Starting Over Again- Deleted scene

So, I was going through my old manuscript notes and came across a deleted scene from Starting Over again. I loved this flashback scene, but my beta readers and my editor felt it was unnecessary and the story could be better told not as a flashback but in conversation.

I struggled with letting go, but I eventually deleted this scene. This is the conversation between Efe and Onome when she discovered they both carried the sickle cell gene that they could pass on to their children if they had kids.

It’s not edited, so be gentle. Since I couldn’t share it in the novel, I’ll share it here. I hope you enjoy it.

Do you agree it should have been deleted?

Chapter Four

Fejiro lay in the hospital bed grunting in pain. Two catheters, hanging on each side of the bed, transferred saline from drip bags into each of her arms. Onome glanced at her daughter helplessly and then turned to watch the nurse draw up a liquid medication slowly into a syringe. The nurse had a bland and bored facial expression.

“Ahhhh!” Fejiro groaned as another jolt of pain travelled through her bones.

“Nurse, please hurry up!” Onome cried, her own body quaking as if she was also experiencing the pain her daughter felt. 

The nurse neither looked up nor hastened her movements. Onome sighed and held tightly onto Fejiro’s hand. 

“Shhhh, darling, soon you’ll have your morphine…soon,” she crooned, tears clouding her vision. She had been through this with her daughter so many times. Bone-pain crises.  Fejiro groaned again and Onome felt her stomach twist. She watched her daughter writhe in bed, her eyes slightly yellow and rolled to the back, her face contorted in pain.

“Nurse, please,” Onome pleaded.

“Madam, please… I don’t want to make a mistake,” the nurse admonished Onome, taking another smaller bottle from the top of a silver table beside the bed and drawing up clear fluid into another syringe as slowly as she did the first time. 

Onome glanced at the overweight middle-aged nurse in a tight white uniform that threatened to burst with any sudden movement. The woman was so stoic and emotionless. As if a little girl was not in severe pain beside her. Onome hated this hospital. The consultant doctors were rarely present and only showed up in the mornings for short ward rounds with a few naive looking trainee doctors hovering around them as if they were gods. And the nurses were downright mean. Detached and sluggish. Like the one standing beside her now. 

A few seconds later, the nurse held the syringe towards Fejiro. Onome watched as the nurse took Fejiro’s limp hand in hers. She opened the cannula at the end of the tube attached to Fejiro’s arm and pushed the drug into the cannula with the syringe. Picking up the other syringe containing clear fluid, she flushed the fluid through the tube before she shut the cannula. Onome sighed with relief; soon her daughter will be pain free and asleep. Even if it lasted for only two hours.

“I’ll come back to check on her in an hour,” the nurse said to Onome as she disposed of the contents of the table into a yellow bin with a tight white lid.

“Thanks,” Onome muttered, although she didn’t feel thankful. It had taken an hour for Fejiro to be admitted because of all the paperwork involved and they had wanted Onome to pay the deposit first before providing the bed for admission. All the while, Fejiro sat in the waiting room grunting in pain. 

“No problem, it is well,” the nurse said as she waddled out of the room. 

Onome drew the curtains to the cubicle to provide some privacy for her and Fejiro. 

“It is well.” Onome loathed that phrase. Everybody used it these days. No, it was not well; her daughter was lying in bed riddled with pain. Tears burned the back of her eyes but she pushed them in. She wouldn’t cry. Fejiro needed to see her in control and not falling apart.

“Mummy, I’m sleepy,” Fejiro mumbled, her eyes glazed and unfocused.

“Yes, baby, that’s a good sign,” Onome responded, squeezing her hand. “It’s a good sign, my princess. No more pain.”

“No more pain,” Fejiro repeated slowly, and seconds later, she was fast asleep. Onome sat there by the bed, still holding Fejiro’s frail hand, watching the slow rise and fall of her chest as she slept. 

This was Fejiro’s third bone pain crisis this year. Onome felt a sense of guilt. Just like she did every time Fejiro was in hospital attached to drips and groaning in pain. Pain from the blood in her veins crumpling and starving her bones of nourishment. This was no life for a seven-year-old, she should be out there playing with her friends, exploring the world, being a child. 

Onome drew in a short breath and fought back tears. It was all her fault. She knew this was a possibility when she married Efe. But she was so in love, and so hopeful, and so blind. Everyone else saw this coming, but at the time, she couldn’t see past the love she had for Efe.

“No more pain,” Onome whispered, stroking Fejiro’s hand. “I’ll give up everything so you have no more pain.” Onome sighed and reclined into her seat, her mind drifting off to the time when she and Efe discovered that they both carried the sickle cell gene.

***

“What is it?” Onome asked, immediately concerned. Onome was watching TV in the sitting room of Efe’s rented two-bedroom apartment at Ring Road in Benin City, when he walked in with a bleak look on his face. They had been engaged for two weeks, and although Onome was elated at being engaged to Efe, she had kept the news from everyone in her family. She was afraid of how her father would react if she married someone who did not share his religious beliefs

“What is it?” Onome asked again, when Efe did not respond. The worried expression on his face caused Onome’s gut to tighten.

“We are both sickle cell carriers, Onome,” he muttered, handing her two pieces of paper.

Onome’s heart skipped a beat. She stared at the blood test results in shock. She and Efe had never talked about their genotypes before. It was a topic that never came up. They had only done the blood tests because it was a compulsory practice in the catholic church which Efe attended. It was to ensure the intending bride and groom were healthy and to check for their genotype. Since she had decided to marry in the Catholic Church so that Efe didn’t have to face her father’s religious bigotry, she had readily complied. Never in a million years had she anticipated this.

“There is a chance that we could have a very sick child, a child with sickle cell disease. We can’t get married, Onome.” Efe went on, obviously distraught.

“No,” Onome cried, fear gripping her insides. “Please don’t say that. Let’s think …please…”

“Onome, we can’t… we could have a sick child if we do…”

“That’s just a possibility… we could also have healthy children!” 

She broke out into a cold sweat. “We can’t throw our love away just because of the possibility that we may have a sick child… I love you!” 

“I’m sorry, I can’t… I have a cousin who is a sickler… I can’t put someone else through that.” 

With that statement left hanging, Efe ran out as fast as he could, leaving Onome in his sitting room with tears in her eyes. 

A week later, Efe visited Onome in her family home for the first time in the four years that they had been dating.

“I tried to keep away from you, Onome, but I can’t. I love you,” he said, as soon as she opened the door. 

“Oh, Efe, I was so scared that I had lost you!” Onome cried, jumping into his arms. They kissed passionately by the front door. 

  When Onome finally broke the news to her family that she was engaged to Efe, all hell broke loose. Her father yelled and her mother pleaded with her to see reason. 

“God himself doesn’t want you to be together! Not only is he not a member of the true faith, Cherubim and Seraphim, but you both also carry the sickle cell gene!” Onome’s father yelled. “I will not support this marriage! If you marry him, you are not my daughter anymore!”

“I don’t care,” Onome retorted.

“Please, Onome, listen to your father,” her mother pleaded, dropping to her knees and begging Onome. “You are my only daughter… please.” Onome looked away from her mother. She couldn’t afford to lose Efe. She just couldn’t.

“Shut up!” her father thundered, standing up from the sofa. “What do you know about love? Is that what I sent you to University to do? Parade yourself like a prostitute?” His eyes sparked and his nostrils flared. “If you marry that man, you are not my daughter!” 

“I love Efe, I can’t live without him.”

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that… but I have made up my mind.” 

Onome packed her belongings and moved into Efe’s small rented flat that night. Her mother and brother called her phone repeatedly that entire week, pleading with her to reconsider her decision. But Onome couldn’t see past her love for Efe. She had devoted five whole years to him. She couldn’t suddenly stop loving him just because they both carried a faulty sickle cell gene that they could or could not pass on to their children.

“Onome, please listen to dad and mum,” Tobore, her brother, said to her two weeks later. He had taken a night bus from his University at Port Harcourt to reason with her. 

“Tobore, I love Efe. We love each other. I can’t live without him.”

“Even though you know you may have a sick child if you marry him?”

“We could both do IVF, or maybe not even have children.”

“Listen to what you are saying, Onome. This time, I agree with daddy. This is not about his usual religious bullshit. This is about a very important decision. You are making a decision that may affect an unborn child. A child that has no say in the matter. Born to be sick and suffer with pain, just because of decisions you have made.” Onome silently considered her brother’s statement. 

“I’ll think about it,” she said, sorrow choking her throat. 

She did. She really did. However, that night when Efe came home from work, she took one look at him and realised she didn’t want to spend her life without him next to her. Even if it meant not having a baby.

They eloped to get married two weeks later. It was a small court wedding with Voke as a witness. They also moved to Lagos a few weeks after that. True to her father’s words, he cut her off from his life and threatened to disown any of her siblings who kept in contact with her or Efe. He did not soften his stance even after Fejiro was born. Tobore, her only sibling bold enough to defy their father to keep in touch with her, told her that their father often referred to Fejiro as a cursed child. 

Onome held Fejiro’s hand as she slept. She could not help but feel responsible for her child’s illness. She had researched frantically for a cure. Although she knew about bone marrow transplant and had gone as far as checking to see if she was a match for Fejiro, she worried about Fejiro going through such a dangerous medical treatment. That plan had abruptly come to an end. Apart from finding out that she was not a match, the procedure was also very expensive and Onome simply could not afford it. Nonetheless, she still hoped that sometime in the future, there would be a cure for the disease, something that did not involve having to transplant blood cells from a donor and medications for life to prevent the body rejecting those cells. 

Onome was active on sickle cell websites and always keen on getting new information about the disease. One day, she vowed, Fejiro would be free of this disease. There was still hope.

“Mummy, I’m hungry.” Fejiro’s soft voice alerted Onome. She glanced at her daughter and saw her eyes had fluttered open.

“Oh, my baby. You are awake,” she muttered, squeezing Fejiro’s hand. “I’m glad you are hungry. It’s a good sign.”

Fejiro smiled weakly. “I want ice-cream.”  Onome laughed. Fejiro always loved to have Strawberry ice-cream whenever she was ill.

“Okay, baby, I’ll get some from the shop opposite the hospital,” Onome said, standing up from the chair. She stretched, attempting to soothe the kinks in her muscles caused by sitting in one position for so long. She had been sitting by Fejiro’s bedside for three hours without rising to do anything. 

“Thanks, mum.” Fejiro quipped, and Onome’s chest constricted. She was happy to hear the excitement in Fejiro’s voice.

“Will be back in less than thirty minutes.” Onome left the ward and headed towards the nurse’s station to inform them that she was leaving Fejiro for a few minutes. There was a young female nurse seated in the small cubicle, reading a romance novel with half-dressed models on the cover.

“I am headed to the shop to get something for my daughter Fejiro. She is in bed nine,” Onome informed the nurse, who acknowledged her statement with a barely audible mumble without looking up from her novel. 

  Swallowing back the irritated retort that threatened to burst from her throat, Onome added, “Please ring my mobile phone if she needs me before I’m back.”

“Okay, ma,” the nurse responded nonchalantly, still not bothering to look up from her book.

Onome shook her head as she walked out of the hospital. She really wanted to give the nurse a piece of her mind, force some compassion into her. However, she resisted that impulse. There was no point in antagonizing the staff, it would only make them much more difficult. And Onome didn’t want that for Fejiro. 

As she walked into the sunshine, Onome inhaled deeply as she glanced at the InlandGovernmenthospital sign hoisted boldly on the top of the white three story-building complex. One day, she hoped, Fejiro wouldn’t have to be stuck in hospitals. One day, she wouldn’t have to deal with rude nurses. One day, there would be a cure for sickle cell disease.

Starting Over Again by Amaka Azie

Click on book links below to buy.

Nook: 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/starting-over-again-amaka-azie/1126845077?ean=2940154473924

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/starting-over-again-6

Amazon UK:

http://bit.ly/StatingOverAgainAmazonUK

Amazon UK: 

https://okadabooks.com/book/about/starting_over_again/14941

Smashwords:

http://bit.ly/StartingOverAgainSmashwords

iBooks

http://bit.ly/StartingOverAgainApple


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I need your votes

Happy new year!

This year is already off to a great start. I’ve been nominated for The African Author Of The Year 2018 by Ufere Awards. Yay!

Link to vote below ⬇️

https://www.rwowa.org/best-author

It’s an honour to be nominated alongside other awesome authors. This is a dream come true. I started my journey after another wonderful author, Tolulope Popoola, encouraged me to dust off my manuscripts and go for it. Since then, I haven’t looked back.

Thanks for buying my books, reading them, talking about them and reviewing them. I’m grateful for all your support.

Now, I need your votes to get this award. Please click the link below to vote. Thanks.

https://www.rwowa.org/best-author

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I made a book recommendation list! Yay!

I am so excited to share this: The Senator’s Daughter was listed amongst the recommended 28 billionaire romances for 2018 by bookriot.com! 💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽

Now, this may not mean much for others, but for me, it’s very encouraging.

This is the first time any of my books has been recommended by a non-African book blog.

So, permit me to do cartwheels 🤸‍♂️ all day 😊

Click here to see the list.

The Senator’s Daughter is available on Amazon, Okadabooks and bambooks.

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The Governor’s Wife — Preview

Hello everyone.

I’m releasing 2 parts of chapter one of The Governor’s Wife this week in preparation for the upcoming book release.

Here’s the first part. Enjoy 😊

Chapter One (Part 1)

Seven years ago

His fingers trembled so badly that the small white card almost slipped through them. His eyes moved from it to the woman who’d just handed it to him.

“This…it’s a joke, right?” Philip asked. He couldn’t believe what he’d just read. Icy chills twined with a volcanic heat to run up and down the nerves of his body.

“No, Phil, I’m sorry, but…”

A loud grunt unbound itself from deep within him, and Philip flung the card across the room. He leapt from his chair and cuffed each of her arms with his hands. “Please, Ogonna. You can’t. How can you do this to me…to us? How can you marry this man?”

Her muscles stiffened at his touch, and she shifted her eyes from him.

“Thirteen years, Ogonna. You’ve been my girlfriend over thirteen years. We have a plan…you and me—”

“Exactly, Phil. Thirteen years a girlfriend. A big difference between that and wife,” she retorted.

“Is that what you want? For us to marry…now? When I have no way to support us?” Philip asked, his eyes wide with disbelief. “You’re still in university. I’ve only just graduated. You know I’m here in Abuja looking for a job. Trying to better myself…for our future.”

“This isn’t about you…”

“Not about me?” He tightened his grip, his eyes flashing and his nostrils flaring. “My girlfriend just hands me an invitation to watch her marry another man, and it’s not about me?”

“Phil, let me go,” she said, trying to shake herself free of his grip.

“No!” he growled. “You are mine. If you think I’m going to let you marry anyone else…”

She let out a low cry, more of a whimper. She sniffled, and then slowly turned her head back towards him. Her eyes, brimming with tears, released large glistening drops from their corners to stream in a trail down her cheeks.

Those tears where his undoing. Philip loosened his grip on her arms and forced himself to let her go. He took a step back, his muscles tense with conflicting emotions. Shock, anger, and fear battled in his chest, each fighting for dominance.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. Pushing back his anger, trying to understand what was happening, he reached up and gently brushed her tears away with the pads of his thumbs.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated.

Slowly, he tilted her tear-stained face upwards. “But why, Ogonna? Why are you doing this?” He searched her face anxiously. “Please tell me.”

Her expression darkened with uncertainty. Her shoulders bowed, almost turning in on themselves. And her lips trembled as if she were chilled to the bone. Her usual self-assurance seemed to have been snatched from her, leaving a broken shell—a stranger— standing before him.

The girl he had dated for almost fourteen years had disappeared, like she’d gone up in smoke. And Philip didn’t know how to get her back.

Since secondary school, Ogonna had been his support system. She’d been right there by his side through all the significant events from adolescence up till now. Like two peas in a pod, they had been inseparable. Whenever he needed her, she came through for him, no questions asked.  His entire world. Since the day he’d set eyes on her, there had never been anyone else. And the same for her—or so he’d thought, fool that he was.

They had plotted and planned their lives with the precision of a military operation. After graduation, he would move to Abuja to find a job. Once she’d completed her studies a year later, she would join him.

They were almost there—their end game in sight. He had a job interview scheduled for next week, and her final exams were only two months away. They’d executed the plan to the letter.

But now, here she stood dropping a bombshell in the middle of their lives.

Philip felt he’d been transported to an alternate universe—one where nothing added up. He’d just visited her two weeks ago, had spent the entire weekend in her off-campus flat. Everything had been as it always was between them. Perfect, normal, happy.
Absolutely no indication she had someone else. So, how the hell could she be getting married? And to the Deputy Governor of her home state. Where did she meet the guy? When? His eyes widened.

“How long have you been cheating on me?”

“Philip, I haven’t…it’s not what you think…” She sniffled again.

“Don’t lie to me!” he snapped. “How else can you explain a sudden engagement? Eh?”

“Philip…” she said, starting to say more, then closing her mouth. Her face fell to her feet again.

“Oh, my God!” Philip felt his throat close in. “How long?”

Again, she parted her full lips to reply, but shut them again. A strained silence stifled the atmosphere for a few seconds more until a new bout of frustration rose inside him.

“Answer me…now.” His voice came low and gravelly, delivering the command with a deadly calm that startled her.

Ogonna heaved a deep sigh of resignation, as though she could no longer hold back the truth from him. “I only met him a few weeks ago,” she responded, trailing a trembling finger over her upper lip.

A sign of anxiety. He knew that gesture all too well. He had on many occasions soothed her unease by simply lifting her finger to his lips. But now, he stood frozen. Her revelation rendering him speechless.

Yes, he’d heard her admission, but his subconscious couldn’t immediately process the information. This entire thing seemed like a distant scene unfolding before him. A scene he had no part in. Still immobilised by the shock of her betrayal, he didn’t respond.

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Teaser from Melodies of Love

Hello everyone

To usher in the weekend, here’s a little hot teaser from Melodies Of Love. Enjoy.

The car had stopped moving and the sound of the gate opening signalled to them that they had arrived at Adaora’s place. Adaora gathered her purse, and the moment the jeep came to a stop, she jumped out and ran.

Ikenna cursed under his breath and went after her. She ran up the stairs as fast as she could, forgetting to shut the main door to the apartment building’s main entrance. He caught up with her before she got to the final step, and pulled her into his arms.

“Leave me alone,” Adaora said, struggling to loosen his grip on her. The flight up the stairs had caused her to lose her breath and she was panting uncontrollably. “I can’t deal with all of this. You. All those women… Yet you left me.”

Ikenna put her down, his chest heaving as he struggled to catch his own breath.

“I can’t deal with this,” she said again, quietly this time.

“Can’t deal with this,” Ikenna repeated, shaking his head. His voice was rough. “Let’s start with what you can actually deal with Ada, eh!” he growled. “Can you deal with the fact that I want you so badly that I have not been able to sleep? Can you deal with the fact that all I can think about is holding you, kissing you, ripping your clothes off and being with you in the most intimate way possible?”

He paused, his golden eyes darkening with intense emotion. “Can you deal with that? Ada, can you deal with that?”

“Then do it!” she cried. “All you have ever done is tell me you want to do this and that! It’s been twelve years! Do it! Stop talking and do it!”

Ikenna became still. His golden eyes darkened even more that now he looked dangerous. Adaora’s heartbeat drummed rapidly. The look in his eyes reminded her of the lion head sitting at the top of his studio building; alert and ready to pounce. Ikenna closed the distance between them and lifted her into his arms.

“Open the door now!” he commanded in a hoarse voice.

Adaora’s hands shook terribly. She failed to get the door open on the first try. Ikenna grabbed the keys from her shaking fingers, opened the door and carried her inside.

Melodies Of Love can be purchased as ebooks and paper copies via the following links:

Amazon UK  

Amazon US

OkadaBooks

Nook

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords

Order paper copies in Nigeria from Roving Heights

 

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Why romance authors should be taken seriously.

Hello everyone

I was excited to be interviewed by Syncity NG about the role of the romance genre in literature, particularly African literature.

One of the things I hated growing up, was the scarcity of contemporary romance with African main characters. When I was a teenager, I used to walk around the market and bookshops, desperately searching for romance books that had brown people who looked like me on the front covers. I was frequently disappointed because the only romance novels populating our bookstores were Mills and Boons with non-African main characters.

This made me yearn for more. When I came across the pacesetters series in the early 90s and authors like Helen Ovbiagele, who showcased romance in books like Evbu my Love and A Fresh Start, I went wild with excitement like a kid in a candy store. That day, I purchased almost all the books there with my pocket money.

Since then, I have come across other authors like Kiru Taye, Nana Prah, Empi Darko, Lara Daniels, Somi Ekhasomhi who write about love in Africa. I wanted to be a part of that.

Continue for my Interview with SynCity NG

Finalist at the Ufere Awards

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Paper copies now available for purchase in Nigeria

Hello everyone,

I have excellent news to share!

Paper copies of Melodies of Love, Thorns and Roses and Starting Over Again can now be purchased in Nigeria. Yay!!!

I am so excited about this, because readers have asked me repeatedly to make them available in Nigeria. There is something about holding a book that some book lovers find fascinating. There are people who say that e- books don’t produce the same effect.

For me, as long as the story is enthralling, I don’t mind whatever form it comes in. I am like a book junkie—anything to fix my fiction craving will do.

Well, for those who prefer paper copies and find e-books inadequate, I have got you covered.

Enjoy a blissful romantic escape with this trilogy of sensual love stories from the heart of West Africa.

Just click the links below, order the paper copies and they will be delivered at your doorstep wherever you live in Nigeria. It is as simple as that.

Melodies of LoveClick here to buy Melodies Of Love

Thorns and RosesClick here to buy Thorns and Roses

Starting Over AgainClick here to buy Starting Over Again

 

Paper copies now available for purchase in Nigeria

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