Title: Ties That Bind
Author: Stanley Umezulike
Genre: Crime Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Release date: 16 April 2021
A criminal cartel on the loose. A woman caught in the crossfire.
Ray Okon, a low-ranking DSS analyst is frustrated at being stuck in a desk job. He’d rather be in the field, experiencing the adrenaline rush of catching the bad guys.
When the love of his life, Loretta Olawale, rejects his marriage proposal, he has no choice but to move on and bury himself in his work...until the ties that bind them brings them together in the cruellest way possible.
As he and his Homicide and Anti-Drug Trafficking Unit track down a deadly criminal cartel at the centre of Abuja city, Ray finds himself thrust back into Loretta’s life.
But this time, she is in grave danger, and time is running out. Ray finds himself in a race against time to unravel the case and save Loretta's life. But as buried secrets and lies surface, they are entangled in a sinister game of blood and death.
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The tension in the pink-coloured room was intense.
“I told you I’ll think about it.” Loretta Olawale sat on the bed in her apartment and tugged the hem of her dress. Her gaze was fixed on the make-up kits and skin lotions placed atop the round table.
“Baby, you can’t keep saying this. Your words hurt. You know how much I love you.” Ray Okon, her boyfriend, sat on a white plastic chair in front of her, wearing a black jacket on a white polo, and blue jeans.
Once upon a time, she had looked forward to his company. Now she wanted the conversation to end so she could go to work.
Ray stared at her with pleading eyes.
She didn’t want to look at him. How would she tell him that something was missing in their relationship? The spark was no longer there.
He’d proposed to marry her over the weekend, which had caught her off-guard.
Flustered, she’d told him she would think about it.
Still, how would she tell him that the idea of settling down with him and making babies didn’t excite her? She was not yet ready for the considerable commitment. She wanted to grow her business.
As a rising designer in Abuja, she needed to assert herself in the cutthroat fashion industry. She had poured all her sweat into growing the business, and her hard work had paid off.
Unfortunately, it meant her relationship with Ray took a back seat. They had been together since her first year at the university, but now, things had changed.
Fair enough, Ray was a nice guy. He didn’t seem to have any problems and had always been supportive. He was humble, caring and a gentleman. Exactly what she needed in a man.
Or was it? Recently, there was no fire in her belly whenever thoughts of him entered her mind. Maybe she’d been lying to herself. The doubts were beginning to creep in. She needed some space. But would Ray understand?
“Honey, I love you too,” she said, hoping they could work it out. “But right now, I need some space. I don’t understand what is going on, either. Just give me a little time to figure it all out.”
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