest.
I pulled back, laughing. "Are you growling at me?"
He laughed softly, twisted my hair ribbon around his fingers, and pulled gently, loosening my braid. Biting my ear lightly, he whispered a threat, "You have been driving me crazy for three weeks. Your lucky all I'm doing is growling.”
“It's a McLaren SLR 722 Roadster."
"How big is it?"
"It's a convertible."
"Will a tiger fit?"
"No. It seats only two, but the boys are man half the day now."
"Is it more than $30,000?"
He squirmed and hedged, "Yes, but-"
"How much more?"
"How much more?"
"About $400,000 more."
My mouth dropped open. "Mr. Kadam!"
"Miss Kelsey, I know it's extravagant, but when you drive it, you will see it's worth every cent."
I folded my hands across my chest. "I won't drive it."
He looked offended. "That car was meant to be driven."
"Then you drive it. I'll drive the Jeep."
He looked tempted. "If it will appease you, perhaps we can share it."
Kishan clapped his hands. "I can't wait."
Mr. Kadam wagged a finger at him. "Oh, no! Not you. We'll get you a nice sedan. Used.”
“Back at home inside our garage, Ren opened the door for me. Instead of helping me out, he leaned over and growling softly. His lips brushed against the sensitive skin under my ear. His voice was seductive, dangerous.
"I'm warning you, Kelsey. I'm an extremely patient man. I've had extensive practice in waiting out the enemy. My life as a tiger has taught me that persistence and diligence always pay off. Consider yourself forewarned, priyatama. I'm on the hunt. I've caught your scent, and I won't be thwarted in my course.”
“I spent the rest of that day brainstorming. How do you catch a very old, very alert tiger by surprise? Use his weaknesses: food, feminine wiles, poetry, and over-protectiveness. The poor guy didn't stand a chance.”
“... Now what brings you down here? Want to work out?"
"No. I wondered if you wanted to go for a swim. Mr. Kadam has ordered us to relax today."
He grabbed a towel and scrubbed his face and head. "A swim, huh? It might cool me off." He peeked from around his towel. "Unless you're planning to wear a bikini.”
“Okay. So, apparently I find burly Indian men attractive. What's wrong with that?”
“A life with Ren was harder to picture. We didn't look as if we belonged together. It was like matching up Ken with Strawberry Shortcake. He needed Barbie.”
“What would Ren do in Oregon? Would he get a job? What would he put on his resume? High Protector and former Prince of India?”
“When we reached the front of the line at Burgerville, Ren let me order first and then asked for seven huge sandwiches, three orders of fries, a large soda, and one large blackberry milkshake. When the lady asked if it was to go, he shook his head, confused, and told her we'd be dining in. I laughed and told the lady he was very hungry.”
“No one can understand what you've been through more than Kishan and Mr. Kadam. I think the best thing you can do to repay him is to give him that level of loyalty in return. He considers you and Kishan sons and the best way a son can honor his father is to be the kind of man that would make him proud.”
“I peeked at him out of the corner of my eye. He had a slight smirk on his face. I imagined he was mentally checking off a task in his planner.
Seduce date by talking about other girls
Impress date with number of awards you have received
Do not spend money on date
Make date watch corny movie in media center
Sneak in comments about your frugality
Put arm around date at exactly the halfway mark of the movie”
“One of the most famous dogs in Chinese history was from the eighth century. The emperor was playing chess with a prince and losing badly. His favorite concubine, legendary for her beauty, was watching discreetly in the distance with her little dog called Wo. Seeing her master losing face, she let Wo run onto the chessboard and knock over all the pieces. The emperor was delighted.”
“I was all too aware of his hands resting on my lower back, their imprints like sweet flames that seemed to go through the thin fabric of my dress and onto my skin.”
“If she could make them both irritated with her, chances are they would commiserate with each other. So it had always worked when they were boys.”
It's the middle of the night. I can't sleep. Thoughts are creeping through my head like darkness slips around the bodies of sky scrapers in every city we've ever been to. From the bottom up, suffocating the life on the street first and then raising to the head and the brain, circling into smog and clouds until the black stretches up so high that nobody can even remember what the stars used to look like.
This is how I feel when I lie awake and think of you. I miss you.”
“Tears are like lies. The more you use them, the less they’re worth. The moral of the story is: STOP FUCKING CRYING.”
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