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.

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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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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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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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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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Discover Undiscovered! A New Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Undiscovered

To Purchase Undiscovered

Undiscovered has some mature content and is not appropriate for readers under 17.

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.

Detective Scott hadn’t counted on the eyewitness, 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.

Cadence sank into a soft chair in his outer office as he shut the door on the sales room. Closing her eyes, she let the murmur of voices wash over her. The loud report of a heavy caliber rifle shocked the air. Another followed.

Cadence ran down the hall. That sounded like it came from the room she’d been showing. What the hell? Frozen with indecision, she stood in the hallway. Pounding footsteps sounded from down the corridor to her left.

Turning, she saw a man in a black ski mask and anonymous clothing barreling down the hall toward the elevator ahead of her. Although he was running away from her, she noticed he was tall, broad shouldered and moved like an athlete. He hit the stairway, running full tilt. It wouldn’t take him long to clear four stories to the ground floor.

Bob and the Andersons ran to the hallway behind her, crowding to get past.

“What was that?” Bob demanded.

“Sounded like a gunshot,” Ted replied, wide eyed.

Susan clung to him, weeping hysterically. Cadence whipped out her phone and called 911.

“What’s the nature of your emergency?”

“I’m at the Ocean Sun condo,” Cadence replied. “I want to report a 10-10.”

There was a pause. “Possible shots fired? You a cop, sugar?”

Cadence didn’t like the dispatcher’s tone.

“My dad is. Listen, there’s really a problem here.”

“Already got a call, got two officers rolling. You say you’re in the condo?”

“Yes, ma’am. Fourth floor.”

“Not on the beach?”

Cadence paused. “No. Inside, on the fourth floor.”

“I’ll send someone else. The other officers are responding to a call on the beach at that same address.”

“Thank you. My name is Cadence Stuart. I’ll meet the officers down at the front desk.”

“Thank you, Miss Stuart. I’ll tell them.”

“Bob, call the front desk. Tell them the cops are coming. I’ll be down in a minute.”

“Will do, sugar.”

Cadence ran to the living room of the open unit. Pandemonium on the beach greeted her. A cluster of people stood around something, many of them crying, some talking on phones. Utter chaos ensued.

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Dellani Oakes has been telling stories her entire life. She started with tales of Rainbow School when she was three and her sister started kindergarten. Soon, Dellani progressed to poems and song parodies. Eventually, she tried her hand at short stories and humorous essays.

In college, Dellani began to write plays and that love of dialogue has stayed with her. She enjoys building characters by what they say as much as what they do.

Dellani doesn’t know whether to include writing amongst her hobbies, because it’s really more of an obsession. Perhaps she should, otherwise she hasn’t anything to list. For fun, she hosts two Blog Talk Radio shows a month, Dellani’s Tea Time and What’s Write for Me. She also heads two, small, local writing groups a week.

Dellani makes her home on the east coast of Florida near Daytona Beach, where she lives with her husband and three of her four children. Undiscovered is her eighth book.

Others include:

Indian Summer – historical romance

Lone Wolf, Shakazhan, The Maker – sci-fi series

The Ninja Tattoo

Conduct Unbecoming

Under the Western Sky

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Whose Book Is It Anyway?

Dellani Oakes with glasses smallerFor the last seven years I’ve participated in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in the month of November. Every year, I’ve set myself a goal to write a novel of 50,000 words or more and every year I’ve finished early. This year was no different, except that I finished my 50,000 words by November 7. This is unprecedented. The novel was really finished by November 5, but I didn’t have 50k words and it took me two more days of writing to get to the limit in order to “win” my NaNo challenge.

Since I finished so early, my buddy, Christine Buchner, and several other helpful souls decided I needed more to do and gave me another challenge, take their random ideas and put them into a story. I might finish it by the end of November, I might not, but so far I am 22,413 words in and finding it a fun experiment.

The starting elements were:

Someone with the name Morgan—Barbara Ehrentreu

A Frisbee—Karen Vaughan

An Asian person—Devika Fernando

An ability to telepathically communicate with fish in an aquarium—Christine Buchner

Below is an excerpt from chapter one of Whose Book Is It Anyway?

Whose Book Is It Anyway?

Inspired by the authors and occupants of The Secret Garden of Thoughts

November 7, 2014

CHAPTER ONE

“Apple Bunnies,” I swore softly as I tried to shave without cutting myself. “FudgeTarts! Oh, hell! Dammit!” I nicked myself a couple times. The razor was super dull, which tells me that Grace had probably used it on her legs.

I’m really trying to cut back, truly, I am, but there are days when Fudge Tarts and Apple Bunnies simply don’t make the grade. I’ve done my best to eliminate the F-word, but it still pops up with alarming frequency. When I get really angry, there’s nothing more satisfying than setting off an F-bomb. Besides, it annoys my roommate and that’s the most satisfying of all, since she’s the one who usually makes me say it. Repeatedly, I might add. Loudly and with varying degrees of emphasis.

But today, I’m trying to be good. Today, we have company coming and I have go behave myself. I want them to like me—really like me—then maybe Grace will see me as something more than a roommate and more of a mate-mate.

Perhaps I should explain. My name is Duff Morgan. I’m 27, single, unattached and hot for my roommate who thinks that I’m only good for scrubbing the bathroom, completing the odd do it yourself project or opening jars. She does not see me as manly, marginally handsome or terribly interesting. I fell into her friend category right after she met me and I can’t seem to climb out no matter what I do.

Grace is gorgeous. Nearly six feet of woman, she’s built like a goddess. She’s got sun bleached blonde hair and dark brown eyes—like melted chocolate. Yeah—I’ve got it bad. I sound like a soppy chick flick.

One thing she does like about me, I’m six foot four. She can take me to parties as her escort and not tower over me in heels. I clean up pretty good. I have a couple suits and can manage to get through an evening without scratching inappropriately. I even know what fork to use with which course and how to taste wine. I know all this because Grace has taught me.

We’ve been roommates for the last three years. I’ve seen a lot of men come and go. Occasionally, there’s the asshole who needs a lesson in manners. Enter the six foot four roommate with big muscles and gorilla arms. I put on my crazy ex routine and run them off if they cause trouble. One guy was being super persistent. He wanted to do something kinky with a Frisbee. Never was entirely clear on what, but it upset Grace. I ran in, saved the day and got rid of lover boy. He left the Frisbee. I had it mounted in a shadow box for her last birthday.

I’m not sure exactly when I fell in love with Grace, because I think it was immediately. But I remember the day she put me in the friendship box and locked the lid. It was November 7, 2011. We’d been sharing a house for nearly six months. Her boyfriend, a perpetual asshole, had been cheating on her—pretty much from day one, but would she listen? No. It took finding them together, in my room, for her to believe that he was a douchebag who needed a beat down. It was her birthday party and the jerk had the balls to take another woman to bed—my bed! I still haven’t forgiven him. I burned the sheets. I liked those sheets.

The party ended soon after that and I was left to comfort Grace. I got her favorite ice cream from the freezer (Phish Food), put on Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (her favorite movie, which I hate) and sat down with a bottle of chocolate wine.

“Duff, you’re such a great guy,” she sniffled. “You’re the best friend a girl could have.”

My heart, understandably, sank to my size 16 feet. “You deserve the best, Grace. That guy wasn’t any good for you.”

“I know. I always pick the worst guys in the world!”

I couldn’t deny that she had a talent for it. Not that they were all bad, but the bad ones tended to out number the good.

“You need someone else to pick the man for you,” I suggested.

“I do! You could help me. You have a kind of radar for bad guys. You could steer me away from them and zero in on a good one.”

Yeah. Me. But did I say it? I did not. Why? I don’t know! I have no idea why I didn’t just open my mouth and tell her I loved her. Still haven’t done it three years later. Am I amazingly lame or what? But with that, I handed her the key to the friendship box, climbed in and helped her turn it in the lock.

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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I Love Dialogue! from Schooled by Love

Dellani Oakes with glasses smallerEmerson Lake Palmer (sadly it’s his real name) has been dating Brooke Preston for about a week. It’s been a busy week, with one thing and another, and he really wants to get laid badly. Unfortunately, Brooke is a virgin and she has a very overprotective father. Lake has promised her father he won’t push her into anything she’s not ready for, but he dearly wishes she’d be ready sooner rather than later. One morning, before their college classes begin, they go out to breakfast.

Toby’s Restaurant is family owned and has the best food around at low prices. We ordered a cup of coffee and talked over the menu as we waited for the waitress to come back. After placing our orders, we chatted quietly for awhile, talking around what I wanted to know, but not quite ignoring it. The waitress brought our orders, and I’d made up my mind to ask Brooke outright what her dad had said.

“So,” I began, but she put her hand over mine.

“Dad had a lot to say after you left. He wasn’t mad. He was just. . . .”

“Concerned,” I finished for her.

“Yes.”

“He has every right to be. I made no pretense with him the first time we talked about our relationship. He knows where I stand.”

“Yes, he told me. What he didn’t know was where I stood. That was what he most wanted to know.”

“And what did you tell him?”

“That I’m ready to make a commitment and so are you.”

“Did that upset him?”

“Not as much as I thought it would. He actually encouraged it.”

“What? He wants us to. . . .” I lowered my voice because I’d said that pretty loud. “He wants us to fool around?” I hissed.

She giggled, blushing like crazy as the people in the restaurant went back to their meals. The waitress refilled our cups of coffee and left more cream on the table. We ate a couple minutes, then I asked her again.

“Not in so many words, but he said, Brooke, if you don’t give that man what he needs, he’s going to explode. I couldn’t believe it!”

I scooted my plate across the table and let my head fall to the tabletop. The waitress came over to check on me.

“Are you okay, honey? Is the food all right?”

My head popped up and I smiled. “The food is great. I’m boned, but the food’s fantastic.”

To prove it, I took a big bite, a gulp of coffee and chewed, much of it running down my chin. The waitress handed me some extra napkins and gave me a really funny look. The people in the restaurant stared at me again as I wiped myself down.

“I’m having a personal crisis,” I said in a friendly manner, waving to them. “Not serious, life threatening, or contagious. Go back to your meals, don’t mind me.” I waved again and turned to Brooke.

She was red in the face trying hard not to spew her coffee all over the table. After a struggle, she swallowed, her eyes glittering as she tried not to laugh.

“Am I so pathetic that your old man is telling you that I need to get laid?”

I whispered intensely, cutting my pancakes with enthusiasm and stuffed them into my mouth. I was to the point that I really didn’t know what I was doing, trying to eat, drink coffee or flip out. All three seemed viable but didn’t coexist terribly well, especially the coffee and the flipping out. I was making a terrible mess.

“Are you all right, Lake?”

“I’m manic depressive. No, probably bipolar. Or I have some sort of serious emotional problem due to lack of intimacy. Something has affected my hearing, because I thought I heard you say that your dad was condoning us fooling around.”

“He sees how hard you’re trying to respect his wishes and not take advantage of me. He talked a long time with Grady, he knows we didn’t do anything the night you came over.”

“How would Grady know? Did he stay outside the bedroom door all night?”

“Apparently, he took his duty to protect me seriously. He put a chair in the hallway and sat there all night long. He said he never heard a thing. He also told Dad that you were too damn tense the following morning to have possibly had sex.”

“God, even the security officer thinks I need to get laid. Mike said the same thing. Am I that big a wreck?”

The waitress, an older black woman, came over to check on us again. She carried a fresh pot of coffee and our bill. She heard what I said about needing to get laid and looked between the two of us. She focused on me. Smiling pleasantly, she patted me on the shoulder.

“Yeah, baby, you’re that big a wreck. You need to take this girl somewhere nice and private and have some fun before you completely blow a gasket.”

“Thank you,” I said, my pride totally trashed. “Now the waitress thinks I need to get laid too.” I said that a little louder than I intended.

Everyone in the restaurant was ogling our unfolding drama. I glanced around the restaurant at all the curious faces. There were no kids in there, mostly people my parents’ age and older. A couple college kids had just walked out. Not caring anymore, I stood up and turned around, examining them all and letting them get a good look at me.

“I assume you’ve been listening.” I smiled sweetly, letting them know it was all right even if it wasn’t. “So, are you all of the same opinion?”

“Get fucked,” an old man said with a big grin.

His wife smacked him on the shoulder, smiled politely at me and nodded. Everyone else agreed.

“We can’t go against popular opinion,” I told Brooke as I sat down. “I think we need to go have sex, honey.”

I kissed her deeply, giving her the best kiss I could. It made me tingle all over, I hoped it was having the same effect on her. The people in the restaurant cheered, whistled and clapped. One man, about my dad’s age, handed me a twenty dollar bill to pay for breakfast.

“Son, if you’re stupid enough to let this beautiful young lady get away from you, well then you’re a goddamn fool.”

I handed the waitress the money which paid for breakfast and a nice tip. Amid clapping and cheering, we walked out of the restaurant. I didn’t know if I should be humiliated or not. Brooke didn’t say a word until we got to her car. Once we were inside, she burst out laughing so hard I thought she was going to pee on herself. Tears ran down her face as she clung to the steering wheel.

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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I Love Dialogue! Indian Summer Revisited

Dellani Oakes with glasses smallerI have an historical novel called Indian Summer, about a young woman, Gabriella Deza, the daughter of the Spanish governor, who falls in love with his confidential aid. They have a series of wild adventures during the spring and summer of 1739, in St. Augustine, Florida.

I love the city of St. Augustine and felt as if there were more stories waiting to be told. On a visit there, I felt another one nagging at me. I named it Indian Summer Revisited. It centers around a musician named Malin Dimas who has recently met a woman named Carina who works as a waitress at the small restaurant he’s just been hired to play for. He’s an overnight hit! He takes great pleasure in telling his disapproving father that he’s working as a musician and has been offered a record contract. He neglects to tell his sister, Tess. She calls, after having a chat with their furious father. In full fury, she gives him hell.

Malin knew he couldn’t win. Tess was in full swing and he was totally screwed. If he thought he was going to get her to understand, he was dead wrong. It was better to ride it out and let her have her fit. Once she was done, then he could get a word or two in. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like that was going to happen anytime soon.

“Tess, I need to get my stuff packed up.”

“Don’t you have servants for that, Mr. Rock Star?”

“No. I’m not a rock star, I’m just singing at a local restaurant.”

“Why didn’t you tell me, Mal? God, I had to find out from him!”

“Was he mad?” He couldn’t keep the gleeful anticipation from his voice.

“He was livid. I’ve never seen him so angry. He was all red in the face and spitting. It was a beautiful moment.” The anger in her voice subsided, changing to glee.

“He didn’t threaten you with a loaded gun, did he?”

“No. The Nora Bitch took them away and locked them up after the time I told him I was pregnant with Clay’s love child.”

“Why would you tell him a thing like that? He hates Clay.”

There was a slight pause and a snort of laughter. Malin gathered up some of his equipment.

“Okay, answered that one myself. I’m sorry I forgot, Tess. The last few days have been completely surreal. I’ve had exams, the new gig and a new girlfriend all since Tuesday.”

“Is she amazing?”

“She bypassed amazing when she rammed me in the gut with her elbow. Honestly, I can’t find words good enough to describe her. She’s symphonic.”

“Oh, I have to forgive you now. You’re in love, you prick. How dare you?”

“Am I? How can you tell?”

She repeated what he said, giving it her own twist. “Gag me now, I might throw up.”

“Wouldn’t you like to be described as symphonic? I think it’s pretty cool.”

“I’d love it, but Gary doesn’t know any words that big. He gets as far as hot and sexy and starts to drool. I’m thinking of breaking up with him.”

“Why’s that? I thought he was great in bed.”

“He’s okay. Clay was better.”

“What?”

“I’m kidding. We never got that far. Not that I wasn’t interested, but we knew you’d kill us both if we even tried it. He kisses well, though. Is he dating anyone?”

“Yeah, he is,” Malin sounded very annoyed. “I can’t believe you liked Clay.”

“Malin, I know you’re just a guy and all, but Clay is nearly as gorgeous as you. It makes me sick to say that, but my brother is one of the best looking men I know and his dumb friend is pretty jacked and hot and I’d do him in a heartbeat.”

“Tess,” Malin was getting uncomfortable. “Remember that conversation where it was way too much information?”

“Yeah, so?”

“So, we’ve reached that point again, only it’s your turn.”

“Grow up, Malin! I like sex just as much as you do.”

“Not listening.”

“I’d venture to say I’m nearly as experienced as you are.”

“Still not listening.”

“I did have a thing with your friend Benji a few months ago. He’s kind of kinky, but the things that man can do with his tongue!”

“Tess!”

“What?”

“Bye.”

He hung up, flushed and angry. He really didn’t think Tess had screwed Benji because she was always complaining that he smelled like last week’s dirty laundry. He still didn’t like hearing her talk like that and he certainly hadn’t appreciated what she had to say about Clay.

“Who was that?” Clay asked him in passing.

“That was Tess.”

“Oh, yeah? How’s she doing?”

“She misses you and your tongue.”

Clay wiggled his tongue around looking confused. “Me? What for? I thought she hated me.”

“Hell if I know. She’s in one of her moods.”

“Ooh, Evil Tess has come out. Must be a full moon.” He looked up at the sky.

“Clay, did you ever do my sister?”

“Do what? Oh, Do your sister. No. Not that I wouldn’t want to, she’s smoking hot.”

Malin gave him a black look, saying nothing.

“But in a purely virginal and totally untouchable way. I’m going over there now where no one wants to murder me.”

Midnight in Paris, A Morning in Rome? by Eileen Register

I’d love to write a romantic story that features the exotic ambiance of Paris or Rome.  It would be fun to write about traveling across the savannahs and through the jungles of Africa.  Rio would be so exciting!

So why do I use my home state of Florida as the backdrop for my novels? Is it because I’m lazy and don’t want to do research? Eh, maybe a tiny bit. For the most part, though, I want to concentrate on my characters and storyline. By writing about a setting with which I am very familiar, I am able to put most of my effort into creating realistic characters and dialogue with which to develop a story that is colorful and interesting.

One prime example of this is the setting for Book II of my Grisholm County Series, Sylvan Creek. My hometown of Sebring, Florida was originally designed with a circular park at its core and streets branching out in all directions from that circle. Sylvan Creek follows the same pattern except that the park is much bigger and there’s a creek running through it.  I enhanced the fond memories I have of my hometown and made the setting for the story even more interesting and much better as a backdrop for the murder that takes place.

I’m very visual and find that writing about things I’ve seen and persons I’ve met is a more comfortable way for me to develop stories. I’m sure I could read a few National Geographic magazines and learn what I need to know to write a story set in some exotic place. There are plenty of pictures available online and in books that would give me the visual boost I need in order to be able to write about such places. However, nothing would be as real to me through research as it is through my own experiences.

As an English teacher, I always encouraged my students to “write what you know” when they were doing creative writing assignments. Instead of reaching to write about something they had little knowledge about, they would start out by thinking about a place, person, thing, or event in their own lives. From that origin, they could spring forth into a fantasy, a true story, a poem, or even a play. The result might end up having a setting nothing like their own lives, but it would be grounded in what they knew.

I’m not saying everyone should write only about places they’ve been, people they’ve met, or things they’ve experienced – far from it! What I am saying is that it works for me. If a writer is having trouble getting the story rolling, perhaps simplifying its development will help. Choose two most important aspects of the story – which, for me are plot and characterization – and concentrate on them. Selecting a setting that takes less time to develop because it resembles a real place the writer has experienced will free his/her mind to concentrate on other things.