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A Story Written by Omolola…

The next morning, Tomilola flipped off the water in the fancy, glass-brick enclosed shower. After the last day and a half of extreme sports, mad travel and emotional turmoil, she was drained. She’d hoped a hot shower would revive her. But she still felt physically exhausted and emotionally bruised.

She stepped out of the tile-and-glass cubicle, the house’s air-conditioning bringing goose bumps to her skin. She grabbed the towel hanging on the brass rack and started to towel herself dry, shaking her head at the ridiculously thick folds of terry cloth. The obvious wealth surrounding her made her angry and uncomfortable. She wanted out of this house. The need to run from its opulence had pushed at her all night long. But she didn’t know where to go.

A walk had seemed like a good idea around mid-night. But when she’d stepped out on the porch and discovered there were still a few men strolling between the corrals, she’d retreated back into the house. She hadn’t been up to facing more men like Demola. Men who were loyal to her father. Nor did she want to see them this morning. She pulled on her panties and hooked her bra. She needed a day to regroup. A day to let the emotions swirling inside her settle before her head exploded and she did something she’d really regret. Like burn down this house and the rest of the estate with it. She headed out of the bathroom into the adjoining bedroom.

The sound of male voices drifted through her closed door. She stopped in her tracks, looking over toward the wooden portal. Was someone in the house? No. Surely not.\
But the voices certainly sounded like they were coming from downstairs. She quickly strode to the bed and pulled on the jeans and shirt she’d laid out. The tinkle of broken glass filtered through the door.

Oh, man. Someone was in the house.

Forgoing shoes, she padded out of the room to the narrow balcony that ran in front of the upstairs rooms and peered over the railing. Two guys were working diligently to clean up the mirror she’d shattered last night. One crouched low, holding a dust pan, while the other swept the broken glass in it. She didn’t know the guy pushing the broom, but she recognized the broad back f the one holding the dustpan. “I thought I told you I clean up my own messes.”

Both men looked up.

Demola straightened and turned to her, dustpan in hand. “And I would have let you, but then Charles showed up and he’s never been able to let a mess sit.”

She shifted her gaze to the man standing behind Demola. He had neither Demola’s height nor mass, but there was a bearing to him, a quiet confidence, that required neither to make his presence known. His six-foot frame was broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped and lean. The face that went with it, finely chiseled and, except for a scar arcing through one brow, classically handsome. She imagined he’d turned more than one woman’s head,

But she wasn’t interested in his good looks. “And what were you doing in the house, Mr. Charles? Did my father have an open-house policy? Anyone could wander in at will?” Despite her intention to keep her voice even, a bit of challenge sneaked in.

The man’s expression turned sheepish. “My apologies. It wasn’t my intention to disturb you. Your dad did have an open-door policy for the men who had regular business with him or needed access to the estate’s offices. I take care of the company’s books.” He waved a hand to the wall beneath the balcony. “I didn’t stop to think you might want to change that policy.” His accent wasn’t as deep as Demola’s; but he was obviously not a native. But he’d been here awhile. And she was no doubt stepping on his toes. She was the interloper here. The one who didn’t belong. She plowed her fingers through her hair. “I won’t be here long enough to change anything, Mr. Charles. Feel free to go about your business. But, please, leave the mirror where it is. I’ll put on some shoes and clean it up.”

“Forget the mirror for now,” Demola said. “You can clean it up later. I thought you might like an early morning ride. A little fresh air to clear your head.”

“I have no objections to that. Give me a minute to get dressed.” Tomilola said, leaving the two men and returning almost immediately.

Charles put out his hand just as she was about to stride past. “I just wanted to say welcome to the estate, Miss Adeyemi. And offer my condolences for the loss of your father.”

She tromped on the urge to tell the man she didn’t need any condolences, but she wasn’t up for that fight this morning. She shook his hand. “Thank you, Mr. Charles, I appreciate the sentiment. But it’s Daniels. Tomilola Daniels.” She followed Demola out the door, pulling it close behind her.

As she strode over to where Demola was standing, she glanced inside the house. Charles was standing where they’d left him, his gazed fixed on the broom leaning against the wall by the shattered mirror. She shook her head. “He’s not going to leave that mirror for me to clean up, is he?”

Demola shrugged. “Probably not. Charles has this thing about order. But a little clean up won’t kill him, so quit worrying about the mirror and pay attention.

As they got farther from the buildings, she began to relax and enjoy the view around her. And the scenery directly in front of her . . .

She smiled, studying Demola. His shirt pulled tight across his shoulders, accenting their broadness and defining the hard muscles of his arms and back. Was there anything more sexier than Demola?
Not on this planet. And with each step they took away from the estate, she became more aware of that insidious little fact. More aware of the man in front of her. His quiet strength and the S#xual tension that crackled around him like heat lightening gathering for a storm. She shook her head. No doubt about it, the devil had his tempt-the-s*x-starved-woman down to a fine, fine art.

She closed her eyes, struggling to block out the images of Demola streaming through her head. Images of those lean hips rocking against her. But it wasn’t easy, and as they got farther and farther from the estate, closer and closer to the moment when they would slip around the base of the hill and find themselves alone, the thought got harder and harder to control. Maybe coming on this ride hadn’t been such a good idea, after all.

She peeked over her shoulder, gazing back at the estate. The men working in and around the corrals were still visible. She looked over to her father’s house, its giant glass windows glinting richly in the early morning rays, shouting money and power and brutal betrayal. Nothing but tortuous reminders for her there.
She gritted her teeth. It was going to be a long, long six months.

To Be Continued…

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