Love, Take Two by Saranya Rai sees Vicky Behl and Kritika Vadukut meeting on the sets of the period drama Ranjha Ranjha, where everyone agrees they have serious chemistry–and not just on screen. As they dance to romantic numbers and spend time between takes on the glamorous sets of Sudarshana Samarth’s film, they find it hard not to give in to their attraction to each other.
But will the pressure and scrutiny of Bollywood allow them a happy ending or will there be a twist in the tale? We won’t tell you that, but we will tell you this: Don’t be disappointed when you get to the end…Saranya has a bonus chapter waiting for you.
One we’d love to share with you!
The little feathered shuttle whizzed by, less than an inch out of her reach, while her opponent whooped victoriously. Kriti feigned an air of mild disappointment and fatigue, as she picked it up. If only the critics who called her “consistently wooden” and “ethereal but ineffective” could have seen her pretend to lose this woefully easy game of badminton by the skin of her teeth. Thank goodness it was nearly at an end. Another point and Vicky would win this round, and thereby, the match.
“Yeesh Kriti, you’re so rusty.”
“I’m not rusty! I’m just…having a bad day,” Kriti protested with as much indignation as she could muster, under the circumstances.
She expertly maneuvered the shuttle to land within easy reach of Vicky’s racquet and watched in disbelief as he missed, bringing their score to an even 20-20.
Vicky, of course, reacted like he’d missed winning the All England Open, scrunching his face in displeasure and slapping his forehead. Kriti snorted. There was no question she was being compensated for losing this match in pure entertainment.
As Vicky retrieved the shuttle, she gave him a discreet once-over. The harsh fluorescent lights of the indoor court were not flattering on anyone, but Vicky’s sun-browned skin glowed with good health and exertion. His hot pink shorts showed off an impressive set of quads and a very shapely pair of glutes. Not that anyone had asked, but Kriti appreciated men who didn’t cheat on leg day. Buff arms and chicken legs were a dreadful combination.
“Oye! What are you dreaming about?”
Wouldn’t you like to know? Kriti smothered a smile and caught the shuttle for her serve. She had to somehow ensure he scored another two points without giving her one and thereby prolonging this already tedious match. She deserved a National Award for this match alone. And possibly an Arjuna Award too. It took skill to lose to someone as enthusiastic but terrible at badminton as Vicky.
The next point was a relatively easy play. She hit the shuttle with force, knowing it would sail far above her opponent’s head and land outside his court. Not that Vicky didn’t still try to hit it, flailing wildly with his racquet. It was a miracle he hadn’t injured himself that morning.
Kriti made a great show of hanging her head back and sighing heavily. It was Vicky’s turn to serve and unless he flubbed it, she could ensure he won in the next few minutes. She couldn’t pretend to miss right away, of course. It would be too many errors in too short a time and he might become suspicious.
However, luck smiled at her and she found an opening quickly. As the rally picked up speed ever so slightly, she put on an increasingly frazzled air and hit her final volley straight into the net. Crying out in faux-disappointment, Kriti grimaced and dropped her racquet.
Vicky was a graceful winner. He only punched the air once and gravely held out his hand for her to shake, as though they’d played a high stakes professional match. Kriti took it, hyper-aware of the strength latent in his grip and the warmth of his skin. His hand lingered in hers for just a moment too long.
No longer faking her fluster, Kriti bent at the waist, breathing loudly, and stretching her sore calf muscles. She unclipped her topknot, shaking her hair out gracefully.
“This was beyond embarrassing and I am so glad my old coach wasn’t here to witness this.”
Vicky lowered the bottle he’d been drinking from and studied her, the tiniest smile playing at the edge of his mouth.
“Yeah, I can’t imagine what he’d say to Kritika Vadukut intentionally throwing a match like that.”
Aghast, Kriti stopped mid-stride and turned to face him.
“How could you possibly tell? I was so careful.”
“You did almost fool me. But the thing is, I’ve seen you run half a marathon without dropping a beat, on a treadmill in this very hotel’s gym. You overdid the exhausted-panting. Anyway, I’m starving and need my dinner. Shall we?”
He held the frosted glass door of the indoor badminton court open for Kriti, eyebrows raised in faint challenge and an irrepressible twinkle in his eye.
Gathering her things, Kriti followed him to the elevator, all her award-hopes crushed.
“You go on, I want to shower first.”
Vicky nodded, uncharacteristically quiet. The elevator dinged open and Kriti walked in, regretting the whole ploy. She didn’t even know why she’d decided to let him win. She was viciously competitive otherwise!
Luckily, Vicky continued with his contemplative silence until the elevator descended to her floor. Relieved, Kriti marched out, towards her room, when his voice stopped her.
She turned. He was holding the doors open, a wicked grin on his face.
“I told you how I knew you’d let me win, but you didn’t tell me why you did it, Kritika?”
Clearing her throat, Kriti gathered the tattered pieces of her dignity. “It was to save your precious male ego, of course. What if you threw a tantrum after losing and it affected our equation on set? It was for the greater good.”
Vicky’s grin widened. “Riiiiiiight. You’re so thoughtful, ya. Ek aur game toh banta hai. On the next evening off. And this time, I promise not to be a sore loser—if you let me lose, that is.”
Kriti sternly quelled the quivering corners of her mouth before replying. “I’ll think about it.”
With a wink, he let the doors close and Kriti’s stomach executed a clumsy but exuberant flip-flop.