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Safari Heat

By Adam Mann



Description

Nick, a widower, arrives in Kenya with the difficult job of working on two former settler estates that the government has allocated to landless African farmers. Involved with horses most of his life, he gravitates to the world of polo and racing in Nairobi, where his skills are much appreciated.

Enter Sophie, a beautiful saree-clad temptress.  Sophie's recent divorce has just been finalized and she is on the prowl like a lioness. Packing her tent in the back of her Jeep, Sophie decides to take Nick on a safari to the Masai Mara.

The safari heats up when Nick becomes entangled in the snare set for him.  But will the hunted become the hunter?


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Excerpt

Chapter One

Sophie

“Damn the bloody traffic!” I swore under my breath, as the line of stationary cars moved a few feet forward. “I’ll be late for my meeting,” I thought.

“Damn Johnnie,” I swore again, thinking about the uselessness of my husband.

The traffic moved again, and then I remembered a short ‘long’ cut I had taken several days earlier. It meant going through a village, and the road was in poor condition, but it was worth the risk. I turned the Land Rover onto the hard shoulder, and moved so I could turn around, and go back about 100 yards. The traffic moved again, and the car behind me let me go through the line of cars, which meant he would move up one place in the queue. I waved my hand to thank him, and got my vehicle moving in the other direction.

I was driving an old Land Rover, which only keeps going thanks to my local garage and Pindi Singh, the marvelous mechanic who owns the workshop. I drove back until I was level with the turn off, and then had to turn through the line of cars I had just left. This time the oncoming drivers were not so helpful, but eventually a van driver, who may have been too slow to close the gap ahead of him, gave me the chance to turn off the main road.

The car bumped along but there was little traffic ahead of me and I managed to drive into the back gate of a hospital, and then from there onto the main road I had just left. The traffic was still stationery, or almost, and I managed to squeeze in by inching the front wing forward, so that eventually the driver let me in. It might have been his gleaming chrome versus my dented bumper! But my bumper won. I still had to wait a bit but a helpful policeman stopped the traffic at the crossroads, and let the lane I was in move forward. I waved to the policeman, who must have wondered who I was.

I managed to find a parking place near the town hall, and then grabbed my briefcase and set off to meet my lawyer.

Tony the lawyer was waiting for me, and we sat down in his office.

“Well, we managed to serve the summons on Johnnie,” he reported, “but the process server told me he was not at all happy.”

“Do you think he’ll oppose the petition?” I asked.

“I don’t think he has the funds to employ a lawyer,” Tony ventured, “but he might just turn up for the hearing.” Tony changed the subject, smiling at her.

“But how are you yourself these days?” He was concerned, as he had known me and my family for some years.

“I’ve been staying with friends, but I think I’ll go back to see my parents this weekend.” I paused a moment and continued, “Daddy never wanted me to marry Johnnie, and he was quite correct, but I couldn’t see that at the time.”

“Perhaps it is just as well that you don’t have any children,” observed Tony, opening the file on his desk.

“Now I need you to sign some papers for the court.” Tony handed me several sheets, which I signed, relying completely on Tony for the contents, and gave them back to him.

“I would suggest that you stay with your parents for a few days, until the hearing is over, and I’ll try to telephone you at your parents’ house.”

I thanked Tony and muttered a few words about my best regards to his wife, and left. I knew Tony well, and he did not charge me exorbitant fees for his legal work, but I did not know much about his family life, except the name of his wife.

The traffic going back was easier, and I did not have to divert through the hospital. I collected my few belongings from my friend’s house and loaded everything into the old Land Rover.

I had about 100 miles to go home, and for some reason dreaded meeting my parents, especially my father, but after meeting Tony I felt more confident and prepared for my future.

I’m nearly 31 and married Johnnie nearly three years ago. I was, at least I thought I was, madly in love with him, and did not care or mind about the future. The fact that Johnnie had no job or ambition did not worry me then. I just wanted to have Johnnie in my bed, and the future would look after itself. What a dreadful mistake I made!

I suppose it might have been more acceptable if our love life together had also been more exciting. But sex to Johnnie was just that, sex! Bang, bang, turn over and go to sleep, and then to cap it all I could not get pregnant!

We had tried clinics and doctors, with the result being they doubted I’d ever get pregnant due to Johnnie’s low sperm count.

It was a shock. At first my attraction to Johnnie was the same as his attraction to most of my friends. He was always the life and soul of the party! Some of my friends would almost swoon at the chance to be taken out by Johnnie, and several admitted to climbing into his bed after a party, but as I found out later, never more than once!

After we were married, I sat down with Johnnie to look at our joint finances, only to find out I was his only asset and source of income. Johnnie had no plans for the future, and said he could always borrow cash from friends, or get a bed for the night anywhere, but there are limits to that, and his friends were growing fewer in number by the day, now that one had become two! I like to think that many of our friends hoped I would ‘knock some sense’ into him, but I regret that after three years I just gave up. I never knew if he was climbing into other girls’ beds after we were married, but I doubt it, and now I just don’t care.

I drove on. The road was not too busy, but then mid-afternoon in these African highlands was always quiet.

As I said, I’m nearly 31 and used to work as a Farm Secretary. My parents have been living and working here in Kenya for over 30 years, and I was nearly born here myself, except that the laws on nationality in the UK have changed, and my parents decided I should be born in England. As it is, I now have joint nationality, Kenyan and British. I gave up my job when I married Johnnie, or rather I think the estate on which I was living and working arranged for me to ‘retire’ as they also could see no advantage on having Johnnie as an appendage.

It appears now that everyone knew Johnnie much better than me.

It was early evening when I reached my parents’ house. My parents did not own one of the big estates like many settlers, but owned a farm and bred thoroughbred horses, and actually had one stallion, sometimes two, that the mares from other breeders ‘queued’ to meet. The house was more than adequate for them. I had my own room, but my elder brother had long since gone to live and work in New York, as a film editor.

With my impending divorce, neither myself, nor my brother, who had never married, had any prospect of providing my parents with grandchildren, which concerned my mother more than me. Both my parents are now in their early sixties, although working full time, which included frequent visits to the Ngong Race Course in Nairobi, and meeting owners and trainers.

I took a deep breath as I drove into the garden in the front of the house. My mother was in the kitchen preparing dinner. We did not have a cook, but there was a young African maid helping my mother. She kissed me and told me to go and see my father in the stable yard. I did and my father also kissed me and held me tight for a moment.

I wandered around the yard and took some time in the largest paddock, looking at the mares with their foals, all about three months old, as it was mid-year here in Kenya. Some of the foals came to look at me, and one mare remembered me and came to see if I had a present for her. I surrendered one of the carrots I had purloined from my mother’s kitchen, and the mare shook her head as she ate it. One of the foals, a colt, came to see what I had, but refused to taste the carrot, even though he had sniffed it suspiciously.

I went back to the house and up to my room. Nothing much had changed so I took a shower and changed my clothes for dinner with my parents.

As I said earlier, I am nearly 31. I am not a blonde, but have light brown hair with a slight wave in it. I keep it long and often have it tied in a ponytail, but tonight decided to leave it untied. I am about 1.75m tall, that is about 5ft 8ins in the old system, and normally I weigh about 63kgs, but just recently had shed a few pounds, so I was probably about 60kgs, or just over 132lbs. I’ve never been fat and always enjoyed staying fit. I have never gone jogging, but have ridden horses a lot, especially at home. Now you know.

There were just the three of us for dinner.

“Where is Regina?” I asked. Regina has been our housemaid-cum-cook-cum-laundress for many years.

“She’s gone back to her village,” explained my mother, “but maybe she will stay there now, which is why we have a new maid, who is called Rebecca.” We discussed the village and tribe Rebecca had come from, which is important in the Kenya context.

My father had a lot to say about his horses, and smiling, reminded me he needed someone to help with the exercising in the morning. Thank goodness we never talked about my impending divorce, or Johnnie. Perhaps I’m a coward, but we would have plenty of time to talk about that in the days to come.

“I’m going to Nairobi next Sunday,” stated my father. “We’ve a two-year-old in the second race, and maybe you’d like to come?”

My mother smiled her encouragement, but said nothing.

“Can I decide later?” I told, not asked my father, who nodded his agreement.

“I’m thinking about getting a job again,” I said.

“I heard that the Morgans are looking for help,” reported my mother, who had obviously been wondering how she was going to broach the subject, and had been waiting for me to give her an opening.

“Why don’t you drive over there in the morning,” suggested my father. The Morgans are an old settler family with a large estate, who breed cattle for beef, and also grow barley for malt and thence beer, which pleases the government.

“How’s the telephone working?” I countered, as I wanted to go but would have liked to call them first.

My father shrugged, which I understood to be ‘sometimes,’ and pointed at the instrument lying on the sideboard, and which had been stubbornly silent for some time. The mobile phone system had not yet reached these remote farming areas.

We talked a bit more, but I could not help myself yawning and volunteered to go to bed.