Archive | May 2018

When Tis Done – Part 64

When Tis Done coverMiles and Heath arrive just as more police do. Between them, they manage to subdue Fēng and Jian. When Jian is knocked out, Mr. Fēng calms down and tells them to make sure he is locked in a more secure place than just the jail. John Curtis, who has connections at Camp Shelby, in Hattiesburg, takes Jian in custody.

“I trust you,” Jordan said. “And I’ll watch her tomorrow. You’ll help me?”

“Of course. That’s what friends and Circle members do.” She shot Brian a look.

“Thank you, Marissa.” Brian gave her a hug. “Sorry about the kiss,” he whispered. “I had to try.”

“I know. I appreciate it. We’ll see….”

He kissed her cheek. “Yes, we’ll see.”

They all went home for the night with the promise to gather Friday night to meet the Texas Circle. Arrangements had been made for places to sleep for the Circle members, but it would be snug. The Texas contingent took rooms at a local bed and breakfast and would spend the long Labor Day weekend in Mississippi.The women of Miracle were already in touch with the women from Beaumont, making plans for meals. It had been decided they would meet at Neil and Cynthia’s house. Since it was the ritual ground, it made sense.

Brian didn’t go to school Thursday. Jordan wanted to stay home with him, but Marissa convinced her to go to school to watch Lien. Between the two of them, they had six of their seven classes with her. The seventh one, Chase was in. Surly, disgruntled, he agreed to keep an eye on her because the girls asked him to. Still furious with Brian, he wanted to ingratiate himself with Jordan and Marissa. At noon, they joined up to report to one another.

“Nothing weird,” Jordan said. “She’s acting dead normal. But you’re right, Riss. Smarmy, suck up. I’m stunned I didn’t notice before.”

“And the Little Miss Helpless thing is an act,” Chase said. “She’s really working it. She tried it on me in Chemistry, but I spilled something on her and she got really pissed when I tried to clean it up.”

“What did you spill?”

“Nothing serious. Gentian violet we were using to stain the slides. She can’t drive, her brother’s not around, her dad’s in jail, so she can’t go home to change. They have a housekeeper, so she’s not alone, but the woman wouldn’t come get her.”

“Pure evil,” Marissa said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “Genius.”

Chase flashed her a surprised look. Marissa never kissed him in public. “Thanks. I try.”

“What about after school?” Jordan asked. “Should we invite her for ice cream or something?”

“I can’t stand to be around her that much,” Marissa admitted. “I can be polite, even friendly, in class, but not after school. I just can’t.”

“Okay, we don’t worry about that,” Jordan said. “I’m tempted to skip drama practice.”

“You need to go,” Chase said. “She’ll be there. Maybe she’ll tip her hand if she feels relaxed.”

Jordan couldn’t think of a good excuse not to go, so she agreed. Getting through the rest of the day was exhausting. By the time she got to drama practice, Jordan was dragging. Once again, Mrs. Joyce asked her to lead the warm up. Normally, she didn’t mind, but today she didn’t feel like it. Pushing herself, she got them started and guided them, but didn’t give it her all. The other students didn’t say anything, but most of them had heard about Lien’s father being arrested for assaulting Brian and a police officer. No one knew what had happened to Jian and they felt it was better not to bring that up, either. All through practice, the atmosphere was super charged. No one could concentrate. Mrs. Joyce wasn’t sure what to do. She had heard from Mr. Ferris about the conflicts the day before, and didn’t want to stir up trouble. Instead, she called rehearsal early.

“Since there is no practice on Friday, and you have a long weekend, I expect lines to be perfect! This isn’t new material. That goes for everyone.”

“Yes, Mrs. Joyce,” they chorused.

“Go. Enjoy!” She waved them off.

Jordan walked to the parent pickup and called her mother. Though Jordan didn’t really want her to, Lien waited with her.

“How is Brian?”

“He’s okay, hurting. Have you seen your dad yet?”

“No. I am not allowed. He told me not to come.”

Jordan nodded. She could understand that. Her father would be the same way. Not that he’d ever do anything to get himself in jail….

“Have you heard from Jian?” Lien asked.


“Where was he taken?”

“I have no idea.”

“I think you know,” Lien said, her tone hardening. “I think you know exactly where he is.”

“I said I don’t know,” Jordan replied. “Don’t make me call the cops on you just like we did on your brother and father.Your dad tried to kill Officer Bertram!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 63

When Tis Done coverBrian and Jordan walk back to his house and spot Jian and his father in a car out front. They call the police, hoping that the Fēngs won’t attack an officer. Unfortunately, they do. Brian rushes out to help. Jordan arms herself with a bag of blessed salt and a silver candlestick. Brian fights Jian as Jordan confronts Mr. Fēng.

Gasping and gagging, Ellen tried to catch her breath. She staggered into Mr. Fēng as he tried to rush at Jordan, knocking him back a step. Feeling stronger, she pulled her nightstick and whacked him with it to get his attention.

Snarling, Mr. Fēng turned on her once more. “Didn’t you get enough the first time?”

Smack! she hit him again.

By this time, Jordan heard sirens approaching from both directions. Seconds before the cop cars showed up, her father and Miles rolled up in the Barrett’s car. They jumped out as soon as Heath put it in park, and joined the battle. Miles went to help Brian, while Heath went to Ellen’s aid. Since he and Ellen had Fēng in hand, Jordan turned to see how Brian and Miles fared with Jian.

Brian’s face was bloody, his lips split, one eye swollen. Jian looked like he’d been hit by a truck. He could hardly lift his hands to defend himself. Brian punched him and he fell into Miles’ arms, unconscous.When Fēng saw his son fall, the fight went out of him. Hanging his head, he leaned weakly against his car.

“A regular prison won’t hold him,” he murmured. “He needs to be locked up. Quickly, before he wakes.”

“What?” Ellen said. “The jail….”

“Won’t be enough. Do you have a place?” he appealed to Miles.

“I don’t, but I know someone who does. How long do you think he’ll be out?” Miles asked.

“Not long. he’s very strong.”

“Get John,” Miles said to Heath.

“He’s on his way with Neil,” Jordan said. “And bringing Mom and Marissa. Let’s get you into the house,” she told Brian.

“I’ve got an ambulance coming,” Ellen said.

“We’re fine,” Miles said calmly. “No ambulance.”

Ellen raised her radio to her lips. “You can cancel the ambulance. We’re all right here.”

“You should be checked by the doctor,” Miles added.

“I will be checked by the doctor when I’m done here,” she promised.

“Good. Thank you for saving my son and his girlfriend, Officer Berger.”

“You’re welcome. Doing my job, sir.”

Fēng leaned heavily against his car. Ellen read him his rights and cuffed him. Jian was still down, but Miles and Heath stood by to watch him. When Ellen wasn’t looking, Heath cast a spell to make him sleep longer.

Eventually, things were sorted out. Fēng was arrested, but they convinced the police, using their super secret ninja mind mojo, Jordan’s words, to let John take Jian into custody. He had connections at Camp Shelby and could arrange facilities with some fast talk and a little more mind mojo. He, Neil and Heath took Jian in Heath’s SUV.

Brian was hurt, but it wasn’t serious. Marissa and Jackie had him patched up in no time. Since they were all hungry, and needed to report to the rest of the Circle members, they went back to Neil’s house to eat and explain.

“Is it over?” Marissa asked.

“No,” Brian replied. “It’s only the beginning. Jian said that there was someone else. I don’t know what he meant, or who.”

“There was one member of the family very pointedly not there,” Marissa said. “That smarmy, silly Lien.”

“Don’t you like Lien?” Jordan asked, surprised.

“I can’t stand her. Pretentious little pipsqueak. Pretending to be sweet and gentle—there’s a rod of steel in the girl’s back. We have chorus together and she’s always acting helpless, working the boys around so they do things for her, give her things. I’m surprised she’s got you fooled, Jordan. You’re usually a better judge of character.”

“I’m surprised, too. I’ll keep an eye out, thank you.”

Neil, John and Heath arrived a short time later.

“Jian’s there until he can be collected. Heath spun another couple spells and we warded the place the best we could,” Neil said. “John’s got connections with a secure facility where he can be taken.”

“Fēng acted like Jian was in charge,” Jordan mused. “It was weird, he got really docile after Jian got knocked out. He didn’t fight anymore and warned us to keep him locked away securely. Why would you say that about your own son?”

“Maybe Jian isn’t his son,” Neil speculated. “Maybe he’s the one who’s really in charge?”

“Or maybe neither of them is and it’s Lien. I’m telling you, there’s more to that girl than she’s showing,” Marissa insisted.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 62

When Tis Done coverAfter fighting Chase, Brian turns to go. Marissa’s father confronts him, and Brian binds him in clay, warning him not to attack him, or he’ll lose. He storms off, and Jordan follows him, finding him on the back road that leads to his house.

“We should go back.”

“After that exit? Hell, no. Let them stew. Let’s go get something to eat. Let your mom know where we’re going. I’ll text Dad.”

“We walking?”

“To my house, for the car.”

“Talked me into it.” She sent a text to her mother and he sent one to his father, before they headed, hand in hand, down the road.

It was getting dark when they approached his house. A car he wasn’t familiar with was parked across the road. Since they approached from the back of his house, Brian had ample time to inspect the car. He sent out mental feelers to examine the occupants and his probe bounced off hatred. Two people were in that car, both of them seething with anger.

“Fēng and Fēng, Junior,” Brian said.

“What are we going to do? Because I know you can’t take both of them on by yourself.”

“What any good citizen should do. We’re going to go in the house and call the cops.”

“They could get hurt!”

“I hope Fēng is too smart for that,” Brian said, unlocking the back door. “He won’t attack the police. He’s not ready to make his move yet. This is just a fear tactic.”

“Well, it’s working. I’m scared shitless.”

“Don’t be. Unless I tell you to run, you stick with me. Fēng and Jian aren’t the big guns.”

“Who is?”

“I don’t know yet. When I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.”

They were safely inside and Brian mentally searched the house from top to bottom. Satisfied that they were alone, he called the police and reported the strange car on the street. No one parked on the street around here, unless they were having a party. Friends and family were expected to park in the driveway, or the yard, unless there were too many of them to fit. In those cases, they told their neighbors they were having a party, because they were usually invited too.

“This is Brian Casey, Miles and Maribelle’s son.”

“Yes, sugar, what’s wrong?” the desk sergeant, who was a woman his mother’s age, asked.

“There’s a strange car parked in front of the house. My folks aren’t home, it’s just me and Jordan here. We were going to go out for pizza, after studying and we spotted it. Jordan’s scared to go out, so I said I’d call.”

“Officer Berger is on her way. Do you know her by sight?”

“Yes, ma’am. She goes to our church.”

“Okay, when she gets there, you tell me.”

“Thank you. She just pulled up. She’s getting out of her car and approaching the vehicle.”

“You’ll be okay now?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Jordan clutched his arm, digging in her fingers. Jian had gotten out of the car and circled behind Officer Ellen Berger. She put her hand on her weapon, turning to caution him, but his father jumped out and grabbed her.

“Send soemone else! They’re attacking Officer Berger!” Brian yelled. “I’m going out to help.”

“No, Brian. No. Stay in the house. Brian!” the dispatcher’s voice faded as he dropped the phone and ran to the door.

Jordan called her father, hoping that somehow, they could get there fast enough to help out. With Officer Berger in danger, she knew Brian would go to her aid. But who would help him? Casting about for a weapon, she spotted a bag of salt and cumin Maribelle had left out on the table. She grabbed it up and picked up the silver candlestick from the piano. Armed with her makeshift weapons, she ran outside.

Fēng held Ellen in an unyielding choke hold. She was fading fast. Jordan could see her aura dim as the life crept out of her. Screaming like a banshee, she launched herself at Mr. Fēng, throwing salt at him. It wouldn’t hurt Ellen, but it could harm him.

“Let go!” she screamed. “Let her go right now!” It took a second to realize she’d used power words, not English.

Ellen was too far gone to notice, but Fēng wasn’t.

“You think salt will hurt me, little girl?”

She didn’t reply. Instead, she summoned water. Making it as cold as she could, she hurled it at him. The icy blast made him snarl, but he didn’t let go of Ellen. A ball of cold air hit him in the head and he staggered, losing his hold on Ellen. Jordan sent a warm gust of air down her throat to help expand her starving lungs as she swung at Fēng with the silver candlestick. It connected with his arm and he tried to grab it, but it burned. Screaming, he ducked as she swung again. A sweep at her legs made Jordan stumble and fall. She caught herself on a cushion of air before she hit the pavement, but Fēng was on her.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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What’s Write for Me with E. Kay, Eliot and Freya

Join Us Live Wednesday, May 23 from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog Talk Radio!


Need some excitement in your life? Some flavor, if you will…. Well, these three authors have plenty! Whether you want a sports themed murder mystery, a cyborg soldier, or some spooky paranormal mystery/ romance, they have all that and more!

All three authors are new to the show, and I know we’ll show them a really good time.

E Kay Sims

First up, alphabetically speaking, is E. Kay Sims, author of military/ sci-fi romances Eve of Destruction, Knights of Destruction, and the brand new novel, Operation: Stripped & Stranded. Welcome E. Kay, and good luck with your launch!

Eliot Parker photo

Second, we have Eliot Parker, author of sports themed mystery Breakdown at Clear River, and Fragile Brilliance, as well as murder mystery Code for Murder. Welcome, Eliot!

Freya LeCrow

Third, is Freya LeCrow, author of paranormal mystery/ romance novels Rembrandt Ripper, Marked by Fate and The Bloody Detective. Welcome, Freya!

Whatever your favorite flavor, these authors can dish it up for you, so be sure to join us!


When Tis Done – Part 61

When Tis Done coverChase and Brian fight with their elements, but it’s an equal match. Brian refuses to use fire or earth, because he’s afraid he’ll injure his friend. He tells Chase he’ll take Marissa himself, if Chase doesn’t man up. The upshot of the confrontation is that both Chase and Marissa will be unbound from the group.

“You can’t do that!” Harold Pennybaker bellowed, shaking his finger at Brian.

“I just did it. You want to fight me, too, Old Man? I’ll go easy on you, like I did with Chase.”

“Easy? You think you need to pull your punches with me?”

“Forget it,” Brian said, turning away from the older man. “You’re not worth it, neither of you.”

“You arrogant little prick!” Harold said, advancing as he reached for Brian’s back.

His feet were trapped in clay and he couldn’t move. The clay moved up his legs, rapidly approaching his belly, then his throat, stopping a quarter inch from his lower lip. Poised to fill his mouth, the clay stopped, quivering. Brian turned slowly, his blue eyes burning with cold flame.

“This is your fault, you stupid fuck. If you hadn’t raised your daughter to be an addled prude, we wouldn’t have this problem now. You’re stupid and ignorant and mean. If you were in my Circle, I’d throw you out, too. In deference to Neil, I’ll leave you with this word of warning—don’t cross me. Don’t argue with me and never, ever sneak up on me. You’ll lose, Old Man. You all will.” With a casual wave of his hand, he released Marissa’s father.

Whirling away, he left. Jordan followed him. She knew where he was going, but she also knew she needed to calm him down. She’d agreed to the ploy with Marissa, because she had hoped it would work. It didn’t seem to have done so. Brian’s emotions buffeted her, augmented by her own feelings of sorrow and loss. She found him on the swamp road where he’d first met Zofia two years ago while heading home from Chase’s house. He knelt in the middle of the deserted road, playing with the packed dirt.

“I’m sorry it didn’t work.”

“Me too. I don’t know what to do now. I’ve tried everything I can think of.”

“You haven’t given her to someone else.”

“No. I’m hoping it won’t get that far, but this deal with Texas might be just what we need.”

“I hope so. I’d hate to lose them. She’s a priss, but she’s the closest thing I have to a best friend—female friend, I should say.” She stood near him, rubbing his shoulders. “He does love her, and she loves him.”

“Yeah, but until they can fully commit, that’s pointless.”

“Could you really win against Mr. Pennybaker?”

“Yes. Any of them, even Neil. If he were fully trained, he’d give me a run.” He shrugged. “But I could beat that old man down with my pinky.” He picked up dirt in a little whirlwind, filling in a couple pot holes with a whisk of his fingers. “It’s scary sometimes, knowing what I could do if I wanted to go Dark.”

“What do you mean, Go Dark? Like the Dark Side of the Force?”

Brian glanced up at her, face pale and unconcerned. “Exactly. I have dreams about it sometimes, where I go Dark and take you with me. I won’t do it. I would never turn something as pure as you into something perverse and evil. But it’s the Dark’s way of offering me a deal. They want us badly, just like they want Roy Curtis and his wife. They’re one of the childless couples. The Dark offers them the gift of many children if they go over.”

“Do you think they will?”

“Not Roy. But his wife is miserable, desperate. My folks tried for years to have a second child. They had a tough time, just having me. Over the years, our numbers have dwindled. There needs to be marrying and mating outside our Circles. That used to be the way, they would take mates from other Circles, but after a time, that changed. We need to start doing that again.”

“What if one of the Texas boys wants me?”

“The promised girls aren’t on the list. It would be a not-issue.”

“But if one of them made a play for me?”

Brian shook his head. “I’d hate to kill him.”

“You’d kill someone—over me?”

His expression was bland, unmoving. “In a heartbeat. You’re my soul, Jordan. I could never live without my soul.”

“What if I died—got killed, or died of natural causes. If we had children, what then?”

“I’d take care of our children. They’d be a part of you. But there would be an emptiness inside that would never heal.”

“What if I told you to find someone else, to stay in the Circle and take a new mate. Would you do it?”

“I don’t know if I could. The Circle brought us together, but even if it hadn’t, you’re my soul mate, Jordan. I don’t know how I know that, but I believe it with all my heart. Chase doesn’t believe. He wants to fight it, but he loves Marissa as much I love you. Until he realizes she’s his other half, he’s not going to understand.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 60

When Tis Done coverThe families with girls will decide if they want their daughters considered by the Beaumont Circle. Brian asks Chase and Marissa what they want. When Chase doesn’t speak up, Marissa allows herself to be considered for the new Circle. Angry and hurt, Chase starts a fight with Brian.

Instead of hitting him with his fist, Chase shoved him with a gust of wind. Brian reciprocated with a blast of cold water. The battle became elemental after that, each of the boys using their weapons of choice. Though Brian could wield fire and earth as effectively as water and air, he chose to fight Chase with his own elements. He didn’t want to risk hurting his friend with fire and he was too angry to incorporate earth. If he did, he was afraid he’d start something he couldn’t control.

They circled one another, blasting and splashing for ten minutes or so, neither making a definitive attack. Brian knew he could beat Chase, but he had no intention of humiliating him like that. He wanted his friend to see his errors, not wallow in them. However, it was becoming obvious that he was going to have to do something definitive before Chase would figure it out.

“Is that all you’ve got? If Mr. D and the others attack, are you going to splash them with muddy water?” Brian taunted, knocking Chase back with another blast of air.

“You’re one to talk. This is nothing. I can do this all day.”

“If you do, you know what will happen? Marissa will leave us and go with the other group. Another man will be her chosen mate. Another man will marry her, make love to her, give her children. Another man will bring her to the heights of passion, be her first and only lover. Another man will take your woman from you.” Each time he said Man, Brian slapped Chase with icy cold water, right in the gut. Each blast was harder, colder. “That sweet release you’ve longed for will belong to another, because you weren’t man enough to fight for the woman you love. Do you love her, Chase? You don’t act like you do. You say it, but I don’t see it.”

“I love her. You know I do.”

“I don’t believe it. Prove it.” He splashed Chase again.

Chase whisked the water away, drying his body completely. Taking the water Brian had drenched him with, he sent it back in long, hot blast. It wasn’t scalding, but it was enough to turn Brian’s skin red.

“I still don’t believe you,” Brian shouted. “If you don’t want Marissa, maybe I’ll take her myself. Luminous Cayce had more than one lover. Maybe I will too!” He reached behind him and grabbed Marissa’s hand, dragging her forward. Before she or Chase could stop him, he kissed her passionately, deeply, lifting her off her feet. Marissa dangled helplessly as he continued to kiss her.

“No!” Chase roared, lunging at his friend. “You let her go!” He slapped Brian in the arm with the back of his hand. “You let her go! She’s my wife!”

“Not married yet,” Brian said, an evil glint in his eyes. “Be careful, Chase, or I’ll take her from you.”

“Stop it!” Marissa screeched, shoving violently at Brian.

He dropped her, but Chase caught her as she fell.

“How dare you!”

Brian felt ice forming on his lips and knew that Marissa was retaliating. At least she hadn’t gone further down. He allowed her attack for a moment before brushing it away with the back of his hand. Panting, he smiled.

“If you fought that hard for her all the time, we wouldn’t be here right now. Will you fight for your love, Chase? Marissa? Will you defend each other and the Circle with everything you’ve got? Even if it means fighting me?”

“Yes,” Marissa said. “How dare you even suggest that you’d have me and Jordan, too. That’s sick, Brian.”

“You can’t have both,” Chase said. “I thought we were friends, Brian.”

“We are friends. And she’s your mate. But if you can’t look past your own hurt to see that, you’re useless to me.”

Rather than replying, Chase charged him, hitting Brian low and hard with his shoulder. He tackled his friend, straddling him. Arm raised, he prepared to slam Brian in the nose, but his fist wouldn’t connect. He looked up and saw Neil pointing at him, muttering. No matter how he tried to hit Brian, he couldn’t. Roaring with frustration, he shoved Brian with a blast of wind before getting up.

“We done now?” Neil asked. “You over this?” He put his hand on Chase’s chest and pushed him back.

Chase thrust his uncle’s hands aside. Furious, he rushed Brian again, but Neil blocked him.

“What is wrong with you? I thought Cliff taught you better, to see past yourself, to appreciate your place in the Circle. No matter what, you can’t do it. Brian, I swear to god, kid, you should banish them both. He’s no damn good to you this way.”

“What? You can’t!” Chase bellowed.

Shaking his head, Brian sighed. “Chase, I really hoped that you’d grow some balls and step up. It will weaken my Circle to put you both out, but you’ve left me no choice. We won’t have the unbinding ritual until after meeting with the Texas contingent, but as of right now, you’re out. Both of you.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Kevin, Kevin and Kim!

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Join us TODAY, May 14, 2018 from 4-6 PM Eastern!

It’s officially summer here in Florida. We’ve already had several days with temperatures in the 80s, and we’ve had more than one thunderstorm. Beaches are crawling with tourists who want to spend the day in the sun. Surely, a good book would make the time pass pleasantly?

KM Ecke_1

Our first guest is K.M. Ecke author of Moral Panic. Not only does he have a good book to entertain you, he’s also a musician, with an album called Change of Mind. You can hear his music on Spotify, or his YouTube channel, The Dream Flow. This is his first time on the show, and we’re delighted to have him here. Welcome, KM!

KM will be on from 4:00-4:40 EDT

Kim Terry

Our next guest is Kim Terry, author of From Her Mother’s Arms. We’re so happy to have her on the show for the first time. Welcome, Kim!

Kim will be on from 4:40-5:20 EDT

Kevin G Daniel KG Bethlehem

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Our final guest is KG Bethlehem, the author of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Dystopian novels, including Avenging Knights, Astronomical, and The Forever Spring. This is also KG’s first time on the show, and we’re so pleased to have him here. Welcome, KG!

KG will be on from 5:20-6:00 EDT

Join us for a fun filled 2 hours while we talk to these fantastic authors!


When Tis Done – Part 59

When Tis Done coverOnce they gather for their meeting, Neil introduces John Curtis. He asks for their help, as their Inner Circle hasn’t got a full compliment. They need three of the girls, the siblings of Circle members, to fill their ranks.

“We can meet them in advance, right?” Sweet’s mother said. Her daughter was the eldest of the girls.

“Yes, of course. The girls and boys would meet and let the Powers That Be decide. Once this happens, they would be claimed by the other Circle.”

Dahlia looked at Emmett. “I don’t see how we can refuse this request. It’s up to Summer, of course, but we need to try.”

“I agree,” her husband replied. “Do we need to put this to a full Circle vote, or should the families involved decide?”

“I think it’s up to you,” Neil said. “They aren’t our children. I wouldn’t want someone else deciding my daughter’s future. This would involve the Sweet family, the Crismans, Beauchamps—and Pennybaker.”

“Our daughter isn’t old enough,” Nadine protested.

“Not Clarice, no. But Marissa is.”

“Marissa is with Chase.”

“And we all know they’ve been having issues. Which, based on how far away they are sitting from one another tonight, begs me to conclude that they haven’t resolved their problems. Marissa, I know that Brian gave you and Chase two options; resolve your issues, or you would be removed from the Circle.”

Marissa blushed a deep red. Nadine stood, gasping loudly.

Her father hopped up, “Now see here!” he bellowed at Brian. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

“It was Marissa’s place to. Why didn’t you?” Brian shot the remark at Marissa.

“I thought you were kidding. I thought maybe it was just a way to make us talk to each other.”

“Have you made any progress?”

“We’ve tried. But I don’t know what to do! Every time I think we have it taken care of, something else happens.”

Brian turned to Chase. “And what do you have to say? Are you still fussing because she won’t go to bed with you? Have you managed to get past that, or are you still being a horny, selfish teenager?”

“Brian, not fair, man.”

“Answer me. Have you tried to fix things with Marissa?”

Chase’s ears turned red. His jaw clenched and he looked like he was near tears. “Do we have to do this in front of everyone?”

“I think so. You haven’t done what I told you to do. You’ve put me in a bad position, Chase. You’re my best friend and I respect Marissa for healing me when I was poisoned, but you make us weak. Your inability to heal your relationship puts us all at risk. Not just our Circle, but the Center and Outer Circles as well. You jeapordize our families.” He turned to Marissa. “I leave it to you to decide. Do you want to leave our Circle and be adopted by another? Allowing Chase to mate with another, and you as well?”

Marissa was in tears. Lips trembling, she stared at Chase. “What do you want?”

“I don’t know, Marissa.” He looked ready to cry.

She turned to face Brian, her face and voice expressionless. “I think that answers it for both of us.”

Brian nodded. He faced John, bowing formally. “Marissa Pennybaker will allow herself to be considered for a position in your Circle. After your members meet ours, we will prepare the unbinding ceremony. I will have to keep one of our girls to replace her. The Sweet girl has been suggested as a replacement, but ultimately, the Powers That Be will decide.”

Chase jumped up, rushing Brian. “You can’t do this!” He shoved at his friend.

“It’s done, Chase. I told you. I gave you time. Now, someone needs help and we’re out of time. You failed.”

“I was letting Marissa decide! It’s her self, her body.”

“She’s your mate. If you loved her as much as you say, there’s nothing in the universe that would keep you apart. By not speaking up for her, you showed her you’re all talk.”

Chase punched Brian in the gut. Brian bent over, but didn’t buckle. Taking up a defensive position, he waited for Chase to attack again. The other Circle members sat by, watching in silence. Neil and John moved into position where they could intervene if necessary. Chase’s fist lashed out again. Brian blocked it, waiting. Another swing and he ducked, jabbing under Chase’s guard. They sparred back and forth for a few minutes, looking for an opening. Chase dropped his guard and Brian jabbed him in the ribs again. Chase fiented to his left, but Brian read the move before he completed it.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 58

When Tis Done coverMiles has an unpleasant confrontation with Mr. Fēng at the school. He and Brian are finally able to leave, and find out that Elise has been nearly hysterical since Brian’s phone call with his mother. Called to Neil and Cynthia’s house, they meet up with Jordan’s family shortly after they arrive.

“It was clearly self-defense. Besides, I think he used some of the druid mind shit on the officer. It was kind of like watching Obi Wan ju-ju the Storm Troopers.”

“Yeah? Weird.”

“Thing is, I think I did it to Mr. Ferris, too. I didn’t try to, but he was way more cooperative than usual.”

“Maybe he believed you?”

Brian tipped his head, pursing his lips. “Don’t think so. I should have been suspended for fighting. I didn’t throw a punch, but I grabbed him. Ferris didn’t even blink when he saw me.”

“He saw you with Fēng?”

“In a chicken wing. Yeah.”

“Major Mind Mojo, babe!” she bumped knuckles with him.

Brian chuckled. “It was kind of cool.”

The house was crowded when they arrived, but everyone was slowly making their way to the backyard. Dinner items that needed refrigerating or heating went to the kitchen, everything else came out and was set on the picnic tables in the yard. Brian put their pasta salad in the kitchen and followed Jordan outside. She had three loaves of homemade bread and he wondered if she’d baked them herself. She had become a very good baker the last year and was shaping up to be a great cook, like her mother. They got beverages from one of the coolers and sat on a bench around the fire pit, where the others had congregated.

When Neil decided it was time, he stood up. A man they didn’t know, sat next to Cynthia on the bench near the altar.

“Hi, everyone. Thank you for coming on such short notice. This is a good friend of mine from the Marines. His name is John Curtis and he’s my former C.O. Captain Curtis came to see us on behalf of his brother, who is the Voice of his Center Circle. I’ll let him explain.”

To quiet applause, Curtis stood up.

“Thank you, Neil and Cynthia. Good friends, I’m here on behalf of my brother, Roy Curtis, who is voice of his Circle in Beaumont, Texas. He is also the Dreamer for his Circle.”

They all gasped.

“He has been having dreams about this Circle and its troubles. He wants to help, but he is also having Circle troubles of his own. Several of the Center Circle, have not been able to conceive, or have lost their children during pregnancy. They don’t have a full Inner Circle. In fact, they are only half complete, mostly boys. The Outer Circle has several doctors who have looked into this situation, but none of them have been able to determine where the problem lies. We appeal to your healers and doctors for help in that. We’ve come under attack several times during the last couple of years, just as you have.”

“Has your brother posted this on the Circle boards?” Miles asked. “This is the first we’ve heard any of this.”

“No. Roy has reason to believe that the Circle boards may have been compromised. He’s urging everyone to stop using them.”

“How has he determined this?” Heath asked.

“The nature of the attacks and the people who were involved. He saw the annoncement of Neil and Cynthia’s appointment the day after it happened, and Neil tells me they were attacked shortly after that—more than once. The latest when I arrived and tried to kill Neil.”

“You what?” Miles sprang to his feet. “Neil….”

“It’s all right. It wasn’t his fault. He was possessed. We dealt with it, for now. But we need Jackie and Nadine to check him before he goes home.”

“Absolutely,” Jackie said. “But you’re all right? Both of you?”

“Yes. We’re fine,” Cynthia said. “It was terrifying, but I listened to the inner voice, as Jackie taught me, and followed what it wanted me to do.”

“Good girl,” Jackie said with a smile.

“What can we do for your brother’s Circle?” David asked.

“It’s a lot to ask,” John replied. “We need some of your girls. If the Powers That Be will allow it, we would like to initiate them into our Circle. Am I right that you have three girls, all the right ages, in the Circle families, and two more near to their coming of age?”

“That’s right,” David said. “Do you need all five?”

“No. We need three of them.” His head drooped. “I know it’s a lot to ask and I wouldn’t do so, but Neil has been a good friend a long time. We’ve saved one another so many times, we’ve both lost count. I sensed that he was like me, but neither of us could take the chance and fully disclose our true natures.”

“It has to be by consent of parents as well as the girls,” Neil said. “No one is being forced. With this group so close to us, we hope that we can maintain our balance for each group. The girls would, in terms of the Circle, be adopted by the families in question. They would live with their own parents until such time as they married their mates. This is not an unknown arrangement, though having so many move from one group to another, is unusual.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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1000 Word Sprint Guidance and suggestions: the GOAL of a Sprint

Dan Alatorre

Word Weaver SPRINT 1There are two goals to a 1000 Word Sprint Contest. You will be creating a short story or story segment, sure, but also something else.

The first goal is: Get your story up and running as quickly as possible.

The 1000 word limit will force you to be thrifty with your verbiage.

The second goal is to make it as complete as possible within those 1000 words.

In George RR Martin’s prologue to the first book of Game of Thrones, within 200 words you have a very good feel for the setting and the characters.

200 words, and the guy writes stories the size of phone books.

How was that done?

img_2351-12 your humble host

First, as always, you put down whatever your idea is. Get it out of your head and into the computer or onto the page. Then you go back and you analyze each sentence to make…

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