Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Read Chapter 5 of 'Only Wheat Not White (Love Beyond Borders)' by Varsha Dixit


What if the one you completely love is the one you simply can't!

Twenty-six-year-old Eila Sood moves to America to mend fences with her estranged older sister, Sheela. Eila and the rest of the family in India had cut off ties with Sheela after she married Steve Jacobs, 'out of caste, and out of color'.

Elia soon realizes that Sheela's marriage is on the rocks. To help pay Sheela's household bills, Eila takes a second job at an afternoon strip club. When she crosses paths with the owner, the handsome Brett Wright or 'blue-eyed ogre' as Elia calls him, he both infuriates and fascinates her. Brett turns out to be her reluctant and unquestionably sarcastic knight in shining armor.

As Eila and Brett spend more time together their desire for each other builds. However, when Brett discovers the true reason for Eila's refusal he storms out of her life, accusing her of being a prejudiced coward.

Will Eila find the courage to break stereotypes and embrace her love? Will Brett find solace in the arms of his ex-girlfriend Cate?

Will Sheela and Steve divorce? All of these questions and more are answered in best selling author Varsha Dixit's latest, steamy love story.

Read Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Brown Paper Bag
“Sorry!” Sheela murmured sheepishly.
Next Sheela anointed Eila’s forehead with the turmeric and red powder. “Enough, Di!” Eila feebly attempted to ward off the rice Sheela showered on her. Aryan and Adam gawked from behind Sheela’s legs. Eila noticed that Steve had gone back to the SUV.
Eila quickly stepped inside the house. Di’s house! A warm feeling swelled in Eila’s chest. Steve’s house too! That little reminder stirred some coolness into the warmth.
Sheela gestured at Eila to move past the foyer. Eila did and ended up getting tangled in a net apparition complete with bells and beads.
“What the...” Irked, Eila disentangled her body from the multiple strings that hung as a curtain partition between the living room and foyer. “From the Indian stores at Oak Tree, New Jersey.” Sheela informed as Eila yanked the last of the blue shiny beads clinging to her hair.
They were now in a small living room, sporting elegant beige furniture. Eila walked through the living room that gave way to a larger area with the kitchen on one side and a family room on the other. Glass doors at the end of the family room led to the backyard. Eila caught glimpses of well trimmed grass and flower beds. Between the living room and kitchen area was a staircase that led to the second floor. The downstairs rooms were painted in warm colors of robin’s egg blue and pastel green. Black and white portraits of the boys were artistically arranged on the walls. Eila saw no other family in the pictures, not even one of Sheela and Steve.
“Very nice, Di,” Eila complimented.
“Thanks!” Sheela beamed.
Running footsteps heralded the arrival of the boys.
“Aryan, please take off your shoes and help Adam take off his!”
Sheela shepherded the boys to a closet behind the stairs.
Eila saw Steve enter with her bags. He too had a problem with the
string curtains between the foyer and living room. Eila moved to help him but he shrugged her away. “I got it.” Dragging the bags, he took the stairs. Eila wanted to follow him but then decided to wait for Sheela.
The sisters followed Steve. The staircase ended at a landing that had been set up like a home office. Opposite the landing was a corridor with several white doors on either side. Eila saw Steve disappear into the first door on the left.
Sheela led Eila into the same room. The room was small but quaintly done. It housed a wrought iron bed with a geometric bedspread in pastel pink and blue. The wooden floor was dark in color. A chest of drawers with a mirror stood in the corner. Once Eila’s bags occupied the floor, there wasn’t much space to move around.
Next to the bed was a small oval table on which sat a pretty and colorful Tiffany lamp. Instinctively, Eila knew it was no coincidence that the lamp had been set next to her bed. Their mother loved Tiffany style lamps and their house back in India was peppered with such lamps. She gave Sheela a warm smile.
“It’s not much.” Sheela appeared sheepish. Back home they were used to a lot more and Sheela remembered that.
“No worries. It’s perfect. Very cozy,” Eila countered moving to the side to make room for Steve.
He maneuvered his large frame out of the tiny room. Eila heard his heavy footsteps go down the stairs. She said hesitantly. “Silent kind, huh?” Sheela didn’t defend or accuse her husband. Her answer was a
peculiar deadpan smile. Eila found that smile and accompanying expression eerie.
The very next minute, Sheela changed the topic. “So how’s everyone at home?”
Eila’s sigh was one of suffering. “That’s the third time you’ve asked me. They’re fine. Everyone’s just become a little older, except for Tina. She’s stuck in a time warp, refusing to grow up!”
Sheela’s smile was sentimental. “You two are still at it? My memories of home seem to be all about mediating between you and Tina.” She parked her rump on the corner of the bed.
“Now we kind of mediate ourselves. By the way, the brat, Tina is now a super smart businesswoman adeptly handling the family business of textile import and export.”
“What are you saying? Wow! Tina is handling the business?”
Eila’s smile was smug. “Actually she doesn’t just handle the business; she runs it!”
Sheela nodded, impressed.

“And you, Di? How are you coping? Your life has changed drastically.”
Sheela avoided looking at Eila as she answered. “Things have been great. Very busy with the boys and all.”
Well, good for you! Ever missed your other family? The one that you were born into? Your two younger sisters? Remember them at all? With some effort Eila shut out her angry thoughts. Their sudden appearance surprised her. With a jerk, Eila moved to her suitcases. “Work for another day! Work for another day!” she chanted under her breath.
Sheela leaned forward. “What?”
Eila flashed an overtly bright smile. “Where do you work? That’s what I was asking.”
Sheela shifted on the bed. “Um, I don’t. I’m a stay-at-home mom.” To Eila’s ears Sheela’s small laugh at the end of the words sounded strained.
Slack jawed, Eila stared at her. She quickly recovered. Her eyes still held shock. “You, you don’t work? The ambitious, totally career driven libertarian of our family does not work? Why?”
Sheela’s smile was wry. “It got very hard with the kids. One of us had to be at home for them. As it is Steve works crazy long hours.”
Of course, he does. Eila persisted. “So you gave up your career?”
Sheela slid off the bed. “It’s just temporary. Aryan and Adam need me.” Her smile forced, Sheela changed the topic. “Let me show you the bathroom. Are you hungry?”
Eila shook her head. “No, not really. I’ll unpack first and take a shower. Then food.” She let Sheela change the topic. More subjects were finding their way into Eila’s work-for-another-day list.
“I can help you with the unpacking.” Sheela was already on her knees working the latch of one suitcase.
“Oh! Okay.” Eila joined Sheela on the floor. For nearly an hour they worked side by side making mundane conversation and stacking things in appropriate nooks and corners. Their parents were deliberately left out of the discussion. They were down to the last of Eila’s bags.
“What’s this?” Sheela’s hands stilled. Between Eila’s clothes she encountered a brown paper package.
“Mom sent a few things for Aryan and Adam,” Eila replied, sitting back on her haunches.
“She did?” Sheela whispered, awestruck. Her eyes shone as she delicately turned the package around in her hands. Then she brought it to her face and smelled it deeply. Caressing the brown paper, Sheela murmured, “You know, El, I wasn’t expecting anything, but I guess I was hoping. Thank you.” Sheela glanced up, her hazel eyes luminous. Staring straight into Eila’s eyes, she spoke softly. “Sometimes I feel like such an orphan.”
“You are not!” Eila’s voice was gruff.
Sheela’s smile was watery. Holding the package with one hand, she jerked to her feet. Keeping her face turned away, Sheela said, “The bathroom is the next door on your left. You’ll have to share it with the boys. Or you can use ours.”
“That’s fine, I’ll share with the boys.”
“Let me see what Aryan and Adam are up to.” Clinging to the package, Sheela made a quick getaway. “Come down when you’re done. We’ll eat then.”
It took all of fifteen minutes for Eila to put away the rest of her stuff and slide her empty suitcases under her bed. Grabbing a small towel, she tentatively entered the bathroom armed with a leather vanity pouch.
Gingerly, she stepped into the bathtub to take a shower in front of an audience. Yup! An audience all right! A large green frog with a fierce smile, an ogling orange fish and an assortment of rubber action figures holding an array of miniature arms. They were lined up neatly on all three sides of the tub and looked straight at Eila’s naked body. “Perverts!” She grinned and turned the faucet on.
As Eila made her way downstairs, she heard loud voices. She froze. Eila overheard Sheela ask out loudly, “Why did you make sandwiches for them? I had cooked dinner. All you had to do was warm it.”
Steve’s voice was low but caustic. “They did not want to eat that. They wanted something else. Anything else!”
“Really! You or them, Steve?” Sheela accused.
“Sure, me too. That food tastes awful.”
“Yes, it tastes awful because it’s not meatballs and spaghetti or ribs
dripping with sauce or some other awful fat-laden dish you are used to eating.”
“Don’t bring my mother into this,” Steve snapped.
“And Aryan and Adam’s mother is fair game?” Sheela was quick to retort.
Eila heard a thump and then Steve yelled. “You know what, I’m sick of this food. Just make it for yourself and your sister. The boys and I will eat something else.”
“As long as you are in this house, everyone will eat what I make.” Sheela sounded equally mad.
“Another reason for me not to be here,” Steve responded forcefully.
After a very long minute, while Eila held her breath, Sheela responded indifferently, “No one’s stopping you.” Eila heard Steve’s heavy steps coming in her direction; he was probably heading for the front door. Crap! Eila softly hotfooted it to the landing and crouched down behind the banister. Without breaking stride, Steve walked past the stairs.
Eila heard the front door slam and then a few minutes later a vehicle roared to life. She came down the stairs and headed to the kitchen. She found Sheela rinsing some dishes.
“Di?” Even to her ears Eila’s voiced sounded like that of a worried child.

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Author Bio:

"Varsha, a best selling author of four highly successful books, thinks of herself as a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. A true 'feel good' junkie seeking quick fixes, Varsha loves a good laugh, good movie and a good book, in that order.A voracious reader of murder and grotesque mysteries, she did sit down to pen a book on serial killer but finding it impossible to maim or hurt anyone, even on paper, she penned a romantic story instead. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman.Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA."

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