Updated: Jul 27
As we approach the release of Screwdriver, I'm sharing the opening chapter.
Read Chapter One: Part One.
Read Chapter One: Part Two.
What was he doing? Oumou was not a stranger he was just meeting for the first time. They had grown up together in the same town. He knew almost everything about her. Even more important, she was now a relative, a stepcousin since her mother married his uncle.
So they couldn’t get into a relationship. Not that she’d ever looked at him that way. She barely acknowledged his existence. This evening, she’d called him a boring person, evidently not the kind of man she wanted.
To prove his point, when he glanced at the women, they were walking back to the bar, but a man strutting like a peacock intercepted them.
Yahya’s belly knotted. On instinct, he got off the stool and approached the group about three steps away. Danai and Oumou were under his protection, and he had to check out the interloper.
“Hey, Danai. Are you having fun?” the man asked with a cocky grin and glazed eyes. A gold chain glinted around the collar of his dark tunic, and more bling drew attention to his pricey wristwatch and monogrammed velvet loafers.
Yahya recognised the man. He’d been part of the princes’ rugby squad today. Therefore, Danai’s teammate confirmed by the familiar smile she gave him in response. “Sure. And you?”
“Absolutely.” His predatory gaze settled on Oumou as he flashed white teeth. “Is this gorgeous human your sister? May I be introduced.”
Oumou giggled, suddenly looking like a teenager—lashes fluttering, biting her bottom lip.
Yahya's spine prickled. A growl bubbled with the unexpected annoyance. Why the hell was she giggling at … un briseur de cœur aussi arrogant, trompeur et sycophante? Such an arrogant, deceptive and sycophantic heartbreaker.
Danai glanced at Oumou, who nodded vigorously in expectation of the introduction. “This is my stepsister. Oumou, this is Prince Osei.”
“I’m just Osei tonight.” He extended his arm. “It’s my pleasure to meet you, Oumou.”
“Mine too.” Oumou placed her palm over his arm, accepting his invitation.
Yahya clenched his hands, trying to contain the intense swell of emotions. What was wrong with him anyway? Why was he suddenly invested in Oumou’s admirers? Granted, he’d never come face-to-face with one of them.
Movement caught his attention, and he stared as Osei led Oumou away. Danai walked past him towards the bar.
Irritated, he intercepted his cousin. “Kisa salte sa? What the fuck? Did you just introduce Oumou to that guy?”
“Yes. He wanted to meet her, and she seemed keen to meet him,” she replied flippantly, waving her hand in the direction Oumou and Osei disappeared.
“Fuck.” He scrubbed a hand over his face, returning to his stool.
What was the point? Yes, he didn’t trust the slick, smooth-talking Osei guy. But it seemed Oumou liked the man, so there was very little he could do.
Danai followed, shaking her head. She climbed onto an available stool and reordered before turning to him. “Cuz, what is really going on between you and Oumou?”
“Nothing.” He looked away. There was no point talking about it. Nothing would come of it.
“There’s something. There has always been something. If you like her as much as I think you do. Why not ask her out like any normal human being?”
“Because nothing can come of it. You know my father, don’t you? How conservative he is?”
“Why do you care how conservative he is? My father married Oumou’s mother, and they are happy together. So, what’s going to stop you from being happy with her?”
If it was just about him, he wouldn’t care.
However, Yahya’s father was a Member of the Bagumian Parliament and held conservative political views.
“Unmarried mothers are the scourge of our society …” he’d once said during a speech.
So, imagine his utter displeasure when his divorced brother, Uncle Ngarta, wed Mama Oumou, an unmarried mother. They’d argued—the first time Yahya had seen the two brothers quarrel. They only recently reconciled after intervention from the extended family.
Therefore, he could imagine his father’s disapproval if he presented Oumou as his intended. As far as the old man was concerned, Oumou was tainted by the same stigma as her mother.
Yahya cared less about the stigma. Still, other matters worried him, like the stark differences between their personalities which would pose problems to their future together.
Oumou was flamboyant and adventurous. He was reserved and guarded.
She loved being noticed and thrived in crowds. On the other hand, he shrank away from attention and flourished in one-to-one situations.
Simply put, she was a social butterfly while he was a reclusive snail. They were opposites. A relationship between them wouldn’t work. So, what was the point in trying?
He sighed. “I don’t know, cuz. It’s not as simple as you make it.”
“Because you’re making it complicated,” Danai countered. “Just go up to her and confess your feelings.”
“Are you serious? I’m a mechanic. He’s the son of a Ghanaian king. No contest.” Yahya grimaced. He wasn’t suave or charming. Not to mention that the woman thought he was boring. He has no chance with her.
“Men. You are so stupid sometimes.” His cousin climbed off the stool with her drink.
He ignored her comment and ordered a whisky. When it came, he downed it in one go before getting off the stool and heading towards the exit. He walked past Danai, who was talking to someone and did a double-take.
Was that Prince Zawadi? Yahya hadn’t expected to see the principled, noble crown prince at such an event. Or even talking intimately to his cousin like something was happening between those two.
However, he didn’t speculate and wandered farther into the venue. He entered a smaller, quieter lounge swamped in darkness, lit only by a soft glow lamp hidden behind a large leafy potted plant. Good. He could sit quietly in the dark.
Spotting a vacant armchair in the corner next to the plant, he headed towards it and manoeuvred around furniture. A group sat to the right, smoking, the tips of their cigarettes glowing orange in the darkness. Silhouettes moved, conversations whispered, chuckles mixed with moaning.
Tann yon minit! Wait a minute!
He froze. There was no mistaking the sounds, even if he couldn’t see clearly. People—more than one couple—were having sex in here. He had no business in this lounge. He wasn’t a prude and considered himself sexually liberal—
An arm shot out of the dark, and he glanced down. Slender, manicured fingers with electric blue nail polish brushed his thigh.
“’ello, sexy. Tu nous rejoins sur le canape?” the voice was sultry, throaty, and French. A second later, she leaned forward, and the light caught the side of her pretty smiling face, dark hair tousled around her shoulders. Beside her, a man puffed out, cigarette smoke swirling in the air.
They were inviting him to join them? Hell, no!
“Joindre a vous? Non.” He shook his head and hurried out of the lounge. He drew the line at having sex with total strangers. Perhaps he was a prude after all.
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?
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59479939-screwdriver