Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Pratibha R DH is the author of middle-grade, fantasy, and paranormal crime novels. Besides being able to manifest her love for writing through her career as an IT content specialist, she also blogs on topics such as mindfulness, spirituality, personal growth, writing, and intentional living.
These days her mantra for living an empowered life comprises a one-hour daily pack of yoga, meditation and morning pages. She loves to spend time with her family and generally be outdoors, taking a walk or simply spending time with nature. Music, swimming, dance, and reading are her other passions. She lives in India with her husband and two young sons.
New Release: Child of Paradise(Listen to your Dreams) – A paranormal crime thriller/mystery
Titles available in the Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny series
(in reading order):
1. Trumpets in the Wild (Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny, Vol 1)
2. Fury of the Primates (Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny, Vol 2)
3. Secret Code of Magicians (Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny, Vol 3)
4. The Princess, the Witch Queen and the Sorcerer (Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny,Vol 4)
Redemption (Fantasy Romance Novelette)
What inspired you to write your book?
My desire to know about after-life born out of the early loss of my loved ones, has been the real-life inspiration behind my new paranormal crime thriller. Some authors are visually led before they write a story. For me this usually happens after I research about a particular idea. But I already had seen flashes of some scenes in my mind’s eye – strong scenes – even before I crafted the backbone of this story. I strongly feel there has been a paranormal touch to the process of writing this book itself as these scenes came on quite strongly and later on blended very well with the story. Here the protagonist, like me, is haunted by dreams and these dreams have sometimes been prophetic or have brought a meaning in her life. My experience with psychics and mediums has also been touched upon through the heroine’s life. Her curiosity, as well as, her refusal to accept the conventional in turn is a catalyst in solving the mystery surrounding her sister’s death. This book touches upon subjects such as after-life, spirit guides, dream visitations, mediums, ghost hunters, homicide, police investigations, family ties and are for readers who’d love a thriller or a mystery with a supernatural edge. It also borders round corporate dreams and ambitions – the politics of it that can make or break a person. This too has been hugely inspired by my experience of a career in the corporate world. Hence the book is a journey I can closely relate to which is about loss, defeat, deceit, betrayal, depression and yet finding the light at end of the tunnel.
Here is a short sample from the book:
They had a small party with Uncle Neal, Krystal, Nina, Ryan, Dev, Maya, Alisha, Nysa, Jeff and little Lola around. Nysa and Dev were quite surprised but happy as they had known Ron from old times. Ron’s mom came down for the engagement too along with a lot of gifts for her.
“I am happy that you made my Ron finally settle down. I had almost given up hopes,” she said while giving her a warm hug. “And was I surprised and happy to know that it was somebody I already knew!”
Ron slid the most exotic ring on her finger but that mattered less as she had the most amazing man in her life. Then again, somewhere deep down in her heart, something was nagging her and she didn’t know what. She pushed those thoughts aside and tried not to ruin her happy moments as her friends Krystal and Nina would keep advising her from time to time.
“I am so happy for you, Tia.” Krystal hugged her.
“Wish it was a double wedding,” remarked Nina as she poured more mocktails into their glasses. “Ron’s mom looks quite mellowed from the time we last saw her. What about Tanya and the other sister – what was her name? Ah yes, Royna.”
“They are out of the country it seems. But I haven’t spoken to any of them yet. I still am having second thoughts. Isn’t this all too fast?” Tia sounded vulnerable and unsure as Nina and Krystal exchanged careful glances. But they were the only people that Tia could open her heart to without being judged. If Nysa had an inkling of this, she would worry even more. So Tia was hesitant to seek her advice.
“If your heart says so, then yes.” Nina assured her. “And Ron is a good, steady guy. Why should you worry?”
“Yes, rich and successful too.” Krystal winked but added with a more serious note, “Guys like him don’t come in easily, Tia. He is the real deal!” Krystal made a circle with her index finger and thumb to stress her point further. “We all know him from ages back. He is the stable, trustworthy kind – trust me!”
“Look, he’s got the young ones wrapped round his little finger too,” said Nina with a smile, seeing Ron taking Lola by his hand and chatting up with Alisha at the same time. “Looks like Alisha is blushing with all the attention from Ron…”
Later after they left, Tia rested her head on Ron’s shoulder as they lay cosily on the couch. She was abundantly happy with her life, having no regrets at all. He caressed her hair and both lay silent, loving each other’s company.
“I wish Dad, Mom and Rianna were around too.”
“I know sweetheart. But I am there for you now. I love you so much and I will try to make it all up for you.”
“I know,” she said as she kissed his hand lingeringly. “I remember Rianna’s engagement to Jeff. She was so happy. And you know what she told me?”
“What?” he asked as he gave a light kiss on her forehead.
“Hope you find the same kind of love and happiness that I have found with Jeff. She…”
“Now wait a minute…Jeff? Did you say Jeff? Did he have the same name as Nysa’s husband?”
Tia shifted slightly and Ron could feel her body tense in his arms. She sighed after a while as she said, “No, he is the same Jeff that Rianna was engaged to. I thought you knew.”
He looked baffled and she answered slowly, “After Rianna died, I guess Nysa and Jeff’s grief drew them close together. Although I hadn’t taken the news easily when I came to know about it. I gave Nysa quite a hard time because of it. Our relations had been quite strained for some time. I am not too proud of that. Nysa has always been a very good sister to me.”
“It’s okay. Don’t blame yourself. Grief makes us do strange things…happens to the best of us.” As they lay silent for some time, Ron continued. “You know we had a huge crush on Rianna at one time. She was quite older but there in lay the fascination.”
“Really?! How come I never knew that!” She turned to look at him. “Where did you meet her? I never knew you had known her.”
“Just saw her around the neighbourhood, you know – when we used to hang around in the malls or the cricket playground and sometimes at the local club events. She was very pretty. But of course that was before I laid my eyes on you and everything changed.”
“But you never proposed!” She sounded sulky at that.
“You were this young innocent babe and my sister’s friend. I thought you were too young, innocent – never been with a boyfriend and all. I was not sure you were ready for a fling or whatever else you might have called it,” he said with a naughty wink. “Guess I realized too late that I missed my chance when Tanya told me about you seeing a guy by the name of Arjun. After we moved, I did come later to Bengaluru on Mom’s business but mostly on the pretext of finding you – subconsciously maybe. Somehow our paths never crossed. Later when I came, you were away at college. I met your sister a couple of times, though. But I figured you might have moved on and met new boys at college…so why would you bother with the brother of your school friend.”
“Everyone thought I was going around with Arjun. But it lasted only three months. He almost tried force on me…”
“What! That bastard…”
“It’s okay Ron…” She lay her palm on his cheek gently. “I was saved by the bell. His brother’s friends walked in as soon as he tried to manhandle me and then he didn’t dare. I threatened to tell on him so he never had the guts to come close.”
After Ron calmed down, she said, “Rianna never mentioned to me that she knew you.”
“She knew me as Tanya’s brother, of course. Yuvi was the one with a major crush on her. He would stand for miles near the coffee shop just to have a glimpse of her…”
“Yuvi? You knew Yuvi too! Why is this all news to me now?”
“Of course, I knew him. We used to hang around with the same friend circle at our neighbourhood or play at the Indranagar cricket club whenever he came for his vacations from boarding school. Later, we were in the same college and we caught up like old times.”
“But you haven’t met him now? He has never mentioned anything about you…”
“Oh, we are no longer the best of friends. Had a business deal that went wrong. I was not happy with his handling of funds.”
“I got the news of your sister passing away very late, you know…”
“Who told you?” she asked curiously.
“It was Ryan who told me, when I dropped in town. I was shocked, you know. Surprisingly, Yuvi never mentioned about that too.”
When Tia looked puzzled, he explained, “I mean we had a business fallout much later. The times I called him, although it was not too often, he could have mentioned but he never did.”
Tia sighed. “Yes, Yuvi was upset when my sister passed away. He was very fond of her.”
“Yes, what a charming lady she was. You know she offered to help me out by photographing some shots for a perspective client of mine. She was a reputed photographer around this area it seemed and had freelanced some major projects.”
“She did?” Tia asked. “She never mentioned. But I knew that she was a good photographer and often pursued photography as a hobby.”
“Yes. Last time I met her was at one of my client’s, Mr. Lyon’s, charity event. She was always very friendly and happy to meet me knowing I was one of your friend’s brother. A very warm person Rianna was…she loved to talk about you, her little baby sister, I noticed. And I never did mind.” He winked at that. “We were speaking about old times and mutual acquaintances when the conversation turned to her photographs. I was looking for a good photographer at that time and she pitched in to help. I asked her to meet me at Pearl Valley the next day and she agreed. But later I had an emergency call so I had to leave…what? Tia? What’s the matter?”
Her face had changed colour and she looked shocked.
“Yes, a client of mine wanted some shots of that area…but why, what’s the matter?”
“That is where she died, Ron! How could you not tell me?”
“What was there to tell, Tia?! I never did meet her. I had somehow managed to book the earliest flight back home because of the news of Mom’s ill health. As far as I remember I left a message for Rianna, saying I couldn’t meet.”
“So you never met her again?”
“No, I didn’t. Mom had a sudden heart attack back home. It was almost a near miss. Her left side was paralyzed for almost a year. Through sheer grit and determination she got back on her feet. I don’t remember much. It was years back. I was busy with mom and her business and lost all touch with everyone in Bengaluru except for Yuvi. My relationship with Yuvi was deteriorating by the day. We hardly were on good terms. Our online business together incurred heavy losses and so I was pissed off with him. However, I did visit one year later and they told me that Rianna passed away and everyone suspected it was suicide. I dropped in at Dev’s place. He was not around and Maya, your sister-in-law, hardly knew me so it was awkward asking her too many questions. I did hear about her body being found near a waterfall but I never correlated it with the Pearl Valley as there are so many waterfalls here. Maybe that’s why Ryan too never mentioned as he had only overheard about the death of Rianna Arya and not all the details. I am sorry, Tia.”
They both fell into silence for a while. Ron tactfully let her alone for some time as he cleared their dishes and brought in some coffee.
All kinds of thoughts were raging inside Tia’s mind. Why was Rianna showing her dreams about Ron? And why was Ron telling her all this only now?
“You could have told me all this before,” remarked Tia, as she searched his face.
“What was there to tell, Tia? I was hardly around. And this meeting wasn’t that important to me. That’s why I never thought about it much.”
“Okay.” Tia nodded slowly but her eyes remained fixed on Ron as her thoughts took a new turn now.
“When were you supposed to meet Rianna?”
“I mean the time of the year – which day, month and year?”
“You expect me to remember that? It was years back!”
“But I am sure you remember the number of times you came to Bengaluru?” Her eyes looked pleading although her face was tense. She wanted to remove whatever doubts were springing in her mind like poisonous algae as quickly as she could.
“I have been to Bengaluru a couple of times. Dropped in and out on business…wait. Let me check my mails…”
He opened up his laptop. “But what is all this leading to, Tia?”
Tia didn’t meet his eyes and her heart was beating very hard. She was having a bad feeling that the floodgates of a dam would suddenly open up and swallow her in its raging waters. And even Ron couldn’t save her from that.
“I just want to know…” Her voice sounded listless but she couldn’t help herself shutting away from him.
“Okay, I have the mails of that particular invitation. It was a charity event of Mr. Lyons and was held in the evening from 6 pm. It was on the sixth of August, 2012.”
Tia felt she would have fainted hadn’t Ron caught hold of her. She closed her eyes as dizziness overwhelmed her. He quickly handed her a glass of water. Tia drank the water after she felt a little steady.
“Tia, open your eyes, what is it, tell me?” he asked, his face weathered with concern.
“That was the day before she passed away…” she finished breathlessly.
“What an amazing coincidence…!” Ron was taken aback and sat speechless for a while. He half closed his eyes as he said slowly, “Now, wait a minute, Tia…you think her death is somehow related to me?”
Tia kept silent as she looked at him, her eyes agonized in pain.
Ron shook his head. “I don’t believe this,” he muttered as he got up and paced about the room restlessly. He ran his fingers through his hair and quickly turned to look at her. His eyes looked perplexed as he searched her face.
“I am totally lost here, Tia…am I missing something?!”
Her voice shook as she mumbled, not meeting his eyes, “I don’t know…I mean we have come so close…as much as two human beings could possibly be – almost to be married soon, Ron! And until now you haven’t told me about knowing someone or something that I care most in the world…why?”
He looked flabbergasted as he stared at her speechlessly for a few seconds. “But what is there to tell, Tia!” Ron shook his head disbelievingly, “I mean…I really don’t understand what you are trying to say…”
Every line of his face looked strained as he looked at her carefully, his eyes intense.
“This is all so crazy…what is running in your mind, Tia!? This is just so…absurd…totally absurd….”
He pushed his hands into his pockets and released his breath slowly.
“Ok, we will talk later. I gotta go.”
Tia cried the whole night. When she finally fell asleep, she saw herself when she was six years old. Her puppy had died and Rianna was holding her in her arms and caressing her hair.
“It’s best that way, Tia. Some things don’t last forever.” She consoled. “The puppy had to die. Things would have only got worse for him and for you too.”