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Venus Rising
by Celia Kennedy

Akshaya Bertrand is a Professor of Art History at an elite college in New England. The patina of the ivy league campus is the perfect canvas for the exotic beauty from India. It is also an environment that Akshaya can safely navigate. A small world that she has minimized and made manageable.

Dr. Jared Harrison, a journalist who has been based in the Middle East, has accepted a position as a guest lecturer at the college where Akshaya teaches. Arriving just in time to attend a faculty mixer, he catches a glimpse of Akshaya Bertrand. Immediately, he learns from those who have tried and failed, that the beautiful professor, compared to Lakshmi, Venus and Aphrodite, is an enigma, a seductive sculpture behind a wall of glass.

While searching for a way to slip past her armor and into her life, Jared confronts the images and tragedies imprinted on his psyche by those left behind in the war torn world of the Middle East. Akshaya and Jared find themselves drawn to each other, hoping to find compassion, someone they can expose their inner demons to. Funding from the college provides an opportunity to combine Akshaya's love of art with Jared's resources as a war correspondent. Together, they travel to Afghanistan and India, where both finally face the past that has shaped them and the present that defines them. Amongst beauty and poverty as well as war and friendship they find the answers to their individual truths.
 
 
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