Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes

Indian Summer is an historical romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739, a year before a major siege by the British. Gabriella Deza, the daughter of the Spanish governor, is fast approaching womanhood. Her fifteenth birthday looms on the horizon. She is completely taken by surprise when her father’s aide-de-camp, Manuel Enriques, declares his love and asks to accompany her to her birthday party.

Indian Summer isn’t currently available, but will be re-released the summer of 2017 along with the sequel, Savage Heart!

Excerpt from Indian Summer

“This is my dance, I believe, Señorita Deza.”

Manuel locked eyes with the next candidate for treading on my toes, who cowered under his look. Nodding rapidly, the little rabbit of a man retreated to the corner behind Clara and seemed to take her as his shield of defense.

I graced him with my sincere smile and said, “I promise the next dance is yours, señor.”

He bobbed his head rapidly again, retreating even further.

Manuel spoke from the corner of his mouth as we walked to the dance floor. “I don’t think you will have to honor that promise, my sweet.”

Chortling, I replied with a coquettish toss of my hair. “Why, Señor Enriques, do you intend to intimidate every man here?”

He chuckled secretively as he turned me in a circle under his arm. “If need be, my dear. If need be. I shall have you to myself.” He put special emphasis on “shall” as he spun me again and the music began.

Quiet at first, I listened with only half my attention. Suddenly, the orchestra erupted in a wave of the most exciting music I had ever heard! The guitars hammered loudly, the percussion began a beat I was familiar with. The music echoed the pounding of my heart. Manuel chuckled, seeing the surprised look upon my face.

“Do you like my choice? It’s a special request I gave them. A dance just for us!” He spun me again, three times in succession.

“I don’t know this dance!” I gasped. “I don’t know the steps!”

“Listen to the music, Bella. You know this. You feel it in your blood! Would I ever embarrass you? Follow my lead and you will be free!”

The music continued slowly, just a hint of notes on a single guitar. Manuel led me in a few gentle steps, ending in a deep dip. The tempo changed, accelerating into a fast, syncopated rhythm. He swept me into the most amazing dance! The music crashed into me in wave after wave of excitement. The power of it washed over us, setting my heart pounding in my chest with a beat at the same time unnatural, but as much a part of me as breathing.

We spun, stepped, dipped, clapped, stomped and when we got to the end I realized I had just danced my first Flamenco. I had seen this dance many times. The country folk in Spain danced this at their celebrations. The music and tradition had followed us to this new land, where they danced it at festivals. Manuel led me off the dance floor, both of us a little breathless and perspiring. It was then I noticed no one else had joined us in the dance. I looked up at him with a question on my lips. He shrugged casually.

“I asked for a dance alone with you. The gentlemen politely complied.”

I narrowed my eyes, feigning a glare. “How much did you threaten them?” I was teasing and he knew it.

He held his fingers about an inch apart. “Perhaps, this much?”

Our laughter filled the courtyard as the next dance began. The orchestra seemed rather let down after the Flamenco. I believe it had been the highlight of their evening as well as mine.

“I need something to drink.” My throat was dry and scratchy and I felt hot all over.

Manuel bowed, kissing my fingers, making his way to the punch. As rapidly as they could without being unseemly, my sisters rushed to my side.

“Bella,” Maria chirped. “Where did you ever learn to dance like that! My goodness, I’ve never seen anyone dance the way the two of you did!” Their eyes glowed with happy envy.

“I didn’t really know the dance, but Manuel is a strong lead. Was it really so exciting?”

“Exciting?” Maria grabbed my hand to her heart. “My land, girl, I’m all of a flutter! If a man were to ask me into the bushes now, I think I’d go willingly.” She giggled. “My insides are on fire.”

Irena didn’t speak, but she didn’t need to. Her blush from her cleavage to her hairline told me she felt the same way. “That was the naughtiest dance I’ve ever seen! And magnificent!” Irena’s eyes glittered. “I should feel as if I had lived a full life indeed, if only I could dance like that once! I don’t think Jason knows Flamenco.” She pouted, looking disappointed.

Maria nudged her. “Jason is a fine man, Rena, but he has no ‘Fire’ to him.”

Irena bristled at this. “He has plenty of fire!”

“Yes, if you like a slow burn.” Maria shrugged. “Now that Captain Du Pont, there is a man with fire blazing in his soul.”

I thought my sisters were about to come to blows, when Manuel approached us. He smiled warmly, extending a tray with three cups of punch.

“Am I interrupting something, ladies? If so, I’ll take my leave.” He made as if to walk off.

Maria grabbed his arm shaking her finger at him. “No you don’t, you naughty man! What a spectacle you made out there!”

She was teasing, I hoped he would be able to tell. In reply, he caught her hand and spun her around under his arm. Then he lowered her into a dip that had her nearly horizontal to the floor! All this with one hand, for he still carried the tray and didn’t spill a drop! Raising her slowly, hardly seeming to strain with her weight, he locked eyes with her and his gaze burned into her soul.

“No, not naughty, my dear Maria. I’m wicked.”

© 2017 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.”