The countdown is on for Bound to Liberty's release. So how about a teaser.
This is the unedited version. So pardon any errors.
James rolled out of bed and rubbed his eyes. Wearing his sleep-shirt and silk PJ bottoms, he padded across the carpets on his bare feet into the living room.
“Good morning,” Ethan greeted. He sat on the sofa fully clothed in T-shirt and jeans, reading a book.
James grunted in response and shook his head in irritation. He was still pissed off about last night and Ethan’s interruption to his evening. He’d had to return to the hotel earlier than planned. He’d seen no point in hanging around at the bar, not with Ethan hovering.
Anyway, how can the man look so good first thing in the morning? Did he even sleep at all? How could he be up so early and be chirpy already?
He glanced at his watch and the digital numbers read as 09:30.
All he wanted was some water and then he was going back to lie down. He opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water, then took a glass from the tray.
“I can’t be bothered to go down for breakfast. Order room service,” James instructed and headed back towards his room.
Ethan didn’t say anything.
“Did you hear me?” James glanced back.
“I heard you. But I’m waiting for the magic word.” Ethan looked up from the paperback he was reading. He folded the corner of the page he was reading, making James cringe.
That simple act was the equivalence of defacing the book. It added to James irritation.
“Don’t do that!” He shouted.
“What?” Ethan looked confused.
“Just wait.” James strode into his bedroom and rummaged in his luggage until he found one of the special hand-carved bookmarks Gloria had give him for his birthday.
He returned to the living room and held it out. “Use this for the book.”
“Why?” Ethan looked at him, still bemused. “I’ve marked the page already.”
“No. Folding the corners of the pages is sacrilege.” James grabbed the book and placed the bookmark between the pages before straightening out the folded tip and smoothing it out. “Here.”
“You’re serious,” Ethan’s voice held amusement.
“Of course I’m serious.” James looked up and saw Ethan smiling at him. His stomach flipped over. The man’s smile was hypnotic and infectious. He couldn’t help smiling in return as some of his earlier irritation dissipated.
“I supposed you’re one of those literary snobs who only read literary fiction or memoirs of famous people,” Ethan’s words were softened by the smile on his face.
“No. I’m not a snob. I just have a passion for books,” James replied. “Books are like loyal friends. They are always there when we need them, taking us on magical journeys and improving our outlooks on life. In return we have to handle them with love.”
“Wow. That has got to be the most profound thing I’ve heard anyone say about a book,” Ethan said with a huge grin on his face. “I’ve actually never thought about books in that way.”
“So how do you see books?” James asked and sat on the padded arm of the sofa, excitement fluttering in his belly that he could have something in common with this man who fascinated him but was so out of reach.
Ethan leaned back into the seat and tilted his head. “Well, I love reading books, especially crime fiction. I don’t get to read as often as I’d like but, when I get a quiet moment I do indulge.”
“What do you do with all the books you read?” James asked out of curiosity.
Ethan shrugged. “I have some on the shelves at home and some in a box. I really should give them away.”
“I’m a patron for an NGO that runs mobile libraries for schools and encourages reading among young people and children. We always welcome donations of well-kept used books.” He nodded his head at the book Ethan was holding.
“Of course,” Ethan said. “When we get back to Lagos, I can arrange to send the box of used books to you or wherever you want them to go.”
“Great.” James stood, feeling a little accomplished. Ethan wasn’t all that bad. He could actually grow to like the man, if he stopped interfering in his activities. James’s stomach rumbled, reminding him that he needed food ASAP. He glanced at his watch again. He really wasn’t going to make it down to breakfast. “I’m so hungry.”
“I could order breakfast,” Ethan said, as if James earlier rude order was forgotten.
James was glad for the reprieve. “Please, that would be great. Could you get me a full English breakfast with toasted brown bread, freshly squeezed orange juice and a pot of coffee?”
“Sure.” Ethan was smiling again as if he found the whole thing amusing as he reached for the hotel phone on the table.
James had a smile on his face when he returned to his bedroom to shower and dress. When he returned to the living room thirty minutes later, breakfast was set on the dining table.
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