Updated: Nov 11, 2020
ENCHANTED VOLUME 1 - A LOVE AFRICA PRESS COLLECTION
Be enchanted. These handpicked tales of African deities and daemons, shamans and shape-shifters will keep you spellbound page after page.
BOND CALL BY EMEM BASSEY
Sese vehemently rejects the mating heat to a non-warrior like Urua.
Suddenly, imbued with powers of a diviner, he stands as the only hope and defender of Abedeng people. Will Urua relinquish his hurt to save his mate? Will he submit to the bond call and take her back despite her betrayal?
NIGHT MOVES BY LAURI KUBUITSILE
Things are happening in Lesedi’s life, unexplained things. Did her bi-friend Mmapula sneak into the hotel room and finally succeed in her long-threatened plan to make love to Lesedi? Or was it all a dream, a beautiful, sexy dream? When it happens again, though, Lesedi is sure she’s being visited by a supernatural being that has some insane skills in lovemaking. But is there something sinister going on?
RETURN TO LAGOS BY MICHELE SIMS
From the looks of her, Winnie seems to have it all: fame, wealth, beauty, friends and a dashing and successful fiancé. It’s what is lying beneath the surface that drives Winnie’s life and career: the devastating loss of her family, the increasing demands of her career and the fact that she has to reveal all of this to her future husband, who also harbors a secret of his own.
SHE CALLED HIM GOD BY OBINNA OBIOMA
Snatched of a father's love at such a tender stage in life, Asari feels the betrayal of the gods. He leads a loveless, rigid and faithless life; until he unwittingly walks into the Sacred Circle of the same gods he holds in disdain and incurs their wrath.
Assuming the mortal form, Altheme sets out to make Asari fall in love. But the terrestrial realm is riddled with unforeseen challenges. Can love truly conquer all?
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CHAPTER ONE – BOND CALL BY EMEM BASSEY
“You’ve been following me all day, Urua.”
The tall, lanky man had grinned at her. “This isn’t strange, my friend. I’ve been following you since we were children, you just haven’t noticed.”
Sese had bristled, hating the burning urge in the pit of her stomach to hold him and smooth away his worries. “The sun has long since set, please go!”
Guilt had chewed her intestines when she’d seen the forlorn expression on his face. The urge to care had raged like a furnace within her, but she’d bitten her tongue, drawing blood in the process, to control it. He’d sighed heavily and turned onto the path leading to his home.
She sighed as she lay on her pallet, staring at the raffia roof of her hut. She should’ve been sleeping, but worry tarried in her heart. Urua had become insistent in the past seven days, the exact time the dreams had begun.
She wondered if he had dreams too, then shook her head. If Urua had the dreams she was having, he’d be more bothersome. It was as though a rope joined them now; she would leave home without informing her father of her whereabouts, yet, Urua would find her wherever she thought to hide.
Sese was afraid of what was happening. She didn’t want it—at least, not with him; what would Abedeng people say?
For many nights, she’d lain like this, afraid of sleep because he’d be waiting in her dreams to embrace her. She was weak in dream land, and the more she gave in to him there, the stronger the bond pulling them together became. She wasn’t sure Urua knew what he was doing, and she hoped it remained that way until the diviner hitched her with a worthy warrior in a fortnight.
In that time, she would avoid him as much as she could.
“Urua, you’re trying my patience.”
He reared back at her comment as though entirely shocked by it, even though she said the exact same thing every day, with the exact same expression—or lack of expression in her case.
“You called my name!” he enthused in suppressed excitement.
This caused her to groan in exasperation and resume her clipped pace on the narrow beaten path leading to the deserted area where the diviner dwelled in his tiny hut.
He rushed after her.
“I think me trying your patience is a good thing,” he expressed conversationally.
“How is that?” Sese asked before she could tighten her mouth and remain unresponsive as usual.
Urua grinned at her angry look because he knew she hated responding to him, especially after having ignored him for a better part of their lives.
“Well, you should be nicer to me. The gods might just hitch us tonight,” he proclaimed.
Sese stumbled, missing a step despite the dark path being slightly lit by a lone torch one of the maidens must have considerately left, tied to a low branch. She could walk these paths without light, so it wasn’t that she hit her feet. No, Urua’s words had shocked her down to her core.
They had caused a visceral reaction which she was taking as panic, and it had weakened her knees for a moment, causing her to stumble.
“See well, my heart!” he exclaimed, reaching out to steady her.
That same primeval reaction, this time shooting through her body as though she had been lanced by lightning, unearthed strange warmth from the pit of her stomach.
No, it couldn’t be.
She’d been fighting this for days. Did it mean the ntung leaf—rumoured to break unwanted bonds—she’d squeezed into her eyes and nose hadn’t worked after the fiery hurt she’d endured?
No, it had to be the boiled palm juice she’d imbibed at her grandfather’s hut. It wasn’t Urua’s words, either—everybody was used to him saying outrageous things like that to her, and they were used to her always ignoring him.
In their little settlement south of the great Niger river, females had always been more plentiful than males, and so, it was required that every twelve moons, the diviner would seek the face of the gods and hitch a woman to a man with the hope that they might mate and birth, at least, one male.
During her father’s birthing period, a lot of males had been born, but their numbers still couldn’t compare with that of the females. So, some of the females of her age would be hitched tonight to males that already had one or two women who had birthed males and were presently suckling them at their breasts.
It was believed that a male able to mate with two females, causing them to birth males, deserved a third female to carry his strong seed, though this practice only began because there were just not enough males in Abedeng.
The females were tender and nurturers while the males became warriors. But the strangest thing had happened—Urua had been birthed a male but had the lack of strength of a female, while Sese had been birthed a female but was as strong as the fiercest Abedeng warrior; a sacrilege.
The villagers began shrugging their shoulders at them as many twelve moons added to their age. Urua was older than her with three twelve moons, but he acted like a child, which was how females behaved, while she acted like a male.
Her mother had died on her eighth twelve moons while trying to birth another child. So, her father had been confused as to how to care for a female child with male abilities. The other children had refused to play with her—they had accepted Urua but rejected her. They told their mothers she didn’t know how to play, since her touch was too strong; they said she would never birth a child.
The diviner had called a gathering and explained to the village that her strength wasn’t strange since the gods had prophesied about females with male strengths in the past. He’d also explained that every male must not be warriors and that Urua had the divining gift, the reason why he didn’t have the male strength.
Males in Abedeng were known to be extremely tall with big, burly bodies bulging with strength. Urua was tall, but his body never developed with strength no matter how many times he joined in the ceremony of lifting stones which the males did every morning to increase their bulk.
Her father had allowed her to join him in the ceremony every morning when she had reached her ninth twelve moons and had taught her how to fight like a warrior; it was the only thing he knew to teach her, since the other females wouldn’t come near her strangeness enough to teach her female ways.
So, she had grown up a warrior. Her father had stopped her from the ceremony of lifting stones before she reached her twelfth twelve moons as her body had begun looking more like a male with rippling strength. He had worried that if she continued, no male would want to mate with her. But he had continued teaching her the warrior fights.
Sese had been avoided like a leper by males and females, well, except for her father and of course, the person she most wanted to avoid, Urua. In her fifteenth twelve moons, she had bested the third warrior in an unplanned fight. The third warrior had been disgracing Urua in front of their age group, abusing him for lacking strength like a female; his words and tone had angered her.
She had challenged him, and he had accepted. It had taken only three fight claps from the gathering to throw him on his back. She had learned well from her father who was the second warrior in his own age group.
The third warrior’s father had been incensed and had demanded that Sese be punished for disgracing a warrior three twelve moons older than her. Culture demanded that she forfeit any fights with her elders. But she couldn’t have—she had been filled with so much fury when she had seen the redness in Urua’s eyes, redness caused by the third warrior putting sand there.
She had been punished with seven days of pulling weed around the third warrior’s hut. It was a painful process to pull weed, since these had sharp edges that pierced the skin. She had not been allowed to use a tool, so she had pulled with her bare hands, bleeding the whole seven days.
The third warrior had hung around for three days, waiting for the humiliation of Sese sobbing for forgiveness, but that had never happened. On the fifth day, he had gone to his warrior group, a group Urua wasn’t a part of because of his weakness, and told them she was a witch, an abomination that the gods would never allow to birth a child.
People had started avoiding her more, but Urua had stuck to her like the gum from the mango tree. Despite her several rejections of him, he remained by her side every time he could. And then, every time he wasn’t supposed to.
He had taken to joining her father when he practiced the ceremony of lifting stones at the crack of dawn. It had taken her ten days to realize that in doing that, he bore the humiliation of not being able to lift the bigger stones; he bore her father’s mockery of his weakness just because he wanted to watch her learn the warrior fights from her father.
It annoyed her to no end that he wouldn’t just leave her alone. She was fine with the rejection of the village, though she worried she might never mate with a male since all the warriors, even of her age group, refused to mate with her. No one wanted a witch; no one cared for an abomination—everyone mated to birth children, and there was a possibility she might not be able to.
She should have been mated two twelve moons ago, but no warrior wanted her. Even the old warriors of her father’s age group shook their heads when she was pointed at in the mating line. And then the dreams had begun, and Urua had become even more clinging.
But tonight, the diviner had called a special gathering to hitch the next age group. Sese was going with the hope that a younger warrior might choose her, or the gods might force her on an unsuspecting one. She really needed to mate. She needed to feel like a woman, and only a warrior would make her feel that way by mating.
She was afraid she might not birth a child, but she wanted to experience the heat of mating that her mother had always spoken to her about before her death. She wanted to feel that heat with a warrior, not Urua.
“The gods wouldn’t be so cruel,” she spoke after snatching her arm away from his helping hands. Sese looked into the darkness as though she were facing the immortal ancestors believed to dwell beyond the brightness of burning torches. “The gods wouldn’t be so cruel to hitch me with you.”
Urua grabbed his chest as though he had just been lanced by a spear. For a moment, she thought he had been attacked from behind by an enemy, but then, he looked up with his smile, the one that created two deep indents in his cheeks; the one that made him almost as beautiful as the fairest maiden in Abedeng.
“You pierce my heart, sweet Sese,” he murmured.
When had his voice deepened to that gruffness that seemed to vibrate in her chest when he spoke? Even her father, second warrior of his age group and revered chieftain, didn’t have such deepness in his tone.
Sese took a step back. She wasn’t afraid of Urua—she could beat him in an unplanned fight, but she worried about the things she was noticing in him. Like the broadness of his chest, though it wasn’t as broad as the usual Abedeng warrior, but strangely, she liked it.
She took another step back; she shouldn’t like it. Urua was an apprentice to the diviner. He would never be hitched, since the present diviner wasn’t.
This shouldn’t be happening, she thought in panic. She’d taken the rumoured antidote; she couldn’t be experiencing the heat of mating her mother had explained towards Urua.
No, she silently screamed. It was a mistake. Mother had said that the mating heat was rare, and it only happened between two special people after so many uncountable twelve moons. The mating heat entailed a man and woman feeling undeniably drawn to each other without the selection of the diviner. Mother had explained it as sometimes being shameful, as the mates couldn’t stay away from each other.
She hadn’t felt the heat for any other warriors, no matter how many times her father had asked her; no matter how many times she’d tried by surreptitiously brushing her body against males when at gatherings—an act her mother had said triggered the heat. She had never felt it, though it didn’t mean she wanted to feel it with Urua.
But a touch from him, just one helping hand, and heat had unfurled in her stomach like a coiled snake angrily rousing from slumber. That’s what she’d been avoiding the past fortnight, and it was happening now, just when she was close to, hopefully, being hitched by the diviner?
Sese shook her head, refusing the possibility. She straightened her height; a foot shorter than Urua, she noticed. Her heart instantly jumped in elation, but she stomped it down and widened the distance between them.
“You look strange, my heart. What is it?” he asked with concern.
Why wouldn’t he stop calling her his heart? The look on his beautiful face surged the heaviest warmth from her stomach, pushing at the walls of her chest to burst free.
She tightened her hand on her staff and silently fought to hold up the walls of her chest. Sese realized that distancing herself from him reduced the force of the heat. She took three more steps from him, not minding that Urua looked at her strangely.
Silently, she prayed he not feel the heat or the connection. The farther she was from him, the better chance of ending this night wrapped around a worthy warrior who would surely give her a male child.
Even his voice was alluring. She could feel the warmth pooling and tingling in between her thighs. Oh, gods, it was exactly as her mother had said it would be. She had said she would know instantly who her fated mate was, but she didn’t want to know it was Urua. She would never be normal if she mated with Urua. The village would avoid them and any children they birthed … if they birthed children.
They were the only abominations in Abedeng, and she knew they would only birth strange children if they mated. If she accepted the bond call, she would be stuck with Urua all her life, dependent on him, unable to be without him.
And if a mate died, Mother had explained that the unbearable pain usually made the living mate take his or her life. Sese didn’t appreciate the unbreakable link that came with being fated mates tied by an unseen bond. She rather preferred being physically paired with a warrior she wouldn’t be dependent on; with a warrior stronger and more ripped than her who would make her feel feminine, a warrior for whom she wouldn’t have the urge to kill herself if he died.
All that was lost as thoughts of mating with Urua became insistent, making her thighs tighten to stop the recent incessant tingling.
“By the gods, you’re sweating,” Urua noticed, his voice filled with confused concern as he hurried towards her, intending to grant help, which would mean touching her.
Sese shook her head and bolted down the path as though chased by the eleventh enemy of the gods.
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