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Most Eligible Bachelor by Empi Baryeh

My oh my! I could not stop when I started yesterday till I had read the whole piece of raw chemistry and thundering passion between Lord Mackenzie and Chantelle Sah. Empi Baryeh’s Most Eligible Bachelor is a story of unbridled passion between Lord, a sinfully handsome construction tycoon managing the family business, with a reputation of a Casanova,  and Chantelle, a beautiful features writer with a society magazine, Odopa.

Chantelle’s past involved her fiance who had lied to her for the three years they had been together; and the lies had culminated into a disaster that had wrecked havoc with Chantelle’s life and emotional well being. On the eve of Valentine’s Day of that fateful year, Martin, her fiance had avoided a celebration dinner with Chantelle by informing her that he had been assigned to cover a story elsewhere. Being a reporter, she had believed him. The news of a lorry accident involving him and a lady he had taken along had disturbed her. She had been angry with him for deceiving her and he had also robbed her of a confrontation by his death. She had been pregnant and had been waiting for him to come back to hear the good news. These disturbing events had shattered Chantelle and she had lost the baby. It had taken her four years to heal or so she had thought.

With this background, when the editor of the Odopa  magazine that she worked for had detailed her to interview his ‘Lordship’ and the interview had been set for Valentine’s Day, Chantelle had been apprehensive, not wanting to be reminded of her hurts. She had not celebrated Valentine’s Day since four years when Martin had died.

Lord Mackenzie’s reputation also did not help matters at all. Being featured in the Odopa magazine meant a lot to him. He needed to correct all the negative publicity he had acquired over the years as a playboy. Winning the bid for the construction of the pitch of the Kumasi international airport would boost the image of the company further, having been ranked amongst the Ghana Club 100.This particular project was important since all the bidders were international companies  and Mackenzie construction was the only local one. Lord would leave nothing to chance to make sure that  he won the bid, even if this included correcting his image as a womaniser who lacked seriousness.

Haven read her articles in the Odopa magazine over time, he had come to love her writings and had been intrigued and hooked by the personality behind the writings and her photograph. Getting her to interview him on that fateful day had been easy and poor Chantelle had not been prepared for the sheer force of the chemistry that erupted between them when they met.

The passion rocked them both and Chantelle was lost and confused by the wave of emotions that threatened to disrupt her otherwise boring existence. Sex at first sight was what happened and what a wonderful sex it was. For once, she felt like a woman as Lord ravished her in the most skilful and considerate manner befitting a man who knew how to give pleasure as well as receive it.  Chantelle gave herself completely to this stranger, needing his warmth, his touch, his kisses and all that he was doing to her if only for the one night, to make her feel whole again and to make her feel her femininity.  The regrets would come later, dear Lord, but for now, she needed him so much. After that night, Lord Mackenzie was done for. Every pore of him oozed his desire for Chantelle;  it was the  gradual realisation that he was falling in love with her and he needed her to trust him that kept him on his best behaviour (so to speak) around her.

The regrets came, but in her heart, they fought for survival with her desperate need of him. His kisses and feather-touch had unsettled her in the deepest recesses of her womanhood and she craved for more. But Chantelle was astute enough to realise that she could be playing with fire; her past with Martin also did not allow her to trust Lord and so when he failed or omitted to tell her that the condom he had used on that fateful night had broken, especially in the light of  the knowledge that she was pregnant, she knew she had been fooled once again. Somehow, he just had not found the opportune time to tell her and after that Valentine’s Day when he had made sweet love to her, she had refused to take his calls. And now, she was hopelessly in love with Lord, even if she would not admit so. In her confusion, she turns to her twin sister Danielle, who urges her to go to Lord and forgive him for withholding vital information.

In the end, Lord declared his love for Chantelle on national TV and asked for her forgiveness, after he had called a press conference to announce the shortlisting of his company by the government for the construction of the airport. Needless to say, she forgave him and went over to his house where they made up with the most passionate love making starting from the shower and ending in his magnificent bed.  Hmm!

I daresay that Empi Baryeh is one of the first published if not the first Ghanaian female published romantic writer to to hit the stands. I think Empi is brave, yes, brave. She has broken through the myth surrounding romance and sex by coming out with a novel that freely highlights the relationship between a man and a woman in love who are not afraid to explore their attraction to each other and their sexuality, in vivid imagery. However, Empi’s description of the sex scenes in the novel is done in tasty yet simple language that is not offensive to the reader and her sensitivity to the Ghanaian culture is commendable. At the same time, she manges to create hot and tantalising scenes that has the reader gasping for more, just like her protagonists. I fell in love with Lord myself, and wish I had been Chantelle, if only to be the recipient of such tender touches and kisses.

The sentence structure of the novel is simple and yet rich, full of camaraderie among the characters, as depicted in the dialogue between Chantelle and her office colleagues and the special relationship between her and her twin sister, Danielle. Again Empi’s use of real life scenes and settings in the novel makes the story believable. The reader is transported through time and space to familiar sites in Ghana, following Lord and Chantelle as they kiss at the construction site at Dodowa and as the very air between them sizzles with unfulfilled desires lurking behind  anger at the National Theatre.

The characterisation of the protagonists gives the reader a sense of identity with them, evoking images of a one time hot interlude with an Adonis or a male figure with potent sexual virility or a woman with lethal sex appeal.

I think Empi has done a great job, though I have a problem with the issue of the condom. These days condoms hardly ever break. And I think that line is overused. It may be more plausible for Lord Mackenzie to be overtaken by his passion for Chantelle and make love to her without protection. However, one could argue that in this day of HIVs and STIs, it would be more prudent for Lord to use protection and break it in his haste thereby risk making Chantelle pregnant, than not to use it all, thereby sending a negative message out to readers. Again, having a condom on had just goes with the image of the Casanova – combat readiness in case of any eventuality.

I just love this novel. Below are my favourite lines:

I think you’re good-looking, and I’d love to wake up in your arms.

Then you don’t have anything to worry about.” He leaned in for another kiss. “Henceforth, you’ll be waking up next to me.”    Most Eligible Bachelor (Kindle Locations 4508-4513).

Copies of Empi Baryeh’s novel, Most Eligible Bachelor can be obtained at Amazon and Evernight Publishing