Conduct Unbecoming – A Florida Families Novel

Have you ever read a book that just made an impact on you? Well, that is exactly what Ninja Tattoo did for me!! I was so intrigued by Teague that I just needed more. I had to contact the author and beg her to write another book with Teague. Conduct Unbecoming is just that. Dellani does not disappoint in this book at all. She remained true to her characters and even added me as a new character! The question now is, how do I Get Dellani to write book 3? ~ Aileen Aroma

Welcome to Florida where there are sandy beaches, balmy breezes—and dead bodies on the beach. Unfortunately, the police suspect Teague’s friend, and former battle buddy, of the killing. Teague knows Nadeya is innocent, but proving it won’t be easy. She’s disappeared and the last anyone heard from her, she was looking for this man in connection with her fiancé’s murder.

Teague needs to find Nadeya before the police do. He must discover who killed the man on the beach and protect his friends and loved ones. Fortunately, he’s not alone. Joined once more by his cousin, Joel McMurtry, they are augmented by one more—Jasper Waters. He’s another police officer and former Marine. Adding to their numbers are Vivica, Teague’s fiancée, Nadeya and her best friend, Aileen. The bad guys really don’t stand a chance.

Join Teague and friends when they dodge bullets, rescue kidnapped victims and take an the airboat ride of their lives. It’s an adventure they won’t ever forget—provided they live through it.

To Purchase Conduct Unbecoming

Excerpt from Conduct Unbecoming

Nadeya waited with her back to the brick wall of the Sheriff’s Department. Her dark glasses concealed a good bit of her face, her hair obscured much of the rest. She wore it down and the black tendrils fluttered wildly in the breeze off the river. A tang of briny water reached Teague’s nostrils. He smiled, telling Nadeya of the change of plans before placing the call to Isobel.

He told her how to find Old Fort Park and strolled north with Nadeya. They passed the small county courthouse on their left. Teague smiled at a couple of the officers out on break. They were having a smoke, but watching their environment.

Slowing down, Nadeya stiffened. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“No. But I don’t see a choice here. We could use her help. Her husband has connections.”

A silver Maserati circled the park, stopping at the sign on the corner. Teague waved.

“How did you know it was Isobel?”

“No one else around here drives a Maserati. She always had expensive tastes.”

The window scrolled down. Teague told her where to go park. He and Nadeya followed on foot. He was pleased to see that there were no other people in the park. Scanning the landscape, he took in details. Two men to the northwest on bikes, near Isobel’s car. They were vagrants, but mostly harmless. No doubt, they were making Isobel nervous. The Maserati would attract their attention, as would the woman driving it.

To the south, he spotted a car and that was basically it for at least two blocks all around. There was some activity at City Hall, but not enough to matter. The two of them walked over to Isobel’s car. The men on bikes moved on, leering at Nadeya and giving Teague a thumb’s up.

“Friends of yours?” she asked.

“No, but I know ’em.”

“You know everyone.”

“Not really.”

She made a face. “Even—over there—you knew everyone. You can walk in a room full of people and know their life stories and be pals with them two hours later. I don’t know how you do it. You never met a stranger.”

Teague chuckled. “I’m shy as hell, just full of blarney. I learned from my dad.”

Isobel got out of her car, clicking the remote. She wore black Louboutin’s covered with spikes. Her black pencil skirt was slit on both sides. The ruffles on her black silk blouse fluttered in the wind. Her hair was up in a French twist and she wore a pair of pink Louis Vuitton sunglasses that cost roughly the same amount as Teague’s monthly rent. The wind changed and her scent wafted toward him, making Teague’s nostrils twitch. He’d always loved the way she smelled. There was something bold and commanding about it that made him feel weak. He stumbled.

Nadeya nudged him, giving him an odd look.

“Sorry,” he whispered.

His companion ogled the front of his pants, making him blush. How could Isobel have that effect on him after all this time? He loved Vivica, but here he was sporting a boner for another woman.

“I will pound you, McTeague,” Nadeya gritted her teeth as she muttered. “Put that away!”

Isobel stepped forward, arms open to Nadeya. The other woman stood well away, wary and cautious. The hairs on Teague’s neck rose. Something wasn’t right. Even as careful as they’d been, someone had followed them. Nadeya felt it too. Immediately, the two of them eyed their environment. Across the bridge on a small, innocuous island, sunlight hit metal where none should be.

Reacting instinctively, Teague grabbed Nadeya, pulling her down. His body slammed into the concrete, though she landed on the grass. The window of the Maserati exploded. Broken glass flew in every direction as the bullet buried itself in the headrest.

Isobel screamed hysterically, dropping awkwardly to the ground. Pieces of glass peppered her skin with blood, but she was otherwise unhurt.

“I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know!” she screamed. “I didn’t know he’d do this.”

Teague rose to his knees. Another bullet ripped open the ground beside his right hand. Fucker can’t shoot worth dick. Rolling to his left, he took cover behind a huge live oak. He tried to see the island from this position, but it was blocked by the corner of the marina and the angle of the bridge. Dialing the police, he reported the shooting, knowing the gunman would be long gone before they arrived.

© Dellani Oakes 2017

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Room 103 – a Marice Houston Mystery

Room 103 is a romantic suspense book set in Pittsburg, Kansas. Why, you might ask? Because that’s where I was when I thought of it.

Marice Houston is a Deputy Marshal stationed in Kansas City, Missouri. She’s back in Pittsburg for her tenth college reunion. Staying at a small motel, she becomes friendly with the owner, a man who used to teach at the college, Todd Englund.

Events spin wildly out of control after Marice leaves her weapon and badge in the motel safe for security purposes. Todd is accosted by Orson Roberts, who believes that Todd killed his daughter. Using her weapon, Todd kills Roberts in self-defense. Or did he? Marice dives right in to investigate, determined to find out what happened in Room 103.

Excerpt from Room 103

“I don’t want the money!” the loud male voice boomed out from the motel owner’s apartment.

Eavesdropping shamelessly, I waited to see if it turned ugly, hand on my phone in case I needed to call someone. There was a lot of anger radiating from that room.

“I just want a letter of apology, acknowledgment of what they did to me.”

“Come on, Englund, he wants you to have the money for pain and suffering. A public apology….”

“Would simply open old wounds—mine. I do all right here. I make a decent living. If it’s all over the papers, it makes it fresh. Regardless of the apology, people are stupid and superstitious. I’ll be ruined—again. Only I won’t bounce back a second time.”

“At least take the money.”

“It feels like blood money.”

“It is. Yours. It took a lot of convincing to get old man Roberts to open his tight fist and give you this. I had hoped for more, would have settled for less. Please.” The other man’s voice was calm, conciliatory. “Please. You deserved a better shake, Todd. I couldn’t get it for you then, but you have it now.”

There was a quiet rustle as if an envelope were being opened. A sharp gasp followed.

“This much?”

“It’s still not enough. I tried to convince him that your salary would have increased over the years, but he determined a flat rate, based on your pay at the time. He’s not the most astute businessman in the state for nothing. Your salary, times ten. But I did get a bump to an even six.”

“Even with this money, I can’t afford to pay you, Regan.”

“The judge made Roberts pay me. I earned nearly as much as you, but I refused to take even a penny over. You’re the victim, you deserve the most. Oh, by the way, Roberts wants you to sign a letter of receipt.”

“Not on your life. Not until I get my apology.”

“Exactly what I said. To that end, he wants to meet at his office tomorrow.”

“Not on his turf. I don’t want the officious bastard to sneak in cameras for a photo op.”

“Also what I told him. So, he agreed to meet here, tomorrow at ten a.m.”

“That’s checkout time. Everyone will see him and I’ll be busy. Tell him either six a.m., or ten p.m. His choice. We’re making this easy for me, not him. And he can hand me the check personally, along with my letter.”

The paper rustled again.

“As you wish. I’ll call with the time.”

Their voices sounded closer. I rushed to the inner lobby door and opened it as if I’d just come in. Two men walked out of the back room, looking grim and determined. One was about six foot one, dressed in jeans and a Bob Marley T-shirt. His hair was black and carefully mussed to look casual. Or maybe he simply didn’t care how it looked. The other man was slightly shorter, broad shouldered, blond, clean cut, wearing an expensive suit. Both appeared surprised when they saw me, especially when their eyes took in details and noticed I was sporting a gun. It was clearly visible with my jacket open and my hand on the doorknob. Stopping in their tracks, they each took a step back. T-shirt guy started to raise his hands, his blue eyes riveted on my shoulder holster.

“I’m Marice Houston. I have a reservation. Sorry I’m late. Traffic from Kansas City was a bear.”

T-shirt guy relaxed, smiling. He moved easily to the computer on the counter. “Of course, Ms. Houston. Your room is all set. No feather pillows or duvet and no pets, as well as non-smoking.”

“Thank you.”

“The chairs are vinyl in this room. The blankets are washed weekly and the pillows are fluffed in the drier after every guest. I hope you’ll be comfortable.” He flashed a dazzling smile, his bright blue eyes twinkling behind black framed glasses.

I handed over my driver’s license and credit card. Tall-Dark-and-Blue-Eyes talked easily as he worked, his long, lean fingers stroking the keyboard as he typed. He was breathtakingly handsome and I wondered if he was aware of his own appeal.

The other man stood still, in the relative safety afforded by the counter. His hazelnut brown eyes watched every move I made. I nicknamed him Slick in my mind. He was also good looking and completely aware of it. He dressed for success and that probably carried over to the bedroom. I got the distinct impression that people never said No to this man—especially not women.

Blue-Eyes handed over my license and credit card, flashing another blinding smile. “You’re in room one forty-seven, in the next building down. Third room from this end.” He pulled over a laminated map of the small complex. “You’re here.” He pointed to my room. “The ice machine and laundry are here.” He pointed to the front end of the building. “If it’s out of ice, there’s also a machine here.” He pointed to another area of the map.

I wasn’t looking at the map, but at his hands. He had long, strong fingers, broad palms with a scattering of black hair on the back, and a dash on the lower knuckle. His nails were short and clean—not so much manicured as neatly clipped and filed. I looked up from the map to see him eyeing me questioningly.

“Have we met? You look really familiar. I have this feeling of déjà-vu, like I knew you long ago.”

I cleared my throat, shaking back my hair. I could hardly breathe when those blue eyes focused fully on me. “I—uh—I was in school here. Seems like ages ago.”

“College?”

“Yes. Go Rillas!” I giggled, sounding like a little girl. Suddenly, I’d reverted to the breathless, silly co-ed of nearly 15 years ago.

He chuckled. “I know I’ve seen you before. A face like yours… I couldn’t forget.”

My fingers fluttered to my burning cheeks. His scrutiny was too much for a woman like me. I never did well with male attention. Even though I carry a gun and badge, a handsome, confident man can still make me revert to the shrinking violet.

“I hope that’s a good thing.”

He handed me my key card with a gentle smile, his blue eyes caressing my face. “It’s a very good thing. It will come to me. Enjoy your stay, Ms. Houston.”

“Thank you.”

The other man cleared his throat. “You got a license for the weapon, Miss?”

Slick struck a nerve. Glaring keenly, his square jaw jutted forward. He was ridiculously handsome, but cold. Not like Blue-Eyes, not at all. This was a man of authority who wielded it like a knife.

“I have something better.” I flipped open my jacket, showing the opposite side of my belt. A marshal’s badge glittered in the fluorescent lights of the office. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I want a shower and a meal.”

Blue-Eyes, slightly taken aback by the badge, rallied quickly, handing me a menu. “If you want to order in, the places with a gold star give our guests discounts. Everything from pizza to Thai.”

“Thank you.” I gave him a tight smile, glared at the other man and turned on my heel, marching to the door.

“Did you have to do that, Regan?” I heard Blue-Eyes say as the door closed.

Todd, I reminded myself. Todd Englund. The name resonated in my memory for some reason. Vaguely, faintly, but with an abiding assurance that it wasn’t in a good way.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quote from One Night in Daytona Beach – by Dellani

One_Night_in_Daytona_Beach_by_Dellani_Oakes - 500“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.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani

The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes - 200Vivica grabbed the dogs off him since they had progressed to smelling parts of him better left alone. The smallest was a Jack Russell.

“That one is Pesky,” Vivica said as the little one leaped four feet in the air trying to get in Teague’s arms. “The middle child is Evita and the big one is Rex.”

“Hello Pesky, Evita and Rex,” Teague said, scratching them all behind the ears.

Pesky followed him, still trying to get him to hold her. He finally picked her up and she yipped delightedly. Evita licked his shoe and Rex sat opposite him staring. He looked like he was part something very large, like an Irish Wolfhound or possibly a horse. Evita looked like a beagle blend. They all seemed to accept him, delighted at his presence. While he held Pesky, winning her over completely by rubbing her belly, Vivica made coffee.

“I hope you don’t have to get up too early,” she said.

“I can be a little late with Scott. He’s not an early riser anyway and he’ll understand once I tell him why I’m late.”

“Oh? What will you tell him?” Her green eyes held a reprimand, thinking he would make fun.

“I’ll tell him I was getting to know the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Her eyes and smile softened, her lip trembling as tears threatened to fall. “You have this way of blindsiding me with compliments, Teague McMurtry. Why are you so damn adorable?”

He smiled, his voice dropping into the delicious, dark chocolate range. “It’s easy to compliment a woman when all I have to do is tell the truth. You are beautiful, vivacious, magnificent, stunning and seductive.” He set the dog down, walking over to where she stood. “I want you to tie me up in your hair and never let me go.” He took handfuls of her hair, bringing them to his lips, inhaling deeply as he buried his face in her dark tresses.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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I’m Baaack!

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 500I haven’t posted here in ages. I’m sure most of you have forgotten this page even exists. Honestly, I mostly had myself. I hate to see it neglected, so I decided to share some excerpts like I do on a couple of other sites. The idea for Character Quotes came from my good friend, Jd Holiday.

For my first Character Quote, I’m drawing on one of my romantic suspense novels, Undiscovered. Conner Griswald, the brother of famous movie mogul, Kent Griswald, has been shot on Daytona Beach. Cadence Stewart is the only witness to the perpetrator’s precipitous exit from her condo building.

Beach Patrol officers cleared the crowd and Cadence glimpsed someone lying spread-eagle on the sand, a blaze of red on his chest. Hearing sirens outside, she tore herself away and hurried downstairs. Two uniformed officers arrived in the lobby just as she got off the elevator. Cadence approached, identifying herself. The officers went with her to the fourth floor.

“He ran down the stairs?” The first officer asked.

“Yes. He was in the apartment I was showing. He ran along the corridor and into the stairwell.”

“We’ll need to dust it for prints,” the second officer said, then spoke into his radio.

“I doubt you’ll find anything. He was wearing gloves.”

“You could tell from a distance?” The second officer sounded skeptical.

“He was only a few yards away. Besides, they were black. He also had on a black ski mask.”

“Way to be inconspicuous,” the first officer said with a smirk.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Join Us for Christmas in July! Monday, July 25 on Facebook

What’s that I hear? Sleigh bells? Can it be Santa? What’s he doing outside my window in July? He’s looking for the Christmas in July Event hosted by Maria DeVivo on Facebook July 25

Smart Santa! Authors from all genres and all over the world are taking turns chatting, playing games, giving away prizes and freebies from 10:00 a.m. To 8:00 p.m. Eastern time (9 CDT, 8 MDT, 7 PDT)

And the coolest part? Dellani is there from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EDT to talk about her romantic suspense book, Room 103. Join us for a fun filled day. We’re going to have a blast!

 

Participating Authors and Their Times

10 – 11 am Barbara Ehrentreu

11 am to 12 pm Uvi Poznansky

12 – 1 pm Barb Caffrey

1 – 2 pm Dellani Oakes

2 – 3 pm Rebecca Vickers

3 – 4 pm Viv Drewa

4 – 5 pm K.L. Nappier

5 – 6 pm Christine Amsden

6 – 7 pm Chris Pasqueralle

7 -8 pm Maria DeVivo

room 103 front cover

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

 

May I Misquote You?

This was originally written June 2, 2010, for my Fun in Writing group. The topic for the week was a special adage. Since I couldn’t really get my head around that, I wrote this instead. ~ Dellani

I couldn’t think of anything to fit this subject, so I changed it up a little to quotes that are frequently misquoted. Shakespeare suffers a lot from this, but so do movies, plays, books and even songs.

One that springs to mind, since I just saw it on DVD, is from Hamlet. When he’s in the graveyard and picks up the skull, he’s often misquoted as saying, “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well.” Not so! He says, “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio.”

A second one, also from Hamlet, when the queen is asked her opinion of the play: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” Instead, it’s: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Another one, this time from MacBeth: “Bubble, bubble toil and trouble.” When if fact, it’s “Double, double toil and trouble.”

Leaving Shakespeare for the moment, let’s reflect on a couple of Bogart movies. The main one misquoted is from Casablanca. It is, of course, in reference to their famous song. So often, this line is not only misquoted, it’s attributed to the wrong character. How often have we seen Bogart impersonators take on the famous overbite and say, “Play it again, Sam.”

He doesn’t even say the line! Ingrid Bergman spoke to Sam and said, “Play it, Sam.”

From another Bogart movie, the famous whistle quote. I’ve always heard, “You know how to whistle, just pucker up and blow.” Lauren Bacall didn’t say that at all. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” (Though I like pucker up and blow better.)

Moving on to another movie icon, Mae West. We’ve all heard “Come up and see me sometime.” She actually said, “Why don’t you come up some time and see me?”

One of my favorite misquotes of all time was said by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. Everyone always says, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Poor Harry didn’t say that at all. He said, Ah-ah. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots, or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But, being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, PUNK?”

So, in conclusion, I leave you with a great quote, (which is correct) and sums up my point perfectly: “What we’ve got here… is a failure to communicate!”

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One Night in Daytona Beach by Dellani Oakes

One_Night_in_Daytona_Beach_by_Dellani_Oakes - 200One Night in Daytona Beach, Dellani Oakes’ newest novel. Part of the Tirgearr Publishing City Nights Series, One Night in Daytona Beach is hot and steamy as a Florida night.

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.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 2

The rain cut loose as he pulled into Moose’s driveway. Turning up the collar of his leather biker jacket, he lit his flashlight again and made his way to the back door. This time, the heavy set biker gang leader sat in his favorite easy chair, his glass in one hand, a Marlboro in the other. The door slammed shut behind him, and Draven knew he was in for it.

“Man disrepects me, I thow that man a beaten,” Moose said, nodding to whoever was behind Draven.

He sensed two men. Not letting either of them get a hand on him, Draven pulled a telescoping baton from his boot. With it in one fist, he slammed back as it expanded. His other fist connected with flabby gut and a handful of nuts. Both men grunted. Jumping forward, Draven spun around, his back unavoidably to Moose. The fat leader sat still, enjoying the show. He’d been known to taze people, so Draven risked a glance at him before he faced off with the other two men. Both were big, with bulky muscles and a hefty layer of fat. Big might mean brutal, but it also meant slow. Draven was half their bulk and twice as fast.

The one to his right was Eisley, Moose’s second in command. Snarling, he flipped a knife open. The one of the left put on a pair of brass knuckles. Smiling wickedly, they lunged at Draven. Hopping out of their reach, Draven swatted at them with his baton. They backed him up until his left heel hit the couch. Advancing, they both took a swing at him.

Jumping nearly a meter in the air, Draven did a back flip, landing on the couch. The baton popped forward, slamming the knife from Eisley’s hand before connecting with the knuckles of the other man. He followed up with hits to the balls. Both were on the floor howling when he heard the chair leather creak. Moose made a grab at him, but Draven was too quick. He swung his baton, only to have Moose grab it from him. A sharp crack on his right arm and it went numb from elbow to fingers. Glad he was left handed, Draven punched Moose in the jaw as the fat man raised his arm to strike again. Getting in under his guard, Draven landed a punch to the flabby gut.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Sunshine and Rainbows

I had originally written this article for The Write Room blog, but some peculiarity of my e-mail caused it not to send. Since I was out of town and didn’t have access to it, I wrote something else related to this. I think both are equally good, though this goes into a bit more detail than the other. I finally found it and decided to share it with you here. I felt sharing it on my birthday was auspicious.~ Dellani

IMAG0076As you get older, you learn to appreciate the little things: a special party celebrating birthdays and Mother’s day, Potatoes Anna which comes out perfectly the first time you make it, a piece of music that makes you laugh or moves you to tears every time you hear it. These aren’t necessarily things you notice as a younger person, at least I didn’t.

Today, I’m one step closer to 60. I don’t mention this to brag, or complain, but to give you a bit of perspective. My mother turned 96 on September 14. She didn’t marry until she was 36, had my sister at 38 and didn’t have me until she was 40. Born two weeks premature, I was only 4 pounds and 5 ounces. Had it not been for the invention of the incubator, I probably would have died.

CAM00406But I digress. I want to talk about my mother. She absolutely amazes me. Born in 1919, her life has spanned the mass production of the automobile, a telephone in every home, electric appliances, man on the moon, Desegregation, motion pictures—with and without sound, and a movie star as president. Not to mention computers, cellphones and microwave ovens. She lived through the Great Depression, WWII, The Korean War, Vietnam and countless other conflicts. She’s seen 9 decades and a new century.

Mom grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and has many fascinating stories about it. The youngest of four children, she’s another miracle of modern medicine. As an infant, she developed an infection in both ears. The doctor did surgery and scraped the infection from the mastoid bones, leaving only a small scar behind each ear. By some amazing turn of luck, she didn’t lose her hearing as a result. In fact, like me, it was extra acute. I attribute my superior hearing to her genes.

At Western Reserve College, now Case – Western Reserve, she studied to be an elementary school teacher. She made a long cable car ride there and back, in all kinds of weather. Fairly often, she took a detour, if there was a good movie in town.

I don’t know how I passed my classes,” she admitted a few years ago. “I never went. I was always at the movies.”

This is another connection we share. I am a movie junkie, and it’s one of the reasons I write.

My mother taught elementary school for several years. Once, she had her class write letters to Laura Ingalls Wilder about how much they loved her books. She wrote back to them and my mother treasured her letter for years! I remember it neatly written by hand on lined paper. Mom eventually donated it to one of the Wilder museums.

By some chance, Mom and her older sister, found out about Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky, not far mom 1 croppedfrom Harlan. The school was in need of a bookkeeper and secretary. Though neither of them had any experience, or talent, they applied for the jobs and were hired. The big move from Ohio to Kentucky, big city to small mountain community, would have been quite a culture shock. Rather than being overwhelmed by it, they embraced the rustic setting with enthusiasm and started work. Eventually, Mom became a representative for the school and drove all over the country to present a slide show (with slides she’d taken herself) and talk about the school, asking for donations. She traveled alone all over the country, as far as Orlando, Florida and as far north as New York City—before interstate highways, by the way. She drove her blue Studebaker, which she named Bonnets So Blue, that she bought with her own money before she even knew how to drive it. One of the men at the school taught her how to drive and she took the test in her new car, impressing the fellow administering the test, with her skill.

My parents met, by quirk or fate, at the Harlan bus station. They were both there to drop off friends, and decided to chat over a cup of coffee, and were totally smitten. My father was unable to join the military, due to a heart murmur, so he had pursued his education instead. He was a brilliant man, thirsting for someone to talk to who had even a slight chance of understanding him. He found that in my mother. Though 10 years apart in age, they married November 5, 1955.

Even after they married, my mother continued to work at Pine Mountain, until they eventually moved to Tennessee, where my sister and I were born. They lived near his parents while he worked toward his Masters degree at University of Tennessee. When I was three, we lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while my father got his PdD at Harvard. Eventually landing his first teaching job in Lubbock, Texas, we moved again. With the same indomitable spirit, my mother made that long move from Massachusetts to Texas.

062I was always amazed by the way my mother could find a circle of friends wherever we lived. She kept in touch with people she knew from Cleveland, Pine Mountain, Cambridge, Lubbock, Scottsbluff and Hattiesburg sending out monthly letters via e-mail, until it became too much of an effort. She always loved to read, sharing her favorite books with my sister and me as we grew up. We spent hours learning to knit, crochet and sew while Mom read Little Women, House at Pooh Corner and Alice in Wonderland. It’s because of her strong influence early in my life, that I became enamored of the written word. Because I loved to read, I made the transition to writer and never looked back.

Mom’s eyesight has faded now. She can’t knit or crochet as she used to, nor can she read. She lives a quiet life in a nursing home not far from my sister. It wasn’t an easy decision putting her there, but neither my sister, nor I, have room or the means to have her at home with us. Since she’s in a wheelchair, it makes getting around difficult.

I have hardly touched on my mother’s incredible life. She’s done so much more than I have and she gave me so much. I know that my independent spirit and optimistic view of life is due to her. She never saw the gray clouds in life, she always saw the rays of sunshine and the rainbows.

CAM00064

One Night in Daytona – Coming Soon!

100_0507I’m pleased to announce that I have a new book coming out in October, from Tirgearr Publishing. One Night in Daytona is part of the amazing erotic romance series, City Nights. Below is an excerpt from the first few pages of the book. I hope you’ll look for One Night in Daytona, coming October 28. I will keep you posted on pre-orders. Meanwhile, enjoy the teaser below.

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!”

100_0499Clasping 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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