Unrestrained_ Book 3 of the Unrestrained SeriesBy: S. E_ Lund
My first time in Africa was completely different.
Back then, Nigel was my guide and his approach to life was the opposite of Drake's. If one word could describe Nigel, it would be 'ebullient.' Nigel couldn't get enough of life and he faced every situation with a palpable hunger for new experiences. When we landed in the small airport during our trip to Mangaize, Nigel had a bull-in-a-china-shop demeanor. Born into privilege, and a television personality used to handlers and assistants, he expected people to cater to his needs chop-chop. Nigel was taller than everyone around, with a huge booming voice that commanded everyone's attention. He got it. All eyes were trained to him as we walked through the terminal that day over a year earlier.
If one word could describe Drake, it was 'restrained.' Calm and methodical, Drake anticipated everything. Getting our carry-on bags ready once the plane finished taxiing down the runway. Thanking the steward in a quiet respectful voice. Leading me down the off-ramp into the terminal, one hand holding mine, always slightly ahead as if to protect me from the onslaught of people waiting to greet loved ones. Glancing back at me with a soft smile on his face, his excitement visible but contained.
We stopped in the main arrivals foyer. Drake put our carry-on bags down and pulled me into his arms, his chin resting on the top of my head.
"We're here," he whispered, squeezing me. I hugged him back, my breath catching in my throat from my own building excitement. Then he tilted my chin up and kissed me tenderly. When he pulled back, he ran a finger over my bottom lip, touching the tiny scar. "I thought I'd be here by myself when I accepted Michael's offer back in December. I'm so glad you're with me, future Mrs. Morgan."
"I'm so glad you asked me."
I smiled, the newness of that idea – of being Drake's wife – still a bit strange to me. We stood for a moment in an embrace while people walked by, surrounded by the sounds of happy voices and laughter as families and friends reunited. I fingered the ring on my left hand and buried my face in Drake's shoulder.
"I guess we should get our bags," he said and ended the embrace. "Why don't you have a seat and wait for me. I'll get a cart. Michael and Claire should be here soon."
I nodded and sat in a chair by the floor-to-ceiling window, watching as Drake made his way to the baggage area, pushing a cart in front of him. While he waited, I observed him leaning against the cart. Dressed in a white linen shirt untucked over dark jeans, his black hair slightly below his collar, he looked as if he was posing for some high-end men's fashion magazine.
He stood out from the rest of the crowd in so many ways. The public Drake was a hotshot young neurosurgeon specializing in delicate robotic surgery, a philanthropist donating equipment and time in Africa, a guitarist for a retro-60s rock band. The private man, the secret side of him, was the sensual 'Master D' who loved bondage and dominance, who controlled his lover's sexual response and whose kink was leather. I was attracted to both sides of him, a thrill in my belly at the thought of his sexuality and of his need for control in the bedroom, a squeeze in my chest that he wanted me as his wife. Apparently, he'd overcome his reluctance to become emotionally involved with a woman again and wanted to marry me.
Still, it was hard not to let his dominant personality affect our non-sexual relationship. He so easily took control in everything, so self-contained, secure, and confident. He said he wanted me to be my own woman, but what did that mean? I was still finding out. This trip to Africa and our engagement would be a time of discovery. When I lived with him, what would I find?
He watched as the baggage began to emerge onto the carousel, and after several moments, he picked up a suitcase that I recognized as his own. He turned to glance where I sat and smiled as if to say it wouldn’t be long. When he pulled my bag off the line, and hoisted it onto the cart, I waited for his return.
It was then someone walked up to him and extended a hand – a tall African man in his fifties with grey peppering his short black hair, and a European woman, her dark hair streaked with grey and pulled back into a bun. As I watched, Drake embraced the man, and the two clapped each other on the back.
He had to be Michael Owiti, Chief of Surgery at the Aga Khan Hospital where Drake would work, and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Aga Khan University Medical College where Drake would teach. The woman would be his wife Claire, a pediatrician who was currently managing the hospital's pediatrics program. Drake spoke to the man and then he embraced the woman. Drake turned and pointed to me, and the two of them looked in my direction, smiling as if excited to see the reason Drake decided to flee Manhattan.