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Spice and Smoke: Bollywood Confidential
Spice and Smoke: Bollywood Confidential
Spice and Smoke: Bollywood Confidential
Ebook142 pages1 hour

Spice and Smoke: Bollywood Confidential

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About this ebook

When the cameras stop rolling, the real scene begins.

To their adoring public, Avi Kumar and Trishna Chaudhury are Bollywood’s sweethearts. Behind closed doors, their open marriage lets them freely indulge in all manner of forbidden passions. The arrangement suits them both, but as they begin filming on the set of their new movie, the heat of new and rekindled flames singes the pages of what they thought would be a fresh script.

When costars Michael Gill and Harsh Mathur arrive on set, the sexual temperature goes up exponentially—at least for Trish. She can’t take her eyes of Harsh, for whom she’s carried a torch for years. Avi’s instant attraction to Michael, however, bounces off Michael’s solid wall of resistance.

Meanwhile, ex-boyfriends Vikram Malhotra and Sam Khanna, cast as fictional enemies, are finding it harder and harder to control the very real demons that once cost them the love of a lifetime.

Once the music starts, though, they all have no choice but to dance . And pray the fallout doesn’t ruin all their careers…and destroy their love.

Release dateJun 25, 2017
Spice and Smoke: Bollywood Confidential
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    Spice and Smoke - Suleikha Snyder



    Mumbai was hotter than he’d remembered. More like Hell than a bustling metropolis. Even New York in the summertime was nothing compared to this. Sweat dripped down the back of his neck, making the collar of his starched, white shirt even itchier. But Avinash didn’t dare move, in case the smile he’d practiced in the mirror went even the tiniest bit awry. Everything was riding on this meeting. He didn’t have the guys anymore—you mean J.R., his traitorous brain interrupted, but he shook that voice off. The guys. Their band. He didn’t have any of that anymore. He had this.

    The executive looming behind the desk just looked at him. No, through him. As if there was something terribly important on the other side that only he could see.

    It was then that Avi remembered his father stood in the doorway. No doubt, they were making some sort of silent communication with just the slight movements of their eyebrows. Mera beta ka saath kuch kijiye, Dad was likely saying. Do something with my son. He’s an embarrassment. A freak. Minutes ticked by. Until Mr. Prakash barked out an abrupt laugh.

    "Arré, chhoro, beta, he said, finally...as though they were meeting in some auntie or uncle’s living room and not a record company’s posh conference room. Forget this dream of being in a band. As though it was something Avi could just put out, like a light. You’ve got a movie star’s look. Hero banjao."

    A hero? Him? He laughed until he realized Mr. Prakash was serious, his eyes narrowed, sizing Avi up like he was a prize goat being taken to ceremonial slaughter.

    "Haan, the man murmured, almost to himself. Chalega. You’ll do."

    I’ll do what? he found himself sputtering, sounding more like a little kid than a college student yanked out mid-semester and sent to India for emergency de-gaying. What’s that supposed to mean?

    "It means, beta, that you will do anything asked of you. The narrow eyes were joined by a wide smile...revealing even white teeth that Prakash could not possibly have been born with. It was like Avi was about to be engulfed by a very shiny shark. And we will all reap the benefits."

    He could feel his dad’s gaze boring holes into his back. The unspoken judgment—unspoken only because it had been spoken one hundred times already—warning him that the animal inside him would be tamed...no, not tamed, broken...if he didn’t find a way to run. It made the decision easy.

    Okay. I’ll do it.

    He’d be a hero for millions. Billions, even. Maybe then, and only then, being worthless to one impossible man would not matter so much.

    * * *

    Sanjoy and Roma Chaudhury had ruled the Golden Age of Bengali cinema, starring in a string of superhits before taking their dream team to Bombay and making a splash that rippled out well into the 1970s. But there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that their greatest collaboration was their daughter, Trishna. Chief believer was Trishna herself. Even at fourteen, she knew she was destined for greatness.

    Everything she wanted, she got. Papa, can I have a mynah bird? she wheedled in fluent Hindi. Lo, a mynah was gifted to her on her fifteenth birthday, already trained to trill her name and say, I love you.

    Mama, can I have a car and driver? Please? Bas, she had Rehan, who would take her any place she desired. Her entrance into the industry was magic as well—her first commercial a Lux beauty soap advert with Mama when she was just seven years old. She was offered her first Lakme contract at barely sixteen.

    But when it came time to audition for A Handful of Stars, Trishna knew she had to win it on her own. No one, simply no one, was going to say her mummy-daddy had packaged her a role on a serial and served it up as a gift.

    She waited with ten other girls...all of them glammed-up like they were about to walk the red carpet. Her yellow, frilly frock stood out like a mango lassi on a tray of champagne. Her thick, prop spectacles and schoolgirl’s braids caused whispers and sneers. Look at her, Roma and Sanjoy’s daughter. Who does she think she is?

    The best.

    That was who Trishna thought she was. She was going to prove it. She had the part locked. When the door to the audition theater opened, she walked in knowing that. Then she met her scene partner, her bubbly character’s big brother, Harsh Mathur, and she knew she had him locked as well.

    He was not that much older than her. Maybe eighteen or nineteen. He was tall and beautiful, with distinctive light eyes—eyes like the father of modern Indian cinema himself, Raj Kapoor. When he saw her silly frock and her specs, his weary expression turned into a brilliant smile. Hullo.

    "Good morning, bhaiya!" she chirped, greeting him in character, deliberately stumbling and spilling her script pages everywhere.

    It startled him. But not so much that he didn’t catch on. "Choti bahein, you are so crazy. What are we going to do with you?" He knelt to help her, his laugh echoing across the room and enveloping the producers who were already fixed in their seats by the impromptu show.

    Their hands brushed, and Trish felt suddenly lightheaded.

    Papa, Mama, I want Harsh Mathur.

    She was going to marry this boy someday.

    After all, everything she wanted, she always received.

    Chapter One


    The ceremonial coconut shattered into pieces against the floor of the dais, and flashbulbs popped in tandem, capturing the auspicious sign that everything beyond the film’s first shot would be a success. Trishna tried not to shade her eyes from the glare, focusing on a spot on the far wall of the set. Cracks spider-webbed out from a hole, and if she were to squint—which she wouldn’t, because she’d look half-blind in all the photos—she would probably see a tiny lizard peering out from the gap.

    A "tamasha, Avi had called it when they readied themselves this morning. Nothing more than noise and silly business. Hollywood films don’t have a muhurat, he’d complained, finishing tying his tie and then moving on to helping her with the draping of her sari. Nobody prays or does any of this mumbo-jumbo. Like Lord Ganesha cares if a film is a superhit?"

    You know what else Hollywood films don’t have, big shot? She’d undone his tie, shoving him backwards toward their bed. You.

    Avi had tangled one huge hand in her hair while his other unwound her sari, leaving her in nothing but blouse and petticoat. Silk pooled to the floor at her feet, like the softness already gathered between her thighs.

    If they were ten minutes late, so be it. The tamasha would wait.

    Sure, The Raj was Govind Joshi’s baby, his latest historical blockbuster, but only when she and Avi had signed on had the real buzz begun. They were Mumbai’s power couple, Bollywood’s sweethearts despite being so very spicy. They hadn’t done a film together since their marriage six years ago, and it was a coup to get them to sign on jointly for Joshi’s project. So if that meant delaying the first shot—which was just an establishing interior of the old palatial mansion anyway—then the whole crew would just have to deal with it!

    Their fashionably late, and slightly mussed, entrance had only been marred by one thing: two stragglers who had come even later.

    Trish’s gaze flickered across the stage, where Harsh Mathur and Michael Gill were shaking hands with the music director. Avi’s hand tightened in hers, his thumb tracing filthy words on her skin. It was a trick he’d perfected over the years, smiling beatifically while spelling out, I want to fuck you against her palm or her wrist. Only this time, it wasn’t I want to fuck you, it was, I want to fuck him.

    Him. Michael Gill. A model-turned-actor, he was half-British and half-Indian. People always seemed surprised at how fluent he was in Urdu and Hindi, not realizing he’d lived most of his life in Punjab. Those in the industry practically forgot he was English at all. His dark brown hair and dark eyes weren’t a dead giveaway, and his tan was just as much natural as it was a product of too much surfing. But he was a casting director’s dream, because he could play the Hindi-speaking Englishman with just as much ease as he could the fully Indian hero.

    He was stunning; there was no denying it. He was also gay. There was no denying that either. Not with her husband sketching out his lurid list of sexual demands. But even her own pulse jumped at how Michael’s jeans hung tantalizingly low on his hips, as though they were about to fall off. Clothes were an afterthought on Michael Gill, and a crime against his body. Funny how not a single designer who’d clamored for him to walk their runway had figured that out.

    Trish squeezed Avi’s fingers in warning. Don’t be obvious, Avinash, she chided as they crossed to greet their costars.

    If Michael was stunning, then Harsh was beautiful. Green eyed, with long black hair, it was he whom most people assumed was mixed race and gay. He had the face of an angel and the body of a god. Bolly Masala magazine had conducted a poll of the hottest Bollywood heroes, and he’d easily beaten all the Khans—as well as Michael and Avi—to land the top spot. Harsh was the polar opposite of what his name meant in English, and the very definition of its Hindi meaning: happiness and delight. He was kind and generous. He never gossiped, never was the subject of gossip. He’d opened a girls’ school in his family’s ancestral village and funded a scholarship for low-caste orphans. He was practically a saint.

    He’d always been too much of a saint for a sinner like her.

    Her chest ached with sudden memory, and she shoved the pain deep down, back where it belonged. Don’t be obvious, Trishna, Avi mimicked, brushing a chaste kiss across her temple.

    She wasn’t obvious. Of course not. She was a professional. When she warmly extended her hand to the man she’d been in love with since she was sixteen years old, it didn’t shake at all. Neither did her eyes betray what she was thinking, what she was imagining...

    The scenario: 1973’s Bobby. The characters are locked in a room, and the key has been lost. Can they resist the urge to give in to their teenage passion? Do they

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