Did you miss any of Snowed or simply want to read it again? Below are the links for my romantic suspense novel set in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mike Ruben has a big problem—true, it might not seem that much of an issue to some men, but it’s bugging him. He got really drunk at his birthday party and had a great night with a beautiful brunette. Some problem, right? But he can’t remember her name, so he refers to her as Mystery Date. And all she left were fantastic memories and a note—but not her number. This wouldn’t be so bad, except now someone is trying to kill him and the clue may lie in the identity of Mystery Date. Read about the exploits and adventures of Big Mike as he tries to solve this deadly puzzle before it’s too late.
Although she’s willing to give him a gift of her blood, Rafaela also has no qualms about telling him when he’s had enough. Dirk has very little self-control in most things, but Rafaela is his addiction of choice.
“Enough! Leave more for later.”
“Why?” he gasped. “You never—”
“Merry Christmas, my love. I had no other gift for you.”
“This is the best gift,” he moaned as his climax neared.
“The best,” she agreed.
They came together with a loud scream. Collapsing on the bed, they laughed as they struggled to pull up the blankets. Both sweaty, they suddenly felt cold in the cool bedroom. Snuggling together, they kissed deeply.
“Thank you, Rafaela. That was a great gift. Alas, I have nothing for you.”
Her fingers stroked him under the covers. “Yes, you do. I’ll take this in abundance.”
Dirk chuckled, pulling her closer. “And I’ll gladly give it as…
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Austin throws himself into every experience, including something as simple as a walk in the moonlight. Liat finds herself swept up in his enjoyment. She finds the setting, not to mention the man, captivating.
A crunch of footsteps on gravel alerted them that they weren’t alone. Dexter stood on the shore.
“Sorry to bother, but I’m about to lock up and turn out the lights. I saw the car and thought I’d better come looking.”
“Just was enjoying the river for a few minutes,” Austin mumbled.
Dexter laughed at his friend. “It’s been nearly an hour, mate.”
Austin’s fingers laced with Liat’s. “Good company,” he replied.
“Thanks, Dex.” Liat kissed his cheek.
Dexter clapped Austin on the back, grinning. When Liat’s back was turned, he gave his friend a subtle thumb’s up and a wink. Austin smirked, nodding.
Austin and Liat chatted quietly as they drove back to town. His apartment wasn’t far from where she was staying. It was a modest building, though comfortable.
“You can afford a bigger place,” Liat commented. “Not that this isn’t nice—”
“I like the people,” Austin said with a smile. “Dwight’s right across the hall. Next door is this elderly couple who have been married close to sixty years. They’re amazing. Some of the others from the show live here, scattered about.” He wiggled his fingers at the large, old fashioned brick building. “Downstairs is a fabulous restaurant. When I feel adventurous, or really hungry, I go down. The chef lives down the hall with his wife. He keeps a table for me, in the back, so I’m not bothered by fans. His wife works for the paper.
“I can exercise here, or take a dip in the hot tub. They’ve got a dojo upstairs and the lads and I work out there. I think Naomi’s father owns it, though he doesn’t live here. There’s a convenience store on the main floor. They stock my tea and biscuits, order them in specially for me. There’s a dry cleaner’s and a hair and nail place. Everyone knows everyone else. It’s like having a huge, extended family all around. I love it.”
His eyes sparkled happily as he extolled the virtues of his housing choice. Liat could see the appeal. For a man who’d come from nothing, lived on the street and hadn’t any family, a place like this would be like heaven. Her heart ached when she thought of the things he’d lacked, but she knew he was changing that. Having the job as The Magician had turned his life around.
“You want to come in for a bit?”
“I would. Don’t have to get up early.”
He smiled and got out, going around to open her door. “I always get up early. I go out on my balcony and I listen to the city wake up. I can’t do that the days we work, there isn’t time. But on my days off, I do. On rubbish days, the trucks rumble around and clatter and bang as they collect. I used to hate rubbish days. Had to run fast or you might get yourself dumped in a truck.”
“Did you live in a dumpster?”
He shrugged. “Briefly, when I was young. It wasn’t a busy one. Mostly just boxes and paper trash at an office, so it was fairly clean.”
“How old were you when you started living on your own?”
“Why? Didn’t they take care of you in the foster homes?”
“Not so much,” he replied, clamping his lips together. “Can we please not talk about my youth? It’s behind me and I’d far rather think about my future.” He unlocked his door and ushered her in.
His home was Spartan, but clean and neat. He had simple tastes and only a smattering of furniture.
“When I find something I want, I buy it. Otherwise, I wait until something catches my eye. I don’t watch much television.”
“Do you watch your show?”
“Why? I live it. No need to see it. I used to.” He led her to the kitchen. “Then I’d look at myself and say, God, do I really look like that? It’s enough to make me contemplate surgery, so, I stopped.” He put the kettle on and pulled cups and tea out of the cupboard.
“What’s wrong with how you look?”
“I’m all arms and legs and this big, huge head. Floppity ears and an enormous nose. Don’t get me started on my bum.” He turned, examining it critically.
Liat giggled, clapping her hands. “Stop being such a girl! You look wonderful. All the bits fit together splendidly.”
“Even my bum?” He winked at her.
Liat’s eyes focused on his close fitting jeans as she smiled secretively. “Most especially your bum.”
Austin put the tea on the counter and walked over to her. She took a few steps toward him and they met in the center of the kitchen. His hands cupped her chin, lifting her face to his. She moved closer, putting her fingers through his belt loops as he bent toward her. Their lips met with a small spark.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
Many thanks to Tracey L. Clark for adding me to her 15 Rocking Bloggers list. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her via our posts and comments here on Word Press. We struck up a conversation and have been communicating ever since.
* Display the award certificate on your website.
* Announce your win with a post, and link to whomever presented your award.
* Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
* Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post.
* Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
Now the fun part! Seven facts about me. This may take a little doing, because I don’t want to share things I’ve already shared. I’m not a world traveler, though I have been all over the United States, so I guess I’ll start there.
First fact: I am the daughter of an English professor and a school teacher. While my father was getting his education, and his first jobs, we moved a lot. By the time I was 9, we had moved 7 times. In comparison with some military families, this is no big thing, but for a kid who didn’t acclimate well, it was somewhat traumatic. We started in Tennessee, moved to Ohio, then Massachusetts, Texas and Nebraska. I picked up accents from everywhere we lived, so by the time we got to Nebraska, people said they couldn’t understand me. I did my best, as I grew older, to rid myself of any telling accent. I will, however, sound Southern when I talk to Southerners.
Speaking of Southerners, fun fact #2: My mother, sister and I each married Southern men. Not so strange for my sister and me, I suppose, but our mother is from Cleveland, Ohio and happened to meet our father in the Harlan, Kentucky bus station when they were both there seeing friends off. I met my Alabama born husband when I was living in Mississippi, going to college. (That was after move #11. I’ve moved 19 times—so far)
My third fact: I live about a mile from the beach (as the crow flies) but because of the lack of bridges, I have to drive 30 minutes to get to the beach—not that I go often. A few years ago, I developed migraines that are brought on by glare and bright sunshine, so the beach and I don’t get along well anymore. Despite that, Florida has become my home and many of my novels are set here, including The Ninja Tattoo, Undiscovered and Conduct Unbecoming.
Fourth Fact: Western Nebraska is still very much a part of me, though I haven’t been there since 1989. My formative years were spent in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, about 30 miles from the Wyoming border. I’ve set several books there, one of which is published. Under the Western Sky, is set in 1976 and allowed me to reminisce about a simpler time.
Fact #5: I love animals, but have developed asthmatic bronchitis and can’t be around anything with fur or feathers. Cats are especially bad, but dogs are awful too. And don’t get me started on birds! In fact, I can’t comfortably be around people wearing cologne, perfume or any kind of hair products, so I don’t hug people unless I know I can wash soon after. I had a doctor tell me “You’re allergic to Florida.” Since other places are no better, and some are much worse, I stay here.
Sixth Fact: This is something that many people know, but it bears repeating. I write—a lot. I have 8 books published, with my ninth coming out in late October. I write mostly romantic suspense and have finished 75 novels and novellas. I also have 47 unfinished, but I am working away at them. I set myself a goal to finish at least one of my languishing works per month this year. I have done pretty well. I finished 4 in July alone and haven’t missed a month, except for March.
Final Fact: I have four fantastic children, 3 boys and a girl. They have been a source of inspiration and entertainment for many years. When I wrote my historical novel, Indian Summer, I patterned the main character after my daughter. The character is 15 and, by the society at the time, has become of marriageable age. She gets herself tangled in a conspiracy where she has witnessed a British spy plotting to overtake the town of St. Augustine. Some readers questioned her ability to cope at that age, but I thought about my own daughter at 15 and knew that Gabriella had what it took to overcome the odds—and boy does she!
Now for the hard part. I know so many amazing authors, and I tend to always choose the same few to participate in these things. I will be gradually adding to this list as I get more confirmations. Meanwhile, enjoy the writing of my good friends.
After a very successful day, Elaine Vogel invites them all to dinner. Instead of a restaurant, Dex and Naomi invite them to their home outside the city—on an island they own. Austin is delighted with being in the country. For a city boy like him, it’s a real treat.
“Drink?” Dwight flopped down on the couch next to Liat and Austin. He held out tall, cold glasses of something with lime slices and a sprig of mint on top.
Liat sniffed it. “Best not. I’m driving. You can drink,” she told Austin.
“One,” he replied. “Not much of one for alcohol.”
“No head for it?” Liat asked.
“No money for it.”
“You can afford it now, mate,” Dwight nudged him, taking a sip of his beverage. “I started as a bartender in a strip club,” he said. “Do you like it?”
“It’s delicious. Tastes like minty lime juice and bubbly stuff.”
“It’s a mojito.”
“It’s officially my favorite drink.”
“Better than tea?” Liat asked.
“Nothing is better than tea.”
“Go easy on it,” Dwight cautioned. “If you don’t drink, it will sneak up on you.”
Austin saluted him, taking another sip. He enjoyed his beverage while he chatted with Liat, Sandy and Elaine. Dwight sat with him for awhile, then went off to talk to Robert.
Less than an hour later, Naomi announced dinner. They walked into the dining room to find long, split log tables with rustic wooden chairs. It was laden with platters of ribs, bowls of salad, mashed potatoes, vegetables and other delights Austin had no name for. He was ushered to the head of the table, with Liat to his right. Elaine was given the end opposite him. They all took their places, standing with their heads bowed.
“I know we aren’t all of the same religion or the same nationality, but we share a commonality of purpose,” Elaine said. “For a brief time each week, or viewers are able to step out of reality into another place—we all do that for them. This meal is a blessing. This show is a blessing and you are all blessings for me and one another. Delight in life and in this food.”
With a scraping of chairs, they sat and passed bowls and platters. Everyone ate until they were too full to move. After dinner, Naomi served coffee and the wait staff scurried around with fresh berry cobbler. Austin wasn’t sure he could eat dessert, but one bite convinced him it was delicious.
“We made it from the blackberry bushes out back,” Naomi said with pride. “We’ve tried hard to make our business self-sustaining. We grow our own vegetables and fruits. We don’t have our own animals, but we have friends who do. Everything is organically grown. What do you think, Austin?”
“I think if you weren’t married to a massively huge man, I might have to marry you.” He stood, taking her hands. “Instead, I’ll thank you.” He kissed both her hands. “Thank you for being my friend, thank you for feeding me and thank you for this delightful party. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that it was the best meal ever.”
“Not just the food,” Liat said. “Which was delicious. But all the people. I’m really proud to be part of this crowd, even if it’s temporary.”
“Does it have to be?” Austin asked Elaine. “Can she stay longer? Because she’s the best companion The Magician’s ever had.”
His eyes held so much, Liat could hardly interpret it all. He wanted her to stay, that much was clear. Not just because she was a good actress, because he genuinely liked her. But it pleased her that he admired her talent too.
Elaine stood, putting her hands on Liat’s shoulders. “Well, perhaps I’m biased, but I think she’s good too. The job is yours, darling, for as long as you like.”
“Really?” Liat hugged her mother. “And you aren’t mad?”
“I was furious until I saw you two together. You truly have made The Magician magic.”
Everyone cheered, congratulating one another. Soon after, the party broke up. Everyone pitched in to help clean up, thanking the catering staff profusely. It was late when they finally headed down the path to their cars, but it was Friday night. No one had to be up early the next day.
Liat offered Austin a ride home. He agreed happily.
“Can we pop by the river a moment before we go?”
They walked down the path, cleverly lit with hidden lights so that the foliage seemed to glow. The dock was lined with silvery Christmas lights which reflected off the water and the shiny bodies of the boats. Austin led Liat to the dock. Standing in the middle of it, he turned to face her. His long fingers wound in her hair and he kissed her lightly on the lips.
Liat opened her mouth, pulling him close. Her arms went around his waist as she deepened their kiss. Austin sighed contentedly, his tongue dancing in her mouth. Liat smiled, happier than she could remember. A warm, tantalizing glow traveled from her chest to her belly, lodging deep inside. A longing filled her, making her ache.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
If you’re like me, you need an intervention. No, not with drugs, alcohol or gambling, organization! My desk and files are an organizational nightmare! I’m not the most disorganized person I know, but I’m close. Being an author with O.D.D., (Organization Disability Disorder), I’ve come up with a couple very simple tricks.
Since I work on more than one story at a time, I’m juggling characters and story lines. To keep myself straight, especially with minor characters, I keep a three ring binder with sections and tabs for each story. Using the file name from the computer file, I write it on the tab. On one page, I keep a list of characters, all of them, no matter how small a role they play. On another, I keep a list of chapters and their page numbers. It’s very easy to continue writing until a story is complete, but it’s good…
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From the beginning, the fight is in Itza’s favor. She is smaller, but faster than Elveric. He’s been injured recently, something she uses to her advantage. Once he is down on the ground, the marshals stop the fight.
The marshals walked over, waiting for his decision. “She is in her rights to kill you, sir,” his man pointed out needlessly. “She offers you a chance to yield, do you accept?”
Elveric looked from Itza to each of the marshals and back at the tip of the staff. “I yield,” he croaked.
Itza stepped delicately onto the ground beside him, offering him her hand. “Call off your men, send them away.”
“What’s to prevent you killing me as soon as they do?” He was angry and it made him bold.
“My word as head woman of this village,” she spoke simply.
He spat at her feet, anger making him stupid. He…
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Unfortunately, Scene Five still needed to be finished. Austin was somewhat intimidated by Elaine’s presence, but he wasn’t nearly as nervous as Liat. Fortunately, they got through the scene without having to a lot of takes, and were able to move on.
At the end of the day, Elaine walked onto the set, arms wide. She embraced her daughter, then Austin.
“Beautiful! I think that’s the best you’ve ever performed,” she complimented him. “And you,” she turned to her daughter. “Darling—” She embraced her again, tears threatening her makeup. “Dinner on me,” she commanded. “Go get cleaned up and meet back here in half an hour.”
Everyone did as they were told. She even invited the rest of the cast and the crew. When they were ready, they discussed a location. Naomi and Dexter solved the problem of where to go by inviting them to their home. They all loaded into cars and trucks, playing follow the leader.
Austin thought it sounded like a huge crowd to have all in one place, but didn’t argue. Instead, he hopped in the car with Liat driving.
“Is their house big enough?”
“Wait until you see,” she said, grinning.
The convoy turned off the bypass and headed up a narrow country highway. Soon, they turned onto a much narrower private road, which eventually became a well packed and graded dirt road. The trees closed in around them, forming a deep green haziness that was relaxing and intimidating at once. Austin opened the window, inhaling the fresh forest scent. His city-dweller eyes devoured the country sights hungrily. When the car stopped, he hopped out, dashing around the front to open Liat’s door.
“I love it here! I want to marry it! I want to make love to it and have its babies!” He picked up Liat, swinging her around excitedly.
Laughing, she held tight, enjoying his enthusiasm. Finally setting her down, he held her close, gazing into her eyes.
“It’s beautiful here. Do they really live here?”
They were all parked in a large gravel parking lot. A well tended pathway led to the left, up a slight incline. Liat grabbed Austin’s hand, tugging at him to follow the crowd. The path turned a few times, then ended in front of a huge log cabin. It was three stories high, with a deep, wide porch around three quarters of the building. Bentwood rockers lined the porch. White ruffled curtains accented the windows.
“This is amazing!” Austin ran up onto the porch, turning in circles once more, drinking it all in. “A real log cabin?” He touched the wood lovingly, green eyes sparkling. “Marvelous! Absolutely brilliant!”
“Mate, you act like you never saw trees before,” Dexter said, chuckling.
“I’m a city boy. Most trees I’ve seen are in the park.”
Everyone stopped talking, watching him. Something they took for granted was fresh and new to him. Liat wanted to cry. His enjoyment both delighted and saddened her. She’d had so much in her life—country estate, city house, horses, private schools, wealth. She’d never done without, never been hungry. Here was a man who hadn’t had much of anything, looked at the reality of his fame and lived modestly. He took nothing for granted, but relished what he had while it lasted.
She took his hand, pulling him to their right. “It’s a surprise,” she murmured as they walked.
After a few moments, the distinctive sound of rushing water met their ears. Austin grinned at her, speeding up. He ran, following the sound, until he reached a wooden dock. Two boats were tied up, a small skiff and a cabin cruiser. The water rolled by, but not far down stream, low rapids clamored noisily over the rocks. A long, narrow island, split the river in half.
“There’s even more rapids on the other side,” Liat said. “People come from all over to shoot them.”
“Oh, let’s go!” He ran out onto the dock.
“No, Austin! Do you know anything about shooting rapids?”
“Not a lick.”
“Can you swim?”
“Of course!” He spun around, grinning. “Sort of. With a life jacket, or those floaty thingies.” He waved his bent arms like a chicken.
“Let’s go eat dinner,” she said sensibly.
“Yes, perfect. Food first, then nature!” He spread his arms, embracing the great outdoors.
They bustled back to the house. The doors and windows were open and people sat on the porch or milled around the yard. Inside, more people bustled about, most of them from the catering staff. Dexter and Naomi were in the huge kitchen with their staff around setting tables, cooking and chatting.
“I told them I’d take everyone out,” Elaine said. “I meant to a restaurant.”
“Dex lives for this,” a waitress said. “He’s in his element with spontaneous meals for fifty. You’ve made him happy as a dog in a puddle.” She swished off, grinning.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
“We’ve met—a time or two. Hello, Liat, darling. Did you think you could pop up without calling me? And get a job on my show without me finding out?”
“What?” Austin stood up. “What?”
“Didn’t she tell you? Liat is my youngest daughter. Only her name isn’t Fogleberg, it’s Vogel.”
“What?” Austin couldn’t seem to find anything else to say. “What?”
“Is he always this obtuse?” she asked Sandy.
“You caught the boy by surprise, Elaine. Usually, he’s very well spoken.”
“Daughter! She’s your mum? And you didn’t tell me?” He turned to Liat, frustrated and afraid. “I snogged you—a lot. Just now. You didn’t tell me!”
“I came out here to tell you, but we started kissing.”
“I hope you’re happy. I like this job. I like acting. I’ve made friends here. I also happen to like you—rather a lot. So much, I asked Sandy to rewrite the script so I wouldn’t have to shag you.”
Liat blinked, confused. “What? Why?”
“I should think that would be rather obvious. The Magician has shagged everything in sight from one end of the galaxy to another, but never a really nice girl that I like. Never someone like you.”
“But you don’t want to shag me?”
“I do—but I don’t. Oh, hell!” He walked back to his guitar, forgetting that he had company. He picked up the guitar and started to play the same emotional tune he was earlier.
Liat followed him. “Austin. I like you too. I came out here to tell you, but you kissed me and I forgot what I needed to say.”
“Lovely, I’m giving girls amnesia. I’m that good.”
She put her hand on his arm. He glared at her, but stopped playing.
“Was it all an act?”
“No, not at all. I am from London. I like scones and barbecued spare ribs—and you. And I like working here. I tried out for the job and was hired. No one knew who I was. I purposely used my grandmother’s maiden name so they would hire me for my ability, not because my mother is the show’s producer. She didn’t know until today that I was even here.”
“She’s telling the truth,” Elaine said from behind him. “And I’m not mad at you. My daughter, on the other hand, has some explaining to do. Come sit down. We’re taking precious time away from filming to have this conversation. I want to say my piece and let you get back to work.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Austin said calmly. He put his guitar down.
Once they were settled in the living room once more, Elaine spoke.
“You’re doing a hell of a job, Austin. Your numbers are off the charts and the show is gaining audience daily. You’ve got a huge fan club. I had three calls just today, asking for you to appear at the local sci-fi convention. I told them to contact your agent.”
“We need to make some decisions. When Sandy contacted me about your new co-star and said how much you wanted her to stay, I was surprised. I had never heard of her, or so I thought. When she sent a picture of my own daughter, I was understandably shocked. Then that Irving person called and said horrible things, none of which I believed. I decided to come and see for myself, after I fired his perverted ass.”
“Why did you hire him in the first place?” Liat asked. “He’s terrible.”
“He’s a name and used to have a stellar reputation.”
“Used to?” Liat asked.
“Not when I get done with him.” Elaine’s smile was wicked.
“Mom, I don’t want you destroying his reputation because of me.”
Her mother put her hands on Liat’s shoulders, gazing into her eyes. “Darling, I won’t repeat the things he said, but know this, he deserves everything I throw at him. He didn’t just insult you, he insulted virtually everyone associated with this show.”
“Virtually?” Austin asked.
“He complimented the caterer’s wife. My niece by marriage. And not in a nice way.”
“You’re Dexter’s aunt?” His hand flew to his forehead. “You’re Dexter’s aunt!” He laughed loudly.
“Can we get back to work now?” Elaine asked. “We have a tight schedule.”
“Sure,” Sandy said, leading the way out. “And it’s all right if we rewrite the scene?”
Elaine glanced pointedly at Austin’s ass. “Yes, more’s the pity. Thing of beauty,” she teased.
“Mum!” Liat couldn’t believe her mother ogled Austin so publically.
“Darling, that’s the last I’ll look. Your father’s arse was just as tasty.”
“Mum!” Mortified, she rushed off.
“You’re not anything like your character, are you?” Elaine asked Austin.
“No, ma’am. Not at all. Except for being clever and disarmingly handsome. With great hair.” He tossed his head.
She laughed, taking his arm. “I’m going to like you,” she decided.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
The Ninja Tattoo was my NaNoWriMo novel in 2009 and I went on to publish it with Tirgearr Publishing in 2013. It is the first in my, loosely grouped, Florida series: The Ninja Tattoo, Conduct Unbecoming, Call Me and Mirrored. Teague meets Vivica by chance—he runs into her with a door as he backs out of the Dunkin’ Donuts. Despite the inauspicious beginning, they fall hard and fast for one another. However, problems arise and Teague decides it’s prudent to head out of town with Vivica, in order to keep her safe.
Vivica and Teague drove silently out of town. He was planning, she could tell his mind was working out how to hide them both and protect her. With decision, he made the turn west on Canal Street, heading to I-95.
“Where are we going?” Vivica asked after he turned north on the interstate.
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