Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I’m hosting Suitors and Sweethearts, a contemporary romance, African-American Boxset.  Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway.


Title: Suitors & Sweethearts: An African Romance Box Set
Authors: Kiru Taye, Unoma Nwankwor, Nana Prah, Empi Baryeh, Zee Monodee, Nkem Akin
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: February 7, 2023

BOUND TO FATE by Kiru Taye
All Ike wants to do is to keep out of trouble and get through the one-year internship required for his degree program. But trouble finds him, in the form of the intelligent and brave Lara who turns his world upside down. Falling in love is forbidden. So why does it feel so right? Love like theirs cannot be denied. But catastrophe lies in wait and one-night changes their lives forever.

VEGAS NIGHTS by Unoma Nwankwor
A woman scared of being hurt again is bent on playing it safe.
A man determined to stay focused and never experience poverty again.
One night on the wild side that changes everything.

Blaise is on the verge of taking African Francophone countries by storm with his new style of music. Learning how to sing in French without butchering the beautiful language is harder than he thought. Multi-linguist, Lamisi is the key to his success. When his presence in her life puts her in danger, will he end the budding relationship in order to keep her safe?

When Lord—his given name, not a title—sets his sights on Chantelle, he has more than work on his mind. Yet, even the infamous playboy couldn’t have predicted the magnetic attraction from the moment they met, nor the evening ending with more than just an interview. But now he has to convince Chantelle that their one-night stand wasn’t a mistake… and that not all bachelors are heartbreakers.

Eldest sister of the Hemant sibling trio, Lara, returns to Mauritius as a divorcee and she comes across Eric, the man she loved as a teenager and gave up because their interracial relationship would not stand a chance on this island. But here comes a second chance: Eric wants her back in his life, and he will stop at nothing to win her back. Will Lara be her own worst enemy and thus end up unhappy ever after?

“Efe Sagay grew up and went to school in Nigeria. While attending school she met the love of her life, her soul mate, the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with…Kevwe Mukoro. And the feelings were duplicated by Kevwe. As soon as Efe graduated, they would be married. This was the dream and this was the plan. But real life doesn’t always see things the way we do. The perfect future can always be destroyed by unforeseen circumstances.” ~ Martha A. Cheves, Author.

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Have you got two minutes?” Olu poked his head into Ike’s office.

“Sure.” Ike stood up and grabbed his jacket from the back of his leather armchair. “I was just heading out for a meeting. We can walk and talk.”

“Good,” Olu said as Ike headed towards him and shut the door after he’d exited the room. “I just wanted to let you know we’ve recruited the final member of the Baytown project. I just finished the interview.”

“That’s a quick decision.”

“She is the best of the candidates we’ve seen and will make a good fit to the team. I didn’t see the point in holding off any longer.”

“Great. Well done. I’m keen to get the ball rolling on this project. I presume Jane’s already onto HR about the contract.”

“She is. I told the young lady to wait and pick up the contract. In fact, she’s waiting in Jane’s office. Do you have a sec to meet her?”

“Of course.”

Olu led the way and Ike turned in the direction of Jane’s office.

He saw the girl then. She was dark-skinned, with a heart-shaped face and wide brown eyes. Something in the back of his mind prickled as there was something familiar about her.

In a few seconds, he was standing in Jane’s office in front of the girl and recognition dawned.

It couldn’t be. This person standing in front of him looked so different. For starters, the hair was short and had red streaks in it. The girl he’d know five years ago had long braids and was too conservative and introverted to ever colour her hair such a loud shade. Secondly, the glasses were missing.

“Lara, I wanted you to meet our MD, Ike Thomas” Olu said. “This is Lara Johnson, the new project planner.”

It was her.

He’d banned anyone he knew from mentioning that name for the past five years. After the night that everything changed. He hadn’t wanted to think of her because he knew he would’ve gone looking for her if only to make sure she was okay.

And what if she wasn’t? He wouldn’t have been able to live with himself.

Seeing her now, she looked okay. In one piece. So it had been a good thing to walk away. She’d survived. He’d survived. The world had moved on.

Ike’s muscles went rigid as the breath whooshed out of him. It took him a few heartbeats to recover enough to speak. “Welcome to Thomas International. We’re looking forward to having you on board.”

He didn’t stretch out his hand to shake hers, afraid of what physical contact with her would do to him.

“Thank you, Mr. Thomas,” she said in a tense tone. “I look forward to working here.”

She smiled but it seemed forced.


“I said no cheese and no onions!”

Darius heard the raspy voice as he walked into the hotel’s restaurant the next morning. His newest luxury hotel had a soft opening two weeks ago, and guests have been arriving by the thousands since then. Later in the evening was the grand opening, so now was not the right time to have dissatisfied customers.

“We’re so sorry about that—”

“That’s what you said the first time you brought me the omelet with cheese. You went back to fix that and now you’re bringing me the omelet with onions. I told you the first time I didn’t want either in my omelet.”

Darius stood against the table in the back as he noticed the two women. He was walking over to diffuse the situation, but something in that sultry tone halted him.

“Safiya, I know you don’t joke about your food, but calm down.” The woman sitting by her laughed.

Darius observed the scene as the chief chef came out and apologized profusely to both women. He then took her plate and hurried back to the kitchen. Darius took in both women. Since they were seated, he couldn’t get a full view. However, the one he now knew as Safiya had him intrigued and his loins tight. The curiosity to see the face that went along with that voice had him sauntering towards their table.

“Good morning, ladies,” Darius greeted.

Both ladies looked up at him, but only one of them showed signs of recognition.

“You are—” the other lady started.

He quickly cut her off. “Darius Gray, pleased to meet you.” He nodded at the pair.

“Ummmm, you’re more than Darius Gray. I have an interview with you later,” Safiya’s friend spoke again.

Darius nodded and smiled, his eyes resting on Safiya, who hadn’t yet said a word. She had briefly acknowledged him with her eyes before refocusing on her food.

“I look forward to it Ms.…”

She stretched out her hand “Assan. Layla Assan.”

Darius shook her hand.

“And this rude one over here is Safiya Nadar.” She nudged her friend with her elbow. Her friend growled back at her.

The sound sent an unfamiliar sensation up Darius’s spine.

“Excuse her. Something about not getting her food right sets her off.”

“Well, I hope the issue has been fixed to your satisfaction.”

Safiya looked up at him. In that moment, the trip over to their table was worth it. The right words to describe her beauty eluded him. The wrong adjective would be a disservice.

“Yes, it has. Thank you,” Safiya said, and immediately went back to scrolling through her phone and eating.

“I’m glad.” Darius turned to Ms. Assan. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours. You ladies enjoy your meal.”

Darius walked away and went straight to guest services. He wanted to know if they were staying in the hotel or if they just came for breakfast. He had an interview with Ms. Assan soon and needed to know how cooperative he’d be based on what he needed her to do.


Heavy footfalls caught her attention as another group trooped up behind them. She recognized the trio of men led by their own guide—they’d left them at the hotel. How had they climbed so fast?

She’d never been one to go fan-crazy, but her first sight of Bizzy, ingeniously pronounced Busy, one of the most fascinating hiplife artists to catch her ear, had left her speechless. The musical genre blended Ghanaian culture with hip hop beats.

Being in the same room with him had had her hands trembling while her heart beat out of sync. Her face had most certainly turned all shades of reddish brown with the effort it had taken not to bounce up and down while screaming.

Not even seeing him in concert several times through the course of his career had caused such a reaction. Watching his videos captivated her like no other musician ever had. Not that she spent much time gawping at his tall, muscular body as he did things with his hips that had saliva easing out the side her mouth. Once. It had happened just once.

He’d winked at her when their gazes had caught and held in the hotel lobby. Hadn’t it been enough that her belly had done some kind of crazy flip and she’d gotten dizzy? She’d transformed into a flirtatious, bold woman as her eye had repeated the motion. Never in her thirty years had she winked at a man.

During the brief interaction, she’d wanted to run to him and gush about his music and then ask for a picture with him, of him, near him.

It hadn’t happened. She’d taken the coward’s way and swiped the smile off her face and endeavoured to put on an aloof air with her head high and shoulders thrust back. So what if that move had made her breasts lead her out the door and his eyes had fallen to them?

It wasn’t the Ghanaian way to throw oneself all over stars.

First of all, it created way bigger egos than they needed. Second, she wasn’t a groupie trying to get into his bed. Although thinking about what those hips could do made her want to reconsider the stupidity of not introducing herself to him. Who didn’t like having fans?

Not that she’d know. Her life revolved around teaching languages and doing research for her PhD. No fandom there.

The tall, broad-shouldered man possessing brown eyes with the clarity of a Malta Guinness glass bottle caught her attention while still a few feet below her. His decadently full lips rose at the corners, revealing white teeth that contrasted with the richness of his russet-brown skin. Judging by how his eyes narrowed as his cheeks pushed them up, his smile must be genuine.

She couldn’t breathe for a different reason other than climbing the wretched mountain.


“Hi, Lord, uh, Mr. McKenzie, my name is Chantelle Sah. I’m—”

“Hello, Chantelle. What can I do you for?”

His voice possessed a rich timbre, which coupled with his choice of words, evoked images of two bodies intertwined in passionate encounters. An unexpected thrill galloped up her spine.

Whoa, what the hell was that? Clearly, her self-imposed celibacy could use some reinforcement. She forced a smile, taking a second to compose herself.

“You could grant me an interview.” Good girl. Keep your mind on business.

“Did I win something?”

“Well, you were voted Most Eligible Bachelor by readers of Odopa magazine.”

He gave a soft melodious laugh. “I hate that.”

She frowned, taken aback. “You—pardon?”

“Do you know how much trouble you put me in by naming me Most Eligible Bachelor?”

If by ‘trouble’ he meant more girls than he could bed, then yes, she knew. Well, she could only guess.

“Maybe you can clarify things in the interview.”

Silence followed as if he were contemplating her offer. “Tell me, Chantelle Sah, are you single?”

“Yes, but I don’t—”

Why on Earth would she say yes? An embarrassing warmth crept over her cheeks. Thank goodness this conversation wasn’t face-to-face. A flustered image wouldn’t make a good first impression. She should have rehearsed this call. Now she’d given him an upper hand, no matter how remote.

“Great. Why don’t you escort me to Afrodite tonight?”

She frowned. “The nightclub?”

He chuckled. “Yes, the nightclub. I’m having a Valentine’s party there. Surely, you must have heard.”

Yes, she’d heard. For weeks now, Lord McKenzie’s VIP party had dominated both traditional and social media. While technically open to the public, the venue—one of the most exclusive nightclubs in the city—and the ticket price restricted the party to the crème de la crème.

“Well …”

She didn’t want a date. Particularly not tonight. However, if he was willing to grant her an audience, what choice did she have? She couldn’t let the opportunity slip through her fingers.


Lost in her thoughts, she rounded a corner of the hall, slamming into someone’s side. Disoriented and dizzy with confusion at the jolting oomph of impact against a solid form, she stumbled, losing control of her legs. The walls moved up rapidly, but a strong pair of hands grabbed her arms before the back of her head hit the floor.

“Bon sang, mademoiselle! Où courez-vous comme ça?” a rich, deep masculine voice asked in the sharp yet lilting accent of white French-Mauritian natives.

Where are you running to, miss? she figured out from her rusty French.

Away from you. Something inside her acknowledged the danger before she could process his words. She knew that voice. Her head spun again, yet her mind remained so very alert.

Could it be …? No, it couldn’t.

Her brain had to be playing tricks on her. The sound with its particular accent belonged to the very distant past. How was she hearing it at this moment? Had she fainted?

That’s it. She wasn’t conscious, and since she’d probably worked herself to exhaustion, the condition had triggered all sorts of switches in her muddled consciousness.

The image of the man from the airport burned itself into her mind, and she gasped. No!

“Is everything okay?” The chuckle had gone from the tone, replaced by worry.

Solid strength still held her ribcage, the back of the hands warm and smooth where they touched her arms. Their heat went to her head, churning all coherent thought into a jumble.

Your eyes won’t betray you. They’ll see the truth.

She risked a glance up beneath her lashes. She had to be certain. To know if this was all a trick of her imagination …

A tall form with broad shoulders outlined in a short-sleeved shirt filled Lara’s vision. The lapels of the opened collar framed a strong jaw, and a wide mouth was set in a worried line above a square chin. A fine, straight nose sat above those sensual lips.

She had to gulp back the ominous lump wedged in her throat. Her heart hammered in her chest, and her mouth went dry. Her suspicions looked dangerously close to being confirmed, and the nagging notion played havoc with her thoughts. She closed her eyes.

When she opened them, she found herself staring into a pair of blue irises. A blinding flash went through her head, plunging her heart to her knees. She’d recognize those irises anywhere. Deep-set, bright, and laughing eyes the colour of the deepest ocean. The heavy, golden locks brushing his forehead accentuated the frown knitting his eyebrows.

Locks that had somehow broken free from the thick, brushed-back hair. She itched to sweep them back, to run the tips of her fingers along his smooth skin, like she used to in the past, onto the soft buzz of hair he used to keep so short.

Her mind went into a crazy spin, and all her senses reeled as everything became a vivid kaleidoscope of colours. Her stomach heaved, and her knees went weak as her body became limp.


Benin City. July 31, 1999. 11pm

Efe looked around the Hall Two common room and wondered if it was time she packed up her books. The people in the room were much less than when she arrived, and like most others, Nneka had left earlier. Efe stayed because a month to exams, she still lagged in the recommended reading. She was bored by their courses and daydreamed about America.

A frisson shook her, and she sneaked a glance over her shoulder. It felt like someone staring, and she guessed the guy she just started seeing was at it again. He did all he could to get her attention, following wherever she went. If she left and came back, he also left and returned, and then spent half that time just looking at her as if he had never seen a girl. Well, he’d succeeded in his devices, and she’d noticed him.

Many times, she had to force herself to stop dreaming about his handsome looks and concentrate on her books. Once, he almost caught her studying him, but she turned away just in time. Brushing him out of her mind, she decided to study further.

An hour later, as people continued to leave; the chair beside hers became vacant. Debating whether to pack up, she felt someone take the vacant seat. Goose bumps prickled over her skin when she looked at the newcomer. Golden brown eyes gazed back at her, and her heart began to cartwheel inside her chest.

“Hello,” her new neighbor said. “Are you done?”

“No.” Efe replied, surprised at the normalcy of her voice. Her breath had hitched as his rich baritone stroked her senses. Up close, he passed for beautiful. His skin glistened and the mark in the middle of his brows set off the flaring, well-sized nostrils and thin upper lip. She turned away from the temptingly full lower lip, biting her own lips. Pulling her bag into her lap, she dug through it, not searching for anything in particular. She wanted to avoid the eyes which felt as if they could see her thoughts.

Efe went back to her books but couldn’t bear sitting beside him for long. Her heart pounded in her ears each time he turned towards her. After thirty minutes, she packed up, stacking the library books in the table corner.

“Oh, leaving?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s getting late.” Efe got to her feet and picked her tote.

“It is late,” he corrected. “Let me walk you back to the hostel.”


Enter for a chance to win 1 limited edition paperback copy of the Suitors & Sweethearts African Romance Box Set.
Goodreads Giveaway

2 thoughts on “Suitors and Sweethearts

  1. Diana Hardt says:

    When I clicked on the Goodreads giveaway link, it says that the Goodreads giveaway ended in January.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry that happened. This was the link I was given by the tour host Xpresso Book Tours. I’ll ask about that.


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