Every now and then I get to spotlight someone here on my blog, someone who I’ve admired like today, with author Shobhan Bantwal. Her star is on the rise and it’s oh so much fun to watch her making it big, someone you’ve had your eye on for a long time and someone who hails from around my old stomping ground, Phoenix, Arizona. So, without further delay, here’s a little bit of info about Shobhan Bantwal and an excerpt from her novel THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER.
In her thought-provoking, uplifting new novel, Shobhan Bantwal vividly blends the nuances of contemporary Indian-American culture with an unconventional romance…
It starts with a bizarre accident. Petite and successful Meena Shenoy’s contented life turns upside down when she collides, literally, with her strikingly tall boss, Prajay Nayak, and suffers a nasty fall. But when she discovers that he’s a bright, caring, family-oriented man, she’s attracted to him. When he unexpectedly asks her to meet him in secret, she wonders whether he feels the same way about her.
Meena walks into his office that evening with high romantic hopes. Imagine her shock when instead of declaring interest in her Prajay makes an astonishing request: He wants her to craft a personal ad that will help him find a suitable wife – a statuesque, sophisticated Indian-American woman who will complement his striking height.
Despite her feelings for Prajay and the complications of balancing work and her “marriage consultant” role, Meena can’t refuse the assignment, or the generous fee attached to it. While she nurses her bruised heart, Meena comes to some surprising realizations about love, tradition, and the sacrifices she will—and won’t—make to fight for the man she loves.
“Bantwal pairs romance with her trademark taste of how Indian expatriates live in New Jersey, complete with family dynamics and tensions between different ethnic groups.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“The Reluctant Matchmaker is a very entertaining and easy read. A real page turner!” –Book Pleasures
“This was a thoroughly enjoyable novel . . . a perfectly absorbing and engaging read.” –Coffee Time Romance
“Bantwal’s latest is a fun romance. Meena’s American modernity clashes with her Indian upbringing in a rebellious manner that will leave readers smiling.” — Romantic Times
Shobhan Bantwal is an award-winning author of six multicultural women’s fiction books with romantic elements and numerous short stories, branded as “Bollywood in a Book.” Her articles have appeared in The Writer magazine, Romantic Times, India Abroad, India Currents, and New Woman. The Reluctant Matchmaker is her latest novel. Shobhan lives with her husband in Arizona. Visit her online at www.shobhanbantwal.com to learn about her books, trailers, contests, photos, recipes, and more. Visit her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author
Excerpt from THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER by Shobhan Bantwal
Prajay took the glass from my hand, and our fingers touched. I shook at the surge of power that shot up my arm. Warm blood rushed to my neck and cheeks. Oh no, my face was probably an open book—a woman completely smitten.
He must have felt something, too, because his hand looked a little unsteady as he put the half-finished glass back on the tray. He turned to me, a look of startled discovery replacing the casual one that had been there a moment ago.
He lifted a hand to touch the side of my face. “You . . . are . . . beautiful, Meena Shenoy.”
I was trembling so much, I couldn’t think straight. “I . . . uh . . . thank you.” Why couldn’t I come up with something intelligent and cool to say? I was sitting there like a bumbling moron when I was getting exactly what I wanted—his undivided attention.
“Beautiful, smart, caring. You’re a very special young lady.” His thumb caressed my cheekbone as he studied my eyes, as if searching for something.
Still tongue-tied, I let my eyelids fall. It was hard to hold his gaze and not throw myself at him. No matter what, I still had to hold on to my dignity. And thrusting myself on him was likely to make him recoil. His other hand slowly came up, and he cupped my face with both hands. His palms felt strong and hard yet tender.
I didn’t know exactly what happened or how—who leaned forward first, but suddenly his lips were on mine, warm, soft, gentle for a big man. Instinctively my mouth opened for his kiss. This was what I’d wanted for the last couple of weeks. I had dressed in one of my most seductive outfits just so I could have this. And yet, I hesitated to touch him. Oh, I wanted to very much, but one wrong move could ruin the fragile moment.
Most Indian men didn’t like aggressive women. So I kept my hands tightly clasped in my lap while his full mouth glided over mine, his teeth nipped at my lower lip, and his tongue played with mine.
A yearning sigh escaped from my mouth. He must have heard it, too, because his hands left my face and his arms locked around me. I was hauled against him in one quick move, taking the breath right out of my lungs.
God, this was good—better than anything I’d ever felt in my whole life.
Although his hold on me felt like a vice grip, I liked it, basked in it. His next kiss was harder, more demanding, that of a hungry male rather than a tender admirer. And all the while my mind sang: He wants me. He wants me.
I couldn’t hold back any longer. My hands rested on his shoulders, savoring the tautness of the muscle and the soft feel of his shirt for a moment, and then my arms slid around his neck, clamping his mouth to mine. I never wanted to let go. This was a minor miracle. I’d come here to help him locate a woman who’d make him a suitable wife, and instead I was clasped in his arms, his mouth making scalding, passionate love to mine.
Even in my wildest dreams I hadn’t thought it would be this wonderful. His cologne was rousing, his hair ticklish on my fingers, and his chest was hard as a rock against my pliant breasts. This felt so damn right.
Just when I thought this was heaven on earth, he abruptly loosened his hold on me, a puzzled look coming over his face once more. But this time the bafflement was not mixed with wonder and awe. It was more like an unpleasant shock.
I had done it—exactly what I didn’t want to do—I’d repulsed him. Why the heck hadn’t I behaved like a nice Hindu girl and held myself in check?
He took me by the shoulders and set me away from him. “I’m so sorry. I—I don’t know what came over me.”
Author’s website link – http://www.shobhanbantwal.com
Genre or category – Women’s Fiction, Ethnic Fiction
The Amazon link: http://amzn.to/PqGl6W
- Book Review: The Reluctant Matchmaker, by Shobhan Bantwal (susanheim.blogspot.com)