Do bad girls really get all the guys?

"Why do millions of smart, savvy, successful men fall helplessly in love with women who are destined to break their hearts? Who are these Bad Girls, poised to pounce on the next nice guy just waiting to become their prey? While Bad Girls have different strategies for manipulating nice guys, they share certain alluring traits. Irresistibly exciting, clever, flirtatious, and seductive, they make their man feel like the sexiest, most invincible stud on the planet! They take what they want---money, sex, drugs, or other objects of desire---and leave these unsuspecting men in the dust."

Above is from the description of one of the books below by Dr Carole Lieberman on lessons other women can learn from Bad girls. There are even more books saying the same thing. But before we go into all that, is it true that they really get all the guys?






All these books and more seem to think so. What say ye?

WIP - Bribe-seeking officials and Mouth-watering Suya

“Stop, I say stop! You will not take pictures or video of this statue!”
“Stop me,” Dunni muttered, looking through the view finder at the short man that had tried to stop her almost as soon as she begun recording a video of the statue at the roundabout on her camera. She had been walking and taking pictures of interesting sights and features of Ilesha, seeing it with new eyes through her viewfinder. Delighted to find a roundabout topped off by the statue of a warrior with a raised sword, she’d dropped her backpack and clicked off some shots in quick succession before switching to video. The short man whose probably tobacco-stained, brown teeth now filled her vision had then come forward demanding money. With his green and white uniform, she knew he was a local official and was happy to tip him. It was only when he demanded for more cash than she had on her, and insisted on dollars because of her accent, that she got angry and told him that she would report him.
The man had gone crazy when she turned the video camera on him. People gathered quickly when he began to shout, accusing her of disobedience and demanding to know her family. Of course she had no intention of following up on her threat and she ignored the melee and shifted the camera to get as much of the statue as she could. Turning to the left, she froze as a new spectator came into sight. Babs loomed before her in the camera lens; and even after she put the camera down to be sure she was seeing clearly, he remained larger than life. One eyebrow was raised and a familiar twitch drew her gaze down his face to see him lick his top lip.
“Hello, Dunni,” he said.

Dunni twirled and swallowed. It was just her luck today to get into trouble, wasn’t it? Why did she have to see him too, and now?
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
The uniformed man instantly turned to him and began to complain. “Do you know this woman?” he said. “Warn her – tell her to stop and go away. She thinks because she is a “been-to” – a tokunbo – she wants to do ‘American’ for me. Warn her now.”
“What’s the problem?” Babs asked, listening as the man made his case, and nodding at intervals. How dare he make himself her protector? She didn’t need him or anyone; she could take care of herself. Dunni glared at both men, her temper rising at how they had ignored her in discussing the matter.
“Why are you coddling him?” she snapped at Babs.
“OK, you tell me what happened,” he replied.
The melting smile was back, but it was a look in his eyes that made her decide to trust his judgment in this situation. Babs spoke with an authority that she hadn’t heard from him before and she looked at him with fresh eyes. In addition to her dreams of him in her bedroom, she could just imagine being toe to toe with him in a boardroom.
“You this woman, you’re very stubborn o.” The local official put in first.
Dunni turned away from the odour preceding the man’s words. “His problem is greed,” she said to Babs and went on to narrate what had happened.
 A smile tugged at her lips when at the end, Babs reprimanded the man for demanding a bribe from her, but she stopped herself just in time. She shouldn’t get carried away by Babs and his diplomatic manner. As he sent the man back to his job controlling the traffic and the small crowd began to disperse, she reminded herself that she could’ve taken care of the matter just as well. Putting away her camera, she began to walk off.
“Wait, wait. Where are you going?” Babs said behind her.
Dunni took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Maybe she had overreacted, both with the local official and with him. He hadn’t really done anything but try to help her. She crossed the busy interchange and waited on the other side of the road for him. Watching as he approached her, she took in the way he was dressed, in jeans and a T-shirt with leather sandals, and was struck again by his brash manliness.
She faced him when he finally got to her side. “I forgot to say thanks for getting that man off me, but still my life is none of your business.”
“Ah, Dunni! Why are you so prickly?” he came closer so only she heard his next words, “Could it be frustration from what happened last Sunday?
His whisper stroked the side of her neck like a caress, but Dunni narrowed her eyes into slits, steeling herself against the attraction that swirled over her. “You are one...”
“Did Folarin tell you I asked for your number?” He interrupted her, adding in an even lower tone. “I’ve wanted to see you, wanted you.”
Before she could open her mouth to speak again, another young guy walked up to them. She recognized the man from the Erin Ijesha trek and swallowed her words when she saw that the two men knew each other.
“Dunni, this is my colleague, he’s spending a few days with my family for Christmas.” Babs now spoke in his normal voice. “Kingsley, this is Dunni.”
“We’ve met before, though not introduced.” Kingsley said.
Dunni nodded.
“Oh, that’s true. I remember now.” Babs said, adding, “You know Folarin, the guy who leads the treks? She’s his cousin.”
Kingley stepped forward and greeted her with a handshake, informing her that he’d been on a trek with Folarin a few times in the past and liked her cousin.
“Are we still going to the suya spot?” he asked Babs after the greetings were over.
“Sure.” Babs turned to her, his grin glinting in the encroaching darkness. “Dunni, are you coming? The place is just around the corner.”
She loved suya, and she never missed it if she could but if she had to go with them then she had Babs to consider. Even though she had already kissed him and felt more comfortable knowing her cousins knew him, she was still seriously torn. One part of her mind wanted to spend some more time in his company, after all he was sharp and witty, a good match to spar with, and hadn’t he just come to her aid with that slimy official? However, the saner part of her warned her to run away from him, if for nothing else but her own peace of mind.
“I hear these people make very good Suya,” Babs slipped in with his killer smile.
Resigned and calling herself all kinds of masochist, Dunni followed them. She knew he was not good for her, but she couldn’t resist, especially not when suya was thrown in.

Weekend Pictures - US Space and Rocket Center, Alabama

Some of you might know that I have some family in Alabama, we visited them last a couple of years ago and last month we went down south again to catch up. My older nephew wanted to see the space center and we decided to take him and it was also an opportunity for us to see the place. We were planning to go to the Seattle Flight Museum after one of the decommissioned shuttles from NASA got there but that did not happen. So seeing the hefty machines in Huntsville was quite a treat.

Enjoy the pictures and have a great weekend. Mwah!














Happy Thanksgiving and my Meat Pie Recipe


HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone, especially those in America. I made some Meat Pie yesterday for Dinner and I want to share the recipe with you this thanksgiving.

Ingredients

*Dough - Plain Flour – 1 Kg, Margarine – 500g, Salt – 2 pinches, Dry spices - 2 pinches, Cold Water - a quarter cup

*Filling - 500g of minced meat, 1 medium-sized onion, 2 medium-sized tomatoes, Seasoning - 2 Maggi / Knorr cubes and 1 teaspoon of mixed spices, Cold water – 1 cup

*1 egg yolk



Tools

Rolling Pin, A Flat surface, Measuring circle – You can use a saucer, pot or dish cover, and cut with a knife. I used the cover of my "I can't believe it's not Butter" jar to cut the dough and it gave me 8 meat pies with the above ingredients. Table Fork – To press the edges of the meat pie after adding the filling.

Directions 

- For the Filling

Wash and slice the onions.
With your cooker or stove set to medium heat, heat the vegetable oil in a pot, add the diced onions and stir for a bit, add the minced meat and stir for about ten minutes.
Add 1 cup of water and the seasoning. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 mins
Add salt to taste, stir the contents and turn off the heat.
Set the meat pie filling aside, preferably in the fridge or somewhere cool.

- For the dough

Put the flour in a sizeable bowl
Use a tablespoon to scoop the margarine in small bits into the bowl of flour. The smaller you make the bits of margarine, the easier it will be for you to rub them into the flour.
Use finger tips to rub the margarine into the flour till the mix becomes like bread crumbs.
Add a pinch of salt at this stage and any dry spices you feel like - I used Lion brand mixed spices
Now, add cold water in bits while at the same time kneading the mix till you have a stiff ball of dough. I only needed like one inch of water in a tall drinking glass.

Rub margarine on the insides of the oven tray and set aside.
Break the egg, separate the yolk and whisk, then set it aside.

Set your oven to 350 and leave to preheat while you continue with the meat pie dough.

- For Rolling the Dough

Place the dough on a flat surface, and roll it out. If it sticks to the surface, spread dry flour first.
Use the cutter to make round cuts on the rolled out dough.

Remove the excess dough, leaving behind the round cuts.
Scoop some meat pie filling into the center of the round cuts, the quantity should be such that you can comfortably close the dough without overflows.
Rub the egg yolk on the inside edge of the cut dough. This ensures that the meat pie is sealed and does not open up while baking.
Fold one part of the dough to meet the other end and use a fork to press the 2 edges together to close tightly.
Place in the oven tray and repeat the previous step till all the dough is used.
Rub the remaining egg yolk over the top of the meat pies. This gives the meat pie a golden brown look when done. Prick the top of the filled dough with the fork tines for a better look :)

- Baking

Set the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. You can confirm that the meat pie is done when it starts browning. It is alright to open the oven to check this.

Adapted from my favorite recipe site - ALL NIGERIAN RECIPES

How to Recognize a Player?

Babs from my upcoming manuscript has got me thinking of players. But funny thing was, when I typed "who's a player" on search, it threw up links to players in sports, including wiki for Most Valuable Player. Of course, I meant a player in the dating game. Isn't it funny how life and society rewards people who play the best game, those who do whatever it takes to win. In dating however, many different opinions abound.

Some people say dating is a game, and so they need to play their best game, or play by the rules. Others say dating should only be a precursor to a steady relationship, like a long-term romance or marriage, and so no hanky-panky should be allowed. Players, and there are both male and female, definitely excel at hanky-panky, and in dating, some of them are as follows;

- They usually don't pick or answer their phone in the presence of their current partner.
- They usually do not like PDA, or may blow hot and cold depending on who's looking. The male player wants to show off to his mates, but not when other girls are around. Same with the girl.
- The above also goes with how they answer your phone, sometimes with all the sweet words, and other times, can't wait to get off your phone with no "I love you" or goodbye.
- They usually have at least one back-up to the person they're dating. Sometimes more. Have you heard of the guy with one lady for each day of the week, or the one with a guy in every city she visits?
- They're usually good looking, and they know it - checking in glass doors or car mirrors, going to the bathroom to powder, looking in their compact half the time.
- Their relationships usually don't last too long, either they want to move on, or their partner gets tired of the little games they play.
- They rarely want to take dating to the next level, so for them meeting your friends or family is a no-no
- They are usually very charming, they know all the right words to say, all the buttons to press. You're putty in their hands before you even say hi back.

I've come full circle cos the last describes Babs to a tee. Even Dunni's cousin describes him as a perfect gentleman. So the book will also be asking, can a player change? Can he settle down with one woman? We shall see.

In the mean time, do you know any players? Have I missed out any details? Please share.

WIP - Different from any woman he’d known

As they walked along the road leading to the Ilesha roundabout, Babs pointed out the parlous sights of the town to Kingsley. He’d invited his colleague from work to spend a few days with him over the Christmas break and was trying to be the gracious host. There wasn’t much to see or do in Ilesha but today, he was leading them to a outdoors hangout joint which his brother had said made great Suya. He anticipated the suya, but the stroll was turning out to be more problematic than he envisaged. The cold harmattan weather was OK as it meant they weren’t sweating much, but the roads were dusty, with empty water sachets flying in a breeze that spiraled close to the ground.

When his father had been posted here from Lagos, most people had considered it an affront. It was said the Prelate was offended by some of the work his father was doing outside the church, and the fact that he raised the money from his members. His father had taken the transfer quietly and had not been deterred by his smaller and less prosperous congregation. It was around the same time that Babs got his current job, which not only allowed him more time but also some clients that he could introduce to his father’s charitable works.

As they passed by Atakumosa Market, okadas horns blared with abandon, most of the drivers riding dangerously fast. One swerved very close to him and he jumped out of the way with the young rider’s apologies ringing in his ear. It was a good thing he wasn’t such a stranger in Ilesha, or he would’ve fled back to Lagos. He usually came down several times a year, though usually for only a day or two at a stretch. So he was somehow used to the craziness that was his father’s parish, and it felt good not to have to stand on ceremony. He rubbed at his unshaved chin, his palm grazing over rough stubbles, and smiled. Since his leave began on Christmas Eve, he’d been taking it easy, dropping his city airs and enjoying the local flavor.

Part of his distraction in this backwater was supposed to have been Dunni but after a week and seeing Dunni just once, he was thinking it may be time to step up the chase. He had asked her cousin for her phone number but Folarin had been giving him the runaround since. Maybe he needed to find out where her parents lived and take this thing to her doorstep. This wasn’t something he’d done before, pursuing a woman under his father’s nose, but since Boxing day in the church office, it was clear Dunni was different from any woman he’d known.

He recalled the last time he has seen her, she had certainly looked gorgeous. Dressed in rich pink lace and gele, she had looked nothing like the fierce but casual amazon he’d first met on the waterfalls trek or the American tourist he’d glimpsed at the Iddo station in Lagos. Instead, she had been beautiful with exquisite make-up, in a gown that hugged all her curves. The dress was low cut, and under the incandescent bulbs in the office, the dark skin of her shoulders had contrasted with the paler tops of her rounded breasts, both shimmering like polished metal. At first, surprise had stopped him in his tracks, as he adjusted his perception of her as only meant for a summer fling. Then he pushed the thought aside to move closer when she spoke and he heard the same Dunni, the voice had started off riled at his blatant appreciation of her curves. Desire had rose in him then, hot and fast, heat spreading from where she placed her hands on him.

She was trying to push him away, but when she’d come so close to him it was almost a hug, he’d perceived her attraction to him clearly. What he’d only suspected during the trek was confirmed by her husky voice as their bodies touched and he couldn’t resist going in for a kiss. He’d planned a short one, and that first one had been. But one had turned to two and then three. Her lips were soft and pliable under his, matching him stroke for stroke. Withdrawing to tease her about missing him, he’d been intensely turned on by her hoarse comeback. The confident challenge had fired every male gene in him, raising his temperature to scorching levels that only the coolness within her mouth could quench. Finding that she was lighter than he thought as he carried her to the desk, he was ready to take her there and then. That was until she brought him back to his senses by demanding for his name.

It was just as well too because that woman had interrupted them almost immediately. He had recognized the woman and greeted her, wondering what she could have to do with Dunni. But as he’d walked away still burning with lust, his thoughts were occupied with how he’d almost lost his head over a woman. He couldn’t believe that he’d seriously considered, even for a moment, having sex in his father’s office, and with parishioners milling around outside the church! It still baffled him but he wanted to believe it was just the thrill of a new and worthy quarry.
“Hey, man,” Kingley said, cutting into his thoughts. “Are we there yet?”
“The suya spot?” Babs aked. “It’s not far away now. Can you see that ‘it-was-white’ pillar on the other side of the roundabout? Next to the bank?”
“That is not a church?”
Babs shook his head. Kingsley’s assumption was an honest mistake because there seemed to be one in every street here, just like in Lagos. Though his father was a priest, or maybe because of it, Babs often wondered why people needed so many churches. The cathedral his father managed was rarely full except during ceremonies and yet new churches sprang up every other day. As they drew close to the roundabout, he noticed some commotion around the central statue on it. About five people thronged the lower dais upon which the statue stood. A few more steps later, Babs recognized her.
“Let’s cross over.” He motioned to Kingley.
“What’s up?”
Babs did not answer; looking both ways to be sure the road was clear and crossing hurriedly. The scuff of leather on the worn asphalt behind him indicated his friend was following. Babs made his way to the short man wearing a uniform of a dirty white top with green epaulettes over matching trousers. The traffic official was hollering at the top of his voice.
__________

TBC

Remember that this is work in progress, I'd really appreaciate any feedback and corrections.

Happy Monday everyone and wishing you all a great week.

Networking - 9jamom, DuduLove, FabAfriq and Waka-About

Do you remember 9jamom? They recently had a giveaway to their top ten fans with prizes including Jewelry Sets, Ankara Print Gele, and 9jamom-branded Tote Bags and T-shirts. I managed to snag the jewelry set pictured left which arrived some weeks ago and looks awesome. It is  courtesy of Afrimart, and you can check out their Facebook page for more gorgeous jewelry designs.

On another note, Dudunorth.com is an initiative by a blogger and is solely focused on Nigerian talent in Canada. It is a resource for helping locate needs such as restaurants, salons etc, as well as showcasing upcoming  events in Canada.. Dudunorth aims to bring the Nigerian community to one spot where they can share jokes, reminisce e.t.c. There is also a special section where upcoming weddings would be showcased as well as the "how we met stories".

A section on the dudunorth website equally intends to involve interested Nigerian writers in an endless love story. If you liked Cupid's Risk - free eBook on the right, head on over to Dudulove, and enjoy the already growing collection.

In other news, I contributed a series of Book Reviews to FabAfriq, an upcoming online and print magazine. Also, a review of A Love Rekindled is featured in the first print issue of FabAfriq. You can order the Magazine online for only #2.95.

Also, A Heart to Mend is listed as a highly recommended book in the November/December Edition of Waka-About, a travel magazine based out of Nigeria. The magazine is curated by Pelu Awofeso, one of the premier travel writers in the country. You can get this Magazine at Terra Kulture, Quintessence and The Hub (The Palms Shopping Mall), all on Lagos Island. All the recommended romance novels are published in the centre spread, and I hear the ladies are loving it so far. Interested buyers/subscribers can call Chinyere on 08028335118 or08067884551.



Marrying your Baby Daddy - when there's someone else

The doors opened and “Here Comes the Bride” tinkled from the piano. My dada and I started the customary slow-walk up the aisle. When we had gotten close enough, my dada reached out and gave me a hug and I tried to hold on for as long as I could. He gently disengaged himself and made to leave but I held on tight to his hand. He smiled at me. He had sympathy in his eyes. He understood but then, he discreetly rubbed the bulge that was my tummy and gave me a gentle stare.

I let go of his hand. At that point, it dawned on me that it was not just his hand I let go of. I had let go of part of me, his protection and cover, his name, my hometown, part of my tie to him…….I was leaving my father’s house to be in my husband’s! I stood rooted to the spot for about a minute till I heard my momma clear her throat. I smiled and thought, “I trust my momma to help put things in perspective”. I turned to climb the stairs to where Ranti, my husband-to-be was patiently waiting. My husband-to-be?! Not really. It was more like my baby papa who I am going to spend the rest of my life with.

As I took my seat, I scanned the crowd and saw Max. The minister had started to speak but I was not really paying attention. I have never seen Max this sorrowful in my whole life. My heart reached out to him and I felt a sharp stab of pain in my chest. I had betrayed the one person who should be standing before me here today in the place of Ranti. I should be changing my name today to Mrs Tonya Max Smith instead of Mrs Tonya Ranti Eleru that it will become.

I glanced over at Max again and I felt a wave of heat. My BFF, Desirae and his sister Michelle were at his sides, holding on tight to his hands, probably reassuring him that they were there to support him alone. Oh what a stupid mistake! I cast my mind back to that night...

Max had been abroad for over a year. I was sick of missing him and tired of spending Friday nights alone, watching dumb movies. No matter how much I tried, I just could not have fun. My world was cold and empty without Max. My parents where away for a two-week vacation to celebrate their anniversary and Desirae was spending the weekend at her fiancĂ©’s as he had just arrived from a one-month business trip.

Ranti was my crush from work but it was no big deal. Well, it was not until he showed up at my door step that lonely Friday. I knew better but I invited him in anyway. I was having some of dad’s vintage red wine and some fine small chops I had ordered out on my way from work. I had just dimmed the parlour lights and was about to watch a romantic movie. I mean, I was bored so the least I could do was give as much cinema effect as possible. I asked him to join me. We chatted a little and moved on to watch the movie I had rented.

When the small chops finished, I got out some chocolates from the fridge. Now, who does that? Take alcohol and aphrodisiac in a deserted place with dimmed lights while watching a romantic movie with your crush?! All I know is that I was already getting crushed by the end of the movie and the end result...

The memories fell out of my mind as we walked to the altar. Ranti began his vows and I glanced over at Max again. He looked like he was facing death itself. I could still hear him pleading with my dada to let him marry me regardless but my dada refused, saying he did not want matters to be any more complicated than they already were.

I presented my hand for Ranti to slip the ring on...

____________

Left to me I would say, don't do it. In as much a child deserves his father, the home he grows up in is very important too. What if the couple never hit it off, it's either a sad/abusive marriage, and/or divorce down the line. Not worth it to save face. SMH...

This is a short story by Evon Pink, and she blogs at Maxi Express! If you have any stories or articles you want to share here, contact me.

Beyonce's I was Here - Leaving footprints on the sands of time

It's buzzing all over the news how Beyonce revealed clips of her previously secret wedding in her new video for I Was Here. Of course, the highlight is the wedding gown which is shown twice, front and back views (see the video the cut). For me though, the lyrics are more important. I've always believed it is good to have models and to say it when someone inspires me, and I confess Beyonce does, through some of her songs, and even sometimes in her life.

This song contains one of the thoughts that drive how I live my life. It's not all about me, there has to be a purpose for which I'm here that is bigger than what I want or what will make me happy. I ask myself, what about other people? How can I affect their lives, how can I make a difference? For me, that is the best perk of being a writer - creating something, and having the opportunity through my words, to reach out to so many other people. It's not about the money, nor about the fame, even as these can come in useful, but about viral ideas and influence. It's about sharing something you're passionate about, and having other people tap into it or benefit from it.

Someone complain that people who have a passion to change the world ought not to have families because they end up disappointing their loved ones by giving a large chunk of their time and energy to their passion. This can be true, and so I'm always impressed and want to learn from those who have found a balance. Those who live, who love, and at the same time, were there for their bigger community. For those who are married, it certainly helps when both of them share in that passion. But married, yet to, or single, we can DO something that will show when we're gone, that we were here.



I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that, and something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I'll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember, so they won't forget

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here

I want to say I lived each day, until I die
And know that I meant something in, somebody's life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-was-here-lyrics-beyonce-knowles.html ]
I will leave my mark so everyone will know

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here

I just want them to know
That I gave my all, did my best
Brought someone to hapiness
Left this world a little better just because

I was here

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here

From MetroLyrics.com BEYONCE KNOWLES - I WAS HERE LYRICS

Getting to know you Blogfest

1. Name two [romantic suspense] authors who inspire you.

Nora Roberts and Francine Rivers. I love Nora R. for her versatility and longevity, as well as how prolific she has been. The fact that she uses a pen name in some of her writing, just like I do also means I have a special spot for her.

Francine is just such an awesomewriter, my best romance novel so far is Redeeming Love. The way she plumbs my emotions is almost second to none. She may be considered more inspirational romance than romantic suspense but her books do keep me on tenterhooks till I'm done.

2. How did you start writing in your genre?

I've been reading romance novels since I was around 10 or so, from Bertha M.Clay, to Barbara Cartland and Denis Robins and finally the Mills and Boon/ Harlequin series. When I started writing a novella in my second year in University, I think romance came naturally.

3. You've landed a meeting with your dream agent. Write a one paragraph pitch to sell your novel to him/her. (This is still tentative)

While in Nigeria, fiery Dunni is seduced by the perfect smile of local lothario, Babs, and starts a holiday romance. But their sizzling affair soon matures into something deeper as Babs proves he’s more than just a hot body. When Dunni finds out that he may have gotten someone else pregnant, will their fledgling love survive Bab’s decision to face up to his responsibilities?

4. Sabotage or accident- which would put your female lead through and why?

Sabotage. I think this leads to more excitement and confusion, definitely more suspense.

5. Plotter or Pantser? Who are you?

Is there an inbetween? I plot a little, I know the story, and I know some of the scenes and characters, and then I start writing.

____________

This Blogfest is a carryover from the Platform Building Campaign and was organised by JL Campbell of the Character Depot

The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn 1

The book was supposed to be for teenagers, but it has since moved beyond that. Now we have grown women, including myself taking sides on team Edward or Team Jacob, a fictional vampire and a werewolf. SMH @ Myself. Anyway, who's seeing it this weekend?

Playing Second Fiddle to your Man's Job

Read the following story and tell me if you think Vonny did the right thing. What would you do in her shoes?
____

I was feeling real good and was headed out to Beck's Lounge for a little hang time with my gals. As I strolled leisurely along Torres Avenue, someone bellowed my name. I turned and........Christ, I haven't seen this guy in months!

"Steeeeeve!" I screamed as we both ran to hug each other. We were still busy forming 'long lost love' when a car horn blared, forcing us off the middle of the road. Never mind the driver's cursing, Steve and I had a lot to catch up on. With my initial date temporarily forgotten, we headed to the closest eatery. I was still filling Steve in on 'what's new' when my three phones started buzzing all at once. With profuse apologies, I placated my gals and then agreed to come back to Steve in two hours.

My friends were sulking when I got to Beck's Lounge. I apologized again and soon enough, we were 'sniffing' up some Smirnoff with nkwobi while updating each other on other people's relationships- you know the girl gossip thingy now. Two hours flew by quickly and my pals made faces when I told them I had to leave.

As I walked off, one of them yelled, "Vonny, na man dey make you run leave us, shey?"

I chuckled and thought, how true that is. As I got into a cab, I began reminiscing on my first meeting with Steve several months ago.

My computer has been blanking out on me repeatedly in the past few days, causing me to lose some of my work each time. So that last day it happened, I took it as the perfect excuse to see my gal-buddy, Rebecca, and drag her to lunch with me. Now Rebecca owns Becca ICT Inc. so of course, my laptop will be fixed with no charge. As I climbed up the stairs to Becca's, a guy darted from a corner and ran into me, causing me to drop my laptop. He apologized profusely but it was of no use, my laptop was gone! Becca was out in seconds, apologizing and offering to get me another. The guy was one of her staff so the loss made Becca feel really bad. We still got to talk a bit as I picked a new one, but couldn't go for lunch.

I was over at Lagoon restaurant the next day, waiting for my brother so we could have our once-a-month dinner when I spotted the guy from Becca's office, strolling in. I bowed my head hoping if wouldnt see me.

"Hello there. We didnt get properly acquinted yesterday. I am Steve. Do you mind if I join you till your guest arrives?"

He didnt wait for a reply and note, he didnt say anything about my laptop. My initial thought was to throw him off but I changed my mind and he turned out to be a lot of fun. After an hour, it was more than apparent that my brother had stood me up, so we just went on enjoying the evening.

By now you may have guessed that Steve and I became a little more than friends but that's it! We have never been able to move past there- which is nowhere. Barely two months after the incident with my laptop, Steve left Becca's to start his own company. I was ecstatic! We got along great but Steve was so into his company that there was no room for 'us' to exist. Three months after he started his company, I got called out of Lagos for two months to voice a 3D animated movie, and we became lost in our separate worlds.

Once out of the taxi, I strode towards the eatery, barely able to contain my excitement. At the door, I stopped short. Steve was already sitted inside, waiting for me. Looking at him through the glass door now, I felt it wrong to walk in there and more or less, start all over again. Steve is the best but he is married to his work. He is the kind of guy you might have to date(alongside his job) for six years before he marries you, only to play second fiddle to his job.

The thought of it all overwhelmed me with sadness. I slowly let go of the door handle I had been holding and walked away.

_______

This is a short story by Evon Pink, and she blogs at Maxi Express! If you have any stories or articles you want to share here, contact me.


The Son of your Father's Concubine - Seun Salami

One sweet morning, I opened my email to check for new messages and the first had the same subject as the title of this post. I must confess, my heart sped up. I blinked and opened the email. It began...

Hello Myne, Okay...just to be clear, the subject is actually the title of my new book and nothing else. It is a collection of eight short stories dealing with subjects like rape, faith, the search for identity/adventure, etc but they are all tragedies. Many people have said it's a very lovely title...

I stopped there and had a nice laugh. Lovely title ko, sweet title ni, lol. It is definitely a catchy title though. I was intrigued enough to reply the email and want to know the young man who sent it better. I'll let him take it away now...

My name is ‘Seun Salami, I was born in Ogun State, Nigeria. I have a BSc in Journalism from the Lagos State University and I just concluded an MSc in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos. I’m first a writer and then I also work as an editor at a publishing firm. I read a lot and my job also means that I get to read a lot of books before they are published. My debut collection of short stories has just been published; it’s called The Son of your Father’s Concubine.

When and why did you begin writing?

I would have loved to tell you that I started writing from my mother’s womb or at a very tender age and all those nice things but unfortunately, I am not one of such people. Although I read a lot when I was younger, my early medium of expression was drawing which a lot of people said I did very well. I remember on one family occasion, I sat in a corner and drew one of the guests and then presented the picture at the end of the event. So, naturally, I did well in technical drawing and my dream was to become an architect. I even had building plans I drew before I got into secondary school. But then it wasn’t until third term of SS2 that I discovered what my real gifting was. I was having difficulties with Physics and here I was preparing for my ‘Senior WAEC’ as it was called, so I knew I needed help.

I visited my guidance counsellor (at Kings College in Lagos) and after series of questions about my abilities, the man (Mr. Olabode) told me clearly that I was better of as an Arts student. It was like a bombshell. Cut the long story short, I made the switch at the 99th. Interestingly, before then, I was already a member of the Drama Club, Press Club, Debating Society and everything else but the Science Club. In the Drama club where I often played the female roles, we acted out most of the plays like The gods are not to blame, Marriage of Anansewa and poems like Nightfall in Soweto which the Literature students were reading as part of school work; so I already knew most of them very well. After my first exam as a Literature student, I had the highest score and the rest as they say is history.

What inspires you to write? 
I think reading inspires my writing. I think so. I read a lot, it’s scary because I can stay up all night reading a book but I can’t do that for a movie because I don’t have the patience to see out movies that’s why I don’t do cinemas. I usually get inspired to write after I have read something. I might feel something was not written the best way it could have been done or I come across a character that says something that gives me an idea of something entirely different. But beyond all of that, I think the source of all of the ideas is the spirit of God who gives the ultimate inspiration. Some people have read my book and said to me that they do not believe I came up with some of those things and that it had to either have been something I experienced or the inspiration of God. I think the latter is true.

What was your publishing journey like, from thinking of the book idea to holding it in your hands?
Again, I do not fall into the category of authors that spent years looking for an agent before getting a publisher. I work at a publishing firm called Bookvine (an imprint of Vine Media) and I have edited books that the organisation has published. So, that made things a bit easy in terms of getting it published. Most of the stories in my book were written in 2009 while I was undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service in Nigeria. I had some time on my hands and since all I did was read, it naturally produced my writings; all sorts of things but I didn’t plan that I was going to publish a collection of short stories.

One of the stories was actually supposed to be a full length novel but I found that short stories just kept coming. I also completed a non-fiction book for students in that one year. However, it was when I returned to Lagos and picked up my copy of Chimamanda’s The thing around your neck, to re-read, that it occurred to me that I actually had a collection of about twelve short stories that could be published and I started working on them again. Eight of them eventually made the cut.

Why short stories? Do you plan to write a novel too?
Short stories come naturally to me. I can’t really say why, but they just come naturally. Although I cannot be called a ‘short story writer’ because I also write non-fiction and I’m working on my first novel. The novel is an epic, set in ancient Yorubaland in Nigeria. I think it’s going to be something big and I’m taking my time to write it, two years in the least. I’ve spent more money buying books and research materials for it than I have spent on clothes this year, so hopefully, I should come up with something very rich and very special and it can be published in a couple of years. I also have a non-fiction book I have completed; it is called Good - Better - Best.

Discuss one of the stories in your book.
This is tough. Ordinarily, I should like to discuss the title story, The Son of your Father’s Concubine. It is about a chaste Christian girl in the church choir who was raped on her way home from a vigil on Saturday of Easter. She got pregnant and didn’t realise early enough and her world takes a turn for the worse. Her parents and the church instead of supporting her, turned their backs since she refused to confess who she had been ‘fornicating’ with. A year later, she meets the man who raped her and he is now a pastor. From then, the story takes an unprecedented twist. I actually love the conclusion and end of that story very much. But then, my best is Pastor Jay is dead which is about a campus pastor who came back from the dead to win a soul; it’s quite dramatic.

Do you have a major theme that runs through all the stories?
 Although it wasn’t planned, all the stories turned out to be tragedies in one way or the other; but each one is extremely thought provoking and full of lessons.

What books have most influenced your life most?
 If it is about life in general, the one book that has made the most impact on my life is Holy Spirit, my Senior Partner by Benny Hinn because it was a paradigm shift after I read that book. But in literature, the books are countless, really.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
 Another tough one. You said, a writer, so that would be Chimamanda (Ngozi Adichie). I love her a lot, though we’ve only met once and I’m not sure she can remember me if she sees me today. But I love her courage and bravery; she is very daring and her writing is daring. I can’t write some of the things Chimamanda writes, she is just too bold and I love that. But in life, I have mentors in different things; chief of them is Fela Durotoye to whom I owe a lot of the things I know and the person I have become over the last two years.

What books are you reading now?
 I’m reading a ‘Teach Yourself’ book for writers to help me understand how to assist the publishers in promoting and marketing my book amongst other things. But naturally, I also have a lot of books waiting and I just bought Half of a Yellow Sun for the third time because I can’t find the last one I bought (someone must have taken it) and I’m going to read it again after my book has gained some momentum.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
 New authors; I think Steve Harris stands out. I edited his first book From College Drop-out to Corporate Sell-out and for a first time author; I thought it was absolutely brilliant! I’ve also seen his second book which is more like fiction and it is amazing, so I like him. I also like Lola Shoneyin. I read The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and I thought she did a great job. Just that I’m not sure if she is a new author.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
 I think that would be the fact that there is no constant power supply (yet) in Nigeria. It is a bit difficult, especially for someone like me that likes to write on my laptop directly. Once power is off, I begin to pray for my battery life and once that goes off too, I have to start tweeting or doing something else while the thoughts and story line evaporates.

Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
 I’m sure you know that by now. (Smiles)

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
 It is tough. Very. There is a lot to be done, especially with structures for distribution and promotion of books. Interestingly, there are great authors in Nigeria, but Nigeria is not the place where you want to set up a publishing industry (yet) so many of them either have to go abroad or self publish their book.

What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
 Well, I used to think Nigerians don’t like to read, but I have recently found that if your book is good and you get people to know about it, they are willing to read. I walk into bookshops these days and I can’t find some books because the sellers say they are out of print. We may not be reading as much as the rest of the world, but there is something Nigerians want to read, if you write it, they’ll buy it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Well, I guess the major news at the moment is the fact that the book is out there, even as we prepare for the official launch and book reading. It will hold on Sunday, November 20 in Ikeja, Lagos. I will be reading with inspirational speaker, Steve Harris and Sokleva a member of a hip-hop group (Rooftop MCs). A female celebrity will also join us to read the title story. I will be signing books at the event and I can answer as many questions as possible there while we listen to music and have some fun.

Where can we get your book?
The book is available at major bookshops in lagos as well as selected places in other states; Hub Media Stores, Silverbird Lifestyle Stores, Terra Kulture, Debonair Bookshop, University of Ibadan bookshop, Obafemi Awolowo University Bookshop and Bundle of Joy in GRA, Benin.

Do you have an online presence?
I think so (smiles). My twitter handle is @SeunWrites and I try to tweet as much as possible. I also have a facebook account (‘Seun Salami). I write a column on YNaija.com (which I hope to resume actively once this book reading is done) and I’m working on a personal website. But the publisher’s website has some information and a free e-copy of a story in my book. You can check it out at www.vinemediang.com

Applicants for US Visa Lottery Reduce, Canada Introduces Super Visa

One of my relatives applied for the diversity visa lottery last year and got an email around March telling them they got through. A few weeks later, another email came, saying it was a computer failure and they're sorry, the person did not make it. Can you imagine? Anyone who knows how most Nigerians regard the visa lottery as a ticket to heaven will understand what a let down that is.

Anyway, I'm not surprised that as the application period just ended, the US State Department says only 8 million people applied. This is in comparison to last year's figure of 15 million. The Department is saying it is because it removed Bangladesh from the list, but they can go and tell that to the birds. Apart from the disappointment with the system failure, there is the situation of the economy in the United States.

The past few years have been terrible, and it was all over the news how unemployment rates had shot up and how people were losing their homes. Knowing how we're everywhere, I'm sure many Nigerians in America must have been personally affected, and some would have advised their people back home not to bother applying. I even know of several people who actually returned to Nigeria at the height of the crisis. That will certainly not encourage anyone to want to come over.

Another likelihood is that as third world countries stabilize and begin to maximise their own economies, there will be less poor to rich country migration. One can't also rule out the power of the internet. Where once people in such third world countries depended on a few filtered media channels for stale news, nowadays, news is disseminated instantly on blogs, online websites, etc. As people home and abroad, share photos and notes on Facebook and Twitter, the more the mirrored glass walls are broken down.

On Canada, well they seem to be keeping far away from the mistakes of the US, they've just announced a new two-year, multi-entry "super visa" for parents and grandparents of Canadian immigrants. The multiple-entry visa will be valid for up to 10 years, and will allow applicants to remain for 2 years in Canada before requiring a renewal. Launching December 1, the visas will be issued about 8 weeks after the application.

I remember a post by Good Naija Girl on Marrying for Papers, where she discussed how Canadian citizens who file for their spouses to immigrant have to be liable for them for about 3 years or so. This is a similar situation. The children who bring in their parents and grandparents will be responsible for all the expenses of the new migrant including health. They do not qualify for state benefits or other programs.
When you think about it, Canada will be making money hand over fist. Their population will increase and lead to a bigger economy which expands as more people begin to spend more. Their airways and tourist, as well as immigration bodies will make some good dollars from these visitors - travel fares, lodging, immigration fees, etc. In addition, I hear that buying a personal health insurance plan will be one of the requirements for those that seek the visa. The European countries should borrow some pages from whoever wrote this policy :)

BTW, what is Nigeria doing while all this is going on? Let me not go there, Jonathan is...

Book Launch - String Bridge by Jessica Bell

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for freeAll you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to: jessica.carmen.bell(at)gmail(dot)com. She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperbackAmazon USA, Amazon UK
To purchase the eBookAmazon USAAmazon UK
To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.



If you are not familiar with String Bridge, check out the book trailer:



Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Ashley Billasano - Social Media and Sucide

I read about the teenager who tweeted and committed suicide on  Bumight's post - For Ashley Billasano. A few months ago it was Motunrayo Ogbara's suicide all over the blogs and Twitter. This got me thinking. Is it that there is more suicide now, or simply that it is more reported in the media? More disturbing, why is it usually so closely related to social media? Is there a danger that people are copying others who they see or hear commit suicide on Twitter or Facebook?

Social media guru, Trey Pennington wrote on twitter: 'Sure am thankful for online friends who are real friends offline, too. Love you.' just hours before his death. In Seoul, a former DJ tweeted, “I’m going to commit suicide. To all of you, even those who shared the slightest friendship with me, I love you,” and went ahead to hang himself. Clementi, the guy who committed suicide after being outed said farewell via Facebook: "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry." Some of you may remember Simone black, whose friends did nothing to help after she posted on FB, 'Took all my pills, bye bye'.
There are even more cases, and close similarities, that I'm left with more questions instead of answers. Will socialized suicides become so common that more people think it's no big deal and do the same? Will we only shrug and move on when such news break?

But there is some hope, Facebook has partnered with The Samaritans to help prevent suicide. They even have a dedicated help page for those who may have friends affected. Also, in South Africa, a community on Twitter was able to stop a mother of two from killing herself. They tweeted love and support to her and spread her details till she was found and secured. It also made the main network news when the same happened with a follower of Demi Moore back in early days of Twitter in 2009.

One thing is certain,  we can't negate these connections we make online. Like I said in my Blog Abandoned post, I wonder where and how bloggers who disappear are, and hope they're OK. It may seem our collective memories are very short, but we do remember. News like this may go away, but it never dies. Some people knew Ashley Billasano personally, chatted with her on twitter, read her last tweets and tried to help and encourage her. How are they feeling now? Guilty, lost, betrayed?

To be honest, I am a bit confused by all this. I may say suicide is not an option, or that it is not a way out of depression or life's problems. I wish they would think of those they left behind, their friends and family who care for them and who will bear that loss for the rest of their lives. But who am I to talk really? Have I walked in their shoes? Even if I don't understand them, I can decide to be human, and show a heart.

For Ashley Billasano, Motunrayo Ogbara and those who could not bear it anymore. Rest in Peace.

For those still alive, and who are in pain. Please reach out and seek help. I pray peace for you, and life.

How to improve your Alexa Blog Ranking

In one of the blogging tips posts I did titled "I want more Comments", Amb Caleb commented that he needed some tips on ranking. That got me thinking because I didn't have a ready answer for him. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as if I hadn't heard of blog rankings before, but, I had never really done anything beyond that.

I had found out about both Pagerank and Alexa earlier this year on one of my blog improvement wanderings around the interwebs. Google Pagerank measures the reputation of your site based on the weight it gets via search engines and is ranked between 1 and 10, the bigger the better. Alexa ranks your place among other sites based on traffic and other indicators and the closer you are to 1, the better. Google.com ranks #1 and some blogs I checked were up to 25 million. When I first checked , I was happy with my Pagerank 4 (both nairaland and Bellanaija are also 4), and though a bit confused by the Alexa ranking of 1.5 million.

At first I thought 1.5million is OK if some are 25mill, but when I compared the ranking of my blog to some other related sites, it became obvious that I was missing something. Nairaland is 1k, Bellanaija and Linda Ikeji are around 10k. As I monitored,, I saw some new websites shoot straight to less than 200k in a week, and with virtually a tenth of my traffic. What was going on? What was the secret?

One may wonder why the need for such rankings. This is because most advertisers use Pagerank and Alexa rankings as the determinants of how much to pay for the clicks or impressions their ads get on sites and blogs. So, if you have ads on your blog, maybe google adsense or other affiliate or clickback and want to earn more income, you should be interested on how to improve your ranking.  If you also write paid reviews or paid blogposts, good rankings also grant you a better bargaining power with those that want to pay for posts on your blog.

It was time for me to investigate. And I found it wasn't even a secret. It is right there on the Alexa website. Their rankings are only based on visitors to your blog or website who use their toolbar. So that was it, the toolbar? I was sceptical at first and decided to use my Google Fu. All the sites on the front page agreed that installing the tool bar is the number one way to improve your Alexa ranking. Some had other options, from about 5 strategies, up to 20 tricks. The toolbar was common in all, the others could have been just ways to improve your traffic. The thinking being that as your traffic improves, the more likely it is that browsers using the Alexa toolbar will be among your visitors.

Anyway, I still wasn't convinced. I had to try it out myself. I registered my other site, www.naijastories.com, on Alexa, then created and installed a toolbar. The toolbar I installed was on an Internet Explorer browser which I rarely used, and only for visiting Naijastories in this experiment. Within one week, the ranking jumped from 900k to 500k. After I saw the results, I began to use the IE browser to visit this blog. The ranking has now gone from 1.4 million to 900k. In two days! If I were in the court, I would say, "no further comments, your honor", lol...

For those interested, check your Google Pagerank, and download an Alexa Toolbar.

Remember, your Alexa ranking is just to help you track your efforts in blogging and maybe earn more. At the end of the day, the joy in blogging is to write what you like, and to interact with your visitors. Only great content and a stand-out personality will get your readers coming back for more. Happy blogging!

How not to discipline a child - Judge's daughter releases video

See, I was born and raised in Nigeria where corporal punishment is allowed from primary through secondary school and so I'm a bit immune to beatings (one major disadvantage of punishments). However, my parents only administered the cane when necessary, and there were never whips or belts flying around.

I recently read about how a daughter, now 23, released a video of her father, a judge, whipping her when she was 16. Mike's post on Sparing the Rod was fresh on my mind then and I couldn't help wincing as I watched the blows land on the girl. Why would parents do that to their own child? Why would you vent your anger on a child in the name of punishment? And the mother, telling the girl to take it like a grown woman. What grown woman would take that kind of beating from another person?

Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the internet - YouTube:


Now I believe in discipline for children, but I think one should be restrained when it comes to spanking, beating or whipping. And when the child is a teenager, there are surely other ways to correct or punish them in a less brutal and more rational manner? Sometimes, like in this video, it appears that the parent just wants to bully the child instead of training them in the way they should grow.

Apart from the beating, what also turned me off so much was the swearing. I just cannot stand cursing, and especially in front of children. The judge needs to wash his mouth with soap. The girl being beaten is 16 and a smaller child of less than 10 appeared at the beginning of the video too. What sort of example is that?

Well, with the outcry this video has gotten, I hope more people know how not to discipline a child. It really shouldn't hurt to be a child.

WIP - Falling in love with the Player


Still confused and fuming, Dunni called her cousin after she got home from the memorial service two days ago to express her displeasure on having her plans scuttled. Toyin apologized and they agreed to meet two days later at her aunt’s village home where Toyin was staying with her children for the holiday visit.
Now, Dunni approached the large wooden door slowly, then stopped to study the intricate carvings before her. The six panels on the door had various themes from the story of Jesus – the savior as a baby with his mother, the Sermon on the Mount, his crucifixion and the resurrection among others. What amazed her was the detailing that had gone into the carving. Dunni moved closer, discovering as she rubbed her hands over the polished surface of the wood, that it as as smooth as the cover of the aluminuim vacuum flask which she used to take her own coffee to work. With reluctance, she raised her hand and banged the knocker.

Folarin opened the door. “Hey…”
They exchanged greetings and then Dunni stated the reason for her visit.
“Is Toyin home?” she asked, following Folarin into the cool interior of the house.
 “She’s upstairs with mom. It’s the first door on the left at the stop of the stairs.”
Thanking Folarin and then following his directions, the echoes of her heels as they struck against the terrazzo floor preceded her until she got to the top of the staircase where her feet sank into some plush carpet. Following the voices she recognized as her aunt’s and Toyin’s, she soon came to the room she wanted. The door was open so she just walked in. The room was a small library, decorated in wood paneling, and with shelves up to the ceiling.
“Good afternoon, Ma.” She knelt down as she greeted her aunt. “Toyin, hi.”
“Dunni, welcome.”
“Ah, Dunni, you’re here. Toyin told me you were coming. How are you?” Her aunt was seated behind a medium-sized desk and she was getting up as she spoke.
“I’m fine, thank you, Ma.” Dunni joined Toyin on one of the armchairs before the desk and watched as her aunt moved around it and walked towards the door.
“I’ll leave you girls alone to talk. I know you must have a lot to catch up.”
Her aunt closed the door behind her and Dunni turned to Toyin immediately.
“Your apologies from Boxing Day are so not accepted, dear. What happened?”
Toyin laughed. “You’re such a firebrand, little cousin. Relax for Jesus, abeg.”
“Oh, it’s like that now?”
“Yes o,” Toyin replied, “Who is Babs Falade?”
Dunni was taken unawares. Trust her cousin to be as blunt as possible.
Toyin laughed as she stood and moved across the room to plop herself down on the sofa. She patted the seat beside her. “Come and join me here, let’s get comfortable. And don’t be so surprised, I just heard the interesting news from Folarin this morning.”
Dunni walked over, picking her words as she spoke. “So, that’s his name?”
“You didn’t know his name?” Toyin laughed again, slapping Dunni on the thigh.
“Well, I knew he was Babs but I didn’t know his surname.” And that had almost got her in trouble that day in the priest’s office. “Oh yes, I found out he was the deacon’s son on the day of the memorial service. By the way, what did Folarin say?”
“You’ll like to know, won’t you? He said the guy has been asking him a lot about you since the day you all went hill climbing. Folarin bumped into him yesterday and he asked for your number. So now, little brother wants me to get your phone number for onward transmission.”
“Really?” Dunni didn’t know what else to say.
“Close your eyes, or they’ll pop out,” Toyin laughed. “The guy wants to know you more, and you have nothing to say?”
“I don’t want to know him,” Dunni retorted. She already knew more than she cared to about the local lothario. She remembered Mrs. Sofola, her arranged mother-in-law saying how everyone knew he loved women. And each time she’d seen him, Babs himself had confirmed it. First ogling her at the Erin-Ijesha falls and then kissing her the very next time they met. When her conscience reminded her that she hadn’t exactly said no to his advances, she shut it up.
“Isn’t he like the black sheep in these parts?”
“What do you mean?”
“He came across to me, like one who he loves women.”
Toyin shrugged, “Have you considered that it could be that the women flock around his good looks too?”
Dunni shook her head, “In fact he said it himself.”
“I won’t debate with you then. From what I know of him though, he’s the perfect gentleman, down to earth and respectful. I first met him when he accompanied his father to see my mom some years ago soon after the deacon moved here. It turned out we were in the set from the University of Ilorin. Small world that it is, I’ve bumped into him several times since then. He also lives and works in Lagos.”
“Yeah, Folarin said that after we left the hike.”
“I think he works for one investment company or the other, and he’s doing very well from what I hear.” Toyin waggled her eyebrows.
“Be serious, Toyin,” Dunni pushed at her cousin. “What do I care about that?” Dunni had never cared about how much a man earned as a way to judge whether to date him or not.
“I think women should care o. Long term, you need security for you and the children.”
“Whoa. Who is talking about long term and children here? Have you forgotten that I’ll be going back to the States halfway through January?”
Toyin sighed and sat back. “That’s true. I was joking a little, but when I see a lovely unmarried lady like you, and you’re my cousin too, I want to believe it will work with any eligible bachelor. And Babs is a cutie, you both will look smashing together.” She turned to Dunni and wagged a finger, “Don’t think that because I’m married I don’t notice when another man is attractive.”
Dunni could not deny Babs looks either, but her cousin’s earlier words stuck with her. While she was pleased at being described as lovely and smashing, it was annoying that her cousin wanted to play matchmaker too. Not when she still had her mother’s plans over her head.

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