Building of the City by Dellani Oakes

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Creating a believable setting isn’t as easy as you might think. Using a place you know as a backdrop is easier, but what if your action can’t all be done at real locations? Time to get inventive.

By inventive, I don’t mean digging out road maps to some city that fits your needs, why not make something up?

For So Much It Hurts, among others, I wanted a big city, but didn’t want to use NYC, Chicago or other metropolis. Why? Because I’m basically lazy and don’t fancy the research. Also, if I get my facts wrong, someone will call me on it. As I don’t much like the idea of engaging internet trolls, I chose to make my own.

This city has no name. I couldn’t come up with a name that sounded credible. I hate the hokey names they give cities in soap operas (and Sunnydale was taken) I didn’t want more trolls crawling out of the woodwork telling me their city has that name and X was wrong with my tale. Therefore, it is a mysterious city somewhere near Canada and west of NYC, but east of Chicago.

I created some landmarks—a magnificent art deco hotel, a newspaper, a coffee shop, mall, art gallery, museums, aquarium and other sights to see. There is no map except the one in my mind, traffic is as busy or not as I choose. Some characters live in a ritzy development near the lake, others in less pricey and prestigious areas of the city.

An architectural firm does remodels of old, historic buildings—making exclusive condos from an old department store, for example.

The City has spies, thieves, billionaires, wealthy old families, nouveau riche, doctors, lawyers and rock stars.

There are upscale suburbs, low class urban areas, sleepy small towns a few miles away from the craziness of the city—idyllic, quiet, crime free, there is a lake nearby and mountains. In short, any environment I want, is available. I have all flexibility I want with none of the real life hassles.

To keep it believable, I have traffic jams, crimes,emergencies, accidents—all the things we have in real life. They aren’t the focus of my story, but the bustle of the city is always there. I’ve written a lot of books in this imaginary setting, so many, she has become very real to me. She’s as much a character as the people who live in her environs.

Why do I refer to the City as She? Because, she is like a mother to the people who live there. She sets guardians to watch over them, doing their best to protect her young. Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people (or bad people, as the case may be) and the City’s guardians can’t save them all. That doesn’t stop them from trying.

The first story written in my city, was Best Medicine. It hasn’t been published yet, but I will do it one day. My problem with my City books is that I’m not sure which to publish first. Best Medicine started it all, introducing some pivotal characters, but some of the books are more fun. They can stand alone, but do share characters, so you see my quandary.

My newest book, So Much It Hurts, is set in my City. It stands on its own, but also fits into the fabric woven in the City. I don’t know if Pia, Flynn and Yancy will get into other City books, but it’s entirely possible. I never say never with my writing, because I get blindsided, more often than not.

I love my imaginary city, somewhere up north. One day, I may work on a map, but I prefer keeping her in my imagination, telling her tales; sharing her joys and pains. I’ll keep writing her stories, sharing moments from the lives she nurtures and cares for. I hope that when I, eventually, get them published, readers will love her as much as I do.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Excerpt from So Much It Hurts

Flynn slung his around Pia’s shoulders and she hooked her thumb in his belt loop.

We’re going to campus, Amita,” he called to her at the desk.

Don’t get lost!”

I promise. I have an unerring sense of direction.” He wandered to the left and right. “I know there’s a front door here somewhere.” It did his heart good that Pia giggled at his silly joke. “We can walk or we can drive. Which do you want to do?”

How far is it?”

About six blocks.” He examined the traffic. “At this time of day, after rush hour and before noon, we’d make good time. If you have an eight or one o’clock class, it’s better to walk or bike. I go early and come home late, so I usually leave around seven and get there on time. Coming home is better.”

Gawd! I’m gonna have to get used to city traffic. Back home, it’s distance not cars you have to account for. And the occasional cow. Sometimes they get loose and wander. There was one who would hop the fence and lie in the middle of the road.”

How inconvenient.”

No kidding! She wouldn’t move, no matter how much you honked, and the bar pits on the side are deep there, with a narrow shoulder.”

Bar pits?”

The ditches on the side of the road. You have to learn to speak Nebraskan.” She added a distinctly nasal twang to her voice. “They borrow–bar–to build up the road.”

Bar pits. Hmmm.” Flynn nodded. “Why don’t we walk this time and I can show you some sights along the way?”

Sounds good. I’m up for anything.”

Got good walking shoes?”

I wore my comfy boots.” She showed him her soft-soled boots.

Perfect. Okay. Do you know the address here?”

Yes. I got that much under control. And the bus stop is that way.” She pointed to their right.

Correct. Campus is the opposite direction. If you take the bus, take the number seven to Trinity.”

Seven to Trinity.” She whipped out her phone and left a note to herself. “Any changes?”

No. It’s a straight shot. The Trinity stop comes in on the side of campus near the Fine Arts buildings, so it’s perfect for us. If Yancy takes the bus, he has to wait for the number ten, which lets off on Springfield. It’s on the opposite side. I think the left-brained business majors didn’t want to be anywhere near us right-brained freaks.”

We are pretty freaky.”

It took Yancy a while to get used to me. His family is so straight! I don’t think I’ve ever seen his old man crack a smile. And me, throwing out comic gems. Sad, really.”

Tragic.”

Speaking of comedy, across the street to your right is the Cheezers Comedy Club. They have stand up, but four nights a week, they do improv.”

No, I love that! Is it expensive?”

Surprisingly affordable. I’ve got some buddies who work there. I’ve used a few of the cast members as models. There’s one guy, taller than me. He’s a freak of nature. I think he’s six foot eight.”

He ate his Wheaties for breakfast.”

By the box. There’s the Thai Garden.” He pointed directly to their left.

As they walked slowly along, he pointed out various points of interest: restaurants, a pawn shop, music store, art supply, grocery store and movie theatre.

You weren’t kidding about how close it all is. I’ll have to explore Making Music soon. I can’t go long without a fix.”

We can go in now, if you want.” He turned to face the store.

The front window was filled with shiny saxophones, sparkling flutes, and tantalizing objects Flynn couldn’t name. It caught his artist’s eye, drawing him in.

Today’s goal is campus.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Available Now fro Pre-Order: So Much It Hurts by Dellani Oakes

Coming November 1, 2017 from Tirgearr Publishing – So Much It Hurts! This delightful romance is set in a big city somewhere up north. I’ve never given it a name, and the residents refer to it as The City.

Pia Donovan is a small town girl. Newly in the City from a tiny town in Nebraska, she is overwhelmed by the fast pace. After a long day of getting lost in the worst part of town, she arrives at her destination; an historic, grand hotel in the downtown area. Picking her way across the rutted ground in front of the building, she loses her balance, nearly falling into the arms of Flynn Chancellor. Handsome and friendly, Flynn presents a happy distraction for a girl who’s trying to recover from a broken heart.

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Sweet, sultry music poured from the open second-story windows as Pia walked across the pitted, uneven ground. Scattered with puddles and trash, it wasn’t a very inviting aspect. The old, grand hotel building loomed above her, intimidating in the dusky light after sunset. Sighing, she forged ahead, dragging her rolling suitcase after her. It bumped into a particularly deep hole and caught. Yanking, she lost her balance and teetered to the right.

Watch out!” Strong hands caught her, setting her on her feet. The same hands lifted her suitcase. “You all right, little lady?”

Pia wasn’t sure she liked being called a little lady by any man, but when she turned to look at him, she decided he had the right to. He was at least six foot three, maybe taller. She, a petite five three, was indeed a little lady. He flashed a brilliant smile at her.

You’re the newbie.” He extended his hand. “Flynn Chancellor. Welcome to the fold.”

Pia Donovan. Thank you. How does this work, exactly?”

Didn’t get orientation?” He tugged her suitcase, ushering Pia inside.

Sort of? They told me to report here this afternoon, but I took the wrong bus and ended up on the way to Maryville. I got as far as Walnut Street and finally figured out I was in the wrong spot.”

Ooh, not a place for a lady of your delicate sensibilities to be.”

Yeah, tell me about it. The driver wouldn’t let me out on the street. He dropped me at a satellite station and told me the right bus to take back.”

That was nice of him.”

He said he has a granddaughter my age. He wouldn’t set her loose to the wolves.”

Flynn chuckled. “Apt. I grew up in that area. It ain’t pretty.” He opened the door for her, letting her walk under his arm. It was an easy fit. “Where are you from, Pia Donovan?”

Out of state. I moved here from Nebraska. Outside Kearney.”

No kidding? What brings you up here?”

I got a scholarship to City University.”

In?”

He opened a set of inner doors which led into a large, open area. To the right and left there were arched doorways which had once led to reception and lobby areas. They were now full of cast-off furniture and crowds of men and women, all about her age. Every ethnic blend imaginable greeted her small-town Nebraska eyes.

Music.”

We’ve got several music majors here. I’ll show you around, if you want.”

I’d like that, thank you. How do I get settled?”

We talk to Amita.” He pointed to the desk area. It had formally been the receptionist’s desk — a tall, dark wooden structure that wrapped around like a bar.

When was this place built?”

Early 1900s.”

And they’re tearing it down?”

No. It will, eventually, be renovated.”

She nodded, looking around her at the early elegance of the place. It sported dark wood wainscoting, light walls, brass wall sconces. This was in stark contrast with the battered linoleum laid over the original hardwood floors, holes in the walls, and pieces of plywood over missing glass panes.

You wouldn’t know to look at it, but it was a showplace in its time. Celebrities from all over the world visited. It was built by one of the founding families, so they will never tear it down.”

It’s still got a stateliness to it, doesn’t it?”

It does,” he agreed.

No one was at the desk, but he leaned over and called through an open doorway. “Oi, Amita! Found our newbie!”

A tall, mocha-skinned woman with wildly curly hair came out, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Hi! You must be Pia. I’m Amita, I’m the resident manager. We expected you ages ago.”

I got lost.”

Ended up on Walnut Street,” Flynn added.

Oh, my God! And lived to tell about it!”

Flynn chuckled and leaned against the tall desk, hands in pockets. Pia had a moment to take in details she hadn’t noticed outside in the dusk. He was broad-shouldered, with dancing green eyes. His chestnut colored hair was nearly to his shoulders, thick and straight, covered by a faded black fedora. Steel gauges, about the size of a quarter, stretched each earlobe. His arms were covered by intricate tattoos, forming sleeves from wrist up. His shirtsleeves were rolled just past his elbows. Rusty black pants, which looked as if they had seen better days, dangled from colorful suspenders. His huge feet were covered in clunky, leather boots. Every piece of clothing was spattered with different colors of paint.

You’ll be in the Ambassador Suite,” Amita said with a grin, handing over a registration card for Pia to sign.

Sounds elegant.”

It’s great!” Flynn said with a grin.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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What’s In a Name?

I’ve written a lot of books – well over a hundred. Some will be published, others will never see the light of day. In all those books, I have characters. These characters need names. I’ve noticed, over the years, that I have a tendency to use the same names for minor characters with alarming frequency.

I didn’t realize how alarming until I decided to take a tally. Considering I have approximately 108 finished novels/ novellas, and roughly 50 unfinished works (not including short stories) that’s a lot of names! I try to keep the main character names unique, but there are, apparently, some I loved so much, I used them for more than one character. At least they are in worlds which will not collide, or I’d be in serious trouble. I can change a minor character’s name, or even a main character if I catch it before he or she has fully evolved. I’ve done that four times, that I can think of. Once a story is finished, I won’t change a main character’s name, though I have altered the names of a few adjunct characters.

To get back to my little OCD moment…. I wondered how many times I’d used certain names, so I went through my notebooks, checking cast lists, and counted. The results shocked me. I have now made myself a list of names never to use again. I’ll have to find alternatives. The list below includes only the names of those I had remembered to write down. There could very easily be a few more Bobs, Williams or Toms around, for which I cannot account. I will, eventually, endeavor to change out some of these names, because there are only so many Bobs anyone can possibly know. In my list below, I included only the names I’d used 15 times or more.

Dellani’s Most Used Names:

Cindy 15

Paul 15

Richard 15

Sam 15

Charles 17

David 17

Ed 17

John 19

James 20

Tom 20

And the top two names were (drumroll please):

Coming in at #2 Most Used Name was – William at a rollicking 29

The #1 Top Used Name was – Robert! At a whopping 32!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t know that many people named Bob.

Keep in mind, these totals include combination names like Joe Bob, Billy Bob, Jimmy Joe Bob Earl…. (I had 7 Earls, 4 Joes) I’ve made a complete list and the top contenders have a list of their own Names Never to Use Again! Meanwhile, I need to come up with alternatives…. Bother.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes

Kent Griswald is a high powered movie executive known for his micro-managing and aggressive supervision of a movie from beginning to end. He’s not well liked professionally or personally, so when someone puts a knife in his chest, no one is terribly surprised. However, someone also took pot shots at his younger brother, Connor, who has no enemies. Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein are called in on the case, ready for action. Unfortunately, Detective Scott hadn’t counted on the eye witness, Cadence Stuart. Pretty and personable, she’s also terrified that the killer may come after her next. It’s up to Scott to protect her from the tall, dark killer. Unfortunately, so far, the killer’s identity and whereabouts are Undiscovered.

Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein have been called to the scene of a strange crime. Someone shot the younger brother of movie mogul, Kent Griswald. Connor Griswald wasn’t killed, but when a man is shot on a public beach, while surrounded by celebrities, there’s pressure on the police to produce a suspect quickly.

Fortunately, Scott and Vanessa have a witness, Cadence Stewart. She shows condos part time and works as a music teacher at a local college. After finishing up the stacks of paperwork, Scott and Vanessa decide to go out to dinner.

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 200They drove back to the station together. They hit the door and headed to their desks to start the paperwork ball rolling. Long after their shift was supposed to be over, they finally finished. Meeting up at the Lieutenant’s office, they decided to go to dinner. They met at the best restaurant on the beach. There was a live band and the place was packed, but Scott could always get in.

“My sister’s the manager,” he explained as the hostess led them to a table.

“Your usual drink, Scott?”

“Not tonight. I’ll have iced tea.”

“Not a rum runner or something more interesting?” The hostess probed.

“Thanks, no. Still gotta drive home.” He flashed a winning smile.

The hostess sashayed off, swinging her hips. Scott watched her until Nessa nudged him, clearing her throat.

“Friend of yours?”

“Used to be. Okay, still on occasion. A beneficial friend,” he clarified.

“Got that. My keen observation sense.” She tapped the corner of her right eye.

“We gonna rehash that old dog?”

“Which old dog?”

“That argument where you tell me what a man slut I am? Cause that got old the first sixty times. I don’t think I can sit through it again.”

“You can do what you want.”

“Why didn’t you feel like that before?”

“We were dating then.”

Walt frowned, pursing his lips. “Cheap shot, Ness.”

“And what you’re doing isn’t?”

“When we were dating did I ever look at another woman? You’d love it if I’d been unfaithful, then you’d be able justify leaving me.”

“Here we go,” the waitress said cheerfully. “Dinner is served! Can I get you anything else?”

“We’re good,” Scott said. “Thanks.”

She strutted off again and he made a point of watching her just to irk Vanessa.

“How’d you like it if I started ogling some guy while I’m with you?”

“When you can find one better built than me, go ahead.”

“Arrogant prick.”

“But you liked that arrogant prick, Ness. As I recall, you found it quite satisfying.”

“I think we’d better drop this subject too.”

“But we’re finding out what we have in common, a messed up love life.”

They changed the subject to anything but love and crime.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Under the Western Sky by Dellani

Under the Western Sky is my retro-romantic suspense. Also from Tirgearr Publishing, Under the Western Sky takes readers back to 1976. This retro romance is full of faced paced suspense as well as the story of young love in bloom.

Libby Marshall and Bobby Menendez are happy in their new found relationship. Friends for years, they finally realize their feelings are much deeper than mere friendship. They are just beginning to explore this new relationship when Bobby’s cousin, Ramon, is beaten by white boys because he dared to date a white girl.

Racial tension is high in the small, Midwestern town as the police strive to find the guilty parties. Bobby and Libby wonder if he will be the next target as events unfold and the true evil is revealed – Under the Western Sky.

Excerpt from Under the Western Sky

Having worked summer stock out here several times, Bobby knew they kept a fully stocked tool shop. Tools made handy weapons. The shed would be locked, but he hoped to get in without too much trouble. Provided they hadn’t changed the combination on the padlock, he still remembered it.

Taking a deep breath, he scooted across the open stretch of land between the stage and the scene shop. This was where he was most vulnerable. A dim bulb lit the front of the shed and he would be visible until he got the door open. Saying a silent prayer, he dashed across, flattening himself against the side of the concrete brick wall. His hand found the lock as he slowly rolled to face the door. His fingers moved quickly, but his shaking hands made him start over twice before the lock gave a distinctive snick, falling open in his palm.

He eased the door open and a dim string of lights flickered on when he touched the switch. Moving with confidence, he found what he was looking for. Grabbing a tool belt, he filled it quickly with screwdrivers, hammers and chisels. He stuffed a bag of nails into his pocket; a razor knife went into another.

“I swear, I thought I saw something down here,” a man said, outside the shop.

Bobby flicked off the lights, grateful that they wouldn’t show outside. He slipped quietly into a corner between the router and the table saw, sliding silently down the wall.

“What’s in there?” He heard Tex ask someone.

Danny answered slowly, his words somewhat garbled. Bobby was sure his lips were swollen from the beating he’d taken.

“That’s where they keep stuff for the plays. Old scenery, paint.”

Bobby wished he’d put the lock back on the door, but it was too late to worry about it now.

“Open it,” Tex commanded.

“It’s probably locked, boss.”

“Open the goddamn door, moron. Here, I’ll do it myself!”

Wood creaked and shattered as Tex kicked it down. Bobby had to suppress a laugh. He’d have gotten through a lot quicker if he’d simply tried the doorknob.

“Keep him out here,” Tex said to his companion.

“Yes, sir.”

Tex entered the shop immediately running into a stack of lumber just inside the door. It was a dumb place for it, but as it was always there, Bobby had known to avoid it. Cursing loudly, the man tried to find a light switch but they were hard to find in the dark. Whoever had built the shop had wired it wrong, putting the switch on the opposite side of the shop. The only switch operated the string of Christmas bulbs Bobby had used to find his way around.

For the first time, Bobby noticed the sawdust on the floor. Although there were other prints in it, his were distinct and fresh. They didn’t escape Tex’s notice.

“Someone’s been in here,” he called over his shoulder.

While his head was turned, Bobby jumped up, pushing the table saw toward the big man. With a roar, the older man jumped out of the way as the heavy power tool fell on the floor.

“You little shit! I’ll get you for that!”

Bobby hurled a handful of nails at him, grabbing a 2 x 4 off another stack of lumber. Screaming, Tex flung his arms up to fend off the nails. Staggering, he stooped, grabbing another piece of wood for himself.

The two pieces of lumber cracked together, sounding like a gun shot. Grunting and cursing, Tex wailed away with his piece of wood. He was strong and his blows hammered mercilessly at Bobby. A lucky shot got in under Bobby’s guard, glancing off his elbow. Pain and numbness shot up his arm as the end of the wood connected with his funny bone.

He dropped his 2 x 4, fingers numb, arm throbbing. Tex advanced, taunting him with the wood. Bobby knew his left arm was useless, hoping the blow hadn’t broken it. Easing a hammer out of his tool belt, he held it low, waiting for Tex to move.

Tex grinned, laughing harshly. It was a cold, hollow sound in the cement shop.

“Not so feisty now, eh, muchacho?” He moved closer to get a better shot at Bobby.

Bobby countered his movement with his own, getting a better grip on the hammer. As Tex swung back, he hurled the hammer at him, catching the man on the side of the head. It was a glancing blow, but knocked him back a step. Roaring in pain, Tex rushed him, board cast aside and forgotten.

Bobby dropped into his fighting stance, ready for him. In one fluid motion, he grabbed Tex by his outstretched arm, locking it to his side. Putting one leg between Tex’s, he trapped the bigger man. Even with his left arm dangling limp at his side, Bobby yanked hard on Tex’s arm. With a satisfying crack and a yelp, he knew he’d dislocated his elbow.

He threw Tex to the floor, flipping him on his face, nose in a pile of sawdust. He yanked the injured arm straight up behind him, pinning him in place with a foot on his neck.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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One Night in Daytona Beach – City Nights #17

One Night in Daytona Beach is part of the amazing erotic romance series, City Nights, released by Tirgearr Publishing.

He hadn’t seen her in 10 years, but there she was, dressed in black leather, straddling the Harley. Draven Wick is back home, on a break from filming his vampire themed TV show, when he spots Jamie Humphrey at a Bike Week raffle. The love of his teen life, Draven never thought he’d see her again. Rekindling their romance after 10 years is the easy part. Unfortunately, Draven has been blamed for the death of a notorious bike gang leader. Staying ahead of the police, and the biker gang bent on revenge, takes Jamie and Draven to the brink of disaster.

Excerpt from One Night in Daytona Beach

Long, dangerous legs, an ass that wouldn’t quit, lush curves clad in skimpy black leather, flaming red hair wafted on the breeze while the rumble of a thousand Harleys filled the air. He couldn’t draw his eyes from the gorgeous redhead, whose hair reminded him of the flames on the side of his bike. Heavy metal music thrummed from gigantic speakers, banging and echoing from the sides of the nearby condos. Cameras snapped, his included, as she draped herself over the motorcycles being raffled off for charity. The line to register wound around the parking lot.

“I’d like to rev her engine,” one man said as he stuffed his tickets into his wallet.

“Full throttle,” the man next to him laughed loudly at their joke.

Every man there was thinking the same thing, which was the entire point of having a sexy, long legged woman straddling the chrome studded leather seat. Leaning on the handle bars, she rocked back, her chest to the sky as she arched her spine. With a quick swing of her legs, she did a shoulder stand on the seat, then lowered her feet with agonizing slowness so that the toes of her high heeled boots pointed directly at the patch of stretched black leather between her thighs.

Draven nearly dropped his phone. The man next to him let his cup of beer slide from his numb fingers. Every man in the line eyed her with fascination. Though disgusted with the behavior of the men, the women couldn’t help but stare too. They were amazed that anyone could do such antics on a motorcycle. The music continued to thrum and pound at them as they watched her routine. In a fleeting moment of coherence, Draven recognized it as Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson. She was certainly slaying every man in the place with her sexy routine.

“Hey, buddy, your turn!” the man at the cash register called, snapping his fingers.

Draven stumbled forward, his legs having lost the ability to move without conscious thought. He fumbled with his wallet and phone, trying to slide one out and the other into the pockets of suddenly too-tight jeans.

“How many?” the man asked, all business.

“Um, how much are they?”

“Hundred a piece.”

“You take plastic?”

“Everything but American Express.”

“I’ll take five.”

“You got it.” He filled out Draven’s details, rang up the cost and scanned his plastic.

“Does the girl come with it?” the man behind Draven asked. He was old and fat, not the kind of man a girl like her would even look at once. His words might have been said in jest, but coming from his slobby, heavy jowled mouth, it was seriously pervy. The men behind the table and near him in line, gaped at him, horrified.

“That young lady is my daughter,” the man who handled Draven’s transaction growled. “So you watch what you say.”

“How’s a man let his daughter act like a hoor in public,” the fat man yelled, slamming a meaty fist down on the table.

Startled by the noise, the girl lost her balance as she rolled out of the shoulder stand. Toppling, she fell. Draven leaped toward her, covering the ten feet to the cycles, in a superhuman rush. He steadied her, helping her sit up slowly. Getting a good look at her face, he felt a spark of recognition.

“Jamie Humphrey?” He touched her cheek, brushing her hair from the corner of her full, red lips.

“Draven Wick? Oh, my God! Is it really you?” She clung to him, hugging him tightly. “How many years has it been? Ten?”

“About that. God, you look fantastic!”

Clasping his face, she gazed into his golden hazel eyes. “Thank you for catching me.”

“You’re welcome. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Thanks.”

Others had gathered around, watching the scene unfold. When it became apparent that the woman wasn’t hurt, the men at the desk went back to selling tickets.

“That’s not really your dad,” Draven murmured.

“Of course not. He just says that so that men will leave me alone.”

“How about fair time for the women?” a heavyset woman called from the line. “Let’s see the hunk take his shirt off!” she whooped.

Women all over the parking lot cheered and whistled. Draven cast a saucy look at Jamie. The music had changed once more, pounding out Closer by Nine Inch Nails—the unedited version, he noted with a grin. Grabbing the bottom of his shirt, he raised it with agonizing slowness as his hips gyrated to the sexy music. Jamie played it up, running her hands under the shirt, rubbing his abs and tugging on the cloth with her teeth.

More cameras snapped and the women yelled loudly, screaming at him to take it all off. As he did a lecherous bump and grind, Draven strutted around the bike. Between the two cycles, he twirled his shirt, straddling it. Riding it like a hot woman, he continued to dance. Jamie hopped up, standing behind him, she ran her hands up and down his tight abs and hard thighs. Spinning to face her, Draven roped Jamie with his shirt, pulling her close to dirty dance with him. The song ended and he spun her under his arm, dropping her into a low dip, her back arched, breasts high. Red hair tickled the pavement as he raised her with one arm. Faces mere inches apart, they tried to catch their breath. It took some time before they realized that the line was now three times what it had been. Women ringed around them, waving money at Draven.

“You grew up nice, Wick,” Jamie said, taking a step back. Her hand drifted down his chest to the top of his jeans. Eyes wide with delight, she dangled her fingers by his zipper. With tantalizing deliberateness, she touched the fabric that strained across his throbbing member.

“You keep that up, I can’t be responsible,” he whispered.

“You keep that up, I can’t be either,” she replied.

“I really wanna kiss you, Jamie.”

“On the bike,” she suggested. “I get paid a percentage of what they bring in.”

Laughing, he picked her up, putting her on the motorcycle, facing the rear, straddling the engine. Draven took his time swinging one long, muscular, jean-clad leg over the seat. Scooting him forward with her feet, Jamie wrapped her legs around his waist. Laying her back, Draven teased and coaxed her mouth, his tongue tickling her lips. With a decisive lunge, he raised his body, grasped the handlebars and kissed her. Until that moment, Jamie had thought his antics were all for show. A consummate performer, he knew how to work a crowd. But that kiss wasn’t pretending and the rock hard bad boy in his pants wasn’t a prop.

He didn’t linger over the kiss. His timing was, as always, superb. Leaning back, Draven swung his leg off the cycle, standing in one fluid motion as he held out his hand to her. The crowd went wild. The men at the table had to scramble to accommodate the line, bringing in extra help.

Draven stood near Jamie, hoping to kiss her again. Instead, everyone wanted pictures with them and the bikes. Most of them gave tips, some wanted autographs. They all wanted them to kiss. Draven worked the crowd, giving them just enough to keep them asking for more.

“Do you think any of them recognize you?” Jamie asked, her smile toothy and wide.

“Doubt it. I’m out of context.”

“Won’t they shit when they figure it out?”

He chuckled, kissing her cheek by request. “Right in their pants. You smell amazing,” he said, nuzzling her neck all on his own.

A dozen cameras clicked.

“I’ve missed you, Jamie.”

Shivering, she held his face as directed, giving him a kiss. “Me, too.”

“Seeing anyone?”

“Not really.”

They straddled the bike again, with her in front, holding the handlebars. His long, sinewy thighs clenched against hers from behind.

“Is that a yes or no? I don’t speak Biker Babe anymore.”

“No one steady.”

“Does he think that?”

Jamie blushed, turning her head to look at him. “Why all the questions, Wick? Got some burning desire to know all my secrets?”

Draven nibbled her neck, cheating the angle a little, so he was still camera ready. “I’ve got a burning desire, Humphrey, but it isn’t about your secrets.”

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes

Teague McMurtry gave six years of his life to the Army. Now, he’s trying to settle down and get his college degree. He’s got his own yard business and is working hard at building his life.

Things are going great until he runs awry of the wrong biker gang. Little does he know that his chance meeting with Vivica Rambo initiates a series of events that could prove deadly for them both.

Excerpt from The Ninja Tattoo

“Wild Gardens. Teague speaking. How may I help you?”

“So, it is you,” said the cheerful female voice on the other end. “It’s not every day a man buys a girl a cup of coffee and runs off without a word. I had to beg Jenny to tell me your name, but she wouldn’t give me your number.”

“It’s right on the side of the truck,” he said with a laugh in his voice.

“So I noticed as you drove slowly by. You did that on purpose, you sly devil. Peak a girl’s interest and satisfy her curiosity at the same time.”

“Damn, I’m good. I didn’t know I was that slick.”

“Sneaky, you mean. So, hit any other women with doors in the past few hours?”
“No, but I’ve been kissed by a beautiful, older woman.”

“Ooh, I’m jealous! Tell me who she is, I’ll pay her a visit.”

Teague laughed, picturing this nameless, exotic beauty coming up against Daisy.

“You might give the old girl heart failure,” he said. “Daisy’s spry, but I think you’d scare her half to death. Why don’t you just let me buy you dinner to make up for my infidelity?”

There was a short pause. She sounded somewhat surprised when she answered, though whether with him or herself, he couldn’t tell. “You know, I’d really like that, Teague.”

“Great! Are you free tonight?”

“You’re sure not shy. Do you always ask mysterious women out right after you meet them?”

“Only the ones I hit with the door. The others have to wait the standard three days before I ask them out.”

“Am I setting myself up to get played?” She sounded concerned.

Wanting to immediately kill that thought, Teague turned serious before replying. “I promise, I’m not like that,” he said solemnly. “I don’t even know your name.”

Did he hear a sniffle? Had he made the woman cry? Cursing himself silently, he waited. She cleared her throat before replying.

“Vivica.”

“That’s a beautiful name.”

“Thank you. So, is Teague your first name?”

“Yeah. My mom’s maiden name. Originally McTeague. Dad talked her out of that, thank God.”

She giggled, then laughed louder. “Fine Irish name it is,” she said with a fairly decent brogue.

“Aye, so it is, lassie. So, about dinner?”

“Talk about persistent! Okay, what about dinner?”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Lone Wolf Tales: A Lone Wolf Series Companion by Dellani Oakes

Lone Wolf Tales: A Lone Wolf Series Companion, is a collection of 9 short stories related to the Lone Wolf Series by Dellani Oakes. These short stories explore aspects of the series that are only briefly mentioned in the novels themselves. Each story is set in a different place and time. Step into the world of the Lone Wolf and meet giant cat people, evil despots and a dangerously handsome Galactic Marine.

And Itza Danced 2And Itza Danced: The character of Itza is introduced in The Kahlea – Book 4 of the Lone Wolf Series. Itza is of the Zarbanni people of Bankaywan. Constantly harassed by brigands and marauders, Itza must send a message to all comers to leave her people alone. Unfortunately, the message hasn’t been clear enough and she must fight once more for her people.

 

blackened coverBlackened: On a backwater planet in the middle of absolute nowhere, Wil Vanlipsig and his men have been sent on another horrendous mission. This time, the odds are decidedly stacked against them. Their objective is to secure and liberate a weapon of mass destruction. Unfortunately, it’s more than any of them counted on.

 

brothers at arms 2Brothers at Arms: Wil and Marc grew up together, were fast friends and even joined the Galactic Marines at the same time. When tapped for a special unit, they meet Lill Simpson, a vivacious redhead. She sets her sights on Marc, but for some reason, Wil doesn’t trust her. Is it paranoia or can she really not be trusted?

 

Call Me Penny coverCall Me Penny: Caught off guard on the scummy, armpit of planet Wercha, Barbara Stennis – known as Penny, because of her copper red hair – is arrested and forced to join the Galactic Marines. Something fishy is going on and the new recruits grow alarmed as many of their number start to mysteriously disappear at night. Penny finds herself in over her head when her sergeant orders her to investigate.

Fractured coverFractured: Wil’s had a crazy life. Thrown into one hellhole after another, he’s always managed to escape. After a mission goes horribly long, he’s forced to take a vacation to a distant, isolated planet called New Aussie. While there, he’s in an accident. Hovering between life and death, he’s rescued by an exotically beautiful woman named Siegra. Strange things happen in the desert, deep in the Heriatis Hills—some of which should never be explained.

forgotten coverGone But Not Forgotten: When they met, there was a spark of recognition, of longing, that neither Wil nor Matilda could explain. This tale explores not only Wil’s past, but Matilda’s, explaining why they fell instantly in love.

 

 

 

white lie coverA Little White Lie: Wil’s been on more than one mysterious mission, given ambiguous orders and dropped in a war zone. That doesn’t bother him anymore. However, this time, there is more than one agenda in play and Wil must tread carefully if he wants to survive.

 

 

 

Pain Killer CoverPain Killer: “It’s a cakewalk.” That’s what Admiral Greyling tells Will when she sends him on a solo mission not unlike the one he’d recently been on. Yet another crazed despot needs to be assassinated so that his people can be—enslaved by some other crazed despot. Wil goes in with only his brains and instincts to keep him alive.

 

rejoicing story coverThere Shall Be Great Rejoicing: This story, also set on Bankaywan, tells the tale of Sta Hyt Mai’s rise to fame and glory as the Champion of Bankaywan. How did Mai rise from her humble beginnings to become the most respected and fame filled woman on her planet?

 

 

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Maker – Lone Wolf Book 3 by Dellani Oakes

If anyone had told Wil VanLipsig that five years in the future, he’d be part of a small, dedicated force who stood against an legendary evil, light years from home, on a planet that’s buried in the mists of time, he would have shot them—pure and simple.

Now, he and his wife, Matilda Dulac, stand together with a well trained, but meager, army at their backs, waiting for the coming of the Kahlea. Are they up to the challenge? Read The Maker and find out!

 

The Maker has recently been re-released on Amazon. Below is a short excerpt from The Maker – Book 3 of the Lone Wolf Series.

Ben sat quietly, thinking along lines he had never ventured down before. It was a little like doing recon in a dark swamp, in the fog, but he was slogging through. He had latched onto a comment made in passing and he was working on that idea slowly, deliberately, like Marc playing a game of What If.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Matilda sounded concerned.

“I was just thinking about what you said about the string and getting back to Becky.”

“It was a story, Ben, written thousands of years ago.”

“I know that, but it’s given me an idea. Remember how your dad did that thing with the Trimagnite finders, to locate Iyundo when the High Elder disappeared it? He said he got the idea when Patsy was talking about playing with mirrors, right?”

They waited to see where he was going with this.

“Well, the thread and Becky is what gave me the idea. We can’t follow a string back, exactly, but maybe a string could come to us?”

“I still don’t get your direction on this,” Wil muttered.

“We know that Marc and Becky have their rings, linked by their AI’s,” Ben said.

“Yes, so do we. It didn’t help us find Matilda.”

Ben shook his head. “I don’t know, maybe it did. Think about it, would we have pressed the balloon idea if Grandma hadn’t nagged the ever loving shit out of you for twenty-four hours?”

Wil chuckled. “No, we would have trashed it after about five minutes. It seemed too ridiculous.”

“But it worked. Also, you didn’t have two telepaths, the Maker and a whole butt load of raw Trimagnite to boost your signal. Marc, you have Matilda and me to work with you. We do something similar like we did to reach Ysilvalov, and we try like hell to contact Becky or the Elders. Worth a try, right?”

Wil stared at his son, amazed and proud. “Damn, Ben, you have a good idea there!”

Matilda looked around at the three men whom she loved the most in her entire life. “That’s what I like about this family, creative thinkers.” Giggling, she stood with difficulty.

“You okay, babe?” Wil supported her.

“I need to go the the bathroom, Wil. I’m fine.”

“Again? You just went five minutes ago.”

“And I’ll probably go again in five more minutes. Try having an eight pound weight on your bladder and see how you feel!” Playfully smacking his hand away, she walked to the bathroom.

Wil followed her with his eyes, worry all over his face. “I don’t know how we’re going to get her out of here safely. She can’t walk all that way, it could take months. Based on what we saw of the indigenous life around here, it’s dangerous as hell. We have no weapons, no food and no water. The suits are good for a week, but we could be a lot longer than that. Hell, we could walk for years and never get back. I think we can find our way out of here all right. I have my doubts about finding our way home.”

“We might find a teleporter,” Marc suggested.

“And risk that with a pregnant woman?” Wil shook his head adamantly. “If it were just the three of us, I’d say fuck it and run for the roses. We can’t do that with Matilda, not with the baby—” His voice trailed off as she came out of the bathroom.

“You’ve been talking about me, I can see it all over your faces.” Smiling, she sat heavily by Wil. “You don’t look happy. I thought we had a plan. We do have a plan, don’t we?”

“Yes, of sorts. But, Matilda, think about it for a moment. This is a big planet, who knows how deep we are. Maybe the shaft is our best approach. We could be wandering around for days, weeks or years with no way out! I can’t risk that.”

“You mean you can’t do it with a fat lady in tow.” Her eyes sparked dangerously.

“No, Matilda, that isn’t what I mean and you know it.”

“I’d slow you down, I get that. Do you think I don’t realize what a liability I am right now? If I weren’t pregnant, we could run out of here and never look back.”

Wil took both her hands in his, their rings gliding over one another. Lowering his voice, he spoke calmly.

“What I’m saying is that you and Mariah are too precious to risk in this place. Even without the baby, I wouldn’t risk you in this environment. The shaft is really our best bet.”

“I won’t go back in that shaft, Wil. I’m sorry. No, I’m not sorry! I’m being irrational, I know, but we nearly died in there! I won’t go back!”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book 2

Where Lone Wolf left off, Shakazhan begins.

Three years after leaving Mining Guild Headquarters on Aolani, Wil and Matilda find themselves on the isolated planet of Iyundo. they followed Wil’s psychotic son, John Riley, who is on a quest to release an imprisoned Kahlea.

The Kahlea, a beast so powerful, it can kill with its mind, has called to John, demanding that he come and release it from his prison. John leads his father to Iyundo, escaping from his clutches at the last possible moment.

On the long deserted planet in deep, forgotten space, Wil and Matilda watch as their quarry sets the controls on an ancient transport device and disappears into the vastness of space. With a little help from their friends, Wil & Matilda follow him to a place from myth and legend—Shakazhan!

Excerpt from Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book 2

The cavern they entered dwarfed the other one. The ships inside were enormous. Flotilla and Hannibal could fit in there easily with room to spare. The design was unlike anything Wil had ever seen. The ships were shaped like horizontal teardrops, the narrow end foremost and the full end aft. The colors ranged from dull gray to a lustrous blue. The hulls shifted color as they walked by, particularly if Wil and Matilda spoke or touched them.

Wil laid his hand on one. It throbbed like a gigantic heart. To their right, a green light flashed rapidly, accompanied with odd, piercing, urgent sounds. The High Elder motioned them to follow. It took several minutes, but soon they were close enough to see blue and red and amber yellow had joined the display.

“Wil, I think it’s singing to us! Listen!” Matilda approached, mesmerized.
The ship was a deep, rich peacock blue. Larger than those below, it dwarfed any ship Wil had seen. Even the huge Guild ore transports weren’t this big. He felt like an ant in comparison.

Reaching up to the ship, Matilda’s hand smoothed the side. “It is singing!”
The tune changed when she touched it. Removing her hand, she heard the sounds modulate yet again. She stroked the hull of the ship, the colors shifted, altered and realigned themselves following the movement of her hand. A contented purr vibrated under her palm.

“Wil, it’s alive! Feel it!”

She grabbed his hand before he could pull away. Their two left hands brushed the hull together, hers atop his. The skin of the ship glowed a vibrant red, changing gradually to orange, flickered to dark yellow, settling to blue again.

Wil laid both his hands beside each other, leaning against the ship, placing his cheek to the side. As he moved back from it, the imprint of the outline of his face and hands remained for a moment, gradually receding.

“By God, Matilda, you’re right!”

The smiles of Felix and the High Elder confirmed their suspicions.

“I’ve heard legends of ships like this, but never expected to see one! This is incredible!”

Grabbing Matilda’s hand, Wil dragged her around the side of the ship, looking for an opening. About twenty feet from the point, a doorway appeared where none had been before. Steps descended, the ship molding them from its skin, forming depressions for their feet. They entered excitedly. Moments later, Felix, The High Elder and Aisulov joined them.
The sight greeting their eyes was one they hardly expected. The inside was ultra high tech, the instrumentation so advanced, they could only imagine what most of it was. The consoles had an Art Nouveau feel, with flowing lines and organic shapes. Here too, the colors melded and shifted.

“She’s beautiful!” Matilda’s eyes glowed happily as she walked around.

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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