Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 64

To her great surprise, Diego walks into Janet’s hospital room.

“And didn’t tell me?”

“I didn’t know who I was. It took almost a year of therapy just to remember my own name. And I looked rough. The doctor wasn’t a plastic surgeon. He tied me up with goat gut and duct tape….”

She laughed, fighting tears. She could only imagine his suffering.

“You think I’m kidding? Six surgeries later, I look like myself again. Except for this.” He pointed to the scar. “I’m a work in progress.”

“How did you finally remember me?”

“That was Coffey’s idea. He figured I needed a trigger, something from my past that would make all the pieces fall in place. He got pictures of you and started showing them to me. Every day, the same thing. This is Janet at seven, this is Janet at eleven…. He finally showed me a picture you’d had taken with you, and Dad, and the boys. And it jumped at me. I remembered—driving away, seeing you in the rear view. Just like that, I remembered it all.”

“You came back,” she whispered.

“I came back….” He kissed her, and all the years dropped away.

Flora poked her head in. “Sorry to interrupt. Would you like to stay the night?”

“Yes, thanks.” Diego flashed a happy smile at her.

Flora brought in sheets and a blanket and pillow. She helped him make up the window seat, which doubled as a bed.

“How long am I in for?” Janet asked.

“Well, babe, you got shot in the head,” he explained as he slipped off his shoes and wiggled into bed beside her.

“I did?”

“Grazed you, but it left a pretty nifty groove in your skull and they shaved your head to give you stitches.”

“Oh, I bet that’s attractive.”

“It’s an edge look, but you totally carry it off.”

She giggled and started to cry.

“Shh… It’s okay, babe. I’m here and I’m never leaving again.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

Janet went home the next day. Her entire family met her and Diego at her house. They had a short welcome home party and left. The boys went home with their grandfather, leaving Janet and Diego alone.

He helped her shower, putting a snug shower cap over her dressing. When she was clean, they cuddled up in the bed. She lay with the uninjured part of her head against his chest, listening to his heart beat.

“I hope the doctor okays me for extra curricular activity soon,” she said with a regretful sigh. “We have a few years to make up for.”

“It’ll keep,” he said, playing with her hair. “I’ve missed these moments. Even when I didn’t remember who I shared them with, I missed them.”

“You’re never going away again?”

“Coffey promises. Never. He’s slated me as unfit for active duty. I’ll go back to being an ROTC guy. I liked that job.”

“No one told me. Did Tex get arrested? What happened after he shot me?”

Diego got very quiet. She peeped up at him. His jaw was set, his eyes stony as he glared at the wall.

“No, he’s not in jail.”

“After that? Wasn’t he arrested?”

“No.”

“What?” She sat up so fast, it made her dizzy.

“Do you remember anything?”

“Not after I rushed him.”

“I got here a second too late. Tab and Len were watching. I was looking for him, and then it occurred to me that he’d come back here.” He paused, sighing heavily. “What were you thinking, running at him like that?”

“I’d had it. I couldn’t take the waiting anymore. I wanted him to get it over with.”

“He damn near did. If Len hadn’t tackled you….”

“He did?”

“Right as the gun went off. He’s lucky he wasn’t killed.”

“What’s with you guys?”

“Loose cannons, every one.” Diego chuckled a moment, sobering before he continued. “So, the bullet grazed you as you went down. I thought you were dead. You lay there so still and there was so much blood. Len and Tab took care of you and I took care of Tex.”

“Oh, Diego….”

“That being said, I have a question for you, and I’d like your answer in one, single syllable word, easily verbalized, even with a head injury.”

Janet snuggled against him and he fought an inner battle with his conscience, and her doctor’s orders, versus his desire.

“We’ve had our rough spots, more than most people, but I love you more now, than I did twenty years ago. Janet, will you marry me?”

“Yes. Oh, yes! Yes! Yes!” She kissed him hard on the mouth.

Doctor’s orders be damned! He kissed her, pouring every ounce of love he had into it. Totally against medical advice, he made love to her. He was careful, taking it slowly, savoring the taste of her lips—the first he’d had in ten years.

They had a small wedding, only family, but over a hundred people at the reception. Every member of Diego’s old team came. The doctors he’d rescued, the high school faculty, and both their combined families.

Danny was best man, Ricky the groomsman. Ramona and Sookie were her attendants. When she threw the bouquet, she aimed right at Coffey. Surprised, he caught it, laughing loudly when the single women in the room lined up and kissed him.

They had their honeymoon in Hawaii—an entire month in paradise. Life had taken them in different directions, their paths crossing and recrossing like a road map. But now, they were finally on the road together, and it led them home.

Janet lay in bed, gazing out at the lapis surf from their hotel bedroom. Diego was up and singing in the shower, but she couldn’t make herself get up. The sun rose, setting the sky on fire. Janet smiled, inhaling happily, as she greeted a brand new day.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

THE END

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 63

When Janet gets out of the shower, she finds Tex hiding in her closet. He has her gun, and points it at her. Tissue Warning

Tex figured he had the upper hand. He was getting cocky. Janet took a step toward him. She was tired of being afraid, sick of crying, angry with him for being such a damn inconvenience.

“It was all your fault,” said, taking another step. “You cheated on me. You did drugs. You killed our baby, and our marriage. And you killed a part of me too, Teddy.”

He made a funny sound in the back of his throat.

“That sound you just heard, that was the last bit of you dying. You killed us all, Teddy.”

The gun wavered. Biting his lip, he steadied his hand with the other. Janet took another step.

“We used to laugh at you after we made love,” she lied convincingly. “I’d compliment him on his performance, and laugh at yours. You can’t compare, you know. I mean, you’re good, but Diego was so much better equipped. He got into all those hard to reach places. I guess that’s why he was able to father a second child, and you weren’t.”

Tex inhaled deeply, pouting, his jaw working rapidly as he tried to contain his anger. “I was a good husband, Janet. I took care of you. I worked hard….”

“You were a drunk, and a drug addict. If I’d had a lick of sense, I never would have married you. So go ahead! I’ve got nothing to lose! Go ahead and shoot me!” She rushed him.

The gun wavered as she ran at him. Janet flew sideways, the air knocked out of her. There was a loud bang, the report of a weapon. Searing pain made her scream. She landed on something soft and yielding that smelled like shit. The report of the weapon made her ears ring.

“Get me a towel or something!”

The ringing in her ears became a symphony, her eyes closed and the world went black.

Janet woke a few hours later in the same hospital room she’d just left. She knew it was the same because there was a water stain on the ceiling that looked like an angry rabbit. The clip on her finger pinched, the IV rubbed the inside of her vein. Her head ached, the ringing in her ears was loud, and higher pitched. She was groggy, her eyes refused to focus. Something soft was stuck to the side of her head, and it hurt if she touched it. She hit the button to call the nurse. Flora came running, breathless and worried.

“You’re awake! Oh, thank God! One second.” She went out the door and Janet heard her speaking to someone.

The door opened abruptly and her sister ran in, followed by Danny. Evander and Tim brought up the rear, with Ricky and Sookie’s daughter, Ilene. Janet smiled when she saw them and laughed when Coffey, Tab and Len peeped around the door.

“I’m not supposed to let so many in at once,” Flora said. “But they insisted. See? She’s fine. I told you.”

The boys approached their mother on either side.

“Mommy?” Ricky said. Although he was a big man of twelve, seeing her in the hospital bed for the second time in two days, he lost it.

“I’m okay,” she assured him. “I’m fine.”

“Don’t you dare scare us like that again,” Sookie said. “We thought we’d lost you!”

Flora cleared her throat. “Excuse me. There’s another guest out here. I’ll have to ask you all to leave though. He kind of insisted….”

Everyone gave her kisses and left. When they were gone, the door opened again. Janet gasped, hearing his voice thank Flora.

“Is it really you?” she gasped as the door drifted shut.

He looked like he had when he came in her dream…. Or had it been a dream?

“It’s really me.”

“Where have you been, you bastard? They said….” She held out her arms to him.

Diego rushed to the side of the bed, taking Janet in his embrace. “I was…. At least I might as well have been. I almost died. The villagers hid me, and nursed me back to health. There was a doctor, also in hiding, and he took care of me. I was unconscious for a while, and when I woke up—I couldn’t remember who I was. You don’t wear tags on a job like that.” He sat on the edge of the bed. “It took over a year to find me. I got shipped around from town to town to keep me hidden. Tab and Len brought me back.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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They are the Dark Knights of Heaven ~ His Soul to Keep (Dark Knights of Heaven Book 1) by TW Knight

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Where fallen angels battle Hell’s demons, find their lost souls, and discover love while hunting for a prophecy that holds the key to either their redemption or their destruction.

At twenty-eight, Cassidy Long is happy with her life. She has a job she loves, a great family, and a future open to possibilities. That all changes after she discovers she is the vessel for the immortal soul of an angel cast out of Heaven, and the only way to break the bond is by her death. Spirited away, Cassidy finds herself in the middle of an eternal war and falling for her angel.

Rail is captivated by Cassidy immediately, but fears it’s only the connection to his soul fueling his interest. He’s vowed to never fall in love, but fate has different plans. The more he fights his growing feelings, the deeper in love he falls. Cassidy not only holds…

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Follow their inspiring story of faith and service ~ From Sea to Sea by Nelda Bedford Gaydou

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From a three-week voyage of more than 7000 miles from New Orleans to Buenos Aires in 1964 through an eight-day, 3258-mile round-trip drive between Evanston, Illinois and Clovis, New Mexico in 2017, whether in their prime or in their nineties, the Bedfords have packed a lot into their life’s journey. Follow their inspiring story of faith and service, set in fascinating times and places in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

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Unfortunately, so far, the killer’s identity and whereabouts are Undiscovered ~ Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes

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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. Unfortunately, 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.

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/undiscovered.htm

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Can Kate rise to these challenges, discover the truth ~ The Long Road Home: Romantic Murder Mystery by Carolyn Bowen

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After a lifetime of being protected and sheltered by her parents, Kate is thrown into a state of turmoil after their sudden death. With nowhere else to turn, she finds herself living with her fiancé, a conniving businessman who is well on his way to becoming a corrupt super-lawyer. At the same time, Kate’s father’s law firm houses more secrets than a politician’s hard drive. Later, she receives a shocking surprise when a long-lost half-brother enters her life. Can Kate rise to these challenges, discover the truth and re-emerge as a stronger, smarter version of herself?

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Fresh out of a stint in prison, Jagger Reed wants his life back… ~ Stealing Dallas – Book 2 The Search and Seek Series by Amanda Mackey

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Fresh out of a stint in prison, Jagger Reed wants his life back… Finally released from prison after serving only eighteen months of a twenty-year sentence, Jagger is excited to reunite with his disabled brother Dallas. With the help of Rosalind McAllister, the creative writing teacher at the prison, Jagger was given a full pardon and legal guardianship of his brother. The fight to get his old life back has just begun… When Jagger and Rose arrive to pick up Dallas from his temporary foster parent, Lena Radcliffe, they are horrified to discover she has moved out with no known address. Worried that his brother may be in danger, they enlist the help of the local police who discover Lena in Great Falls, Montana. Rose vows to help Jagger reunite with his brother. Jagger is out for blood, and heaven help anyone who stands in his way… Live or die…

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 62

It’s time for Janet to go home. Her father comes to get her.

Her father took her home. She persuaded him to take her to her house, not his.

“I’m fine, Dad. I just need time to think. I’ll be okay on my own.”

“I’ll call and check up on you.”

“I know, Daddy. I’ll be okay.” She kissed him.

Evander left reluctantly. There still hadn’t been a word about Tex. They had police and Coffey’s men combing the city and outskirts. They were using all kinds of sophisticated equipment to find him, and there was nothing. He didn’t like leaving Janet on her own, but he took heart knowing that two of Coffey’s men were watching her. They were in a black SUV parked in front of her house. He waved to the car as he passed. He knew someone was inside, but he didn’t see anything through the tinted windows.

Janet needed a shower. She’d been in the same panties for more than one dance. Making sure the house was locked up and the alarm was on, she put on some music and sang as she bathed. She got out of the shower, wiping the fog from the mirror as she toweled her hair.

A sound in the bedroom alerted her to the fact she wasn’t alone. Thinking it might be Danny, she almost called out. Something made her stop. She continued to sing as if she hadn’t heard anything. Humming and singing, she finished toweling her hair and got dressed. Her gun was locked in the drawer as always, so it wouldn’t be any good if the intruder was already in the room.

Starting another song, she cast about the bathroom for a weapon. About the only thing she had were an old pair of barber sheers Diego had used to trim his sideburns. She took them out of the drawer and put them in her back pocket.

Nerves jangling, she walked to the bedroom, giving it a careful check before walking out of the bathroom. The closet door wasn’t quite shut, and she knew that she’d left it open. The sight of herself in the mirrored door shocked her. She had dark circles around her eyes, her cheeks were sunken and her complexion sallow.

“You can come out, Tex. I know you’re here,” she said more bravely than she felt.

The door slid back, squeaking the last half inch. That was the sound she’d heard in the bathroom.

He was wild eyed, gaunt, haggard, filthy. He was covered in dirt and, she suspected, feces. He’d probably made his escape in a sewer.

“Can’t fool you,” he said simply, his voice dry and brittle.

“You need to leave,” she said calmly, taking a step toward the bed.

He moved quickly, cutting her off. “Don’t bother looking for your gun. It’s not there. I know your habits—.357in the bedroom drawer, sawed off in the closet. Oh, sorry, the police have that, since I threatened to take your son’s head off with it last night.”

Tex frowned, swallowing hard. Tears lingered in his eyes. “Did you think I was so dumb I wouldn’t figure it out? Did you think I didn’t know your body so well I couldn’t tell you were pregnant? I knew. I fooled you into thinking I didn’t. Pretty good actor, huh?” He swallowed again, chin jutting forward angrily. “Did you ever love me, Just Janet? Was I ever number one? Or was it always that dirty Mexican?”

She shivered. Head up, she stared him down. “It was always him. You were a good substitute for a while. You’re damn good in bed, I’ll give you that. Better than him, at some things. But he would never treat me the way you did.”

“Oh, no. He just goes around killing people for a living.”

“At least he didn’t kill our son.”

“Damn kid probably wasn’t mine, anymore than the other two.”

“You’re wrong, Teddy. The baby I lost was yours. Unlike you, I’m loyal.”

“Oh, it was loyal taking up with him while I was in jail? That’s loyalty? Having two kids with him, that’s loyalty, too. Huh?”

“I wanted a divorce. You wouldn’t give it to me. That’s not my fault.”

“What is your fault, baby?” He raised her .357, aiming between her eyes.

Janet faltered. He was a good shot. Point blank range, she’d be dead before she hit the floor.

“Things went wrong,” she said quietly, praying for help. “We were both to blame.”

“You don’t really think that,” he growled. “You blame it all on me. All the fault of the man with the redundant name.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 61

Coffey comes to visit Janet in the hospital, telling her that Len and Tab are also coming in to help look for Tex.

The nurse, not Flora, came in. “Hi, Mrs. Macy….”

“Ms. Yarkowsky, please. Make a note. It’s because of Mr. Macy I’m here. I’d really like to pretend that name doesn’t exist.”

The young blonde scribbled a note on the chart. “I sure will. How’s your head?”

“Better, thanks.”

“Your doctor will be in shortly. With luck, you’ll be out of here by this afternoon. He did want to get one or two more tests.”

“Anything, just set me free. I don’t do well being confined.”

The nurse smiled kindly. “Your sister told us that.”

The doctor spoke to Janet, did his own poking and prodding and sent her for an MRI. Once she was back in her room, she fell asleep.

Janet woke when the dinner cart clattered in the hall. Her doctor came in a short time later.

“The MRI looks good. I’m gonna cut you loose. I want you to go home and rest. And don’t take even an aspirin, unless you get my permission.”

“I won’t. I’m not much for pills. Did you figure out what he gave me?”

“Still working on it. His own concoction, I’m afraid. It looks like half a dozen different medications in your blood stream. Glad you’re in such good health. A dose like that could have killed a lesser woman.”

“Constitution like a horse,” she said.

Her doctor laughed. “Okay, well, Secretariat, I’m gonna give the nurse the go. You can call someone to come get you.”

“Thanks, Doctor.”

Janet finished her meal and the nurse came in to take out her IV. Her father planned to pick her up in about half an hour, but Janet was all ready champing at the bit to be gone. She changed into her clothing and lay on her bed. Nothing interesting was on TV, so she closed her eyes and tried to remember more details from the night before. It still was foggy.

Tex had called, wanting to come by. He insisted on seeing her, needed her help—again. Why couldn’t he simply sign the damn divorce papers, and leave her in peace?

“I’ll sign them, baby. I’ll do anything…. Please, Janet. Just see me, let me talk.”

And she’d agreed. Like an idiot, she’d said yes. They’d had a cup of coffee and she started to feel strange. The only thing she remembered after that was Tex waving the shotgun at Danny and Ricky. Danny stood up to Tex, protecting his baby brother, shielding him with his body. He was hardly more than a baby himself, when his father died. He’d had to be a man every since. He took care of her and Ricky.

Her eyes drifted shut and she lingered on the edge of sleep. The door to her room opened and handsome, dark haired man stood there. There was something familiar about him, but he didn’t look quite like himself. A long, jagged scar ran from his right eyebrow, down the side of his face, to his jaw. His dark hair was longer than the last time she’d seen him, the mass of dark curls wild and untamed.

“Baby, is that you?” She held out her hands to him.

“It’s me,” he said, his voice hoarse, gasping like he’d been running.

“I’ve missed you.”

“Me too…. I can’t stay….”

“Don’t leave me!”

“I’ll be back….”

The door closed and she woke with a start. Running to the door, Janet looked around, but there was no sign of him. She hit the call button for the nurse.

“Janet?” The young blonde was back. “You okay?”

“Did you see the man who was in my room?”

“A man? Not your dad?”

“No! A man with black, curly hair. Did you see him?”

“Honey, no one’s been up here—well, no strangers. You’re sure?”

Janet sat on the bed. “It was so real. I really thought…. Did you ever dream something that seemed so real, only to wake up and find out it wasn’t?”

“Yeah. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Janet cried, trying to smile. “I don’t think I ever will be again. I’m sorry I bothered you.”

“No bother, honey. Oh, look. There’s your dad. Let’s get you out of here!”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 60

Sookie and Tim are there when Janet wakes. They’ve brought Colonel Coffey with them. Tissue Warning

Coffey slipped in quietly. He was dressed in civilian clothing and looked far older than the last time she’d seen him.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, approaching the bed with caution.

“Better than I should, I expect.”

“I came as soon as I found out,” he said, taking her hand. “I’ve got men out helping the police. We’ll catch him.”

“Why?” she asked, her eyes tearing.

“I owe you that much,” he said. “You deserve closure, and I can help with that.”

For once, she didn’t feel anger toward Coffey. She squeezed his hand. “Thank you. You don’t look well, Colonel.”

He smiled, laughing slightly. “What I always liked about you, Janet, you don’t ever sugar coat a damn thing. I’ve come into your life, like hell in a hurricane, and you’ve always told me exactly what you think. I’m sorry that I always had to be the one to hurt you. I’m actually a pretty nice guy, when you get to know me.”

“Well, have a seat and talk to me.”

“We’ll come back,” Sookie said, kissing her.

Tim kissed her too, and they left.

“That’s another fine young man there. Wish I had me a hundred just like him.” Coffey watched them depart.

“He’s a wonderful man. He’s taken good care of us.”

“Your son’s a hell of a kid too. Don’t suppose I could coerce him into the service?”

“You try, and you’ll wish you hadn’t.” She wasn’t laughing when she said that.

“Sookie told me what he did last night. His father would be proud.”

“I don’t remember much of last night. Tex was waving a gun at my boys. I saw Tim and Sookie and the rest is a blank.”

“I’ll let Danny tell you. He can answer all your questions. He’s talking to my men, coordinating the search. He knows some of Macy’s hangouts. Apparently, he’s kept an eye on him all this time.”

“On Tex? Whatever for?”

“He took Diego’s directive to heart. He told him to look after his mama, he’s been doing that.”

Janet blinked back tears. “I was dreaming about that when you came to see me…. How are Len and Tab?”

“Doing well. They sent their greetings. They’re due in about three.”

“Them too? I don’t know how to thank you, Lane. I’ve been so horrid….”

“I did what I had to, you did, too. I never wanted to take him from you.”

“You’re a good man, despite that one character flaw,” she said with a grin.

“I’m a very bad man, but a very good friend,” he replied. “Diego inspired the kind of loyalty I’ve never seen in another human being.”

“Why does it still hurt so bad to think of him? Why do I still feel that horrible, gaping maw where my heart belongs?”

He took her hands, raising them to his lips. “Because when someone that special leaves, the hole is bigger,” he said. “Now, I need to let you get some rest, or your doctor’s going to skewer me.”

“You’ll let me know about Tex?”

“I’ll keep you posted. It’s a big city, lots of wide open space around it, but I’ve got my best people on this.”

“Thank you.”

He saluted her as he left.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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