Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 5

Brand New Day coverThe girls spend lunch with Diego and his friends. Raul’s girlfriend, Trina, befriends Janet, walking to Drama with her.

“What’s with you? All through lunch, you hardly said a word and you sent off what’s-her-tits. You’ve been trying to get in that girl’s panties forever.”

“She insulted my sister. That disrespects me.” He picked up his books, shoving past his friend.

“I never seen such a weird face on you, man,” Raul said. “You’re looking after my woman funny.”

“No. Shit, no! I swear, man, not Trina.”

Raul glanced over his shoulder. Trina was introducing Janet to people outside the Drama room across the commons.

“That Janet girl?” He laughed, punching his friend. “Man, she’s not your style. Besides, she’s a baby.”

“She’s no baby,” Diego said with a muted sigh. “But she’s sure a babe. How you mean she’s not my style?”

“Cause that girl will never let you in, bro. Face it, she’s virgin pussy, and you’re an old tomcat.”

Diego sighed again, this time more heavily. He swallowed hard, nodding as he took the stairs two at a time, heading to senior English.

“Are we boring you, Mr. Hernandez?” Mr. Franks, the English teacher said.

Diego blinked, sitting up straighter. “Uh, no sir.”

“Perhaps you can tell me what we’ve been discussing.”

“Yeah, sure.” He thought a moment. “You’re discussing the syllabus and you just mentioned Julius Caesar.”

The class laughed. That was exactly what they’d been talking about—five minutes ago. Mr. Franks smirked.

“You’ll stop with me after class, Mr. Hernandez.”

“Yes, sir,” he mumbled, slumping in his chair once more.

After class, Mr. Franks took him aside. He was a man in his late forties. Not unkind, but very strict. “Want to tell me what’s on your mind? You’re usually more focused. This is one of your best subjects.”

“Nothing. It’s not a big thing….”

“Diego, I’ve known you forever. You’ve been my student for two years already. I know when you’re distracted by something.”

Diego shrugged. He wouldn’t meet Mr. Franks’ eyes.

“What’s her name?” Mr. Franks asked pointedly. He waited expectantly for Diego to answer.

“That obvious, huh? What an actor I am.” He chuckled, shaking his head. “I’m gonna be late to class.”

“I’ll write you a note. Who?”

“She’s new, you wouldn’t know her. She’s a friend of my sister’s.”

“Got it bad for her, huh? She tell you no?”

Diego laughed loudly. “I haven’t asked her anything. She’s my little sister’s best friend. I’ve known her since she was seven.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from How Far is Heaven ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestHal Garrow is alone in a big city, squeaking by financially, as he finishes his degree in music. He’s feeling down after an audition didn’t go well. Drawn to a small lake on campus, he pulls out his guitar and starts to sing.

He started strumming a happy tune he’d been working on. He didn’t feel happy and the tune started to take on the characteristics of a dirge, so he stopped playing, thought a moment and began to play a gospel song he’d learned years ago.

“Battered and torn, still I can see the light. Tattered and worn, but I must kneel to fight.”*

He sang softly as he formed the chords and plucked the strings. Transported away on the wings of the song, he didn’t notice that someone else had entered the park and was cautiously crossing the bridge.

Her voice joined his on the chorus, harmony soaring to the sky. She had a magnificent voice; high, sweet and clear as crystal. Hal was so surprised by her sudden appearance, he quit playing and stared. Sitting beside him, she smiled at him encouragingly.

“Go on then,” she motioned for him to continue. She had a high speaking voice and a slight Irish accent. “It’s my favorite part, the chorus.”

She flashed him a five star smile, her dark eyes dancing above full red lips. Her hair was like spun molasses, rich golden brown curls. Hal hesitated a moment longer, then started playing again. She sang loudly, pouring her heart into the words, smiling encouragement for him to join her in harmony. He faltered a moment on the notes, then sang just as loudly as she, his sweet tenor joining hers as they swooped through the melody.

When the song was over, he placed his hand gently over the strings to stop their vibration and looked at her again. He saw himself reflected in her eyes; long, straight black hair, high cheekbones and a nose that was almost too big for his face. His eyes were like two bright pieces of jet, piercing in their intensity.

The young woman held out a well manicured hand, long mauve nails glittering in the afternoon sunlight. “Hi, Maeve Tierney.”

“Hal Garrow,” he smiled shyly. “Have we met before, Miss Tierney?”

“Maeve. Not exactly, but we have a couple classes together. I mostly sit right up front, or I find myself day-dreaming. I have the attention span of a goldfish.” Her smile radiated harmony.

“I mostly like the back,” he shrugged. “Less likely to be called on in the back.” He forced himself to look away from her, gazing into the lake.

“If you don’t want to call attention to yourself,” she said, “why sit in the middle of the pond and play?”

“It’s the only place I feel safe,” he told her honestly. “I’m a country boy. This is as close as I can get on short notice.”

“I’m a city girl,” she told him. “I thrive on traffic snarls, exhaust fumes and ill tempered taxi drivers. The pond has its appeal though. Sometimes, even I want to be alone.”

“Is that why you came by today?” He made to rise, but Maeve’s hand on his arm stopped him.

“No, I came because I knew I’d find you here.”

“Right….” his tone was sarcastic.

“Don’t believe me, it makes no difference to me if you do or not. But I found you, didn’t I?”

“Specifically, by name?”

She shook her head. “Just a feeling I was going to meet someone unusual, special in some way. I never know who I’ll be meeting through such serendipitous circumstances. But I always find that I enjoy the encounter, regardless of how long it lasts. Don’t you ever have that?”

“Not really. Well,” he hesitated. “Maybe once in awhile. I guess I never really thought about it the same way, is all.”

“Serendipity. It’s how my parents met. Silly little thing when you think about it. It was her first day waiting tables at a pub in Chelsea. She spilt something on him and the rest is history.”

Interested despite himself, Hal smiled. “What did she spill on him?”

“Oh, it was awful,” Maeve said with dread. “He had ordered tomato soup and a roast beef sandwich with a dill pickle. Mum wasn’t too good at balancing a tray. She caught her foot on a board and toppled. The soup went over his head and the pickle landed in his lap. The sandwich, by some miracle, stayed on the plate. Mum dove for the pickle, grabbing for it as it fell. Nearly grabbed his privates instead. Of course, he was furious, but laughing so hard he couldn’t yell at her. She finally realized what she was doing, grubbing around at his britches. Red faced, she ran to the kitchen, crying and kicking up a fuss. As he was leaving, he handed her a sizable tip and said, Miss, you can grab for my pickle anytime. She quit that very day.”

“But they still ended up together?”

“Yes. It was meant to be. They met some days later at a party. Once she got over the horrible embarrassment, she decided she quite liked him.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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I Shall Not Walk Alone by Ben Harper

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 4

Brand New Day coverAt school, the girls are having a typical first day. When they get to lunch, Diego invites them to sit with him and his friends. One of the girls gets mad.

“Well, sorry,” the girl said in a snotty tone. “I’m supposed to know?”

“They look just alike,” Diego’s best friend, Raul, said. “Pay some attention, bruja.”

The girl raised her hand to hit him, but Diego grabbed her wrist.

“I don’t think so. Take your stuff. Go.” He nodded toward a different table. “Any you others got a problem with my girls sitting here?”

The other women smile pleasantly. “No problem, Diego,” one girl said with a grin. “I’ve been wanting to meet you, Ramona,” she said sweetly. “D. talks about you all the time. I’m Trina.” She held out her hand.

They shook hands and Ramona introduced the others. Once Trina had introduced herself, the others followed. She seemed to be the female leader. She wasn’t with Diego, she sat next to Raul. His arm hung around her shoulders, fingers teasingly close to her breast. Based on the hickeys on their necks, they weren’t just friends.

“What classes do you have after lunch?” Trina asked.

“Math,” Bunny said, wrinkling her nose.

“Biology,” Ramona added.

“I’m in Drama class,” Janet said with a grin. “I can’t wait. The Drama coach came to the junior high last year and taught a class. It was so much fun.”

“I’m in there too,” Trina said. “Mom Frost is awesome, isn’t she?”

“Mom?”

Trina giggled, waving it away. “Tell you later. It’s a story just us Drama kids know. I’ll take you over and introduce you. I’ve got rehearsal for the one acts at the speech meet next month. I’m a student director.”

“Is it too late to try out?”

“Oh, we decided the cast at the end of last year. The season starts so soon, it’s hard to take new people. But, there’s all kinds of other things you can do for speech meets. Mom will talk about that today.”

It was almost time for the bell, so they gathered their trays. The other girls befriended Ramona and Bunny, taking the younger girls to class. Diego watched as Janet and Trina walked off together. Raul punched him to get his attention.

“We’ll be late for class, moron. Come on.”

“Yeah. Coming.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 3

Brand New Day coverJanet, Ramona and Bunny ride the bus together, meeting Ramona’s brother, Diego, at the bus loop.

All Diego’s friends were under strict rules, they couldn’t touch the girls. Flirting was okay, hitting on was acceptable, to an extent, but no touching. They touched, they got the hell beaten out of them. Diego had a reputation of being the toughest guy in school. He wasn’t all that huge, there were guys plenty bigger, who were terrified of him. But he was a swimmer, a boxer and a wrestler. He’d worked hard all his life, and had muscles most guys were jealous of and girls drooled over.

Janet had heard some older women commenting about him once and one lady said he was an Adonis. Janet didn’t know the word, but she went home and looked it up. She had to agree with the description. He was very handsome, almost godlike, with his dusky Latin looks.

Older girls watched as Diego and his buddies walked Ramona and the others to the auditorium for the opening assembly. Here, all their names would be read off by the assistant principal, and they’d go to their first class. In that home room, they would get their class schedules.

“You gotta sit in the sophomore section,” Diego told them, pointing to the right of center. “We sit in the senior section.” He and his friends whooped, doing complicated handshakes.

The girls found seats together and sat down. Janet watched as Diego and his buddies walked to the front row of the center section and made the boys there move so they could sit down. That would be their spot the rest of the year. No one would take it now that he’d claimed it.

“No guy is gonna want to ask me out,” Ramona whined. “Why does he have to be like that? I’ve got the right to date who I want.”

“I think it’s sweet,” Bunny said, gazing at Diego. “And he’s so dreamy….”

“Stop that!” Ramona socked her. “He’s my brother! You just keep those Betty Thoughts to yourself.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She means don’t be thinking you’re going to seduce Diego,” Janet said with a toss of her head. “Because he won’t look at you twice. You’re like his little sister.” She voiced what she was thinking about herself. She hadn’t realized until today how fond she was of Ramona’s older brother. She was off limits, his baby sister’s best friend. She didn’t have a chance.

The principal walked on the stage to polite applause. He gave his usual first day speech. Mr. Harper was a pretty cool guy. He was nice and he was fair. Most of the students got along well with him, unless they got on his bad side.

Mr. Patrick, the assistant principal, was the opposite. He was mean and rude, especially to the Mexican and Indian kids. He was also kind of dumb. He always mispronounced a bunch of student names when he read them off. He made mistakes with class assignments too, so the counselors would be busy for the next week, fixing his errors.

Ramona’s name was read as “Ramon A. Hernandez.” She’d been assigned boy’s PE as her first class. Mortified, she went to the office to wait her turn to get that changed to girl’s PE.

Bunny Mason was called Benny and sent to health class. Finally, it was Janet’s turn.

“Janet Yarsky,” he said, butchering her last name.

At least he hadn’t sent her somewhere embarrassing. She had to admit that Yarkowsky wasn’t the easiest name and he hadn’t done too badly. She followed her teacher to English class. That was her favorite subject. In fact, she hoped one day to be an English teacher.

The young male teacher leading the group looked like he’d be fun. He was dressed in the weirdest combination of clothing she’d ever seen. His pants were wide stripes of mustard yellow and maroon. His pullover sweater was an ugly green that reminded Janet of pond scum. The shirt was pale blue and his tie was several shades of brown. His chestnut hair was in kind of a shaggy, Beatles cut and his blue eyes sparkled with happy enthusiasm. They got to the classroom and found seats. Fortunately, some of her friends were in the class.

“Hi, I’m Mr. Whitmore and this is Tenth Grade English. In here, we’ll study literature and writing. I’m the debate coach, so we’ll be giving that a try too. Maybe some of you will find out you’d like to argue.”

“I love to argue,” one big guy up front said with a grin. He waved his fists around.

Mr. Whitmore laughed. “Not that kind of arguing. Organized debate is more civilized.”

The big guy snorted, shrugging.

“It’s easy to cut a man down with your fists,” Mr. Whitmore said quietly. “It’s a lot harder to take him down with your words. In here, you’ll learn to verbally spar.”

The rest of the morning went pretty well. Janet had a couple of classes with Ramona and Bunny, then it was lunch time. In the cafeteria, the students had unofficial areas they sat in. The geeks and nerds sat in the corner talking about chess club and speaking in Latin. The stoners took their food to the parking lot where they ate and got smoked up before going back to class. Other groups were scattered around the cafeteria, all of them occupying most of the tables.

The girls stood there with their trays wondering where to sit. A piercing whistle got their attention. Standing on a bench, Diego waved to them. Blushing, they walked over to the table. His big friends made room and the girls sat down. There were other girls there, girlfriends and wanna be’s. Some frowned at Ramona, Janet and Bunny.

“What makes you think you can sit with us?” one girl in a tight white sweater said.

Diego had his arm around her shoulders, nibbling at her ear until she spoke. His arm left her shoulders and he shoved her away. “Since it’s my baby sister and her friends, chica. You be polite to my sister.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Hooked on Love ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestPenny Hart owns and operates a fast growing coffee and music store called Caffeinated Discs. Several nights a week, a small authors group meets there for coffee, chat and writing. She’s known them all for years, but tonight, there’s a new person among them.

Loud laughter burst out in the alcove where the writers group sat. They’re a rowdy bunch. I decided to join them after I got the coffee ready.

As I started the pot, the CD changed and the louder, more strident sounds of Tomoyasu Hotei started playing. I love his song, Battle Without Honor or Humanity, which happened to be playing. I cranked it up without really thinking about it. It drowned out the laughter and other sounds in the shop. When I turned around I was surprised to see a tall, lean muscled, broad shouldered guy standing behind me on the other side of the counter. He smiled as I jumped back a little.

“Well now,” he grinned, his Southern accent strong. “I haven’t had that effect on a lady for some time. I apologize if I scared you.”

“No, I just didn’t hear you come up, over the music.”

“Good tune. Hotei has a unique style, doesn’t he?”

I giggled a little nervously. Tall, gorgeous, muscular men tend to make me feel a little self-conscious.

“Yeah, I like him a lot. Most people don’t even know who he is. I get a lot of blank stares when I mention him.”

“I’ve gotten used to the blank stares. I like all kinds of weird music.” He sat on one of the bar stools.

His hair was a sandy brown, bleached by the sun. His skin was medium tan, but looked slightly sunburned. He had pale green eyes, like jade, with a smoky gray around the outer edge. I just about fell over the counter as I stared into them. Rimmed with dark eyelashes, I thought they were the most amazing eyes I’d ever seen. He had a strong jaw, slight cleft in his chin and a great smile. He was smiling at me now, in fact he was laughing.

“Have I got something caught in my teeth?” He rubbed his front teeth with his index finger.

“No. No, I’m sorry.” I giggled, blushing like crazy. “It’s just…. No.”

I shook my head so violently that I shook some of my hair loose. I have medium length, dark chestnut brown hair that’s kind of wild and flyaway. Even in clips, with lots of mousse, it gets away from me. My eyes are practically the same color as my hair. When I get a tan, I’m sort of monochromatic.

“My name’s Kael,” he put out his hand. His fingers were long, strong and calloused.

“Penny,” I smiled a little.

I hate being so shy! I hardly can talk to a handsome man. I just about freeze up when a guy looks at me. Here was this gorgeous hunk talking to me, holding out his hand to be shaken, and I stood there like a fool. Forcing myself to do the right thing, I held out my hand. He took my fingers gallantly in his and kissed them gently. It was the sexiest kiss I’ve ever had and it wasn’t even on my lips.

His green eyes twinkled, squinting slightly as he smiled. “Pleased to meet you, Penny. Is that short for Penelope?”

“Unfortunately. I hate it.”

I wrinkled my nose and used the excuse of the coffee finishing to try and extract myself from him. He held my fingers close to his lips, not quite kissing them again.

“I don’t think it’s such a bad name. It could be Hildaguard, or Gertrude or Brunnhilde. Penelope is pretty.” He let go of my hand with an easing of his grasp.

“Thank you. Boris tells me you’re a Marine?”

“Just got out a few weeks ago.”

“Were you in the war?” I turned around with the empty coffee carafe in my hand. “Several of my friends have been over there.”

“I was in Iraq.”

“Was it awful?”

His eyes got very sad and he turned his face away from me, gazing out the dark windows to the lonely strand of beach.

“It was—beyond awful,” he murmured.

When he turned, I saw a scar on the side of his face. It ran from the corner of his left eye to the area under his left ear. It was very thin and light, but looked relatively new.

My hand reached out without my thinking about it. I touched the scar, making him flinch. He didn’t quite jump away from my hand, but he looked uncomfortable for a moment.

“What happened?”

He moved away from my touch ever so slightly, but my fingers followed him of their own volition. I couldn’t let it go for some reason. I could tell it was making him uncomfortable, but I had to know.

“My buddy and I got too close to a car that blew up.”

“Part of the car did that?”

He shook his head, moving away a little more. “No,” he said so soft I could hardly hear him. “Part of my buddy.”

“Oh, God!” My fingers jerked away like I’d been shocked. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”

“It’s okay.” He tried to smile, but I could see the pain in his eyes. “Really. A few decades of therapy, I’ll be over it.”

His smile and laugh were forced and I felt horrid making him to talk about something so obviously painful. I took his hand, making him look at me.

“I’m so sorry. I know it must have been the worst thing ever. I can’t even imagine what it’s like there. No one who hasn’t been can possibly understand. But if you ever want to talk about it, I’m a good listener.”

“Like a bartender, huh? You listen to customers spill their guts and open their hearts?”

I shrugged, shaking my head. “No. Mostly I make coffee and put music on the CD player. But sometimes you need someone to talk to. Even if I can’t relate to you’ve been through, I can listen.”

“Thanks,” he said quietly. “I might take you up on that sometime.”

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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https://www.amazon.com/Dellani-Oakes/e/B007ZQCW3A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 2

Brand New Day coverIt’s 1975—early morning, the first day of school, and already Janet’s in a bad mood, thanks to her mother and sister.

Janet wanted to cry, but with Sookie and Mama both glaring at her, she wouldn’t let the tears come. She dressed in a fury. Angry, hurt tears burned in her eyes. She didn’t say goodbye, just grabbed her lunch she’d made the night before, and left. She slammed the door behind her, starling some birds in the trees next door.

Sookie didn’t come to the bus stop. She hadn’t expected her to. Mama didn’t want her baby girl on the bus with all the big kids, afraid she’d get hurt. It was okay that Janet had ridden the bus since kindergarten, big kids or not. The bus wasn’t good enough for Miss Sookie. It was just as well. Janet didn’t want people to know they were related.

Janet’s friends were waiting for her, all dressed in their new clothing. Janet had saved her money from her job at the A&W Drive-In, to buy her things. She looked just as fresh and nice as they did.

Her pink T-shirt had big, fuchsia rhinestone lips on the front. Her hot pants were denim. Her long, tanned legs made the other girls jealous, as did her full lips and black, curly hair.

They didn’t know the Secret Janet carried inside her. If they did, she wondered how they’d act. She told everyone there was Indian blood way back, but that wasn’t it. Her daddy was half black, but didn’t look it. He’d passed for years as a white man. Wasn’t until Janet was born, a nice cafe au lait, with kinky curls, that her mama suspected.

That was how it started. Her Southern born mama couldn’t forgive him for being black. When Janet was five, he left them. They moved from Texas to Nebraska. Mama hooked up with some guy, and Sookie was born about a year later.

Mama had kin in Nebraska, which was why they’d moved there. Kin that didn’t know she’d married a black man. She could hide her shame away, forget about him. Only every day, Janet was a reminder.

The bus pulled up and stopped. There was the usual tussle to see who got on first. Today, as always, the big boys won. They hopped on and took seats at the back. The girls let the little kids go on before them. Mr. Prost, the driver, told them thank you.

“I believe you girls have all grown at least three inches apiece,” he said after greeting them each by name. “High school now. My, my.”

Mr. Prost had been their bus driver as long as Janet could remember. He was a nice, grandfatherly type. Janet loved Mr. Prost, and wished he was her granddaddy. Mama’s father was a mean old cuss who smoked and drank too much. She’d never met her father’s father. He was the black sheep and kept well hidden.

Bunny, her friend since second grade, bounced in the seat beside her. “I can’t wait to get to high school! Betty says the boys are real cute!”

Betty was Bunny’s older sister. Janet suspected she was boy crazy and had told Bunny often enough.

“Not the ones we know,” she said, cutting her eyes at the back of the bus.

“Those are sophomore boys!” Betty rolled her eyes. “I mean juniors and seniors.”

“What are those older boys gonna want with us?” Janet asked. “We’re little kids compared to them.”

“I know! They’re men!” Bunny said with a dreamy sigh.

Janet made a disgusted noise. Come to think, Bunny was as boy crazy as her sister. The difference was, Bunny didn’t sleep around like Betty did…. Yet. She was a little afraid her friend was going to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

“Junior high is behind us now,” Bunny continued. “We’re not around boys anymore. We’re gonna be seeing real men every day.”

“They’re no more men than that bunch back there,” Janet said.

“They aren’t men until they’re eighteen,” Ramona said. “That’s what my father says.”

“Betty says they’re real men once they make it with a girl,” Bunny contradicted with a toss of her head.

“Well, she’s the expert,” Ramona said dryly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bunny demanded.

“Nothing….” Ramona tossed her straight, black hair over her shoulder. “Oh, nothing….”

“Ramona Hernandez, you tell me!” Bunny growled. “What are you saying about my sister?”

“What I heard,” Ramona said, ignoring her. “What I heard was that she’s been through most of the male population. What I heard, is lots of the guys are men now because of Betty.”

“Who told you a lie like that?” Bunny screeched.

Ramona flounced off the bus, ignoring Bunny’s protestations. Janet knew Ramona’s source was her older brother, Diego, who had more experience than just about any guy around. He never talked about it, but the girls did. Many of them had fallen for the dark haired, sloe eyed Mexican man. Janet could see the appeal, he was gorgeous. He’d only ever treated her like a sister, so she figured she didn’t stand a chance. She could admire how good looking he was from a distance.

Diego and his buddies were waiting for them at the bus loop. He drove a car and offered Ramona a ride, but she didn’t want to crowd in the car with his loud, obnoxious friends. Diego wanted it clear to every man at the school that Ramona was his baby sister. He’d taken Bunny and Janet under his protective wing as well, since they had no older brothers. He put his arms possessively around the girls as they walked in the school surrounded by his huge, male friends.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 1

Brand New Day coverBrand New Day is a little different from my usual stories. One thing which makes it unique, is the fact that it takes place in flashbacks. When it opens, the main character is in the hospital. It hops back to her past, as she remembers what brought her to this point in her life. It’s also very sad in places. I’ll try to put a tissue warning on it. And finally, there is one incidence of teenagers having sex (though it is NOT graphic by any means).

I hope you enjoy Brand New Day. I’m not entirely sure where this came from, because I’ve never experienced anything like Janet did. For some reason, the story insisted upon being told.

Lubbock, Texas. 2000

Janet May Yarkowsky lay in bed shivering from withdrawal. Whatever Tex had given her was making her crazy. She had a vague memory of events the night before. The only thing outstanding in her mind was that she’d stood there placidly as he’d threatened to kill her eldest son.

How could I do that? How could I let him threaten Danny? What if next time he didn’t just wave the gun around? What if, somehow, he finds out the truth? That Danny isn’t his. What then?

Another fit of shakes gripped her body as she huddled under the tangled covers. She had to fix this. Had to stop Tex before his hatred and drug augmented paranoia drove him to kill.

She knew Danny wouldn’t leave her like this, not forever. He left her last night because she’d been crazy, too. Standing, frozen, on the porch, staring like a zombie while Tex threatened her boys with a sawed off. Danny did the only thing he could. He took Ricky away. He called his aunt and uncle and they picked the boys up, carrying them to safety.

How did I let it get like this? She asked the wall, but it had no answer. I loved him once, didn’t I? Danny, what would you do if you knew Tex wasn’t your daddy? Would you kill him? Beat the hell out of him like he richly deserves?

She couldn’t tell him and prayed he wouldn’t find out on his own. Another man had her first. A man she loved more than her own life. But it wasn’t meant to be.

“If only….” She whispered to the four walls. “If only….”

Scottsbluff, Nebraska. August 1975

“Janet May, get your lazy butt outta that bed. NOW!”

Sookie, her baby sister, turned on the lights and threw back the covers. Janet had ducked under to get away from the blazing lights. Sookie yanked her hair trying to get the blankets off.

“Mama said get up outta that bed now!” Sookie did everything Mama said. Frequently, that was torturing Janet. “Get up now!”

“Sookie Ann, you leave me be! I still got five minutes.”

“Mama said….”

“Mama didn’t say to scream like a banshee and be a unholy terror.”

“First day of school!” Sookie yelled. “Its the FIRST DAY!”

“I know that!” Janet bellowed, sitting up in bed. “I’m awake, blast it. Leave me be.”

She threw her pillow for emphasis, clipping Sookie on the rear end. Her little sister howled like she was being killed.

“Mama!” Sookie wailed.

Their mother stormed in, on Sookie’s side—as usual.

“I hit her with a pillow,” Janet said before her mother yelled. “She turned on the light, yanked my hair, and nearly snatched me bald. Jerked back the covers like I can’t get up on my own.” Her alarm clock went off. “See? I was gonna give myself five whole minutes. I swear, Mama, y’all treat me like like a baby!”

Janet stormed out of the room and headed to the bathroom for a shower. It was hot and muggy. She wanted to be fresh her first day. She wasn’t in three minutes, hadn’t even soaped her hair, when Sookie banged on the door, yelling.

“Mama says—get out!”

“I will when I’m done!”

“Mama said now!”

“Mama can come her own self and tell me. Go away, Sookie.”

“Janet May!”

“Sookie Ann, swear to God!” She cut off the water.

Dripping and furious, she flung open the door. Sookie stood there looking smug, arms crossed over her flat, ten year old chest.

Janet shoved past her, walking toward the kitchen. “Did you send that little brat to get me?” she demanded of her mother.

“You got to catch the bus….”

“Mama, I know how to get ready. I’m fifteen.”

“First day of high school, I want to see you off.”

“I’m not a baby like Sookie! I been taking care of both of us forever!”

“There’s no need to talk to me like that.”

“There is a need! There’s been a need since Daddy left. But I was too young to know. It’s not my fault he’s gone.”

Her mother stiffened. “You saying it’s mine?”

“You’re the one he argued with, not me. Daddy loved me.”

“He loved you so much he left?”

“He told me—before he left. He told me—Girls belong with their mamas or he’d take me. He told me he loved me and he was sorry, but he had to get away.”

“So, then he just left you, huh? All alone with your mean old mama?” The tone of her voice stung more than her words.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from He Thought He Saw ~ Miracle, Mississippi Series Book 1 by Dellani Oakes

He Thought He Saw redThis story isn’t exactly a romance, though there is a relationship between the two main characters. I would call this story a New Adult book, though it is also a fantasy set in modern times. Brian Casey has been having a rough few months. Strange things started happening around his 15th birthday in May, and keep getting worse. Now, it’s November, and the strange things get even more strange.

To make life a little more interesting, he meets someone at his bus stop. However, he isn’t quite sure who the person is.

A baggy, navy blue, hoodie concealed a short, slight frame. Straight, brown hair stuck out from under a multicolored beanie, concealing most of the face. Jeans and boots completed the anonymous outfit.

“Trouble?” Brian asked quietly.

The person gasped, looking up at him. “I think I managed to delete all my music,” the gruff voice complained. “Either that, or something else is wrong with the damn thing. It won’t work.”

“Man, that sucks. Mind if I sit?”

“Help yourself. Not my bench.”

“I’m Brian Casey.”

“Jordan Barrett.” The name and voice did nothing to clarify the gender issue.

“You must be new around here. I’ve never seen you before.”

“My folks wanted a quieter, simpler life. So, instead of living in the suburbs, they picked his tiny town in BFE. I can’t even get cell service unless I’m standing in the center of town. So much for keeping up with my friends back home.”

“Guess you’ll have to make some new ones,” Brian said quietly. He wasn’t sure what to think of the mouthy, disgruntled teen. He dearly wished that either the name or the clothing was different so he’d have a clue if he was speaking to a boy or girl. He still couldn’t tell, and he didn’t think it was polite to ask.

“Yeah. Not like I had so many, ya know? Not one to be popular.”

“Me either. Gotta work too hard to be popular. Besides, I prefer being anonymous.”

“Whatever works, right? Of course, my parents are upset that I’m a social pariah. They were head cheerleader and captain of the football team. They went Greek in college and belong to the alumni association of their high school and college. Mom was also Miss Teen Spirit when she was in high school. I told her I wasn’t interested in being named after a deodorant—or a song. She so didn’t get it.”

Brian chuckled, nodding. “I’m lucky. My mom couldn’t care less if I’m popular. She wants good grades. Can do that standing on my head.”

“You any good at math?”

“Yeah, pretty good. Why?”

“Because I suck ten kinds of suckage at math. I need someone to help me. Dad said he would, but he’s about as patient as a wet cat. Mom’s blonde.” Jordan said that as if it meant something special.

Brian, who was also blond, looked confused.

“Dumb blonde?” Jordan snickered. “I guess it’s contagious.”

“I may be blond, but at least I’m good at math.” He tried not to sound offended, but didn’t conceal it well.

“Oh, touchy! If you can help my math grade, I forgive you for being blond and promote you to honorary brunette.”

Brian chuckled. “Mighty kind of you.”

The bus arrived a few minutes later. Brian let Jordan walk on ahead of him. He moved down the aisle and took his usual seat. Since no one else sat with him, Jordan joined him. They talked a little bit on the way to school, but the engine noise made conversation difficult, especially once the bus filled up.

“What’s your first class?” Brian asked Jordan as they got off the bus.

“Chemistry. You?”

“The same. Mr. Sullivan?”

“Yeah. I didn’t see you yesterday.”

“I was sick. Want to walk together? We social pariahs should always travel in pairs.”

Jordan laughed. “Yeah. Thank you. Hey, can you open these lockers? I couldn’t get mine and had to carry all my books home. My shoulders are killing me.”

“Sure. There’s a trick to it. I’ll show you.”

He walked with Jordan to a nearby locker. Brian opened it with ease.

“How did you do that? I tried forever!”

“Gotta spin it twice all the way around to the right before doing the numbers. Also, you have to do the locker dance.”

“Locker dance?” A raised eyebrow showed Jordan’s skepticism.

“Yeah. You don’t know the locker dance?” Brian winked and gave a little shake of his hips as he shuffled in a circle. He even gave it the Saturday Night Fever point.

Jordan laughed loudly, head tossed back. “Oh, that’s a good one. I have to remember that. Help me with these books, would you? I hurt my wrist. Had a fall. It’s all bruised up.”

“No problem.” He took the books and laid them neatly in the locker.

“I hate to ask, but I need help with my jacket too.”

“Sure thing.”

He held the end of one sleeve, pulling it over a wrist brace. He stood close to Jordan, helping to detach the Velcro straps that kept catching on the jacket sleeve. With a mighty tug, he lost his balance, toppling over and knocking Jordan back a step. It was then, face to face and mere inches separating them, that he realized Jordan was a girl.

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim by Dellani Oakes is Over

Love Takes a Swim cover small

Love Takes a Swim is over, and I’m a little sad. I’m delighted that Kai and Paisley got together. In fact, I feature them in several other books (not all are published). However, they briefly appear in Conduct Unbecoming, which is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other e-book sites.

Usually, at this time, I would suggest some other books that I can share. So far, the track record for that is really bad, so I’m going to make an executive decision. I will be sharing something quite different from my usual stories. I’m still not sure what prompted me to write this, but it was a story which wanted to be told.

Brand New Day is unique in the way it presented itself. It begins in the year 2000, in Lubbock, Texas. However, much of the story is told in the main character’s past, leading her to this moment. Below is an excerpt from Part 1, which will begin on Sunday, July 19.

Thank you for the love and support! Dellani

Brand New Day cover

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Brand New Day

Lubbock, Texas. 2000

Janet May Yarkowsky lay in bed shivering from withdrawal. Whatever Tex had given her was making her crazy. She had a vague memory of events the night before. The only thing outstanding in her mind was that she’d stood there placidly as he’d threatened to kill her eldest son.

How could I do that? How could I let him threaten Danny? What if next time he didn’t just wave the gun around? What if, somehow, he finds out the truth? That Danny isn’t his. What then?

Another fit of shakes gripped her body as she huddled under the tangled covers. She had to fix this. Had to stop Tex before his hatred and drug augmented paranoia drove him to kill.

She knew Danny wouldn’t leave her like this, not forever. He left her last night because she’d been crazy, too. Standing, frozen, on the porch, staring like a zombie while Tex threatened her boys with a sawed off. Danny did the only thing he could. He took Ricky away. He called his aunt and uncle and they picked the boys up, carrying them to safety.

How did I let it get like this? She asked the wall, but it had no answer. I loved him once, didn’t I? Danny, what would you do if you knew Tex wasn’t your daddy? Would you kill him? Beat the hell out of him like he richly deserves?

She couldn’t tell him and prayed he wouldn’t find out on his own. Another man had her first. A man she loved more than her own life. But it wasn’t meant to be.

“If only….” She whispered to the four walls. “If only….”

Scottsbluff, Nebraska. August 1975

“Janet May, get your lazy butt outta that bed. NOW!”

Sookie, her baby sister, turned on the lights and threw back the covers. Janet had ducked under to get away from the blazing lights. Sookie yanked her hair trying to get the blankets off.

“Mama said get up outta that bed now!” Sookie did everything Mama said. Frequently, that was torturing Janet. “Get up now!”

“Sookie Ann, you leave me be! I still got five minutes.”

“Mama said….”

“Mama didn’t say to scream like a banshee and be a unholy terror.”

“First day of school!” Sookie yelled. “Its the FIRST DAY!”

“I know that!” Janet bellowed, sitting up in bed. “I’m awake, blast it. Leave me be.”

She threw her pillow for emphasis, clipping Sookie on the rear end. Her little sister howled like she was being killed.

“Mama!” Sookie wailed.

Their mother stormed in, on Sookie’s side—as usual.

“I hit her with a pillow,” Janet said before her mother yelled. “She turned on the light, yanked my hair, and nearly snatched me bald. Jerked back the covers like I can’t get up on my own.” Her alarm clock went off. “See? I was gonna give myself five whole minutes. I swear, Mama, y’all treat me like like a baby!”

Janet stormed out of the room and headed to the bathroom for a shower. It was hot and muggy. She wanted to be fresh her first day. She wasn’t in three minutes, hadn’t even soaped her hair, when Sookie banged on the door, yelling.

“Mama says—get out!”

“I will when I’m done!”

“Mama said now!”

“Mama can come her own self and tell me. Go away, Sookie.”

“Janet May!”

“Sookie Ann, swear to God!” She cut off the water.

Dripping and furious, she flung open the door. Sookie stood there looking smug, arms crossed over her flat, ten year old chest.

Janet shoved past her, walking toward the kitchen. “Did you send that little brat to get me?” she demanded of her mother.

“You got to catch the bus….”

“Mama, I know how to get ready. I’m fifteen.”

“First day of high school, I want to see you off.”

“I’m not a baby like Sookie! I been taking care of both of us forever!”

“There’s no need to talk to me like that.”

“There is a need! There’s been a need since Daddy left. But I was too young to know. It’s not my fault he’s gone.”

Her mother stiffened. “You saying it’s mine?”

“You’re the one he argued with, not me. Daddy loved me.”

“He loved you so much he left?”

“He told me—before he left. He told me—Girls belong with their mamas or he’d take me. He told me he loved me and he was sorry, but he had to get away.”

“So, then he just left you, huh? All alone with your mean old mama?” The tone of her voice stung more than her words.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim Part 74 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallPaisley asks to speak to TJ and JT’s mom about the abuse. They come over the next day.

Mrs. Cooper’s furtive glance told Paisley all she needed to know.

“Who did you tell?” she asked her sons.

“Me,” Cody said. “You think I didn’t know all this time? But I didn’t say anything until now, because Paisley said you needed help getting away.”

“We’re prepared to give you that help,” Brad said. “We’ll find you a safe place to stay, and get his sorry ass thrown in jail.”

“I can’t do that! I can’t send him to prison!” Mrs. Cooper protested.

Paisley took her hands. “He can’t hold any power over you, unless you let him,” she said. “I stood up to Ralph, when he had a gun on me. He threatened to kill Kai and his family, too. But we took care of him together. You can, too, Mrs. Cooper. Just say the word and we’ll make it happen.”

Mrs. Cooper looked at her boys. “Is this what you want?”

“Mom, he’s got to stop. He won’t, unless we do something. He’s damn near killed you more than once. We’ve all taken the heat. It needs to end,” JT said.

“Okay,” she said quietly. “It ends today.”

Paisley called Officer Warren, who arrived a short time later. She picked up the boys and their mother, taking them to a safe shelter in Daytona, where they would be protected and hidden from Mr. Cooper.

“Can they arrest him?” Paisley wanted to know.

“All we have to do is look at medical records and police reports,” Officer Warren said. “I’m making this my personal project. Don’t worry.”

When the Cooper family had gone, Brad shut the door. Turning slowly, he wiped tears from his cheeks.

“I have never been prouder of this family,” he said. “We all learned something about courage from Paisley, and we did what was right.”

They converged on him, hugging in a big group, crying and laughing together.

Paisley sighed, holding Kai as she buried her face in his shirt. He let go of Tempest, who was to his other side, devoting both arms to her.

“I haven’t felt like this since my parents died. Thank you all for making me feel so safe! I feel like I’ve come home.”

“You are home, babe,” Kai said, kissing her damp cheeks. “You don’t have to be afraid of anything ever again.” He pulled her close, giving her a passionate kiss. His phone rang. Cursing, he looked at it, afraid it was work.

“Oh, it’s Brill!” he answered quickly, holding Paisley’s hand, as they walked to the couch. “Hiya! How are the guys?”

“Doing well. Doc says you saved Clevon’s life. I wanna thank you for that, man. He’s a good friend. Has him a little girl about my son’s age. Is Paisley okay?”

“She’s great. Wanna talk to her?”

“Sure do!”

Kai handed her the phone. She took it with a smile.

“Hi, Brill!”

“Hey, baby. Lianna sends her love. She wanted me to make sure you’re okay. Did that bastard hurt you?”

“I’m fine. Ralph banged us up a little, but it’s not serious. I’m glad the guys are okay. Thank you all for taking such good care of me.”

“You’re welcome, Little Bit. Can’t have our official cookie baker hurt, can we? I wanted you to know I have some friends up at the jail, who will make it their business to keep an eye on Ralph. Maybe make him fall down some. That okay with you?”

Paisley struggled to hold back the tears. “Would it make me a horrible person, if I said yes?”

“No, Little Bit, it would make you human. Karma’s a bitch, baby. And she don’t like rich assholes, who beat up on pretty, little girls.”

“Brill, if I didn’t love Kai so much, I’d kiss you!”

“I believe that’s about the sweetest thing anyone ever said to me,” he replied with a chuckle. “Tell you what, you just kiss him that much more, okay?”

“I can do that. Love to Lianna and Slick.”

“Take care, Paisley.”

They hung up.

Kai, who had overheard Brill’s side of the conversation, was grinning. “I’ll take those kisses now,” he told her.

Paisley was happy to comply.

“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you,” Brad said. “But I’m starving. I’m ordering pizza. Speak now, or don’t get your favorite toppings.”

They all clamored loudly, telling him what they wanted. Laughing, he placed the order. When the food arrived, they nearly gorged themselves before doing a quick clean up. All of them headed to bed early.

Kai felt weird about making love to Paisley in his parents’ house, even if he had his mother’s tacit permission. It made Paisley uncomfortable, too, so they contented themselves with kissing and snuggling.

“My door should be fixed tomorrow,” Paisley said. “Then we can go to my place.”

“I can’t wait,” Kai said. “But it’s easier just knowing that we can be together anytime we want.”

“You could move in, you know,” Paisley said casually. “If you want.”

“What do you think?” Kai nuzzled her neck.

“I think that’s a yes.”

“That’s a yes.”

THE END

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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