Hello readers, how are you all doing? I'm doing great. I've been busy, writing book 3 of Men of Valor series titled His Princess, working on editing book 2, His Strength, and of course preparing the PR for the release of book 1, His Treasure. It's only a few more days to 2 December. I can't wait. :o)
|Darrin Henson as Michael|
Just to let you know I haven't forgotten you all, here is an excerpt from a story I'm writing for an anthology coming out in February next year. It's a contemporary romance novella set Enugu, Nigeria titled A Valentine Challenge. In this excerpt H&H meet for the first time. This is just a first draft so bear with me. I hope you enjoy it.
Oh, in case you're wondering why I have an image of Darrin Henson up here. It's because he's the inspiration for Michael in this story.
He knew trouble when he saw it.
A man accustomed to dealing with danger in all guises, he’d come across its varied forms, from the killing fields of Sierra Leone to the marshy jungle of the Niger Delta. Danger came in the form of men with machetes or AK47s and explosives packed into cars in crowded markets. Though scarred, he’d dealt with trouble and survived.
Yet, standing outside the front entrance of the Park Hotel Enugu that morning, a light breeze fanning his face, Michael Ede had never seen trouble like this. Today, danger came at him as a woman. A stunningly beautiful woman. Like no woman he’d ever seen previously. Sure, she had all the poise and elegance of a well-bred woman. Dressed in a white shirt and high-waist black trouser suit that enhanced as well as hid her curvy figure, feet encased in black peep-toe high-heeled pumps, jet-black hair pulled back in a chignon, blood-red lips that matched her toe nails, she exuded sophistication and class.
Beneath all that exterior elegance, there was something about her that reached within him. Something he couldn't define yet. It called to him at a level he didn’t even want to contemplate. Danger signals went off in his mind. His stomach churned with adrenaline, his senses focused on the object coming his way like a missile. His instincts told him to run, get out of there. Still, he stood his ground. He was a born fighter. He never ran from danger.
Sashaying towards him, her lips in a glorious pout, her eyes amber-brown and captivating, she came to a halt a few feet from him. As if she knew that if she came any closer he might not be able to keep his hands off her. He clenched and unclenched his hands on his sides, his heart rate rivalling the drumbeats that heralded Obiagu masquerades. Hot blood flooded his body. It had nothing to do with the heat of the early morning African sun beating down on his back.
It had everything to do with the woman standing before him. Trouble!
“Who are you? Where is Jonah?” She queried, her soft voice laced with annoyance, a frown creasing her otherwise unblemished oval face. Her not-amused eyes squinted in the sun as they moved from scanning him to surveying the hotel car park as if expecting Jonah to appear any minute.
Strange, in the short time her gaze left his body, he missed its warming effect on his blood. How was that possible? Reminding himself he was here on a mission, he straightened up leisurely. He moved away from the car towards her to prove to himself she didn’t affect him adversely.
“You must be Kasie Bosa,” he said it as a statement. In a power play, confidence was key. Moreover, he wasn't going to bow and scrape for her...for anyone. He needed to start their encounter the way he meant to proceed.
She reared back; possibly surprised he’d addressed her directly. Tough. She’d learn to live with it. His gaze caught her suspicious eyes and held. He raised his eyebrows in a challenge. Her eyes flashed with irritation.
“Yes, I’m Kasie,” she said, her voice hardened.
“My name is Michael. I’m your replacement driver. Jonah is not available today.”
She appraised him from head to toe, her eyes widened with disbelief. “You are my new driver? What joke is this? I’m calling the car service. I requested the same driver for the week. You-you stay right there.”
Bristling at her command, he took a step forward. No one spoke to him in that manner—like he was at their beck and call. He came and went as he chose and didn’t dance to anyone’s tunes. Before he could reach her, he remembered the reason he was there in the first place. His baby was at stake. He wasn’t going to lose Cessie for any woman.
Taking a step back, he relaxed his stance, giving her a cursory nod while maintaining her gaze. Giving him one last glare, she dug her hand in her oversized black leather bag, taking out her phone. She dialled a number. Swivelling, she walked back through the hotel entrance into the lobby holding the phone to her ear.
From where he stood Michael couldn’t hear her. But he could guess who she was speaking to and the response she’d get back. The manager of the chauffeur service would apologise for the interruption in service. But the bottom line remained. Michael would be her chauffeur for the rest of the week.
Unless she chose a different car service.
A vice tightened in his gut at the thought. Mentally shaking his head, he refused to accept that as an option. The hotel only used one car service. As far as he knew, she didn’t have another option readily available to call upon. She wasn’t going anywhere without him. He’d see to that.
Still, he wondered how one woman could set of so many alarm signals within him. Sure, he wanted her. That was par the course. After all her was here for her, to claim her, albeit temporarily. But there was more. He felt it in his gut, like a sixth sense. He pushed it back, refusing to acknowledge the something else, focusing instead on the reasons she was no good for him.
She was just a woman. He knew women like her. Women who thought the world was at their feet and men at their beck and call. Little princesses who wallowed in the ill-gotten wealth from fathers who looted the country’s coffers. Oh, yes, he knew women like that. He’d spent years protecting their corrupt parents all in the name of serving his country.
Well, not anymore. Those days were long gone. These days he was his own man. He no longer had to say yes sir to anyone. And he wouldn’t be starting with her.
Kasie sashayed back out. “Right, it looks like I’m stuck with you for the time being at least.” She didn’t look pleased at that idea, her lips pursed in a straight line. “Here, take this. We’re heading to Apex Bank on Okpara Avenue this morning. Let’s go.”
What have you been up to this past couple of weeks? Please share your thoughts as usual. Have a great weekend.