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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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.


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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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter G – Goin’ Down

ABC ChallengeA few years ago, I participated in the Iron Writer’s Challenge. For those of you not familiar with it, five authors have five days to write a short piece using four random elements. The elements for our challenge were Atlantis, Flying Electric Bike, Dopplegangers and a random black and white TV show. This is what I wrote.

Wil sat on his flying electric bike, staring at the sapphire depths of the ocean. Somewhere, beneath the surface, lay their objective. Revving his engine, he prepared for the drop into the icy waters of the abyssal plain.

The rest of the platoon hovered around him, dressed in deep sea gear, multiple dopplegangers, waiting for the signal to jettison into oblivion.

It was strange to be on Old Earth. Stranger still was the Galactic Marine Corps’ interest in the place. Virtually abandoned 200 years ago, Earth had been reclaimed by nature. The few humans who remained were savages, wielders of crude weapons, hardly worthy adversaries. But something else lurked in the ocean—beings of half forgotten legends.

How they had come to the attention of the Marines, Wil didn’t know. He and his platoon were here to contain any possible threat before it could advance.

A voice crackled in his ear. “Ready, Sergeant?”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Commence drop in five – four – three. . . .”

The door opened at their feet and 32 cycles zipped down the ramp, making the 2,000 foot drop to the surface. Hovering over the waves, they were surrounded by force shields to keep the cold and pressure at bay. Still experimental, the shields were supposed to be impenetrable. Wil had his doubts.

Wil accessed the battle plans, projecting them to his platoon. The dive initiated on his command. Thirty-two cycles sliced into the water. Down they dropped, rapidly nearing their goal. Less than a hundred meters from their objective, Wil’s electrical system glitched. Instead of the detailed battle plans, he saw flickering images of an old black and white TV show. His visor was filled with a banner proclaiming “The Adventures of Superpup”. It was gone just as suddenly.

“You see that, Sarge?”

“Sure did.” Wil tapped his helmet and the battle plans filled his visor once more.

Something else caught his attention, far below and to his left. Raising a hand, he called a halt. Black as night, the water undulated around them. Wil’s raised fist was invisible, but the HALT message flashing inside their helmets, was not.

“What is that?” The same voice filled his ears.

“I’d say, that’s our goal, Corporal.”

With rapid movements, Wil and his corporal deployed the team. On his mark, they descended, surrounding an opalescent dome. As the bikes approached, a panel slid back and they were sucked in, unable to stop. They bounced around a huge tube, the suction drawing them inexorably forward.

A few minutes later, they were set down on a platform. The water drained away, leaving scattered puddles. They faced a 20 foot door, which opened slowly. A giant of a man dressed in scintillating blue robes walked out, smiling. His skin was indigo, his hair white. He held a metallic staff in one hand. The top was decorated with a single, multi-faceted diamond. He advanced to stand before Wil, bowing.

“Welcome, my friends. Welcome to Atlantis.”

© Dellani Oakes 2015


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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter F – Finally Finished That Novel!

ABC ChallengeSo, you’ve finished that four hundred and sixty page novel. You sit proudly and pat the cover page tenderly, smoothing the white surface when much to your horror, you see a mistake! Cold sweat breaks out on your brow, fingers tremble, mouth suddenly goes dry. As your eye wanders down the page, more and more errors jump out at you! Fear grips your heart as you stumble from the desk, desperate for a calming cool drink. It’s a nightmare, but you can’t wake up. It’s real. Your brainchild, the fruit of your creative efforts, is flawed and it’s up to you to fix it.

This is a scenario each of us faces. Sometimes it’s as minor as a misplaced comma or a dangling modifier. Other times an entire scene, or even half the novel is so bad it has to be scraped and retooled. I started an historical novel about ten years ago, set it aside since it wasn’t going anywhere, picked it up a few years later and realized the reason it hadn’t gone anywhere was that it was garbage! No other word for it. After careful review, I threw away all but ten handwritten pages. Of those ten pages, perhaps parts of seven survive in the retooled version.

Several things were problematic that I didn’t realize until much later. First, and most important, the point of view and style were all wrong. Set in St. Augustine in the Florida territory in the late 1700s, it was told in first person by a young Spanish woman. I had chosen to do it like a diary (not really sure why) and it was far too limiting to my story.

Second, after doing some more research, I found that the time period would have to be moved from the 1780s to 1739 or I could not incorporate certain facets of the novel. It would have been grossly inaccurate.

Third, and most difficult, the man I had intended to be the bad guy simply wasn’t working. No matter what I did, even in the retooled version, he wouldn’t be villainous. The heroine refused to fall in love with anyone else. Even the good guy couldn’t be relied upon to behave. He became the villain, the villain became the hero, the heroine didn’t succumb to another man’s charms, and they all lived happily ever after. (Except for the villain, because he, of course, was dead.)

It got terribly out of hand. After lots of time and effort reading and re-reading, honing, changing, and fine tuning, it is a really solid piece of literature that I am proud to put my name on. When I started re-writing it, I wouldn’t have given ten cents for it. It was the catalyst that started me writing in earnest and made me realize I had stories inside me to tell. Very few of the others are historical in nature, the rest are sci-fi or contemporary romantic suspense. With that novel I learned something else important. You can’t do too much research if you want to be historically accurate. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d rather spend my time bleeding profusely from multiple wounds that tracking down that evasive, all important fact. It took years to finish Indian Summer because it was so hard to find the information I needed.

Sci-fi is far simpler for me to write. Once I have a believable setting, the rest is easy. Don’t ignore the laws of science, throw in some really good fight scenes, add a few interesting aliens and voila! Creating my own world is far more fun than working within the confines of someone else’s.

Writing is the ultimate escapism. For that short span of time, things work out; the hero and heroine fall in love and live happily ever after. The bad guy gets his just desserts, the good guy wins, and there is always a happy ending.

Despite the thrill of putting words on paper, the hard part is making sure that everything is right. We can live with the small stuff like ending a sentence with a preposition. Frankly, it sounds odd if it’s correct. However, misplaced modifiers, sentence fragments and subject – verb agreement are very important.

One solution is to read and re-read your own work, honing and perfecting it. It’s easy to miss simple errors that way. Sometimes running off a hard copy helps, but it’s still hard to catch it all. Better yet, get people who are gifted in grammar to help you. They might not be able to name the error, but they can spot one and may be able to offer suggestions on how to correct it. If you can afford it, have an editor review it. Few of us can, so it’s up to us to read and re-read our own work until it is smooth and as error free as it can possibly be.

For goodness sake, don’t rely on the grammar check in Word! It’s garbage and will cause far more problems than it solves. I don’t care if it’s the primary word processing program used world wide, the grammar check is terrible. Spell check, on the other hand, is a Godsend, but won’t help you if you simply type in the wrong word. I once finished typing out a test for my 11th grade class only to find that I had one very important little word wrong and the spell check hadn’t caught it. Instead of saying, “What is the theme of this story?” I had, “Shat is the theme of this story?” (For those of you who don’t know, that’s the past tense of the verb ‘to shit’. — 11th graders knew that!)

There is no easy way to get through the editing process. It is tedious and time consuming, but if it makes the difference between selling a book and having it gather dust, it’s well worth it.

© Dellani Oakes 2015


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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter E – Emma Dangerous

Today, I want to share a story that’s more serious than some of my others. This story is about a young woman named Emma who has been sexually abused by her father since she was ten years old. As a result, she has some serious emotional and drug related problems. If such issues bother you, please wait until next week. I promise to keep it light. This is the first scene from the book.

ABC ChallengeThe Rob Zombie song slammed into his brain as his eyes tried to discern shapes through the drug induced haze. His head felt like it was full of molten lava threatening to erupt through his mouth any second. He was looking for something—no someone. That’s why he came, stayed, overdid it—again.

Sammy stopped the slow, shuffling walk, leaning against the wall. Stumbling forward, he fell over downed bodies. He pawed at them before painfully levering himself upward. With a flash of recognition, he realized he had inadvertently found the person he sought.

“Emma.” He nudged her, but she didn’t respond. “Em?”

Fear gripped him as he searched for her pulse. It was slow but steady. She was only half dressed, the clothing on her lower body gone. The smell of sex lingered around her and he groaned.

“Not again, Emma. We can’t go through this again, babe. When are you gonna admit, you’ve got a problem?” I’ve got a problem too, he thought. Maybe he said it out loud. He didn’t know anymore.

Sam stood, his legs shaking, then bent over to pick her up. How many times had he done this? How many more times would he have to before she learned her lesson? Would one of them have to die for the other to get the idea that what they did was self-destructive and stupid?

“Come on, baby.”

He lifted again, his feet slipping in something. He didn’t have to look to know that it was vomit. Emma’s breath smelled vile and he knew it was hers.

“Come on,” he said again as he more or less got her to her feet.

Her top was long enough to cover the fact that her lower half was bare. Making her as presentable as he could, not that anyone would notice or care, he half carried her to the door. When they hit the outside, it was raining. It was the cold, bone chilling rain of mid-winter. He used to love the rain, but too many mornings waking in the front yard in a thunderstorm had cured him. Or maybe it was the many nights leaving parties in weather like this, he reminded himself.

“Why do we do this, Emma? We swore we’d give it up.” I did, you didn’t. Like all her promises—broken.

Had she ever kept a single promise to him? That thought kept him going as he struggled down the steep incline of the driveway. His car was parked hurriedly, nose first in the ditch. He hadn’t realized what a sharp angle he was at. The door wouldn’t stay open. Getting her in the car was going to be difficult.

Sammy set Emma down on the wet ground. She was soaked already, a couple more minutes wouldn’t make any difference. She giggled as the cold, wet ground embraced her. He backed his car into the road, leaving it running as he put her in the back seat. Driving carefully, he headed to the hospital. How often had he made this trip with her? So often that he didn’t have to explain to the ER personnel anymore. They knew the drill.

He sat in the uncomfortable waiting room chair as the orderly wheeled Emma to the back on a gurney. Head on hands, propped on knees, he hunched over. Tears warmed his cheeks as he waited for the news. It was never quite as bad as he anticipated—he could hope the same held this time. Prayer didn’t come easily to a boy like Sammy, but he tried for Emma’s sake.

© 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


“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.


“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.”


“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!”




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.”