Hemdeep “Hem” Singh is a Sardar (Sikh Punjabi Indian-American) living in the heart of NYC. He is a successful attorney, very wealthy, and the scion of a billionaire businessman. Due to strong differences with his father over the direction of Bharat, Inc. and his former fiancée, Hem has started his own firm and is no longer at Bharat. But a hostile takeover threat to Bharat from WTA Digital has Hem’s brothers scrambling to convince their Board of Directors not to cave in, and Hem returns to help them out.
Mina Kaur Kohli is a Sikh Punjabi Indian-American who loves her job as an attorney at the law firm her mother built. She is working hard to wrest control of the firm from her mother’s two brothers who cruelly ejected her mother from the firm. In order to do so, she is determined to do anything to make partner, even if it means an arranged marriage to someone she’s not interested in.
So when her uncle, who is on Bharat’s board, offers her an alternate path to becoming an equity partner by heading a committee reviewing WTA’s offer, she jumps at the chance to prove her expertise. But the offer has a sting in its tail. Her uncle wants her to find evidence to support WTA, and she is aghast at doing something that will jeopardize her reputation in the industry. And it sets her thinking why her uncle wants this so much.
Thus, Hem and Mina come to work together as they untangle all the details of the offer, even as they fight the explosive attraction between them. Their relationship moves too fast for Mina and not fast enough for Hem. As a reader, I watched the asynchronous progression of their association with a lot of interest to where it evens out into a mutually harmonious bond.
Hem is very much a take-charge man and Mina is a take-charge woman, so I wondered who would be the alpha in the relationship. It was very interesting to see how they actually manage it between them. They pass the baton back and forth between who is in control and who is acquiescent. It was wonderful to see that someone who is used to getting their own way doesn’t always have to have it that way. They can cede control and take it back depending on the circumstance.
Hem and Mina’s connection goes deeper than a romantic one. They have a language and a cultural history together that allows them to instinctively understand each other without having to explain with words. They appreciate that aspect of their relationship very much as it brings not only them closer, but also their families. Sharma has highlighted the immigrant outlook to life very well — what is important to them as a family and at work, how they relate the culture of the old nation to the new country, and what they inspire in their children.
Sharma has clearly done her research about how the upper echelons of businesses function. I enjoyed the corporate drama of the takeover, the pushback and the investigative work that went into getting to the bottom of WTA’s hostile move towards Bharat.
I have read numerous books this year with non-English words, phrases and exclamations, and it has been a very enjoyable experience as I have Googled and asked friends to translate for me. This book was no less — it was rich with Punjabi love words and casual swear words and words of every emotion in between. (Don’t ever say “Oye, chutiya!” in polite company.)