BY: EMPI BARYEH
Abandoned by her father at a young age, beauty therapist, Patricia Owusu, has learned the hard way that men can’t be relied on. She’s determined to make it on her own without falling into the cultural trappings of marriage. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a torrid love affair with African-American financial consultant, Ty Webber, she discovers one man’s resolve to stick around.
When Ty discovers Patricia is carrying his baby, he offers marriage, because real men take responsibility for their actions. He isn’t prepared for Patricia’s stubborn determination to make it on her own. But nothing will prevent him from claiming his child or the woman he considers his.
Can Ty convince Patricia to take a chance on him to help provide a loving home for their baby, or will Patricia’s mistrust lead her to miss out on true love and rob her child of the type of father she never had?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Expecting Ty’s Baby by Empi Baryeh, Patricia Owusu does not believe in marriage, so when she ends up pregnant—by a man who lives an ocean away, no less—she is determined to make it on her own. But when the man she won’t admit she has fallen for comes back to Africa for their best friends’ wedding, Patricia finds herself even more deeply in love. Still, she refuses to depend on any man, especially one who doesn’t even live in her own country. Can he convince her to trust him and give their child two parents, or is she doomed to be unhappy forever?
Well written, enchanting, and heart-warming, this is one romance fans should love.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Expecting Ty’s Baby by Empi Baryeh is the second book in her Love from Ghana series. This story takes up where Chancing Faith left off, with everyone getting ready for Naaki and Thane’s wedding. Naaki’s best friend, Patricia, and Thane’s best friend, Ty, had a brief week-long affair when Ty was in Africa a few months ago, and now Patricia has discovered that she’s pregnant. But when Ty finds out that she is expecting his baby, he is determined to marry her and be a father to the child. Patricia is just as determined to go it on her own, believing men to be undependable since her father abandoned her when she was a child. Can these two stubborn people find some common ground for the sake of their love and their child?
Poignant, charming, and full of wonderful characters, Expecting Ty’s Baby will warm your heart right down to your toes. A wonderful love story and a worthy addition to the series.
Patricia Owusu flicked a coin into the air, deftly catching it between her palm and the back of her other hand. “Heads, I tell Ty he’s going to be a father; tails, I don’t.”
Across the table in their usual corner of the Infusions Café where they met for breakfast one Sunday every month, her best friend and blushing bride-to-be, Naaki Tabika, quirked an eyebrow. “Pat, don’t even joke about something like this. Ty has a right to know.”
“Who says I’m joking?” Patricia lifted her hand to reveal the coin and her heart sank.
“Heads,” Naaki said with a smile. “Clearly, fate knows what it’s doing.”
Patricia waved the pesky coin. “Best two out of three.”
Naaki laughed, and despite herself, Patricia gave into a smile. Okay, so maybe she was half-joking, because deep down inside—if she let herself think about it, allowed her mind to reach past the pregnancy hormones and the nerves jangling in the pit of her stomach—she couldn’t deny the temptation to tell Ty. An idea that sounded good only in theory, because in truth, Ty wouldn’t want to know.
“The last thing I want is to noose a lifelong commitment around a guy’s neck.”
Especially one resulting from a liaison that lasted all of one week. They had both known—agreed—their relationship had no future.
Naaki looked doubtful. “I don’t know. Ty struck me as a responsible guy, and I’m sure he’d like to be involved in some way.”
That was the problem. He hadn’t said it in so many words, but Patricia had sensed Ty to be the kind of man who took obligation seriously, so telling him would mean forcing his hand.
“I can’t let him take responsibility for something he didn’t sign up for. Besides, his life is in America, mine is here. What kind of life would he be offering my child?”
“You know it’s no excuse,” Naaki said. “Remember when I didn’t want to get involved with Thane because he would be returning to America? Look at us now.”
As Naaki refilled her cup, the diamond solitaire on her engagement ring caught in a ray of sunlight, which had managed to slip through the branches of moringa trees lining the side of the quiet street their table overlooked.
It paled in comparison with the gleam in her eyes.
“I’m happy things worked out between you and Thane, but it’s not the same. For one, you two were in love pretty much from the start. Ty and I aren’t.”
Even though their attraction to each other had been instant, the passion between them seemingly insatiable, there had been no gray areas in their agreement: one week, no strings attached.
A baby came with major strings.
Pushing aside those thoughts, she concentrated on her tea as though she’d find some secret solution in the dark brew. “I told him I was safe. I thought I was safe; and now to tell him I’m pregnant? He’s going to think I’m a liar. Or worse, one of those women who get pregnant to trap guys into marriage.”
“Hey.” Naaki’s hand closed around Patricia’s arm. “You’re neither a liar nor one of those women, and if he spent any amount of time with you, he should know. Besides, you’re both consenting adults. It’s not as if you forced yourself on him.”
Warmth spread through her veins, and her heartbeat quickened as the memories came back in vivid color. They’d been cuddling in the king-sized bed in Ty’s hotel suite. After going through their pack of condoms during the night, she’d thought the multiple orgasms he’d drawn out of her had been enough to last a lifetime—or at least a few years—but she’d woken up to his kisses on her shoulder and gentle caresses along her thigh.
He’d nudged her backward, bringing her butt in contact with his hot, throbbing arousal and all previous orgasms were promptly forgotten. She’d wanted him with a fierceness she’d never experienced with any other man. She’d turned, thrust her pelvis against his hardness, and practically assaulted him. Not that he hadn’t been a willing participant. Au contraire. He’d been—
“Uh, Earth to Pat,” Naaki’s voice broke through her lustful recollection. “Wow, it’s been what? Three months? And you’re still spacing out at the mention of his name.”
Patricia blew out a breath of pent up frustration then sipped her tea in favor of wasting any effort in trying to deny the truth of her friend’s words. She was no prude, but sex with Ty had been beyond her expectations.
She sighed. He’d been so attuned to her needs, touching her as if he’d known her body for much longer than a week. He’d branded her in a way she wasn’t sure could be replicated. Would her body ever get over him?
She shoved the thoughts out of her mind, squaring her shoulders in a false show of indifference. “It doesn’t matter. We’re never going to see each other again, so what’s the point? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”
“Him or you? Don’t assume Ty is going to make the same choice your father did.”
Despite Naaki’s gentle tone, her words delivered a heavy dose of tough love, its sting worse than a back-handed slap. Patricia steeled herself, forced her mind to move past it.
“My parents married because my mother got pregnant with me and look how well that turned out.” Sarcasm. An ineffective shield against the torment of unanswered questions simmering beneath the surface, but it helped in a way she couldn’t explain. “All I’m saying is men have to be ready for a baby. Otherwise, they run in the other direction.”
“Who says Ty isn’t ready?”
“Trust me, he isn’t,” Patricia said with conviction, her mind going back to their conversation one early dawn as they pillow-talked after a night of mind-numbing, limb-weakening sex. How had he put it again? Not in my ten-year plan. The words echoed in her head, along with the rich timbre of his laughter as he’d said them.
Absentmindedly, she fiddled with the coin she’d flipped as those thoughts continued their torturous flow. She wasn’t an indecisive person by nature, but she had a huge decision to make, and the consequences would be far-reaching whichever direction she went.
“I still think you should tell him,” Naaki said. “I mean, hopefully you wouldn’t be showing yet, but as my maid of honor it would be a little obvious if you have to excuse yourself every few minutes to go and throw up.”
“What are you talking about?” Patricia’s mind whisked past the barb, reading between the lines. “You don’t mean he’s—”
A prickly sensation skittered up her spine—something between dread and excitement—at the thought she didn’t want to speak into existence.
“I do,” Naaki answered. “Ty is coming to the wedding. He’s the best man.”
Patricia buried her face in her palms. This complicated things. Big time. It would be easy to keep the truth from him when they lived thousands of miles and an ocean apart. It was an entirely different story to share the same space with him and not blurt it out—a definite possibility if he trained those haunting green eyes of his on her, eyes which tempted her to say things she shouldn’t.
Like the morning they’d made the baby now growing inside her—the only time during their weeklong affair they hadn’t used a condom. She’d asked him to make love to her, and he’d whispered in his deep baritone, “We’re out of condoms.”
With disappointment crawling up her stomach, she’d done a quick calculation, determined her period had ended about a week earlier, just before they had met. She’d deduced she was still safe for another couple of days—at least.
Since they’d already had the all-important HIV status talk before they had sex the first time, she’d confidently uttered the four fatal words. “It’s okay, I’m safe.”
“You know, the best man and maid of honor have to spend a lot of time together,” Naaki teased. “If last time was anything to go by, then you won’t be able to resist him.”
But Patricia had to.
For his own sake.
“Like you said, I won’t be showing yet,” she persisted stubbornly. “I’m sure I’ll survive a few weeks without cracking.”
It took thirty minutes of walking in circles and passing the same neighborhood shop three times before Ty Webber admitted it.
He was lost.
Gazing reflectively at the somewhat familiar surroundings, he took in a row of neem trees overhanging the white walls of a gated property and the roadside mechanic up ahead. He had to be in the right neighborhood. However, many streets around him were unmarked as was typical with non-major roads in the city—something he’d observed on his first visit to Ghana three months ago—and there were just so many landmarks a person could memorize.
Bringing his mind back to his predicament, he contemplated his options, the most logical being to catch a taxi back to his hotel. However, he was eager to see Patricia. It should have worried him just how much he wanted to see her, because it sure as hell wasn’t about the things they needed to do as best man and maid of honor of their best friends’ wedding.
No. There was just something about Patricia, something which evoked thoughts of her at the most inopportune times. Like a couple of weeks ago during dinner with a very beautiful woman, all he’d been able to think about was how his date approached the food with passionless indifference, as though eating were a mere formality. He’d only been half listening to her, while the other half of his mind had reminisced about dinners with Patricia—how she’d close her eyes and moan whenever she tasted something she particularly liked, how he’d thought they sounded erotic until he’d made love with her, and she’d moaned and whimpered in his ears, and he’d—
Damn. There he went again thinking about her when he needed to make a decision—find her or return. He thought about the best man’s to-do list in his jeans pocket: a pretty standard list, and having been best man three times already, he knew the drill. However, this being only his second visit to Ghana, he would need help finding his way around. So, on two counts, he needed Patricia.
Five minutes later, he’d retraced his steps back to the junction where he’d dropped from the communal taxi he’d picked up in front of the hotel. At a few minutes past four o’clock in the afternoon, temperatures were cooler than they’d been a few hours back. The Harmattan season prevailing in early-January had cast the atmosphere in a dry, dusty haze.
Despite the reduced humidity compared to what it had been on his first visit, he’d worked up a light sheen of perspiration from the short walk. However, having escaped from a harsh winter in New York, he wasn’t complaining. He found a shade in the shadow cast by a kiosk marked “Lotto.”
“Good afternoon,” he said to the young man inside.
It was another thing he’d noticed on his last trip. People greeted as they passed each other on the street. The friendliness strangers showed one another had staggered him. Though he’d only had two weeks to spare on his last visit, the experience had been intensely spiritual; one that had deepened his desire for a greater connection to Africa—his roots. He’d left knowing he’d return.
So, when Thane had called and asked him to be best man at his wedding, Ty hadn’t needed any convincing.
“Good afternoon, sir,” the young man answered, an eager gleam lighting in his eyes. “You want to stake some lotto?”
Ty chuckled. “Oh no, thank you.”
As a financial consultant, his job was to understand how money worked. He spent hours daily, advising clients on where to invest, whether a potential venture would be worthwhile, and a whole array of other financial issues. The outcome of lottery was just too random for him to put any stock in it.
That wasn’t to say he didn’t believe in luck or chances. Meeting Patricia had been purely accidental. A little over three months ago, he’d been contracted by Black & Black, a US advertising agency, in a merger with one of Ghana’s top agencies, Media Image Advertising—or MIA as it was generally called. Having spent two years in Britain obtaining an ACCA, the equivalent of a CPA in the British-based system, he was in a better position than most of his American counterparts to audit accounts on behalf of clients back home.
He’d been in one of a series of discussions with Thane, who at the time had been the International Account Director for Black & Black, on whose recommendation Ty had been hired. The meeting had been interrupted when Thane was called to an emergency conference call with a client. Normally, Ty would have remained in the boardroom and continued working on his own or used the break to check the latest headlines on CNN online. Yet something had drawn him out, beckoned him to get some fresh air.
He’d been just in time to see Patricia walk into the main reception, an African goddess, her skin a flawless cocoa brown much darker than his caramel complexion. High heels added a couple of inches to her five-seven frame. She’d been wearing skinny jeans and a fashionable blouse made from African print fabric. Slung over one shoulder was a handbag, and in her other hand she held, of all things, a silver toolbox. His curiosity aroused, he’d lingered at the entryway.
She’d flashed an even set of pearly whites at the receptionist and asked for Naaki, whom he’d had the pleasure of teasing his best friend about a few times before. Moments later, when the two friends hugged, Ty had still been watching, unable to will his legs to move him past the spot where he stood. He’d also guessed Naaki would take her visitor to her work area in the general office, which meant they’d have to walk past him. Although, he’d only known her a couple days, he’d sensed Naaki to be too polite to pass by him without introducing her friend, so he’d casually slipped a hand into his pocket and waited.
The sound of a horn blaring yanked him out of his thoughts and he swore, realizing he’d drifted off again. Whipping out his cell phone, he made a mental note to get a local line, since the wedding was six weeks away, and using his US phone for a month and a half would be expensive and even impossible at times.
He dialed Thane’s number.
“Hey, buddy,” Ty said when the call went through. “You don’t happen to be with your bride-to-be, do you?”
Thane’s chuckle drifted across the line. “You tried to find her on your own, didn’t you?”
Ty grimaced, and gave Thane a moment to have a laugh at his expense.
“What did I tell you?” Thane asked.
Don’t go on any bold expeditions. Ty hadn’t forgotten. He’d just been so sure he’d make it to his destination without trouble, so he hadn’t called to ask Patricia to meet him at the hotel as his friend had advised. He’d wanted to surprise her.
Still, he refused to admit his error—unless he really had to. “Before you think of making me beg, bro, just remember I’m your best man and I could—”
“Wow, even with your hands tied behind your back, you’re threatening me.” Thane laughed. “But you win. Naaki won’t forgive me if I let you do anything to ruin our wedding.”
Before Ty could think of an appropriate response, another voice drifted across the line in the background—a female. Naaki. He breathed out in relief when he heard a rustling sound suggesting the phone had changed hands.
“Hello, Ty.” He could hear the smile in Naaki’s voice. “What’s this I hear about you ruining the wedding?”
“Just trying to get you on the phone, Naaki,” he said with a smile of his own, hoping he sounded apologetic enough.
After a few more pleasantries, he explained his situation to Naaki, and as he listened to her instructions, it became clear where he’d gone wrong. He thanked her and spoke with Thane briefly again before clicking off.
Armed with the new directions, he found himself on the right street within seven minutes. The house, a one-story structure, looked like many of the buildings in the vicinity, the top part being residential with the bottom floor reserved for commercial purposes. In Patricia’s case the space below the one-bedroom apartment had been empty, the shop which had previously been there having gone out of business a few months back.
It had been locked up at the time of his last visit, with old newspapers covering its glass front. Today, though the paper remained, some parts no longer sticking to the glass, the door lay open. New owner, he guessed, immediately dismissing it from his mind. He had better things to think about.
He’d almost bypassed the entrance on his way to the side gate that would grant him access to the staircase leading upstairs when a movement in his peripheral vision made him turn. He stopped short at the sight meeting his gaze. Patricia?
His pulse kicked up a notch, and he had to hold in a breath for a few seconds to steady his heart. Ridiculous, he told himself, hesitating for a moment. He didn’t do this. He didn’t go back, never dated any woman twice. His policy had always been to keep his relationships short, sweet, and noncommittal. Once it was over, it was over. Like the first time with Patricia—the rules had been simple and his return to the US put a distance between them, ensuring the permanency of their goodbye.
He continued to watch her tap away at her computer, oblivious to his presence. She sat with her back to him, her long braids held up in a way that displayed her graceful neck. He could hear music, an eighties hit he suspected was streaming from the laptop which claimed her full attention.
He didn’t do this, but here he stood, and truth be told, he wouldn’t mind spending another week with her.
Or maybe six.
Finally, he crossed the threshold.
© 2019 by Empi Baryeh