As we approach the release of Screwdriver, I'm sharing the opening chapter.
Read Chapter One: Part One.
Read Chapter One: Part Two.
Read Chapter One: Part Three.
Back in the bright hallway, he sucked in a deep breath and exhaled. His options were limited, and none appealed to him.
One, the noisy party—no.
Two, the debauchery lounge he’d just exited—never.
Three, go outside. But he wasn’t dressed for a cold rainy evening.
Four, Danai had mentioned that they were booked to spend the night here. But he didn’t know which accommodation they’d been assigned. He would have to go back into the ballroom to ask her about it. This meant disturbing her rendezvous with Prince Zawadi.
No. His cousin had indicated that she needed to let off some steam. Maybe the crown prince would provide exactly what she needed.
Sighing, Yahya walked through another door into a corridor for a single-level annexe. The beefy stationary security guards didn’t stop him when he entered an alcove, the entryway into an extended, white-walled garage. The light flickered on automatically, and his mouth dropped open as he halted.
A row of expensive sports cars stretched in front of him—a purple Bugatti, a yellow Lamborghini, and a red Ferrari.
Adrenaline surged through him. This was more like it. He was happy to hang out with these ladies all night long. Heart thrumming, he strolled, examining each vehicle slowly and admiring the polished detailing. Leaning over, he resisted touching the surfaces., not wanting to scratch or smudge them.
The Lambo called him with its innovative engineering, physics, and mechanics design feat. Immediately, an image of Oumou flashed in his mind, and a big smile spread on his face. Of course, she would love the colour—yellow was her favourite. Plus, she had the same flair and flamboyance. If Oumou was a car, she would be an attention-grabbing yellow Lamborghini.
“I wish you were mine,” he whispered, ghosting his hand over the clear contours and precise lines.
He caught himself and straightened slowly with a frown. What did he wish for, Oumou or the car?
Both. The realisation slammed into him, robbing him of breath.
He desired Oumou and the Lambo.
For the first time in his adult life, he coveted something belonging to someone else. Beautiful yet unattainable desires. The vehicle belonged to one of the princes, and so did Oumou, for tonight at least.
Along with the desire came guilt, curdling his gut. Craving what he couldn’t possess was wrong and would cause problems for him.
The Lamborghini wasn’t a practical vehicle. Worse, it would attract unwanted attention to him. It wasn’t built for the dusty, bumpy streets of his hometown. He would have to park it and keep it covered most of the time. Hence defeating its purposes. It was a car built for the fast-paced city tarmac and highways where it would get maximum exposure and hit top speed.
The same could be said for Oumou. She was hardly giving out housewife material to village mechanics. Instead, she’d mentioned her big-city ambitions and living like a celebrity.
The sound of a giggling female startled him out of his musings. It came from the hallway. Unfortunately, he’d been so engrossed he missed the approaching footsteps.
“Jennifer, go with the security man. Your suite is ready for you,” someone spoke in deep, polished English. It sounded like one of the royals. Prince Zik?
“I thought you were going to tuck me into bed,” a female replied in a slurry, giggly voice.
“You know the rules, Jen. If you get drunk, I don’t play. Sleep it off. You can find me when you’re sober another time.”
There were murmurs and fading footsteps. Then a shadow appeared at the archway into the garage. A royal bodyguard assessed him critically and stood to the side when it seemed he determined Yahya was no threat.
Prince Zik sauntered in, wearing a shiny navy-blue silk shirt with gold cufflinks, dark trousers and polished black leather shoes with navy contrasts. There was no mistaking his nobility with the regal tilt of his chin and expensive clothes.
“Your highness.” Yahya bowed stiffly, heading towards the door. Time for him to get out of the garage.
The prince raised a brow in surprise. But he recovered quickly and smiled, extending his hand. “We weren’t introduced. You are Danai’s guest, right?”
“I’m her cousin, Yahya.” Astonished by the royal’s gracious gesture, he accepted the handshake, the prince’s grip firm. The prince's reputation as a player seemed evident from the conversation with the Jennifer woman in the corridor. However, Yahya respected the royal because he hadn’t taken advantage of a drunk woman. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. But why aren’t you at the party?” Zik walked past him towards the cars. He seemed like a pleasant, down-to-earth person.
Yahya scratched his head. “I’m not really a party person. But I was admiring your cars. Une grande collection.”
Zik looked back at him, one brow raised. “Merci. Do you know anything about cars?”
“Oh oui. I can’t afford these beauties, but I’m a mechanic and part-own a garage in Bali.”
“C’est merveilleux. Just my kind of man.” Zik pressed the hob in his hand. The Lambo’s lights flashed, and the doors opened upward, pivoting at the front of the door, behind the fender, much like scissor blades. Around here, people funnily referred to them as wings.
“Can I tell you a secret?” Zik continued in a low, conspiratorial tone. “I can’t afford these cars either. I could, but it would be an awful waste of money. These are gifts. I have friends who know I love cars and make them available to me. I get pictured in them, and their car dealers get to sell more vehicles because of it. It’s a win for everyone.”
Taken aback by Zik’s directness and astuteness, Yahya chuckled. “That’s something.”
“It sure is. Life’s too short for us not to enjoy what we desire.” Prince Zik’s gaze acquired a distant glaze. “There’s a song about loving the one you’re with when the one you love is far away. I live that every day. It’s about making the most of the here and now. Enjoy life today because tomorrow may never come.”
“That is true.” Yahya didn’t realise the royal could be so profound, and the words hit him deeply, his thoughts going to Oumou. Indeed, tomorrow might never come. Making the most of today involved making his intentions known to Oumou. He would never know what would happen between them if he never bothered. Danai had been correct. Nothing stopped him from letting Oumou realise he wanted her. Not just for one night. But for the rest of their lives.
“Would you like to go for a drive?” the prince’s voice pulled him back to the garage.
Yahya blinked as the words sank in. “You’re inviting me for a drive in the Lambo?”
“Sure. You don’t like parties, and I think, for you, driving will be more entertaining than dancing. So how about it?”
“I’m up for it. Thank you.” Yahya’s heart rate accelerated. He would get to ride a yellow Lamborghini, after all. Perhaps this was a sign of good fortune in his desire to win Oumou’s heart.
To be continued...
Author: Kiru Taye
A Royal House of Saene spinoff
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Tropes: friends-to-lovers, opposites attract, blue-collar, small town, forced proximity
For most of her adult life, boss-lady Oumou has wanted to leave her hometown in pursuit of big-city fame. All her closest friends are doing bigger and brighter things elsewhere; one is even dating a prince. However, her plans to leave small-town Bali are put on hold when the pandemic hits. At least there are some positives. She’s enduring lockdown with her friend, Yahya, who is her exact opposite in personality. But he’s sexy, easy on the eyes, and cleans up his messes. Opposites attract, right?
Mechanic Yahya has two obsessions—fixing damaged cars and his hometown of Bali. He has no desire for fame or fortune. Nevertheless, since flamboyant Oumou set up shop right across the road from his auto garage, he’s developed a new obsession with her. Each day at work, he glimpses her glorious smile and the temptation for her spirals. But why bother? She won’t even consider him—someone she labels as dull—and they are just too different to work.
Then Yahya and Oumou are stuck together as quarantine buddies, and their attraction combusts in the confines of the apartment. Soon the man so skilled at unscrewing her wheel-nut becomes the sexy hunk satisfying her every fantasy. But what happens when reality kicks in the door and their differences threaten to tear them apart?
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