When I finished Vegas to Varanasi, I never had any intention of writing a sequel, but found I missed the characters. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. Well, in real life I'm now creeping into the world of perimenopause, experiencing all sorts of fun things like weight gain, bloating, hot hands and feet that often interfere with my sleep, thinning hair, occasional hot flashes, and the dreaded moodiness. I don't think the bitchiness has set in just yet. It's been more like increased spells of feeling blue and being weepy. (My husband might tell you otherwise.) That's not the end of the list, but I'd rather not go into some of the other symptoms here. ;)
So I thought, hey, why not tell this story through Anna's eyes, and try to have some fun with it? Because if a girl can't laugh at all this craziness, she will surely lose her mind. (Oh. Losing my mind. That's another symptom. As in, I can't remember squat anymore.) And don't worry. Kiran doesn't get off so easy. He has his own set of midlife difficulties as well, so the two of them are trying to find their way through this stage together as a relatively new couple.
Here's the blurb, written by the brilliant Francine LaSala. Thank you, Francine!
The sequel to Vegas to Varanasi catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age?
First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing?
Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry.
Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily ever after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change.”
And here's a little excerpt:
“You look like you didn’t have such a good day. I got something for you that may cheer you up.” He rises and picks up a gift bag I hadn’t noticed from the dresser and sits on the edge of the bed.
“That’s so sweet!”
Pulling out a clear plastic package that has some bulky looking slippers inside, I purse my lips. “What kind of slippers are these?” And why would he get me slippers in the middle of summer, when my feet have already been burning up?
“They’re cold therapy booties.” He unzips the package and takes them out. Then he removes a gel pack from one of them. “You put the gel in the freezer, and when your feet are hot, just put the packs into the booties and wear them to cool your feet. I thought you could sleep in them and you wouldn’t have to keep kicking the covers off.”
What a great idea! However, they’re far from attractive, almost resembling some kind of orthopedic wraps, and suddenly I burst into tears. “Thank you! It was so thoughtful of you to find something like this for me.”
Kiran ducks his head to look into my face and smiles awkwardly. “You’re welcome. I wasn’t expecting such a dramatic reaction to a pair of slippers.” He lightly places his hand on my arm. “Did your appointment not go the way you wanted today?”
“I don’t know,” I say, throwing up my hands. “I have to get a couple more tests to make sure it’s safe for me to have ablation. I’m just going to be so disappointed if I have to keep dealing with these awful periods. I mean, what if I can’t have this done and I get my period on our honeymoon? It’ll ruin everything… I’m sorry for being so pathetic.”
He goes back to his side of the bed and leans against the headboard. Then he holds out his arm for me sit beside him. Sniffling to keep my nose from dripping, I accept his invitation. “What else? I can tell there’s more,” he says.
“Like you said…” I sigh. “It just wasn’t a good day. When I asked her about my hot hands and feet, she said it’s probably from the B vitamins I’ve been taking for my hair loss. So I need to stop taking them and see. She asked me if I’ve considered Rogaine. Rogaine!” My voice squeaks. “I’m not balding. My hair just comes out in clumps. You’ve seen it all over the bathroom. I told her how my friend tried it, but it dripped onto her face while she slept, giving her facial hair!”
Kiran silently reaches across me for my cider and hands it to me.
“Thank you.” I take a swig. “And then I came across this God awful magazine ad in the waiting room about this ABL affecting one in five women over forty.”
“Accidental… bowel… leakage!” I say, emphasizing each word.
“Oh no…” He tries to keep from smiling.
“I wouldn’t be so quick to find it funny. It said just as many men your age are affected. It actually made me angry!”
He simply draws in his lips and closes his eyes, making every effort to remain neutral.
“I’m worried about Claire, your parents are leaving and I’m gonna miss them,” I croak. “And now I have to wear those damn ugly slippers just so I can sleep!”
Kiran pulls me into him as I start bawling all over again.
“No offense. It really was a sweet gift and I’m sure I’ll love them.”
“None taken,” he says gently.
Straightening, I wipe my face with the sleeves of my robe. “I am so, so sorry for wacking out on you like this. You must be scared shitless right now, thinking, Here we go. On the road to crazy town.” Honestly, I’m thinking the same thing.