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Anju Gattani

A fiction author and freelance journalist, Anju has been published internationally in fiction, feature, news and travel. She was born in India but grew up in Hong Kong and has also lived in Singapore, Australia, New Jersey and Connecticut, USA.

Her curiosity about cultures, the traditions imprinting people’s values and the effect on their lives was the beginning of her journey. Anju observes how fixed impressions, predetermined mind-sets and habit-to-stereotype define people’s thinking patterns and behavior. Anju questions why despite leaps in technology and communication meaning is still lost in translation; her characters explore these concepts.

DUTY AND DESIRE is Anju’s debut novel; she hopes to bridge cultures and break barriers one book at a time. For more about Anju, visit www.anjugattani.com.

WINDS OF FIRE

Adored and pampered by her parents, accustomed to the comforts of wealth, Sheetal Prasad has never questioned the Indian culture that governs her life, nor doubted her parents’ ability to provide for her happiness…until she falls in love with Arvind, a college classmate—then meets the man her parents have decreed that she marry.

Spoiled, multi-millionaire playboy Rakesh Dhanraj, CEO of Dhanraj & Son, proposes a merger of the two families that will elevate the Prasads into the ranks of India’s elite. While society hails the Dhanraj-Prasad union as the wedding of the decade, Sheetal begs her parents to call off the marriage. She argues that, as a modern woman, she should be free to work outside the home and marry for love, not be bound by outdated traditions. Threatened by her parents with poverty, shame and becoming an outcast, Sheetal relents and marries Rakesh.

After raping Sheetal on their wedding night, Rakesh abandons her in his family’s twenty-five-bedroom mansion. Because the Dhanrajs are far wealthier than the Prasads and Sheetal’s worth is judged according to her father’s status, Sheetal is treated like a servant.

Determined to escape Dhanraj tyranny, Sheetal searches for a way to dissolve her marriage. In the process, she uncovers family secrets that help her understand Rakesh but destroys any fledgling hope for security and happiness. Only now, she’s pregnant. In an effort to preserve his public façade, Rakesh promises to do anything Sheetal asks if she’ll stay in the marriage.

With her own Prasad family secrets coming to light, and Arvind having fled Raigun, Sheetal has no safe place to go if she leaves Rakesh. For the sake of her infant son, heir to the Dhanraj fortune, Sheetal abandons her plans for divorce.

Rakesh’s reputation now secure, but his business empire faltering, he turns to alcohol, affairs and frequent travel to avoid Sheetal and to concentrate on his company.

By the time Sheetal learns of Rakesh’s betrayals, the Dhanraj mansion has become a luxurious prison too dangerous in which to raise a child. Yet, even if she and her son flee the country, her celebrity status and Rakesh’s wealth almost guarantee that he’ll find her. But with Sheetal’s eight-year-old son displaying symptoms of PTSD, staying in the physically and emotionally abusive marriage is no longer an option. Their only hope for survival is to reject financial security in favor of freedom, even at the risk of losing their lives.

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