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The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi RajakumarPlease enjoy this excerpt from Love Comes Later, a heart-breaking multicultural romance by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of Love Comes Later, and 5 copies of its companion, From Dunes to Dior.

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Abdulla’s mind wasn’t on Fatima, or on his uncles or cousins. Not even when he drove through the wrought iron entry gate, oblivious to the sprawl of family cars parked haphazardly in the shared courtyard, did he give them a thought. Despite the holy season, his mind was still hard at work. Mentally, he clicked through a final checklist for tomorrow’s meetings.  I can squeeze in a few more hours if Fatima is nauseous and sleeps in tomorrow, he thought, rubbing his chin. Instead of the stubble he had anticipated, his whiskers were turning soft. A trim was yet another thing he didn’t have time for these days, though longer beards were out of fashion according to his younger brother Saad, who had been trying to grow one for years. Beard length. Just another change to keep up with.

Change was all around him, Abdulla thought. The cousins getting older, he himself soon to become a father.  Abdulla felt the rise of his country’s profile most immediately in the ballooning volume of requests by foreign governments for new trade agreements. By the day, it seemed, Qatar’s international status was growing, which meant more discussions, more meetings.

He slid the car into a gap in the growing shadow between his father’s and grandfather’s houses. It would have to serve as a parking space. The Range Rover door clicked shut behind him as he walked briskly toward his father’s house, BlackBerry in hand, scrolling through his messages. Only then did the sound of wailing reach him, women in pain or grief, emanating from his Uncle Ahmed’s house across the courtyard. He jerked the hands-free device out of his ear and quickened his pace, jogging not toward the majlis where the rest of the men were gathering, but into the main living area of Uncle Ahmed’s, straight toward those unearthly sounds.

The sight of Aunt Wadha stopped him short. Disheveled, her shayla slipping as she howled, she was smacking herself on the forehead. Then came his mother, reaching her arms out to him with a tender, pitying look he hadn’t seen since his pet rabbits from the souq died. But it was Hessa, his other aunt – Fatima’s mother, his own mother-in-law – who sent him into a panic.  Ashen-faced, her lips bleeding, she was clutching the evil eye necklace he had bought Fatima on their honeymoon. At the sight of it, the delicate gold cord in Hessa’s hands and not around his wife’s neck, Abdulla felt his knees buckle and the BlackBerry slip from his hand.

“What has happened?” he said. He looked from one stricken face to another.

Numbly, he saw his female cousins were there. At the sight of him the older ones, glamorous Noor and bookish Hind, both women in their own right whom he hadn’t seen in years, jerked their shaylas from their shoulders to cover their hair and went into the adjoining room. In his haste, he hadn’t said “Darb!” to let them know he was entering the room.

“Abdulla, Abdulla…” his mother began, but was thrust aside by Aunt Hessa.

“Fatima,” Hessa screamed, staring wildly at him. “Fatima!”

Rather than fall onto the floor in front of the women, Abdulla slumped heavily into the nearest overstuffed armchair. Fatima…

They left behind gangly nine-year-old Luluwa, Fatima’s sister, who resisted when they tried to take her with them. His father, gray-faced and tired, entered. Abdulla slouched and waited, the growing dread like something chewing at his insides. His father began to talk, but on hearing “accident” and “the intersection at Al Waab” he remembered the Hukoomi traffic service SMS. Then he heard “Ahmed”, and a shiver of horror ran up his back. The driver had been Ahmed, his uncle, the father of his wife.

Later that night in the morgue, in the minutes or hours (he couldn’t keep track) while he waited to receive her body, Abdulla flicked his Zippo lighter open and struck it alight. Holding it just so, he burned a small patch on his wrist just below his watchstrap. Even this couldn’t contain his rage at the truck driver who came through without a scratch, at his uncle, or at himself.

The morgue was antiseptic, mercilessly public. The police advised against seeing her, insisting that he wouldn’t be able to erase the memory of a face marked with innumerable shards of glass.

Surrounded by family and hospital staff, he couldn’t hold her, talk to her, stroke her slightly rounding stomach, the burial site of their unborn child. Any goodbyes he had hoped to say were suppressed.

He would mourn the baby in secret. He hadn’t wanted to tell relatives about the pregnancy too soon in case of a miscarriage. Now it could never happen: the need to visibly accept God’s will in front of them would prevent him from crying it out, this woe upon woe that was almost too much to bear.

Fatima’s body was washed and wrapped, the prayers said before burial. His little wife, the round face, the knowing eyes he’d grown up next to in the family compound, and the baby he would never see crawl, sleep, or walk were hidden to him now for all eternity. The secret she was carrying was wrapped in a gauzy white kaffan, her grave cloth, when he was finally allowed to see them. The child who would have been named after Abdulla’s grandfather if a boy, his grandmother if a girl, whose gender would now remain a mystery.

At the burial site, as was customary, he fell in line behind his father and uncles. Ahmed, the father, carried his daughter’s slight form.

They placed her on her right side.

Men came to lay the concrete slabs that sealed the grave, so her frame would not rise up as it decomposed in the earth. Abdulla regretted not stroking the softness of her chin or the imperceptibly rounding curve of her belly. I am burying my wife and our unborn child, he thought, the taste of blood filling his mouth from the force with which he bit his cheek to stem the tears. Their secret would be lost within her lifeless womb. News of a double tragedy would spread with the sand under doors and into the ears of their larger circle of acquaintances. Someone would call someone to read the Qur’an over him. Someone would search out someone else for a bottle of Zamzam water from Mecca.

None of it would stop the acid from chewing through his heart.

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi RajakumarLove Comes LaterThe Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love.

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi RajakumarShe was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine based in Doha and a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition. She has been a regular contributor for Variety Arabia, AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, Expat Arrivals, Speak Without Interruption and Qatar Explorer. She hosted two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio.

Currently Mohana is working on a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and a novel based in Qatar. She believes words can help us understand ourselves and others.

 The Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Love Comes LaterAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Love Comes Later eBook edition is just 99 cents this week–and so is the price of its companion, From Dunes to Dior. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Love Comes
    Later
    for just 99 cents
  2. Purchase your copy of From Dunes
    to Dior
    for just 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  4. Visit today’s featured social media event

About Love Comes Later: What if pursuing your happiness also meant your best friend’s disgrace? In Love Comes Later Sangita, Abdulla and Hind must chose between loyalty and love, traditional values and a future they each long to explore. Get it on Amazon.

About From Dunes to Dior: I moved East, back towards my roots, only to discover how much of the West I brought with me. From Dunes to Dior is the story of my life as an expat South Asian woman in the heart of the Middle East. Get it on Amazon.

About the Author: Six eBooks ago, Mohana joined the e-book revolution and now she dreams in plot lines. Visit Mohana on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for hosting the excerpt. I hope your readers enjoyed learning a little bit about Qatari society. Bloggers rule!
    Show me some love!

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