Title: A Sticky Wicket iin Bollywood
Author: T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher Buy Link A Sticky Wicket in Bollywood
Amazon Buy Link: Sticky Wicket in Bollywood
Genre: Bollywood, contemporary
Length: 155 pages
handsome Bollywood actor must choose between his career and a rugged
cricket player from his past, who he’s fallen in love with…again.
Malik has the world of Bollywood in the palm of his hand—a beautiful
girlfriend, starring roles, adoring fans… He should be happy, but behind
the façade lies a man conflicted and exhausted by the pressure placed
on him by his terminally ill mother, his agent and society. His life is
not his own, and all he wants to do is escape.
League cricketer Ajay Singh can’t believe how bad his university
roommate Rajan looks when he spots his picture in the paper. They had
parted on bad terms. Still, he’s moved to offer Rajan his support by
renewing their friendship.
But friendship was not all they shared
back then. Though Ajay is out, Rajan isn’t willing to give up his
carefully cultivated Bollywood image to be with him publicly. And with
very little privacy, it won’t take long for someone to find out they are
more than friends.
Their renewed secret affair is fraught with
difficulties as they deal with the death of Rajan’s mother, the secret
of Rajan’s till-now absent father, a jealous friend, the intrusive media
and threatening notes from someone who seems to know all about their
It’s a bit of a sticky wicket they find themselves
in. Will it be too late when they finally realise that they’ll both need
to compromise, or they’ll stand to lose everything?
After that blurb there just isn’t much I can put as a spoiler, so.…
don’t know much about Bollywood, other than India has a thriving movie
industry and that very often where a Western film would insert a love or
sex scene, the actors break out into song and dance instead. So
guarding the public image of the biggest stars in a way that made Rock
Hudson’s marriage to Phyllis Gates look like a weak effort seemed right
The bulk of the story takes place in India and
amongst the wealthy who never get into documentaries, and the life
looked very comfortable. The big inconvenience was dealing with traffic.
I didn’t exactly feel transported into either that part of the world or
the lives of the MC’s, but it kept me interested. The third person POV
didn’t feel especially deep, which kept my involvement with the
characters a little more superficial than engaged.
Rajan seems to
have stumbled into stardom as a result of ferocious pushes from behind:
his mother was a former Bollywood star who was certainly living
vicariously though him. How a man whose heart isn’t in it can be bullied
into the top tier of something he doesn’t want was a bit of a mystery,
but saying “Yes, Maa” to anything she wanted was easier than saying no.
Especially with her health for a guilt card. Rajan’s mother was the
driving force behind most of the action, past and present. I wanted
desperately for him to grow a set and tell her, or anyone, no. The only
one Rajan could say no to for any reason was Ajay, which cost him some
likeability. He's tired now, but he's also abdicated living his life to
other people a long time ago.
Ajay, the top cricket player,
was a national star in his own right, and openly gay, something Rajan’s
mother had HUGE issues with, costing them the relationship when they
were young. Ajay’s still dealing with how Rajan walked out of his life
back in their university days, and now that he’s being offered what he
missed so much from before, he’s right to be wary about how much
commitment he’s being offered from a man who mostly exists as other
The secondary characters had quite a lot of
life on page: Rajan’s mother certainly dominated the book, his costar
Karishma has some spark to her, as does Ajay’s fellow cricketer Neel,
all of whom pretty much overshadow Rajan for the strength of their
opinions. A few deathbed secrets raised eyebrows—how could a person
feels as they did and them behave as they do kept running through my
I enjoyed the story as a look into another culture, but the
romance didn’t jump off the page for me, mostly because of Rajan’s lack
of spine, and some places where the exposition takes the place of
action. Don’t tell me there were riots over a cricket game back when,
show me the fans pushing on the sides of the car. The flatness of such
details took away from what could have been a vibrant story, but it’s a
pleasant afternoon’s read. The story is deeply discounted both at the
publisher and at Amazon for a limited time, to 99 cents, so get a copy
and let me know if you agree or disagree.