BLOG TOUR THE ARRANGEMENTS BY SONYA LALLI

You can’t choose who you fall for…but it helps if there’s a list, right?
Raina, twenty-nine, is still unmarried much to the dismay of her family who 
think that by now she should have been married in a dream Indian wedding. 
The pressure to settle down reaches new heights when her grandmother, Nani, decides to play matchmaker in order to find her the perfect man. Eager not to disappoint her family, Raina goes along with the plan but when the love of her life returns – ex-boyfriend Dev – she’s forced to confront her true feelings and decide what she really wants. 

Firstly a big thanks to Lauren at orion for my copy to review. Also for having me on the blog tour to share am exclusive short story. 

I devoured this while out and about on buses .

I loved it.

It’s fresh funny and totally relatable as a single 30 something .

This gives the reader a real insight into a different culture and how they do things. And what happens when you want to break away from tradition. 

I loved the main character and her tales of dating .

But also this is about her finding who she is and what her worth is.

Really recommend for your summer read .

Published 10th August 

 The Arrangement, thirty-year-old, fun-living Serena is on the sidelines. She shares a mutual friend with the novel’s heroine Raina, and for a while dates one of Raina’s relatives. Even though Serena’s story doesn’t make it into my novel, I wanted to share a bit more about her own dating misadventures – and give you a few clues about what’s to come in The Arrangement! Read here and here to catch up on Serena’s story and read about her first date. 
“So who is lucky bachelor number two?” Serena stares at Shaylee sarcastically. “Who are we going for this time?”

“He’s not here yet.”

“No? But there’s so many good options.” She recoils around, and gestures towards a back booth full of young-looking guys. “What about that one? He probably got in here with a fake ID, but what does age have to do with anything?”

“Serena…”

“Or that one,” she says, discretely pointing at the man at the table next to them. “Sure, he’s with his wife but – ”

“I said I was sorry about Red Chinos, OK?” Shaylee throws her a pleading look. “But this guy is better. Promise.”

Serena shrinks back into the booth, and neither of them say much until a few minutes later, when Julien and another guy walk in. Shaylee gets up to meet them, kissing Julien on the cheek. They were both pediatricians, recently engaged, and annoyingly, really nice people. It was hard to be jealous of genuinely nice people. 

Shaylee and Julien seat themselves at the bar, while the other man treads carefully towards her, as if he’s as embarrassed as she is. He’s quite handsome –warm brown skin and kind eyes, black hair cropped short. An awkward wave later, and he’s sitting right across from her. 

“I have a feeling you are also here against your will,” he says, taking her aback. 

“I’m sorry, did Julien drag you here?”

He nods, but he’s smiling. “We just finished a shift, and I’ve been working for the last 36 hours. If I fall asleep, I promise you it’s me – not you.”

“Let me know if you want to use my purse as a pillow.” 

He laughs. “I’m Michael. I work with them at the hospital. ”

“I’m Serena. Shaylee’s friend.” She smiles, and then hesitates. “Your accent, it’s lovely. Where are you from?”

“South Africa. I began training here just over a year ago.” 

“Are you enjoying it?”

He’s smiling again, rubbing the varnish on the table with his hands. “Winters in Canada are very cold, Serena.”

She bursts out laughing. “You’ll get used to it.” 

“I’m not sure I’ll get used to being away from my family though.” He glances at something behind her, or perhaps, at nothing at all.

“My parents moved here from India when they were young,” she says after a moment. “Before FaceTime and Skype and email – back when they had to write letter because phone calls were too expensive. They missed their family a lot, too.” 

“And now?”

“Now they’re used to it, I guess.” Serena shrugs. “And they’re happy with the life they’ve made for us here.” 

“I do miss my family…” He’s playing with a coaster now, ripping the ends off in tiny pieces. 

“You miss someone else too, don’t you?” She leans forward on her elbows, not quite sure what she’s seeing in his eyes. “A girl back home?”

He looks up, rather startled. “Is it that obvious?”

“Someone get you a vomit bag because, Michael, you are love sick.”

Laughing, he shakes his head. “She just sort of snuck up on me.”

“Who’s she?”

“Olivia,” he says, without missing a beat. “A girl I went to medical school with. We were best friends – she had a boyfriend the whole time, of course – but she broke up with him right before I moved here.”

“And?”

“And we Skype… all the time.” He looks sad again. “Every day. Twice a day. Yet, here I am – and she’s back there.” 

“Tell her how you feel.”

“Serena, she knows how I feel.”

She shakes her head. “Tell her. So she hears it. So she really hears it.”

When it’s nearly 11 pm, Shaylee and Julien waltz over to break up the date, and remind Serena she has one left before midnight strikes. By then, she and Michael have exchanged phone numbers, added each other on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and have made plans to eat at Kensington Market the following weekend. 

“Is it a date?” Shaylee asks her, after Michael and Julien have left. 

“No,” Serena says. “But I’ve made a new friend.” 

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