You read it here first! Our FREE READ for July is from PHS columnist Adite Banerjie, who brings us an exclusive scene from her upcoming romantic-comedy, Bombay Heights.
Juggling work deadlines, a ludicrously over-protective family and a pesky ex can be hard enough. But when a sexy neighbour moves in next door, a small-town girl’s life in the City of Dreams turns topsy-turvy...
And now without further ado, the exclusive extract from Adite’s book,
The promenade in front of the beach was chock-a-block with morning walkers, joggers and yoga enthusiasts. The Laughing Club members were at it—raising their arms to heaven and laughing their guts out.
Ashwin Deo gazed lazily at the sight around him. If it weren’t for Dumbass, he would be sleeping off his dreadful hangover. The dratted critter gave two sharp yelps. Good God! He had been saddled with a mind reading dog? The Lhaso Apso was peering at him with brown beady eyes that would melt the hardest of hearts.
“OK. I got you here, right? Do me a favour and do what you need to.”
The dog gave a massive tug on his leash and Ashwin lurched forward, nearly crashing into a woman in bright yellow yoga pants and matching t-shirt. His eyes hurt at the bright colours and he mumbled an apology before being dragged ahead by the dog.
“Dumbass!” he yelled firmly. The dog came to a halt.
“That’s more like it.” He lowered himself on his haunches and peered into the mutt’s eyes. “Let’s get this straight. You walk calmly, do your thing and we go back home. Got it?”
The dog’s tongue hung out from the side of his mouth as he gave Ashwin a beseeching look and a quick lick on his bare knee.
“Right. So, slow and easy. No yanking at the leash, okay?”
Another quick lick.
“Thanks, bro. I think we got a deal. Let’s go.”
Ashwin raised his towering 6 feet frame and taking deep breaths kept moving along, his eyes narrowing painfully as the hangover continued to hammer away at his head.
Barely had they walked a few paces than Dumbass broke into a series of high-pitched yelps and tugged at the leash. Before Ashwin had figured out what was going on, Dumbass gave a mighty yank. The leash tore out of his hand and the dog was hurtling down the promenade at top speed.
“Goddammit! Stop, Dumbass!”
Walkers turned around and gave Ashwin funny looks as he took off after the dog.
Every stride sent pain shooting up into his head which threatened to split wide open. But the cacophony of screeching tyres, frightened squeals of onlookers and a dashing ball of fur brought him to a standstill. Good God, no!
Leaping away from the promenade he bounded on to the street and came to a halt at the sight of Dumbass lying prone in the middle of the road, his leash tangled under the car tyre.
Oh no, Dumbass was dead!
He heard a car door open and someone step out, yelling loudly, “Why in God’s name can’t you control your dog?”
As Ashwin inched forward to pick up the dog, he heard a woman’s lilting voice, “That was close. The leash got tangled under the tyre but the dog doesn’t seem to be hurt.”
Ashwin let out the breath he was holding and reached out to pick up the dog. The dog was winded but breathing. There was no blood and as soon as he touched him, Dumbass leapt into his arms and did his lickety-spit number.
“You gave me the fright of my life,” he muttered.
The driver was only too glad that the creature was alive and kicking. Getting into the car, he ranted about irresponsible dog owners and drove off.
The woman whose voice he had heard said, “Poor thing must be so frightened.”
That’s when he noticed her. She looked like a college student; her long waist-length hair tied casually with a silk scarf. Her big, dark eyes shone with compassion as she petted Dumbass. Her thick eyelashes swept up and she turned her gaze on him.
“Never been so scared.” He gave her his best hangdog look.
“I was talking about the dog!”
“Excuse me? Did you just call me, Dumbass?” Her eyes sparkled with annoyance and he came back to his senses with a start.
“No…his name.” He cursed his blasted hangover which made talking such a goddamn effort. She looked at him as if he had some kind of strange ailment.
He smiled with effort. “Perfect name for a dog that has no sense of self-preservation, right?”
She glared back at him. “What about the owner who thinks he has no responsibility for his dog’s welfare?”
He took a few deep breaths. “I can explain.”
“Never mind. Just make sure you take him to a vet. There might be some internal injury.”
She gave the dog a quick pat, bestowed a dirty look on him and jogged away.
Bombay Heights releases on Amazon on 9th July. For more details about Adite’s work, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, and Twitter.
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