by Shilpa Suraj
Everyone knew that when she stepped up to the crease, she always came out swinging…
Tara Wadhwa, Captain of the Indian Women’s Cricket team, was living the dream. She got to play the sport she loved and to live close to her friends, the family of her heart. But when her friends start to fall in love, a sliver of loneliness works its way into her heart pushing her to make a reckless mistake.
Nikhil Upadhyay, owner of a pristine reputation and the nation’s best fixer, is called in to save the day. Fix Tara’s reputation and babysit her till she brings home the World Cup. A dream assignment for a man who otherwise spent way too much time cleaning up far messier situations. Until he met his newest client and the dream turned into a nightmare…
Can Tara work past her childhood grooming to see that there could be a life beyond the game? Can Nikhil see the value of the girl behind the polished façade he was working on presenting to the world? And will the two of them ever stop fighting long enough to allow their simmering attraction a chance to come out and play?
For when the Bad Girl met the Good Boy, she realised, that just this once, she wanted to let her inner ‘wicked’ out to play. And we all know what happens when Tara Wadhwa steps up to the crease…
“Tara, this is beyond damage control. For the next few months, you will do whatever Nikhil asks you to do. No arguments, no semantics.”
The weight of what they were asking of me started to press down on my shoulders, but I just squared them and tried to act unaffected by it all. Like I always did. Like I always would. No one needed to know what it cost me. Not because I was ashamed of it but because they didn’t care.
“Okay,” I murmured, letting my public persona slide back into place. My tiny spurt of rebellion had been duly squashed. Now it was time to make amends. My entire future, my entire life was at stake. Because I was nothing without this game. “When do we begin?”
“Now.” Manisha said, moving towards the door.
“Now?” Panic flared inside me as I stared at the door. “I haven’t even changed out of the clothes from last night’s fiasco or had a chance to wash up or-”
“Tara.” Manisha’s firm voice cut off my rising hysteria. “He doesn’t care if you look a mess. That’s what he’s here for. This is his job. To clean up the mess. All of it.”
Like I was what a puppy had pooped out in the middle of the living room rug. And this nerdy looking guy was going to clean it up and hide the evidence. Temper was starting to spark again eating into my resolve to be well behaved. Wonderful. I’d lasted all of five minutes and I hadn’t even met this fixer guy yet. How was I going to keep this up for months?
“Now,” Manisha said. “I’m not going to say it again. Behave.”
When had she said it before, I wondered, as the door opened almost in slow motion. And Black Suit walked in.
My gaze travelled from his perfectly polished black shoes to his perfectly pressed black suit. Was he wearing the same outfit as his resume picture, or did he just own replicas of one outfit which he wore every day? God, this guy gave new meaning to the definition of nerd.
And then my gaze rose further and met amused chocolate brown eyes set in a face that devoid of life had been ordinary but lit up with spark and laughter like it was right now…
Hot nerd. Black Suit was a very hot nerd.
She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.
An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.