Cover of the new book "Love, Unexpectedly"

Love, Unexpectedly



Warning: This excerpt contains adult content. 18 and over only, please.


[Nav has decided to reinvent himself, to make Kat see him in a new light. He appears on her train trip from Montreal to Toronto as a stranger named Pritam. At first Kat thinks he’s Nav, playing a trick on her – yet he assures her, in Parisian French, no less, that he’s not. He looks very different too: clean-shaven, suave and sophisticated, older than Nav. And his personality is very different. Charmed, she lets him flirt with her.]

And then something occurred to me. The question I should have asked before I let him flirt with me. “Are you single?”

Mais oui.” His brows drew together. “If I was married, I’d never behave this way with you. How could you think that?”

“Because I don’t know you. You could be one of those men who takes off his wedding band the moment he’s away from his wife.”

He frowned. “You can’t know, of course. But I give you my word. When I marry, fidelity will be part of the deal.” His dark eyes looked sincere, and in that moment exactly like Nav’s. It was so disconcerting.

Then he gave a small, mischievous smile. “And no, as you say, you don’t know me. I hope to remedy that in the hours of this trip, Kat.”

Kat. I stiffened. It was the first time he’d spoken my name. My heart raced. It seemed to me, he’d said Kat exactly the way Nav did. With a Brit accent, not a Parisian one.

One syllable. I stared at him. Maybe I’d been mistaken. How much could I read into one syllable? “Say my name again. All of it. Kat Fallon.”

Muscles tightened beside his eyes, amusement flickered in their depth.

I realized I was holding my breath.

Katherine Fallon,” he said, giving it a Parisian flair.

I puffed out breath, shook my head, glared at him. “Uh-uh. In English. Kat Fallon.”

A grin started on his face. Widened. Speaking in Nav’s posh English accent, he said, “Kat Fallon, it took you long enough.”

Oh! I was right. “Nav! Oh my God! What are you doing? What’s going on? Where did you get those gorgeous clothes and the expensive jewelry?”

I put my hands to my cheeks, laughing, shaking my head in amazement. “What crazy game are you playing? I can’t believe you took me in. And here I said you were older, by years. It’s your face, it looks so much leaner without all the hair. Why did—”

“Kat,” he broke in.

His tone was so serious, I lowered my hands and stared at him. At that totally intriguing face that was his, yet not his. My friend Nav’s, yet also the sexy stranger Pritam’s. “Yes?”

“You meet fascinating people on a train,” he said in English. “A train’s a special world. Normal rules don’t apply.”

The words were ones I’d spoken to him only a few nights ago. And now, the truth really sank in. He’d deceived me. Stiffly, I said, “So you decided to play a trick on me?”

His lips twisted in a small, wry smile.

Even though I was growing increasingly pissed off, I had to marvel at the sensual, expressive mouth he’d been hiding behind the mustache and beard.

“A game,” he said. “I knew you’d call me on it eventually.”

Remembering how I’d responded to his flirting, the way I’d become aroused, I flushed. “Not a very kind game. You made a fool of me.” Nav would never let me live this down. If he’d finally listened to my advice about cleaning up his appearance, he ought to have been honest with me. Instead, he’d tricked me, and even borrowed fancy jewelry to do it.

Annoyance was rapidly turning to anger.

He shook his head. “No, that wasn’t my intent, Kat. I only—”




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“You jerk, Nav! What the hell were you thinking?”

He gazed steadily into my eyes. “That you might enjoy Pritam’s company on the train trip to Toronto. And I knew Pritam would enjoy yours.”

Confused, I shook my head. “I don’t understand.” Maybe he hadn’t meant it as a nasty joke. After all, Nav had never, in two years, done anything mean to me.

“Nav and Kat are good friends, and that friendship is important to them. Right?”

“Of course.” Why was he speaking in that one-step-removed fashion?

“But there’s an attraction between them, right?”

Did he have to talk about it? I tried to avoid thinking about that attraction. “Okay, sometimes,” I admitted. “But the friendship is more important.” For me, our friendship was unique and wonderful.

“Kat doesn’t want to risk losing that friendship, and Nav doesn’t want to risk losing her.”

I nodded, glad that he, too, valued what we had together. But I still didn’t understand what he was up to with this game of his.

“But Pritam’s a stranger,” he said. “A stranger she met on a train. If he and Kat flirt, if they—” he waved a hand in one of Pritam’s suggestive continental gestures—“what does that have to do with what she and Nav have together?”

“But you’re both of them. Pritam and Nav. I don’t understand.”

“Pritam is a . . . fantasy. People can enjoy a fantasy without it affecting reality.”

This reminded me of Nav’s photography, which was all about different perspectives and realities.

What was he saying? If he played this Pritam role, we could flirt as if we were strangers and—oh God, maybe even have sex—without jeopardizing our relationship back home? My breathing quickened. “You mean, afterward it’d be as if Pritam never existed? We—Kat and Nav—go back to being good friends as if . . . as if Nav had never left Montreal?”

He swallowed. “Do you like that idea?”

It was crazy. But tempting. Because he was Nav, I could trust him. But with the “stranger,” Pritam, I could let go, give in to the powerful attraction I felt.

I could satisfy my curiosity. The sexual curiosity I’d felt since the day I’d first seen my new neighbor Nav in the hallway, eyes sparkling, muscular brown arms clasping an elephant. When I’d begun to flirt with him before my then-current boyfriend, Jase Jackson, had come along and I’d remembered I was in love with him.

Nav and I could even, if we wanted, be lovers in an anonymous hotel room in Toronto, and not jeopardize our friendship. If I could buy into this game and pretend he was a sexy stranger named Pritam.

His face was all lean, unfamiliar angles, his eyes dark with a determination and challenge I’d never seen before. A very male and very appealing one.

“Who do you want to sit beside on this journey to Toronto?” he asked. “Nav or Pritam?”