Winter 2022 Dreamer Blog Tour
The Five-Day Reunion
by Mona Shroff
Release Date: January 25, 2022
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Number of Pages: 282
Source: ARC from publisher and NetGalley
Ages 14 and up
CW: death of a parent (off page)
They ended their marriage, but they never fell out of love…
Law student Anita Virani hasn’t seen her ex-husband since the ink dried on their divorce papers. Now she’s agreed to pretend she’s still married to Nikhil until his sister’s wedding celebrations are over — because her former mother-in-law neglected to tell her family of their split! The closeness they share during the marriage act gives Anita new insight into the man she once loved so deeply. And reignites Nikhil’s feelings for her…
She was struggling with pinning pleats behind her left shoulder when Nikhil groaned. She watched him through the mirror as he slowly attempted to sit up in bed. He ended up lying back down, holding his head.
“Electrolytes next to you,” she said, finally securing the pin. The sari sagged a bit, but whatever. She’d managed it in the end.
She tried not to look at him. He was ridiculously handsome first thing in the morning. Tousled dark hair and scruff on his chin. The soft, bewildered look in his dark eyes, matched with a slight pout of full lips.
She had always loved waking up next to him. He was sexy and handsome—some mornings, she couldn’t believe her good fortune. That she was the one who got to wake up next to him every day. That she was the one he loved above all else.
Or so she had thought.
“Electrolytes.” She raised her voice a bit. “On the nightstand.”
He started at her voice, which only made him moan again. “Neets?”
He really needed to stop calling her that. “Anita,” she corrected him as she donned large dangly earrings and a necklace and reached for her matching bangles, desperately trying to ignore how sensual her name sounded in even his dry-throat voice.
“What the hell are you doing in my room?” he croaked at her.
“Right now, it’s our room. We’re supposed to be married, remember?” Her bangles jingled as she slid them on, the sound reminding her of wedded bliss.
“I’m trying to forget.”
Did he remember kissing her? Didn’t matter. “You certainly tried to forget last night.” She looked at her phone. “You have forty-five minutes to get up and be presentable. The grah shanti starts at eight thirty.”
He grunted. She walked over and shook him. He reeked of alcohol.
“What are you doing?” he grumbled, clutching his head in obvious pain.
“Tina’s first puja is in forty-five minutes, downstairs, and you need to be there.” She handed him the glass of electrolytes. “Though I get paid regardless of whether or not you show. I told your mother I would not be responsible for your attendance.”
He sat up and took the glass, looking at it like it might bite him. “I’m sure she drew up the appropriate documents.”
“No. I did.” She smirked at him.
He scowled at her as he sipped the electrolytes
This is a new-to-me author and the culture the characters are from is one I don’t know a whole lot about. I’m always interested in learning more about other cultures, especially the way they integrate into living in the United States. When the first-generation Americans are still very much alive and part of the story, but the main characters are second or third generation and are expected to straddle so many different expectations. In this story, I didn’t feel the main characters were pulled in too many directions with these expectations, but Nikhil’s mom sure was. And that’s what got everyone into so much trouble.
This a beautiful second-chance romance with a bunch of forced-proximity and fake spouse thrown into the mix. Nikhil’s mom never told the rest of the family that he had gotten divorced from Anita and here it is his little sister’s big wedding celebration. Five days of festivities where Anita will be expected to be in attendance. Anita and Nikhil have not talked, let alone seen each other, in years. It hurts too much. They were still very much in love when they divorced, only they didn’t talk things out so they don’t really know that. There is a lot of hurt and baggage for them to wade through. Not that either is really thinking they’re going to do that. They just want to act their part, keep Nikhil’s mom and grandfather happy, and go on their way. Neither can handle the heartbreak a second time.
We all know how plans like this tend to go. There is too strong of a connection between Anita and Nikhil for them to not fall into old habits and buried feelings. While I always felt that connection, and even a low simmer of heat, there was only once where I felt the full-on butterflies and fireworks of this couple. But that works for this story. It’s more about them finding their way back to each other and learning how to properly communicate. The chemistry and caring were there, they just needed to dig a bit.
I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery of the wedding celebrations; the clothes and food and entertainment. The author blended the story with the setting in such a way that I felt as though I learned a lot without feeling like I was being schooled. She is certainly an author I will be reading more from.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
About MONA SHROFF:
Mona is obsessed with everything romantic, including chocolate, coffee and wine. PW calls her “a writer to watch” and Sonali Dev called her first novel, Then, Now, Always a “sweet, angsty romance.” She’s blessed with an amazing daughter and loving son who have both gone to college. Mona lives in Maryland with her romance-loving husband.
Connect with Mona Shroff
Author’s Website – Twitter – Goodreads
Buy The Five-Day Reunion
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