The Marriage Game
Publication date: June 9th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
One of Oprah Magazine’s Most Anticipated Romances of 2020
A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.
After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…
As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.
As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.
“You’re sitting at my desk.” She put the pot on the reception desk and folded her arms.
Sam shuffled his papers, spreading them across the polished wood surface for no reason other than to keep his gaze off her distractingly perfect breasts. “I didn’t see your name on it.”
“Just look at your lease. You’ll see it written across the top, or can’t you read big words like Patel?”
“I don’t recall seeing any identification,” he countered. “For all I know, you could have just walked in off the street. You’re certainly not dressed like you’re running a business.”
Eyes blazing, she glared. “What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?”
“An apron and a pink tracksuit with Juicy written across the ass are hardly serious business attire and they certainly don’t scream swipe right on desi Tinder.”
Sam didn’t know if there was such a thing as Tinder for people of South Asian descent living abroad, but if it did exist, he and Layla would definitely not have been a match.
Layla gave a growl of frustration. “You may be surprised to hear that I don’t live my life seeking male approval. I’m just getting over a breakup so I’m a little bit fragile. Last night, I went out with Daisy and drank too much, smoked something I thought was a cigarette, danced on a speaker, and fell onto some loser named Jimbo, whose girlfriend just happened to be an MMA fighter and didn’t like to see me sprawled on top of her man. We had a minor physical altercation and I was kicked out of the bar. Then I got dumped on the street by my Uber driver because I threw up in his cab. So today, I just couldn’t manage office wear. It’s called self-care, and we all need it sometimes. Danny certainly didn’t mind.” Danny certainly didn’t mind.”
“Who’s Danny?” The question came out before he could stop it.
“Someone who appreciates all I’ve got going here…” She ran a hand in and out of her generous curves. “… and isn’t hung up on trivial things like clothes.” She tugged off the apron and folded it on the crock-pot.
“I’m not hung up on clothes either,” Sam teased. “When I’m with a woman I prefer her to have no clothes at all.”
“You’re disgusting.” Layla grabbed her crock-pot and donuts and marched into the small kitchen at the back of the office.
Sam heard cupboards bang. Cutlery clatter. Angry mutters and a huff. A few minutes later Layla marched back out with a bowl of dal in one hand and two donuts circling her finger like rings.
Only when she sat down and proceeded to eat one of the donuts off her finger did he realize he hadn’t done any work since she walked in.
“Donuts and dal are not two foods that naturally go together,” he pointed out.
Layla took a giant bite and licked her lips. “Do you not have work to do? Or are you just going to sit there and look pretty?”
Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos.