Friday, 26 November 2021

OUT NOW: The Illegitimate Prince by Empi Baryeh | Royal House of Saene Book 7 | #RHOSaene #TheIllegitimatePrince #EmpiBaryeh

THE ILLEGITIMATE PRINCE BY EMPI BARYEH



Financier, Kalahari Asanti, specialises in corporate takeovers, but his next conquest is personal. The Kingdom of Bagumi owes him a great debt, one he intends to collect from King Ibrahim Saene, the father he’s never met and the man he holds responsible for his mother’s death.

 Princess Edina Dampare is soon to be engaged and trying to accept the undeniable truth—no man will ever reach her on the same level as the stranger who imprinted on her soul when she wantonly yielded her innocence to him the one forbidden night she allowed herself to put desire before duty.

Kal’s quest for revenge brings him face-to-face with the woman who’s been haunting his dreams for the past eight months. The man who grew up with nothing is determined to reclaim everything the Royal House of Saene took from him…including her.

AVAILABLE ON:

AMAZON US | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON UKKOBO 

OTHER RETAILERS

***

ADD ON GOODREADS


EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1

New Year’s Eve. 

8 months earlier …

“You should have been a prince.”

Kalahari ‘Kal’ Asanti stilled at the words—words so similar to those his mother had uttered on several occasions; words he’d learnt at an early age to dismiss as the romanticism of a woman who, despite the hand life had dealt her, had still believed in fairy tales. Unfortunately for his Mamaa, she didn’t get the happily-ever-after she’d never stopped believing in. Even on her death bed when the irrefutable truth had laid bare the lie she’d stubbornly clung to all these years, she’d played her final card and revealed a secret she should have taken to her grave.

The truth had unleashed venom into Kal’s heart and set him on a path of vengeance. Instead of the tearful reunion she’d hoped for, his mother had ensured the downfall of the man she claimed to love.

She had one thing right, though. He was indeed going to meet the Saene family of the kingdom of Bagumi—the first step in his plan to destroy the man he should have called father. King Ibrahim Aziz Saene.

Soft footsteps behind reminded him he wasn’t alone. The Zanzibar Convention Centre brimmed with thousands of guests attending the annual Children’s Foundation Gala, one of the biggest charity events in Africa. Tickets were pegged at a thousand US dollars each, with the proceeds going to several charities across the continent. Like most such events, however, many attendees used it for networking, some to brag about their altruistic deeds, and others for the opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and mighty.

Normally, he avoided such pomp and pageantry. The way he saw it, there had to be something fundamentally wrong with making a big show of one’s good deeds. He preferred to make anonymous donations to many of the causes he supported. He’d broken protocol this time for one reason only:

To observe the enemy.

As luck would have it, King Ibrahim was the guest of honour this year, a privilege which came with the price tag of a hefty ‘donation’—a gimmick undoubtedly meant to garner some international media attention. An hour into the event, neither the king nor a representative had made an appearance. His absence hadn’t slowed down the festivities, though.

Finding the glitz and glamour strenuous, Kal had stolen out of the massive ballroom and taken refuge on one of several balconies. As it turned out, his escape from the flashlights and idle conversation hadn’t gone unnoticed.

He gritted his teeth, bringing his mind back to the present and the person who’d interrupted his solitude. The last thing he needed was the company of a stargazing woman who’d spent a thousand dollars in hopes of catching the eye of a prince. Someone ought to save her from herself and rip the plaster off that fantasy. He was as good a candidate as any. After all, he might be the son of a king, but he wasn’t Prince Charming. The sooner he made that clear and got rid of her, the better.

“What makes you think I’m not royalty?” He turned, lips pursed to dish out some tough love, yet the words didn’t form.

He found himself entranced by the way the lights from the ballroom played against every rounded curve, awakening something primitive in him. She looked to be about five-foot-six, discounting the extra height afforded by her shoes. Her face remained shrouded in the dimness of the balcony.

Intrigued, he knew he’d pay any price to find out what she looked like. She stepped forward, and suddenly, her face was bathed in a beam of light slicing through the darkness from … he didn’t care to check where.

She held him captive with the most exquisite eyes he’d ever seen. An intense brown, like smoked honey, with a sparkle of gold in the left one where the light reflected off it. Their radiance would have laid his soul bare if he hadn’t been standing in the shadows. With her entire face concealed behind an elaborate tattoo of ethnic make-up designed to give the appearance of a veil, she was mystery personified. She made easy prey of him as desire flared in his being with a fierceness that challenged reason.

Her effect didn’t end at the physical, though. It ran deeper, reached him on an instinctive and spiritual level. Like a soul mate.

He shook away the errant thought, hoping she hadn’t sensed his momentary confusion.

“For one,” she started, “you’re hiding out here instead of basking in the limelight.”

He quirked a brow. Hiding?

Her lush lips curved up, revealing an even row of pearly whites invoking a vision of her nibbling on his earlobe. Somehow, he knew her teeth on his skin would be—

He snapped out of the reverie, forcing his mind to focus. Clearly, his unintended celibacy—the result of focusing too intently on revenge—needed to be rectified. How long had it been? Six months? More?

She mocked him with a chuckle. “I saw you inside. You were the picture of boredom.”

Now he realised it wasn’t her first remark that had snagged his attention, but rather her voice. It had an ethereal quality that seeped through him and did the impossible. He’d always felt restless, had often grappled with a compulsion to move, to do, to be on alert. When she’d spoken, the ever-present static in his mind had quietened. Her voice had stilled the storm within him. The sudden calm slammed into him with such force, he nearly doubled over at the impact.


ABOUT EMPI BARYEH

Empi Baryeh is a Ghanaian author of sweet and sensual African, multicultural and interracial romance and women’s fiction. When she is not writing, she likes to read, listen to music and catch up on TV series.
Empi has won several awards for her novels, including Ufere Awards Book of the Year for Most Eligible Bachelor and Expecting Ty’s Baby, while Chancing Faith won the Ayi Kwei Armah Novel 3rd Prize in the 2018 Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) Literary Awards.
She lives in Accra, Ghana, with her husband and two kids.

Connect with Empi

Subscribe to Mailing List: http://bit.ly/empi-newsletter

Join Reader Group: http://bit.ly/mpVIPLounge

Facebook: empibaryeh

Twitter: @empibaryeh

Instagram: @empibaryeh

BookBub:  https://bookbub.com/authors/empi-baryeh 

Website: empibaryeh.com

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Spotlight: Takedown by Evelyn Sola

TAKEDOWN BY EVELYN SOLA



Mellie

I was not a gambler. No way. I’ve built an existence free of risk and adventure. From my career to a small life with my closest family. I was not going to do anything to jeopardize my heart. But when my neighbor and number one menace to my safe plans showed up in Vegas, I did what every adventurous (not!) woman would do. I got drunk and married the man.

Adam

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas. Then, I went and married Mellie Dupree. That woman I’ve been chasing for two years is now my wife. She claims she doesn’t remember our wedding, but I was there, and I know she’s not telling the truth. Then again, neither am I.

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON

ALSO AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

 

ADD ON GOODREADS

 

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1

MELLIE

 

            The down pillow contours my head, shielding me from the cool air coming from above. The temperature in the room is not only due to the ceiling fan, but to the extremely efficient central air. I sigh happily and cover myself with the white, down comforter, basking between sleep and reality. I don’t remember ever being in a bed so comfortable. 

            I smile and reach for another pillow to hug, but my hand hits something else. Skin. I think I’m touching a stomach. A very hard and toned stomach, which I think belongs to a man. I touch it again, and whoever the stomach belongs to moans softly. I quickly pull my hand away and wait for things to come into focus. 

            I might not know where I am, but I know where I’m not. I don’t have a ceiling fan in my room, and the air conditioning in my bedroom at home works well, but not as efficiently as this one. Besides, I live in Boston, and if there’s one thing I don’t need in Boston in January, it’s air conditioning. I’m not in my bedroom at my brother’s two family house, in the first floor apartment where we live. The one I share with him and his family. 

            I’m in Sin City celebrating my friend’s wedding. 

            One of my best friends got married yesterday. It was a big group, full of her family and friends. It wasn’t the typical Vegas wedding with Elvis officiating the vows. It was a beautiful formal affair held in the ballroom of the Bellagio hotel. I cried when I watched her father walk her down the aisle, the epitome of happiness with her wide smile and inner glow. I’d wiped my wet cheeks with a tissue I had in my purse, and when I had looked up, it was to find familiar, piercing blue eyes watching me from across the aisle. I normally look away from his stares, but that time, I held it, and even in the big room, the electricity between us sizzled.

            My phone buzzes from across the room. Despite not having a headache, I know I must have had some drinks if the dryness in my mouth is any indication. It’s so bad it feels like something died in there days ago. My bedmate moans again, turns over in the bed, and wraps an arm around me, forcing a loud gasp out of me by his sudden movement. He takes it a step further and puts a heavy leg across my thighs, keeping me securely in place. He nuzzles the back of my neck and sighs in contentment. 

            I stop breathing and my body goes completely still. I close my eyes and squeeze, hoping that when I open them again, I’ll be at home in my bed, and this will have been nothing but a dream. 

            But that doesn’t happen, and a dooming feeling hits. My stomach drops, and I feel my heart start to accelerate. I don’t want to do this, but I take a deep breath, and I turn my head, refusing to look at him, hoping and praying that it’s not who I think it is. But his scent is a dead giveaway. No one else smells like that, and in this instant, I know I did something I can’t take back. Images of last night start to surface, but I push them back down, refusing to acknowledge the reality of this situation.

            It’s been a long time since I’ve been intimate with a man, and I squeeze between my legs. When I feel no soreness, I expel a breath of relief. I know whatever happened in this room does not extend beyond sleeping. Unless whoever that is has a small package. I shouldn’t have doubted it. He never would have done something like that. Besides, he’s wanted me for such a long time that I know he’d want me to remember. 

            Or maybe it’s not him. The altitude is not the same in Vegas as it is in Boston, and I’m sure more than one man uses this cologne. Maybe I went out and decided to let loose. Leaving behind the January northeastern weather will do that to any girl. I remember telling my sister-in-law about my plans to find a man for a night.

            “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” I had winked at her and nudged her shoulder with mine. She laughed and told me to have fun. 

            My bedmate lets out a snore, and I push his leg off. Making as little noise as possible, I take a deep breath and turn to face him. The cover is now askew, leaving exposed a long, muscular leg filled with dark hair. I close my eyes and say a short prayer.

            Yeah, now you pray, Mellie, you heathen. God ain’t about to listen to you now. 

            He’s in black boxer briefs, and his morning wood is saluting the ceiling. I swallow involuntarily and do everything in my power to stop myself from wrapping my hand around the steel pipe of a dick that’s just inches away, but I chase the thought out of my dirty mind. Yeah, no way was that thing inside me. It would have ripped me in half. It’s not this particular dick that’s got my mouth watering. It’s the lack of dick in my life that’s making me yearn for this one. 

            His ribbed white t-shirt has ridden up, and a perfect six pack is on full display just inches away from my greedy hand. I let out a whimper, knowing for sure that the Lord did not in fact hear my prayers. Or maybe he did and decided to ignore me. It would serve my heathen ass right.

            I exhale and continue to look past the broad chest. I see the familiar gold chain around his neck with the signature cross, and I know that God has indeed forsaken me. Again. 

            My hand itches to touch the chiseled chin with about three days worth of stubble. Just like it does every time I see him, but I can’t confirm my worst nightmare. He has a pillow covering his face. I’ve come too far to stop now though. I gently pull the pillow and close my eyes in resignation. I count to ten, and like I’m pulling off a band aid, I open my eyes and learn my fate.

            The bottom falls out from under me. It’s my worst nightmare. It’s him.

            Adam Flynn. Lying in bed next to me in nothing but a t-shirt and boxer briefs with his eyes closed, looking like a Greek God. 

            But he’s Irish, Mellie, not Greek. 

He’s gorgeous. Always has been. There is no denying it. Perfect skin with just a tinge of pink. He has full lips, and I yearn to run my tongue along them. His thick, dark hair is a mess and sticking out from all sides, and that only makes him look sexier. 

I jump off the bed as if I’m on fire and look down at my bare legs. I’m in nothing but my underwear and a white tank top. The one I had on underneath my sheer kimono top. I look around the room like a cornered animal, relieved only when I see my clothes perfectly folded next to the big screen TV. I quickly put on my jeans. Adam moans again, and when I look at him, he shivers and goosebumps spread over his body. I tiptoe to the bed, careful enough not to wake him, gently lift the comforter, and cover that perfect body of his.

            This room is much more extravagant than mine. A suite with a couch and minibar. There are two bottles of champagne on the table, one of them still sitting in an ice bucket. I walk over there and pick one up. Some French name I can’t pronounce. I find my phone and do a quick search of that champagne. The price ranges from three to five hundred dollars, and I can only imagine the up charge the Bellagio adds. And he got two. What an idiot. I know he can’t afford this on a middle school vice principal’s salary.

            I refuse to give in to my guilt since I didn’t make him buy it. I’m pretty sure I tried to talk him out of it. I don’t even remember any of it.

            Liar

            Needing to make my escape before he wakes up, I look around the room for my shoes. I see the black peep-toe wedges underneath the bed, and I get on my knees to reach for them. When I do, something catches the light, a sliver of sun coming through the blinds. I follow the flash, and I blink twice to erase what I’m seeing.

            I hold up my hand, and right there, on my left ring finger is a fat, round, and crystal-clear diamond ring. It’s so clear that it must be fake. It’s bigger than the one my brother gave his wife. I could be mistaken, but I think it’s even bigger than the pink diamond ring one of my friends have. And right next to it is a platinum wedding band with small diamonds all around it.

            “It can’t be real,” I whisper. I pull the ring off my finger and examine it, unsure of what to look for. A memory from last night hits. Drinks at a bar. Grabbing him and pulling him out of that bar and away from a tall, skinny bitch. There was a dare, but I chase the memory away. He would do this. He would put a wedding ring on my finger as a joke. I put both rings on the nightstand, but there’s an official looking form already there. 

            Curious, I pick it up. My stomach drops to the floor and the food I ate last night threatens to come up.

            Party 1 – Flynn, Adam Finnegan 

            Party 2 – Dupree, Melanie Elyse 

            Another memory hits, but I refuse to dwell on it. I do something much worse instead. I look back at the document in my hand. My mouth has gotten drier, and my heart is beating so fast, I’m afraid it’s going to wake my sleeping—I can’t even think of the word to describe him.

            My eyes finally land at the top of the form, but I close them before they can focus on the words. I inhale, say another prayer, convinced this time that I will be delivered. And once again, I’m forsaken. Right there in bold, black letters.

            Clark County, Nevada. Certificate of Marriage.

            A hand flies to my mouth and a sound of despair escapes. The piece of paper slips from my hand, floating in the air conditioned breeze until it lands on the floor. Without a second thought, I grab my shoes and purse and run out of the room, not even sure where I am, but when I step outside the door, I know I’m still in my same hotel, so I sprint to the elevator in my bare feet. 

            When I get to my room on the twelfth floor, I run to the bathroom, drop to my knees and empty the contents of my stomach. My eyes water and my throat burns. There’s no bitter taste of rancid alcohol or the putrid smell of last night’s dinner. Hardly anything comes up, and I end up gagging for what seems like forever. My body is like a ragdoll’s, hunched over the toilet as if I have no spine to support me. A loud sound escapes, and I realize I’m crying. I don’t remember the last time I cried, but in my Vegas hotel room, with no one there to witness it, I give in and weep.

            What the hell have you done now, Melanie?

 

ABOUT EVELYN SOLA


A Boston native, wife, mother, and wine enthusiast. If she’s not writing, thinking about writing, you will find her with a book in her hands. While a new publisher, she’s been writing for years, and she will continue to write for many years to come.  

Evelyn is obsessed with assertive and confident men who will stop at nothing to get their woman. Her stories are filled with love, passion and humor. 

She currently lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and two daughters.

 

CONNECT WITH EVELYN SOLA

FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TIKTOK | GOODREADS BOOKBUB AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE