Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Man Worth Waiting for - Episode 4

Demola sat on the 747, his seat belt buckled, his hat resting on one knee, waiting for Tomilola to show up for the 9:00am flight. After he'd spoken to her yesterday afternoon, she'd demanded he hand over her ticket and told him she'd see him on the plane. She had a lot to think about, she'd told him, and she didn't want any disturbances or distractions while she did it.

He hadn't liked the idea, but when he'd tried to reason with her, convince her that he should stay close in case she had any questions, she'd made it clear his presence anywhere near her was a deal breaker. So he'd left the lodge and headed back to his hotel, where he'd spent the rest of the day and most of the night wondering if she'd show up this morning.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A man worth waiting for - Episode 3

Her brows crashed together in surprise. "My father?"
He nodded.
Old anger ran through her. She shook her head. "You must have the wrong person. I haven't seen my father since. . .Well, I don't actually remember ever seeing my father." Bitterness sounded in her voice. "He sent me and my mother packing when I was two."
"That's not quite the way it happened." he said "And I don't have the wrong person. Your father's name was Wale Adeyemi, correct?"

Apparently, it had been. It was a little fact Tomilola had learned when she'd found the name Adeyemi on her mother's marriage certificate and Tomi's birth certificate after her mother's death, When she'd seen that name she'd understood for the first time why she'd never found her father when she'd searched for him under the name Wale Daniels. She'd also understood the care her mother had taken to make sure Tomi never came face to face with her father. And the only reason Tomi could think of for that, was that her mom hadn't wanted Tomi to hear with her own ears that her father didn't want her.

She nodded. "Yes, Wale Adeyemi is my father. Biologically, anyway. The old man certainly was nothing more than a sperm donor. I can't imagine why he'd be looking for me now. Unless..." She shot the stranger a hard look. "If he's after a portion of the Angels money you can tell him I don't keep any of it. None of us do. A hundred percent of it is donated. And my job as a waitress at the little shop where I live in Port Harcourt barely keeps me in living expenses. I don't h have much more money now than my mother did the day he kicked us out on the street."

The stranger grimaced. "Your father didn't send me to squeeze money out of you."
She raised a skeptical brow. "No? Then why are you here?"
"I'm here because I am the executor to your father's estate, and the acting chairman of his company."
The executor to her father's estate? The world tilted. Her father was dead? She rocked back, trying to keep her balance, but the room spun and her knees went weak, making her sway on her feet.

Demola rushed around the desk with a soft curse, his arms stretched out to catch her.
She quickly lowered herself into Segun's chair before he reached her. She definitely didn't need to add the stranger's touch to her already careening world. She held her hands up to ward away his help. "I'm okay, just..." Stunned.
He dropped his hands to his sides, but his gaze stayed locked on her, watchful, concerned as he stood beside her.
She closed her eyes, blocking him out. Blocking out his intense gaze and his concern and his overpowering maleness as she tried to sift through the emotions swirling inside. Like most kids with a missing parent she'd thought of her father often over the years. On birthdays, she'd wondered if he ever thought of her. Or if he'd wiped her and her mother so completely from his mind, he wouldn't even notice the day.

And she'd had the usual childish dreams of reunion. That her father would wake up one morning and realize what a precious commodity he'd thrown away. That he'd come after them, begging for forgiveness, begging them to return to his life. Promising he'd love them forever and ever. But mostly she'd thought of Wale Adeyemi in anger. Anger that she'd had to watch her mother struggle to keep them fed and clothed and have a roof over their heads. Anger that she'd had to watch her mother die far before her time because they hadn't been able to afford the treatments and medication her mother had needed.

And now this stranger had shown up with the announcement that Wale Adeyemi was dead. She didn't know what to feel. Didn't know whether to be mad or sad or whether she should feel anything at all.
She opened her eyes and met the stranger's gaze head-on. When she'd first seen the stranger across the room, she'd feared he would knock her moratorium on men off balance. Now she feared he was about to throw her whole world off balance. Her stomach tying itself into knots, she said, "I think you better tell me what this is all about."

"As the executor of your father's estate-and his friend-I promised to keep your father's spread running until the lawyers found you. And once they found you, I promised to bring you home."
"Home?" The word was a hoarse whisper on her tongue. "Home to the Big W. Your father's estate. Home to your father's company."
Her heart squeezed. "My father owned a company?" Demola Adenuga nodded, his gaze intensifying, becoming more concerned as he watched her response. "One of the biggest in Lagos."
Anger, old and true, began to gather inside her. "My father owned one of the biggest companies in Lagos?"
While my mother and I scraped for every meal we ever ate?
His gaze turned cautious. "Yes. But it's yours now. If you meet the stipulations in the will."

She laughed humourlessly. "Stipulations?" The bastard had washed his hand off her twenty-two years ago. Now he was trying to control her from the grave?
He nodded. "You have to live on the estate for six months, full-time, before it becomes yours. At that time, the deed will be signed over to you and you can do whatever you want with it. Keep it. Sell it. Burn it to the ground."

She quirked a brow. "That has a certain appeal."

"Your father wasn't a fool. He thought it might. But he also thought if you spent six months there, you'd come to love it. Love the work and the land. He said his blood ran in your veins, too."

A shiver ran through her. A shiver of pure outrage and revulsion. She pushed herself up from her chair and leaned across the desk. "The man abandoned his wife and child, Mr. Adenuga. I hadn't thought of his blood running in my veins, but now that you've pointed it out, a transfusion doesn't sound like a bad idea. As for the company, I don't want it. Not even to burn to the ground. Sorry you wasted your time." She straightened and strode around the desk, heading for the door.

"So you're just going to walk away from it? The estate? Your father's wishes? Your heritage?" His tine was calm, reasonable, but he wasn't fooling her. She could sense the tension in his body as he pivoted on his heel, tracking her progress. She stopped with her hand on the doorknob. Her heritage? Her father had kicked her and her mother out of his house - or off his precious estate, apparently - with nothing but the clothes on their backs. And the few times her mother had tried to contact him for help, he'd refused to take her calls.

Tomilola swung back to the stranger with a feral snarl. "That estate isn't my heritage. It's my father's attempt to salve his guilty conscience for throwing a helpless woman and her two-year-old child out on the street. His feeble attempt to keep the fires of hell from licking at his boots. Well...I hope those fires burn him to a crisp." She spun back to the door. But before she could slip through, the stranger's hand landed above her head, pushing the door shut again.

His body loomed over her, his heat soaking into her back, his breath rustling her hair. "You may want your father to burn to a crisp, Ms. Daniels. Hell, maybe you have that right. But before you make a rash decision based on nothing but raw emotion, you might want to think of the broader picture. If you spend six months at the estate - and still want nothing to do with the place - do you know how many boys just like that little boy you could save by selling it instead of burning it to the ground?"

She'd been about to send her elbow into the domineering stranger's ribs. But now she went still, his words knifing through her anger.

She'd had to stand by, watching her mother suffer through the debilitating and painful symptoms of MS because they couldn't afford the medicine to help control the disease. And she'd had to accept the reality that her mother had died months, possibly years, before her time because she couldn't afford the medical treatments that would have prolonged her life.

She hated the thought of others facing that ugly reality. It's why she'd started the Angels. Reluctantly, the tight hold she had on the doorknob relaxed.

Sensing her capitulation, Adenuga backed up. But he didn't go far. Definitely not far enough. She could still feel the coiled tension radiating from his body, still smell his spicy aftershave as she turned around to face him, tipping her head up to meet his gaze.

He watched her through narrowed eyes. He was playing dirty and he knew it. The tight line of his mouth made her think he didn't like it. But the hard core of determination in his eyes told her he'd play even dirtier if necessary.

But she was no pushover. She raised her chin. "You haven't won yet, Mr. Adenuga. How much is the estate worth?"
"If you sell smart, invest smart, a couple millions, maybe more."
"A couple millions?" the surprised exhalation whispered from her lips. Dear God. How could she possibly justify turning her back on that?

A wry laugh echoed through her head. As if she would have turned her back on the deal if she could have saved only one. She sighed in defeat. "All right, Mr. Adenuga, you've won. Where's this estate? And how do I get there?"

He pulled two plane tickets from the back pocket of his jeans. "Not a problem. I'll take you."

She stared at the two tickets in his hand. Well she'd managed to send the stranger right back to his range, all right. Only problem was, he was taking her with him.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A man worth waiting for - Episode 2

Fresh powder still clinging to her suit, Tomilola gave the boy in the wheelchair a giant hug. "Hey, boy what do you think?" She'd just come in off the mountain, and excitement and adrenaline poured through her system. The young boy beamed at her, his smile reaching from ear to ear. "Wonderful ma'am, i want to do this some day."

"Well, I'll tell you what, you get your new bone marrow, spend a year getting strong and you'd get anything you want, okay?"
The boy nodded. "I will."

Smiling, she turned and started through the noisy crowd on her way to the bar.
She turned, searching for the caller. She spotted the lodge's owner, she waited for him to reach her side, then pitched her voice above the crowd. "What's up Segz?"
"A man's looking for you."
She cocked a brow. "Yeah, who?"
The burly owner hooked a thumb toward the lodge's big picture windows.
A lone man stood in front of the giant glass, a man whose brown-eyed gaze watched her from the across the room with electrifying intensity. Heat and pure feminine awareness slid through her. His sheer size and power and strength dwarfed the mountains behind him. But it was the man's clothes, and the way he wore them, that caught her imagination. A dark blue, western, Saturday-night-let's-go-dancing shirt, covered his broad shoulders and accented his narrow waist. A black Stetson with a snakeskin band dangled from one hand. And lastly, a pair of worn but spotlessly clean shining shoes covered his strong legs.

Man, oh, man.

Her pulse flattered, her heart throbbed. She swallowed hard, drew a steadying breath and took hold of her runway pulse. It didn't matter how gorgeous the man was. Or that every nerve in her body clanged like a four-alarm fire bell. She had cleared a personal moratorium on men. She'd declared it three years ago when she'd found herself living in an apartment she hated and working a job she didn't like any better, all for the sake of a man. A man she'd discovered was sleeping with her on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays - and his other girlfriend the rest of the week. She'd decided right then she needed to figure out who she was and what she wanted in life. And she obviously needed to do that without having a man around to muddy the waters.

And until this very minute she hadn't regretted that decision. But if she didn't find our that what the man wanted and send him right back to where he belongs, that resolution could be in serious jeopardy. She drew another deep breath. "Okay, Segz, I get it." Squaring her shoulders, she strengthened her resolve and strode toward the guy, ruthlessly ignoring the humming of her nerves as his gaze followed her every move. She stopped a good three feet in front of him. . .plenty close enough. . .and tipped her chin up.


An easy smile turned his lips, accenting the fine lines around the corner of his eyes. "Hi, pretty." The words were wrapped in a deep drawl, smooth as silk and sexy as hell. She chuckled softly, ruefully. "What can i do for you? Segun said you wanted to talk to me." The teasing light left his eyes, his expression suddenly serious. "I do. And it's important. Is there somewhere quieter we can talk? Somewhere more private?"

A little shiver ran through her. Somewhere quieter? More private? Her room maybe? No way. Besides, she didn't know this man from Adam. So someplace private but close to the crowd would be a wiser choice. She looked around, her eye falling on the closed door  next to the bar. She turned back to the man standing next to her. "How about Segun's office? I'm sure he won't mind."


"This way." She strode toward the back of the room, dodging the celebrants as she went. She didn't turn around to make sure the man didn't get lost in the crowd. She could feel him behind her. His heat, his intensity, his gaze following her every step.

As she approached the bar, she caught Segun's eye, pointed to his office door and cocked a brow, asking silent permission to use the room. He nodded and went back to pouring drinks. She pushed through a small group of children that congratulated her and clapped them on the back. She thanked them for coming, for pledging their hard earned money and then quickly excused herself and escaped into Segun's office.

The man followed her in and closed the door behind him, shutting the party's noise out. . .and them in.

She backed away from the big stranger, trying to find a space with a little more oxygen. She didn't remember Segun's office being this small, this close. But it certainly seemed to be now. She took another step back, unzipping the front of her suit. It was warmer in here than she remembered, too. Way warmer. "So Mr. . . .I'm sorry, i didn't get your name."
The stranger's gaze snapped up from her waist, the end of her zipper's trek. "Adenuga." His voice was rough, tight. He cleared his throat, starting again. "Demola Adenuga." He held out his hand. She stared at the big, work-roughened hand with its long, strong fingers and calloused palms. No way was she shaking that hand. She didn't want to know just how warm his touch would be. Just how electric. The woman in her was already far too aware of the man's masculine appeal. She turned away and strode to the other side of Segun's desk. "So what can I do for you, Mr. Adenuga?"

When she turned back to him, a hint of a smile lifted his lips. Just enough of a smile to tell her she hadn't fooled him. He knew she'd seen his hand and knew why she hadn't shaken it. But that smile quickly disappeared, his brown-eyed gaze turning serious. "I'm not sure how to start this except to say your father sent me."


Thursday, January 10, 2013

A man worth waiting for - Episode 1

Demola Adenuga stood in the middle of the lodge, watching the giant-screen television with the crowd of fifty or so people who'd gathered around for the big event. On screen four women, all tall, all pretty.

The Angels were at it again.

Demola shifted his gaze from the giant picture to the small family that stood directly in front of the screen. At least there was a halfway decent reason behind this madness. Like most of the other stunts the Angels women had performed in the last three years, this one was a fund-raiser. The recipient was the ten-year-old boy sitting in the wheelchair front and center, flanked protectively by his parents. He needed a bone marrow transplant and his family had no insurance to cover the cost.

A Man Worth Waiting for - PROLOGUE




Life, Love and Family. . .

Tomilola Daniels didn't want to think about her past, just her future...with the Angels, the team she'd created to stage daredevil stunts for charity. Besides, no matter how sexy Demola Adenuga was, she had a hard time believing the man's story that the father who'd abandoned her had in fact been looking for her for the past twenty-two years.

But Demola was telling the truth. And he'd made a promise to Tomi's father before he died that he'd find his daughter, bring her home and make sure she had a good life. And though the chemistry between them was powerful enough to light the entire state, Demola was determined to be an honourable man.

Even if it cost him everything. . .
Even if it cost him the love of his life. . .