Archive | August 2018

When Tis Done – Part 90

When Tis Done cover smallNot only is Chase attacked, Marissa’s mother, as well as Jackie and Maribelle, have been hit. Elise, cradled in her mother’s arms, doesn’t seem to be harmed, but Claude checks her anyway.

“She’s fine. Take her inside. Jordan, you stay with her. Neil, help Marissa get Chase in the shed. Brian, go get your father.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Where is your father?” Claude looked around, realizing that there should be more people around. “Oh, sweet Jesus….”

Brian did as he was told. Jordan followed, taking the baby up to the master bedroom. She locked the door after Brian left. Terrified, she said every prayer she could think of, for Elise, herself and the others. There should have been more activity. The house was too quiet. Where were the others? She was anxious, wanting to know, but took her duty to care for Elise very seriously. After all, this was her future sister-in-law.

“It’s okay,” she said over and over, trying to assure herself. “It’s okay.”

They came from the swamp, wave after wave of dark spirits, slicing through the air with a singular hiss that set Brian’s nerves on edge, The hair on the back of his neck sprang to attention. Where were the others? Surely not all taken down with darts? Why hadn’t the wards stopped them? The spirits circled him, snatching at his hair, scratching his face, ears, any exposed skin. With a flick of his hand, he conjured a wind that scattered them like leaves. A thin, airy scree of distress accompanied them. The wind whirled, dragging them into the earth. The sand covered them, obliterating them as if they had never been.

Scurrying around the side of the house, the shadow of a fox and crow charged Brian. He realized now why they weren’t affected by the wards, they weren’t real, merely shades. They could still hurt him, causing serious physical damage, but at least he knew. A blast of hot air drove these away, slowing him down. As he raced through them, they reached for him, snapping and clawing. Brian pushed on, looking for his father and the others. He heard the sound of battle at the front of the house. His friends were in a cluster, fighting more of the wraithlike shadow creatures and taking the worst of it.

“Air!” he bellowed. “Blast them with air! Smother them with earth!”

Rushing to them, he laid waste, expelling the shadows with a blast of air, hammering them to the ground.

“Where’s my dad? Mom’s hurt,” he asked Sweet.

The young man pointed to the woods. “He and Heath ran that way. I don’t know why.”

“Come with,” he commanded. “Andre, get the women inside. Jordan needs you.”

“We can fight….” Ginnifer stated angrily.

“And Jordan needs you more. Go! Some of you help Claude. Healers. Fast.”

Andre did as he was told without question. Caleb and Summer followed Sweet and Brian.

“He’s my brother. I’m coming,” she stated, chin firm.

“Do you know what you’re doing?”

“Os has been training me.”


He ducked into the woods, following his father’s path. It might not be obvious to others, but he could see the scent of his passing. He and Miles were chasing something.

“This way,” he pointed to the right.

The others followed without question. They heard sounds of battle a few yards ahead in a small clearing. Brian recognized it as the spot where they’d had their showdown with Mr. D and knew it wasn’t a coincidence. It had been chosen with the sole purpose of sapping his confidence. It hadn’t worked, quite the opposite feeling surged through him, especially when he saw his father figthing Mr. Fēng. Wondering how the man had gotten free, he dashed forward, sending a wave of dirt at the man’s legs.

Fēng toppled, trying to right himself. Restraints made of dirt wound up his legs. Jian leaped from the trees, screeching like a bird of prey. He slashed at Brian with huge claws where his hands should be. The talons sliced Brian’s clothing, stinging his skin. He faltered, knowing it was the same poison that had been used on Chase. Fighting it off, he used water from the air to wash his body, cleansing the pores, sealing them with a layer of moisture.

Balling his fist, Brian called forth earth and slammed it into Jian, knocking him down. Earthen fists pummled the downed teenager, pushing him deeply into the ground. It opened, closing over the boy.

With a roar, Fēng jumped at Brian, using earth against him. As the first clod rose, flying at him, Brian faced the onslaught, raising his hands like a shield. The clumps of earth fell to dust. Rocks shattered, their pieces racing back at Fēng, stinging him like dozens of needles. With a roar, he raised a boulder, slinging it at Brian.

With a twitch of his head, Brian halted the huge stone. It dropped to the ground. Fēng lifted it again, finding it heavier. It took precious seconds to realize that the ground held it, pulling it back down. Soon, it too was buried like his son. Suddenly, the grass exploded upward and Jian came out of the ground. Flames shot from his hands, whirling at Brian like knives of fire.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 89

When Tis Done cover smallAfter the Binding ceremonies, Chase and Marissa are talking. Suddenly, he senses movement behind him. Turning his back to it, he pushes Marissa down to protect her. Unfortunately, whatever it is, hits him and he goes down.

Brian and Jordan had very pointedly left their friends behind, delighted that they had made a committment to one another. Pleased with the outcome of the night, they were wrapped up in one another, kissing happily.

A scream ripped the happy silence.

“Marissa!” Jordan yelled, pushing away from Brian.

He followed, overtaking and passing her easily. He stopped a few feet from Chase, assessing the situation. He was face down on the ground, his skin an ugly, mottled color with dark lines following the pattern of his veins. Marissa squatted beside him, tugging at something in his left shoulder.

“Don’t touch it!” Brian said. “Get Claude,” he told Jordan.

Scanning the woods, he looked for clues, but saw nothing in the once over he gave it. Dropping to his knees, he took Chase’s pulse and checked his eyes. They had the same black lines as the rest of him. His gaze was fixed and stony.

“He’s not breathing!” Marissa screeched. “Not breathing! Oh, my God! Don’t die. Please, don’t die! Chase. Honey!”

Brian gently pushed air into his lungs, helping them to expand and contract.

Neil arrived first, followed closely by Claude, John and Roy Curtis. The doctor had a bag with him and he dropped by Chase’s prone form.

“Is he breathing?”

“Barely, but I started pushing air in his lungs as soon as I got here. His pulse is weak. I don’t like how his eyes look.”

Claude was already looking at Chase’s eyes. “Here’s what we do,” he said, digging in his bag. “He’s been poisoned. It’s similar to what Brian was given last year.” He pulled out a flask, a silver spoon and a stick of iron. He poured liquid into a small cup, stirred with the silver and iron before handing it to Marissa. “Bathe the wound with that, after I pull out the dart. Try not to touch his skin with your hands.” He handed her a nitrile glove and a piece of sterile gauze.

“We’ve got this,” Neil said to the other men. “Y’all go up to the house and stay with the others.”

“I’m staying here,” Brian said.

Claude nodded. “Keep the air flowing. You’re doing great.”

His own gloves in place, Claude gingerly pulled at the dart and cut Chase’s shirt away. The wound was ugly, red and swollen, black lines traveling rapidly from the center. Gasping, Marissa did as instructed. When she had finished, Claude put his hands on either side of the wound and pushed hard. Black blood oozed out. Marissa mopped this away, burning the gauze in a small fire that Claude had started. They repeated the progress until the blood running from the wound was red.

Chase looked better. His color was returning to normal, but the black lines were still evident. Claude prepared another mixture, stirring it with the silver and iron.

“Help me turn him,” he told Neil. “Careful. Don’t touch his skin or shirt.”

Together, he and Neil carefully turned Chase over. Supporting him, Brian helped Marissa put the cup to slack lips. Using his powers, he forced the liquid to stay in his friend’s mouth. Chase swallowed automatically. Gradually, he drank everything in the cup. The black lines receded. Brian didn’t realize he’d been holding his breath, until forced to expel it.

“Brian!” Jordan’s cry startled him so, he nearly dropped Chase. “Brian!” The tone was emphatic, laced with shock and a modicum of fear.

Leaping up, he tripped over Chase’s arm. Neil helped him up.

“Stay here,” Neil ordered Andre and Marissa. He and Brian ran to see what was wrong with Jordan.

Dashing up the back steps, they saw what had her concerned before they got in the house. His mother, hers and Marissa’s were all struck with the same darts that had felled Chase. A tiny form lay very still under the downed body of Maribelle Casey.

A horrified wail escaped Brian. “Elise!” He sprang forward, approaching without caution. Neil grabbed his arm, holding him back.

“We don’t know what that poison is,” he said. “It hasn’t affected the baby, but it has your mom. You take Elise after I raise Maribelle off her. Jordan, get Claude.”

“Yes, sir.” She hurtled down the steps and across the yard, calling for the doctor.

With the greatest care, Brian checked his baby sister. He could tell that his mother had done her best to protect her as she fell, cradling the little body against hers. Elise was breathing and there were no signs of the poison. She was breathing and Brian thought she might simply be asleep. Unsure, he looked around for the doctor. Claude took the steps two at a time. He did a quick assessment of the baby.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 88

When Tis Done cover smallBrian and Jordan have their Binding ceremony. Claude also says he will do the ceremony for anyone who wants to participate. Part of the ceremony is a kiss. A little shyly, Brian kisses Jordan.

Their kiss lasted longer than either of them had intended. The clapping and cheering of their friends finally penetrated their cloud and they stepped apart, smiling. Their parents hugged them and they were pounded on the back by so many hands, they felt slightly bruised.

The other couples all wanted the Binding ceremony, so Jackie and Claude split the group and each took half. Jackie stayed at the altar and Claude led his couples to the meditation circle on the other side of the property. Brian and Jordan wandered to the treehouse and climbed up.

“I feel like I actually said wedding vows,” Jordan said.

“Yeah, me too. I know this all came at us kind of fast, but if I’d known about this ceremony, I would have done it ages ago. I love you with all my heart. So much, sometimes, it aches.”

“Right down to your balls?” she teased.

“I’m being serious here.”

“I know. Believe me, I feel the same way. Even more than my parents, you’re the center of my world.”

They leaned toward each other to kiss, but someone called from below.

“Dude, we’re about to do our thing. I want you by my side, brother.” It was Chase.

“On our way down,” Jordan called.

They hurried down the tree and were greeted by Marissa and Chase. The four of them walked over to Jackie’s group and waited until it was their turn. Jordan stood up with Marissa and Brian stood behind Chase. Nervously, the young couple stood together and recited the vows Jackie read to them. Holding hands, they exchanged their senior class rings. Marissa had to put Chase’s on her thumb and he put hers on his pinky, but all that mattered was the exchange. When it came time for them to kiss, she didn’t hesitate. Stepping close, she took his face in her hands and kissed him.

The women sighed, the men cheered loudly and they all clapped excitedly as the troubled pair sealed their Binding. Afterward, Chase held her waist and Marissa cupped his cheeks as they gazed into one another’s eyes. The other couples disperesed quietly.

“I wish we’d done this a year ago,” Chase whispered. “I knew I loved you then. I’ve loved you my whole life, it feels like. You’re a part of me like no other. I’m sorry I’ve been such a complete tool about all this.”

Marissa put her finger on his lips, following it with a kiss. “I love you, too. And I’m sorry I’ve been so difficult. Let’s put all that aside now.”

They kissed again and hugged, content with one another for the first time in years. Brian and Jordan watched from a short distance, spying unrepentently on their friends. They were so happy to see them together, they didn’t care if it was rude or not.

“Y’all want a picture?” Chase asked, barely turning his head.

“Yes, I do,” Jordan said. “Of all four of us. This is a big occasion!” She lined them up and had Brian take pictures with each of their phones.

“Why do I always get that duty?” he teasingly complained.

“You’re the tallest and have arms like a selfie stick,” Chase said with a sneer.

“Oh, well….” Brian chuckled, rubbing his nails on his shirt. “If that’s the case, I’ll just grow a few more inches. I always wanted to be six foot eight.”

“You won’t!” Jordan squeaked, smacking him. “I won’t have you be a foot and four inches taller than me!”

“True. Six foot ten,” Brian said. “Then it’s a foot and a half.”

“You’re impossible,” Jordan said. “Such a putz.”

“But I’m your putz,” he said, nibbling her earlobe. “So be nice to me.”

Chase put his arm around Marissa, pulling her close. He chanced a kiss on her throat and she didn’t stiffen up and pull away. Instead, she tilted her head so he could do it again.

“Thank you,” he whispered. “It’s the little things….” He didn’t finish the remark, merely kissed her again.

Brian and Jordan kept walking, but Chase and Marissa stopped.

“You never made a committment before,” she murmured. “You said you loved me, but everything you did made it a lie. I still can’t give you—everything, Chase. I’m not wired like that. But now I know that it’s true. Thank you.” She sniffled, tears brimming in her eyes.

Chase wiped them gently away, kissing the tip of her nose. “I’ve been a selfish fool and I’m sorry. I’ll wait as long as you want. Even if it means I give myself carpel tunnel.”

Marissa burst out laughing, shoving against his chest. “You’re such a goof!”

“But I’m your goof—body and soul.”

Behind them, to the left, from the edge of the woods, Chase sensed movement. Before he could call out or react, something flew at them. He was able to register a small projectile, but not what it was or from where. Turning so his back was to it, he pushed Marissa to the ground. Too late, he realized whatever it was had struck him. The last thing he heard was Marissa screaming his name.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 87

When Tis Done cover smallAs they get things ready for the Circles to gather, Jackie set out a new crystal skull, which Jordan is immediately attracted to. Brian’s skull, Lester, is highly attracted too. A bolt of energy enters her skull, from Brian’s, giving them both quite a jolt.

They practiced on grapes, since these were small and plentiful. They also had a skin not dissimilar to human flesh in density and thickness. Their juicy interior was a good substitute for muscle. It took a few tries, but soon they grew more confident. With only a few mistakes, they all felt fairly confident that they could do the branding on everyone, including Elise and other small children. Overall, the women had a more delicate touch, but Derrick, Caleb and Neil had more control than anyone else. Brian was accurate, but his spell was a little too penetrating. He went completely through a few grapes and decided that he would bow out rather than risk it.

“Nothing to be ashamed of,” Neil said quietly as they picked up. “So, you aren’t perfect at everything.” He shrugged.

Brian laughed. “I guess I always expect to be, for some reason.”

“Boy, if you can put that same zowie into an offensive spell, remind me not to piss you off.”

Ducking his head, Brian blushed. “I’ve been practicing on rocks and dirt clods. Never anything living. I can vaporize a rock the size of that grape, or seriously damage one the size of your head.”

Neil shuddered, clapping Brian on the shoulder. “Holy hell, son. I’m glad you’re on my side.”

Brian chuckled. “Ditto.”

After an early lunch at Marissa’s home, they all made their way to Neil and Cynthia’s house. Miles met them there with Elise and the wooden box—one under each arm.

“I don’t know why my daughter likes hanging like a bag of potatoes,” Maribelle fussed, taking her baby from her husband.

“Can’t imagine,” Miles said, winking at Heath. Both men carried her that way.

When she wasn’t looking, they tapped knuckles.

They gathered around the fire pit in the back yard, with Jordan, Brian and their parents around the altar. Since Jackie wasn’t in a position to officiate, Claude Beauchamps took the place as spiritual guide.

“This is something we’ve never done in our group before,” he said, smiling. “And I’m honored to be the one to conduct this ceremony, because I think it’s pretty cool. I think we need to restart this tradition. Dear friends, we are gathered here, not for a wedding, but for a spiritual melding. The old texts call it Binding, but that’s a misnomer. What Brian and Jordan share today isn’t restraint, but combining of energy that will make them stronger and show their love to anyone who knows how to look. In fact, if any other couples here tonight want to do this, I will happily officiate over all of the Bindings. We don’t have rings for everyone, but there’s plenty of pine straw, the Binding rings can be made by braiding them together.”

The other couples exchanged a look and all of the men picked up a piece of pine straw.

“I knew there was a reason for that,” Cynthia whispered, pulling the straw ring from her pocket with a smile.

“Jordan and Brian, you’ve been called by The Powers That Be, to be husband and wife, mated for life. Do you accept this?”

“We do,” they chorused.

“Take hands.” He raised the rings, saying a quick prayer over them. “Brian, take Jordan’s ring and place it on her finger.”

He did so.

“Repeat these words. With this ring of promise, I declare that you are my one and only love. We will walk together, love each other and vanquish foes which come against us.”

Brian repeated them, as did Jordan.

Claude said further blessings over the necklace. He had Brian take it and put it over Jordan’s head.

“This necklace will keep you safe,” Brian told her. “It will protect you, even if I’m not around, and will work with mine to keep all of our Circle from harm. Do you accept this gift?”

“I do.” She giggled a little, blushing.

“Take hands and declare your intentions before the group,” Claude instructed.

“We promise to work together to strengthen our Circle, as well as the Outer and Center Circles. We declare our love for one another and our intention to marry. Let our rings show our devotion to one another, and to you all.”

Everyone clapped and cheered.

“You can kiss her now,” Claude murmured.

Brian blushed. Although he’d kissed Jordan in front of the others before, never with so much attention.

“You have to, Brian. It’s in the instructions,” Jackie murmured.

“Well, we have to, Babe,” he said, pulling Jordan close. He lowered his head, gazing into her eyes, until she closed them and their lips met.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 86

When Tis Done cover smallWeather the following day, isn’t normal. Worried about it, Heath decides that the fire wielders will have to take a very short time to practice. Brian and Jordan need their binding ceremony, and everything has to be rushed.

“Thanks. I need to make calls,” Heath said.

“I’ll do it. You help get things ready,” Miles countered.

“Thanks. See you later on.”

They hung up. Heath went to see what needed to be done to get ready for the group. Jackie had most of it set up the night before, but she was getting out crystals to help focus the power. Each member of the group had a stone that helped focus fire. Brian was bringing Lester. With Heath’s help, Jackie lined up several other skulls which had been helpful in the past. Most were clear quartz, but there was also one which was obsidian and another one of rutilated quartz. The clear stone was stirated with another mineral, that had a coppery look to it. It formed sort of a sunbeam pattern from the base of the skull, throughout the piece.

“I haven’t seen this one before,” Heath said, pointing to the rutilated quartz skull. He knew better than to touch it without being told.

“She’s new. I think she and Lester will do good things together.”

Jordan walked in with Brian and Maribelle in tow. “Oh, Mom, this is gorgeous!” She picked up the rutilated skull without hesitaition.

Heath’s head snapped around and he watched his wife. She didn’t reprimand their impulsive daughter, merely gave a secretive smile. He realized she’d gotten it for Jordan, no wonder she thought it would do good things with Lester.

“Isabelle,” Jordan pronounced as she held the skull, gazing into the eyes. “She’s beautiful!”

Brian came over to look and jumped, stifling a yelp of surprise. “He never did that before,” he said, digging into his bag for Lester. “He jumped and gave me a shock when I got close to you.”

“Oh, my God, what’s she doing?” Jordan’s eyes widened as the skull in her hands vibrated and shivered. “Mom?”

“Move Lester closer,” her mother suggested in a calm voice. “Slowly. Hold on and watch.”

Brian cupped the purple skull in his big hands, bringing it closer to Jordan’s. She held Isabelle in her right palm, propping the back with the fingertips of her left hand.

“Mother, this is freaky—Look!” she gasped.

Tendrils of energy leaped from Lester, caressing the surface of Isabelle before diving into her thourgh the top. They could see them scurry to the bottom, puddling near Jordan’s palm. Jordan trembled, moaning softly. She inhaled slowly, exhaling through pursed lips.

“Holy shit!” she squeaked, nearly dropping the skull.

Brian looked equally shaken. Setting Isabelle down, Jordan scurried from the room without excusing herself. Brian did the same, following her to the back porch. She stood in the doorway, gulping air.

“You okay?”

“You suppose that’s what an orgasm feels like? Cause—holy shit!”

Brian chuckled softly. “I can’t speak for the full monty, but when I—relax—it feels pretty similar. I imagine the real deal is a lot better.”

“I think our crystal skulls just had sex. Before you know it, there will be a bunch of pebbles rolling around.” She giggled nervously. “Do you think Mom knew that would happen?”

“No clue, but I think she was just as surprised as we were.”

“You felt that, right?”

Oh, yeah,” he growled softly, putting his arms around her, nibbling her throat. “Sucks that Lester’s getting action and I’m not.”

Jordan giggled, holding his hands. Tilting her head to the side, she allowed him greater access to her throat. “Not much longer,” she whispered. “I’d like us not to be jailbait.”

“I won’t tell if you won’t,” he murmured.

“Brian, based on how we are around one another, I think the entire state would know. Without us saying a word.”

He chuckled, his mouth against her skin. A warm tingle traveled down her spine. Jordan shivered with delight.

“They’re waiting for us,” she sighed, her voice catching in a little moan.

“They can wait a minute more. I want a kiss after that.”

Tilting her head, Jordan offered her lips. Brian captured her mouth with his, kissing her softly, but emphatically.

“I love you, Jordan. I hope one day to be able to show you just how much.”

Hand in hand, they walked back to the crystal room. Everyone had taken seats, leaving two places side by side for Jordan and Brian. The skulls were waiting for them, seeming to pulsate in harmony.

“Are we all comfortable with the incantation?” Maribelle asked.

Everyone agreed that they were.

“Good. I wish we had more time to prepare, but there’s a matter of some urgency. Let’s begin.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Diana Milne – A Memory by Chuck Lovatt

Books & Entertainment Network


Today, we share our space with Author Chuck Lovatt as he shares his own memories of our beloved Diana Milne.

I first met Diana by way of a book club we both belonged to, in the summer of 2016. She wrote a review for my debut novel, and we became friends shortly thereafter. Since then, she went on to write reviews for all my books, but it wasn’t until I read what she’d written about a collection of some of my short stories, that I realised that she had known of me for quite a bit longer, having stumbled across a micro-short of mine by accident on the internet two years earlier. She’d even had it framed and hung on the wall of her den. Only Diana would think of doing something like that. I finally got to meet her in person last year while I was visiting my girlfriend…

View original post 421 more words

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Mari & Sue

Dellani's Tea Time with Mari and Sue

TODAY from 4-6PM Eastern Join Us for Dellani’s Tea Time with Mari & Sue

Summer’s coming to an end – at least in some parts of the world. Here in Florida, it’s summer 99% of the year! However, officially, as far as the school system is concerned, it’s winding to a close. Students are trotting off to the hallowed halls of education, leaving Mom & Dad with a little extra time on their hands. Yay! How better to spend that time, than reading a book? My two authors today have wonderful adventures to share with you.

First up is Mari Collier, author of the Twisted Tales Series, and the Chronicles of Maca Series. This is Mari’s first time on the show, and we’re so excited to have her with us. Welcome, Mari!

Also joining us is Sue Coletta, author of spine tingling mysteries, Scathed, Cleaved and Marred, and many more. This is Sue’s second (or maybe third) visit to our show. Welcome back, Sue!

Join us LIVE TODAY from 4-6 PM here on Red River Radio

When Tis Done – Part 85

When Tis Done cover smallAfter dinner, the Mississippi & Louisiana teens meet at Jordan’s for awhile. They talk about the Texas contingent, and review plans for the following day.

Jordan rabbit punched his ribs. “Don’t make me hurt you, Osric.”

He clutched his chest. “Ow, you slay me just by using that name.”

She repeated it several times and he yowled like a stepped on cat.

“Everything okay?” Jackie called.

“Yes, ma’am,” Sweet replied. “But they’re beating up on me, Miss Jackie.”

“Girls, stop that!”

“How do you know it wasn’t the boys?” Jordan called.

“Because he’d be unconscious.”

“Valid point.”

Brian and Jordan kissed goodnight quickly, not wanting to hold up Sweet and Ginny.

“See you tomorrow. You be safe.”

“You, too. I love you kind of a lot.”

“I love you kind of a lot, too.” He gave her another quick kiss and got in the car.

Jordan stood in the driveway with Andre and Louisa until they were out of sight. Louisa went downstairs, but Andre walked the house with Jordan, checking the doors and windows. He muttered wards as they made the rounds.

“Don’t you trust my dad’s wards?” Jordan chided.

“I do, very much. But my unborn baby is here. I’m giving it every extra bit I can.”

“Will that be a problem? If Louisa is pregnant, she shouldn’t be in a fight.”

“I thought about that. If she’s close by, in a protected location, she can still help by chanelling her energy.”

“How close?”

“We’ve been practicing. Even if she’s a mile away, we can work effectively.”

“I didn’t even know that was possible!”

“No one told us it wasn’t.” He smirked. “According to my mom, provisions are made by the Powers That Be, for pregnant women. So they won’t put the baby at risk, their powers are boosted. They stay that way until the child is two years old.”

“That’s so cool! I had no idea.”

“Neither did we. But then again, none of us were pregnant before. No need to tell us everything.”

“True. Thanks for making the rounds with me.”

“Not a problem, Short Stack.” He kissed the top of her head and earned himself a jab in the ribs.

Jordan got ready for bed, wondering what the following day would hold. She and Brian would be learning the fire spell with the others. Though she could wield all four elements, as could Brian, they both had a penchant for fire. Her other strong suit was air and his best was, of course, earth. Grateful she got to sleep in a little, she turned out her lamp and fell almost immediately asleep.

The morning came with a grumble and rumble of thunder. Jordan woke, feeling fingers of energy up and down her spine. Worried, she examined the sky, probing the clouds. There was something not quite right about this storm. Though it seemed natural on the surface, below was a churning fury born of malicious magic. When she got to the kitchen for breakfast, everyone seemed on edge, especially Andre. She hadn’t forgotten that he not only read auras, he sensed emotions. Those of everyone around him, were nearly as tumultuous as the weather.

“I don’t like this,” Heath said, examining the sky for the third time since joining them.

“Dad, stop it. You’re freaking me out. We all know this isn’t right.”

“We need to do that ritual today, before nightfall. We can give our fire wielders an hour or two, tops. And we didn’t do the binding with you and Brian. Why?”

“I guess we forgot,” Jordan said. “We should do that before we do the branding.”

“Why?” Andre asked.

Jordan shrugged. “I just know we should.”

“I bow to your expertise,” Andre said, bowing slightly.

Jordan swatted at him, but he ducked away, chuckling.

“We need to get the fire wielders together immediately,” Heath said, whipping out his phone. He called Miles.

Since Heath was by far more attuned to weather than any of the Center Circle, Miles listened.

“Can we gather at your place?”

“Yes. Jackie already gave the go order. She’ll have the crystal room set up with everything we’ll need.”

“Excellent. Brian and Maribelle will be over soon. They’re on their way out the door.”

“Thanks. I need to make calls.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 84

When Tis Done cover smallChase sees the other men around Marissa, and finally decides that he can’t live without her. He declares his love, giving her a big kiss. Brian is very happy that they worked out their issues. Neil greets everyone, and they hand out the necklaces. Marissa explains about the branding.

“Like an invisible tattoo,” Jordan added, seeing that they were somewhat confused by Marissa’s announcement.

“Yes, exactly. It doesn’t use any needles or anything, it’s put there by magic. We need all the fire wielders to do it and we will need at least a day to prepare, but we want to put this on all of us. In fact, once y’all have learned it, you can do it at home for the folks who aren’t here.”

“This sounds fascinating,” Caleb said. “I wield fire. How can I help?”

Of the Texas Inner Circle, two were fire wielders. Many of the Mississippi and Louisiana Circles handled fire. Of these, most were also Casters or Charmers. Although Marissa wasn’t a fire wielder, because it was her idea, she spoke to them about what needed to be done. While they were busy, the others cleaned up. Once that was accomplished, Claude Beauchamps took the doctors and nurses inside to talk about the infertility problems.

Left to their own devices, the others showed one another spells and skills they had learned. The Texas boys showed off for the Mississippi and Louisiana girls. Already paired off, and seeming to be happy about their choices, they were bonding. Parents watched anxiously, relaxing as the young people laughed and got to know one another.

“This could work,” John murmured to Neil. “I wish we’d thought of it before.”

“Our girls wouldn’t have been ready before. It came at the perfect time for Chase and Marissa, I must say. I didn’t think thay boy was going to get his shit together.”

“When will we make this formal?” Roy asked, sidling up to them. His wife was in the fire group.

“We’ll ask the parents,” Neil decided. “I don’t want to push this on anyone. When they feel their kids are ready, we’ll formalize it.”

“I really think we should do it this weekend,” John said.

Neil and Roy frowned.

“Why’s that?” Neil asked.

“Because I think whatever is coming will be coming soon. I think we need to fill the Circle and make it whole, or we might not survive. Caleb agrees with me. So does his grandfather, who is Voice for the Outer Circle.”

“I still say we need to consult the parents, but if you feel that strongly, John, we’ll pass that along.”

The brothers nodded.

Soon after, the fire wielders were finished. Neil and Roy took the parents aside and spoke to them. John joined them, voicing his urgency, and the parents all felt the agreement needed to be finalized as soon as possible. They decided on the following night for that, as well as the branding. When that had been decided, everyone went home.

Brian rode to Jordan’s house with her and her parents. The Inner Circle met there in Jordan’s finished basement, to talk about the Texas youth.

“Seem like nice guys,” Sweet said. “Polite, friendly.”

“Could all be an act to make us think so,” Louisa said.

“No, I think they’re genuinely nice,” Marissa countered. “At least Caleb and Derrick. I spoke to them in the fire group. I feel an urgency with this spell. I’m glad we’re doing it tomorrow.”

“You could do ours tonight,” Sweet suggested.

“No,” Andre cautioned. “It’s a complicated procedure. If it’s done wrong, it can damage, not protect. We’ll be practicing tomorrow.”

“On people?” Chase put his hand over his heart.

“No, silly. On vegetables and fruit. We won’t put our hands on anyone until we’re sure of what we’re doing. If anyone doesn’t feel they are up to snuff, they won’t do the spell.”

“Just so we’re clear. I don’t want you buring a hole in me by mistake,” Chase teased.

“I’ll protect you, honey,” Marissa said, touching his cheek.

“Thank you. I might get myself in trouble just so you can.” He gave her a soft kiss.

Louisa yawned, setting them all yawning in responce. “Where are we staying? I’m exhausted all the time, these days.”

“You’re here, where you were last time,” Jordan said. “Sweet and Ginny, you’re at Brian’s. I don’t know where your folks are staying. I was only given your room assignments.”

“Well, I’m for my bed,” Louisa said. “Night, y’all. See you in the morning.”

“What’s the plan for breakfast?” Brian asked.

“Everyone at their host’s house,” Marissa said. “Lunch will be at our house with practice after at Cynthia and Neil’s.”

“Got it. Goodnight, all,” Brian said, waving.

“I’ll walk you up,” Jordan offered. “Do you want a ride?”

“We’ll take him,” Sweet said.

“Thanks. I hate coming back in the dark alone.”

“I would never make a lady do that,” Sweet replied, giving her a hug. “Sleep well, Small Fry.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 83

When Tis Done cover smallThe Texas group arrives and the boys meet the girls. Caleb Verano, the Voice of the Texas Inner Circle, is very interested in Sweet’s sister. Playing the big brother role expected of him, Sweet introduces himself to Caleb, giving him a none-to-subtle threat.

Sweet nodded. “Seems he didn’t take the idea of having his balls frozen too kindly, but he assured me he’ll be a perfect gentleman.”

“You believe him?”

“Fuck, no. But he believed me, which is all that’s important.” He clapped Chase on the shoulder and guided him over to the food. “Lighten up, dude. Enjoy the party. No one is going to steal your woman away.”

“You don’t know that.”

Sweet spent several seconds scanning the group, looking at auras and body language. “Yeah, I do. I also know that you need to go over there right now, give that girl a kiss and tell her you love her.”

He shoved Chase toward Marissa, who was looking somewhat lost and afraid. Chase stumbled, but took Sweet’s advice. Lifting Marissa’s hand to his lips, he kissed it, then kissed her lips.

“I love you, Marissa. I don’t want anyone but you. I know I’m a total jerk and a complete tool, but the idea of seeing you with another man—makes me sick. You’re mine, heart and soul and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you with me.”

Stunned, Marissa’s mouth fell open. Bursting into tears, she flung her arms around Chase’s neck, planting a kiss on his surprised mouth. His hands clasped her waist, easing around her back. The kiss lasted well over a minute. Everyone looked on, somewhat startled. Jordan grabbed Louisa and Ginny’s hands. The three girls bounced happily, watching as their friends mended their relationship. They could tell by the shifts in their auras that they were getting along better than they ever had.

“I’m guessing that Marissa withdraws her eligibility,” Brian whispered to Caleb.

Chuckling, the Voice of the Texas Inner Circle tapped his knuckles.

The kiss ended and everyone cheered. Marissa blushed slightly and Chase’s ears turned red, but they looked happier than Brian had ever seen them. Holding hands, they accepted congratulations from everyone, even the Texas boys.

Jordan, Ginny and Louisa nearly killed Marissa with hugs. The boys almost knocked Chase flat, pounding him on the back. Brian was thrilled. He’d counted on something like that taking place, and was glad he hadn’t been disappointed. He had no idea what he would have done if he’d had to put them both out of the Circle. Relieved, he watched as Jordan congratulated Marissa. Feeling someone at his shoulder, he turned to see David.

“Worked out after all.”

“Yes, thank God. I was worried.”

“Me, too. You think they can pull it together now?”

“Yes, sir. I think so. It took seeing her with the other men, to make him grow up and realize what a good woman he’s got. He showed restraint. If that had been Jordan, I think I’d have flattened someone.”

David chuckled, slapping him on the back. “That’s the Earth wielder in you. I’d just smack him with a dust cloud and suffocate the bastard.”

“That works, too.”

Neil hugged his nephew and Marissa, putting an arm around each of them. “Now that we’ve settled this pairing, I hope we can be equally successful with the others. We have a gift for everyone, a token of our friendship.”

Miles and Heath brought out the trays of necklaces and circulated through the crowd of guests with them.

“These were made by our late member, Cliff Finley, and me. Chase and Marissa also helped with them. There are some special blessings on each of them, something that, we hope, will help fight the Dark. Please take one and wear it in good health.”

They had made enough for the absent members of the group, as well as family members. Once the necklaces had been accepted, Neil continued.

“Marissa had another idea. I’m going to let her tell you about it.” He clapped, indicating that she should step forward and speak.

“Thanks, Neil. My friends and I were talking the other night…. You know that scene in Temple of Doom where the man’s heart gets ripped out?”

Everyone who knew the movie put a protective hands over their hearts.

“We found a reference in the Encyclopedia Magicka which indicates that such a spell actually exisits.”

There were many shocked exclamations. It took a moment for everyone to stop talking.

“I didn’t mean to scare you. What I wanted to tell you is that we have found a way to protect ourselves from it. We’re going to place the charm on the necklaces tonight, but there is another procedure which would place the same charm on us—on our skin.”

“Like an invisible tattoo,” Jordan added, seeing that they were somewhat confused by Marissa’s announcement.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books