The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes

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

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

Excerpt from The Ninja Tattoo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Great! Are you free tonight?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Vivica.”

“That’s a beautiful name.”

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Maker – Lone Wolf Book 3 by Dellani Oakes

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

They waited to see where he was going with this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You okay, babe?” Wil supported her.

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

“Again? You just went five minutes ago.”

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

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

“We might find a teleporter,” Marc suggested.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book 2

Where Lone Wolf left off, Shakazhan begins.

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

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

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

Excerpt from Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book 2

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

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

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

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

“Wil, it’s alive! Feel it!”

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

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

“By God, Matilda, you’re right!”

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

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

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

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

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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Lone Wolf – Book 1 by Dellani Oakes

Lone Wolf – sci-fi adventure at its best! The year is 3032 and mankind has expanded far beyond Earth’s galaxy. Matilda Dulac is a member of the Galactic Mining Guild. With her lover, Marc Slatterly, she works in a small mining ship in deep space. Their well ordered life if suddenly thrown into chaos when one miner arrives with a load of Trimagnite, a highly toxic liquid ore. Enter the Lone Wolf. Wil VanLipsig, known as the Lone Wolf, arrives to take the Trigmagnite off their hands. Is it a coincidence for him to show up on Marc’s ship years after Marc thought he’d killed Wil? Or is this the beginning of something far more insidious? The Lone Wolf is book in a new science fiction series by Dellani Oakes. Below is an excerpt from Lone Wolf. Wil has just arrived on the mining vessel where Matilda and Marc serve together. It’s obvious fairly early on that something isn’t right between the two men.

Marc opened the door to the docking bay. The other ship had attached and the airlock was pressurizing. As the door spiraled open, Matilda sensed a shudder pass through Marc. He raised his weapon, covering the entrance.

Slowly, with a casual air, a man entered the airlock. Nearly as tall as Marc, he was leaner of build. His curly, dark brown hair fell to his shoulders. He stood still while Rubee scanned his identification tag before releasing the force shield in front of him.

He wore a black eye patch over his left eye and a scar ran from his left temple to the corner of his lips. It was an old scar, worn and somewhat sunken. A slight stubble of beard shaded the lower half of his face, all but the scar line, leaving a pale crescent in the dark. His uncovered eye glittered, black and dangerous in his ruggedly handsome face. Holding his arms from his sides, he waited as Rubee scanned him for weapons. Finding none, she gave clearance for him to pass.

He stepped forward, lighting a dark, thin object. The pungent odor of a cheroot filled the confined space. Squinting past the smoke, he gazed into Marc’s eyes. Marc’s weapon remained pointed at the other man’s head, his calm expression strangely predatory.

Their visitor sized Matilda up with a glance, dismissing her as non-threatening. He puffed on his cheroot thoughtfully. A crooked grin cracked his face in half, the scar pulling his left lip up at an odd angle.

“Marc, it’s been a long time.” He held out his hand.

Marc remained aloof, not taking his eyes off the visitor, lowering his weapon or acknowledging the proffered hand.

“Kind of a cold reception, isn’t it?” His voice was rasping and low.

The smile was replaced by a slight frown, a hint of sadness in the obsidian eye. Then the same placid expression took its place. Nothing in Marc’s face betrayed what he was thinking or feeling.

Marc spoke calmly. “Commander Dulac, please show Colonel VanLipsig to the lounge.”

“Of course, sir.” Looking puzzled, she did as he asked, feeling his eyes on her.

Marc followed, covering the man from the rear. When they had seated themselves, Matilda ordered three cups of joe from the synthunit. Marc kept his weapon out on his knee with his hand resting upon it.

The other fellow leaned back, seemingly unconcerned and at ease. Taking a sip of the joe, he grimaced, glancing down at his cup before matching his gaze with Marc’s.

“I know we parted under difficult circumstances, but is this really necessary? I’m here to do a job, nothing more.” He carefully kept his hands in plain view, moving slowly, talking with deliberate ease.

Marc looked at him blankly. “I thought you were dead, Wil.”

VanLipsig nodded slowly, thoughtfully. “You were sure you killed me.” His voice was flat, toneless, unemotional. He shrugged casually, tilting his head to the left. “I got better.” There was a flash of a chilling smile.

“The reports….”

“The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated,” VanLipsig quipped, dark eye glittering mischievously.

Marc’s fist dented the metal table with a furious blow. “Dammit, Wil! Can’t you stay dead?”

VanLipsig threw back his head, laughing caustically. The laugh became a long, high-pitched, chilling howl. Matilda felt a shiver run through her to the very bone. She did her best not to show it, but a subtle shift of her bearing betrayed her. His gaze penetrated her soul, laying it bare, finding it wanting.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to the lady, Marc?”

“No.”

Marc hid his anger, but Matilda knew he was furious. His attitude toward VanLipsig was puzzling. They seemed to have known one another for years, obviously parting on less than amicable terms. Though VanLipsig seemed to harbor no ill will, Marc certainly did.

“May I present myself, ma’am? I’m Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, also known as the Lone Wolf. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?” He attempted to look humble. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” His glance flicked to her nametag and insignia, dark eye lingering hungrily on her chest. “Commander Dulac.” His mouth formed the words, enjoying the feel of the consonants on his tongue. He waited patiently for a response. Getting none, his eye locked with hers, curious, intrigued. “Do you speak?”

Matilda studied him quizzically, raising an eyebrow. “There seemed little to say.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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This Lovely New Cover by Suzette Vaughn

It Takes a Thief by Dellani Oakes

Jason Banes is a thief, a fact he freely admits. What he isn’t, is a murderer. Unfortunately, when a job goes horribly wrong, he’s arrested and on trial for robbery—and the murder of six innocent hostages. At first, he’s reluctant to admit he had an accomplice, but eventually he tells the judge he was a victim as well. The perpetrator is a cold-hearted woman known only as Orchid. When the victims’ families stand up for him, Jason is released into the custody of Special Agent in Charge Taylor Driscole, who heads up a team of FBI agents. Their job? To protect Jason and help him find Orchid before she strikes again.

Below is an excerpt from It Takes a Thief, a romantic suspense novel.

“How the hell did you get all that? When?” She grabbed her lipgloss possessively.

“Moments ago. Don’t worry, I’d never keep it.” He blew her a kiss. “Not my color.”

She swatted him, laughing.

“Handy tricks,” Tim said. “What else can you do?”

“This stuff’s easy,” Jason said. “You should see me play cards.” He winked. “Never, ever play a serious game of poker with me. I’ll wipe you all out. I play for fun and to see what I can get away with. I’ll show you what to look for.”

They practiced another hour or so, but didn’t make nearly the progress Jason wanted with his left hand.

“I’ll get you back here with Lloyd,” Tim said. “He’s left handed and can give you some pointers. We’ll set something up for later this week. Meanwhile, let’s police the area. Leave it like we found it!”

They set up fresh targets, put away the safety gear and stowed everything where it had come from.

Greg took out the garbage and the rest of them cleaned up inside until the facility was as perfect as it had been before they used it.

“Thank you,” Jason said, shaking Tim’s hand. “I feel much better. Won’t feel perfect until we catch Orchid, but at least I feel less of a target. Can I leave a note for your brother?”

“Sure.” He found paper and a pen for Jason.

The was far longer than Tim anticipated. Glancing at it over Jason’s shoulder, he laughed. The writing was tiny, precise and perfectly lined, although it was typing paper.

“What’s all this?”

“He’s got some security issues. I made a few suggestions. His safe for one. I could get through it with a pair of nail clippers and a set of tweezers.”

Tim laughed, shaking his head. “You’re kidding!”

“Serious. I’d open it, but that’d be bad manners.”

“I’m not sure how much he’ll appreciate this,” Tim said glumly.

“He’ll appreciate it. Might piss him off a bit, but I’ll bet he fixes it up. Leave it in the cash register.” He thumped it with his fist and the drawer popped open. “That’s number two after the safe.” He winked, strutting after Greg to the SUV. He hopped in the back and Alex slid in after him

“Cocky, English bastard,” Tim said, laughing. He put the note to his brother in the cash register and closed the drawer. “Wonder if I should warn him that it’s there?” He asked Taylor

“It will make more impact if he sees it on his own,” she replied.

“Yeah. That’s what I’m afraid of.”

They talked about their day as they drove back to Jason’s house by a different route. It took longer than Jason anticipated, but he figured Tim was mixing it up some in case they were being followed.

There were more vehicles in his driveway and several people moved around looking important. They were armed technicians, checking his house. Instead of staying around in their way, he and the team went upstairs. There too, they found a great deal of activity.

“Fancy a game of bowling?” Jason asked casually. “Gets us out of the way. Or perhaps some poker?”

“I want to learn how to lift Taylor’s lipgloss,” Greg said with a chuckle.

“Got to find it first,” she said with a smirk. “I moved it.”

“Yeah?” Jason said. “Nice spot. Easy.” He held it up again.

Taylor snatched at it, face flushing as she tried not to laugh. “Oh, you bad man! How did you know?”

“Women have a tendency to use purses, pockets or bras. You’re not carrying a purse, it wasn’t in your pocket….” He smirked, handing it back to her. “I prefer that hiding place,” he said, eyeing her chest. “More of a challenge.”

“I should beat you for that,” she snarled. However, she couldn’t hide her smile.

“You could do. But I might enjoy it.”

“Enough!” Greg said loudly. “Forget I said anything.”

He was angry, jealous and the exchange had made him realize once more how attracted he still was to Taylor himself. He’d been that close to her breasts once or twice, but not lately.

“Sorry, mate. I forget there’s other blokes as hard up as me.” He winked at Greg.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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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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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter J – Just When You Thought It Was Safe

ABC ChallengeJust When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water. . . .

This article doesn’t really have anything to do with that at all. I needed a title with a J and ended up with the tag line for Jaws II. Mostly, I want to talk about books in a series.

Some authors like to write books in a series, others abhor the idea of sequels. I stand on the side of those who like books in a series. Not all my books are in series. Most notably, my sci-fi books – The Lone Wolf Series. The first three are out: Lone Wolf, Shakazhan and The Maker.lone wolf series banner 3

The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes - 200I do have books that are loosely grouped and are series-ish. Of these books, I have The Ninja Tattoo, Conduct Unbecoming, Call Me and Mirrored. These are all set in Florida and have a lot of the same people in them. Another book, associated with Conduct Unbecoming, is my romantic suspense novel, Bad Fall. Though it’s set in Ohio, it is a spin off of Conduct Unbecoming. Couldn’t really call it a series, more a continuation of the story begun therein.conduct unbecoming front cover

I like writing books in a series, or those that are associated with one another, because I like exploring the characters more in depth. A stand alone book is great, I have quite a few of these, but I don’t feel as if I can fully dive into the background of a character in a stand alone.

The character of Wil VanLipsig, in my sci-fi series, is so complex, I even wrote several short stories in order to look into his history more deeply. Things that are mentioned in passing in the series, are explored in more detail in the short stories. I am currently sharing one white lie coverof these, A Little White Lie, on my website every Thursday.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter I – Indian Summer – Excerpt

ABC ChallengeIndian Summer is my historical novel. I mention the writing of it on my April 6 post. It is written in the voice of Gabriella Deza, the daughter of the Spanish Territorial Governor and is set in 1739, a year before a major siege by the British. Gabriella is 15, but has a lot of intelligence and pluck for a girl her age. By chance, she overhears something that starts a chain of events she has no control over.

I was rounding the corner on my way to the privy when I heard hushed and hurried voices ahead of me. They seemed to be moving in my direction rapidly. It was the sound of men who didn’t want to be overheard. Urgency marked their voices.

I ducked into an alcove, pressing myself against the wall. Secluded and shadowed, I was nearly invisible unless one looked directly at me. Grateful that I wore dark clothing and didn’t carry a candle, I virtually held my breath, seeking to make no noise.

The two men stopped just a few steps past my hiding place. I knew by his voice that one of them was James. The other man I didn’t recognize. James talked earnestly, looking furtively all around him. Not, thankfully, into my hiding place.

“I’m telling yew it mus’ be tonigh’!” The other man was speaking with roughly accented English in harsh undertones.

“Absolutely not! I forbid it!” James’ cultured voice held an authoritative edge. “It’s too soon. If we move now, all will be lost! We must plan this carefully. Tell General Oglethorpe that if this operation is to be a success, he must follow my lead. Tell him I’ll signal when the time is ripe.”

“Jes ‘ow do you pr’pose ta do tha’?” His companion growled. “Ligh’ a bloody sign’l fire?”

James barely held his temper. “In point of fact, I shall. Tell them to look to the south end of the fort and I’ll signal from there, but in my time! Tell him it could be months! Be gone now before we’re seen!”

With that, he rushed off in one direction. The other man, a sailor by his rolling gait, ran in the opposite. When I was sure they were gone, I eased out of the alcove and made my way to the privy.

I puzzled over the conversation I had overheard, not knowing quite what to make of it. The fort was in danger. I had heard something very secret indeed. Admittedly, I had difficulty putting James in the role of spy. Hadn’t he been a guest in our home? Surely James was beyond suspicion?

I didn’t know which way to turn or what to do. Who would ever believe me? They would call it childish, female fantasy and ignore me. I couldn’t tell Papa, he was too ill. I didn’t think the commandant would heed me. I had to say something! But to whom?

I heard a quiet voice call my name from across the hospital room. On his cot, Manuel had woken up and was calling me. Still weak, he managed to partially sit up, but couldn’t rise from his bed. As if a bolt of lightning hit me from above, I realized the obvious one to tell was Manuel. The commandant would believe him, but would Manuel believe me?

I was a child in his eyes, a little girl with big blue eyes and a wild imagination. I had been through much today, surely he would think that this was side effect of that over excitement. I owed him my brother’s life, but he in turn owed his to James. I hadn’t made up my mind when I reached his bed.

He smiled a weak version of his familiar, winsome smile. The twinkle in his eyes he always held for mindian summere was dim, but there. He was rapidly coming back to himself. I felt a flutter in my chest that was as pleasing as it was unfamiliar. He was so handsome it fairly took my breath.

His shirt was off and he was left only in his breeches. Having dried on him, they were tight across his powerful thighs. The sun bronzed muscles rippled in his back. I couldn’t help but admire his physique. His form was classic, like a statue of Adonis. Despite his injuries, he appeared virile, powerful, brave. I felt a warm thrill when he said my name yet again.

“Gabriella?”

I walked over to him quickly and quietly, not wishing to rouse anyone in the hospital. Manuel had many cuts and bruises on his arms, neck and back, as well as bruising and rope burns across his abdomen. His head was bound in a neat bandage, his right arm in a sling. A few of his ribs were wrapped. He tried to rise as I approached.

I smiled down at him. “No, Señor Enriques, please you must not try to stand. I’ll sit and then all will be well.” I pulled a stool near him.

He smiled at me again and his twinkle was stronger. “You’ve seen me near death, stripped almost to the bone and yet you call me Señor Enriques. It makes me sound like such an old man.” He sighed, shaking his head sagely. “I hear I owe my life in part to you. I insist you call me Manuel, and I shall call you – Señorita Deza.”

He winked wickedly and I blushed deeply, dropping my head in an effort to break eye contact with him. He was so close I could feel the warmth of his attentions and smell his manly scent. It was musky like sandalwood.

He lifted my chin gently with his uninjured hand. “You helped to pull me out of the sea. For that I thank you.”

I ducked my head again and this time he leaned his head sideways to gaze up into my face.

“So, she has no kind words for Manuel, eh? Well, perhaps one day she will. Perhaps too, she’ll save a dance for him at the next ball?”

I giggled almost hysterically at that. “Señor Enri-Manuel, I fear I can’t save a dance, for I’m not yet allowed to attend the parties.”

I blushed again feeling like a child, but this time I kept my head up and looked him in the eye. A slight frown played across his face.

“Well then, we’ll do this. When you have your fifteenth birthday party, will you allow Manuel to be your escort?”

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter H – He Thought He Saw

ABC ChallengeA couple years ago, for the NaNoWriMo Challenge, I decided to branch out and try something new. Not only did I decide to do a contemporary fantasy novel, I decided to write it for young adults. For me, this was a double challenge. I’d never written this genre or for this age group before. I found that I liked it, so much so, I wrote a sequel in 2014. This is the opening of the book and, I hope, it appropriately sets the scene.

The full moon seemed to follow him as he walked down the road alone. Wind whispered in the trees and dried leaves clattered in its wake. An owl hooted. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention.

The wind became voices. The leaves, the dry rattle of old bones. The sighing grew louder and Brian was able to pick out words. At least, he thought they were words, but in a language he couldn’t understand.

Picking up his pace, he glanced over his shoulder. Wispy figures gathered in the tree line around the swamp, moving slowly and steadily toward him. Brian tried to convince himself it was only his imagination, but it felt far too real.

One of the figures approached at a slow, loping run. Brian could hear the heavy, measured footfalls as it lumbered toward him. He completely lost his cool. Roaring loudly, he ran at the figure, dodging away when it grabbed at him. Chilling wind passed as the figure drifted away, dissipating as it headed to the woods on the other side of the road.

Brian ran along the center of the road, frightened by his encounter with the wraith. More of them gathered in the swampy woodland, but no others were bold enough to approach him. Hearing a twig snap to his left, Brian put on a burst of speed. With a cry of fear, he felt a shove at his back and tripped over his own feet. As he fell, he saw the wraiths grow bolder. They moved in unison, swooping toward him. Terrified, Brian lay on his belly, unsure how to combat them.

A solid form burst out of the bushes. A large dog stood over Brian, growling and barking. It took a moment for him to realize that the wraiths halted. Some tried to go a step or two further, but the dog renewed its attack. One by one the ghosts dispersed, melting into the fog once more.he thought he saw cover resized 2

Brian let his breath out slowly. The animal stood over him, but moved aside as he sat up. It was the biggest dog Brian had ever seen, broad through the chest with powerful legs and a ridge of hair down his spine. It looked silver in the moonlight.

Curious, Brian reached slowly toward it, hand out, palm up. The beast’s tongue flicked out, licking his cheek. Her warm breath convinced the boy that the dog was alive and real. She slurped him again, butting his hand so he’d pet her. Laughing, he complied.

“Where did you come from, girl?” Predictably, he got no reply. “Never mind, I’m just glad you’re here.”

He got up, dusting himself off. Leaves stuck to his body, mud caked every inch of him. Twigs and more leaves adorned his closely cropped hair. Getting his bearings, he headed toward home once more. The dog walked with him, her head under his hand. Her tongue lolled and she looked as if she were laughing at his appearance.

“You take a header into a mud puddle and see how good you look.”

The dog barked gleefully. She dashed ahead, sniffed and snorted, before trotting back to his side. She stayed with him until they reached his home. With a yip, she left him, drifting into the woods. The front door banged shut with a comforting thump behind him. Heaving a sigh of relief, Brian locked and bolted the door. He leaned against it, panting. His hands shook and he felt light headed. His heart thumped so hard in his chest, he could hear it in his ears.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

 

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