Tiger By The Tail by Shelley Munro
“Rohan. Rohan!” Ambar stomped into the house she shared with her brother and his mate Kiran. The scent of freshly brewed coffee made her turn in the direction of the kitchen. She burst through the doorway and glared at them both before focusing on Rohan.
“I asked you to do one thing. One thing! And did you do it? Oh no.” She threw up her hands in disgust, her scowl intensifying.
Kiran took one look at her face and stood. “Maybe I should go.”
“Sit,” Ambar ordered. “Rohan, you didn’t cancel the marriage broker.”
“I did so.” Rohan met her gaze without a hint of deceit. “I cancelled the contract with the marriage broker and told him his services were no longer required.”
“Then why did a man turn up in the store this morning and tell me he’d come to marry me?”
“What man? Where is he?”
Ambar glowered at both men. “I pushed him out of the store, slammed the door in his face and hightailed it straight here.” She twisted the golden band on her right hand, the ring she’d inherited from her mother and wore to remind herself of her desire to live an independent life. While men were lots of fun, she didn’t need one to survive. She did not need a mate to complete her life.
“Why didn’t you bring him here? Or ask him to wait at the store and call me so we could sort it out?”
“I’m not marrying him, and you can’t make me.” She wrenched on the gold band again, trying not to think about him. Hari.
“Rohan doesn’t intend to force you to marry anyone,” Kiran said, handing her a mug of coffee. His unruffled manner went a long way to restoring her calm.
“I can’t believe you closed the store,” Rohan muttered.
“How are we going to grow our business with you shutting shop at the slightest provocation?”
“Provocation? You call this provocation?” Ambar snapped, the fragile hold on her temper fraying again. “I supported you and Kiran. I expect you to tell this…this man to leave Middlemarch and never come back. I told him, but I expect he’ll only listen to a male.”
Rohan pushed back his chair and stood, circling the table to stand at her side. For a moment Ambar wanted to deck him then she saw the concern on his face. All the fight drained out of her. Deep down, she didn’t think he’d arrange a marriage for her. He knew she valued her independence, but he didn’t know of her desire to travel. She hadn’t confided her list of dream destinations to anyone.
“Finish your coffee and we’ll go back to the store together.”
“But what if he’s gone?”
Kiran chuckled. “Isn’t that what you want?”
“He was actually quite nice,” Ambar said, recalling his tentative manner. “He had an awful scar on his face. I’d hate for him to think I acted like a boor because I couldn’t bear to look at him. I think he was nervous.”
“Where was he from? Did he say?” Rohan asked.
“I didn’t give him a chance.” Ambar frowned, trying to recall his face in detail. Apart from the scar, she didn’t remember much. “He wasn’t from India. He sounded English to me.”
Rohan took a sip of coffee. “I wonder if Dad used a broker over in England as well as the one in India. There’s a large Indian community in Manchester and a smaller one in London. I didn’t find anything in the paperwork in the office. Did he ask to speak with me?”
“Of course he did. I was consigned to the little woman box straightaway,” Ambar said, her top lip curling in disdain.
“Why didn’t you just tell him to piss off?” Kiran sipped his coffee, studying her carefully like one of his animal patients. “Why did you flick your tail and run away? You know a male tiger’s typical response is to chase.”
She winged him a glare. “I did not flick my tail. I’m not interested in another man. You know I’m going out with Jake.”
Rohan’s brows rose and his lips quivered as if he was trying not to laugh. “But you did run away.”
All the hot air whooshed out of her at the challenge. Heck, they were right. Why hadn’t she told him to take a hike?
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