Tempting Desire by Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku by Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku - Read Online

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Tempting Desire - Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku

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Chapter One

Onome stepped on the train from Kings Cross to Hyde Park on Monday evening. Usually, she hitched a ride with her best friend, Debbie Marsh because she hated driving in Central London during the week. Today, she worked really late at Hush TV station, and Debbie had to leave on time.

Inside the train, commuters hung on to the overhead coloured poles to keep upright. Others leaned against the train doors. And many people pressed themselves against others to keep from falling over as the train galloped along the tracks. The air was so humid, she could hardly breathe.

Standing too close to her was a man who had his back pushing hard against her big boobs. She wore a double D bra cup size, and she was proud to flaunt her cleavage. But squeezed between a muscled man and the pole, she was really uncomfortable. At first, she breathed in and out and counted to fifteen.

When she thought she would not survive a minute longer, she cried out.

‘Excuse me. You’re squashing my breasts!’

Passengers burst out laughing. Others whistled. Every eye turned to Onome. It seemed her outrageous accusation provided a distraction for the stressed commuters. She did not bat an eyelid. Everyone stared at the man standing with his back to her. The tall, muscular man seemed to push back even more. With skin the colour of tan, he must spend ample time in the sun. In England, white skin stayed pale, except you flew out on holiday to hot destinations from time to time. There just wasn’t enough sunshine all year round to keep white skin baked like their counterpart in Africa.

Tension mounted after the laughter eased off.

His broad shoulders cut off her air supply. She glared at his back. It was a wasted frown. He did not move an inch, or glance her way. His low-cut brown hair tapered attractively down the back of his neck.

She gulped in air. But there was no relief. She balled her right fist, and nudged his back. Oh, his muscles did not yield. He must spend a good deal of time in the gym. A man who took care of his body must have great taste in women, she imagined.

‘Would that be me you’re referring to, lady in black?’ the man shot at her. He threw her a glance over his broad shoulders.

Her eyes widened. His eyes were the colour of blue sapphire. Absolutely mesmerizing. And his voice was brusque.

What an irritating description, thought Onome. ‘Perhaps, if you attempt to move slightly, I’ll be relieved. Thank you.’

‘There’s nowhere to move to,’ he replied with a shrug, while his eyes pinned her gaze. For a moment, it seemed they were the only two people in the train.

‘Give the woman some air,’ someone spoke up from the other end of the congested carriage. The man’s charitable comment was ignored by the fit-looking man pressed flat against her chest. He was several inches taller than her five feet ten inches.

‘We might as well get a room,’ she muttered.

Commuters chuckled. Feeling completely displeased by his attitude, she struggled to drag her hands upwards. She placed both hands behind his back, pushed as hard as she could, and swiftly twisted around to change position. Her effort earned her minimal comfort. At least her breasts were out of danger of being flattened.

‘Blame the damned train companies for this mess,’ consoled one commuter.

‘You’re extremely rude and annoying. Shoving and pushing on a cluttered train is unacceptable. You owe me an apology.’ His demand was crisp.

She did not spare him a glance. When she’d pushed him, he’d also changed position. Both of them now had their shoulders side by side. He had full facial hair, trimmed and asleep on his skin. Definitely a very attractive alpha male.

‘If you wanted to travel in style, this was a wrong choice, man in jeans!’ she parried.

Another round of good natured mirth broke out in the train.

‘That’s one lady with some spunk,’ cheered one seated commuter. ‘She’ll give any man a run for his good money.’

***

Roman Gordon was often good natured, with a sense of humour, but this glamorously dressed, cheeky woman rubbed him the wrong way. And he did not fancy being made a laughing stock on London’s overcrowded public transport.

‘Why are you so saucy?’ he queried, his tone heavy with sarcasm. He could not shake off the irritation. ‘Why any woman would set out to be so infuriating in public is puzzling.’ Before he could get an answer, the train door opened, and she stepped on the platform.

Roman took a good look at his accuser. She had attractive full breasts, he conceded. And a pretty face – oval shaped, full lips, pointed nose, long ink-black curly hair and glowing dark brown skin. Okay, her big brown eyes flashed with mischief, and she had a great figure on show in the black and yellow mini dress. But that was not the point. An African woman should have better manners. Not that he knew many African women personally.

The woman stared back at him, winked and swanked off in her black, stiletto high heeled shoes. Her flirty body language generated a rousing applause from the usually bored commuters.

Roman scowled. He was miffed. No woman had ever goaded him in public. This was a first. And it was awful.

The joke was definitely on him.

***

The moment Onome walked out of the train station, she shook her head to dislodge the image of the fine-looking man with a scowl. Turning left, she walked the short distance to her semi-detached house on Carnaby Street in Hyde Park. She breathed in the warm late August evening air. Showing up early for the group aerobics class at the gym near her home was uppermost in her mind.

She hadn’t expected to be sandwiched with so many men on the overcrowded train. The stuffy condition added to her exasperation. Why the train companies chose not to circulate cool air in the carriages especially at peak times in the summer months was baffling. It was unacceptable to pay exorbitant train fares and then travel as a tramp – without dignity.

Work was particularly hectic today. Her daily morning talk show – Onome Keyamu Show kicked off on time as usual. Followed by a series of jaw breaking meetings and brainstorming sessions. She had to stand in as a host for not one but, three shows as well.

Thirty-five minutes later, Onome strolled into the gym reception area still giggling at the memory of the glare on the guy’s face she’d shoved in the train. With a towel around her neck and a bottle of natural water in one hand, she ran up the two flights of stairs that led to the room the group used for aerobics.

The aerobics class seemed deserted. Where was everyone else? Just as she turned to walk out to the bottom floor, she saw one of the Fitness Instructors.

‘Hi Clive, where’s everybody?’

‘Hi Onome, the class has been deferred for ten minutes. Mathew, your Fitness Instructor has some domestic issues. He’s unable to come in today.’ At her sour expression he continued, ‘We’ve called in another Trainer and he’ll be here in ten minutes flat. The others are in the gym downstairs, working out.’

‘Why can’t you take the class, Clive?’

‘I’ve another class to run in a few minutes.’ He flicked his wrist to check his watch.

‘Don’t let me keep you,’ she said. Choosing to join the others downstairs, she walked to the equipment room. Looking around, she found a free treadmill. She immediately got on the machine, before some other enthusiastic user beat her to it.

But she had only been on the machine a couple of minutes, when the PA system boomed with a special announcement.

‘The stand-in instructor for the 8 p.m. aerobics class is waiting for the group upstairs. We’re sorry for the inconvenience caused.’

She picked up her towel and water bottle, and filed out along with other gym users. She queued up at the back. By the time she walked into the aerobics class, everyone had taken their position.

Just then, Onome saw him – the attractive guy with the scowl on the train. She stiffened, and groaned. Not again. How could it be?

He was their Interim Trainer? With his well-toned biceps, forearms, thighs and abs displayed in his tight sportswear, she knew he had to be a gym enthusiast.

When his gaze fell on her, his angular jaw hardened, and his eyes narrowed in disapproval or was it in annoyance, she was not sure. Was he still angry at her for shoving him in the train less than an hour ago?

What a small world.

She smiled at him. But he looked past her. He did not respond to her attempt to make peace. So she tilted her chin in a defiant angle.

What a jerk he was.

He switched his attention to the class. He was in complete control as he led the warm up session. He looked fetching in his all white sports trousers and sleeveless top. His lips were full and a faint pink shade. And his voice was full of authority as he guided the class. His biceps tensed and pumped out as he moved and oh, his movements were so fluid, smooth and quick.

With the women in the class listening and participating more intently than usual, she wished she hadn’t irked him earlier. It was obvious he recognized her. But he hadn’t forgiven her rudeness, and what was the other word? Oh yes, her sauciness.

The class broke into laughter. And Onome fell out of her reverie. She was the only one still standing. Everyone else was squatting. Clearly, she hadn’t been listening.

Oops!

The stand-in-trainer shot her a narrowed gaze with one eyebrow arched.

‘I’m sorry,’ she mumbled, as she squatted. How embarrassing.

‘Stay focused, Onome,’ she muttered under her breath. The man was a humourless freak. ‘Forget him,’ she consoled herself in a whisper.

Forty-five minutes later, the aerobics session came to an end. Onome sighed. It was a huge sigh of relief. Just as she made a smart exit, Sam approached her. She often chatted with Sam in the gym. Married for twenty years, Sam was a harmless acquaintance.

‘Hi Onome, you seem to have a lot on your mind today.’

‘It seems so,’ she hedged. She noticed the Trainer’s head turn in their direction when Sam called out her name. Did she notice a curl to his sexy lips?

‘Come on, get it off your chest. What’s bothering you?’ Sam asked with concern. He was always ready to give her a listening ear.

‘Oh, don’t worry, Sam. It’s nothing I can’t resolve on my own.’

He shrugged his shoulders. And they walked out of the aerobics class to the equipment room downstairs. Usually, she stayed for another twenty minutes moving from the treadmill to the exercise bike, or step ladder.

‘Hi, do you have a minute?’ The voice belonged to the Trainer. She gave him a sideways glace. But he was talking to the plump woman making her way to the upper body training equipment.

Did he have a name? She hoped the Trainer would stop by her treadmill. Ridiculous. Well, he seemed to have warmed himself into the hearts of the women and men. When did he plan to make a stop where she was?

Maybe never, her head replied.

For a tall man with the build of a footballer, he moved with grace. Onome swallowed as she drank in the sight of this nameless attractive man. Her friend Debbie would be chuffed to know she’d found a man who held her interest.

For once, Sam’s typical friendly rambling could not hold her attention. She was distracted by the gliding walk of the new Trainer on the block.

‘Sam, I might give today’s gym session a miss,’ she declared at last. The air was suddenly warm. Her stomach constricted, and her fingers trembled. Of course, it had nothing to do with the Trainer.

‘Why? Come on let us go on the bike. When you’re feeling low, it’s best to exercise. It helps you de-stress,’ Sam stated with confidence.

‘How would you know?’

‘I’ve been in your position many times. By the time I spend an hour here, I feel brand new.’

If only Sam knew why she was so distracted. Best to keep quiet. She wondered why Sam’s wife never showed up at the gym. He seemed so laid-back. One of his sons was already in university, and the other was in college.

‘I’ll have to trust your advice then, Sam.’

After she worked out on the bike, she moved across to the mountain climber. From her position, she watched the Trainer make his way from one gym user to the next. Moments later, he stood in front of her.

‘Oh! We meet again,’ the Trainer stated with a frown, as if he was obligated to speak with her.

She stared at him. Her tongue would not move. An awkward silence reigned. Did he really think she owed him an apology? No way. When he’d spoken with the other gym customers, he’d worn a genuine smile.

‘Hi,’ was all she uttered after some time.

‘I’m Roman. Roman Gordon.’

A sexy name for a sexy looking man. Her fingers clenched around the handle bars.

‘And, I’m Onome Keyamu.’

‘I’ll be the Aerobics Instructor here for the next one month. I understand Mathew needs time off to sort out certain family issues. I was just telling the others that eight is fine with me. I don’t want to alter the class schedule.’

‘It’s fine with me. Scheduled time remains unchanged. How understanding of you, Roman,’ she said sweetly. She saw his deep blue eyes darken, and she flinched. But she recovered quickly. ‘Do you ever smile? Or are you always so serious?’ Her tone held a hint of humour. For some obscure reason, Roman brought out her cheeky personality.

He turned around to make sure no one was within ear shot. Certain that they could speak privately, he said, ‘You’re the most infuriating woman on planet earth. There’s nothing appealing about being rude.’ His tone was curt.

‘Touchy! Touchy!’ she mocked with an innocent expression. ‘You win the trophy for the most humourless Trainer on earth,’ she countered.

His gaze dimmed to a midnight blue hue. Her chest expanded and contracted. He could fry her with his blue glare. She drew in a long breath.

He smiled, baring brilliant white teeth. She blinked a few times.

‘So you do smile, Roman. It’s good to know you have white teeth, and not black as I imagined.’

He placed one hand over his mouth to keep from laughing out loud, so as not to draw the attention of others.

‘You have a crazy head on your shoulders, Onome.’

There was a jolt in her chest. She smiled to hide her discomfort. ‘What makes you tick, Roman? You have huge balls to call me crazy. Only a confident man would put forward his familiar foot with a woman he just met.’

His jaw dropped. No kidding. When he recovered, he ground out, ‘None of your business, Onome.’

‘Whoops!’ He must be a revenge freak. ‘You’ve got no qualms about telling off a lady. Are you from the United Kingdom? You sound quite posh.’

Roman looked around the gym before he bent his head. ‘You made a fool of me on the train. Are you planning to do the same here? It seems to be your pasttime.’ He finished off with a naughty grin plastered across his carved features.

Continuing with her exercise on the step ladder, she sighed. ‘My worry is you’re far from being a gentleman. And you don’t answer any question.’

‘You’re asking personal questions. I reserve the right to answer or not to. As you’ve done nothing to deserve being…,’ before he could deliver the blow, Sam appeared by her side.

‘Onome, I see you’ve met Roman. I think he’s a great guy.’

‘Yes, he was about to tell me where he’s originally from.’

***

‘On the contrary, Onome was just telling me she wanted to be on her way,’ Roman replied with flourish. He beamed, thinking he had turned the tables on the gorgeous woman with an atrocious attitude.

Onome was more than a handful. She derived pleasure from making him look like a fool. As an attention seeker, she had no misgivings about receiving unnecessary scrutiny. Although she was beautiful, he did not find her personality attractive. If she wanted to dig her feminine claws in any man, there were many willing victims. The chap standing beside her was caught up in her pretty web. He was not willing to get hooked to her saccharine smile.

‘Sam, tell me, where do you think Roman is from? And how old do you think he is?’ Onome replied with a cheeky grin of her own.

Sam looked taken aback, but he obliged her. It seemed she had the lanky, older white man wrapped around her rude finger.

‘In my opinion, I would say he’s from—’ Sam corked his head eastward. ‘West Midlands region. Just a wild guess really. Possibly from Telford, and he may be in his late twenties or thirty, max.’ The older man turned to him for confirmation.

‘That’s impossible. I’ll say mid-thirties,’ Onome countered, and looked to him with her eager brown gaze.

Roman could not believe how he’d been drawn into such a personal conversation with total strangers. The woman was bold and beautiful, yes, but she was way too confrontational.

‘Sam, Onome, honestly I’m pleased to meet you. But duty calls.’ He left them gaping after him, with their query unanswered.

***

Chapter Two

Onome stared open-mouthed at Roman’s retreating back. This was textbook payback behaviour.

Sam shrugged and carried on with his exercise.

While she ridiculed Roman on the train as countless onlookers watched, in here, he sauntered off with only one eyewitness in attendance. Yet, his attitude stung. Roman was such a repressive jerk. She tried to make him laugh, but he’d clearly taken it the wrong way. Too bad.

Blowing out air from her mouth, she said to Sam, ‘I think we should call it a day. What do you think?’

‘If you say so.’ Sam assented.

They parted ways outside the equipment room.

Needing to cool off, Onome went downstairs to the café. She ordered a chilled fruit drink, and took a sit in the middle of the large space. There was no one else in the coffee shop, except the bar lady who was busy clearing up.

As she sipped her drink, her thoughts drifted to Roman. Heat flared in her chest as the memory of his body pressed against hers on the train sped past her head. When his stunning blue eyes set on a perfectly chiselled face focused on her in the gym, she could not resist baiting him.

She sighed. His broad shoulders, forearms and entire physique made him hard to ignore. The feel of his muscled back against her breasts still made her body tingle. She giggled and set down her glass. Then, she remembered his offhand attitude.

No man had ever described her as rude. Roman’s low opinion of her hurt. He was not a gentleman. Generally, men treated her with respect, even in showbiz. Roman was a no-nonsense guy who had no misgivings about telling her off if he thought she had stepped out of line. Thank God she was not interested in any man. Men fell over themselves to date her. After Stan, she chose with care, had her fill and walked out. No emotional ties, no roller coaster, and no drama. Life was easier that way.

While she was deep in thought, Roman slipped into the seat opposite hers.

‘Hi there, lost in thought?’ he jeered.

Onome jumped out of her skin. ‘What do you think you’re doing sneaking up on me like that?’ she accused with her eyes widened.

‘You scare easily,’ he sneered.

Choosing to ignore his snide remark, she sipped her drink, wondering why he made the effort to track her down. Maybe he was on his way out, and wanted a drink to cool off. Finding her here was probably not his idea of relaxation.

‘Can we start again?’ he asked in a neutral tone.

‘No.’ Her tone was curt. Since he tagged her as rude, there was no use pretending otherwise.

‘Are you being touchy? I thought you said I was too serious.’

She looked away. ‘Right now, I don’t feel sociable.’

‘Who’s responsible for your foul mood, Onome?’ He pronounced her name as if he was at her christening.

‘You!’ she retorted with vehemence.

‘Hey, easy Onome. Are you sulking?’

Finishing off her drink,