She chose the daring plunge ruby-red dress she’d bought at a crazy moment, matched it with dark red heeled sandals and finished the elegant and sexy look she was aiming for with smokey eye makeup and a splash of the Lancome perfume he’d gifted her for her birthday two months ago.
While she had no idea where he was taking her, Kammara suspected it must be somewhere exotic and she wanted his eyes on her all evening long. She wanted his hands on her before the evening was done.
All set, she took her purse and strolled out to join Jumbo again.
She’d always thought she would hold off sex until her wedding night, but giving herself to him on the night of her birthday had been a conscious and pleasurable decision. For once she fell in love with Chet, she wanted him to be her first.
Her only, if love and fate allowed it.
She loved him like she’d never before loved anyone. It had surprised her, her capacity to love him as much as she did. Her desire to belong to him in every way—body, mind and heart.
And the way he loved her, like she was something—someone—he couldn’t do without? No one has ever loved her like that. No one understood her like he did.
When he looked at her, he didn’t just see a woman like every other woman. He saw who she was, what she wanted. He listened to her, believed in her, and supported her dreams and aspirations. He never forgot her birthday, or the fact that she liked unsweetened yoghurt, or that any movie with Will Smith in it was already a favourite of hers.
He went to cinemas because she liked it even when he preferred to watch movies on TV while sprawled out half-naked on his living room rug. He laughed when she laughed, made her laugh when she didn’t want to, and held her when she was feeling low.
Best of all, he was honest and wanted no secrets between them. He’d confessed to her when he’d slept with his ex a month after they’d started dating. While that heart-breaking act of infidelity would have tanked their relationship at its nestling stage, he’d reminded her it was him who’d come to her with the truth. And then he’d made her the promise never to cheat on her again.
Maybe there was a possibility, a slim one, that he was only acting to win her affections, but she didn’t see that possibility. What she saw was a man who loved her, a man who enjoyed being with her, and a man who supported her dreams.
A man who looked at her like he was about to swallow his tongue when she was standing at his door.
“Good Christ! I am confused what I want to do: stare at you all night long or slowly take that sinfully gorgeous dress off you and make slow, sweet love to you.”
Kammara gave a slow smile, savouring the instant and ravenous desire only he can unleash in her. “You can start with one and get to the other.”
“True. So true. Kammara,” he breathed her name, leaned down and took her lips.
The second his lips touched hers, her entire body jolted alive. It was a reflex reaction, and bewildered Kammara every time. Within a foot of him, her body anticipated his touch, and at the slightest stroke, the world came to a standstill and all there was, was only him. Only them.
Breathing in his natural masculine scent and the woody fragrance of his cologne, Kammara pressed her body into his, entwining their tongues as she surrendered to the hunger to taste more of him. To give him more of herself.
“It is never enough,” he murmured against her lips. “It will never be, but this will have to do for now.” He kissed her chin. “I made dinner.”
Her body was still on fire, so it took Kammara a moment before she replied. “We’re dining here?”
“I hope you don’t mind.” He took her hand and walked through the foyer into the living room. “I hoped this would be perfect.”
The large room done up in pale grey and off-white colours with a bold mix of cream and yellow furnishings never failed to enchant Kammara.
She loved its vibrant look and relaxing feel. In here, she’d enjoyed many good times with Chet. On the Persian rug that covered half the room, she’d enjoyed great sex with him—on more than one occasion.
Clamping down on the naughty trail of her mind, she turned attention on the table that had taken the position of his centre table. There was a white cloth over it, two candles lit, a flower vase, and two chairs at opposite ends of it. He finished the romantic atmosphere with Johnny Drille playing in low tones.
“I imagined we were dining somewhere glamorous, but,” she leaned in, brushed a kiss on his lips. “I love this better. So charming. I especially love the flowers not being artificial.”
“You like real, not artificial, so I made sure to get it.”
“Thank you.” She gave him another kiss before stepping over to caress the flowers. “What are we celebrating?”
“You and me. Our ninth month anniversary.”
Kammara turned. “You remembered.”
“When it’s you, I always remember.”
Her heart squeezed with love. “You never mentioned it before. Or did anything like this.”
“No, but I always remembered. And this evening is pretty special.”
“Yes. First though, I will feed you.” He turned in the direction of the kitchen. “It’s pork chops and vegetable rice.”
“My favourite.” One she didn’t let herself indulge in regularly. “This is getting better and better.”
“I hope so. But where are you going?”
“To help you serve dinner.”
“No.” He took her hand, walked her back to the dinner table and pulled out a chair. “You are only to sit and enjoy.”
“Wow, you really mean to spoil me tonight.”
“I might mean to spoil you for longer than tonight.” He kissed her neck. “Darn! I love that scent on you. I’ll be back.”
“I’ll be here.”
Smiling, she bent to sniff in the yellow buds.
“Lovely,” she pronounced, deciding she will take it home with her. Then she noticed it as she straightened up, and squealed.
“You have a portrait of me on your wall! When did you get it done?” She skipped to the media storage bookcase to get a closer look at the black sleek frame portrait. “It’s the picture you took on my birthday.”
“Yes. Asked Abel to frame it and he brought it over this afternoon.” He set the tray down on the table, and came over to her side. “Do you like it?”
“I love it. I can’t believe you have it hung here though.”
“My first thought was the bedroom. But I don’t want you all dressed up when I blow you a goodnight kiss before going to sleep.” He slipped a hand around her. “I want you half-naked, only a scrape of cloth across your midsection.”
“Hmm. And will Abel be taking the picture?”
He chuckled. “He’s a professional, so yes.” He kissed her. “Come, we don’t want dinner getting cold. Let me get the wine and we’ll begin.”
Kammara held his hand, tugged and when he bent over her, she set her lips on his and kissed him, slow and deep. “I love you so much, do you know that?”
“I love you just as much. You are everything I want. Everything.” He nuzzled her chin. “Give me a minute, and we’ll have dinner and then get back to this part.”
“Can’t wait.” It was taking too much of her self-control to not slip off their clothes and have him make love to her right now.
“We are having champagne?” she asked when he came back in with a bucket of wine. “What are you trying to do, Chet Benson, make me lose my head completely over you?”
“You mean you haven’t already?” He made a tsk. “I must not be doing something right then.”
“Or maybe you’re doing too much too right.”
“That makes you wary?” He filled a plate, passed it to her, and started filling one for himself. “You still wonder if this is some kind of master player at work?”
“No, I don’t,” Kammara denied. Then she shrugged. “Maybe I wonder just a little. You know how they say if it’s too good to be true and all that. I guess it makes me worry every once in a rare while.”
“I am not too good to be true, Kammara. I am true, and I want to always be true to you.” He sniffed, made another tsk. “Now, you’re making the moment too intense.”
“I am making the moment too intense?” Kammara laughed. “Who’s here seducing me with words, a romantic atmosphere and amazing food?”
“I am, which is why you should leave the seduction pace in my hands.” He gestured to her plate. “Have a taste and tell me what you think.”
Obediently, she took a spoonful. “It’s good. Really good.”
“Thanks.” He started eating. “So how was your day?”
“Not bad. It wasn’t busy at the office, so I was able to leave on time for my classes. Dr Osho didn’t come for his own class, which was why I was hoping to do some reading before your seduction plan had me rushing home to dress up for dinner.”
“And what a dress too. I can barely keep my eyes off you.”
She winked. “The whole point of it.”
“Ha. I wondered.”
“Mmm-hmm.” Chuckling, she asked. “And your day, how was it?”
“Good. We’re expecting a new contract with Source-Net.”
He kept up the easy conversation throughout dinner, and afterward, insisted on clearing the table alone.
“Thank you for an amazing dinner,” Kammara said when he joined her on the L-shaped sofa. “I enjoyed every taste of it.”
“I’m happy you did.” He took the champagne, poured two glasses, gave her one. “To you and I, forever,” he toasted.
“You and I, forever,” Kammara repeated.
“You are so beautiful.” He took her glass, set it, along with his, on the centre table which was back on its spot and slipped his fingers through hers. “It’s not just the dress—though it’s a killer.” He grinned. “It’s everything about you, the perfect and the not-so-perfect.”
“Jeez, I hope the not-so-perfect is not many.”
“Not as far as I’m concerned.” Lifting his other hand, he caressed her face. “Have I told you lately that I love you?”
“Not since nearly an hour or so.”
“Have I told you there’s no one else above you?”
“Ah, you’re seducing me with Rod Stewart. How sweet.”
“It’s not seduction. It is baring my heart and soul to you.”
“Oh sweet lord!” Kammara’s heart lurched, at what was in his eyes. At what she saw behind them.
“I love you. I want you. I need you, every single day for the rest of our lives.” He slipped down on one knee.
“Chet.” Her eyes filled.
“I love you as I’ve never loved any woman, as I will never again love any woman. You’re everything and it for me. You’re what I wanted yesterday, what I want today and what I will want forever.”
Out of his pocket, he brought out a box and opened it. “I want to be with you forever. I want to spend my life with you, and hope you want the same. Say you will marry me, Kammara. Say you love and want me as much as I love and want you.”
She wanted to speak, but her throat was too constricted. Her heart was too overwhelmed.
“I will be true to you. You will never have to doubt me. I will support your dreams and share mine with you. I will love you through my weaknesses and love you with all my strength. I will protect you and make you happy. These are not just words. They are promises from my heart. Promises I make you with this ring.”
Kammara didn’t look at the ring.
In his eyes was all she needed to see. In them were more than the promises he’d just made her.
“No one’s ever loved me like you love me. And I’ve loved no one like I love you.” She touched his face, feeling the narrow angular form of it. The stubble along the sides and his chin. She’d thought him too handsome the first time she saw him. But she’d wanted him. She would always want him. “Yes, I love and want you. And yes, I will marry you.”
“Kammara,” he whispered her name, slipped the ring on her finger and then drew her in and kissed her.
His mouth was hot and hungry, and she kissed him back with the same heat and fervour.
“Let me love you with my body as well as my heart.” He breathed against her lips, his fingers tipping down the band sleeves of her dress.
Most times he asked, sometimes, he seduced or took. That he would ask now and in such beautiful words melted even more Kammara’s heart and destroyed whatever was left of her composure.
“Yes, make love to me; with me.”
His eyes darkened and kindled. “My only heart’s desire.” He took her mouth again, his hand moving to cup the curve of her breast.
Hot and needy, Kammara arched against him, clawing at his clothes as burning desire pooled to her core.
“Not here. Not this time.” He stopped her hands, lifted to his feet and scooped her into his arms.
And his mouth ravenous on her neck and lips, he took their passion into his bedroom.
It was a little over an hour before Kammara forced herself to slip out of his arms. “It’s time to head home.”
“Stay tonight. Just this once, on our engagement night.”
She was tempted, sorely. But some things were going to follow tradition. “We will wait our wedding night for that.” She bent, kissed him and then moved to retrieve her clothes from the floor.
“You know you’re leaving me lonely on a night I want to stay up and make love to you over and over, don’t you? I’m going be all twisted up inside by morning. I am all twisted up inside right now.” Protesting though he was, he slid off the bed to drag on his clothes.
Kammara laughed at the morose face he pulled. “You will be bursting with energy tomorrow, I guarantee it. It’s not every day you get engaged to Kammara Onochie, you know.”
“True. So very true.” He pulled her close, kissed her hard. “I love you. Thank you for saying yes.”
“It’s always yes when it’s you with the right question.” She indulged in another kiss, then made herself step back. “Let’s hit the road.”
“Okay, Mrs Benson to-be.”
“Mrs Benson—I love the sound of that,” Kammara said, feeling deliriously happy.
Kammara loves him, and Chet Benson loves her like he’s never before loved any woman. Now, the violation of her body is tearing her away from him…and it gets worse as he might wind up the prime suspect if a sudden death is proven to be murder.
JUST DESERTS… coming soon.
For those asking, ONCE, the story of Kobi and Chima, will come out this year. I can’t say when at the moment. Thanks.