His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind.
Vikram never should have left his family, but when Vikram’s father brings his half-brother Vishal home, life will never be the same. Vikram thinks things will be better now that he’s gone. He’s met the love of his life, his future looks bright and then everything is shattered. Now, his family’s life is hanging in the balance, and only Vikram can do what needs to be done to save them. From the bestselling dystopian fiction author with over 200 reviews and ratings of her dystopia books across Goodreads, Amazon and other retailers.
When I begin to unbutton my shirt, Ash looks at me with raised eyebrows.
“Really?” She smirks. “In such a hurry?”
“It’s not what you think.” I bite out the words.
Before she can ask any further questions, I wrap the shirt around my fist and use it to break off the jagged pieces of glass on the pane. Then, pushing my arm through the square, I open the lock of the window from inside. Opening it, I grab hold of the window ledge and heave myself over, falling over promptly on the other side.
I am stunned, but bounce back on my feet quickly. Coughing out the dust which streams over my face, I tell Ash, “Come on to the front door.”
Running to the front door, I pull at the old-fashioned wooden bar which is placed across it. Pleased when it comes away in my hand, I open the door, panting with the exertion of pulling at the heavy wood. Then, grinning, I bow to Ash, who is standing at the threshold.
“Come in, your highness.” I make a mock bow.
Ash holds her nose in the air, playing her part, and walks past me. It’s gloomy inside but the moon is bright enough to light up the way. Ash follows me as I walk past an overturned chair, a large settee covered in plastic, and take in the paintings on the wall.
“It’s as if the family who lived here abandoned it without moving any of their possessions out,” she says. Holding my hand, she drags me to the staircase.
“Where are we going?”
“On a tour, dummy. Don’t you want to see what’s upstairs?”
I follow her, our shoes making clattering noises on the wooden steps, then, I hear something.
“Wait.” I stop midway up the stairs.
“What?” she says loud enough for her voice to echo around the building.
“Did you hear that?”
“No.” In the silence that follows, she laughs nervously.
Then she hears it too. A soft padding from upstairs, the unmistakeable noise of nails dragging on the wooden floor. We look at each other wide-eyed. A chill runs up my back, and the hairs on my forearms spring upright.
“Come on, we have to find out what it is.” Grinning wickedly, Ash leaps ahead and runs, dragging me along.
“Ash, honestly,” I mutter, more scared than I’d like to admit.
We cross the landing of the first floor and walk towards the open door leading to the room on the far side. Once again, there’s the sound of dragging footsteps. I swallow nervously in the darkness, but chivalry gets the better of me and I walk ahead, pushing Ash behind me.
“Stay quiet,” I whisper.
In the dark I see the white of her eyes, rounded in fear. She is not as unafraid as she makes out to be. We slip into the room. The shadows here are darker, and it takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust. Then I hear a low growl and the padding sound comes towards me, a flash of black and yellow spots.
“Ash!” I push her out of the way and jump, covering her with my body just as a leopard leaps past us, making for the door.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” I swear.
My heart is beating so hard it threatens to leap out of my chest. I look up to the door and am relieved to find there’s no sign of the leopard. Ash’s body is shaking below mine. Her heart, too, is thumping hard, slamming against me. I can’t tell where her pulse stops and mine begins.
“Goddammit, Ash!” I look down; worried she is having a seizure, or worse. Her face is scrunched up.
“Oh my God, are you okay?” My voice comes out all high-pitched.
“Yes. No,” her voice quivers in reply. She opens her eyes finally and I realise she is laughing, silently. At me. Again.
Something snaps inside of me and I know there is no turning back. Not today.
“That was a-a—”
“Leopard,” I say
“Gho-st?” she asks at the same time.
“Yeah, that’s our ghost,” I say, nodding.
I want to stay angry with her, but the sparks in her eyes draw me in completely.
Her skin scrapes across mine. Her dress is around her waist and one of my legs is between hers. My thigh brushes against her frock-covered midriff. The heat rushes at me through the cloth. I am surrounded by her smell. Awareness comes into her eyes at the same time. Her laughter dies and the blue of her eyes dart fire at me.
“Don’t go falling in love with me now.” She tilts her head up.
Her lips are curved. I want to taste them, slant my lips across her mouth. Bending down, I touch my lips to hers. Her breath tastes like oranges. And chocolate. She flings her arms around me and rams my body to her’s with fierce strength. It feels as if she’s vibrating, as if the shudders are running up her body and down mine.
Leopards are my favourite animals from now on.
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About the origins of Ruby Iyer:
Finalist 2015 IAN Book of the Year Award
Criminals run the streets of Bombay. Jam-packed with the worst degenerates. The city is a shell of the pride and joy it used to be. Ruby knows something must be done, but it isn’t until her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr. Braganza that she knows that she and she alone must save city, save her best friend, save the world from total destruction. Armed only with Vikram, a cop-turned-rogue they are about to embark on a road they may never return from. If you’re looking for fast paced books like Hunger Games or dystopia fiction like Angelfall, the Ruby Iyer series is perfect for you.
DOING MY BIT
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About the Author:
Laxmi writes books similar to Hunger Games while listening to electronica & progressive rock, and downing innumerable cups of extra sweet ginger-chai. She is also an avid photographer of street art and believes she was a tree — a redwood — in her past life. London is where she creates. Bombay is what fires her imagination.