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Epiphany from Bank on Love a Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes

Sometimes, couples will have known one another for a while before taking it to a different level. For whatever reason, they don’t see that they’re in love. Several of my couples are good friends, often involved with other people. However, the bond between them is strong. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, completely by surprise, they realize that they’ve been in love for ages, and didn’t see it. I’ve decided to call these Epiphanies and I’ll be sharing them in and among the First Meetings.

“Thank you for the meal. I hadn’t even thought about lunch.”

“I bet you had breakfast. I imagine you have a perfect omelet every morning.”

“You think so?” She giggled, rolling her eyes. “Toast and coffee. I’m not terribly domestic, either. I have six types of crackers, some cheese and three bottles of wine. Oh, and a loaf of bread from the bakery downstairs.”

“We’re pathetic. Though you do have more in your larder than I do. I have the essentials, coffee, creamer, sugar—and beer.”

Violet laughed, tossing back her head. Some of her satay fell out of her mouth, landing on her face. Claude wiped her cheek with his thumb, licking it off with the pointy tip of his tongue. Violet’s breath caught in her throat. Why was that the sexiest thing a man had ever done around her? Probably because he was the sexiest man she knew. He could be shaving and still look hot and studly. His coffee brown eyes were ringed with the blackest lashes she’d ever seen. One side of his mouth quirked up before the other, every time he smiled.

“Do I have something on my face?” He wiped with the back of his hand.

“No. Sorry. I just—why are you here?”

“I brought lunch.”

“I mean—do you know what I’m asking?” She squinted, hoping she didn’t have to supply words, because there weren’t any.

He touched her cheek. “It felt like the right time. In case you haven’t noticed, Miss Masgay, I happen to like you—just a little bit.” He held his finger and thumb an inch or so apart, then let them drift further apart. “For a while now.”

“I noticed.” She did the same thing with her fingers. “A little bit.”

“Go out with me,” he blurted. Blushing slightly, he dropped his chin. “Way to make it sound like an order…. Would you, Violet Masgay, agree to go out with me tonight?”

“Where did you have in mind, Claude Meredith?”

“There’s an amazing street band playing in the plaza. Or, if that fails to entice, a very cool laser lights show at the planetarium at nine.”

“That sounds fun. I’m very picky about the music I listen to, though. What’s playing?”

He whipped out his phone and looked it up. Holding it up so she could see the screen, he pointed to it. “There’s the playlist. Does it appeal?”

“It’s like they looked at my Pandora and copied it—in order. Honestly, I listen to these songs all the time.”

“If you want something different….”

“No. I’m thrilled. I listen to them because they’re great songs. I’m a music freak. I’m a sucker for a sax player. Or a bass player. Or—”

“I think I should take up an instrument, so you’re a sucker for me.”

“You don’t need the help. You’re hot and sexy all on your own.”

It was his turn to laugh and hers to blush.

“Did you mean to admit that?”

“What do you think? I’d love to blame it on alcohol, but I haven’t had any.”

“I think you’re beautiful and sexy, so we’re even.”

“Why now? We’ve worked together over two years.”

“Because of your rule about not dating men you work with. And I understand that. But when I opened that door, and you flung yourself into my arms, sobbing, I knew I had to make a move. Only so long a man can look at what he wants, and not go for it.”

“I’m glad you did.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Epiphany Moment from Amber Marley ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes

Epiphany logoSometimes, couples will have known one another for a while before taking it to a different level. For whatever reason, they don’t see that they’re in love. Several of my couples are good friends, often involved with other people. However, the bond between them is strong. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, completely by surprise, they realize that they’ve been in love for ages, and didn’t see it. I’ve decided to call these Epiphanies and I’ll be sharing them in and among the First Meetings.

Amber Marley is an accomplished woman, with a high powered job. She’s known Patch Warren since they both started at Crossfire, years ago. Today, she’s seen her estranged father for the first time in 15 years, and found out that her brothers have been in touch with him since he left. Unsure how she feels about that secret betrayal, she starts crying in her car.

Closing her eyes, Amber held the phone to her cheek. Quiet tears ran down her face. Everything Ronald had said was true. She would have exploded if she’d known her brothers were still friendly with their father. After the boys left, it had always been her and their mom—two against the world. She’d finished high school with a deep, abiding pain inside her. A truth she’d always held, was that her father was a lying, cheating bastard, and she was better off not knowing him. Any happy memories she’d had, got pushed aside. Head dropping to the steering wheel, she sobbed like her heart was breaking all over again.

A gentle tap on her window, startled her, making her yelp. She looked up into the handsome face of Patch. Bending over, he gazed in her window. She scrolled it down so he could speak.

You okay, Amber?” Deep lines of worry etched his face.

Yeah…. No.”

Walking around to the passenger side, he waited until she unlocked the door. Sliding in, he tried to get comfortable in the snug confines of the compact car.

Talk.” He settled back, crossing his big arms across his massive chest.

The conversation with her brother tumbled out. Patch listened quietly, waiting for her to finish.

So, which are you more pissed off at? Your dad, or your brother?”

An unexpected laugh exploded from her. “Right now? Ronald, for sure.”

Why?”

He lied for years!”

So did your mom. And your dad. And your other brothers. Anyone who knew the situation, and didn’t tell you. They’re all liars. You gonna get pissed off at them, too? You could get mad as hell at me, for not telling you it was your dad.”

Why would I do that?”

I lied to you.”

Now, I feel stupid. I shouldn’t be mad at Ronald over this.” Exhaling sharply, she socked his arm. He didn’t even flinch. “Dammit, Patch! I was feeling entitled to a good cry and a snit fit!”

Sorry to interrupt the pity party, Amber. But do you really want to sit here in the parking lot, crying in your car, or do you want to have dinner with me?”

A smile lit her face. “I can’t tonight. Dad just called and asked me. But I’d like a rain check. I can’t think of a thing I’d like more, than to have dinner with you.”

He smirked. “I can think of a thing or two, but you’d hit me again.”

That was nothing. You didn’t even feel it.”

I’m a Marine, Miss Marley. Even if you’d crushed my nuts, I’d sit here and pretend it didn’t hurt. It stung some. I can tell you have brothers.”

My dad taught me. He said his daughter wouldn’t ever be a victim. He taught me how to defend myself.”

He made a strong woman of you. You remember the good things, and let the happiness fill those dark corners. And don’t hate on your brothers. They did what they thought was best.”

You’re right. God, I’m a mess. Hand me my bag, would you? It’s behind my seat.”

He reached it easily, handing it to her. She took out a makeup removal wipe.

You can watch while my face disappears.”

I think your face is gorgeous without the makeup.”

When have you seen me without it?”

Workout Weekend last year.”

Orrrg that! I hated Carlos for a month after that!”

Why? Little bitty girl like you, took on an entire defensive line, and made a touchdown.”

They didn’t tackle me, because I’m a girl. How is that a victory?” She balled up the used wipe and stuck it in the empty ashtray.

They didn’t tackle you, because you looked like a wildcat freight train on crack! Scared those boys shitless. Here’s Miss Marley, their boss, a delicate woman—hauling ass through them like a hot knife through butter. You about scared me white, and I was on your side!”

Oh, my God, really?”

You were red in the face, sweating and grimacing. You looked like you’d kill anyone who got in your way, with your bare hands. You were fierce, like Boudica, the warrior queen.” His voice took on a dreamy quality.

A small sob caught in her throat. “No one ever compared me to Boudica. Or pronounced it right, either.”

Patch touched her cheek, brushing a snarl of hair aside. “I’m full of surprises, Amber.” Unable to stop himself, he leaned over, hungry for a kiss.

Gazing into his blue eyes, Amber realized she wanted him to kiss her. Crossing the narrow gap between them, she closed her eyes, parting her lips. Patch saw a smile tug at her lips as their mouths met. Rather than devour her as he wanted, he gave her a gentle kiss. It lasted mere moments, but it meant the world to him. Her contented sigh told him she felt the same.

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Under the Western Sky ~ A Love Under the Sun Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestSometimes, couples will have known one another for a while before taking it to a different level. For whatever reason, they don’t see that they’re in love. Several of my couples are good friends, often involved with other people. However, the bond between them is strong. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, completely by surprise, they realize that they’ve been in love for ages, and didn’t see it.

Because I have quite a few of these books, I’ve decided to add a new category. Rather than just sharing First Meetings, I want to share that moment when they realize—they’re in love.

Introducing the Epiphany—that sudden realization that they belong together. Mixed in with the First Meetings, I’ll be adding Epiphanies.

Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - 500

The first one I’d like to share is from my published novel, Under the Western Sky. Libby Marshall and Bobby Menendez have been friends since they were children. Now in high school, they still hang out and do things together. However, much to Bobby’s chagrin, Libby has never taken him seriously as a boyfriend. Tonight, though, they’re going out with their best friends, Danny and Toni, who are a couple. Bobby can’t help hoping that Libby will change her mind.

They pulled up to Toni’s house. The girls were waiting on the porch. Bobby hopped out, holding the door for Toni and Libby to climb in. Toni sat up front, scooting over next to Danny. Libby reluctantly got in back, moving to the far side of the car as Bobby climbed in. Looking disappointed, he sat on his side of the wide car, staring out the window.

Once they had their tickets and popcorn, they went into the theater and found a good spot. The boys liked to sit in the back because there was more leg room, but the girls liked the middle. To compromise, they sat somewhere between the two and let Danny have the aisle seat since his legs were the longest. Toni snuggled next to him as he put his arm around her shoulders. Libby sat next to her, not really looking at Bobby, although they shared the popcorn.

“Are you mad at me or something?” he asked her quietly, not wanting to bring their friends into it.

The others were so wrapped up in one another, they didn’t hear him. Libby scooted a little closer, lowering her voice as she took a bite of popcorn.

“No, I’m not mad, Bobby. I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with this whole arrangement, that’s all.”

“We’re a couple friends going to a movie. You got a full social calendar I don’t know about?” He tried to make light of it, but his feelings were hurt.

Libby nudged him, nearly spilling the popcorn. “Don’t be a goof. Of course not.”

“I really like you, Libby. If you can’t see that, I’m sorry.”

“I thought maybe you were going out with me because of what Toni said to Danny. That she wouldn’t go if I didn’t have a date.”

“All this time you thought that’s what this was? A mercy date? Baby, I think you’re the greatest!”

“You do? For real?”

“Yeah, for real. Hey, would I make comments about your ass if I didn’t think you were cute?”

“I dunno, you’re a guy. I mean, Danny’s always drooling over my tits.”

“Danny’s a goober. He drools over any tits he can see. You have to admit, you’re killing us both with the no bra thing.”

She looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “I’ll remember you said that, Roberto.”

“What, are you my mom? You have to scold me into behaving? I want to date you, Libby. If I wanted just to jump your bones, I’d have done that already. You know, some women actually find me very attractive.”

She giggled, tossing her hair. “Yeah, I can see the appeal. You’ve got that whole Latin Lover thing going. The dark hair and bedroom eyes. You’re cute, for sure.”

“Then why won’t you let me kiss you?”

She looked at the screen as the movie started. By the set of her shoulders, he could see that she didn’t know how to respond. Taking a chance that he was right, he blundered on.

“Is it because all this time you thought I didn’t really like you? How could I not? You’re wonderful. I’ve had a thing for you like—forever,” he whispered as the cartoon started.

Libby gave him a curious stare as the lights dimmed, her popcorn halfway to her mouth. She couldn’t believe his admission was real. He didn’t really want her, did he? He was taking her out so Toni would go with his best friend. That’s what friends did for one another. Was he kidding? She was too inexperienced to tell.

Libby knew a lot of girls her age had already lost their virginity. She and Toni were among the few left in their graduating class who had never been with a guy. If Danny got his way, that was going to change and soon. He was so hot for Toni, he got a boner every time he talked to her. Bobby, on the other hand, couldn’t possibly mean it. Or did he?

Maybe she would let him kiss her. Hell, if she didn’t like it, she could always stop him and say no. There was no harm in a kiss, was there? She shifted a little closer and didn’t mind when his arm draped around her.

Bobby couldn’t believe his luck. Libby leaned against him, her head nearly on his shoulder as the movie started. Braving an arm across her shoulders, he played with a curl, wrapping it around his finger. One little flick of his thumb and she’d turn her head so he could kiss her.

Libby watched the movie, giggling every so often. Danny and Toni weren’t paying any attention at all. As soon as the lights went down, they were necking, their popcorn forgotten on the floor. Bobby was still holding theirs, taking a bite every now and then, pretending to act casual, but she could feel the tense set of his shoulders. She glanced at him, his handsome face cast into highlights and deep shadows by the movie.

Feeling her eyes on him, he turned to face her, a half smile greeting her curious gaze. Setting the popcorn on the floor, he leaned toward her, lips slightly parted.

His kiss caught her by surprise, although she knew he was going to do it. She hadn’t expected it to be so nice.

To her, Bobby was like a fixture, something that was always there. They had known one another since their dads went into the Marines, doing recon in hostile territory. Their deaths had forged a bond between her family and his, making them virtually inseparable.

His kiss felt good, warm, sexy, more than just friendly. She had thought it would be like kissing a brother, but it was anything but that. Smiling to herself, she took a breath and opened her mouth slightly, letting him kiss her more deeply. No guy had ever kissed her like that. His lips left hers as he leaned against her forehead, sighing contentedly.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it? I mean, you’re not like throwing up or anything over there are you?”

“That was nice,” she admitted. “It was more than nice, it was super.”

Bobby chuckled, kissing her playfully on the nose. “Yeah, it was. Now do you think I’m doing this just to make Toni and Danny happy?”

“No.”

“Good, cause I don’t give a shit about either of them. I like you a lot, Libby.”

“I like you too, Bobby.”

They didn’t watch much of the rest of the movie, but kissed and talked quietly while the theater went crazy around them. They were in their own little world.

©2013 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Under the Western Sky

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm