Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 51

Out of nowhere, Tex shows up at her parents’ house on Christmas Day.

He stopped babbling, listening to her. His face clouded. “I’m so sorry, baby. I didn’t know.”

“Don’t call me baby. Don’t you ever call me baby! You gave up that right the second you raised your hand to me, and killed our child!”

Tex hung his head. He rubbed his nose, sniffling loudly. “I’m so sorry about that. I can’t take back what I did. That was the worst thing I’ve ever done…. I didn’t know. I couldn’t possibly.”

“Oh, so it’s okay to beat the hell out of me if I’m not pregnant?”

“No, babe. No. That was wrong, totally wrong. But I wasn’t in my right mind. You have to believe—to know, I couldn’t control myself. I was in deep, Janet. The drugs, the alcohol.”

“The women. Don’t be coy, I know you had more than one affair.”

“I wouldn’t call it that.”

“One night stands? Orgies? F**k parties?”

“Janet, can I came in?”

“Absolutely not. Anything you want to say, you can say from here.”

“I’m putting my life back together. I’m in a program. I’m drug and alcohol free, have been almost two years. I got about as low as a man can go. When I hit the bottom, I started looking for a way back up. They got me in AA and Narcotics Anonymous. I found out that I was working hard on a sex addiction.”

“They have programs for that too,” she replied tersely. “It’s called castration.”

“Don’t,” he whispered. “Throw me a bone, ba…. Janet. Please. I messed up bad. I know that. As part of my program, I’m supposed to find people I hurt, and make it right. I know I can’t make our child’s death right. But if you’ll take me back, give me another chance, I’d like to try again. This time, we can have the baby you want…. I’ve always wanted kids….”

“Why? Why is it so important?”

“I love you!”

“You beat me. You cheated on me repeatedly. You killed our son!”

“It was a boy?” His eyes clouded once more, and the tears fell. “I’m sorry. I’m so terribly sorry…. How can I fix this? How can I make this right?”

“I don’t think you can,” she said tersely. “I don’t think anything can put it right.”

“Will you give me another chance?”

She said nothing.

“You owe me a chance to reform.”

“I owe you nothing!” She screamed, forgetting about her mother and the neighbors.

“I need you,” he whispered. “I love you more than life and I need you to put it back together. I was my best when I was with you.”

“Your best sucks, Theodore.” She started to close the door.

Tex stopped it. “Please?”

Before she could stop him, he grabbed her, kissing her desperately. His hands roamed freely, with the knowledge of long, intimate association. Hating herself, she responded to his attentions. She couldn’t help it. She remembered how making love to him felt. No one, not even Diego, knew her body like Tex. He’d coaxed more from her than Diego ever had. Not that sex with him was bad, it wasn’t. But Tex did things Diego never imagined.

She shoved Tex away, gasping as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I can’t. You need to go.”

“Please, Janet. Give me one last chance. If I blow it this time, I’ll give you the divorce. I’ll leave your life, and never come back. Please?”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 50

Janet is on the way to see her folks in Texas. She’s pregnant, upset and worried about her sick mother.

The woman came over to sit by her, putting Janet’s head on her shoulder. “You go ahead and cry it out, honey. You got to get the bad out before the good can come in.” She held Janet and let her sob.

One of the truckers called to her from his booth. “You gonna come refill my coffee?”

“You know where it is, don’t you?”

“Yeah….”

“Well, help yourself. While you’re up, see if anyone else needs some. This girl needs me more than you lazy bastards.”

To Janet’s surprise, the man got up and got the coffee. He made the rounds and topped off his own cup. When she’d calmed down, the woman handed her the bill. It had “On the House,” scrawled across it. Janet thanked her, leaving a handsome tip. She stopped in the bathroom. When she came out, the waitress came up with a huge teddy bear from the gift shop.

“The boys chipped in and got this for you,” she said with a happy grin. “Don’t you worry. It’s gonna be okay.”

The men stepped forward, introducing themselves, shaking her hand. They promised to keep an eye on her while she was traveling. Each of them took turns watching her all the way to Lubbock. The last man, whose final destination was Mule Shoe, followed her to her parents’ house. She waved at him as she pulled into the driveway. He honked his horn and drove off with a rumble.

Sookie ran out. When she saw Janet, she burst into tears. Evander followed, supporting her mother. Ilene was bone thin and sallow. She looked so pale and weak, Janet could hardly equate her with the robust beauty she’d been just months before.

Janet and Sookie got her bags in and Evander put Ilene to bed. They’d converted the den to a sickroom. There was a hospital bed and oxygen beside it. Janet knew without a doubt, her mother had come home to die.

The family ate an early dinner and her mother went to sleep. Janet and Sookie sat around talking to their father. Janet told them about the baby. Neither of them knew whether to be happy or sad. Janet didn’t know herself.

“So, when’s he coming back?” Sookie asked as they got ready for bed.

“I don’t know,” Janet murmured.

Christmas passed quietly. Janet and Sookie went to church, but their father stayed home with their mother. Janet called Ramona to wish her Merry Christmas, and asked if they’re been any word from Diego.

“Nothing. I know he’ll be back, Janet.”

“I don’t know if I will,” she replied. “Daddy needs me. I’m thinking of taking a leave of absence.”

“Really? Oh, Janet!”

“I have to be here.”

“At least come finish out the year.”

“I don’t know. Mom’s really bad, Mona. She’s so weak she can barely feed herself. I want her to see the baby, but… I don’t want her to suffer. I’m so confused!”

“Of course you are! I could kick my brother for leaving….”

“Mona—I can’t tell you why, but you must believe that he did what had to be done.”

“I still want to kick him. Leaving you after he got you pregnant.”

Janet’s laugh was tinged with irony. “It’s not like he did that on purpose. He didn’t know. Neither did I. Even if he had, he would have gone.”

There was a loud knock at the door. Sookie was out, Evander was with her mother.

“There’s someone at the door. I need to go.” The knock sounded louder. “I really need to go. Merry Christmas!” She hung up quickly.

The banging on the door got louder.

“Look,” she began before opening the door. “We’ve got a sick woman….”

Tex stood on the porch, fist raised to pound again. He lost his balance, falling toward her, smiling.

“Janet, baby! I’ve missed you so much!” He tried to hug her, but she ducked aside.

“You prick! Don’t touch me!”

“Janet, please….”

“How dare you come here like this? My mother is dying!”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 49

Diego leaves, and Janet can hardly stand it. Tissue Warning

Days went by, then weeks, with no word from Diego. It was as if he’d fallen off the edge of the world. Janet forced herself to keep going. She had a job to do, but her spark was gone. Everyone noticed, including her students, but no one knew how to cheer her up. Every morning, she forced herself to get up and go to work, but it was an effort. Then one morning, she got up, vomiting. She called in to work, thinking she had the flu.

Ramona checked on her later in the day. She found her friend huddled in bed, shivering. “That’s it. We’re going to the doctor. I’m not having you lie here miserable. Up. Get dressed.”

She helped Janet put on a loose fitting running suit and drove her to the hospital. The emergency room doctor took a look at her and his brow wrinkled.

“I want to run some blood tests, Mrs. Macy.”

“Ms. Yarkowsky,” she insisted.

“It says here you’re married.”

“Yes, but I don’t go by that name anymore. Call me Janet.”

He smiled warmly. “Okay, Janet. I’m going to have the nurse draw some blood and we’re going to run some tests just to be sure. She’ll be in soon.”

“Thank you.”

The nurse drew blood and sent it to the lab. Within the hour, the doctor came back, smiling.

“I have some good news, Ms. Yarkowsky. You definitely don’t have the flu.”

Janet breathed a sigh of relief. “Then why do I feel so rotten?”

He took her hand, gazing into her eyes. “Congratulations, Janet. You’re about six weeks pregnant.”

She burst into tears. Ramona held her while the startled doctor backed away.

“I thought she’d be pleased.”

“She is. She will be. It’s complicated. The father—my brother, is in the military. He’s been called away.”

“Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry. I’ll get you the name of an obstetrician.”

“She can use mine. Thank you, Doctor.”

“If there’s anything else I can do….”

“Can we leave?”

“I’ll have the nurse bring in the paperwork.”

“Thank you.” She did her best to calm Janet down.

Ramona drove her friend home and stayed with her until she fell asleep. Between her and her sisters, they kept an eye on her all night.

Janet got through the next couple of weeks in a daze. Christmas break was coming, the students had exams, and she could hardly function. As excited as she was about having Diego’s child, she couldn’t face the reality of being alone. She planned to head to her parents’ house the first day of break. She woke that morning and got ready slowly. There was no joy in her trip. Her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and had been given less than a year. Janet could only hope that she’d live long enough to see her first grandchild come into the world.

Her trip south was uneventful. There were warnings and threats of blizzards, but she managed to dodge them all. She sat in a truck stop drinking coffee and eating a piece of pie. The lowering clouds on the horizon made her think of Tex for the first time in years. She wondered what he was doing with himself, where he was. Not that it mattered. The only reason she wanted to see him again was to get him to sign divorce papers so she could marry Diego.

Overcome by grief, she propped her head on her hands and let the tears fall. She was tired, worried about her mother, and had the unbalanced emotions of a pregnant woman. Clutching handfuls of paper napkins, she wept as silently as she could, shoulders hunched and shaking. Her sobs and sniffles didn’t go unnoticed for long. Her waitress, a kindly woman about her mother’s age, slid into the booth across from her, handing her a clean cloth towel from the kitchen.

“You okay, honey?”

Janet sniffled, dabbing at her eyes. “No. Do you ever feel like life just plain sucks?”

“All the time,” the woman replied. “Every day when I have to come to this place.” She smiled warmly. “Can I get you anything? Another slice? A warm up on the coffee?”

“I’ll take a new life to go, please,” Janet said, trying to smile. “I’m sorry. My husband’s gone overseas and I just found out I’m pregnant. I’m on the way to Lubbock to visit my mother. She’s really sick, and this may be the last time I see her.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 48

Unexpectedly, men from Diego’s past show up. Colonel Coffey, his former boss, tells him he’s needed again.

“If I find out this is a ploy to get me back, there won’t be a safe hole to shit in.” Diego took a step closer to the colonel, slipping out of Janet’s embrace. He leaned in so his face was mere inches from Coffey’s. “You said yourself, no one’s as good as me.”

“You’re threatening me in front of witnesses, Hernandez.”

“They don’t hear a thing,” Diego flung the statement into the room.

The other men paled. Janet got the impression the threat extended to them.

Colonel Coffey shook himself, squaring shoulders. “Get your things, Hernandez. We need to go.”

“I’ll go when I’m ready, Coffey. You’re dragging me back in the game, you’ll give me the time to say goodbye. I’ll see you here tomorrow morning at nine o’clock. Not a second before.”

Coffey tried to protest, but decided against it. He and his men left without another word.

Janet flew into Diego’s arms. “You can’t leave me again!”

“I have to find these guys, babe. If what Coffey says is true, none of us are safe.”

“And if he’s lying? They may not be here—they may never find you!”

“If they weren’t a real threat, Coffey would never have come.”

“He hates you!”

“No…. If those men take me again….”

“You can handle it.”

“I almost broke,” he told her in an agonized voice. “They did things to me no man should have to endure. And I lived. I don’t know how, but I did. I can’t let them do that again.”

“What about me?”

“I’ll be back,” he promised. “You can’t get rid of me.”

The rest of the night, they spent together, making love with a kind of desperation neither of them could contain. It added a new, deeper dimension to their union that made it more exciting, but also more heart rending.

At 8:00 A.M., they had a shower and fixed breakfast. Diego dressed in a black suit with a white shirt and blood red tie. His dark hair was clipped close to his scalp once more. Janet hardly recognized him. He was a stranger in her lover’s body.

“Come back to me. Don’t you dare be gone so long.”

“I’ll be back, I promise. I love you.”

The men arrived at 9:00 sharp. Diego kissed her one last time—and was gone. Janet sat on the floor, weeping uncontrollably. She curled into the fetal position and couldn’t move.

Ramona saw Diego leave, from her mother’s kitchen window. She ran to him as he got to the car.

“Where are you going?”

“I can’t explain, Mona. I’m sorry.”

“You promised you’d stay!”

“I know.”

“Janet needs you!”

“I know. Mona….”

“You’re a bastard, Diego Hernandez!”

He smiled sadly. “Not according to Mama. Take care of her, little sister. She needs you more than ever.”

“Then why are you going?”

He touched her cheek. “To protect her. I have to go.”

Ramona hugged him fiercely and watched as they drove away. She called to her mother, and together they went to check on Janet. They found her on the living room floor, curled in a ball, weeping. Together, they persuaded her to get up and sit on the couch.

“Why did he go?” Diego’s mother demanded.

“I can’t tell you, Mama. It’s a secret. But he left to keep us safe,” Janet sobbed.

“How does his leaving, keep us safe?”

“I can’t tell you.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 47

Janet tells Diego about Tex, and he takes it in stride. He tells her he quit working for the CIA, because he’d nearly died.

They made love the rest of the weekend. Monday morning, she returned to school, smiling.

“You look way too happy,” Mr. Whitmore said. He still worked at the school. Not so young now, he still had a great sense of humor. They’d become good friends.

“I had a good weekend. Don’t ask, I won’t tell you.”

“I can already tell,” he said, sidling closer. “New boyfriend?”

“Old one returned.”

“Ahh….”

“How can you tell?” she whispered, casting about to see if anyone was listening.

“The smile of complete satisfaction on your face. My wife wore that same expression after our honeymoon.”

“Lucky girl!”

“She thought so. Anyone I know?”

“Remember when I was dating Diego Hernandez?”

“No kidding? Well, I’ll be. Congratulations.” He gave her a hug.

Diego stayed with her for three months. He got a job at the sugar factory as a low level executive. He made decent money. It was a good life, stable, fulfilling. They were happier than either of them could remember.

It was Diego’s birthday. They’d celebrated with his family, but were now having their own party. They’d made love twice, and were thinking of a third, when someone knocked loudly on the door. They tried to ignore it, but the banging continued. Diego glowered. Grabbing his jeans, he buttoned them up and went to the door shirtless and barefoot.

Slinging back the door, he got even angrier. Three people he hoped he’d never see again, stood on the porch. Diego was frowzy and disheveled from their love making. The three men knew they’d disturbed something, but they politely said nothing. The leader, a man who looked like he could break a tree in half with his pinky, walked past Diego and into the living room.

“Don’t mind me, Colonel,” Diego growled. “But you’re trespassing in the lady’s home.”

“Wanna press charges, kid? Go right ahead and call,” the man said calmly, smiling.

Diego refused to be dragged into a conflict. “What do you want, Colonel? I left the game. I’m done.”

“You were, until now. Your country needs you.”

“You played that card all ready!” Diego yelled. “I gave you seven years, and almost gave my life. It kept me from the woman I love. Now, I’ve got her back. We’re building a life….”

“Those men who held you, had friends,” the colonel said with a menacing glower. “Friends who will track you down and kill you, and your happy life. They’re in this country looking for you. We came to give you the means to even the score.”

Janet came out of the bedroom and stood beside Diego. He took her hand, drawing her close, slightly behind him as if to protect her from the large, angry man.

“Revenge? You came at me with revenge? “That’s pathetic, Coffey. Even for you.”

Colonel Lane Coffey eyed him grimly. “They want you dead. Only they won’t just kill you. They’ll kill your pretty, little woman, after they do unspeakable things to her body—while you’re forced to watch. If you’re lucky, it ends there. But you’ve got family next door. A beautiful sister, three darling little kids, a crippled father, an aging mother….”

“Enough!” Diego roared. “You’ve made your point, Lane. You want me back. You want me to track these guys down and bring them in.”

Colonel Coffey said nothing, shifting from foot to foot uneasily.

“I see. It’s like that, huh?”

Janet stepped closer, her arms circling his waist. “What’s going on? What does he mean?”

“He wants me to hunt down some people. And kill them,” he replied coldly.

“And no one’s better at that than you, Diego,” Colonel Coffey said with a nasty grin.

Diego’s dark eyes flashed and Janet got the impression that the man he most wanted to kill was his superior.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 46

Living in Scottsbluff, working as a teacher, Janet had no idea that Diego would walk back into her life.

Janet was waiting for him at the bathroom door, dressed in a red ribbon and a pair of naughty high heels, neither of which he removed before carrying her to the bed. She tried to kick the shoes off, but he insisted she wear them while he made love to her.

“It’s been too long,” he sighed as he held her.

“Way too long….”

He laughed as he traced the line of her breast with his fingers. “You know what’s sad? I can’t remember the last time I had sex.”

“Me either.” She bit back any comments about Tex. Eventually, she’d tell him. But not now.

“I may not last real long,” he confessed. “It’s been damn near a year for me.”

“It’s been close to two for me, so shut up and kiss me.”

His prediction was wrong. He made love to her for almost two hours. Janet remembered their first time being good. This was so much better. She knew what great sex was like, having had a good bit of it with Tex. This was incomparable.

She clamped down on his ass, the heels digging in slightly. It should have hurt, but he found it exciting. He howled when he came, making Janet laugh.

“You turned into a coyote.”

“No, your heels caught me.”

She kicked off one, the other he removed for her, kissing her foot. His lips traveled up her leg where he nibbled behind her knee for several minutes before going further up.

“When I was over there, I thought of you. When they captured me, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. I came home to see if Mona knew how to reach you. I had to see you, tell you how much I love you. I’ve never loved anyone like I love you.”

“Diego! I love you so much! So much!”

They made love most of the night, only stopping for a romantic bath and a snack around 3:00. Afterward, they napped a few hours, had breakfast and went right back to bed.

“This reminds me of our first time,” he said over coffee. “I was so worried I was gonna get you pregnant.”

“I wouldn’t have cared.”

“My mother would have killed me. What happened to us, Janet?”

“You went in the Navy. I went to Texas…. I—I have something to tell you. Don’t freak out.”

“You’re married.”

“What? How did you know?”

“It was the only thing you could tell me that would possibly freak me out. So, where is he?”

“He beat me,” she confessed, tears brimming. “I had him thrown in jail and I left. Only now, I can’t find him to divorce him. It was such a huge mistake, but I hadn’t heard from you in over a year. I missed you. He made me feel—I felt like I did when we were together. He was special, for a while, but he wasn’t you.”

“Poor guy,” he murmured. “Having to compete with a memory.”

“You’re condoning his actions? His beating killed my baby!”

“No! God, no. He needs to drown in his own blood. But it wouldn’t be easy for any man to live up to what we had.”

“I want to be with you forever.”

“Me too, Babe.”

“How long will you be in town?”

“How long do you want me?” Diego smirked, dark eyes glittering with merriment.

“Forever, you dope.” She smacked him playfully.

His eyes lost their glimmer. “I quit my job. I couldn’t do it anymore. They damn near broke me. I thought I was going to die. Had the military not attacked the compound where I was being held, I would have died. My people didn’t know where I was. It was a total accident.”

“No, it was God. He found you, and brought you home to me.”

“I believe that, too. Come on. Let’s go back to bed.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Knight of Love ~ A Love Under the Sun Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

The lodge was a long, narrow log cabin, tucked snugly up against the hill, the front windows facing the fields below. They came upon it from the rear, just off the kitchen, where the noises of pots clanging could be heard.

“I’m on cooking crew, I forgot!” Emily announced. “I have to fly, Gin. Go mingle. Grendel can introduce you later! Ta!”

Off she fluttered. Ginny had been left often enough by the absent minded Emily not to be concerned with being alone to fend for herself. Her natural shyness came upon her when she walked into the lodge. The building was full of dozens of busy people on ladders with hammers and banners. She chose a quiet bench by the fireplace and sat watching the noisy crew.

A young man detached himself from the fray and moved toward her. She recognized him from earlier when she and Emily had been on their way to the cabin to change. It was either Richelieu or D’Artagnan, the blond who had blushed. He smiled in greeting and recognition. He was dressed in leggings of hunter green, form fitting with a tie and flap in the front as befit the times. His white, ruffled shirt was just about, but not quite, long enough to conceal his hips. A very tasty looking leg and rear end were visible. She tried not to stare, but couldn’t help herself. He’d obviously considered the effect he would have on ladies and no doubt anticipated the stares. His blond hair was about shoulder length, soft curls tied back in a leather thong. A hint of a goatee fringed his chin. His blue eyes twinkled and he laughed at his own awkwardness with his ruffled shirt.

The neck of the shirt was cut in a low V, surrounded by three rows of ruffles. The sleeves ended with lots of ruffles too, and he seemed to be having trouble with it. Hopping off the ladder, he loped over to her bench. He was a little red in the face, the flush made him seem even more handsome. Ginny couldn’t help checking him out. Blushing herself, as he sat next to her on top of the table, his feet on the bench beside her, she forced a smile.

“Hi,” he grinned almost shyly. “We saw each other on the road earlier. I go by D’Artagnan, but my name is really Clai. Pleased to meet me?” He held out his hand, palm up.

“Hi,” she was so ashamed because she had been staring at him, her voice caught in her throat. “I’m Emily’s friend, Ginny. Well I’m Aelfwyn for the weekend. Pleased to meet me?” Her shy smile lit her face.

Clai took her hand, kissing it gently. His lips were soft, the golden hairs on his chin tickled her fingers. She felt a thrill run through her she had never felt before.

“Enchanté, mademoiselle.” His accent was quite good. He said something else in French that she didn’t understand, withdrew his hand, smiling a little forlornly. “You don’t speak French, do you?” At her negative reply, he sighed. “I keep trying. One day, maybe there will be another language major at one of these things, with whom I can communicate. Anyway, I’d rather speak to you in English, than anyone else in the room, but I have to help with the banners. These damn sleeves of mine keep getting in the way. Can you help set me free from my entrapment before I nail my sleeve to the wall? Being a Frenchman has its draw-backs.”

She blushed again as he held out his hand to her. She fumbled for a moment with the sleeve and managed to release the catch. The second was easier. She had difficulty concentrating on what she was doing, causing her fingers to fumble more. He didn’t seem to mind, so she worked slowly until it was open.

“Do you want the sleeves rolled up?”

“No, I was thinking more along the line of taking the whole wretched thing off, I just can’t manage the sleeves alone. Will you watch it for me? My sister made it, she’ll kill me if anything happens to it. She’s in costuming,” he added as if this explained everything. Removing his shirt, he carefully handed it to her. Their fingers brushing for a moment, a little shock sprang from his hand to hers. She took the shirt and folded it equally carefully, laying it in her lap.

His cologne rose from the shirt, the scent intoxicating. She wanted to press the shirt to her face, but didn’t dare with so many people around her. She watched the banner hanging with growing interest, not so much the process itself, but because of Clai’s rear end was so tight she could have bounced a quarter off it

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 45

Janet and Tex have a terrible fight, and he beats her. When she’s at the hospital, she finds out she’s pregnant.

She pressed charges against Tex, and they put him in jail for nine months. Unfortunately, her baby didn’t make it that long. She carried it four months before she miscarried. By this time, she was back in Nebraska staying with her Aunt Martha and Uncle Buck. She got a job working as a school secretary at the high school while she waited for a teaching job to open up. When it did, she took it and didn’t look back.

She hadn’t heard from Tex, and had no idea where he was. She’d tried to find him so she could divorce him, but he’d been released from jail, and disappeared off the face of the earth. After a year of teaching, she got her own place, next door to Ramona’s parents. Her best friend was married and happy. The mother of two, with a third on the way, she and Janet spent every possible minute together. They were at her mother’s house one day, helping make buñuelos for Christmas, when an unfamiliar car pulled up in front of the house. A tall, muscular man with close cropped black hair got out, stretching before he walked slowly up to the door. He had a slight limp, but there was no disguising that walk. Janet’s heart skipped a beat. Her breath caught in her throat.

“Diego!” she gasped.

Running to the door, she flung it open before he knocked. He stood on the porch, eyes wide with disbelief.

“Janet? Baby, is that really you?”

“You bastard!” She slapped him. “You quit writing. I didn’t hear from you! Where have you been?”

Diego grabbed her to him as she tried to beat him. Laughing, he held her wrists in his hands, firmly but gently.

“Not quite the greeting I envisioned,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s a long story, baby. Can I come in my mother’s house, and take a piss before I tell you?”

Janet’s kiss nearly knocked him over. Diego held her, kissing her with unequaled desire. Gasping and crying, she let him come inside. He went quickly to the bathroom, then came out to meet his niece and nephew, and see the rest of the family.

His mother nearly smothered him with kisses. His father, who was unable to rise from his recliner without help, took his hand. Ramona hugged him, standing a foot away because of her pregnant belly. The whole time his family mauled him, he held Janet’s hand. When they’d finished, he drew her to him once more, kissing her. He couldn’t believe she was really there.

“I’ve missed you,” he whispered.

“Me too.”

It took a while, since the family kept interrupting, but he explained where he’d been and why he hadn’t written. While in the Navy, he was approached by the government, asking him to work for the CIA.

“I couldn’t tell you,” he said, apologizing. “I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I’ve been working for them for three years, but I finally gave it up. I nearly died on my last assignment. I can’t tell you a thing about it….” He looked sad, closing in on himself.

Janet took his hand, raising it to her lips. “It’s okay. You don’t have to explain to any of us. We love you, no matter what.”

His parents wanted him to stay the night in his old room, but Janet invited him to stay with her instead. He grabbed his things from the car and went with her to her house.

“I need a shower,” he said with a grin. “Otherwise you’re not gonna want to be around me. I’ve been driving for three days. I had to get home.”

She showed him the bathroom and got him towels. He sang as he bathed and she smiled when she heard the words. He was the only person she knew who’d be singing Stairway to Heaven in the shower. He shut the water off when he got to the last, “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 44

Janet and Tex make love for the first time. He asks her to marry him.

With every trick he knew, he made love to her again and again, trying his best to convince her he was the man for her. Finally, just before falling asleep, she said yes….

The wedding took place a month later. Janet was already living with Tex in his small apartment, but they were looking for a house. He’d start his doctorate the following fall and she was going into her senior year. Tex had been promised a job as a graduate assistant as he worked on his PhD. Life was good for a time. They were happy choosing and moving into their new home together. It wasn’t a fancy house, but it was roomy.

The first night that Tex came home drunk, Janet didn’t think much of it. He’d been out with a few friends, celebrating his master’s degree. They’d had their own celebration—dinner out and lots of sex to follow. Tex had a strong drive. He needed sex at least twice every night, or he didn’t sleep.

One night, shortly after their second anniversary, he came home with lipstick on his shirt, smelling of another woman’s perfume.

“It’s nothing,” he explained when she confronted him with it. “I was at the club with the guys and some girl was dancing. She flirted with me some. That’s all.”

For the first night since they’d been married, he went to bed without demanding sex.

Janet didn’t know what to think. She called her mother to ask her advice.

“Probably he’s just tired. You can’t expect that fire to last forever. It’s been two years. Surely the honeymoon was over a long time ago?”

“I know, Mom. But to go from always being horny, to not wanting me at all? Do you think he’s got someone else?”

“Don’t sweat it, sweetheart. Just ride it out.”

Janet rode it out. That storm and many others came along. School was hard on him. He had trouble meeting his teaching obligations, and still keeping up with his classes and his dissertation. She took over writing that for him, coaching him on it when he had time. She helped him grade his papers, somehow managing to get her work done, too. Through it all, Janet never complained. Husbands and wives helped one another.

When he failed his oral defense, he came home that night, drunk and surly. No matter what she said, he got angrier. Not even the promise of love making made him happy. She tried once too often to cheer him up—that was the first time he hit her.

It didn’t stop with one blow. He beat her repeatedly, finally passing out in the living room. Janet crawled to the phone, calling 911. The police broke down the door to get to her. They arrested Tex, taking him away in a squad car. The ambulance took Janet to the hospital where she was treated for bruised and broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a fractured humerus.

Her doctor came in, face grave. “Mrs. Macy? I want to keep you overnight.”

“I can’t,” she said. “I have to get home….”

“I can’t let you do that, ma’am. Mrs. Macy, were you aware that you’re pregnant?”

“I am?” She brightened. This should make Tex happy.

“But given your other injuries, we’ve reason to believe that you may miscarry. We want to keep you overnight, to keep an eye on you.”

Janet burst into tears. It was bad enough to find out she was pregnant that way, but much worse to discover she might not keep it.

“Is there anyone we can call for you?”

“My parents,” she gasped.

Her father arrived half an hour later. “Mama’s not feeling well,” he told her. “She’s gone to bed. I’ve got Sookie with me.”

Her sister came in, big eyed and frightened. “The doctor told us about the baby…. He told us Tex beat you damn near to death. Janet, you can’t stay with that man. He’ll kill you!”

“I love him, Sookie. You wouldn’t understand.”

“I understand murder, Janet May,” she said angrily. “And if your baby dies, that’s what it is. You need to throw that man in jail, and leave him.”

“Mama and I will do all we can for you,” her father said. “Money, anything that you need.”

“I want to go see Aunt Martha,” she begged. “I want to stay up home for a while.”

“We’ll pack up your things. Soon as you’re better, I’ll drive you up myself.”

“Thanks, Daddy.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Karen Made Me Write This ~ A Paranormal Romance by Dellani Oakes

Isabelle Wren isn’t like everyone else. She has special psychic powers, which set her apart. Her devoutly religious parents left her to be fostered by a spiritist named Zenobia, when she was very young. Now, she works hard at not showing how different she is. Working out at the gym, she notices someone watching her.

Slowing the treadmill to a gradual stop, she stepped off and drank from her water bottle. Feeling eyes on her, she checked the mirrors before turning around. No need to alert someone to the fact she knew she was being examined. It was a man, she was sure. Off to her right, behind her. Since there were at least six men in that corner, she closed her eyes, sending out her other senses, as her foster mother had taught her. Zeroing in on the third man from the right, she opened her eyes. Spotting him in the mirror, she examined him. He glowed, but it was neither blue, gold, nor red. Instead, he had a dark, vivid green around him. This was a color she had never seen before.

Zenobia, her foster mother, glowed purple, as did she. Green was foreign to her. Staring at him in the mirror, water halfway to her lips, it took a moment to realize he was walking toward her. Not to be taken be surprise, she swung around, ready to leap if needed. He was smiling, but anyone could smile. He lusted, that was readily apparent, but every man in the room did, to one degree or another. His hair was black, with a blueish tint. His swarthy skin was scattered with thick, black hair. She was tall, he towered over her by a good six inches. Her body was toned, fit, lean. His was heavily muscled. She would bet that even his feet were fit.

The room grew very still, the air vibrating between them as he advanced, eyes locked on hers. He moved with a sinuous grace Isabelle had never seen before. The room around them receded when he stopped in front of her. His eyes were as black as his hair, not dark brown. He gazed down at her, his lust rising.

“What are you?” he asked sharply.

“I’m Isabelle Wren.”

“I didn’t ask your name. What are you?”

“Might ask you the same,” she snapped.

Clamping her lips shut, she fussed at herself. Zenobia had cautioned her never to allude to her gifts, not to show she was anything but human. Now, she’d broken the cardinal rule, seconds after meeting this man. Color rose in her cheeks as he stared at her, undressing her with his black eyes. He seemed to peel away her skin, searching bone deep. He tried to probe her mind, and recoiled. A millisecond of fear passed across his face, and a low rumble thundered in his chest.

“Issy?” a cheerful voice broke the spell between them.

It was her friend, Candy. She was as human as can be, and a genuinely good person to boot. Isabelle hung out with her, because there was nothing artificial about Candy. What you saw, you got.

“Hey, girl! Who’s your friend?” Her bright blue eyes twinkled as they raked his body. “Hey, sugar. I’m Candy.” She held out her hand.

The dark man glared at her, then her hand, before turning his back. He walked away, shoulders hunched with suppressed anger.

“Well, ain’t he just a special sorta rude?” Candy said.

“Thanks. I wasn’t sure what to say to make him go away.”

“I saw you struggling. You didn’t know whether to kiss him, or kick him.”

“I was opting for the latter.”

© 2020 Dellani Oakes