Sneaky Peek – FTH Prologue…

Yay! Since I decided to get this done, I’ve made progress. Hopefully it picks up from its snail’s pace soon! After waiting this long to get down to business, so to speak, I’ll hate the thought of rushing things and then having it all fall flat. Especially when the story had such a great response on the blog!

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The original had a lot more chapters and back-story at the beginning, which didn’t get to be seen on the blog. “From the Heart” is definitely still work-in-progress. The characterization needs development, no doubt about that. What’s gladdening is that even at its raw stage, it still got readers on the blog caring about the people in the story. So thanks for that, and it makes me want to go hard with it. Every scene has to count.

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Still just having fun with the covers. Nowhere close to completely satisfied yet, but it’s great to just get familiar with more and more tools. Probably going to go for something simple and to the point, no fancy-pancy! Okay, so below is a peek into the first few lines of the project; something of a rough prologue. I’ll be putting up never-before-seen content from the FTH story when I can. Enjoy!

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PROLOGUE

The tall, broad-shouldered man stood in front of the window, a brooding expression on his handsome face as he viewed the city skyline.

Just then there was a knock on the door before a beautiful woman walked in, her greeting sing-song and cheery, breaking the silence in the office.

Lanre Vaughn turned to face her, his face schooled in welcome as he dutifully kissed her proffered cheek. The scent of her cloyingly sweet perfume filled his nostrils, and for a moment she pressed her voluptuous body against his.

“You work too hard, Lanre,” Ada teased. “It looks like all you have time for these days.”

She pouted, but looked pleased when his lips tilted in a slight smile. “Obviously it’s not, since I’ll be taking you to lunch at Candide today.”

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“Oh goody! I love French cuisine,” Ada cooed, going to perch on the edge of his desk. Her skirt rode up to show more than a hint of inner thigh, and she sent Lanre a coy look but his attention was elsewhere, flicking through a file on his desk before he closed it and carefully locked it in a drawer.

That was when Ada’s eyes caught sight of the newspaper open on his desk, the page showing the latest news on a recent local plane crash.

“How sad, about the crash,” Ada said. “There’s so much of the bad going on in the news these days. Sometimes I just switch it all off.”

“Well some of us don’t have that luxury,” Lanre said drily, sitting behind his desk.

“I know! I just feel so sorry for the victims and their affected families,” Ada said with a heavy sigh. She picked the paper and idly flipped through, her expression changing to interest as she stared down at a photo. “Oh, so tragic. This lovely girl lost her father in the crash. That big-shot entrepreneur, Dayo Daniels. I didn’t know he had such a beautiful daughter.”

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Ada was busy reading through the article and didn’t see the sudden twitch in Lanre’s jaw or the way his fists clenched tightly on the desk. However his voice was mild when he said, “Yes, it’s such a tragedy, especially since her father’s untimely death has left her and her widowed mother in debt.”

“That’s going to be tough, more so for her being a silver-spoon kid. Anyway, with her looks I’m sure she’ll have some rich knight with a shiny wallet ready to make her troubles all go away.”

At Ada’s airy words, Lanre’s eyes narrowed speculatively. A sudden thought seemed to flit through his mind, causing another smile to cross his lips, this time with dark, hidden purpose.

Rising fluidly to his feet he buttoned his suit and went to draw Ada off his desk, leading her with him to the door. “Now you, woman have too much of a vivid imagination,” he murmured, placing a kiss on her temple. “Let’s head out or we’ll be late. I got us a fantastic table.”

Ada smiled with delight, letting Lanre guide her from the office.

Ipad 2014 collections from BB 2104

The Token – Mastered by Passion

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The layer of panic had never cloaked their village so darkly.

The patriarchs of both the Habu and Batata clan met with their sons and topmost officials. “The news of the raids have spread wide. The next settlement to be struck seems to be the Wambe village. They have sent for help. We have to heed their call.”

The consent around the room was unanimous. But then Ikaka Habu turned to his old comrade Banjo Batata. “My friend, this is not your concern and we can’t ask you to risk your safety in this way. As the king has directed, my sons and I will join with the best warriors and help with these raids and kidnappings. You should return to the Western lands and let them know of this just in case the trouble spreads.”

Banjo was shaking his head. “You dishonor me if you believe I would turn my back when I can be of help. I will send for more fighters from our homelands while I join in ridding our lands of this scourge from the foreign attackers.”

There was much back and forth, till Banjo finally agreed it would be prudent to return to their western kingdom and warn of the strange raids. In addition, he promised to return with a sizable army to help with the cause.

Preparations for the Batata’s departure began, as well as readiness for the Habu’s to join their fellow warriors to head for the nearby villages to face the intruders, before the threat reached their own lands.

“We will leave many warriors to guard our homestead while we are gone, so you need not worry,” Ikaka was saying to his young wife some time later as they met in her quarters.

Saleya felt relieved at such reassurance. Knowing that the grown men of the family would be leaving for battle soon had unsettled her somewhat. Much as she was glad that the Batata’s were at last ending their visit, she still worried about the latest news.

“I’m more concerned about you, going out to battle at such short notice,” she whispered, turning to her husband with a wavering smile.

“Don’t be, dear wife,” Ikaka said, gathering her curvy, petite frame into his muscular arms. “I will have my able sons with me. And we’ll be back before you know it. We must let these intruders see that we will cower beneath them. We will fight to protect our own.”

“I am so proud to have such a brave husband,” breathed Saleya, resting her head upon his chest. “I will count every minute that passes till you return safe.”

“And I dream of good news at last; to finally know that you are with child. What a perfect coming home present that would be, or don’t you think so?” Ikaka smiled broadly, his hand resting on her belly meaningfully. Saleya’s lips curved wider in an answering smile, her breath catching as that huge hand shifting up to cup her breast.

“Why don’t I make double sure of such an outcome?” growled her husband, his gaze smoldering as Saleya was backed into the room till she fell unto the waiting bedding beneath. Her husband’s huge, muscular body followed after, covering hers with passion and heat.

*

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“I always wished for the time we would at last join in battle – fighting a common enemy shoulder to shoulder. Seems that day is to be postponed just that bit further,” said Kwen jovially as he walked beside Danga. “I will definitely return, brother, and bring more warriors along with my father as soon as we can.”

“I have never doubted your integrity, Kwen,” said Danga, turning to face Kwen as they firmly squeezed their forearms in a warm shake. “Our fathers fought together in the fields of war. I know I can count on you when the time comes. One day, we will indeed by brothers in arms.”

“And if the heavens will, brothers in kin, as well. Once you take Oiza as bride, we will truly be one big happy family.” His handsome grin flashed white. “But first, she has to be convinced into accepting the possibility of being shackled to the likes of you, my friend.” He sighed dramatically. “I will do my best to aid your suit. Leave it to me.”

Danga could’t help but chuckle. “Thank you for the offer, Kwen but I think I can do my own wooing where your sister is concerned,” was his amiable response.

Yet Kwen’s teasing words struck Danga somewhat as he made to return to his chambers. Everyone seemed intent on matching him to Oiza. Not that he could blame them; he’d aided in his own way to the assumption. And at one time, the thought of marriage to the dark-skinned beauty would have pleased him well enough. He could not honestly say what was different now.

Choosing not to dwell on such matters, Danga swept his mind to thoughts of the raids, and his blood boiled with renewed rage. Once preparations were complete, they would all be setting off to counter the attacks already spreading through the nearby areas. After Wambe, there was no telling who was next. His clan would not sit idle and wait for this unknown enemy to bash through their gates. They would face this threat head-on.

The scent of battle and danger always made his blood rise. The warm thighs of a woman would have been welcome tonight. His eyes narrowed as he suddenly thought of what awaited him in the privacy of his rooms. The thin smile that crossed his lips would have put shivers in the spine of whomever it was directed. However, Danga had schooled his features by the time he strode into the dimmed confines of his chamber…


(to be continued—)

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Ready or Not – FTH Covers Contd.

So I’m back with more covers for F.T.H. Seems like all I have time for at present! Will keep working on getting it right with the covers while compiling the whole story from start to finish. There’ll be the prologue that readers on the blog missed out on. Several other scenes that had to be cut out will be filled back in for the book. Which means a bigger – and hopefully better – “From the Heart” story.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

So I took some advice and toned down the nudity in the cover photo. The female model looks covered better this way. They do say less is more! Have to say I’m glad with the way it turned out; adds to the mystery!

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Ready or not, I’m going to push forward with bringing this out in ebook form asap! Naturally I want every paragraph and chapter to be just right. But is it ever going to be as 100% ready as I want it to be? Maybe not. But if I keep stalling, only goodness knows when or if I’ll ever get it done!

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Independent publishing isn’t for everyone. Sometimes it’s just less hassle submitting a manuscript to an ebook publisher. I haven’t given myself the opportunity to try the latter. There was simply never the right time or the right publisher to go, whichever one of my genres I was aiming to bring out. With independent publishing, it’s somewhat of a struggle but in a feel-good way. You just commit yourself to the knowledge that it’s all up to you now.

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Considering the length of the story itself, I’ve been toying with the chance to split into two parts. Quality and quantity – even though I do say so myself! I’m still considering whether to keep the story with its characters and names remaining the same as in the original, or reworking it into something interracial or even, entirely different culturally. When it gets to that bridge, I’ll cross it. For now, the editing and such gives me a long way to go.

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At least I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to my goal – which is far more than I could say for myself last year or last month! Really glad I can share the journey’s progress right here and I appreciate all the support, both on and off the blog!

The Reinvention – F.T.H.

What if it was “From the Heart” – just not like you’ve ever seen it?

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It feels like I owe it to readers, new and returning to take the “From the Heart” story to a new dimension. Characters, locations and themes switched up, transformed. Taking them – and me – out of my comfort zone. Making this work, flawlessly.

It won’t be the first time I’ve changed up my stories to suit other genres or cultural settings. My characters can be anything readers want them to be. And I think Feyi and Lanre need a total makeover. So does their story!

I’m having an awesome time working on cover ideas for this. I can’t get enough of this photo. I want it to do anything I want. I also want it to look great for the story that’s going to be nothing like its originator.

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Not going to say much more, except that I’m putting some serious elbow grease into this. Which means time for updating the blog might be slim! Will post up some tidbits from “The Token” soon because I can feel some serious vexation from some of the blog readers about why the story isn’t moving along fast enough. Totally not my fault!

Some stories take days to write. Some take months or years. Some never get finished. It’s just a gamble you take when you start that first paragraph or chapter. You just never know where it will lead.

Much as a writer loves to write for the appreciation, sometimes even that doesn’t give fulfillment. Still, we write. And believe. In the mean time, I’m taking “From the Heart” – or as I like to call it, “Something From the Heart” to places it’s never been. I hope you’ll all be there to follow its journey!

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Ebook Cover Design FTH

More cover ideas…Releasing this title mainly for the fans :D It has more detailed chapters and the steamy scenes are…well, I’ll leave you to judge when you get to read it!

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Too saucy? I can’t help but what to make it draw attention from the first glance. Kind of like a cover that would appeal to me if I was out to click on the book.

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When it comes to personal taste, I do like some male eye candy on covers of books. Which means following the now over-played trend of using a shirtless, muscle-bound hunk on the cover or an urbane-looking hottie in a three-piece suit.

Not really using any professional cover design tools for these yet. Still getting round how to use Photoshop, Gimp and even the Paint application in Windows. So the fonts need a lot of work!

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I’m busy trying out angles and fonts with this particular female model, but I’m hunting for other possible model photos to fit the heroine in the story. Getting black cover models for erotic romance e-book covers isn’t as easy as it would seem. Most of the models are already popularly used on interracial/multicultural e-books and it’s a task to find a new or unique face.

The editing awaiting me will be killing!! I’m aiming for 12 titles out over the next few months, hopefully! Stories that have been shared on the site as well as others I’ve got on file will be finally getting released. Can hardly wait to see the whole lot in e-book form, ready to be downloaded by those who enjoy Nigerian erotic romance or just a good, hot read!

‘From the Heart Project’ – The Journey Begins

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Let’s Do This…!
Mostly I’m the type that needs that extra push. And once I get motivated there’s going to be no stopping me. That’s why I’m making July-August my go-to month for working on From the Heart project.

Many have been wondering the when and how of my stuff finally coming out. Well, it’s now or never! I’m totally shedding my laid-back attitude whereby I get more propelled to finish clients’ projects while leaving mine to suffer. Now I’m ready for some me-time. And this time I mean it!

So, first off, I’ve been playing around with covers. I’m sort of your usual DIY person that likes to just do things her way. I’m getting a hang of a lot of things like design and formatting, just so I can get things right the first time.

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I’ll be chronicling my ‘journey’ – much like a diary of sorts. Just so I keep on track and don’t lose focus! Thanks to everyone pushing me finally do this. I don’t know. Jitters, procrastination….so many factors. Now there’s just no excuse.

I’ve played around with ideas on how I’d like to package the stories used on my blog. How to rework them – whether to switch them into multicultural titles, make them different and new – or which pen name of mine to use? So many possibilities!

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I know a few visitors to the blog were concerned when many of the former posts from Saving Sasha, From the Heart and Flawed were taken down. This had to be done to allow for these stories to be put out in published form, which meant they could no longer be available free online. Hopefully everyone will be looking forward all the more to seeing many of these blog favorites re-channeled and enhanced to the fullest.

I’ll keep us updated. Till then, check out one of the e-book covers I’m tentatively considering for the story From the Heart – ‘our’ personal fave!

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More than a Crush 6 – Closure

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Closure

The lecture had ended, and the chattering students rose and made their way out of the hall in groups and pairs. One of such pairs was Oby and Zaynab.

Both girls headed for the exit, to be called to a stop by Oby’s boyfriend, Jeta.

He was in another department, and already in his final year. A bulky, good-looking guy who topped both the swimming and track teams – and who adored Oby like crazy.

They’d met early on that year and already their relationship was waxing strong. Oby leaped and hugged him joyously.

“Jeta! What are you doing here?” she cried with an ear-splitting grin.

He grinned just as hugely. “Hey babe. My class finished early so I snuck in at the back to wait for yours to finish so we could hang out someplace.”

“So you’ve been waiting for me?” she teased, her eyes glowing with pleasure.

“Anything for my boo. It was just for a few minutes, anyway. Hi, Zaynab,” he said with warmth to the other girl.

Zaynab smiled. “Hello, Jeta. Look, you guys don’t worry about me. I’ll be on my way to the library. Have fun,” she said, waving to them as she went off in quick, easy strides.

Oby let out a deep sigh. “Bye, Zee,” she said but her friend was already a long distance away. She turned to Jeta with a sad shake of her head. “Poor Zaynab. She tries to hide it but I know she’s suffering inside, ever since Jimi left.”

“Ohh,” Jeta said with a nod. “That ex-boyfriend of hers you told me about? The one who left for the UK six months ago?”

“Yeah. It’s so obvious she still hasn’t got over him. I mean look at her; she has no social life to speak of. She buries herself in her studies and doesn’t want to hook up with anyone new. It’s like she’s lost all interest in romance.”

“Looks like she really had it bad for that Jimi guy,” Jeta said understandingly. “Sometimes it’s hard to let go of that first, great love. Not for a long while anyway. Stop worrying about Zaynab, Oby. She wouldn’t be happy knowing she’s caused you so much concern. Feel like some ice-cream?”

Meanwhile, Zaynab had just reached her locker, about to get that notebook she’ll need for studying in the library. She planned to spend at least two hours working on some of her assignments before heading for the dorm.

Opening the locker, she reached for the bulky notebook only to freeze at the sight of what lay at the bottom.

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Her heart seemed to stop beating. She almost couldn’t believe what she was seeing. A blue, folded square piece of notepaper. Lying there, just the way it always used to do all those months ago…almost like a century before.

But how…?

At first, she thought that it could possibly be just one of the old ones she still kept jealously, sometimes inside her books so that when she was alone in class or in the library she could read them with an aching heart and eyes that itched with unshed tears.

She had to find out. Snatching up the piece of paper she unfolded it with shaky fingers.

It took her moments to realize it was a note with a verse she’d never seen before, because she knew the contents of every ‘love note’ Jimi ever gave her by heart.

Uncaring of the students milling about in the busy hallway, she read out in a breathless murmur,

“Everyone has a reason why they were made and you, my
Beautiful Golden eyes were made for me. Yours, Jimi.”

The note slipped from her nerveless fingers.

The next second she was wondering who was responsible for this cruel prank. Why would anyone wish to hurt her so deeply? Slipping this note in through the bottom slit of her locker just like Jimi used to do back then when she thought they came from a secret admirer. Now Zaynab tried to rack her brain thinking of how many of her friends had known about the love notes. But the only person she could think of whas Oby. But why would Oby…

“Hello, Zaynab.”

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That voice…

It sounded deeper, just that bit thicker and filled with masculine heat. leaving Zaynab in no confusion as to who it was. Who it could only be.

Zaynab whirled around in shock, and when she found Jimi standing there her world went blank white.

“Whoa,” Jimi said with faint amusement, catching her with an arm around her shoulders as she swayed on her feet.

“I’m not a ghost or some apparition so don’t you go passing out on me,” he joked. “Let’s go somewhere private okay, sweetheart?”

Sweetheart? The warm, silken endearment almost unraveled her just like his unexpected appearance had done. Zaynab didn’t – couldn’t speak, but could only let Jimi lead her, after closing her locker shut and picking up the fallen note, away to the nearby department cafeteria which was thankfully only half-filled.

He sat them in the coziest corner available, his hand never letting go of hers, even as she seemed to grip his so tightly she felt sure she was cutting off the blood circulation in his fingers.

Jimi smiled a little self-consciously at the way she was looking at him. He seemed oblivious to how much male magnetism he exuded, so much that others in the vicinity couldn’t help but keep sending them looks of interest.

He’d changed, of course. His tall, lithe frame had become more broadly muscled; his chest seemed expansive in the midnight-black Polo shirt he wore over his blue jeans and his jawline had firmed considerably giving him an undeniably virile aspect that left Zaynab more breathless than ever.

Had he been working out? Maybe he’d taken up some kind of sport? Because he looked fit as hell. And hot. More than ever before. No one would be mistaking him for a ‘geek’ now, no way.

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At last, Zaynab broke out of her daze as a server came to ask them if they wanted anything, and Jimi ordered them both a soda.

Then he turned to Zaynab to ask if that was okay, and she could only nod mutely, her eyes busy tracing the movement of his firm, inviting looking lips.

Oh, hell. There was no getting over how ready she was to take a huge bite out of him right then. Just like wanting to pinch herself to make sure he was real. Jimi was back.

It was almost too incredible to fathom.

“Jimi, what…how?” she finally managed to let out.

He held up a hand, cutting in gently, “Before you ask me anything, Zaynab, I’d first of all like to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that I’m so, so sorry.”

She looked down at their interlaced fingers, a sudden shyness coming over her. “You’re sorry? What for? I’m the one who let you down by going to the ball with…”

“Forget the stupid ball,” he said, squeezing on her fingers gently. “That’s not what I came all this way to see you about. I was wrong to have judged you; no matter what I shouldn’t have believed the worst. I should have guessed you weren’t doing it of your own free will.”

Zaynab looked up quickly. “You know the truth?”

“Yes,” was his quiet reply. “Oby wrote to me a few months ago and told me.”

At Zaynab’s accusing look, he explained, “It was only once and no, she had no idea I’d be coming back. And I never intended to. But when my dad called me a few weeks after I left and told me about your visit, I was almost tempted to dump everything I’d started up in UK and just come home – damn the consequences.”

Before he could continue, their drinks arrived and Zaynab used to few moments interlude to gather her scattered wits as Jimi’s words sank in slowly.

Once more they were alone, and he continued deeply, “Waiting these past several months for the chance to return was the toughest period of my life. When I heard you actually came over to my house looking for me…” He paused and shrugged, his handsome face creasing in half-concealed pain. “I didn’t care anymore about how or why we parted. I just wanted you back.”

Zaynab’s heart was plummeting, then rising into clouds of pleasure she didn’t dare give voice to, only able to stare at Jimi’s face as he went on speaking.

“I never thought I’d hear from you again, so that little proof that you still cared was enough to keep me going all that time I was away.”

“But why didn’t you call, or write me? There’s the email you know. Even posting a letter would have been nice,” Zaynab couldn’t help muttering, hurt.

“And say what?” Jimi asked gently. “What I needed to say, I wanted to do it face to face; I wanted to look into your eyes, your lovely, golden eyes when I told you I still loved you, and I’d come back even from the ends of the world to wherever you were. No matter how long it took to get there.”

He drew up her hand to his lips, pressing a kiss to her knuckles as Zaynab had to avert her eyes for a moment to veil her tears; a mixture of joy and pain.

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She hunted blinding in her bag for tissues with her free hand, only to have Jimi hand her a snow-white handkerchief, which she took, thanking him as she self-consciously blew her nose. At last she breathed, “But…oh gosh, Jimi. Have you any clue how I’ve suffered these past months? Blaming myself, knowing I handled things all wrong and acted like a silly child – and all this time, one word from you would have made the difference. I’ve been so hellishly lonely,” she finished on a faded breath, as she fought back a sob.

His hand over hers was comforting, intensely possessive. “I’m here now, ready to do whatever I need to do to make it up to you,” he said softly, before looking piercingly into her eyes. “So…you’re saying there hasn’t been anyone else? Not then – and not now?”

Zaynab’s gaze fixed on him with an expression that seemed to say, Do you need to ask?, but moments later she found her voice enough to whisper, “Not ever. Like you once said…my feelings for you weren’t so easy to snap out of. Even after the way you left the country without even telling me.” Her eyes shadowed, unable to hold back that final hurting wound.

Jimi pressed more tender, appeasing kisses to the slim knuckles of her hand. “I’m sorry, Zaynab, but back then I wasn’t thinking straight. That would episode with the ball and you going with Nnamdi and then the things we said that night…I was left with the notion that you didn’t love me and never had; I’d always been second-best compared to Nnamdi and I just…it hurt. When I saw the chance to turn my back on it all, I took it. I thought not being anywhere near where I’d be constantly reminded of you would ease the pain. But it didn’t. I told myself you’d move on perfectly without me. I also managed to convince myself you were just an infatuation I’d soon grow out of. But not a chance.”

He suddenly grinned; that boyish flash of white seeming to brighten up the room and reminding Zaynab so achingly of the first Jimi she’d met as he added, “Looks like my ‘crush’ is going to be a perpetual one.”

Zaynab gazed at him adoringly.

“I love you, Jimi. I don’t think I ever really told you that. And every day for the past many months I’ve prayed and dreamed of how I’d never get tired of telling you those words, if only you’d come back.”

His smile faded, replaced by a look so vividly passionate that Zaynab felt a tingling flame shoot up and down her spine, making her belly quiver.

Swallowing, she broke into the smoldering spell to ask timidly, “Um…so just how long are you back home for?:

“I was able to get two weeks off to make the trip,” he told her with a smile. “I just couldn’t wait till the Summer break. Now I’ll be visiting as often as I can – plus for every holiday. I’m barely over six hours away. We’ll never be far apart for long, I promise. And when you’re finished with your course down here, you’ll definitely be joining me in England where we’ll start planning our wedding.”

“Mmm hmmm Jimi, now slow down,” Zaynab teased, regaining a little of her old self. “You haven’t even proposed yet, remember?”

His gaze darkened with that special heat she’d come to love that sent chills of excitement coiling in her belly. “I thought I had, when I told you in my little note that you were made for me. And I forgot to add one more thing…That I was made just for you, too.”

And Jimi leaned closer to the breathless Zaynab’s lips to seal each word with a kiss….

** ** **

Up Next…

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