Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Spotlight: Love in Chelsea by Alykhan Meghani

Book Blurb
The girl of his dreams is actually his worst nightmare.
Aidan Khan is a career-minded young professional with lofty ambitions and a stress-free life.

That is, until he meets a Chelsea girl.

Sara Varsi, the daughter of a billionaire property magnate with all the wealth and power that Aidan can only dream of, is trouble. With stunning beauty, charm and a quick wit, she seems at first to be everything that Aidan's always wanted. But beneath her bubbly exterior lies a dark, shady past, a dysfunctional family and a scared little girl who will say anything to get her way.

Opposites attract, but will Aidan really risk his sanity for a shot at Love in Chelsea?

LOVE IN CHELSEA is a modern romance novel which tells of star-crossed lovers from different social classes, whose relationship is complicated by sex, lies and debauchery.

Chapter 1
Giving Eyes
The yogi was right. O the Living, O the Eternal, I seek help in your grace. Prayer was my only salvation. I started to grind my teeth as I sat in a subconsciously defensive posture, arms folded and legs crossed: left over right. This was the first time I had found myself in a police station; I had never before been in trouble with the law. My head was pounding and I coughed violently, while emitting strange noises from my stomach. Sporadic cramps made me feel nauseous; it was late in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten anything.
“Mr. Aidan Khan? Follow me, please.”
The Detective Constable seemed bemused, and a little tired, as he led me into a room for questioning. Perhaps he was expecting a thug in a hoodie rather than a young man in a business suit. Even with the suit, I was intimidated. He was tall and burly, in his early forties, and his breath smelt of coffee.
The room was hardly big enough for a small desk and two uncomfortable plastic chairs. Absence of natural light, old paint, dim lighting and stuffy air made the room feel dingy and unwelcoming.
Disturbing things had happened to me over the previous year and a half. As a result I had become depressed, and I had developed a mean disposition. This day was turning out to be apocalyptic for me. Why had I been so naïve? I was not educated, apparently, in the art of relationships, in the art of judging people, and I had failed to realise that it’s impossible to make correct judgements when one is deeply distressed.
The Detective Constable eyeballed me with contempt as we sat in silence. I lowered my gaze shamefully and clenched my jaw.
A year and a half earlier.
Discreetly, I kept checking my appearance. Like any metrosexual male, I was particular about personal grooming: hair gelled back, face clean-shaven and eyebrows shapely. My crisp, freshly-laundered white shirt was the perfect canvas for a yellow silk tie, which contrasted beautifully against my navy-blue suit. It was lunchtime and my stomach was growling, a situation which wasn’t helped by the fact that the lift stopped at every damn floor. Seriously, why can’t people on the first floor just take the stairs? The headlines on the wall-mounted TV in the lobby distracted me momentarily. My thoughts swung between Europe’s deepening debt crisis and the food crisis in my stomach.
The vast lobby housed a reception desk, a couple of dark brown leather visitor sofas and a gargantuan fish tank filled with colourful, exotic fish. I always wondered what purpose the fish tank served; it seemed like a perfect symbol for the irrational exuberance that had caused the bloody recession in the first place. As I made my way towards the exit I peered out into the street through the transparent glass façade. Oh no!  It’s chucking it outside. Typical London weather! I hated the thought of soggy socks. It’s one of life’s minor annoyances. As I hesitantly made my way outside I was greeted by unconventional diagonal rain and a cold gust of wind that nearly blew the glasses off my face. My brisk walk turned into a horse trot, like the awkward gallop that most people in suits do when they’re in a hurry but don’t want to run and risk looking ridiculous.
Once in the bustling coffee shop, I dried my wet glasses then perused the range of sandwiches, soups and salads. The queue to the cashier was long and my time was short. When my turn finally came, I was served by a friendly female barista whose accent gave her away as Eastern European.
By the time I got back to the office the rain had done its damage. I ran my hand through my wet hair in a messy attempt to stop gel dripping down my forehead. The dampness of my blazer and trousers felt uncomfortable, and the rain had soaked my shoes and socks. Holding what was now a wet paper bag containing my lunch in one hand and a rain-spotted phone in the other, I searched into my blazer pockets for my identification card, giving the security guard a nod of acknowledgement as if to say, “It’s here somewhere.” While I was still fumbling with my pockets I vaguely noticed a woman on the other side of the security guard, although I could barely see through my clouded glasses. Quickly, I pulled out my handkerchief and wiped my glasses, then re-focused on the stranger.
She was a slim Indian girl in her mid-twenties with a pale complexion. She was above average height for a woman, about the same height as me even with her ballet flats on. The bags under her almond shaped eyes were tell-tale signs of tiredness. Her black hair was held tightly in a bun as if all she was missing was a hair net to qualify for a job as a school dinner lady. Even her eyebrows needed attention. I wasn't impressed with her failure to groom or her dress sense. The oversized, grey, V-neck, cable-knit cardigan she was wearing looked like it was knitted for a grandmother. She looked so sheepish and out of place in the plush office lobby that I found myself feeling sorry for her. This place was more accustomed to attractive women in figure-hugging dresses with low cut tops and pointy high heels; women that make men rubberneck.
As she came closer, I realised why I had noticed her: she looked familiar. Self-conscious about my own dishevelled appearance, my face flushed red with embarrassment. It dawned on me: I had seen her on The King’s Road in Chelsea a few months ago. She was with her mother, out shopping for designer clothes, judging by the branded bags they were both carrying. My brother Khaleel and I had just finished working out at the gym and were walking home in our sweaty clothes. As our paths crossed, Khaleel acknowledged the girl with a smile. The incident would have been instantly forgettable had it not been for her mother’s reaction: “Giving eyes?” she had snapped snootily. I remembered the awkwardness and the girl’s mortified facial expression. We hurried away and burst into fits of laughter as soon as they were out of earshot. The incident was too hilarious to forget.
Khaleel had denied ever fancying the Chelsea girl, but he mentioned that they had mutual friends. She was from a very affluent family that kept to its own social circle. It was rumoured that her parents were strict, and our brief encounter with her mother seemed to authenticate this sufficiently.
Standing drenched in the lobby, I contemplated whether or not to say hello. I amused myself with thoughts of the girl’s psycho mother jumping out from behind the fish tank, armed with a machete and shouting, “Giving eyes?” In the end, curiosity trumped indecisiveness. I wondered what she was doing in my building. As she approached the revolving glass door where I was still standing, we made eye contact.
I said, “Hi,” before she could pass by. She paused nervously and smiled.
“Hi,” she replied. “You’re Khaleel’s brother, right?” Trust a woman to have a faster memory and recognition.
“Yes, I am.”
I couldn't recall her name, even though Khaleel had mentioned it. So as not to be rude, I didn’t ask.
“Do you work in this building?” I asked.  I wonder if she’s a new graduate hire.
“Yes, it’s my first day of work.” I was feeling sharp hunger pangs but didn’t want to come across rude, so I listened patiently. “I’m working in real estate investment,” she added.
“Wow, really?” I said as my eyes lit up, surprised that she was working in the same field as me. Private equity is a male-dominated profession, so coming across a young Indian female with a job in real estate intrigued me. “What a coincidence! I’m in real estate too. I work on the seventh floor,” I finally blurted out.
“I’m on the fourth,” she said.
“So do you know what kind of work you’ll be doing?”
“Not really,” she shrugged nonchalantly.
I looked at her curiously.
“Looks like I’ll be needing this though,” she teased, waving her umbrella in the air.
“Umm…yes,” I smiled.
I glanced at my watch.
“Well, I should get going but it was nice meeting you,” I said.
“Yes, nice seeing you too. Say hi to Khaleel for me.”
“Will do. Hey, you’re in the same building, we should meet up for coffee sometime. It would be nice to exchange real estate gossip.” I was trying hard to be friendly.
“Sounds good,” she replied as we bid each other good day.

As I waited for the lift back up to the seventh floor, I caught a glimpse of the news headlines on the television: “Cancer rates rising. Serious Fraud Office cracks down on Ponzi schemes. Growing levels of unemployment in London’s financial services sector.” Thank God I have a stable job.

Buy links:
Note: Paperback version will be available on Amazon in the next two weeks!

Author Bio:
Alykhan Meghani is a thirty-three year old entrepreneur and fan of the UK TV show Made In Chelsea. He holds an MBA in Finance and a bachelors degree in Chemistry. LOVE IN CHELSEA is the culmination of a year of hard work and is his first novel.
Twitter: @loveinchelsea


Here are some customer reviews for Love in Chelsea:

Sarah ★★★★★ Loved it
Very well written, filled with suspense. Couldn't put the book down! Great insight into how men think: their fears, their thoughts, etc. Mix of romance and suspense. Will recommend it to my friends.
Chic Chemist ★★★★★A must read!
A must read! So many ups and downs - felt like I was on the emotional roller coaster..great first foray into writing by Mr Meghani. Captures emotion and dynamic of this tempestuous relationship so well. Is the perfect "evening in" accompaniment. I shall be waiting for the follow-up to Love in Chelsea.
ChelseaGirl ★★★★★ A roller coaster ride!
I really enjoyed this book. Picked it up on a friend's recommendation and by the time I was done with the sample chapters I clicked on 'buy'. For me, it was really interesting to get into a guy's head and see everything from his POV. The characters are flawed humans, just like us, far from perfect - which is what makes this story so real. The book made me smile, laugh and want to punch the characters in the face. Big brownie points for eliciting emotions! The style of writing was very descriptive, I could picture everything in my head like a movie. It mentioned some of my favourite haunts in London and I felt I was physically there while reading the book. I think that was the best part about the book - I felt like I was THERE. Try not to read it on public transport though, the reaction it gets out of you at various points may not be well-received by fellow commuters! :)
PS: Aidan's mum rocks!
Treborsoftmints ★★★★ Liked them-hated them-loved them!
Selected this book as a part of my holiday reads and it was a great choice!! Easy to read with moments that make your jaw drop in shock or wonder. Any young asian girl/ boy can relate to the family aspect and the highs and lows of Sara and Aidan's relationship! A great debut from the author and I look forward to reading his next piece of work.
Shamil ★★★★★ Amazing Debut Novel
1st class from start to finish. This is the first book I have read for about 10 years, I was so hooked with the storyline and drama that I finished the book in a day. So many points throughout the book I was laughing, crying and in shock. This book is highly recommended with pure raw emotion and very real. If you want a read into the life of a relationship with drama and twists at almost every step along the way this book is for u. 5*
Jiandani ★★★★★ Twisted love story true romance
Excellent book, it's beautifully written and instantly drew me in. This is an edgy romance novel which made me feel like I was actually witnessing the story unfold. I laughed, cried and felt so many other emotions as Aidan and Sara's chaotic love life turns into a family drama. Very real. Very gripping. Very intense. Loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a book that touches your heart. Looking forward to Alykhan Meghani's next book.



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