Coming February 16th…
A novel highlighting Kurdish culture…
Hashtian, Iran – Summer
The night air was full of heat and promise as Shahram “Ram” Zare slammed his brother’s car door shut, hammering two slaps on the roof with a wide grin. He could not believe it—his brother was really married.
Even at twenty-two, Ram felt such pride at Javad’s accomplishments and success. A bride named Aveen. What a beauty, too.
A wistful kind of ache settled in Ram’s chest, wondering when it would be his turn. Not that he necessarily wanted the whole responsibility of a wife and children on his shoulders right now, but his parents wanted the whole package for him. And family ruled supreme in the Middle East, but he hoped he could put it off another couple of years. He wanted to go to medical school.
His cousin, Saied, yanked on his arm, yammering out, “Let’s go!” in Kurdish with a smile that went on forever. The guy had more teeth than a lion, and Ram followed him to his car, his step light, nearly floating.
Tonight, they were celebrating!
Other cars peeled out down the dusty road ahead of them in a furious rush with long beeps of their car horns.
Custom dictated the entire family escort the bride and groom home, but they still had an hour’s drive before reaching their destination. Not a problem. They could roll down the windows, turn up their Kurdish music, and honk their horns all the way back to Urmia.
They took off.
Yet it was minutes later when Saied slammed on the brakes, his voice filled the air with obscenities.
All the cars, which had left before them, were stopped in a deranged mess of chaos. It took Ram all of a second to realize Javad’s car was smashed up with steam wafting up into the summer air.
He leaped out of his cousin’s car, running. Adrenaline pumped through his veins, dark fear suffocating him. A million thoughts scrambled through his mind. Where was Javad? Was he all right?
Ram bypassed other family members, ignoring their dazed expressions and fierce yelling. He was only concerned about one thing: his brother.
Before he reached Javad’s car, Saleh, his uncle, stepped in his path, shooting off in rapid Kurdish, “They’re gone, Shahram. They were lying in wait for them.”
A measure of sanity stuttered through Ram’s brain, finally turning away from the smashed, empty car to look at his uncle. “Who…? What are you saying?”
“We were right behind them. Javad and Aveen were ambushed. Some men forced them out of their car with guns before we could reach them.”
Shahram did not wait for more details, shoving off the concerned voices faster than mud off his shoe. There was no time. His eyes sought the first available car, jumping in. Several family members tried to stop him, but he could not wait, and Saied slid into the passenger seat… always his wingman.
He started the car with shaky hands, peeling out, and the squeal of the tires reverberated off the cracked, potholed pavement.
Javad needed him.
Speeding down the road, his heart thundered in time with the rising car gauge…
Shahram “Ram” Zare carries a dark secret—shadows of unresolved pain. Five years earlier, he and his brother fled the Kurdish region of Iran over a tribal war, but now, the ghosts have settled, and their uncle travels to the US, hoping to encourage the brothers to marry. And Ram has been charged with finding a pseudo-fiancée for his older brother, Javad. His search leads him to a beautiful woman. He hesitates to ask her to be a pawn in such an archaic system of duty, especially as his heart grows deeper in love with her.
As Mia Phillips watches her mother slip away from cancer, she bows under the pressure of unpaid bills and heartache. No amount of soul searching fills her empty bank account… or her indecision over the most breathtaking man. Ram offers her a life change, yet not with him—a fake marriage of convenience to his brother. Javad is too hard and rigid, but Ram… he is the other half of her soul. Yet they must remain friends to make the lie seem real. Or will they?
Everything comes down to propriety, honor, and the right to choose the love of their hearts…
*Subject to change prior to publishing*