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The Dowry Bride

The Dowry Bride, Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan Bantwal


Shobhan Bantwal
Kensington, September 2007
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Megha is sick with horror when she realizes that her husband and his mother are plotting to kill her because her family has not paid her promised dowry. She runs for her life, her single goal to escape death by fire. But fleeing from her would-be killers seems impossible--unless she can find someone to help her...

To approach her best friend would bring scandal to an innocent woman's doorstep, and turning to her own strict, conservative family is out of the question. Instead, with nothing but the sari she wears and a memory of kindness, Megha finds her way to Kiran, the one man who has shown her friendship and respect. Hiding her in his apartment, Kiran becomes her protector. But the forbidden attraction that grows between them can only bring more danger...



Chapter One

Her parents named her Megha, which means “cloud” in Sanskrit, perhaps because she cast a gray shadow over their lives at a time when they didn’t expect overcast skies. She was an unexpected, unpleasant surprise—rather late in their lives. Her father was in his forties, her mother in her thirties. When they were desperately hoping it would at least turn out to be a boy after having had two girls, now ages thirteen and eleven, she came along—another screaming infant girl—with all the wants and needs and tribulations of a female, all the burdens of a Hindu Brahmin woman.

Her father never recovered from the disappointment. Her mother quietly accepted it as her destiny. Together they began to contemplate how they would ever manage to put aside enough money to pay three varadakhshinas. Dowries.

Some Hindus believe that if you give your child a depressing name, you can keep evil away from it. They often apply a dot of kohl on a baby’s face to mar its perfection, as no one will be tempted to put a hex on a flawed child. Megha was told she was an unusually beautiful baby, bright and full of energy. She often wondered if the name Megha was her spot of kohl, guaranteed to deflect the evil eye. When asked about it, her mother said the only reason they called her Megha was because they happened to like the name.

Then there was the astrologer, a man known for his accuracy, who had cast her janam-patrika. Horoscope. He had apparently predicted a dark, threatening period in Megha’s life, when a large cloud would settle over her head, and Yama, the god of death, would pay her a visit. He wasn’t able to foretell exactly when . . . but the menace would come, he’d warned.

It would come. It was bound to come—sooner or later.

Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan Bantwal Bio

Shobhan BantwalSHOBHAN BANTWAL was born and raised in India and came to the United States as a young bride in an arranged marriage. She has published short fiction in literary magazines and articles in a number of publications. Writing plays in her mother tongue (Indian language - Konkani) and performing on stage at Indian-American conventions are her favorite pastimes. Shobhan loves to hear from her readers. Visit her at her web site:

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Copyright Information

The Dowry Bride, Shobhan Bantwal
Kensington, September 2007

The preceding excerpt was taken from the book The Dowry Bride with complete approval by the author Shobhan Bantwal and/or the publisher Kensington. This information may not be re-used or redistributed in any manner.

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