Updated: Jul 27
As we approach the release of Screwdriver, I'm sharing the opening chapter.
Read Chapter One: Part One.
“Grrr,” he growled in frustration, scrubbing his palms over his face. Perhaps he should have returned to Bali this evening and left Oumou to find her way home. She could take public transportation in the morning.
He imagined the hassle she would endure, sitting in a crowded public bus for the three-hour-plus journey and sighed. He couldn’t abandon her no matter how much this situation aggravated him. It was his responsibility to ensure she returned home safely and hassle-free. If it meant tolerating hours of loud music and rowdy people, then so be it. He never evaded his obligations.
A cool hand settled on his shoulder, and he glanced back into Danai’s reassuring gaze. He’d forgotten she was still in the idling car.
“I’m sorry I didn’t give you notice about this party. I would have done so if I’d known in advance,” she said in a soft tone, showing her understanding of his condition.
She’d always been protective, one of the reasons she was brilliant at her job as an agent in the BIS.
“Mwen konnen.” He puffed out another sigh. “I’m not trying to take away your fun.”
If he’d known before leaving home this afternoon for the Princes vs Guards Rugby-Sevens match at Darusa Palace that he would have to attend an afterparty, he would have adjusted by now. Instead, the impromptu invitation had screwed up his plans, hence his lukewarm outlook.
However, if anyone deserved tonight’s entertainment, Danai did. He’d watched her play rugby earlier today, the only female athlete in a field of twenty-four players—opponents included. And she’d scored one of the tries, which helped her team win.
“Great.” Her eyes sparkled with warmth as she smiled. “Because I need this. It’s been a hectic month, and I need to relax and not think about work.”
He didn’t need any further prompting. She worked too hard. They all did. But today was the first time they’d been together in weeks. So perhaps they’d earned the right to be here, hanging out with the royals.
“Let’s do it.” He stepped into the drizzly night. A uniformed royal employee approached with a large grey umbrella emblazoned with the purple and gold imperial emblem.
Rows of cars lined the drive—sleek, sporty ones and blacked-out SUVs like the one he’d just exited. Seeing the vehicles gave him a flush of adrenaline. He loved cars—contemporary or classic, fast or functional.
He was a mechanic, after all, and part-owned a garage in a small town on the eastern end of Bagumi. His life revolved around repairing damaged automobiles. His one true calling and obsession.
“This way, sir,” the man with the umbrella ushered him towards the entrance, following Oumou and Danai.
Security men stood around as they entered the expansive foyer through the metal detectors and body scanning archway. The heavy baseline to the music thumped along the polished stone flooring beneath his shoes.
A big sign read, “What happens in The Castle stays in The Castle.” Under it, a male usher took their mobile phones and digital devices and stored them in small drawers in a vault and tagged armbands onto their wrists. No recordings or photographs were allowed.
Good. Yahya didn’t want strangers taking his picture and posting it on social media, as seemed to be the norm these days. Not that he would know since he didn’t have any social profiles online. His sister usually filled him in on any internet brouhaha.
The ceiling rose far above their heads as they walked into what should have been the castle banquet hall which now looked like a dark club with multiple coloured lighting.
“Wow,” Yahya said, his gaze bouncing around the space. He’d never seen anything like it. The ceiling looked like the starry sky at night, as if they stood outside rather than indoors.
“This place is amazing.” Oumou gasped, rotating on the spot in almost childlike wonder.
“I need a drink,” Danai said and walked to the massive bar running along one side. She didn’t seem fazed by the spectacular display and ambience. Well-travelled and as a government agent, she’d visited places beyond Bagumi.
Places Yahya had no desire to visit. Instead, he was happy to listen to her stories and look at photographs.
He followed the women to the busy counter, and they ordered double vodkas and coke on ice. When they each stepped to his sides, drinks-in-hand, he moved forward. “Yon byè pou mwen, souple?” A beer for me, please.
“Seriously, you’re ordering a beer?” Oumou eyed him as if he’d committed a faux pas. Her pink tongue poked between her red lips and curled around the black straw.
A seemingly innocuous gesture. Yet it caught him off-guard, making the base of his spine tingle and dick pulse. His grip on the counter's edge tightened, and he averted his gaze to the barman bending to open the fridge.
“What’s wrong with a beer?” His voice was gruff as he refocused on her comment rather than her actions.
He wasn’t interested in the fancy cocktails or wines on offer. Sometimes he drank whisky, but he would have to drive in the morning. So, choosing the least intoxicant was the responsible thing to do.
“We only have Stout.” The barman grabbed a small brown bottle from the cooler behind him.
“Yes, that’s fine,” Yahya replied. He preferred a mild ale, but the dark heavy-bodied beer would serve the purpose. The man popped the cap before placing it on the counter with a glass.
He poured the drink and waited for it to settle before turning around. The ladies were already halfway through their vodka mixes. They were drinking fast, which was unlike Danai and Oumou. He’d never seen them drunk, but they were chasing merry tonight.
“Let’s dance.” Danai dropped her empty glass on the bar and headed for the packed dance floor on the other end.
“Yes!” Oumou followed suit, turning to Yahya. “Are you coming?”
He shook his head, climbing onto a recently vacated tall stool by the bar. He wasn’t much of a dancer anyway. A private dance, perhaps. Not this licentious public exhibition passing as modern dance. Some of the revellers were intimately entwined, appearing to be in the throes of sexual gyration. From this distance and with the intermittent rainbow lights pulsing with the music beats, the bodies merged into a rippling mass of shadows and silhouettes.
The air was thick and humid, although cold blasts came from overhead air-conditioners. The smell of marijuana mixed with expensive perfumes, alcohol and sweat.
His gaze fixated on Oumou’s swaying body at the edge of the dance floor, and his mouth dried out. Suddenly thirsty, he grabbed his glass, taking a long sip of the dark nutty-caramel flavoured drink.
Oumou was a curvaceous, beautiful, and sexy woman, no doubt. She danced with such freedom and abandon as if she had no cares in the world, a glorious smile on her face. Her hourglass body twirled and twerked, her pantsuit clinging to every curve.
As he watched her, his body came alive, his dick pulsing in sync with his drumming heartbeats. He licked his lips as the urge to taste hers grew inside him, to have her soft flesh writhing against him.
Damn. He was in trouble if he didn’t get himself in check. He turned away, taking another long sip from his cold drink, and swallowing thickly.
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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