Archive | May 2013

It Takes a Thief – Part 40

It Takes a Thief coverAfter a short chat with her boss, Taylor announces that Jason is to be used as bait to entice Orchid and draw her out. Their venue is a fashion show for charity to take place in a week’s time. This means that the team has to be trained to blend into Jason’s world and he has to learn how to better defend himself. School will soon be in session.

“Invitations?” Jason asked.

“Funny you should mention that,” Taylor said with a less caustic giggle. “I believe that you can expect it to be delivered tomorrow by messenger. Thanks to Judge Walker. I spoke to her too.”

“God bless the woman. How’s she doing?”

“She’s doing all right. Worried about you. She was glad for an update. She’s waiting for your call.” She handed him her phone.


She nodded, smiling. “Call her.”

He did as instructed. The phone rang twice and he heard Judge Honoria Walker’s anxious voice on the other end.

“Is this Jason?”

“Yes, ma’am. Agent Driscole told me to call you.” He wandered into the dining room, sitting at the long rectangular table.

“I think this is asinine,” the judge said without preamble. “But I can’t prevail upon the higher powers either. They’ve been working this angle since I suggested releasing you.”

“I’d expected it,” he said quietly. “Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t cast me out amongst the wolves.”

“I do have some pull. The widow of Bert Walker can still wield a powerful ax or two.”

“I wish I’d met your husband, ma’am. I’m guessing he was a hell of a man.”

“He was,” she said proudly. “And a powerful businessman. He owned this goddamn town. I got your invitations and I’m making arrangements for backgrounds and cover stories.”

“You’re quite the little spy, aren’t you?” Jason laughed lightheartedly at her.

“Bert used to tell me I’d missed my calling. He said I should have written novels and movie scripts. We’ll have a meeting the next day or so to get their stories straight.”

“And me?”

“You can’t remember a thing. The case against you has been dropped. Inconclusive evidence.”

“Honoria, I was found at the scene.”

“So were half a dozen others, all dead, sadly.” She paused a moment out of respect. “But by some odd chance, there’s no real evidence connecting you to the crime. It’s positively mind blowing!” She sounded to genuine, Jason paused.

“Circumstantial evidence? That ruddy D.A. only had circumstantial evidence—all this time?”

“He thought he had a smoking gun, Jason. Once he realized you couldn’t be connected with the murders, he’s only too glad to let the charges slide. Your record is clear.”

“God bless, you, Honoria! I do believe I love you!”

She giggled and he could picture her tossing her head coquettishly. “No, you love my devious mind.”

“I do indeed. Were I a few years older….”

“You’d still be far too young. I have bunions older than you, my dear. Now listen. Tomorrow, the invitations arrive. You’ll accept, through my friend, Kyle Tourney—who will also be delivering them, by the way. The day after, you and I will meet, along with your team, to give them their new identities. I have on good authority that they are very bright and capable.”

“Yes, ma’am. They’re a great bunch.”

“Good. I like the sound of that girl. Tell me.” Her voice dropped conspiratorially. “What’s the term you young people use? Have you done it?”

“Your Honor! A gentleman never tells. But to satisfy your curiosity, no. Not for lack of wanting to, mind. I’ve behaved as a proper gent.”

“Good for you. I expect my boys to use their best manners.”

“I do try. How I wish you’d been my mother,” he said honestly.

“You’d have made me proud. I’ll see you day after tomorrow, dear boy. Go enjoy yourself.”

“I’ll try. Night, ma’am.”

To Honoria, it sounded as if he’d said mum, and she hung up the phone before bursting into tears.

Jason ended the call with a wide grin. “I’m not a convicted felon,” he said quietly. “Glory be!”

He was still smiling when he took the phone back to Taylor.

“Something’s got homeboy happy,” Greg said with a grin.

Jason handed Taylor her phone. He allowed his fingers and eyes to linger on hers.

“Indeed. Very good news, that was.”

He proceeded to tell them, verbatim, his discussion with the judge. He edited remarks pertaining to Taylor. She continued to hold his hand, watching his emotions in his eyes and face.

“And so, my lads and lass, I am not, nor have I ever been—a convicted felon.”

He kissed Taylor’s hand, lips caressing her fingertips. Lost in the violet depths of Taylor’s eyes, Jason didn’t notice that the other men had quietly left the room.

Greg glanced over his shoulder once, longingly. Tim clapped him on the back, moving him away from the entrance. Saying nothing, Greg went up to his room, shutting the door with a slam. It reverberated in the huge house like a gong. Taylor and Jason didn’t even react.

Eventually, Taylor found her voice. “We really shouldn’t,” she cautioned.

Jason leaned over to kiss her, bringing her palm to his rapidly beating heart.

“They want to dangle me like shark bait, Taylor. So by damn, I’m going to enjoy every moment of the rest of my life. Because if Orchid succeeds in killing me, I don’t want to die without having been at least once with the woman I love.”

© Dellani Oakes

WARNING – It Takes a Thief parts 41 & 42 contain steamy love scenes. If explicit sexual content bothers you, then please skip these two episodes. The suspense continues in Part 43, coming out June 9. ~ Dellani

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo

Under the Western Sky

Indian Summer

Lone Wolf

It Takes a Thief – Part 39

It Takes a Thief coverWhile talking to Taylor, Jason has a sudden revelation. A quick web search later, he has found Orchid, hiding in plain sight as an exotic super model. Now all that remains is a way to draw her out and bring her to them – without getting themselves killed, of course.

“Is that where she shot you?” Taylor’s eyes went right to Jason’s crotch.

“If she had, would it all still be working?”

He raised an eyebrow. It was quite satisfying to watch her blush.
“Close. She missed on purpose. Nice, eh? Meant to kill me though.”

“Time for me to call the boss,” Taylor said. “You guys clean up.”

They nodded, heading toward the kitchen. Jason lingered, eyes on Taylor’s as she pulled out her cell. Before she made the call, he crossed the room. Taking her in his arms, he kissed her firmly, heatedly, channeling all the desire and passion he possibly could into it.

“If you think for one moment,” he said huskily. “That she’s any more amazing than you—I hope that convinced you otherwise.”

Practically running from the room, he headed back to the kitchen leaving Taylor in stunned silence. Pulling herself back together, she made the call to her boss.

The men gathered around Jason in the kitchen, silently cleaning up after their meal. It was obvious that they all had questions, but Jason didn’t want to answer them. He felt betrayed again, as if Orchid’s flagrant presentation of herself was a slap in his face. She should be hiding out, changing locations every couple of days, lying low. Instead, she was working, partying, flaunting herself—advertising lingerie, fur coats, bathing suits and sex.

“I hope someone knifes the bitch,” he growled as he washed his knives.

Stabbing into the air, he startled the agents. Tim quickly disarmed him, taking his place at the sink. Jason barely noticed. For the first time in his adult life, he wanted to cry. He’d always been strong, tough, wily yet he’d been brought down by the oldest trick in the book.

“Go for the gonads,” he muttered. “Damn the woman! Doesn’t matter how smart, paranoid, clever or cagey a man is—go for the sex angle. It’s so hackneyed, yet it worked perfectly! I bet it always does. Do you know how that makes me feel?”

“Yeah, kid,” Tim said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Like any other man who’s ever been used by a woman. It’s a flaw in programming. We get a rush of testosterone, and we’re done for. I think I speak for every man in this room when I say this. Confronted with that woman, we’d all have been in trouble. I don’t care how many years I’ve got with the Bureau and the military before that. If a piece like that had approached a man like me, I’d have told her the best way to kill me.”

“After I fucked her bald,” Greg agreed loudly.

Taylor walked in as he said that. All the men made themselves busy. She said nothing as she took her place at the table. She looked pensive, contemplative, but not quite content. They stopped working and sat next to her.

“They want to use Jason as bait,” she said quietly. “He runs in some of the same circles. He can get into the big parties that the rest of us can’t.”

“We’d stand out like week old laundry.” Greg nodded. “She’d know we were posers the second we walked in.”

“So….” Jason sighed. “How did I know it would come to this? Had this feeling, me. Give her the chance to finish me proper.”

“I tried to talk him out of it, Jason. But our boss is adamant. The fact that she’s not stupid and will see a trap doesn’t seem to have entered into his scenario.”

“Then we have to be smarter than she is,” Tim said, patting her hand.

“And better armed than she is,” Alex added.

“More on top of it,” Greg concluded. “Cause home boy ain’t going in without backup.”

“Thanks, mates,” Jason said solemnly. “You’ve done what you can. I’ll be on my own.”

“No, you won’t,” Taylor said with the flicker of a smile. “He did okay an entourage. A girlfriend.” She laughed giddily, tossing her hair. “And three security. Only logical after what you’ve been through, right?” She giggled again, batting her eyelashes.

“Dear God!” Jason was appalled. “We’ll work on the performance, my lass. I wouldn’t date a woman with that kind of a laugh.”

“I know, but it was the best I could do on short notice.”

“And you lot,” he pointed to the men. “Are too much like agents. Military, yes. But you sweat, bleed and piss Bureau. Starting tomorrow, school’s in session. I’ll get you more like me if it kills us.”

“And you, my lad, will learn how to defend yourself proper,” Tim said in a fair imitation of Jason’s baser accent.

The young Englishman laughed happily. “I put myself at your disposal, Sensei. Meanwhile, when do we start this charade?”

“There’s a huge party in a week here in the city. Everyone in the fashion industry will be there. It’s not as big as Milan, but there’s a big push to do something to help the poor. What better than a fashion show to raise money, right?” Taylor rolled her eyes. “But absolutely everyone who’s anyone, or wants to be anyone, will be there.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo

Under the Western Sky

Indian Summer

Lone Wolf

It Takes a Thief – Part 38

It Takes a Thief cover

After making a revelation about herself that clearly was difficult, Taylor runs to the bathroom in tears. The men sit in stunned silence for a moment before Jason decides to brave the turbulent waters of her emotions.

Smiling her thanks, she dabbed her eyes. “Or that. So. Now you know my stupid secret.”

“Not so stupid. Pretty damn important, if you ask me. How’d you hook up with this bloke, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“He was my step-father’s son. He was so wonderful to begin with. I thought he was just like his dad, but he wasn’t. His father is an incredible guy who loves my mom so much…. But Danny wasn’t like that.”

“We’ve all been fooled before. Look at me. Got the bullet holes to prove it.”

“What’s she like? Orchid?”

He blew out his cheeks, rolling his eyes to the ceiling. “Well, that’s a puzzler. Aside from being completely psychotic, which she covers remarkably, she’s—well—gorgeous. Tall, svelte, sleek like a jungle cat. Her body is amazing. She’s got muscle tone I’ve never seen on any other woman, not ever. Stamina like a bull moose….”

“You’ve measured the stamina of a moose?” She sounded annoyed by that statement.

“Not exactly, but that woman could rut for hours…. Sorry, bad choice of words, that.”

“Was she good in bed?”

“Best I’ve had,” he admitted shyly.

“Have there been that many?”

He shrugged and puffed out his cheeks. “A good few. Less than thirty….” He shook his head, not meeting her eyes. “Forty—two….”

She punched him and he stopped. Laughing, she shook her hair from her eyes. “Okay, so you’re ahead of me in the date department. So?”

“She’s like no one I’ve ever met before. She’s got to be at least half Oriental, maybe a smidge white, but mostly black on the other side. Her hair is long, black, sleek. Her eyes are this incredible smoky green color, like jade. High cheek bones, gorgeous skin….”

“You’re still attracted to her, aren’t you?” She threatened to punch him.

“Whoa! Forgive me for waxing poetical. If it’d been you with a man as gorgeous as her, I venture to say you’d still be as enamored.”

“Maybe I have.”

“Doubt that. Until I met her, I’d never have thought such a woman existed outside a magazine.”

He put his hand on his forehead, closing his eyes. “Oh, my God. I’m such an idiot! Computer!” He burst from the bathroom, rushing toward the living room.

“What? Jason!” She followed him, nearly tripping over her own feet.

Jason sat at the nearest computer, accessing the Internet. He did some Google searches and finally found what he was after. From what the others could see, he’d called up pictures of super models. More frantic searching and he was off to another site. When he sat back with a sigh of success, they had an array of photographs on the large screen before them.

She was surrounded by jungle, dressed in skins, bikinis, high fashion—but it was Orchid. She was the most beautiful woman any of them had ever seen. Her features were exotic, her body magnificent. She glared at them from the page and Jason saw for the first time the lethality of that gaze.

“Not so hard to find after all,” he muttered. “Figured she’d kill me, no one would know. Bitch hides in plain sight. That, mes amies, is the most dangerous woman in the world.” He pointed to the screen.

“That’s our psycho-thief?” Greg asked, trying not to drool as he looked at the pictures.

“The very one. Love to get her psych profile, eh? What makes you tick, lady?” Jason asked, leaning toward the screen.

“Why would she need to rob anyone?” Taylor asked.

“Doesn’t need to, does she? She likes the thrill. Like me, she lives for the excitement. But why kill off everyone? That’s what really makes me curious. She doesn’t ever work alone. I don’t think she’s a proper thief, more of a poser. She likes the thrill, lacks the skill.”

“Why kill her partners?” Greg asked.

“So we can’t go to the nearest copper and go, ‘Oh, by the way, that lovely, exotic beauty in Vogue is the one that robbed you at gunpoint. Remember her?’ Brilliant, in a sociopathic, homicidal way.”

“God, I’d give my left nut to make it with that woman,” Greg breathed.

“And she’d give it back to you strung on a length of your gut,” Jason replied, turning off the screen. “Trust me, no pussy is worth a bullet hole. None!”

“We’ve found her. Now what?” Tim asked.

“Now we watch her,” Taylor said. “She doesn’t know that we know. She has no idea Jason’s put it together. Maybe she figures he never will.”

“But we’ve got her,” Jason said with satisfaction. “Now we need to bait the trap.”

“How do you propose to do that?” Greg asked.

“Perhaps one of you needs to learn to be a thief?”

“Which one of us?” Tim asked.

All eyes went to Greg.

“What? Why me?”

“You’re more her type,” Jason replied, arms folded across his chest.

“Thanks a bunch. You’re telling me that a psycho-killer lady might think I’m hot?”

“You should be flattered. I doubt she’s made it with an FBI agent before. You could be her first.”

“Thanks—but not really. I don’t particularly want to get shot in the nuts.”
© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo

Under the Western Sky

Indian Summer

Lone Wolf

It Takes a Thief – Part 37

It Takes a Thief cover

Jason and the team are getting dinner ready and Jason gives in to despair, thinking about Orchid.

“Not a bad idea. We can coordinate that tomorrow. I think his input would be very useful.”

“Thank you. I apologize for the nosedive into the pity pool. Not my best behavior.” He wiped his eyes on the back of his hand. “Blame the fucking onions.”

Greg thumped him on the back. Taylor squeezed his arm.

“You lot are the best friends I’ve ever had. What’s that say for me, eh?” He rubbed his eyes again and washed his hands.

“Says a hell of a lot about you, Jason,” Greg said. “We’re a close bunch. We’ve accepted you like one of us—I think I can speak for all of us on that. You may not wear a badge, but you’re one of the team. Don’t you think, Tay?”

“I do,” she replied. “Not easy to accomplish in a couple days. Greg, go see how the burgers are coming, huh? I’m going to check the beans.” She turned to the oven, taking out a couple pot holders.

Greg glanced at the two of them, then walked out to the deck.

“He’s right,” she said. “We’re very close. And you are like one of us. You’ve become part of our team without even trying, Jason. We can do this, but only with your help. You’re our ace in the hole.”

She pulled the beans out and set them down before shutting the oven door. Taking the mitts off, she put her hands on either side of his face.

“You can do this. We’re here.”

“I really want to kiss you, Taylor.”

“I know. But the guys are coming in.”

“Bloody hell,” he muttered, moving quickly away.

“Put it away!” Greg yelled, covering his eyes. “Put up that lethal weapon, Jason, before I call the cops!”

“Not killed anyone with it yet,” Jason laughed, grabbing his crotch. “Damn thing’s withering from disuse.”

They joked and laughed more on that subject, bantering back and forth making sexual jokes. Even Taylor got in the game, teasing each of the men about his self-perceived gifts.

“What I want to know,” Greg said, leaning across the table toward Taylor. “Does size matter? I mean, there’s the jokes and all. But really?”

“Well,” she swallowed her potato salad. “I’m not that much of an expert. But I have to say, that yes, to an extent. It’s got to be big enough to get to those hard to reach places. And trust me, nothing run on batteries does the job like the home grown variety.”

The men were stunned. She usually didn’t speak so openly about sex.
“What have you done with the real Taylor?” Greg asked, staring at her.

“You asked.”

“Yeah—but you usually don’t answer.”

She shrugged, swirling her tea in her glass. “Men talk about sex all the time. What makes you think women are any different?”

“How much do you talk?” Greg wanted to know, suddenly worried.

“Don’t panic, cowboy. If they ask about you, I make things up. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve been very complimentary.”

“Thanks.” He sounded offended. “You couldn’t just go through with it and tell the truth?”

“Does it really matter?”

“Yes! Because in my version, I’m actually getting laid!”

She laughed, punching his shoulder.

“Why didn’t you ever?” He asked quietly. “We were so close.” He seemed to have forgotten the others.

They sat silently, waiting to see what she would say. All of them, including Jason, were curious.

Taylor must have felt she owned Greg an explanation. She fiddled with her glass some more, then focused on his eyes.

“I had a horrible relationship go belly up on me a few years ago—before I met any of you. It was terribly, dangerously abusive. I had a tough time getting out. A couple good friends finally intervened and got me away from him. But it was ages before I could stand to be around anyone. And men terrified me. Lots of therapy, friendly advice, and spiritual guidance, I’m getting past it. But it’s been really hard. I made myself a promise that I wasn’t going to get involved like that again until I was sure I was ready. I really thought I was, Greg. But each time we got close, I knew I wasn’t. And I’m so sorry, because you’re one of the greatest guys I know. I wish it could have been you. I really do.”

She got up from the table and ran to the restroom next to the basement stairs. They could hear her crying, but none of them made any move to go after her until Jason stood. He motioned with his head for the men to go to the other room. They moved silently away. Tapping on the door, he waited until she unlocked it.

“I knew it would be you,” she said quietly, sitting on the closed toilet lid.

Jason leaned on the sink, folding his arms.

“Why’s that?”

“You’re the only one brave enough to come in.” She sniffled, wiping her eyes with her fingers.

“Or dumb enough.” He handed her the guest towel.

© Dellani Oakes

To Purchase Dellani’s Books:

Ninja Tattoo

Under the Western Sky

Indian Summer

Lone Wolf

Under the Western Sky – Coming June 13!

Under_the_Western_Sky_by_Dellani_Oakes_-_200I’m delighted to announce that Under the Western Sky is coming June 13 from Tirgearr Publishing. What is Under the Western Sky about? So glad you asked.

Under the Western Sky is a retro-romance, set in the spring of 1978. Libby Marshal and Bobby Menendez have been friends since childhood. Only recently have they decided to give dating a try. Little do they know that their near perfect world is about to crash around them.

Bobby’s friend, Danny, is white. He and his father are being forced to join a white supremacist’s group that neither of them wants to join. By threatening their family, the leaders coerce Danny into doing their dirty work – attacking, possibly killing, Bobby.

Is their friendship enough to save Bobby and keep Danny from doing something horribly wrong? Can Libby and Bobby overcome racial prejudice? Read Under the Western Sky to find out.

Reluctantly, Bobby left, waiting until Libby had locked her door behind him. Strolling across the street, he was thinking about Libby and how much he loved her, when someone got out of a car just down from his mother’s house.

Acting like he didn’t notice, he walked slightly faster to his front porch. If he made enough noise, Jim would hear him and come out. He wasn’t scared, not yet. The other person came forward until he stood under the streetlight. It was Danny. His face was bland, expressionless, which was more frightening than seeing anger. If he’d been mad, it would mean he still cared.

Bobby faced his former best friend, checking the car and shadows to see if the bigger boy was alone. Bobby didn’t see anyone else, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there.

“Roberto, you and I need to talk.”

Bobby held his arms out from his body, shrugging. “I’m here, amigo. Talk.” He said loudly, hoping someone would hear.

Danny didn’t move, his hands in the pockets of his jacket. He spoke quietly, calmly.

“You know I didn’t beat Ramon, right?”

“I know you were there. I can’t believe you’d hit him with a fucking bat. That’s not your style.”

Danny’s mouth quirked and he dropped his head. “What is my style?”

“Take a swing, kick his ass, but a bat’s bad form. You weren’t ever a cheat, Dan.”

“Really?” The reply was dry, sarcastic, not Danny’s usual style either.

Something was wrong. It was a warm night. Why was Danny wearing a jacket? Why were his hands in his pockets? Bobby knew he was in trouble. It was late, his friends and family were going to bed, and, despite Toby’s warnings, he was alone.

“You know, Danny,” he said rather too loudly. “That was a cheap shot you did to his balls. Were you trying to emasculate him or just mess him up so he couldn’t take your woman?”

“I didn’t do that, Bobby. You have to believe me. That wasn’t my idea.”

“I hope not because I’d hate to be the man who did that to Ramon. Whoever did better hope he recovers full use, or he’s gonna wish he’d killed my cousin. Because Ramon will come after whoever it was. And that man will die badly. Make no mistake.”

“Nobody needs to die here, Bobby.” Danny was getting nervous.

“What’s in your pocket, Daniel?” Bobby took a step toward his friend.

“Don’t come near me,” Danny cautioned, holding out his left hand like a stop sign. His right hand stayed in his pocket.

“Lemme see,” Bobby took another step. “We never used to have secrets. We’re brothers, remember? When we were ten, we cut our hands and did blood brothers.”

“Bobby, I mean it. Don’t come any closer.” His voice shook, his left hand trembling.

“Gonna shoot me, Danny? Is that the plan? You gonna come and kill your best friend? Is that what it takes to be part of the clan? Sever your ties, kill the Mexican vermin. Jesus, Danny, did our friendship mean so little?”

“Don’t, Bobby. Stop. I mean it!” He yelled, yanking the gun out of his pocket.

The streetlight glittered on the barrel of a snub nosed .38 revolver. Danny’s hand shook, but he kept the gun trained on Bobby.

“Drop the gun, Danny. Fight me like a man. You never needed a weapon against me. Don’t you think you can take me? I’m half your size.”

He was willing his friend to come closer, begging him in his mind to drop the weapon and let down his guard, but it wasn’t happening—yet. He kept talking, taking little steps closer. The gun didn’t drop. Danny’s hand shook uncontrollably. The closer Bobby got, the more danger he was in that the gun would go off by mistake.

He reminded Danny of every time they had been there for one another, all the pranks they had played, how their mothers called them the Dastardly Duo. Each statement started as an “I remember when,” cataloging the last ten years of their lives. Tears formed in Danny’s eyes but he blinked them away. When he was close enough, Bobby stopped moving.

Danny’s arm was within reach, the gun leveled at Bobby’s forehead. Steadier now, it didn’t waver. He shifted his grip on the gun and Bobby moved. Lunging at his friend, he grabbed the barrel of the gun, pulling Danny toward him, catching him off balance.

With an easy shift of his hands, he put pressure on Danny’s wrist, forcing him to drop the gun. Bobby kicked it away, slamming his elbow into Danny’s chin. The other boy should have dropped, but Bobby hadn’t hit him hard enough. A vestige of their friendship remained, tattered and shredded as it was.

Danny tried to head butt Bobby, but the young Mexican man dodged, pulling Danny further off balance by a shift of his weight. Knocking his friend down, Bobby flipped Danny on his face, holding his arm up behind him as his foot pressed into the white boy’s shoulder. Hand at an awkward and painful angle, Danny screamed as he felt his shoulder pop out of the socket.

Dellani’s Tea Time with Dellani Oakes, Christina Giguere and Karen Vaughan