Release date: March 30, 2015
Parineeta Singh has always known her purpose in life: to help exact revenge on the invading British and free India. She becomes a maid for General Carton in order to supply information to her brother’s Indian revolutionary group. But when her employer is exposed as an American spy, she agrees to help him escape the British Raj.
She did not agree to lose her heart.
To complete his mission, Carton – aka undercover operative Warren Khan – must hide both his true objective and his part-Indian heritage. But once he meets the captivating Parineeta, who holds the key to both his freedom and capturing her brother, a suspected anarchist, he finds the subterfuge more difficult than anticipated.
Navigating between the lavish social circles of the British elite and the dense jungles of 1920s India on the brink of the country’s revolution, the two must find a way to protect both their lives and their love.
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
Pema Donyo lives in sunny Southern California, where she balances plotting her next novel and watching too many Bollywood movies.
An excerpt from Revolutionary Hearts:
Village of Hathras, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British Raj, India
What in the blazes was he supposed to do?
Warren read the wrinkled letter again for the thirtieth time that afternoon. The paper had faded yellow from its long journey across the Atlantic and had become creased in too many places to count. The shorthand method was familiar to him, but the contents of the letter were not.
He cursed beneath his breath. His previous years spent in the National Bureau of Criminal Identification investigating domestic anarchists hadn’t been this difficult. At least he would be able to dash away on a moment’s notice, unseen and unheard. The U.S. government had placed him as a blasted British general! He couldn’t just slip away anymore.
Where was the nearest other U.S. operative, anyway? Lucknow, most likely. But that was more than 300 kilometers away. He couldn’t steal one of the cars without the other soldiers running after him. And Lucknow was hardly a short motorcycle ride.
Warren pressed the letter against the oak table, his fingers running along the folded creases of the missive. He interpreted the shorthand as he read it aloud to himself, if only to confirm the message was true. Perhaps he had misread. “Agent, we regret to inform you that we have reason to suspect your identity has been compromised. The NBCI has folded into the FBI. Find a way to return home.”
He crumpled up the letter and shoved it into the roaring flames stoking in the marble fireplace. Home. Back to America. How on earth did they expect him to do that?
Warren rubbed his jaw with his hand, placing one elbow over the mantel. He had no time for this, not when he didn’t even have information to report back to the NBCI yet. They’d sent him to ferret out rumors that one of the Indian revolutionaries was an anarchist with the potential to influence rebels back in the States. What was his mission now that the bureau had become absorbed into the Federal Bureau of Investigation? He’d heard whispers of what the organization did, of course, and he assumed it was more than catching anarchists. But without any direct contact with the bureau, only the devil knew what the FBI would want him for. Did he still have a job? The Indians had only started to voice civil unrest, and there was so much knowledge yet to be discovered.
His eyes wandered to the open window. Wispy, white curtains framed the view outside his mansion, where he could see the tops of houses from the nearest village. There. That was where he needed to be. That was where all the real action was happening, not shut inside the safety of marble walls.
He looked up at the sound of his butler’s voice. The Indian bowed before him, his turban shaking a bit as he stood back up. The man kept his eyelids hooded, avoiding direct eye contact with his employer.
Warren winced. As much as he’d tried to acclimate himself to the British colonial culture, he never understood the servant system here. It was no better than the old slavery back in the States.
“What is it?”
“The gardener has brought a new maid for you.”
He raised a brow. “When did I request a new maid?”
“He says you will not turn her away, sahib. She is to replace one of the older maids who works here.”
In the passing seconds, the orange flames hissed and crackled in the fireplace as they eroded the logs. The contents of the letter were stored away as nothing more than dust and ash, and his message from home had faded into smoke.
So had his hard-won position undercover.