Updated: Nov 11
ENCHANTED VOLUME 2 - 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.
DAEMON TRAPPED BY BAMBO DEEN
When long-suffering daemon Leonidas is trapped in Besidas’ hotel, she is drawn into a world of curious and strange creatures. Stranded after a cruel attempt on his life, Leon has spent decades trying and failing to return home. Besi evokes emotions within him that he did not think were possible for his kind and for the first time he’s enjoying Earth. But can Leon protect Besi when a dangerous entity from Leon’s past comes for revenge?
FINDING LOVE IN BETRAYAL BY FISKE NYIRONGO
A love story full of hope and seeing beyond differences.
Mbawemi is an heir to the throne in a kingdom of witches, wolves and hybrids. Hybrids are considered the lowest form of creature in the kingdom. In enters Sangwani, a hybrid king who is anything but what Sangwani thinks of hybrids. Can their love build bridges?
DREAM SEDUCTOR BY KARO OFOROFUO
Ajiri runs away from the river kingdom to avoid an arranged marriage and settles in the human world. But her relationship and sex life is lacking until she finds herself torn between two men. Will she give in to the suggestive stares from the handsome human, or cling to the blue man who haunts her dreams and unleashes erotic desires that make her yearn for more?
HAUNTED BY KIRU TAYE
In life, he loved her. In death, he craved her.
Somma is heartbroken when husband David is killed in a tragic accident. After a year she is struggling to move on, especially since she swears he haunts her dreams and does sexy stuff to her every night. When friends convince her to perform an exorcism, things take a turn she doesn’t expect.
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PREVIEW – DAEMON TRAPPED BY BAMBO DEEN
The Forest had appointed four guards to preside over the four entrances that led to the home of different kinds of daemons and all sorts of creatures—both good and evil.
One day, the Western Guard fell into a trap specially set for him. What had started as a stroll to his post from his home ended with him looking up at the sky from a hole deep in the earth. He had not seen it coming.
He landed in the trap with his tools, his wand—a wooden figurine crafted for him by the Forest itself—in his hand. He could fly out of the hole with its help. However, with each attempt at escape, he felt the power of his life force draining out from him.
Truly in a bind, he had no other choice but to call for help. He screamed ’til his throat was sore.
When the familiar face of the Southern Guard appeared above him, relief flooded through him.
“Help me out of here,” he called up.
To his surprise, the Southern Guard sneered. “Since you love humans so much, why don’t you live among them?”
The Southern Guard waved his own wand, and the earth started shaking. The loose dirt beneath the Western Guard’s feet slipped.
“The Forest pardoned me,” the Western Guard shouted, but his colleague had disappeared.
His legs sank deeper into the hole, and glancing down, he saw what looked like another sky opening up below him.
He fell through the hole that became the sky and landed with a earth-shattering crash.
Besida Agbajor wasn’t one for late nights in the office. But with her new bosses currently on vacation in Samoa during the week of their scheduled monthly meetings, she had little choice. She tilted her right ear to meet her shoulder as she scanned through the financials again.
“They aren’t going to like this,” she said to her empty office.
She had set jazz to play over the speakers an hour ago, and it did nothing to calm her nerves. She abruptly stopped the music and pushed her swivel chair away from her desk and laptop.
Rising to her bare feet—she had kicked off her heels a while back—she walked towards the window. Through the firmly shut sliding glass windows and the insect-proof netting, she counted three cars in parking lot of Gazania Hotels. The crowd that had stormed through the doors following the drama two weeks ago was thinning out.
Besi had to admit to herself that she had done a poor job of containing that scandal involving the former governor turned senator’s wife and her lovers. After a blogger had put photos of the location online in a post that painted their establishment as a den of orgies, things had worsened. Gazania promised a secluded, private environment for anyone looking for a mindful retreat, so seeing their name and address plastered all over the Internet had been a huge blow.
Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. She held that breath for a beat and then let it go, imagining all her nervousness slipping away. Her laptop started dinging behind her, letting her know a call was coming through.
She squared her shoulders as she spun and returned to her desk. Somehow, it was less nerve-racking managing millions of dollars for seed companies than it was managing just one branch of her parents’ business.
“Good evening,” she greeted her parents.
William and Lolade Agbajor were seated in what could have been a generic room if not for the azure waters glimpsed from the open windows behind them.
“Good evening, Besi,” Lolade replied. “We’ve had a chance to look through the files you sent last night.”
It would have been surprising but not unwelcome if her parents had started with small talk about her personal life. Besi had not spoken to them outside business in months. Still, she went full swing into the details they required. In the middle of expounding on the figures from the recently opened pan-Asian restaurant that had been her idea, a small knock came on the door.
She glanced up—she had given express instructions not to be disturbed.
“As I was saying …” she attempted to continue.
The knocking stopped, but now, her phone started vibrating loudly against the wooden surface of her desk.
She shot a quick look at her phone—Miranda, her operations manager who should know better than to disturb her. She hit the red button.
“Don’t you want to answer that?” William asked.
“Not right now,” she replied, shifting in her chair. Her phone began vibrating again. “It’s from the hotel …”
“And you would ignore it?” Lolade’s voice dripped with disapproval.
Besi groaned inwardly at yet another faux pas.
“Excuse me then,” she said and hastily rescheduled the call before calling Miranda.
“Hello, Miranda.” She tried her best not to sound irritated.
“Sorry to disturb you, ma,” Miranda said, clearly excited. “I am outside your office.”
“Come in,” she said before hanging up.
From the door, she immediately sensed something was up. Miranda rushed in, and when she was close enough, Besi saw her eyes were sparkling.
“What’s the matter?”
“We have another situation.” Miranda had whispered the last word.
“A what?” Besi jumped to her feet.
“Like the one with the senator’s wife.” Miranda let the implication hang in the air.
Cold dread washed over Besi, and she fell back into her chair.
“How bad is it? Who knows?”
“No one but me,” Miranda replied confidently. “I heard someone shouting for help and rushed to investigate.”
“You’re sure no one heard this?” Besi asked again. She looked at her laptop to confirm its lid was down.
“I’m sure. You said it before, ‘Don’t raise any alarm, don’t let anyone know that anything is out of the ordinary’.”
“Great job, Miranda. Let’s go.”
Besi followed Miranda out her office. The door creaked closed behind them as they walked down the hallway. She was only a couple of months into this position and this town, so on any given day, she made sure she took the time out to appreciate the fact that this building was built in the colonial style.
Years ago when she had still been in New York, her parents had bought and transformed the house into this ten-room boutique hotel. However, as Miranda continued sharing the sparing details she knew of the current situation, Besi’s entire body thrummed with impatience. Several images of what could have gone wrong swiped through her mind.
By the time they reached the door of the double room in the eastern wing, her stomach was rolling.
Leonidas’ arms hurt, suspended as they were above his head, held in place by a pair of fluffy pink handcuffs. He shifted to lean his head, pressing it against the cool, tiled bathroom wall.
On any other day, he’d admire the details reminiscent of a Moroccan hammam. Frankly, every detail about this hotel had stood out to him from as early as when he’d driven past the gates artfully shielded with creeping vines. He would have savoured every detail if he hadn’t been accosted in such an unseemly manner.
For the umpteenth time, he’d been bested. When he thought about it, this was less dangerous than other situations he had been in. Handcuffed to the shower in a fancy hotel, mostly naked. Becca and Razaq had taken pictures before they had left him, and Leon imagined those images would soon be online somewhere. What would the headlines say? Now that he couldn’t picture, thanks to Rike—everything that came up on the Internet about him boasted about his brilliance and success.
“The brilliant woodworker bringing life to the homes of celebrities”
“We are collectively swooning over Leonidas Okpe”
“30 under 30: The designer, Leonidas Okpe”
The last one made him chuckle. 30 under 30 indeed—he had way more years than that under his belt.
He held back a yelp as his back muscles clamped down hard. He had done enough of that to know help was on the way. He gazed at the key resting on the edge of the washbasin.
Levitating was out of the question; that had never been his speciality. He had tried to disappear and will himself back home, but that had been unsuccessful. His energy levels were low, and after spending hours in this situation, he now suspected he had been drugged. He knew betrayal intimately, but at least, Becca and Razaq hadn’t tried to kill him and inadvertently sent him to another universe. He shook his head and let it hang heavy, waiting for help.
“Excuse me,” a soft voice drifted from the bathroom door. “Good evening, I am Besi Agbajor, General Manager of Gazania.”
“Good evening,” he grunted in reply.
“I’ll be coming in now,” she announced.
It sounded like she was struggling to get the door open. He heard one push and then another before the door gave way. His head swam at the sight of Besi, and he was immediately drawn to her angelic eyes set in a heart-shaped face accentuated by long braids. She was stunning.
Besi gasped. The first thing she saw was the broad expanse of his chest emphasised by the thick, strong arms that were suspended. His hips were lean in his black boxers that didn’t leave anything to the imagination. She had never read Fifty Shades of Grey, but something about this bound man sent shivers straight between her legs.
He sent a lopsided smile at her, and goose bumps broke over her skin.
“The keys are on the basin,” he said, pointing with his chin.
Those words snapped her out of whatever the hell that had been. She squared her shoulders and looked at the direction he indicated. Whoever had cuffed him there had left the keys.
A thousand and one questions ran through her mind, but the man looked tired, his face pale and drawn. She grabbed the keys and approached the bathtub. She looked up—she wasn’t short, but she would need to tap into her yoga lessons to reach the shower head he was anchored to.
“Excuse me.” She lifted one leg then the other to the rim of the bathtub, and she now stood face to face with him, looking into his eyes.
Besi swayed slightly. She looked up and scolded herself into concentration. Stretching one arm up, she sought the handcuffs with the keys. The other hand held the rail as she tried to insert the key into the tiny lock. She could feel the heat of his body and the light flutter of his breath. The lock resisted before giving way, and just as it clicked, she slipped.
It was a short fall, wouldn’t have been anything serious if she had tipped backwards. But she’d slipped forward, her body gliding against the man she had just freed. She felt his arms try to hold her and fail. Embarrassment coursed through her veins, and it took all of her pride to hold her head high as she stepped out of the tub and away from him.
“Thank you,” he said, stepping out of the tub, too. “This feels good, I …”
She reached out as the man swayed on his feet. His weight strained on her, and she called over to Miranda for help. Together, they placed him on the bed.
“Do we need a doctor?” Miranda worried her bottom lip.
“Probably.” Besi looked down at him. “Who knows how long he’s been hanging there.”
“But which doctor will come at this time? What if he dies? You know who he is, don’t you?”
“Not going to happen,” she hushed Miranda. “I think I can call someone.”
In her haste to get here, she had left her phone in her office. She rushed towards the door, but his voice stopped her. As she looked over her shoulder, her eyes widened at the sight of him sitting up. He was calmly wearing his clothes as if he had not been in handcuffs for hours. As if he had no lost consciousness.
“Excuse me, Mister …” she started.
“Just call me Leon,” he said, before clearing his throat. “There is no need for a doctor.”
“Are you sure you’re all right?” She had to search through her brain for the appropriate words.
“I am,” he replied, and incredulously, he winked at her. “I can’t find my phone. Is there any I can borrow?”
“Mine,” Miranda said, her phone in her hands.
Besi waited until Miranda had made the call to Leon’s personal assistant and then entered Boss mode. The panic at not knowing what was going on in her hotel had dissipated.
“Miranda, do you mind excusing us?” she said.
Once Miranda was gone, she glared at Leon. He was fully dressed now, in tailored pants and a collared shirt, looking more like a distinguished businessman than anything else.
“I know you’ve had a tough time,” she began. “But Mr. Leon, can you please tell me what happened? I need to be ready for any backlash. I’m sure you understand.”
“Just Leon,” he replied.
He was wearing cufflinks now. Once he was done, he turned to face her, and once again, she was drawn to his eyes.
“I am terribly sorry that this happened at your establishment—which is an outstanding one, I must say. What happened here was a childish prank gone wrong, but still a prank nonetheless. I came here with friends and will be meeting them shortly after I leave. I promise that your hotel won’t appear in the gossip rags.”
Besi found herself nodding at everything he said. His words were calm and measured; he weighed everything before speaking as a shopper would select the best fruit at the market.
“There is really no reason to worry,” he repeated. “My assistant will soon be here.”
“All right,” she said. “I’ll be outside if you need anything.”
It was after she had returned to her office that she realised that he hadn’t really told her anything.
Free at last, Leon thought. Even though he was still bound in other ways. Like to this world, for one. He slipped into his shoes and stole another glance at the owner of the hotel as she walked away. He shook his head. Now was not the time to dwell on how beautiful his rescuer was.
When he thought of it, the last woman who had saved him had been bewitching, too. A human who had wandered so deep into the wooded forests that she had ended up in his world of daemons—varied spirits, wraiths, strange and curious creatures; Forest Home.
This had happened at least a hundred years ago if one was going by time as the humans today calculated it, but Leon recalled it as if it were yesterday. He could see her face peering down the hole he had been trapped in and left to die. Forest Home was a dangerous place, even for those that lived it in.
Several sharpened wooden stakes had pierced through his body, the pain rendering him witless, and she had saved him with his own magic. To repay his debt to her, he had looked the other way and let her roam Forest Home; a place that was forbidden to humans and had four guards to ensure this rule was maintained.
That one action would irrevocably change his life. Just his bad luck that the next time he had been dropped into a hole, she hadn’t been there to save him. Nonetheless, she was still the reason he was free and thriving.
The door creaked open, and Rike, his assistant barged in. She looked so much like her ancestor, the adventurous huntress who had saved him and now left him in the care of her descendants.
“Who was it this time?” she demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. “I keep telling you not to trust people knowing your propensity for getting betrayed.”
Rike was always protective of him, which he found funny at times because she wasn’t the supernatural being in this situation.
“It was Becca and Razaq. They seem to have taken my phone, too.”
“Damn it,” she cursed. She eyed him from his head to his feet, her concern evident in her eyes. “Should I hex them? I will hex them.”
“No need.” He tapped her on her shoulder. “Let’s go home for now.”
In his study, Leon settled heavily on the oversized leather chair. It was strategically placed in front of the window that offered a stunning view of his garden, but this late at night, the view was blocked by thick velvet curtains. He removed his cufflinks and placed them on the ebony accent table before leaning even deeper into the chair.
“You know they just called me to ask if I was available,” Leon said. “I had no suspicion …”
“I say this with all my love,” Rike replied as she picked up his cufflinks. “But you never have any idea.”
He groaned. “They took pictures of me! In a very indecent state.”
“I’ll sort that out, don’t worry.” She walked over to the mini-bar on the other side of the room, next to the desk. “You’re not going to end up on the Internet.”
“Thank you, Rike.” He accepted the glass of aged whiskey she handed to him and downed the drink in one gulp.
“While we’re on the topic, I have an update on what we’ve been looking for,” Rike said as she refilled his glass.
When Leon had found himself in this world, it had been Rike’s grandmother who had saved him. But his relationship with the family stretched even further back—aeons ago, her ancestor had saved him in the Forest Home.
On this side, he happily entered a contract with the Folahan family where they managed his wealth and provided him a cover for his apparent immortality. Rike was different from her predecessors—she’d come in four years ago and surprised him with her multiple piercings, tattoos, and bleached Afro. He had initially assumed a young woman like her would not be interested in taking over the family business, but Rike was well-versed in the tradition of magic that had been passed down from her mothers. She was also more than happy to modernise the relationship her family had with Leon.
She was the reason his architecture hobby had become beloved by the crème de la crème of Nigerian society. She was the reason he’d made it to the headlines. He liked laying low and wanted to keep it that way, but Rike had other plans. She wanted him to leave with a bang, as she put it, because she was sure she would be the one to help him return to the Forest.
“Fuck it,” she’d said. “You’re going to be out of this world soon. Just go large then go home.”
True to her word, she was good at making things happen. Now thanks to her, they had the first lead to getting him back home that he had come across in decades.
“I have established contact with the seller,” she was saying as she swiped through her tablet. “And I’m this close to placing the order. The seller is saying it’ll take a couple of weeks to reach Nigeria.”
“We don’t have weeks,” he started, then grinned at the absurdity of that statement. Both of them knew that he had been trying to find the wand—the emblem of his power that had gone missing when he’d landed here—for a very long time. “Travel to wherever is nearest to the seller and take the next flight back.”
“I’ve always wanted to go to the Bahamas,” she said, a lopsided grin on her face.
He narrowed his eyes even though he was smiling.
“All right, okay,” Rike launched. “I’ll go to New York tomorrow … I mean, later today … and be back before you know it.”
“Great.” He nodded.
He would not think about how his wand had found its way across the ocean. To the person who was selling it online, it was an authentic African antique belonging to the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. To Leon, it was a personal treasure not of this world, not only a one-of-a-kind gift made for him by the Forest, but intimately tied to his duty as a guard.
From the few daemons that had come to Earth after him, he’d learned that the Forest had gone into disarray since its Western Guard had disappeared. With such an imbalance, the already violent place became more precarious as the more evil forest creatures multiplied and wreaked havoc on the peace-loving ones.
It didn’t matter that he was now buying back his own property or that it had been stolen from him initially, even before he could have figured out how to create a portal leading back home. Before, it wouldn’t have occurred to him to check the websites Rike knew of. And this statue looked so much like his wand, the only way to know for sure would be to hold it in his hands. It was imperative that he return home.
“Let me call the travel agent,” Rike announced, already on her way out the study.
“Before you go,” he said just as she was about to open the door. “Kindly order for some flowers sent to Gazania.”
The thought had swept through his mind, and he’d grabbed it. He had just met Besi Agbajor, but he’d felt a connection he wanted to pursue, and not because he had a thing for human women saving him from trouble.
Rike paused, brow raised. “The hotel? Who should the flowers be addressed to?”
“The manager,” he replied, trying to keep a poker face. “What? I’m just extending my thanks for her cool-headed resolution of an embarrassing situation.”
She did not say anything, but Leon could feel her gaze boring into him. Sometimes, he swore she used her magic to make it feel like the back of his neck was on fire.
He shifted in the chair and finally looked over his shoulder to where she stood by the door.
Finally, she spoke. “What’s up? Are you trying to set yourself for another betrayal? You could die this time.”
“Like I said,” he repeated. “I’m expressing my thanks. She saved me.”
“Sure,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You never listen to me anyway.”
Leon heard her murmuring about how she would still have to clean up after him before she could close the door behind her.
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