So anyone who follows me on Facebook has surely seen the struggles I’ve had in preparing my latest novel for market. You’ve seen the breakdowns, the cynical posts about love, the myriad references to Fleetwood Mac and McDonald’s Value Meals. What you haven’t seen is the novel itself. That’s because it launches today!
Torn Together has been a long time in the making. It’s my first novel–yes, I wrote it before Farsighted. Now after over a dozen rewrites, it’s finally ready. True, I love writing YA, but Torn Together is shockingly not YA. It’s women’s fiction. I still think it’s a pretty fun read, if I do say so myself. It’s got world travel, romance, the whole shebang. And since I don’t have to filter myself for a teen audience, it’s got a super hot love scene. What more could you ask for?
Oh, right, the synopsis. The purchase link. An excerpt. That’s all below, so read on. And I hope you like it!
Torn Together: What it’s about
From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”
Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.
Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?
“Torn Together,” Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women’s Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.
Torn Together: An Excerpt
When at last they reached the toy store, Daly paused in the entryway. “What kind of gender-neutral stuffed animal were you thinking about? A dog? A Pikachu?” She held her hands out to either side, weighing the options like a scale, wavering back and forth, unable to decide which idea was best.
“Hmm… I’m not sure what we can get for under twenty bucks. You’re not spending any more money on me, okay?” Meghann shook her finger at Daly.
“All right, all right. I won’t,” she promised, crossing her heart with her finger.
“Okay then, so that’s settled.” Meghann tossed back her hair, showing off her newest accessory.
“Let’s go in and see what we find.” Daly made a beeline for the stuffed animal aisle.
Meghann caught Daly by the shoulder just as she reached the remote control car display. “No, that’s boring.”
“Is there some other way you had in mind?”
“There’s always another way.” Meghann’s eyes glowed with mischief. “You said you wanted fun and exciting. Let’s make a game of it!”
“How do you make a game out of shopping on a budget?”
“Try to look through a baby’s perspective. The baby doesn’t know the difference between a cat and a dog. What matters is the toy be soft and cuddly.” Meghann made grippy-grabby gestures with her hands.
Daly’s eyes darted to Meghann’s fingernails, which were chewed down to nubs. “Yeah, so what are you proposing here?”
“Whoever finds the softest stuffed animal—for under twenty—wins.”
“I don’t know. Seems pretty silly to me.”
“Then I won’t have a hard time beating you.” Meghann scurried away with a lopsided, but ever-graceful, gait.
Daly stood still for a moment, watching Meghann tear into the store with carefree abandon. Why can’t I be like that? Daly wondered, before realizing she could be, and this was the perfect opportunity. Although the whole idea of a tactile toy hunt was ridiculous, Meghann did seem to be enjoying herself. Strangers may judge her harshly, but at least she would have a good time.
Daly took a deep breath to rid herself of any lingering insecurity, and made a beeline for the back wall.
Meghann already had three candidates tucked into the crook of her arm, and was snatching another when Daly arrived. “Glad you finally decided to give me some competition.”
“Can’t talk. Gotta catch up.” Daly grasped a toy and discarded it when her snap judgment reported an inadequate cuddle quotient. Increasingly determined to win, she ran her hands along the shelf and walked backward along the wall. The whole time she kept her eyes glued to her opponent.
Daly had tucked seven possibilities under her arm by the time she reached the oversized plushes. She petted the snout of a giant purple gorilla. Very soft! Before she could grab the toy, which would most certainly cement her victory, Daly’s heel came down on something hard. Down she went, and eight fuzzy critters landed on top of her. What hurt more, her butt or her pride? No matter; she was on a mission.
Meghann turned the corner and drifted out of sight. Not to be deterred, Daly popped up and began gathering the scattered toys.
“Sorry,” she mumbled to the unknown shopper whose shoe she had so rudely stomped upon.
“Oh, that’s quite all right,” a familiar voice answered from above her.
Daly quit collecting the toys and whipped around. For the second time within the space of a minute, she stumbled and spun headfirst into the heap of stuffed animals surrounding her.
“Wow, you are serious about getting these toys purchased as quickly as you can,” Kashi quipped, laughing at her uncoordinated frenzy. He stooped down and offered her a free hand, pulling her to her feet.
Daly rose slowly, directing her gaze downward as she brushed at the legs of her pants, trying—and failing—to hide her brick-red cheeks. A little flutter of her heart made her hands shake.
“Hi,” she said.
“Hello, Miss Daly-rhymes-with-tally. I told you we would meet again. But I had no idea we would meet so soon.”
Did—did he just wink at me?
She tittered nervously. “I never would have thought I’d run into you here, of all places.”
“You ran into me, all right.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I, uh—”
“It’s okay. No worries.”
Daly raised her eyes to meet Kashi’s.
A big, cheesy grin was stuck on his face. He seemed happy to see her, a minor reassurance despite the horrid embarrassment tainting the moment.
“So, come here often?” he asked, bringing his arm to rest on the toy shelf, as if it were a bar counter.
“No, I don’t. I mean, I don’t have any kids. I’m, uh, helping my friend.” She glanced over her shoulder to the place where she had last seen Meghann.
“It’s okay. I won’t bite.” He clicked his incisors together flirtatiously.
“So you’re here to, to, to….” She spotted the boxed chemistry set clutched beneath his arm. “Brush up on your chemistry?”
“This?” He displayed the set. “This is for my nephew. My eldest sister just gave birth to a son. I’ll be visiting them in India during Christmas, and couldn’t wait to purchase a gift for the little guy.”
“And you’re getting him a chemistry set.” Daly laughed.
Kashi’s face fell, but only for a moment. “What? You think two days old is too young to enjoy this fun, educational toy?”
“Maybe… I mean at least wait until he’s two months.”
Kashi laughed, putting her at ease. “Okay, problem solved. If what you say is true, then by the time I visit him, he’ll be old enough.”
Meghann raced toward them, peeking out behind a tall collection of stuffed animals stacked in her outstretched arms. “Daly, Daly, are you ready to take stock and declare the winner? I’ve got you beat for sure…. Hey!” She pouted, noticing Kashi. “You can’t get help. That’s cheating!”
“Meghann….” Daly sobered from the lighthearted mood she had been in seconds earlier. “This is Kashi.”
“Hi, Meghann, good to know you. I must reassure you we were not cheating. Daly was actually helping me to pick something out for my young nephew.”
“Uh-huh.” Meghann shot a knowing wink at Daly.
Jeez, why is everyone winking at me today?
Dressed in a tan leather jacket and crisp button-up shirt, Kashi looked quite handsome. Daly tried not to stare as he spoke.
“I see you are both busy here. I’ll be on my way. Thank you for your help, Ms. Daly.” Kashi took his place in line for the next available register.
Daly watched him walk away. She wanted to run after him, but that seemed too desperate. Still, she couldn’t let him get away a second time.
Meghann giggled and asked, “So what’s the story with him?”
“I’ll tell you in a little bit. Be right back,” Daly said. “Don’t go rifling through mine, because I’ll know.” She motioned to her scattered pile of toys and then wagged her finger.
She squeezed into line beside Kashi as casually as she could manage. “Hey.”
The customer who stood waiting behind him groaned.
“Hey,” he said, and then motioned to the upset shopper. “Please go ahead.”
The woman passed readily, muttering, “Thanks.”
Daly said in a coy tone, “So we meet again.”
“Yes, we have. How about that?” His smile made her heart race.
“Well, remember what you said?”
“What? What did I say?”
“Something about destiny, you know, pushing us together.”
“I said that?”
Daly stomped her foot in irritation.
“Okay, okay, I said that.” He ran a hand through his groomed curls.
The lilt of his voice made her heart tremble. “Well… I didn’t tell you the whole thing about destiny.”
“What else is there to know?”
“You know how all good things come in threes?”
“I know deaths come in threes, but I hardly consider death a good thing.”
“That’s a matter of opinion—but anyway, good things come in threes, too. Like in cricket.” He handed her the chemistry set and brought his hands down to his side, as if holding a baseball bat low, and took a playful swing at her. “Every great bowler dreams of getting a hat trick, three consecutive wickets. Hat tricks are rare, so they’re special.”
“What does cricket have to do with us?”
“A lot, since I’m a big fan. It’s an analogy. If something is meant to happen, it will keep happening until you acknowledge the universe’s plan.”
“Well, it’s happened twice now, our meeting. Isn’t that enough?”
“Not quite.” Kashi shook his head, but his eyes twinkled. “I believe we’ll meet again. In fact, I’m sure of it. And when that happens, I will take you out for a very special date, one worth waiting for.” He reached out to squeeze her arm and take the chemistry set back.
His firm touch sent goose pimples along Daly’s skin. “You’re sure we’ll meet again, but… we have to wait?” She repeated his words with suspicion, making sure she understood his strange logic.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“But what if you’re wrong? What if we never meet again?”
“In that case, it simply wasn’t meant to be.”
Daly shuffled her feet in nervous frustration.
“Don’t worry,” Kashi murmured, trailing an index finger along her jaw line. “Be patient. Believe. It’ll happen.”
“Next,” the cashier called, since Kashi had failed to move to the register when the last customer finished paying.
He held up three fingers on his right hand and waved them back and forth. “Bye for now.”
“Bye,” Daly whispered.
She didn’t know why, but she believed him. They would meet again. All she had to do was wait.
With a final peek toward Kashi, she left him at the register and hurried to rejoin Meghann at the back of the store.
Enjoyed this post?
Sign-up for my monthly newsletter for Advance Review Copies, giveaways, and special announcements.