Archive | October 2019

Love Takes a Swim Part 1 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallLove Takes a Swim is a romance in my Florida Families Series. If you’ve read Conduct Unbecoming, or The Ninja Tattoo, you’ll have met some of the characters here. Kai Marcelo is part of a huge, old Florida family, who can trace their roots back to the Spanish settlers, as well as a Native American tribe. He works as a lifeguard for his parents at their health club, as well as training to be an paramedic.

When our story begins, it’s summer vacation in Florida, which means steamy and hot. Kai’s at work riding herd on the summer camp kids as they crowd the slide.

“Watch it, guys,” Kai said quietly. “One at a time, no shoving.”

He lined them up, holding each one until it was his turn. A simpering pair of teenage girls came up flashing their adolescent breasts at him. He pointedly looked away, scanning the pool carefully before smiling at them.

“Hi,” one said, giggling as she pushed past him to the top of the slide.

Kai nodded, smiling as he took another sip of water.

“What’s your name?” her friend asked, holding up the line as she tried to flirt.

“You need to keep moving,” he said calmly, glancing at the line.

Irritated, she tossed her head at him and went down the slide. She and her friend didn’t return. After about thirty more minutes, another lifeguard came up the ladder behind him.

“Time for you to go on break, bro,” Cody told him.

“Thanks. See you in twenty.”

Kai went down the ladder and headed inside to get a drink. He needed caffeine badly, but it was too hot for coffee, so he dug around for change to get a Coke. He found an empty picnic table under a tree, stretching out on top of it to relax in the shade, contemplating a haircut.

Thick and wavy, his dark brown, sun-streaked hair came to his shoulders. It was a mark of vanity for him, one he didn’t want to give up, but it was hot and becoming a nuisance. Women’s voices broke the solitude. He glanced to his right and saw a gaggle of elderly women arriving for the morning water exercise class. He was always on deck for that. The old ladies loved him. They liked staring at a tall, handsome, muscular young man while they huffed and puffed in the class.

He wasn’t there as eye candy. Training as a paramedic, he was the most experienced lifeguard with advanced life support techniques. Considering some of their patrons were not only elderly, but had health problems, it was important to have their best man on the job.

Checking his watch, he saw he had about five minutes left on his break. Chugging his soda, he let out a loud belch and headed to the pool deck. The regulars greeted him, laughing and simpering as he walked by. Other lifeguards cleared the children out of the pool. It was class time now, open swim commenced again after the two morning classes.

Kai brought out the noodles for the water aerobics teacher, and took his position on the high chair on the north end of the pool. After setting up the large red and white umbrella, he sat down, twirling his whistle on its red cord.

The facility director came out to greet the class. She rarely did that, so he sat up and took notice. An attractive brunette in shorts and a tank top, followed her. She carried a speaker, an iPod and a clipboard which she set on a chair near the pool and waited for the director to speak.

The older woman clapped her hands, getting the class’ attention. “Hi, everyone! As you all know, Deanna has left for maternity leave. So today, we’re welcoming our newest addition to the Sunspot Health Club family, Paisley Saunders.” She applauded. Everyone joined in. “Welcome, Paisley! I’m going to leave you all in her capable hands today and hope you enjoy her class!”

Speaking quietly to the younger woman, the director shook her hand and walked briskly back to the office. Kai leaned forward expectantly. This was by far the youngest and most attractive woman to join the Sunspot Health Club family in over a year. The only other one was Deanna, married and pregnant. He couldn’t tell for sure at a distance, but he didn’t see the glint of jewelry on her ring finger. That wasn’t always a tell. Most women knew not to wear their jewelry in the pool. But he remained hopeful.

Paisley turned from the edge of the pool to slip off her shoes and T-shirt. One of the older men wolf whistled at her. Blushing, she walked to the edge of the pool, shading her eyes against the glare.

“Okay, I can see I’ve got a troublemaker already. Do I need to send a note home?” she laughed as she started the music playing.

“I’ll behave, Miss Paisley,” he promised loudly and insincerely.

She laughed harder, beginning the warm-up. Her bright red one piece suit glittered and gleamed in the hot sunshine. Kai felt the heat, but it wasn’t from the pool deck or the sunshine. His heat was internalized, of his own making. He hated to admit it, but he was hot for teacher. Fidgeting, he wiggled in his chair trying to get a more comfortable position for his long, lanky body.

The man who’d whistled looked up from below. “Feeling it yet, boy?” he asked so only Kai heard him. Mr. Sims reminded Kai of Kenny Rogers in looks and build.

“Don’t know what you mean, Mr. Sims. Feel what?” He shifted as unobtrusively as possible.

The older man laughed at him. He knew the reason for Kai’s discomfort wasn’t because the seat was hard. “Pretty little thing.”

“Yup.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

The Choice is Made!

I apologize for today’s post being late. I got only a couple votes, one each for two stories, Love Takes a Swim and Shopping for Love. Since Love Takes a Swim is longer, that will be my next story. That way, I don’t have to go through this process anytime soon. I’ll share Shopping for Love next.

Honestly, not sure why I bother. I always hope that someone will say, “Wow, these all sound great! Here’s a million dollars!” It hasn’t happened yet, but I remain ever hopeful.

Be sure to tune in next week for Love Takes a Swim!

Love Takes a Swim cover

Today’s Offering is from Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes

Brand New Day coverBrand New Day

At 9:00, Diego and Ramona headed home. Sookie was in bed, so Janet walked them out to the car.

“That was fun,” she said. “I’m so glad you came by. I’m pretty limited what I can do, since I have to watch fussy pants every night, but Saturday and Sunday.”

“You’re not working this weekend, are you?”

“I work Saturday during the day, but I’m off by three.”

“There’s a Woody Allen movie playing the matinee at four, would you like to go?”

“Oh, I love Woody Allen! That’s Love and Death, right?”

“Yeah. It came out a couple months ago. It’s really funny.”

“You’ve seen it?” She sounded disappointed.

“I work at the theatre in the projection booth. I haven’t seen it in the actual theatre,” he said with a grin.

“Yeah, I’d like to go. Is Ramona going too?”

He looked a little embarrassed. “I thought maybe just you and me…. That’s if you’d like…. If….”

Janet giggled, putting her hand on his arm. “Don’t look so worried, silly. I’d love to go.”

“Cool. Should I pick you up at the drive-in?”

“Yeah, that would work.”

“Great. See you tomorrow, Janet.”

He leaned toward her as if he were going to kiss her. Janet wasn’t sure what vibe she was picking up. It was puzzling. Ramona tapped the horn, making them both jump. Diego cursed at her in Spanish. Janet, who was nearly as fluent as they were, laughed at him.

“I’m sorry….” She giggled. “The expression on your face…. Priceless.”

Fuming, he pressed his lips shut so he wouldn’t say the wrong thing. Pointing at his sister, his jaw worked. Finally, he decided to laugh with the girls.

“Yeah, laugh at me. It’s my lot in life,” he complained.

“See you tomorrow, Diego. Bye, Ramona. Call me later!”

© Dellani Oakes 2019

Today’s Offering is from Love, Death and Pizza by Dellani Oakes

love death and pizza cover 2Love, Death and Pizza

Who knows what drives a person to kill. Why does one man die and another lives? Does everyone who gets murdered deserve it? Does everyone who deserves it get murdered? I can sum those questions up in one quick, easy answer. Who knows?

In the case of Tack Carmichael, it wasn’t so much how someone was driven to kill him, or if he deserved it, but who got to him first?

Lots of people wanted Tack dead. He was a bastard and an asshole. He was one of the nastiest people on the face of the earth. Did he deserve to die? Adamant hell yes! Was I surprised when he turned up dead Friday night, his death announced on the eleven o’clock news? Not really. What I wondered was twofold: who finally axed him, and how would it affect the golf tournament?

I’ve known Tack Carmichael for close to thirty years. We met in the eighth grade when he assaulted me in the bathroom, threatening to give me a swirly if I didn’t give him my lunch money. Being the kind of guy I am, I gave him a black eye and a fat lip. He gave me a black eye, a swirly, and took my lunch money anyway. What a prick.

We were on the eighth grade football team together. I was the quarterback, Tack was my center. He was supposed to protect me, but instead he either left me exposed or put the hurt on me himself. After a few practice sessions of getting my ass kicked, the coach replaced him. His theory was that he could get a dozen guys to play center, but only a couple could replace me as quarterback. It pays to be a smart guy who plays football.

All through high school, Tack and I seemed to be at odds. If I asked a girl out, sooner or later she’d end up dating Tack. When I got made captain of the football team, Tack tried to undermine me. By the time we were sophomores, I’d wised up and started taking martial arts. The fights turned out differently after that. When he lost a couple teeth and I dislocated his shoulder, Tack left me more or less alone. He still took women away from me, but I’d learned to live with that shame.

I never could figure out why Tack hated me so much. I’m a stand-up kind of guy. I don’t go out of my way to screw folks over. I’ll defend myself, but I’m not vindictive. Most people learned not to mess with Brock Parnell. Don’t push me, I don’t push back. You start a fight, I’ll finish it. Usually with you on the floor in pieces, and not a scratch on me.

But to get back to Tack. We graduated, went to college, married beautiful women and moved back to the old homestead to rot in the cold, lifeless town in western Nebraska, where we grew up. I don’t know why Tack settled here. I came back because my wife thought it was a good place to bring up kids. She’s from Manhattan. To her, this town is quaint and charming. In other words, boring as hell.

The only folks who really make money in this backwater are the ones who own movie theaters, video arcades, pizza parlors and bars. Welcome to Parnell’s Pizza Palace! Bring the kids, have a few drinks, let them play video games until their brains rot! I’m making money hand over fist.

You know what’s ironic? We never had kids. I’m forty-two years old, stuck in this nowhere town, and not much to show for it. Oh, and my wife left me for a younger man. She’s now living in Vegas.

© Dellani Oakes 2019

Today’s Offering is from New at Love by Dellani Oakes

New at Love coverNew at Love

Fifth was her free period. Straightening up after the students filed out, she took her lunch down to the courtyard for some fresh air and much needed warm sunshine. As cold as it had been yesterday, today made up for it by being warm, breezy and cloudless. She sat on a planter in the courtyard, enjoying the sunshine on her shoulders. Someone approached from her left, but the sun was in her eyes, so she couldn’t see details until he sat down. It was her rescuer from earlier.

“Hi.” He smiled, extending his hand. “Large pizza, extra cheese, pepperoni, bacon and pineapple. I’m Derrick Butler.”

“I thought you looked familiar! I’m Amanda Bitterson. Do you work here?”

He laughed, tossing his blond hair out of his eyes. “Not exactly. I’m visiting from Australia. Might have noticed?” He put on an exaggerated Aussie accent.

“No, not really. We didn’t talk much last night.”

“True, that. So, shit for brains giving you trouble, eh?”

“He would have, except for you. Thank you. He had me pretty scared.”

“Never show fear of the enemy,” he said with a chuckle.

“I was more afraid I was going to break something,” she laughed. “It’s reflex to knee a guy in the balls for grabbing a boob, unless I want him to. I don’t want to lose my job.”

“Can’t say I blame you. Besides, little shit’s not worth it.”

“So, you never said if you worked here or not.”

“I’m mostly an observer.” He shrugged, eating one of her potato chips. “It’s an exchange program for instructors. Kind of like foreign exchange students. I’ve come for a semester to teach a class while a teacher from here works in mine. I hope he’s having more fun than me.”

“What do you teach?”

“History, mostly. Though, mind you, I’m only here for the surfing and the hot chicks.”

“I see.”

“I’m team teaching with a guy who’s near retirement. He doesn’t even notice if I’m there or not, so I wander around having lunch with beautiful women, after rescuing them from horny football players.”

Amanda laughed, covering her mouth with her fingers so she wouldn’t spew her food.

“Though there’s no one to save them from horny Australian history teachers. Pity that.”

“Who says they want to be saved?”

He raised an eyebrow. “You drink coffee?”

“What?” She was puzzled by his abrupt subject change.

“Do you,” he pointed at her. “Drink coffee?” He mimed drinking from a cup.

“Yes.”

“Want to have coffee with me later? My treat. I even have American money.”

“I’d like that. Thanks.”

“Cool! Can we make it right after school? I have to deliver pizzas again this evening.”

“Sure. That’d be great.”

“I’ll meet you by your classroom then.” He was gone as suddenly as he’d arrived.

Amanda had never met anyone quite like Derrick Butler before. He completely took her breath away, bouncing in and out of her life like a beach ball. He was unlike any other men she knew. Somehow that was comforting.

© Dellani Oakes 2019

Today’s Offering is from Shopping for Love by Dellani Oakes

I thought it might help my readers decide, if they had a short excerpt from each book.

shopping for love coverShopping for Love

“I hate rain!” The young woman in the parking lot yelled. She stood in one spot, face to the sky, stamping her feet in a puddle.

I watched her for several moments before approaching her. A man has to be cautious about walking up to a woman, in a mall parking lot. He can get a face full of pepper spray or a tazer to the nads. Especially, I might add, a man who looks like me. I have a dozen tattoos, body piercings, a shaved head, goatee and several earrings in both ears. I’m also rather muscular. In short, I’m potentially a little scary. Standing at least eight feet away, I cleared my throat. The woman was soaked and shivering, dressed in a lightweight woman’s suit with a skirt. I was in bluejeans and denim jacket. The rain didn’t bother me.

“Ma’am? Are you in need of assistance? I can get the mall security.”

“I can’t find my car!” She started to cry. Her makeup was a wreck, mascara running down her cheeks in black rivulets. Her hair lay in sleek, wispy curls giving her a waif like, little girl lost look. It was so wet, I couldn’t tell the color.

“Let’s get out of the rain,” I suggested. “I’ll find a security guard and see what we can do.”

It took very little persuasion to lead her back into the mall. Careful to keep my distance, I took her to the hair salon just inside the doors. They fetched towels and called security. I brought the young woman a cup of coffee from the staff lounge and sat with her. She shivered and held her coffee like a lifeline. I talked to her quietly to calm her down.

Mall security showed up about 20 minutes later. They stood around scratching themselves a lot. After a few prompts from me, they got the important information, and went to look for her car. While they were gone, the ladies in the salon offered to do the woman’s hair and makeup for free.

The security officers started with the place she said she had parked, but there was another car in the space. After wandering around for about 45 minutes, they decided to check the rest of the lot. They came up empty.

“I’m sorry, Miss Woodstone, it seems to be gone.”

“Gone? Gone!” She was upset and indignant. Who could blame her?

“We’ll call the police and report it stolen,” I said quietly in an effort to calm her again.

“We can take care of that for you, sir,” Bob the security guard said.

“Maybe it was towed,” Jim the other guard added.

Bob went to the phone and made the call to the city police. “They’re sending someone right over, Miss Woodstone.”

“Are you hungry?” I asked her.

“I’m fine. I just ate. The coffee’s good,” she replied and smiled. She had a beautiful smile, like raindrops in sunshine. “Thank you so much for your help, Mister?”

“Baker. Chase Baker. You’re welcome, Miss Woodstone.”

We chatted a little while longer, being very formal. The police came in all businesslike, getting her information again, and did a massive search of the parking lot. They came up with nothing, too. We went out to join them in the lot when the rain stopped.

“I’m afraid it truly has been stolen, Miss Woodstone,” one officer told her kindly.

© Dellani Oakes 2019

Today’s Offering is from Love Takes a Swim by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim coverI thought it might help my readers decide, if they had a short excerpt from each book.

Love Takes a Swim

Speaking quietly to the younger woman, the director shook her hand and walked briskly back to the office. Kai leaned forward expectantly. This was by far the youngest and most attractive woman to join the Sunspot Health Club family in over a year. The only other one was Deanna, married and pregnant. He couldn’t tell for sure at a distance, but he didn’t see the glint of jewelry on her ring finger. That wasn’t always a tell. Most women knew not to wear their jewelry in the pool. But he remained hopeful.

Paisley turned from the edge of the pool to slip off her shoes and T-shirt. One of the older men wolf whistled at her. Blushing, she walked to the edge of the pool, shading her eyes against the glare.

“Okay, I can see I’ve got a troublemaker already. Do I need to send a note home?” she laughed as she started the music playing.

“I’ll behave, Miss Paisley,” he promised loudly and insincerely.

She laughed harder, beginning the warm-up. Her bright red one piece suit glittered and gleamed in the hot sunshine. Kai felt the heat, but it wasn’t from the pool deck or the sunshine. His heat was internalized, of his own making. He hated to admit it, but he was hot for teacher. Fidgeting, he wiggled in his chair trying to get a more comfortable position for his long, lanky body.

The man who’d whistled looked up from below. “Feeling it yet, boy?” he asked so only Kai heard him. Mr. Sims reminded Kai of Kenny Rogers in looks and build.

“Don’t know what you mean, Mr. Sims. Feel what?” He shifted as unobtrusively as possible.

The older man laughed at him. He knew the reason for Kai’s discomfort wasn’t because the seat was hard. “Pretty little thing.”

“Yup.”

Kai looked carefully around the pool. One of the elderly ladies who was also very overweight, was foundering. Paisley hadn’t missed it either. She hopped in the pool, making it look like she needed to cool off, working her way to the woman’s side. Kai was off the tower and at the pool in seconds.

© Dellani Oakes 2019