How do modern African women fall in love? Meet them....
It is London sometime in the 2000s. Five Nigerian young women — Lola, Funmi, Temmy, Maureen, and Titi — are caught up in the usual London hustle, doing the career thing and still finding time to look pretty at parties and bars. But their lives aren’t perfect, especially for Lola, who is nursing a broken heart and hanging on to a job as a financial analyst, that she doesn’t like. At a house party organized by one of the girls, she meets Wole. The attraction is instant, but in her classic African-girl approach to romance, she is hesitant, and worried about “losing all sense of caution.” But when unexpected tragedy strikes in the form of a murder, the force of desire heightened by the pain of loss drives Lola into Wole’s arms. Will Wole reward her need for comfort with love or will his dark past destroy their chance for happiness?
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Read an excerpt:
We went upstairs and into one of the bedrooms that he had converted into an office. Inside was a desk with two computers, one PC and a Mac, a printer and scanner, a shelf with loads of books and magazines and lying around were sheets of paper that looked like plans and blueprints.
“So you do a lot work in here then,” I asked, watching him gather his books and papers into a box.
“Yeah, during busy times I have to bring my work home,” he replied. “We’ve just completed one project in East London for the Olympic Park, so it’s pretty much non-stop at the moment.”
“Interesting,” I said. “So what do you do in your spare time?”
“I love movies and music,” he said, pointing to the CDs and DVDs storage unit. “I keep buying those things but I hardly have time to chill out and just enjoy them.”
I walked up to the shelf and browsed through his collection. “You have lots of Soul music albums.”
“Yeah I love the old school stuff. You know James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sade Adu.”
“I like Soul too, but I prefer newer sounds like Alicia Keys and John Legend.”
“Hey, looks like we’ve got something in common. I like John Legend too; I’ve got his new album somewhere.”
“I’ve wanted to get that CD forever!”
“Let me see if I can find it.” Wole said, stepping closer to me. He hunted around and pulled out a CD in triumph. “Here we are!”
“Great!” I was excited. “Please, let’s go downstairs to play it.”
“No worries babe,” he said. “Come on then.”
We went back to his living room. He put on the album and we cleared some space on the sofa to sit down and talk; all thoughts of packing forgotten. It was amazing just sitting there, listening to John Legend and talking to Wole. I loved his voice, his expressions and his manners. We talked about lots of different things, our jobs, our plans for the future, our goals and much more. Slowly the atmosphere changed.
“Hey, do you want some wine?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure.” I said.
He went to the kitchen, got a bottle and two wine glasses. He opened it and poured me a bit to sip first.
“Yeah, it’s nice.”
“It’s Italian, their red wines have great flavour.” he said.
“I don’t know much about wines, sorry.” I laughed. “I just know if I like the taste or not.”
“Here, let me pour you some more.” He filled his glass too and sat back on the sofa.
“I can’t help feeling apprehensive about my move,” he said. “I’ll have to sort out where I’m going to stay when I get to Milton Keynes.”
“Isn’t your company providing you with a place?”
“Yeah they’ll put me up in a hotel for a month and pay me some relocation allowance, after that I’ll have to find a place myself.”
“I’ve gotten used to this house. Change can be scary you know?”
“Yeah I know. I’m scared of many things.”
“I don’t know - ok for example I’m afraid to change my job, even though I don’t like it anymore.”
“You shouldn’t be, life is too short to be stuck in a rut and hating it.”
“I know that in my head, I just can’t reconcile it in my actions.”
“Hey don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Just take it one step at a time.”
He leaned closer.
“Lola, I enjoy your company. We should hang out again.”
“When next do you think you’ll come to London?” I asked.
“I’m not sure; I plan to hit the ground running when I get to Milton Keynes. I’ll have to come back to pack the rest of my stuff when I find a place, so let’s say in a month.”
“Okay, that’s not too bad,” I said. “I’m sure I can fit you into my diary in a month’s time.”
“Beautiful, smart and funny,” he said, taking my hand and drawing me closer to him. “Now that’s a winning combination.”
Maybe it was the wine getting to me, but I wasn’t resisting. I leaned into him and he was about to say something when the doorbell rang.
He jumped. “Damn! Who is that?”
I followed him to the window. It was the delivery guy with the Chinese food we had ordered. I watched Wole as he grabbed his wallet, collected the food and paid the guy. Then he came back inside.
“Do you want to eat right now or later?” he asked, giving me that smile again.
“Let’s eat now, while the food is hot.” I said.
“Great,” he said. He got two plates and dished out the food, then brought them to the sofa.
“Do you want some more wine? It goes well with Chinese food.” he said.
We ate in comfortable silence, only interrupted by the music which filled the silent moments. I caught him looking at me from time to time.
“Are you blushing?” he teased.
I shook my head.
“I think it’s cute,” he said. “Your eyes are captivating to me.”
“I’m not doing anything with my eyes!” I protested.
He smiled but didn’t say anything. He got up to clear away the plates, and changed the CD. Then he came back to the sofa.
“Shouldn’t we continue packing?” I asked, stalling for time.
“Don’t worry I can always continue tomorrow,” he said. “I appreciate you coming out to help me tonight.”
I can’t remember what I was going to say next, because Wole suddenly leaned in and kissed me! And oh my! It was so good, I could feel myself melting. This was all John Legend’s fault; I don’t normally behave like this. Wole was holding me pretty close and I wasn’t resisting.
I stopped for a second, but he pulled me closer and kissed me again. Second time. Third time. More fireworks! Gosh, the chemistry was fierce!
Suddenly I pulled back.
“What’s wrong babe?” he whispered.
“Nothing.” I said.
An awkward pause.
“Okay,” I said finally. “I think things are going too fast.”
“Oh,” he said, looking worried. “I thought that was a passionate kiss.”
“Yeah it was.” I admitted. “I got hurt badly in my last relationship and I’m trying not to lose my head this time.”
“Oh okay… I know how that feels. I definitely don’t want you to feel pushed into anything.”
That was a relief.
I relaxed and smiled at him.
“Thank you, I’m glad you understand.” I said.
“I do, and I’m here for you, okay?”
“Come here,” he said, extending his arms. I moved closer and he hugged me. I hugged him back and was enjoying the body contact when…
It was the doorbell again!
Favour Bolarinwa is a British-Nigerian writer of romance and contemporary fiction stories. She draws her inspiration from complex relationships.