5 Reasons You Should Attend Tomi Adesina’s Book Launch

I believe anyone who is not living under the rocks, should by now, be aware that one of Nigeria’s best young talented writers, Ms. Tomi Adesina will be launching her book, “George’s Pieces of Me” on Sunday August 20, 2017. The venue is the Centre for Contemporary Art, located at No. 9, McEwen Street, Off Queen Street, Yaba, Lagos. The time is 3:00pm, but there will be a photo session with the author from 2:30pm.

The launch date is a Sunday and if you are like me, I usually like to spend my weekends (particularly Sundays) indoors. Apart from going to church, I usually do not have the will-power to attend any functions, events or even social gatherings on Sundays. It takes something or someone very special to get me out of the comfort of my apartment on a Sunday. Tomi Adesina is one of those special people and her book launch is one of those special events.

So, here I am, coming to you as a human being, trying to convince you to join me at Tomi Adesina’s book launch this Sunday.

 

Reason 1:       Free Plots of Land at Banana Island for every Attendee?

Guys, this is no joke. Rumours have it that Tomi wanted to give everyone a p…roper “Thank You For Coming” package. Top on the list was choice properties at Banana Island. But since she could not easily access dollars to pay for the hectares of land due to scarcity of the currency in the parallel market, she decided to give attendees something I consider even better.

 

Wait for it.

 

*Drumroll*

 

Small Chops!

 

Yes. Every attendee will be served with Small Chops. Free Small Chops. You won’t pay a dime for the Small Chops. Guys, who says no to free Small Chops? WHO?! Personally, I think Small Chops is a better option than Banana Island property because, the cost of processing the papers as a land owner in Banana Island is quite daunting. I am talking about the financial cost. Do you know how much you will pay for Governor’s Consent? Stamp Duties? Registration of your Deed of Assignment?

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Invitation to the launch of “George’s Pieces of Me” by Tomi Adesina

My very good friend and award-wining author, Ms. Tomi Adesina will be launching her book, George’s Pieces of Me on August 20, 2017 at the Centre for Contemporary Art. The address is No. 9 McEwen Street, Off Queen Street, Yaba, Lagos. You are cordially invited to the said launch. The time is 3:00pm.

 

Here is a brief introduction of the book.

 

Title: George’s Pieces of Me

Author: Tomi Adesina

Edited by: Reaccentuated Ltd

Cover Design: Rewrite Agency

Layout and Design: Lucid Creative

ISBN: 978-978-960-140-0

Release Date: 20th August, 2017

Media Type: Paperback and e-copy

 

About the Book

George’s Pieces of Me is a collection of poems and short stories exploring the complexities of human existence, an unending search for homes in people and journey towards redemption.

 

Advance Praise

“In George’s Pieces of Me, Tomi Adesina styles poetry and prose with imagination, mischief and charm. Her vignettes are more than just stories: they are wistful commentaries on existentialism, triggered by social expectations. Adesina prompts the reader towards self-assured social rebellion, and then pulls us back to stoic acceptance of the vicissitudes of life. The thoughts in this book will stay with you long after the pages are closed.”

Ayo Sogunro, Author of Everything in Nigeria is Going to Kill You

“The stories explore loving, loss, internalizing the pain of loss and finding home. Tomi’s voice is clear in this piece of work, without drowning the voices of her characters who we meet briefly but whose stories will linger with us for a long time.”

Tunde Leye, Author of Guardians of the Seal

“Adesina’s work is a reflection of hope, love and the burden of fate. She twists the tale of old age to reveal an eternal spring of life’s realities. Here is a writer with compulsive and engaging stories to tell.”

Hannah Ojo of The Nation

 

About the Author

Tomi Adesina was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She is a fiction blogger and screenwriter. In 2013 she won the Nigerian Blog Awards for her blog fiction series and in 2015 her screenplay on cyberbullying (Feisty John) won the Homevida Prize. She also won the Nigerian Writers Award for Best Young Writer in 2015 and her short stories have been featured in magazines across Africa. She lives in Lagos where she is working on a new novel.

Distribution: George’s Pieces of Me is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Buboox, Patabah Books. (More channels to be available soon)

Media Enquiries: writeto@tomiadesina.com, writetotomiadesina@gmail.com

 

And here is our author

 

 

If you would love to have a photo-session with the author, you can do that from about 2:30pm on the date of the launch. It would mean so much to me if you can make it to the event.

Republished: Slay Queen

Queen

Let me tell you a story.

Our story starts with Slay Queen getting a new notification from Facebook. Ekubo McBrian had just hit her up for the twelfth time today. She had only just accepted his friendship request since he sent it six months ago, but he was fast becoming a pain in the bum. She heaved a deep sigh and placed her phone back in her denim pocket.

“Madam, we don reach the place,” the cabman said.

She looked out of the window. The giant “Eko Hotel and Suites” sign at the top of the towering building welcomed her preying eyes.

“Okay,” she said as she paid the cabman and alighted from his overly comfy Metro taxi. She approached the entrance of the hotel and found her way to the private hall where she spotted her would-be company relaxing in a few seats away. He stood up and pulled the chair for her.

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Attend this Practical Workshop: Blogging for Beginners

 

We are in the second quarter of the year and you’ve probably not learnt any new skill, as you had resolved to do at the beginning of the year. Nigeria’s economy is in recession and you are wondering what to do. Perhaps, you already figured out what to do and that is to take advantage of the world wide web by blogging, but you do not know how to blog. Not to worry, BlogCampNG is here to the rescue.

Are you an artist, caterer, interior decorator, photographer, event planner, musician, author/writer, fashion designer, beautician, entrepreneur, sales person etc and you don’t have a blog, but would like to? Have you ever attended any previous Blogging Workshop but all you learnt were motivational quotes and phrases? Do you want to be able to actually set up a blog, design it, beautify it, brand it, generate traffic to it, monetize it etc?

If your answer to the above questions is yes, then you have to attend BlogCampNG’s workshop themed “Blogging MasterClass for Beginners”. We all know that blogging can be so tasking to someone who is just starting out and we know that there are so many questions related to setting up, building, managing and monetising a blog. The BlogCampNG workshop is aimed at teaching BEGINNERS/AMATEURS all the inner workings of creating a blog and to educate you to build, manage and grow your blog whether it’s just a pastime or part of your small business.

It will be extremely practical from the scratch! At the BlogCampNG workshop, beginner/amateur bloggers will be introduced to tools they need to run a better, more successful and creative blog. The course will cover tips for setting up a blog, creatively improving the design of your site, using social media to market your blog, etc.

The PRACTICAL course will cover topics like:

How to create/set up a beautiful WordPress blog from scratch

How to tag and categorize posts

How to share and promote posts

How to generate traffic to your blog

How to brand your blog

How to integrate your social networks (Twitter, Facebook Profile, Facebook Page and Facebook Groups, Google +, LindkedIn account etc) with your blog

How to choose the perfect theme

How to design a header image as an amateur

How to publish posts using your phone

How to manage comments

How to customise widgets

How to use your blog sidebars for advertising

How to upload pdfs on your blog

How to create contents

How to engage your audience

How to get your custom domain (www.yourname.com)

How to boost your blog posts to thousands on Facebook Etc Etc

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT this will be a very practical session, therefore, it is going to be a BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) workshop. This is not going to be one of those Motivational events that you may have attended, it is a PRACTICAL WORKSHOP. It is also not a GET RICH QUICK SCHEME/WORKSHOP. The things you will learn at the Practical Workshop have been listed above.

Date:

May 29, 2017 [Democracy Day which is a public holiday]

Time:

10am

Venue:

LitCaf, 1st Floor, E-Center, Commercial Avenue, Sabo Yaba, Lagos

Workshop Fee:

The Workshop Fee is N20, 000.

However, between now and May 05, 2017, we are offering a 50% discount. So, if you pay between now and May 05, 2017, you only pay N10,000.

Why should I pay before May 05, 2017?

First, we have very limited spaces. Once we attain that number, we shall not be accepting payments anymore. Any payment made after we exceed our number shall be refunded.

Second, anyone who pays before May 05, 2017, shall be given our comprehensive Guide Book titled “The Blog Book”. The Blog Book contains every information amateur/beginner blogger needs to know on Blogging. The book is worth N4,000.00, but will be given for free to people who pay before May 05, 2017.

 

Why should I attend the workshop?

The workshop is a practical class. You will be taught and shown from scratch all you need to know on blogging, as highlighted above. You will also set up your first blog at the end of the workshop. Every participant will also be given a goodie bag containing writing materials.

 

What should I come with?

A laptop

A Naira Debit Card (Note, this is optional. If you do not intend purchasing a custom domain (e.g www.yourname.com), then, you don’t need a debit card)

Which account do I pay into?

For account details, please send a mail to haroldwrites.official@gmail. Com

What do I do after paying?

Kindly send your name to haroldwrites.official@gmail. com .

For any information regarding the above, please kindly send me a mail at haroldwrites.official@gmail.com . I respond to emails within the quickest possible time.

 

 

Pandemonium

The night was filled with shouts and cries from McGriffin Hostel. The jock boys were at it again, they were always the ones disturbing the peace of the hostel. Craig opened the door of Room 42 to see other boys rush by in a hurry; they were going to see the jock boys pound one another to a pulp as they provided entertainment for the boys of McGriffin Hostel with their occasional night fights and squabbles. ‘What’s going on this time with those jerks?’ asked Max, Craig’s roommate. The noise generated from the fight happening in one of the rooms below had disrupted their video game. Seated next to Max was Lance who seemed in a hurry to get back to thrashing Max in the game. Laying on one of the beds in the room was the fourth and last roommate, Ryan. He was reading a book and he seemed unperturbed by the noise. He was used to them, the jerks who always felt as though they owned the school. They disturbed the hostel with their loud and deranged music, quarrelled every now and then but were hardly confronted by anyone. The hall wardens never bothered to check in on them as one of them had ended up in the hospital with a broken nose three weeks earlier. He had earned that while trying to separate a fight that had ensued between two jock boys. In addition to the broken nose, he also got two fractured ribs and a battered face. The two miscreants were of course expelled from the school but no one wanted to be a martyr. Everyone just seemed to mind his business whenever the jock boys were around.

Just the other day, some second year students were found beaten and bloody as a result of crossing paths with some jock boys. Earlier that day, some jock boys were beaten by the second year students but later that night, the jock boys retaliated and exacted sweet revenge back on the poor fellows. The beaten boys refused to disclose the people responsible for their predicament but everyone knew the jock boys had their imprints written all over it but still remained mute.

The shouts and cries at the hostel intensified as many onlookers and spectators gathered to see the rascals batter their faces. The occupants of Room 42 however remained in their room. Max and Lance resumed their video game but their minds weren’t in the game anymore; they wanted to go and see the fight down below. It looked like people were gathering but no one was ready to separate them. ‘Who could blame them anyway?’ thought Lance to himself. Craig suddenly stood from his bed saying, ‘I have to go and see this fight, this noise is deafening. Having said that, he walked to the door, opened it and walked out. It wasn’t long before Max and Lance followed suit, dropping their game pads on the floor. They all left the room except for Ryan who seemed rather pre-occupied with his novel in hand.

The crowd surrounding the fighters egged them on, cheering them on as the two jock boys involved in the fight kept battering and ramming into each other. The taller of the two boys held his opponent in a tight neck grip and pummelled the living hell out of his face. The second jock suddenly found the first jock’s foot and twisted it. A sharp cry of pain tore through the night as the first jock went down in a heap. He hurriedly let go of the second jock who instantly landed a swift kick on to the face of the first. Blood erupted out of the face of the first jock as the second jock added two more kicks to his temple. The crowd was now chanting for the defeated jock to get up and continue the fight as his opponent kept delivering blows, punches and kicks. The jock on the floor suddenly rushed and grabbed the second jock by the torso, lifted him up in the air and with a loud cry, threw him on the floor. Loud cheers and whoops emanated from the crowd. Lance and Max were screaming themselves hoarse, congratulating the first jock. Craig stood at a corner watching the whole fight. He wondered what people enjoyed in it though, the fighters could get themselves killed but yet people found pleasure in it. He soon felt that he had seen enough and made his way back to his room. Max and Lance would return when they‘ve had their fill. He got to his room, opened the door and was greeted with a cold dark silence. The lights in the room were off. They had all left Ryan in the room with the lights on. Maybe, Ryan had decided to go to bed and had switched off the lights. He had better turn them on. He groped along the wall, looking for the light switch. ‘Ryan, Ryan’, he called out but he met with no response. Alas, he found the light switch and turned it on. What he saw, he wasn’t prepared for. Ryan laid on his bed, his throat slashed and his face stabbed multiple times. The book he was reading lay on top his chest soaked in his blood. A part of his cheek had been cut off and his nose bashed in. Blood dripped from the bed and pooled all over the floor.

***

“Pandemonium” was written by Onadeko Akinwande, an aspiring writer, biochemist, lover of reading, music and fun. He is also a graduate of Bowen University.

 

***

Do you want to get paid for your writing? Read our call for submissions by clicking  here .

#HurtBae: After Valentine


It is the day after Valentine. You are still feeling very excited from your experience from the previous day. Le Beau had given you the most amazing Valentine experience ever. You were mind-blown at Le Beau’s gifts, surprises and overall thoughtfulness. Le Beau literally gave you the Valentine of your dreams. 
Today at work, a client who had come to engage the services of your company spotted Le Beau’s picture as your laptop’s wallpaper. The client asks if you know the person whose picture you are using as your wallpaper. You wonder why the client is asking. So, you ask if the client knows Le Beau. The client flashes an engagement ring at you and says the person on your wallpaper is her/his fiancé/fiancée. 

WRITING CHALLENGE

In not more than 700 words, write a developing subplot of what happens after the revelation from your client. Leave your subplot in the comment section below. 

Sally

black-angelThe rich man on my street boasts in the splendour of his vineyards, fields of grain and herds of cattle. I poke my head out of the raffia frames of my rickety window to catch a whiff of the cool morning breeze, and there he is – standing on the roof top of his mansion, wincing menacingly whilst sipping from a jar made of gold. He does this every morning. Is he mad at the morning? Doesn’t he sleep well at night?

The men at the village square say he is not happy because his mansion is surrounded by unbefitting structures. By unbefitting structures, he was referring to us. To me.

My house (well, if you can call it that), is the only structure beside his mansion. The others have been levelled by machines the rich man brought. It is a matter of time before he levels mine.

I should be bothered. I should be worried.

But I am not.

I pull my head back into the room and my roving eyes catch a little piece of plywood hanging on my wall. I smile as I unhook the plywood. Inscribed on the plywood are five letters:

S A L L Y.

Ah. Sally.

You are the reason for my calm. The reason I am not afraid of the raging storm from the rich man. He can wipe away my raffia hut for all I care, but since I have you, I have everything.

I remember the first time fate crossed our paths at the T.W.T.R market square. I had gone with the boys to fetch some firewood. On our way back, we heard a voice singing by a stall. The boys had wanted to hurry back home as the evening sun was almost blotted out of the sky, but I urged them to stay back awhile and listen to what you had to sing. Did they listen to me? No. They left. But I defied their warnings and stayed back. And good gods of our fathers, did you have the most beautiful voice?!

I was enthralled by the things you said in your songs. You caught my heart with your words and I willingly became your prisoner. Before we parted ways that day, you used a piece of charcoal to inscribe your name on a plywood and handed same over to me. Till this day, I have that plywood on my wall.

You are a (S)weet gentle soul, an (A)lpha female of some sort, a (L)oving and (L)ovable human, and one who is blessed with the genes of exuberant (Y)outhfulness.

Your youthfulness! Ah! Your biggest asset alongside your mind. Tomorrow will mark another moment when the moon goes full circle around you. The day the angels lent one of their kind to mere mortals like us. If you told anyone how long you have spent here on earth, they would say you were lying. You do not look it. I guess an angel will always stay true to traits that only an angel possesses. We would have called a feast to celebrate you in the village square tomorrow, but to what end will it serve to subject an angel to activities of mortals? You deserve much more than a circus of activities. So to this end, I shall keep you in my heart and render psalms in your honour.

You are more. Thank you for being you.

Without uttering a word or lifting a finger, you motivate me to be a better warrior, to not settle for a lamb when I can go after a lion, to murder sleep in pursuit of greatness…Pfft. What is sleep when there is greatness to achieve? You taught me this.

You say to me that I will make a good King one day. I scoff at the thought. Me? A low-life living in a tattered hut? Pfft. How can this be? From where would I become a King? I do not have a military to take over the kingdom. Listen to me talking about a military. I flatter myself. I do not have a single male servant to command, talk more of a military.

But you still insist I will make a good King.

Well, I may not become the King you think I can be, but rest assured, irrespective of who ascends the throne of your heart, I will be serving your best interest from the rear. I will do this because you deserve all the happiness you can get.

Pardon me if these words I speak are without form or direction. I have been quiet for so long and the words have built a hill around the walls of my throat. Thanks to the Creator of the Universe for making tomorrow your day. I seize this opportunity to let the words out. For if I do not let them free, I might implode.

 

***

Photo Credit: Yahoo/Black Angel

 

Calling on Thriller Writers. Write and Get Paid.

write-get-paid-1

This is not a writing competition. Rather, we want to use this medium to encourage young and budding writers. We are currently rebranding the blog and one of the things we want to do is feature works by and from budding writers. And pay them for it. Well, the money is not much, but it’s compensatory. A lot of revenue-generating literary blogs/websites out there do not pay writers who contribute to their blog. We do not want to be that blog.

So, is your genre of writing crime, detective, legal, thriller? Do you have stories you have already written in any of these genres? Or you are completing such story (ies)? Would you like to feature your work (s) on this blog?

If that sounds like something you would like to do, we are paying N1.00 (One Naira) for each word you write. We therefore invite you to send in your work (s) to the email: haroldwrites.official @ gmail . com .

Please kindly note that, these are the terms for our acceptance of any work sent in:

  1. Word limit for each story is 1,000 words.
  2. The story must not have been previously published on any platform.
  3. The story must be of any of the prescribed genres. Read the introduction for the genres.
  4. Any story accepted will be communicated to the entrant.
  5. We only pay for any work accepted AND published on the blog.
  6. We reserve the right to accept any story.
  7. You can send in multiple stories.
  8. Each story should be sent as an MS Word attachment to the aforementioned email address. The subject should be “WAGP: Title of story”. For example, if the title of a story is “Fire in the Storm”, then the subject of the email should read: “WAGP: Fire in the Storm”. *WAGP is an acronym for “Write and Get Paid”.
  9. The body of your email should include your name and short bio.
  10. Each entrant has intellectual property rights to their stories and will be duly credited on the blog.

If the above terms meet you well, we are expecting your entry (ies). Thank you.

Top 10 sites to read African Books and get paid N500,000.00 every month in 2017

read-and-get-paid-in-2017-1

Hi everyone and welcome to 2017. I hope it is not too late to say “Happy New Year”. I also hope you had a great yuletide? Mine was spuflix*. I will post a review of my yuletide experience in due course. I had not had such fun in a long time. Yes, it was financially draining but the fun was worth it. There is an African adage which goes thus: “soup wey sweet, na money kill am” which literally translates to “a delicious delicacy is expensive”.

This brings me to the essence of this post. After being a little extravagant during the holiday, I had to sit myself down in the quiet of my room one faithful night, thinking about what life would be like in January without money. Something must happen this January if I would not die of starvation. A financial miracle must be in the offing. It just has to.

A friend posted something on BBM which further threw me into a deep reflective mood. He said:

“Blessed are those who finish their December salary in December for they shall know the true meaning of endurance in January.”

Are you one of those who spent their December salary in December? Not to worry. I came up with an idea of how to make some cash this January. But there is one criterion: you must love to read African books. Yes, as simple as that.

So do you love to read African books? And you would like to make money from reading those books? If you are that person, then I propose that, you and I conduct an extensive online research on how we can get paid N500,000.00 from reading African books online every month this year. I mean, we just have to make that finding, else, we might die of starvation. And we need ten of those sites. Imagine making N5,000,000.00 (five million naira) every month from just reading. Imagine that!

So just in case you discover any site that pays N500,000.00 for reading their African literary content every month, please do reach out to me.

Thank you and I love you.

 

*Spuflix: my coinage for “extremely fantastic”.

Christmas With The Enemy

Merry Christmas, everyone! We shall be publishing our last entry in the “31 days of Christmas” series. This particular short story was written by the highly revered author, Kiru Taye. I had hoped we would be able to go all the way to the 31 days of December, but unfortunately, we have to draw the curtain at this juncture. Let me use this opportunity to appreciate every one who sent in their entries. You made my Christmas. Also, a big thank you to subscribers and readers of HaroldWrites. You are the reason I am here. Thank you for an amazing 2016. Here is cheers to a much more amazing 2017! Can’t wait to see

Once again, have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Don’t forget to thank God for His mercies and grace which brought you this far in 2016. If you are a Christian, I would implore you to not fail to go to church today. A Christmas miracle awaits you!

31-days-ofchristmas

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the Commissioner for Health, James Ebie to the Godson’s Christmas Ball!

The announcer’s voice is loud and eloquent, his words travelling across the grand hall above the guests murmurings. Two of them echo in my head, the reverberations of my world crumbling like shattered glass.

My past is here to haunt me.

James Ebie. My enemy.

Thick bile clogs my throat. Loathing coats my tongue with bitterness. Instinct tells me to walk back to the kitchen. My empty tray needs refilling with drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Still, I twist my neck to get a better view. The ballroom is full, every dignitary of note in Delta State present. The ladies’ glittering jewels compete with their glitzy evening dresses, their tresses of Brazilian hair extensions coifed to perfection, their hands and feet manicured to reflect every colour of the rainbow.

My clothes are much humbler. A white short-sleeved blouse and navy-blue fitted skirt, one size too big. A standard issue for domestic staff in the Inemi-Spiff household. My hair is a wash, twist and go style. Low maintenance. I can’t afford the cost of a weekly stylist or the chemicals to get it looking sleek. The payments for my lecturers’ handouts are higher on my list of needs.

As luck will have it, a gap appears providing a direct vista to my quarry, for at the moment he is the prey and I’m the hunter. The notion bolsters my courage, giving purpose to my actions.

I suck in a deep breath to quell the excited churning of my stomach, the scent of spiced apples and mulled wine mixed with more local spices fills my lungs. The hosts have spared no expense creating a traditional Christmas feast in this old British Consulate building.

Except, there are no log fires or snow. This is Africa after all, and though it hasn’t rained for a few weeks, outside, the air is humidly warm. The quiet hum of the hidden air-conditioners fills the space with cool air.

A rich sound of laughter draws me deeper into the room. There is something about it so vibrant and compelling that has me taking steps I know I shouldn’t. It’s as if the owner of the voice has corded my body with ropes and is pulling me closer to him. He calls to me in a way nothing else ever has.

Standing before Mr and Mrs Inemi-Spiff is a tall man in a black slim-fitting tuxedo. I don’t need to see his face to know that he is the new state commissioner for Health.

My breath snags in my throat as something unnameable unfurls in the depths of my belly.

Even from behind he is breathtaking—shoulder-length black locks brushed back and held together with a black band, square broad shoulders and torso that taper at the hips. The way his silk trousers cling to his backside makes me imagine tight, sinewy muscles beneath the fabric.

Despite the warmth, my body trembles. Lifting my empty hand, I rub my left upper arm covered in goose bumps.

Something makes him turn and he stares straight at me.

I swallow. Hard. The most captivating black eyes I’ve ever seen keep me enthralled, swirling in an abyss of black and gold desire. His gaze is intense as if he sees me, reads me. Knows me.

Never! Shaking my head, I lower my stare, although my cheeks heat with the fury of a gas burner.

I’m not the innocent little girl who adored him once. A long time ago. That was before everything changed. Before his family tore mine to shreds.

Angry, I swivel and walk back to the kitchen, where I should’ve been in the first place. I won’t think of him again.

For the rest of the event, I avoid any table or corner with James in it. The live band plays a mixture of jazz and highlife. The crystal chandeliers glitter immaculately, adding more sparkle to the atmosphere.

A lady in a glamorous black dress totters backwards in stilettos, crashing into me. My tray slips, sending glasses of champagne crashing onto the polished marble floor. For a moment all I can hear is the deafening crack of crystal against stone.

A rush of heat scalds my neck and face with embarrassment. Kneeling down, I pick broken shards onto the aluminium tray. The hem of my skirt is soaked with champagne but I don’t care. My job is on the line and I can’t afford to lose it.

Anyway, if I don’t look up, I won’t see the contemptuous expressions on the faces of the guests.

“Evelyn, are you okay?”

The kind female voice has me looking up. Christy, the new mistress of Godson Villa and my boss, leans over me in her sleeveless fitted ball gown—a green silk Basque top and ruffled Ankara skirt. Her beautiful heart-shaped face is very expressive. She is truly concerned.

“I’m sorry, madam.”

She dismisses my apologetic murmur with a wave.

“Colin, bring a mop and bucket,” she says to another servant before turning back to me. “You need to be careful so you don’t cut yourself.”

“Christy, there you are. Joshua sent me to find you. It’s time for your dance.”

That voice again!

“Hi, James. I’m just trying to sort out this spill so it doesn’t cause any further accidents.”

Colin arrives and starts cleaning up.

“I’m so glad you and Joshua worked things out,” James whispers.

But my ears are attuned to his voice and I strain to capture every word even though I’m eavesdropping.

“So am I.” Christy laughed. “I’m having the best Christmas ever. Now it’s your turn to find the woman of your dreams.”

James’s deep chuckle vibrates through me. At the same time he lowers his gaze to meet mine.

I’m caught again. James’ intense expression alarms me. It is as if he’s found the woman of his dreams.

And it’s me!

Agitated, I grip the wrong end of glass. Drops of crimson coat the tray as pain shoots up my arm.

A warm hand wraps my shoulder. Another reaches for my bloody fingers.

“Let me see that.”

James stoops beside me, his scent—a mixture of cologne and male spice—rumbas around me provocatively.

“Oh no! I told you to be careful.” Christy arms enfold me as she helps me stand.

“Go and dance with your husband before he comes looking for you,” James says, his words oozing with charm. “I’ll take care of her. I’m a doctor.”

He winks at me and grabs a clean napkin to bind the cut.

“Okay. Evelyn, take the rest of the day off.”

“Madam, I can’t. I need the job,” I protest.

“Don’t worry. You’ll get paid. Come and see me tomorrow and I’ll see about assigning you something less strenuous.”

Relieved, I nod and she walks away.

I tug out of James’ hold. “Thank you, but I can take care of this.”

Somehow, walking away from him requires a lot more will power than staying. Halfway to the exit, he catches up with me and blocks my path.

“I wasn’t joking. I’m a qualified surgeon and that cut looks bad. If you don’t treat it properly, you could lose your finger.”

Blood drains from my face, my jaw slackens.

The nightmare of trying to write or type without an index finger flashes through my mind. What will become of my degree programme? I couldn’t drop out so close to the finish line.

He notices my skin’s pallor and smiles with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

“Maybe you won’t lose your finger.” He shrugs. “But it could get infected and God knows what will happen.”

“Okay. You win,” I snap. My hand throbs with acute pain. “You can treat it.”

It’ll be silly to refuse free treatment. If I went to hospital, I will have to pay even before a doctor sees me and I can’t afford such luxury.

Anyway, the cut is James’s fault. His attendance at the ball instigated my injury.

He leads me outside into the warm sunshine. The sweet scent of purple hibiscus mixes with the briny sea breeze. Pink bougainvillea hangs down white walls and trellises.

Anxious knots tighten in my stomach as we arrive at one of the holiday villas tucked in a secluded corner behind hibiscus hedges. I shouldn’t be alone with this man who elicits such jumbled emotions with his mere presence.

Inside is an open plan living area with kitchen units and a breakfast bar in the corner. The walls are off-white, the furniture brown earth tones. In another corner stands a decorated Christmas tree, tinsel and baubles glittering gold with boxes of presents underneath.

“Please, take a seat.” James waves in the direction of the sofas. “I’ll bring out the emergency kit.”

Not long after I sit down, he returns with a physician’s bag and bowl. He proceeds to clean and bandage the wound. His actions are clinical, his kindness evident from his gaze. I know then he’s an excellent doctor.

What I would’ve given to have someone like him treat my mother when she was ill? Tears prickle the back of my eyes and I shut them tight, drawing in a slow, calming breath.

“Here, have these.”

I lift my lashes and behold a welcome sachet of painkillers. Popping two in my mouth, I accept the glass of water he holds out.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

He clears up and returns to sit beside me on the sofa. I shift as far away as I can.

“So what do you do?” he asks, his hands braced against his knees, his gaze fixed on me.

“I’m a final year law student.” Though there’s space between us, his warmth wraps me in an encompassing cocoon. I shrug off the intoxicating effect and stand. “Thank you for your help but I have to go.”

“Stay…please.”

The tendril of his gentle plea reaches within me, turning my hard resolve to liquid compliance.

“There’s something about you that reminds me of a girl I used to know long ago.”

My heart stops…and thuds away with the ferocity of jungle drums. I stare at him, mesmerised, the urge to leave dissipating. He isn’t looking at me, but someplace beyond the large windows.

“Your beautiful, intelligent, brown eyes remind me of someone whose mother used to take care of my family home. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just my imagination.”

His shoulders lift and the sigh that leaves his lips is one of resignation.

“You can go. You don’t have to listen to me live through my past.”

Something dark and tortured floats in his eyes. Instantly, I recognise the lost soul within, as tormented as mine.

Without thinking, I reach for him. “Tell me about this girl.”

His black gaze searches my face.

“Her name was Evelyn Dokubo. Her parents used to work for us, her dad as our gateman, her mother as the housekeeper. She was a lot younger than I was, much closer to my sister’s age. They played together sometimes.”

Memories flood back, overwhelming me with powerful emotions. Playing with Jemima, and helping my mother run errands in the large Ebie mansion. Good times, lost forever. I suck in a shuddering breath.

“Something terrible happened. There was a robbery at our house resulting in my sister getting shot.”

I squeeze my eyes shut as I know he’ll see my anguish otherwise. But I can still hear agony in his voice as he continues.

“Her father was implicated as an inside man and sent to jail. The rest of her family were sent away and I never heard from them again.”

He lets out a ragged sigh.

“Now my father is a sick man filled with regrets. He admits he was too harsh for letting a little girl and her mother pay for her father’s crimes. Now he wants to find her and pay restitution. I too have regrets for not changing my father’s mind before it was too late. Now I’ve lost the only woman I ever loved and I’m left half the man I could be. I just wish that wherever she is, she can forgive my family.”

Just hearing him speak the words of remorse is like someone turning on the faucet. I let go of all my bottled-up emotions. Tears flow unrestrained.

“My mother died not long after that. I guess the shame of what my father did and the destitution we faced broke her.” I force the words through a clogged throat.

He stands rock still, staring at me with expectation.

“I don’t want your father’s money but I’ll take your love.”

Kneeling before me, he palms my face. In his eyes, his love and desire burn bright. The young man I loved once stares at me. The man I love now.

“Joshua knew I was searching for you. So when he told me you worked for him, I had to come here.” His Adam’s apple bobs as he paused. “I need you.”

He seals our lips together. Passion erupts. Clothes fly. We’re flesh to flesh in his bed. Our loving is fervent, just the way I always imagined it.

Later, he recovers a box from beneath the tree, and kisses the back of my hand, sending tingles down my spine. “Marry me, my love. Make me whole again.”

“Yes,” I squeal with delight, even more awed as I stare at the sapphire engagement ring.

As we make love again ‘Locked Out Of Paradise’ by Bruno Mars plays on the radio.

Serendipity is an awesome thing. My past will frame my future.

My enemy is now my lover.

 

Copyright Kiru Taye 2012

***

Christmas with the Enemy is a short story spin off from Bound to Passion (Bound series #3) by Kiru Taye.

About Kiru Taye

Kiru Taye is the award-winning author of His Treasure and the 2015 Romance Writer of the Year at the Nigerian Writers Awards. She is a founding member of Romance Writers of West Africa and has written 20 romance books so far. Her stories are sensual and steamy. Born in Nigeria, she currently lives in the UK with husband and three children.

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