While some passions live on the surface, others—wilder, darker passions—have to be kept buried deep.
Dr. Leo Rotherham is following his calling by working in rural Kenya for the charity Medics On Hand. While he expected a primitive way of life and limited medical supplies, what he doesn’t bargain on is falling for handsome village warrior, Malik.
Malik is well respected, knowledgeable and loyal to his tribe. He’s also beautiful, brave, modern and, much to Leo’s dismay, married—isn’t he?
No, it turns out Malik is as free as the animals that roam the African plains at night.
Soon the tension is building between the two men and Leo isn’t sure if he’s coming or going. Whenever he’s around Malik he can’t help but notice the reflected look of lust in his eyes and feel the longing sizzling between them.
Malik stands too close, not close enough. Forbidden attraction simmers between them and the need grows to dizzying heights. But dare they admit to each other what it is they want? And are they brave enough to act on their desires and be honest about their lust? One thing is for sure, a passion this big, this powerful, can’t be contained and it’s all going to explode in the most spectacular of ways.
Excerpt: (As found at Totally Bound website)
Leo Rotherham gripped the lap belt securing him to the creaky plastic seat. He’d known that the trip from Nairobi to the furthest corner of Moshi was going to be tiresome but he was so exhausted it was an effort to even sit upright.
The pothole-laden, two-tire track they’d been winding along for the last few hours really didn’t help matters either, nor did the fact that he’d finished his water and the driver sitting next to him had such awful body odor he feared his olfactory nerves had been permanently damaged.
He glanced out of the window, which, despite the intense heat, was wound up. The dust, he’d soon found out, was intolerable and swept in sharp gusts through the smallest crack.
“We nearly there, Doctor Leo,” the driver said.
“Great,” Leo replied.
He was treated to a gappy grin. Why the driver, Salim, had so few teeth, Leo didn’t know. He was only a young man, perhaps early twenties, yet he had hardly any enamel. He also had bright pink gums and plump lips that were thick and dark.
Leo licked his own dry lips and held on as the Jeep jolted through a particularly nasty hole. It was so deep it made the vehicle squeak and creak in complaint and his behind left the seat for a moment before crashing back down.
“The mountain is there,” Salim said, pointing at Kilimanjaro looming in the distance. He didn’t seem to notice the rough ride.
“Mmm, yes, it’s beautiful.”
And it was, but Salim wafting his arm around had increased the pungent smell in the enclosed space.
Leo shut his eyes and held in a cough. He’d admire the stunning mountain later, when he was in the open air and not peering at it through a windscreen splattered with mud and bugs.
He’d never thought voluntary work for the charity Medics On Hand would be an easy task—never once convinced himself it would be glamorous or sophisticated—but he’d hoped he’d be able to breathe. Surely that was a basic right.
“The hospital is very excited that I bring you today.” Salim steered around a deep pit in the track that would have taken out the suspension.
“Good, I’m glad. Are we nearly there?” Leo narrowly missed whacking his head on the window as the vehicle lurched.
“Yes. We nearly there, very nearly there.”
Leo heaved a sigh of relief. Nearly two hundred miles in a twenty-year-old Jeep through scrubland and along dirt roads lined with prickly trees—hiding goodness only knew what creatures—was about all he could take, especially after a twelve-hour flight from London.
London. Boy, that felt like a long time ago. His mock Tudor semi in Brixton already seemed a thing of the past. The rooms still held all of his furniture but the kitchen cupboards were empty and a gardener had been paid to keep a check on the lawn and shrubs. Seeing it again in a month’s time felt like a long way off.
“Your room is ready for you at the hospital,” Salim said. “I, myself, painted the walls last week.”
“That was very kind of you,” Leo said.
“Not kind, necessary.” Salim studied Leo and pulled a face. “They were covered in mess. We didn’t want our new doctor to have to sleep in such a place. Now it is bright and shiny and waiting for you. Clean covers on the bed too. Sister Afua organized that.” Salim sighed. “She is so good. So good to everyone and beautiful too.”
Leo smiled, sensing the youngster’s love for the head nurse who he’d heard great things about from the guys at the charity.
“You will like her, a lot.” Salim nodded enthusiastically. “You have a wife, yes?”
“Er, no. I don’t.” Leo held up his left hand, showing his empty ring finger. “No wife.”
“Oh.” Salim frowned. “Girlfriend then?”
“Nope, no girlfriend.”
Salim continued to sport a worried expression. “Sister Afua is someone I love very much. She is very special to me.”
“It sounds as if she does wonderful work with the local people,” Leo replied.
“She does, yes. And I love her for that and…” Salim patted his chest. “I love her in here, in my heart, in my soul.”
“Well, I’m pleased for you. Love is very precious and when you find it, you should hold on to it tight and not let go.”
Apparently satisfied that the new doctor wasn’t about to steal Sister Afua from him, at least not straight away, Salim smiled once again and continued on the dusty journey.
Leo stared straight ahead. There’d never been a woman in his life. He just wasn’t wired that way. He’d flirted, sure, and certainly he’d been flirted with—nurses, patients and other doctors. But he’d never fallen for a girl, never even got further than a quick kiss and a grope at a teen disco years ago. He’d finally admitted to himself and his parents in the second year of medical school that he was gay and the relief had been enormous, especially when he’d sparked a relationship with another doctor, Hans, and they’d moved in together.
Five blissful years of companionship, love and understanding had all come crashing down eighteen months ago. Hans had felt the tug of home, Germany, and the tug of another lover. The split had been full of tension. There had been finances to sort out after such a long time living together and also the painful matter of dividing friends.
Leo had done pretty well on the whole—buying Hans out of his portion of their home—the mock Tudor—and keeping the local friends for himself.
But still… Eighteen months later he needed more, which was why he was trundling along a track in one of the most dangerous regions of Kenya with his medical license hanging around his neck and a gut full of nerves.
“Ah, it is here. Look, the village.” Salim pointed ahead, catching his hand on a strange raggy doll hanging from his rear-view mirror.
Leo peered forward. Out of the heat haze and the swirls of dust clouds he could see a settlement—huts with dark straw roofs, makeshift pens for animals and rows of crops that appeared thirsty and wilting.
“Cagaha Buurta,” Salim said. “It means ‘mountain feet’. You see, we are at the feet of the great mountain, an honorable place to live.”
“Yes,” Leo said. “It is indeed.”
As they drew closer, he couldn’t help but be shocked by just how primitive Cagaha Buurta was. He’d known it would be basic but had been promised running water and intermittent electricity in the hospital at least.
“We are very proud of our land,” Salim said. “It is part of who we are.”
“It is…beautiful,” Leo managed.