Ok ma peeps! (forgive the choice of words here…working on a ‘be cool’ vibe, but I’m certain it’s not working, lol).
Happy Monday!!! I promised to deliver African romance snippets. And here I am on the’ deliver mode’. See, your girl can more than deliver when she makes a promise.
Below is an excerpt from Myne Whitman’s latest novel (in progress). The heroine whom I happen to identify with on so many levels is called Dunni. I happen to like that name too because I have a sweet-hearted cousin named Dunni….she’s a darn pretty woman too! (Anyway, that’s a topic for another blog post)
Dunni had to stop herself from turning and glaring at the aggravating man again. It galled her that he had managed to find out her name when she didn’t know his. What an oaf! She had called him that and would’ve called him more if Folarin hadn’t intervened. That man had gotten on her nerves like no stranger ever had in the past. She first noticed him as she swam, realizing the stragglers must have caught up with them and wondering after she’d swam a few laps why he hadn’t moved from the same spot. It was during another circle round the pool that it dawned that his gaze was fixed on her. And not just on her, but on a certain part of her anatomy. After that, she had hurried up to get out of the water and put on some clothes.
It wasn’t the first time she would have men staring at her backside, but usually, most were more discreet about it. Especially the older she got. Her hips had come in early, and from when she was about fifteen, her male classmates and teachers would always pay her some special attention. She’d moved from those embarrassing days when she was all bones except for her hips to filling in other places and growing into her backside. Nowadays, she took pride in it, knew when to cover it up and when to reveal it, and how to deal with men who couldn’t tear their eyes away. With her stature, the sharp edge of her tongue could always be trusted to quickly send men on their way and it baffled her that the guy had stuck around to get more of it.
As she heard Folarin urging everyone to get moving, Dunni relived his enjoyment of her annoyance and how he had stood there, toe to toe with her. He’d seen how angry she was with him, but had gone ahead to smile and laugh at her. How dare he! He was probably still staring at her, the lech! More words bubbled on her tongue as she stumped over the clumpy grasses and shrubs on the trail, and she determined to find out his details from Folarin and have her cousin send him a choice message. She hissed and adjusted the straps of her backpack higher on her back. A smile drew on the corners of her lips as she recalled what he’d said about her backside not having any rival. Thinking further on their encounter, it wasn’t such a surprise that he’d been with so many women; he was good looking in his own way and had a persuasive tongue. The women in the village would certainly be bowled over if Dunni brought him back as a suitor.
She tried not to remember their words but the phrases were stuck in her mind.
“Dunni, you’re too proud and picky. Give more men a chance.”
“You work too hard, Dunni, and your tongue is too sharp!”
“Dunni, you’re too much of a tom-boy, you’re wasting your god-given assets.”
“I promise to find you a husband in a day, once I mention your green card.”
Dunni rolled her eyes at their words, and noticed that the lech from earlier was trying to get her attention. Before he could crack a smile, she looked away. Of course her response to him had been over the top, she knew that, but she blamed the bottled-up irritation from the nagging women. She was already in a nasty mood and his crude approach had tipped her over. Dunni sighed and looked around. While she had not been paying attention, the group had arrived at the second cascade. While everyone ohhed and ahhed over the plunging water, the lech tried to catch her eye but she kept her distance even if she watched him when he wasn’t looking.
Dunni frowned as a thought occurred to her. Could it be that a part of her earlier anger stemmed from a subconscious awareness of the attraction she’d felt for him even back then? His dark-skinned face was not exactly handsome, but he had a strong jaw, his sculpted lips showcased very nice teeth, and she hadn’t missed how the smile he’d teased her with had set his dark eyes twinkling. It was really off-putting that such an unmannered man was such an epitome of manliness. He was taller than her, so at least six feet, with bulky muscles exposed at his biceps and calves by his shorts and T-shirt. Dunni was tempted to fan herself, but chose to go behind the flowing water instead, allowing the splashing sprays to cool her. As her mind gave her further images of how fantastic he looked, she pulled in the reins. She left the ledge, irritated that she was so stirred up.
As they began to walk again and the warm air and sunshine dried the droplets of water on her arms and legs, she looked around at the other women and men who like her were dressed in shorts or jeans and t-shirts. She wondered at what kind of people they were, who liked the outdoors and regularly went hill climbing in the wilds of the Nigerian south-west. In her experience, urban Nigerians weren’t the keenest outdoor types but Folarin assured her some hardy ones were becoming interested. In fact, he said people from Lagos and Ilorin paid good money – enough that he was thinking of quitting his day job as a copywriter – so he could guide them through some of the more accessible trails. One of the ladies rolled up her trousers as a muted splashing sound alerted them that they were approaching the next falls. Folarin looked back and announced the third cascade was just around the corner, telling them that would be their last since the other pools were too far up.
As the group waded across a shallow stream filled with rocks in the climb to the pool, Dunni missed her footing and nice smile was suddenly beside her. Forced to take his hand to keep from falling her skin tingled when he gripped her palm firmly. After a couple of steps, she looked up into his face. There was a frown of concentration on his forehead but as if he felt her gaze, he turned an open and admiring stare on her. He wanted her and he did not mind if she knew it. In fact, he wanted her to know it. Dunni snatched her hand away. She did not want to know, she wasn’t in the mood for any vacation fling and it was obvious that was the only thing she knew his type could give. She thanked him reluctantly and moved quickly to catch up with the others.
Back at the second cascade, she did not join those that swam again, but chatted with Folarin and a couple of the others. He did not join the conversation but she could feel his presence giving off a heat that warmed her from the inside out. His muscular body was like a magnet that drew her gaze several times. On their way down, she walked off from the group in order to put some distance between them and when she found herself in a clearing near the edge of the hill, she decided to take some pictures. Under the sunny sky, the view was clear for miles around, a collage of rusted tin roofs and colored aluminum ones interspersed with power lines and trees.
“Like what you see?”
Dunni almost dropped her camera when his voice interrupted her, and glared at him. He was leaning against a tree at the edge of the clearing where she was.
“Are you following me?”
“So you’re still the typical Nigerian; answering a question with another one.” He smiled and she was struck again by his perfect teeth. The sun drew patterns on his clothes, throwing his cheekbones into relief and hiding his eyes in shadow. Dunni wondered if they were twinkling as usual and then internally pinched herself to stop the thought.
“Folarin says you’re visiting? How long are you visiting for?”
“It’s none of your business is it?”
“What if I want to make it so? I want you Dunni, and I think you know that already. You’re a very attractive woman. ”
There was no denying the inflection in his voice, and when he began to stalk toward her, her skin rippled with goose bumps while her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.
“What do you say to a mutually pleasurable relationship?” He was standing directly in front of her, the killer smile on full display.
Alarm zigged through her previously sluggish brain and Dunni searched for something smart to say. She jumped back from the hand he was reaching out to her and remembered a phrase she’d learnt since arriving for her vacation just in time.
“You can go and hug the transformer.” Her heart was pounding as she walked away from him.
After that encounter, she stayed with the others when her cousin declared time out and they relaxed in the round-roofed and open-sided chalets that lined the ridge. She didn’t want to go off, and give him a chance to follow her or talk to her again. It was with relief that she spied the parking lot in the distance. She was rattled by the energy between her and the mystery guy. She still didn’t know his name and she couldn’t even call him oaf anymore since he saved her back there on the trail.
At the car, she dumped her knapsack into the backseat and bent over to check her face in the side mirror while Folarin was still saying his goodbyes. Just as she was about to stand, a recently familiar muscular body appeared in the mirror, and she turned to meet twinkling eyes. This time the sun was directly in his face, turning his eyes the color of melting brown sugar in which his pupils were pin-pricks of darkness.
“Did you think to leave without saying goodbye? Eh, Dunni?”
“Yeah, you know my name, now what?” She snapped, looking away. She was all riled again as her gaze seemed drawn to those wide lips, and the smile which the twitch at their side promised. This close, the scent of his aftershave or cologne tickled her nostrils under the smells of masculine sweat and dry-cleaned khakis. Dunni got into the passenger seat and slammed the door.
“Don’t you want to know my name too?” He had bent and was peering through the windows that Folarin had left partly open before they left to let out the heat.
Her gaze went to his quickly in expectation, realizing too late that he was teasing. He laughed out loud, a smooth, low sound. In the mirror, she could see Folarin approaching them, Dunni prayed her cousin will address him directly but he was quicker than her.
“Let’s not play games OK? I think we both know what we want, don’t make it too hard. I’ll see you again soon,” he said before walking off to meet Folarin halfway.
Her jaw hung open before she recovered and ground her back teeth. In her head she called him every single bad word she could think of. To hell with her earlier thoughts that she couldn’t be too nasty to him since he’d helped her cross that rocky stream without falling.
“You wish,” she muttered under her breath, trying to cool down and determined to push him out of her mind. He must think himself the trek lothario, out to have as many flings as he could with tourists that joined the hike. No wonder he seemed fixated on how long she was here for. Well, he may have the whole good body thing and great smile working for him, but she wasn’t up for that kind of business. She had to device a way to prevent them from seeing again. He must be the one Folarin had said worked in Lagos, meaning she could breathe easy in Ilesha and Ilorin where she planned to do some running around when they returned. And she would certainly not be getting his details, not to send him a scathing mail, or for any other thing. In fact, she would cancel the planned trek of the New Year in case that was what he referred to. She’d had enough of an adventure for the whole trip, and from now she would stay in Ilesha and bear the mouthing off from the women who wanted to marry her off.