New author, Sophia Sasson has her premiere book coming out January 19. It is being released by Harlequin in their Heartwarming line. Here’s some great information and a sneak peek at this wonderful new debut, First Comes Marriage.
But she’s already found Mr. Right…
She would rather call her impending nuptials planned than arranged, but she’s certain her fiancé is her perfect match. Still, Dr. Meera Malhotra jumps at the opportunity to spend the month before her wedding doing a medical rotation in small-town USA. Getting a taste of independence and improving public health are both part of her plan. Falling for a cowboy? Not so much. Jake Taylor is totally wrong for her, anyway: he raises cattle; she’s a vegetarian. He’s content with life on the ranch; she’s from bustling London and wants to travel. She couldn’t possibly throw away everything she’s built over something as illogical as love.
She ran her finger around the rim of the cup, feeling the cracked edge. “The grocer wouldn’t let me buy tea. The diner was all out of veggie burgers and any other nonmeat items, and I got a ticket even though I was parked legally.” She sighed wearily. “They hate me.”
He pushed his chair back and stood up. She turned to see him put a pan on the stove and take food out of the refrigerator. “I’m still a vegetarian, you know.”
He laughed. “I’m making you a grilled cheese sandwich, your highness.”
Tears welled in her eyes. She wasn’t used to someone taking care of her. Growing up, she’d had an army of servants at her beck and call, but she never asked them to serve her. She’d often gone without a snack when hungry, too ashamed to ask the cook to make her something. “Thank you. I appreciate it…you have no idea how much.”
He cleared his throat. “Yeah, well, I don’t want you fainting on me.” She sipped her tea and watched him sizzle butter in the pan. She felt herself relax as the warm liquid went down her throat. “On top of it all, Rose seems to think I’m going to take over Dr. Harper’s practice.”
“Well, Dr. Harper has been talking about retiring. His wife is getting worse, but there’s no other doctor in town.”
“I told her I don’t have my sights on his practice—I plan to go back to London to run my father’s clinic.”
“Yeah, they think you’ll like it so much here, you’ll stay. I mean, who would leave the good old US of A to go back to colonial times.”
She pursed her lips to bite back a retort. He was trying hard to keep up the pretense of being a surly rancher; she wouldn’t engage in his ribbing.
“Besides, if you haven’t noticed, I’m the town’s most eligible bachelor and they figure you’ll fall in love with me and never leave.”
She couldn’t help but scoff. He thought a lot of himself. “Well, she has nothing to worry about. I’m getting married a few weeks after I return.” She winced. Her marriage wasn’t a secret, but for some reason she didn’t want to discuss it with Jake.
Crash! Startled, she turned and saw the pan on the floor. Jake recovered quickly.
“Sorry…handle slipped from my fingers. Don’t worry, I saved your sandwich.”
He set a plate down. She picked up the sandwich and took a bite. This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. She let the buttery bread and soft cheese melt in her mouth.
“Mmm. Thank you!” She saw him staring at her, his green eyes darkening to brown. She felt herself blush and looked down at her plate.
Jake sat down and splayed his fingers over his half-empty mug.
“I heard something about a fiancé, but this town has a way of embellishing.” He gazed pointedly at her hand. “You don’t wear a ring.”
She chewed slowly. “In Indian culture, the engagement is part of the wedding festivities. My parents wanted it to be the first party of the two-week celebrations.”
“I’m their only child—they’ve always spoiled me.” She kept her eyes on her plate. Her mother had been planning this event for over a year. She was quite upset at the timing of Meera’s trip, but Meera hadn’t wanted to put it off. She needed to do this before the wedding.
“So tell me about your fiancé.” His tone was casual, but there was something new in his voice. She searched his face but he was studying the table.
“Raj is a family friend. We’ve known each other since we were children. He’s also a physician and his family is also from India originally, but we both grew up in the UK. We have a lot in common.”
“Is he also a vegetarian?”
She laughed. “Yes, he is. We are very well suited to each other.”
A shadow flittered across his face. “Well suited. That’s an interesting way to put it. Do you love him?”
She frowned. What a strange question. But suddenly her mouth was dry. She took a sip of her tea and rubbed her temples.
“As I said, I’ve known him for many years and we’re quite fond of each other. We’re research partners—we run a research project together, and after I finish my research doctorate, we’ll open our own lab.”
He raised his brows.
Suddenly, she didn’t want to talk about Raj anymore. “Are you married?”
Was it her imagination, or did he flinch? He shook his head. “I was engaged once.”
“She left me.” His voice was devoid of emotion, but she sensed bitterness and pain behind the words.
“Is the fertility tea hers?”
He laughed mirthlessly. “Yeah, that one took me by surprise, too.” He was trying too hard to keep his voice carefree. The raw sorrow in his eyes gave him away. She wanted to reach out and touch him.
“How long ago?” she asked softly.
“Almost a year..”
Meera placed her hand over his. “I’m so sorry.” His hand felt warm and rough, and somehow familiar. Meera pulled away.
He gave her a wistful smile. “It’s probably for the best. I’ve let it go.”
She finished her sandwich and stood up to wash the plate. She had a thousand questions for him, but it didn’t feel right to pry. He seemed vulnerable…and heartbroken.
“Why’re you marrying a man you don’t love?”
Meera froze, the water pouring over her hands as she held the plate. Her head throbbed painfully. Was he asking because his fiancé had left him? “What makes you think I don’t love him?” Did her voice sound shaky?
“You haven’t once said that you do.”
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