He waited outside, ready to confront his future #TeaserTuesday #AmReading Bound To Passion - Chapter
Bound To Passion
Bound Series: Book 3 - The Interlude
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are
used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Bound to Passion
Previously published as Island Bound
Copyright© 2012 Kiru Taye
Editor: Zee Monodee
Cover Artist: Love Bites and Silk
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used
or reproduced electronically or in print without written
permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in reviews.
Joshua Inemi-Spiff waited outside, ready to confront his future. The late afternoon December sun-kissed his back with heat rays. On reflex, he rolled his shoulders and massaged his neck with his right hand.
To pace the paved driveway was madness when he had a sleek, cool car parked meters away. Or even better, an air-conditioned office with piles of work waiting for his attention.
He endured the sweat-inducing temperature, the seasonal cooling Harmattan winds from the Sahara playing elusive. The raison d’être? An envelope and its alarming contents. A simple correspondence, black ink on off-white, letter-headed paper. Words typed out by an efficient legal clerk. Effective.
The apartment building before him was less than a year old, one of several in a new up-market estate in Abuja that boasted a leisure centre, tennis and basketball courts, and a golf course. Lucky for him, the security men at the gates had been impressed with his BMW M6 Coupe and classy appearance; they’d let him in. Otherwise, he would’ve required an appointment to visit one of the residents.
With an impatient flick of his wrist, he glanced at his watch. The ticking of the second hand of the Carrera chronograph mocked his edginess. He’d only been waiting five minutes for a response to his persistent buzzing of the doorbell. Fortitude was supposed to be one of his best qualities. Though, not at this moment.
The oak-timber front door to the ground-floor apartment swung inward. Christy stood at the entrance. Bright brown eyes he didn’t think he could ever forget stared back at him. Her auburn Afro hair hung loosely in twisted curls and dangled around her shoulders, with a rose petal pin holding back one side. Her luscious lips curved in a disapproving scowl.
“Joshua,” she said in a breathy, soft voice that still played a powerful role in his dreams. “What are you doing here?”
Without haste, he trawled his gaze across her body from head to toe in admiration. She hadn’t changed a bit in appearance since he last saw her. Dressed in a grey halter-neck top and orange/grey Ankara print skirt, she had the same flawless, oval-shaped face with a skin tone that reminded him of tasty caramel. The same bountiful, graceful curves in the right places, and long legs he’d like to wrap around his hips.
When she contemplated the brown envelope in his hand, recognition sparked in her eyes. She pulled her bottom lip with her teeth. A sure indication of her nervousness. Since she’d instigated the contents of the packet and their implications, she should be worried.
“Are you going to let me in, Christy?”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea. What’s this about?”
“I think you know.” He lifted his arm, bringing the envelope up to her eye level. “We need to talk.”
She took another swipe at her lip with her teeth and backed away with slow steps, offering him a reluctant invitation.
Joshua walked into the airy hallway and shut the door. He followed her into the living room, his gaze riveted to the gentle sway of her rounded hips luring him closer to her.
To keep himself in check, he diverted his attention to the room, furnished in pure Christy style—pastel-colored curtains and cushions, cream-upholstered sofa and chairs, round coffee table with a light pink glass top. So similar to how she’d furnished their home.
Memories of the two of them smashed into his mind. Pictures he couldn’t escape or blank out. Christy in his arms, soft and fragrant; on his bed, warm and welcoming. Joshua coming home one day to a cold and empty house. Devoid of Christy.
The pain of her departure had triggered other buried emotions. Feelings he hadn’t dealt with in years. Loss. Grief. The only way he’d been able to cope had been to board up his heart, to ignore Christy.
Now standing only strides away from her, the floral scent of her perfume danced around him in an evocative waltz. The ache re-emerged, frighteningly fiercer and almost unbearable, leaving him with a hollow throbbing in his gut. “Why don’t you come home?” he asked gently, the roughness of his voice betraying his vulnerability. She was his one weakness.
Sometimes, he wondered if she knew it.
She folded her arms across her chest. “You know why,” she said before sitting in the corner of the sofa.
Her inflexible response made him stiffen his stance, cold fury wrapping his momentary fear in ice. However, it didn’t stop his body’s response to the fire in her eyes. Desire swelled within him with the vigor of a high-voltage electric power surge. The rise of Christy’s emotions always had the power to arouse him.
He sat down beside her. She moved to stand. He clamped his hand on her thigh, keeping her pinned to the sofa, letting her heat brand him.
She turned to him. As she drew in breaths, her full chest rose and fell in a rapid rhythm. She worried her lips again with her teeth, drawing his attention to their lush plumpness.
The urge to crush their silkiness against his mouth rose as he remembered all the times they’d been intimate. Her softness. Her moans. Her passion. Everything else faded away. It had always been them against the world. All that had changed when she left him.
He ignored the persistent urge of his desire and removed his hand from her thigh.
“I don’t know why,” he replied instead. “All you said was that you needed a break. That was three months ago.”
In a flash, she rose and walked away from the sofa. From him. Again. The stinging emptiness returned. It took a chunk out of his self-control not to reach out and pull her back beside him. Not to hold on to her and never let her out of his sight.
Her skirt swirled around her knees as she pivoted to face him, her arms back under her chest, lifting her breasts into prominence.
“Yes, I needed a break,” she said. “You and I are not working out. There’s no point prolonging the agony. I thought that was why you came here.”
Regret washed over him, its bitterness souring his mouth. He knew then he should have kissed her. He should have never let her leave their home. He should’ve stopped her, spent more time with her, and done whatever he needed to persuade her to stay.
Joshua got up and strode in a different direction from where Christy stood, stuffing his hands into his trouser pockets. Otherwise, he would reach for her. All consequences be damned.
“I came here to talk to you.” He looked at her, and their steady gazes clashed. “To make you see sense and come home.”
“I don’t think there’s anything to talk about,” she retorted.
He took a couple of long strides toward her but stopped just out of touching range. Any closer and the passion between them would likely combust in an instant. Their lovemaking had always been fiery—one of the things about their relationship that had worked so well. He hadn’t touched her for three long months. If he did now, it wouldn’t stop there. He would have to take her. Right here.
“You’re my wife,” he said in a calm voice that hid the depth of his fury at her. “I don’t know what’s come over you, but we need to discuss this.”
Christy had always been bold and strong-willed. As a teenager, her willful rebelliousness had been amusing to watch at times. Her bravery and compassion had attracted him to her.
Even now after all these years since they first met, Joshua was still as drawn to this defiant young woman as he had been to the determined teenager. He’d seen through her rebellion as a mask for her loneliness as an only child, a feeling familiar to him. In Christy, he’d found a kindred spirit. Had he been wrong all along?
“Joshua, when I left three months ago, you didn’t stop me. Why does it matter now?” Christy curled her lips in a skeptical pout.
She had him there. He should’ve never let things get this bad. Still, her decision to move out of their home had come at the worst possible time. He’d been distracted by urgent business issues. The consequences would’ve been catastrophic if he hadn’t dealt with them at the time.
The fact that he’d dismissed her impromptu action as whimsical had apparently not helped matters. Her actions had annoyed him, but he’d hoped she’d realize their futility and come home.
But this? Another wave of rage passed through him. He fought the urge to scrunch the brown envelope in his hand and tossed it on the table instead.
“Is there someone else?”
He couldn’t resist asking the question though he dreaded the answer. The thought of Christy with another man would make him insane. Insanity led to crazy things like murder. And killing was illegal. Shame.
She reared back as if he’d hit her. “You think this is about another man? You think I’m seeing someone else?”
“Well, I don’t know what to think, Christy.” He waved both hands in the air. “You’ve refused to speak to me in so long. Even your parents are worried about you.”
“I should’ve known you’d gang up with my parents,” she snapped.
“No one is ganging up on you. We’re just worried,” he countered in frustration.
“There’s no need to be. I’m grown up. I know my mind. And what I want is outlined in that document.” She pointed to the envelope on the table.
All warmth and reason drained from him. He pursed his lips in a grim line as he watched Christy’s expression. Her chin was tilted up, her eyes blazing. She meant her words.
“A divorce? You want a divorce?”
Speech left his lips in an icy tone, drawn from the chip of iceberg that seemed to have replaced his heart.
Divorce was one thing he’d never reckoned on until the letter landed on his desk today. The syllables carried a ring of finality, like death—irreversible once done, and leaving the survivor with only sorrow and pain. He wasn’t going there again. The sudden loss of his parents and their love, in his youth, was all the anguish he could bear in one lifetime.
“Why?” At first, he’d thought the letter was a mistake, perhaps Christy’s way of getting his attention. Now he knew she’d meant it. He inhaled a deep breath to clear the haze of rage.
“Because you don’t love me.”
A hollow laugh rattled through him, echoing the emptiness that threatened to devour him.
“You want to end our marriage because you think I don’t love you?” He couldn’t hide the incredulity from his voice.
“I know you don’t love me.”
“Oh, you know. Right.” Stunned, he stiffened his spine. After eight years, she could turn around and tell him that? “So if you know everything, why does it suddenly matter now? We were together for so many years before we got married. Why now?”
“Because we’re married, and I expect my husband to love me.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “I’m not going to argue with you, Christy. I don’t want a divorce.”
For the first time, her demeanor lost its confident fire. She brushed back her hair several times and rubbed the back of her neck.
“Joshua, you know our marriage isn’t working out. I don’t want anything from you. I just want out.”
On any other given day, the softness of her tone would have appealed to his compassionate side. Right now, his heart had frozen for protective reasons. Nothing within him responded to her plea.
“You haven’t even given our marriage a chance.” Now, he folded his arms across his chest, mirroring her previous unyielding stance.
“What’s the point? Nothing will change between us.” She lifted her hand toward him in a petition.
He ignored it, and she let it fall to her side.
“You think there’s no point? Well, read my lips. I. Won’t. Give. You. A. Divorce.”
“In that case, I’ll see you in court.” She lifted her chin, the boldness that was pure Christy back again.
“Yeah. Good luck with that,” he said, his tone laced with derision. “Let’s see how any Nigerian court will grant you a divorce when you have no basis for requesting it in the first place.”
Weariness seeped into his bones. The last few months had been taxing, not just with worry about Christy but about their family and business interests.
All of a sudden, he couldn’t stand being there anymore, couldn’t stand their argument. Arguing with Christy would get neither of them any closer to their individual goals. They’d argued before but it’d never been this bad. One person usually caved in, mostly him.
With so much at stake, he wouldn't let her have her way this time.
He snatched up the envelope and, after stuffing it in his pocket, walked toward the door.
The sound of Christy’s faint sigh reached his ears before she spoke. “Please, Joshua. Just tell me what you want.”
Her soft entreaty stopped him in his tracks.
“And don’t say come home. I’ll do anything but that.”
Joshua turned to face her. She bit her bottom lip again and darted her gaze away. He sensed her desperation, almost tasted it.
“Yes.” She nodded.
In any other circumstance, he’d consider it unfair to take advantage of a desperate woman. But this situation wasn’t typical. It required drastic action. All’s fair in love and war.
“Come here,” he said.
She glanced up at him, her face creasing in a frown. If the situation weren't so serious, he would’ve smiled at her expression. For years, he’d allowed Christy free rein over their relationship. The only child of wealthy parents, she’d had a privileged upbringing. Joshua hadn’t quelled that tendency, wanting to provide all she desired. Watching the delightful smile on her face had always given him pleasure.
This time, granting her wish would destroy everything he’d—they’d—worked hard to build over the last few years. He couldn’t let that happen.
Time to reverse the trend.
“Do I need to repeat myself?” He lowered his tone by another octave, ensuring she didn’t miss the authority in his voice.
The confused expression didn’t leave her face as she walked toward him. Her bewilderment was no mystery. That he’d ignored her for three months didn’t mean he didn’t know how to push her buttons. Or that he’d lost a sense of himself.
He was still in command of his life and their relationship. His role was to care for her. She would have to get used to it.
She halted before him and tugged her lip some more with her teeth. With slumped shoulders, she heaved a sigh—the slow drawn out breath weighted with resignation. His heart clenched at the sight of a seemingly subdued Christy. He ignored the appealing ache begging his concession. He couldn’t allow any distractions now.
“Kiss me,” he said.
Panic swam in the depths of her eyes as she searched his face for something. “Joshua, I don’t think—”
“You don’t have to think. All you have to do is obey me if you want the divorce.”
She brushed her hair back, giving him a glare that should’ve set his blood on fire. Suppressing a smile, he maintained a stern demeanor, refusing to back down. Here stood the Christy he knew. She shifted her weight from one leg to the other with her arms akimbo.
“If I do what you want, you’ll consent to the divorce?” “Yes. If you do everything I say.”
“Within reason,” she retorted.
“Of course.” He shrugged. “I’m a reasonable man.”
She nodded. Then she put her hands on his shoulders and lifted herself on her toes. The speed of her assent baffled him. Christy didn’t usually give in so quickly if she didn’t want something.
Perhaps she’d yearned to kiss him all along.
From the moment she brushed her soft lips against his, the world around them combusted. The stockpile of desire from the past few months overwhelmed his body, setting his blood on fire. He couldn’t remember a time when things were different between them. When they didn’t have this raw heat of burning passion that consumed both of them with the need for each other. No other woman ever made him feel this way.
Even after the separation, their ardor hadn’t waned. He didn’t think it’d ever change.
When she blew a breath against his lips, he tangled one hand in her kinky hair and splayed the other across her round behind. Tilting her head back, he took over the kiss. He swept his tongue across her lips before delving into their partition, a man starved of her delightfully succulent bounty. With his tongue, he razed and subjugated her mouth. With his lips, he drank, fueling his already raging cravings.
She swayed into him, her grip on his shoulders tightening. Her scent intoxicated him and threatened to drive him over the edge. Urging him to take her, to spread her on the sofa and show her what she’d been missing. What she’d miss, if she got what she was asking for from him. To remind her of the pleasure she’d been denying him—them—these long months.
Instead, he released her and stepped back, his movement brusque. He didn’t care. If he didn’t stop now, they’d be on the sofa with him inside her within a matter of moments. They’d both have pleasure and satisfaction. But only temporarily.
What he had in mind fitted more into the long term.
“I’m going to Brass Island for the festivities, and you’re coming with me,” he said as he tried to control his fast, shallow breathing.
She appeared dazed and a blush colored her cheeks.
“I have other plans for Christmas,” she replied, sounding out of breath.
“Cancel them. I’ll call you to confirm travel arrangements.” “Fine. I’ll cancel.” She twisted her lips in displeasure.
He ignored her sulk. “If you say this relationship is over, then I want two weeks with you to get you out of my system. No friends or family. Just the sun, sea, and sand to distract us. After that, I’ll sign your divorce papers. Agreed?”
“Good. I’ll see myself out.”
He strode away from her, into the hot sunshine before he did something he’d truly regret. Like grabbing Christy and shaking her until she recanted her words and confessed that this had all been a mistake. Otherwise, knowing she’d agreed to his demand so easily only meant she wanted him gone—out of her life.
Information so corrosive to his well-being, like salt on an open wound. He almost doubled over as his gut wrenched.
Within the confines of his car, he unleashed an angry growl, turning his pain into determination. If Christy wanted to get rid of him, he’d give her two weeks she’d never forget.