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First Meeting from Only Time by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestWhen I start looking for a new couple, I try to mix it up some. It’s easy to bring people who work in the same place, together. It’s also easy if they travel in the same social circles. I like to introduce couples who are unlikely to meet under regular circumstances. I also like to switch up their jobs, so they’re unique and unexpected. So it is with Zander and Gretchen. He’s a fashion designer and she’s the head carpenter for the company who’s building his catwalk. They meet at Zander’s studio.

Inside, chaos had returned. Garry took a crema to Rose, leaving Zander to look over the catwalk set up. A woman with black hair, approached. She was dressed in well worn jeans, a black, sleeveless top, and thick soled boots. She was about 5’7”, with a lean muscled build.

Mr. Wilkes?”

Yes?”

Gretchen Sanderson.” She held out her hand.

Zander didn’t know whether to shake it, or kiss it. She was beautiful. Breathtaking, really. Her black hair had a blue undertone that looked completely natural. Her light complexion set off her amber eyes.

How do you do?” He held her hand several seconds longer than necessary, while he stared at her face. “You are—perfection. Have you been back to see Rose about what outfit you’re wearing?”

The woman looked at her clothing, then back at him. “Am I not dressed all right?”

You need to get back there for your fitting. The ensembles are roughed in, but have to be fitted before you can go on stage.”

Tossing back her head, the woman laughed. Seeing his puzzled expression, she sobered a little.

I’m not a model, Mr. Wilkes. I’m the head carpenter. I had a few questions about the catwalk design. I don’t know who did the plans, but—I don’t think they’re completely safe.”

Broken from his appreciative reverie, he dropped her hand. “Not safe? How?”

I’ll show you. This way.” Tipping her head, she led him toward the stage area.

What’s wrong?”

The platforms are made with half inch plywood. We didn’t build these,” she gestured to her co-workers. “They’re going to buckle and bend when more than one person stands on them. I can either redo the tops, or reinforce with more supports underneath.”

Which do you recommend?”

Retopping them with one inch ply.”

How behind schedule will that put you?”

Pressing her lips together, she tipped her head to the left. “No more than a couple hours. The superstructure is fine. We just have to retop them. My guys are good and quick. There are only six of them, it won’t be that much trouble. We’re building the rest to my specs. I hope that’s all right.”

That’s fine. I want this done right. The fashion industry may be cut throat, but it’s not usually lethal.”

She smiled, dark eyes twinkling. “Good point. Thank you. We’ll get right on that.” Whistling sharply, she gestured to a couple men who were about ten feet away.

Retop those,” she ordered.

Yes, Boss,” they chorused.

They walked over, uncoupling the platforms quickly.

Zander chuckled. “My crew calls me that, too.”

I insisted. I’m not in the military, so I don’t really like being called ma’am.”

I can understand that. Are there any other problems you needed to discuss?”

Let me check.” She pulled out a small notepad from her back pocket. “Yes.” She went on to point out a few things that needed to be changed. “Again, I don’t know who did these plans, but they kinda had their head up their ass.”

There should be a name on the floor plan.”

She shook her head.

Check with my business manager, if you need to know. She handles those details. I just sign the checks.”

Not that important, except you don’t want to use them again.”

Then we’d better find out. Got a minute? We’ll find her together. I need to tell her that I fired a seamstress, and have her find another one.”

Sure. The guys are good, they can work without me breathing down their necks. In fact, they do better if I leave them alone.”

He chuckled, nodding. “My crew, too. I learned a long time ago, to let them do their jobs, since they sew way better than I do.”

I thought designers had to be able to sew, and stuff.”

Oh, I can, they’re just better.” He escorted her up the steps and through to the back. “Does the backstage need to be redone, too?”

No. My crew did that work. It’s just the ones up front.”

You didn’t do that assembly?”

No. Your manager fired the others, for some reason. But she was specific that the plan had to be followed.”

Hmmm…. Okay. Anyone seen Pamela?” he asked the room.

Office,” Melodie replied. She was wearing a different outfit now. Rose was pinning it into place.

Thanks.”

Allowing Gretchen to precede him, he guided her to Pamela’s office. As he opened the door for her, he touched the small of her back. A spark hit the tips of his fingers. Hissing a little, he pulled his hand away. Gretchen jumped.

Are you all right?” Zander asked, deeply concerned.

Yes, fine. I must have picked up some static.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

First Meeting from The Experiment ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageA senior in college, Maggie is struggling with a required freshman psych class. It’s her own fault, she’d been putting it off. If she doesn’t pass, she won’t graduate. When her professor offers here a chance to participate in an experiment, she jumps at the chance. She soon finds she’ll be paired with a man, a complete stranger. They will get “married”, and live together as a couple for the next six weeks. Tonight is their first meeting. Maggie has no idea what to expect.

A man walked in, catching her attention. He was six feet tall, lean built, with broad shoulders. His dark brown hair was cut in a sort of early Beatles style and was tossed around in such a casual way, it probably took ages to fix. He bent forward to talk to the hostess, hands in the pockets of his tan chinos. He wore a darker tan corduroy jacket and a plaid shirt that was buttoned to his adam’s apple. His expression was made difficult to read by the black framed glasses he wore. Give him a pocket protector full of pens, he’d be right out of Revenge of the Nerds.

Maggie stood as he approached the table, holding out her hand. He took it, his palm slightly sweaty, shaking it in a moderately firm grip.

“Jaeger Jeffreys,” he said by way of greeting. He pronounced his name Jay-ger.

“Margay Simmons—but you can call me Maggie.”

Jaeger came around to help her with her chair. Unused to such attention, Maggie sat too quickly, flopping awkwardly onto her seat. Fortunately, Jaeger didn’t seem to notice.

“So, Jaeger,” she croaked. Clearing her throat, she took a sip of water. “Do you go by a nickname? Like Jay or Ger?” Realizing she was babbling, Maggie stopped talking and took a deep breath. Another sip gave her an excuse to stay quiet.

Jaeger chuckled. “I sometimes go by Jeff or Jay. Good friends call me J.J. You can call me any of the above, or the full handle. I answer to about anything.”

His voice was a smooth tenor flavored by a slight Southern accent that she thought was from Alabama. Maggie had a good ear for accents and could usually pinpoint where someone was from after a very short time.

“Unusual name, Jaeger.”

“Yep. Mom’s family name. It’s actually my middle name. First name’s awful.” He made a face.

“It can’t be that bad.”

“Trust me. When I know you better, I’ll share.” He took a sip of his water.

The waitress brought their soup, a delicate gazpacho with croutons. Conversation lagged slightly as they ate.

“So, Jaeger, what do you plan to do once you graduate?”

He put down his spoon and folded his hands under his chin. “First of all, my future wife can call me Jay—please. Secondly, I’m going into the family business. Dad’s an accountant, his dad was, and his dad. Going back to the War Between the States, when my many greats granddaddy was pay master for General Lee.”

“The Civil War, you mean?”

Jay shushed her playfully. “Lord, chile, don’t ever let my granny here you say that! She will shoot you for a Yankee! She calls it The Recent Unpleasantness.” He laid a thick layer of Southern on his statement.

“Yankee! I think I might be offended by that.”

Jaeger laughed, slapping his thigh. “I say all that and you catch onto Yankee? Lordy. Where you from, Maggie?”

“I was born in Tennessee, but raised in Florida. I’m as Southern as you are.”

He held up a finger, wiggling it at her. “I do beg to differ. I was born in the Appalachian Mountains, in a cabin in the Chattahoochee National Forest. I was raised in Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama. My folks were from Citronelle, Alabama—population just around thirty-six hundred. They now live in Biloxi, Mississippi. My granddaddy’s family was one of the first families to settle there in 1811. I have a family tree with so many branches, I don’t know all my first cousins and only a handful of the seconds. So, I promise you, to my granny, a girl raised in Florida—she’s a Yankee.”

Maggie bridled, sitting up straighter in her chair. It took her a moment to realize that he was teasing her. She saw an amused glitter in his eyes. She hadn’t noticed it before because of the glasses, but they were a dark sage green.

“Smart ass,” she muttered.

Jaeger winked. “Been called worse.”

Their entrees arrived. Maggie had opted for the coriander pork chop with a sweet potato and cooked apples. Jaeger had a steak, fries and grilled pineapple.

“I’m glad to see you’re not a vegan,” he said as he cut into his steak. “I dated a girl for awhile, only to find out she didn’t eat meat. Considering she didn’t share that fact with me when I invited her to dinner at the steak house, it was somewhat….”

“Humiliating?”

He winked, pointing his fork at her. “Bingo. I enjoyed my meal and she took a cab home.”

“Bummer.”

“Yeah, it was our third date too. Subject couldn’t come up before that?”

“You’d think so. What’s significant about the third date?”

Jaeger stopped eating, glancing up at her over his glasses. His fork and knife were poised to cut and framed his face in glittering steel.

“Um—the third date. After the third date…..” He tilted his head from side to side indicating she should fill in the blanks.

“Oh, my God! I’m dumb. I don’t—date—a lot. Like—ever?” Embarrassed, she attacked her pork chop with renewed vigor.

Jaeger’s laugh made her ears burn. She glared at him.

“I’m sorry. Just, it’s kind of refreshing to find someone who’s not jaded. You don’t know how rare that is, Maggie.”

“I suppose that could be a compliment. At least you didn’t call me naïve.”

“Now why would I do that? Being naïve isn’t a bad thing, but it implies being cut off from reality and not familiar with the bad things in life. You’re not sitting in some ivory tower, you’re out here with the rest of us, but you haven’t let the association with the bad things tarnish you.”

Maggie stared at him in silence, a bite of pork in her mouth. She had no idea how to reply to that. He’d summed up her life entirely in a few sentences. Not only that, he made her sound strong, positive and self-possessed. Everyone else treated her like a silly little child. She smiled.

“Thank you. I believe that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in a long time.”

“Then you don’t hang out with the right people.” He concentrated on his food.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting – Continued – from Feel the Heat ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageJax Jendrasik isn’t having a very good night. He had some trouble at his brother’s bachelor party, and ended up face down on the sidewalk. Fortunately, a lovely blonde was there to help. He’s been taken to the hospital and he’s waiting for the doctor.

The drape flicked aside and a woman entered. She seemed vaguely familiar, her blonde hair slicked back and glittered.

You?” Jax chuckled.

Doctor Johanna Strauss. You must be T-Rex,” she held out her hand to Telise.

Telise punched her brother’s arm before shaking the doctor’s hand.

We spoke on the phone.”

So, the hot blonde is a doctor, huh?” Jax chuckled.

Yes. Don’t let the hair fool you, I’m very good at my job. I was on my way to an Eighties themed party, when I saw him go down,” she explained. “You do have a concussion, so we’re going to keep you overnight. No fractures, though we do need to clean up your cheek, and see what other damage is under there. My friend Candy, is bringing you the good stuff—not morphine,” she assured them. “Derrick dutifully reported.” Nitrile gloves on, she moved Jax’s head a little, turning on a bright light, angling it away from his eyes as much as she could. “You have some road rash, but it’s not serious as it looked at first glance. It’s filthy, though. I don’t want to speculate what you landed in.”

Outside that club?” He shuddered. “I’ll be happy if it’s just piss.”

We’ll give you a full spectrum antibiotic. You up to date on tetanus?”

It’s been a few years. When did you get the new roof?” he asked his sister.

Five years ago. Why?”

Remember, I stepped on the old nails sticking from the board. Doc hit me with a shot then.”

You should be all right. They’re good for ten. Ah, here’s Candy with the good stuff. We’re going to debride his face now. You need to wait out in the other room. I very much doubt you want to see that.”

You’d be right.” Squeezing her brother’s hand, Telise left.

I’m going to give you a shot to deaden the side of your face, before I begin. It stings, so if you yell insults, I won’t be offended.”

I’ll try not to, but my pain threshold’s real low at the moment.”

What would you say your pain level is right now?” She frowned, exchanging a look with the nurse.

Hovering between five and six. Hit the pavement with my face. Might have noticed.”

We’ll take care of that right now. Candy?”

Off we go,” Candy said, jabbing the needle into his IV port.

Thanks.”

A few seconds later, Dr. Strauss popped him with another needle.

Son-of-a-bitch!” he yelped. “Sorry, Doc.”

No worries. I’m no one’s son, and my mama’s not a bitch.”

Good. Mine either. Fine lady. Bit of a temper.” The drugs were starting to make him a little sleepy. “Oh, that’s great shit, Candy. Thanks.” He kissed her hand, smiling.

You’re very welcome. I love happy customers.”

We’re going to drape your face now, Mr. Janesek. This will take a little time.”

No worries. I’ll just—grab a nap….” His head lolled and he dozed off.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Feel the Heat ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

first meetingJax Jendrasik is at his younger brother’s bachelor party, held at a local gay bar. While there, a guy named Teddy hits on him and causes trouble when Jax tells him he’s not gay. Rather than getting in a conflict with the bouncer, he offers to leave. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Teddy’s willing to let it drop. Fortunately for Jax, help is handy in the form of a sultry blonde.

Jax gave his brother another hug and headed toward the door. The bouncer silently saw him out. Teddy was waiting on the sidewalk a few feet from the door.

You owe me an apology,” he stated.

The bouncer was still watching.

Jax appealed to him. “He grabbed me and spilled my drink on my pants. Do you believe I owe him an apology?”

Nope.”

Nodding, Jax walked around Teddy. The shorter man, using what seemed to be his signature move, grabbed his arm again. Careful not to raise his fist, or his voice, Jax turned.

Enough. I’m going to say this one last time—not gay. Excuse me.”

He’d taken two steps when he was tackled from behind, going down hard on the pavement. Teddy sat on his ass, screaming at him. Fists hammered ineffectually on his back as his face pressed into the damp pavement. Suddenly, Teddy flew through the air. The bouncer held the scrawny man by the scruff of his neck, toes barely tapping against the sidewalk.

You okay?” Someone else came over, helping him sit up. “DJ, call the cops and an ambulance.”

Sure thing,” the bouncer said.

It took a few seconds for his vision to clear. The person who had helped him sit up, was a woman. A very beautiful woman. She was obviously dressed for a night out, because her red dress clung to her voluptuous frame like it had been painted on. Her hair was done in an exaggerated Eighties style, which entailed a lot of hairspray and glitter. Huge gold, disc shaped earrings dangled from each ear.

You okay?” she repeated, crouching by him.

Dunno. How many of you are there?”

She giggled. “If you see more than two, there’s something wrong.”

I only see one, does that mean I’m okay?”

Then you’re f***ed, cause I’m twins.”

It hurt to laugh, but the cheesy joke had to be acknowledged and appreciated.

You’re going to be all right. An ambulance is coming. Is there anyone we can call?” she asked.

His brother’s inside. I’ll get him,” the bouncer said, still holding Teddy by the collar.

Jax held up a hand, stopping him. “Please don’t. He’s drunk, and he’s a drama queen even when he’s sober. Call my sister.”

He tried to dig his phone from his pocket. It stuck. The woman tugged until she got it for him. He hated to admit, but that got him hotter than he’d been in weeks.

Sister’s name?” She unlocked it per his directions,

Telise. But you’ll find it under T-Rex.”

Okay. Why?” She fiddled with the phone.

You’d have to meet her. I’m Jax.”

Nodding, she put the phone to her ear. “Hi, Telise? I’m a friend of Jax’s. He’s had a little accident at the bar. He’s not badly hurt, but we’ve sent for an ambulance, to take him to the hospital.”

Jax could hear his older sister screech, even though the phone wasn’t on speaker.

What?”

I’m okay!” he said loudly, but it cost him.

The woman put the phone on speaker.

Lorvel Collier Janesek, I’m gonna kill your ass!” Her Southern Bitch showed when she was upset.

Could you hold off on that until after the wedding, or Eduard will rip you to shreds.”

The ambulance screamed to a halt beside them, stopping traffic.

I’ll meet you there. Don’t die.”

Promise. Love ya.”

Yeah. Love ya.” She hung up.

So…your brother is the drama queen?” The woman handed his phone back.

Trust me, he’s worse.” Sighing, he leaned against her.

She held him gently, cradling his head.

What happened here?” the EMT asked as he trotted over.

The bouncer and woman told him. A police car hustled up, stopping behind the ambulance, blue lights flashing. The light hurt Jax’s eyes. Holding up a hand, he squinted. Suddenly, he turned his head away from the woman, and hurled. She didn’t get upset, merely held him as he gagged.

Probably got a concussion,” she said to the EMT.

My thoughts exactly. Okay, my friend, we’re gonna go for a ride. Is your lady friend coming?”

I’ll follow you. Got to have my car to get home.”

You got it.”

They were loading him into the ambulance and he realized he didn’t know her name.

Hey!” he called, waving at her.

Lie back, friend. You can’t get agitated.”

But I don’t know her name! Ask her name!”

Ask her when she gets to the hospital.”

What if she doesn’t come?”

The EMT looked at the woman in red, grinning. “Oh, she’s coming. Trust me. Lie back now, Jax. We’ve got you.”

© Dellani Oakes 2020

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First Meeting from Falling for You ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageKrista Blade is home from college for the Veteran’s Day service at the church where her father is pastor. Several military people have joined them, playing musical instruments to accompany the choir. She knows two of them, but the rest she doesn’t. She makes rather an impression on Air Force Lieutenant Coulton Ferris.

Krista excused herself from the knot of sopranos and picked her way across the frosted grass. Her shoes, predictably, slipped on a slick patch. Four men in uniform rushed to her aid. The Air Force lieutenant reached her first. He steadied her, grasping her around the waist when her shoes failed her once more.

He grinned, dark blue eyes twinkling in his handsome, square jawed face. His close cropped hair was so short, it was hard to tell the color, but the shadow on his chin, that no razor could obliterate, was dark.

“Gotcha,” he said with a smirk.

Krista’s blonde hair escaped its confines. She pushed it back, smiling up at him. The men formed a line, handing her off until she stood by her father and the young woman in the Coast Guard uniform. The Air Force lieutenant followed closely, his hand at the small of her back to catch her if she fell again. The young woman standing with her father, laughed as Krista and her lifeline approached.

“Doggone, K., if you aren’t the clumsiest girl on Earth!” Her dark eyes glittered mischievously in her mocha face, her curly hair pulled back in a tight bun. “And what have you got on your feet?”

Krista put a hand on the sturdy airman’s arm and raised a foot. The Coastie whistled, making a disapproving noise at the four inch stilettos.

“Girl, you got a death wish? Don’t I always tell you to wear something you can run in?”

Krista embraced her life long friend. “Trish, you fuss so about everything, I can’t keep track.”

The young women laughed, getting louder as Krista lost her footing again.

“Before you fall, let me introduce my fellow musicians. Holding you up is First Lieutenant Coulton Ferris. Behind him, to your right, is Sergeant Benjamin Ross of the Marines. To his left is Staff Sergeant Mitch Abrams of the Army. And there, about to grab your fanny, is Ensign Torrance Beck.”

“Thanks, Trish. Him I know.” She turned to the man behind her, hugging him close.

Torrance Beck, Trish’s brother, returned her hug. Friends all their lives, they were one another’s first love. That was over now, but a lingering affection remained.

“Good to see you, Tor,” she murmured into his broad chest.

“Thanks for all the cards and boxes,” he said, easing his grip. “They got me and the guys through some tough spots. Especially loved the entertainment box.” He took her hand, explaining to the others. “K. got this huge box and put all kinda dumb stuff in it to make us laugh. Farside cartoons, CD’s with Ron White and Lewis Black, floppy bunny ears—all kinda stuff.” He thought of something in particular that caught his attention, but didn’t say in front of her dad. His expression was enough for the others to know it had been very personal. “Got us some good laughs,” he finished rather lamely.

“We ready to go to the reception?” Her father clapped his hands, rubbing them together.

Agreeing that was a good idea, they headed toward the church. Krista slipped twice before they’d gone ten feet. The third time, Ferris picked her up, carrying her in strong arms across the frozen ground. Laughter followed. Krista buried her face in his chest, giggling at herself.

“Gotta agree with Beck’s assessment of your footwear, Miss Blade. What were you thinking wearing four inch stilettos on a day like this?

“I’m short,” she replied, her answer muffled in his chest. “I wanted people to be able to see me.”

He set her down on the sidewalk, an arm still around her waist.

“Besides,” she turned her foot from side to side so he could see the bright red shoes more closely. “They’re so cute! I couldn’t resist them.”

“They’re cute, all right,” he agreed with an ill concealed sigh. “They’re hot,” he mumbled. “Lil spicy for church?” His remarkable blue eyes met her dark brown ones.

“I’m not always at church,” she answered with a toss of her blonde hair.

He chuckled. “True. Those are more for salsa dancing.” He shimmied, releasing his grip on her for a moment.

Krista lost her balance again, falling against him. He caught her and they toppled off the sidewalk onto the soft, snow covered flowerbed by the sidewalk. The others ran up. Torrance picked up Krista, setting her on her feet, both arms around her. The other men helped Ferris to his feet, pummeling him as they slapped at the snow.

“Damn, Coulton, you’re just as clumsy as she is,” Ross commented.

“My fault,” Krista replied, blushing deeply. “I think I need a shoe change.”

“Ya think? Come on, KB, I’ll see you home and you can put something sensible on your feet.” Trish took her arm, guiding her to the large house next door to the church.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Christmas and a Vampire ~ A Paranormal Romance by Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire coverThis isn’t a first meeting in the purest sense of the term. In fact, it’s safe to say, it’s probably more like the hundredth. Rafaela DeSantos and Dirk Young aren’t a typical couple. Why? Because he’s a vampire and she’s a vampire hunter. They’ve met many times, and it doesn’t always go well. Rafaela’s job is to kill vampires. Dirk’s job, as he sees it, is to turn more, so she has job security. They shouldn’t fall in love, but by some quirk of fate, they do. They haven’t seen one another for some time, when she stumbles upon his lair.

The hungry orange tendrils leaped higher, igniting the centerpiece—three crucified vampires, each with a stake through the heart. Rafaela De Santos stood back to admire her work. Good lines, perfect symmetry, clearly delineated purpose. It was downright festive with the bright splashes of red everywhere. Icicles hanging from the eaves of the crypt, gave it a holiday flair.

The wood was soaked with a flame accelerating mixture of her own concoction, making the fire extra toasty. With another admiring glance, Rafaela watched the headless bodies crumble to ash as the flames licked at them. The vampire Hunter warmed her cold, bloody hands on the blaze.

“Should have brought marshmallows.”

Satisfied the bodies were completely burned, she added the gunnysack of heads. She left nothing to chance and had never believed in half measures. When she killed a vampire, it stayed dead. None of this ridiculous, humanitarian treatment for Rafaela. That might be all right for some of the younger Hunters, but she was Old School. Stake the vamp, cut off the head, burn ’em up and burn the heads. Cheap, effective—permanent.

Satisfied it was a job well done, she headed back to her car. A rustle in the bushes nearby might have been from a hungry fox following blood scent, but she knew better. Arming her crossbow would take too long, so she faced her opponent with her handgun and specially made bullets.

He strode jauntily out of the bushes, dusting his hands on form fitting, black leather pants, the smile, as always, disarming. His slight over bite emphasized the lengthy canines as his full lips drew back.

“Rafaela, I’d know the scent of your lethal brew anywhere. Still as inflammatory as the last time we met?” He moved forward and to his left.

“I’m nothing if not consistent.” She countered his movement cautiously.

“So true. Did you have to burn them all? I’d just added the girls to my harem. Very tasty bits—AB negative.” He licked full lips.

“I thought I caught your stench on them.”

“There was a time when that stench aroused you, Ella.”

She couldn’t deny it. She had found him charming—once.

“Do you ever stop?”

“Stop what? Loving you? Admiring you? Wanting you?” His voice dropped in pitch with each question.

Suddenly, with the inhuman speed of the undead, he was beside her, hand in her thick, black hair. Her neck stretched to one side as his fangs extended. The prick of a sharp point against his ribs, reminded him that Rafaela was no mere human. Her heightened senses and unique abilities had kept her alive nearly as long as he.

“What made you turn on me, Ella? I thought you loved me.”

“I did. Until—Calais. Somehow, when your lover feasts on your entire family, making you watch helplessly, he loses some of his allure.”

He nodded, having anticipated that response. “Mom sends her regards.”

“Neat trick, since I killed her last month.”

He raised an amused eyebrow. “Really? I had no idea you’d caught up with her.”

“Does it give you some sort of obscene pleasure? You destroyed my life, Dirk.”

“You’re ruining my un-death, Rafaela.” The amusement left him.

“My heart bleeds.”

They stood together, eyeing one another with mixed admiration and lust. It was always like this with Dirk, ever since they met, nearly a century before. Rafaela had the skill and power to kill him. He had the blood lust of a demon, bent on creating chaos from order. They stared at one another a few minutes more before turning away.

“One day, it won’t be so easy, Dirk,” she tossed over her shoulder.

“I know, sweetheart.” He disappeared in a puff of brimstone scented purple smoke, a neat trick he’d learned from Houdini.

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting (Number 2) from Ben Drexel ~ A Lone Wolf Prequel by Dellani Oakes

HeadingSome books, for whatever reason, have more than one first meeting. Ben and Ray have had their memories wiped, and a battery of experimental medical procedures conducted on them. Not that they remember the treatments. False memories of a terrible accident, have replaced the real ones. Deciding they need some recreational time with a couple of willing women, Ray sets up a double date for them.

Lance Corporals Shannon Phillips and Delissa Andrews were waiting for them outside the mess hall. Shannon was tall, willowy and had red hair the shade of an autumn sunset. Her friend Delissa was just as tall and willowy with hair like the sun at noon. Ben wasn’t sure why he compared their hair to the sun, but it seemed appropriate.

Delissa’s blue eyes took in every inch of Ben Drexel, liking what she saw. Raising an eyebrow, she showed her approval. Shannon snuggled up to Ray immediately and Ben got the impression that this wasn’t their first date. He certainly hoped that Delissa would be willing to romp later, because now that he saw and smelled and touched her, he needed her more than ever. He liked to fool himself into thinking that he wanted not just any woman, but her specifically, but he knew that wasn’t true. If another woman had come along and made him the right offer, he’d have gone in a heartbeat.

Delissa smiled, enjoying Ben’s company. Not only was he scorchingly good looking, but he had the physique of a god. His dark hair and eyes with the swarthy complexion made her pulse race. She’d seen some handsome men in her life, but Ben Drexel was above and beyond her usual fare, of late.

As they walked to the movie after dinner, she snuggled close. When the lights went down in the Tri-D theater, she put her hand on his thigh and liked the response she got as she moved her palm upward.

“Tell me, First Sergeant, do you know how to use that heavy weapon you’re toting?”

Ben chuckled, hands finding interesting things to fondle under her clothing. “I’m a crack shot and aim to please,” he replied in a throaty whisper.

“Good….”

After the movie, Ben could hardly wait to get Delissa home. Filled with the same urgency, she didn’t wait to get to her room before undoing his pants. Their clothing seemed to evaporate and Ben was inside her before she realized what was happening. They didn’t make it to the bed the first time, but took her against the wall, pounding so hard, she was afraid the cheap material would buckle with the force. Screaming his name, she clung to him as her body shook with one orgasm after another.

They made love most of the night, only stopping when they were simply too tired to continue. Near dawn, Delissa snuggled against him in her sleep, waking him and his desire once more. Although he was tempted to wake her, he let her sleep, gazing at her pretty face in the half light. Her expression mirrored his own, contentment and complete satisfaction.

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

First Meeting from Driving Blind ~ A Florida Families Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageI thought of this story when I was driving down State Road 44 into New Smyrna. The traffic is horrible at certain times of day, particularly in the summer. I can’t remember now why I was there, rather than taking I-95. There had to have been a good reason for it, because it’s usually a drive I avoid. In any case, this story, Driving Blind, was born as I languished in traffic.

It makes a fun First Meeting because it’s so random.

It had been an indescribably horrible day. Zenobia drove with the top down, listening to Battle Without Honor or Humanity at full volume. Her red VW Beetle zipped along Interstate 95, her sun-streaked blonde hair billowing behind her like a standard.

She pulled off at the New Smyrna, eastbound exit, slowing way down for the sharp curve. Checking traffic, she eased her VW into the flow heading toward town. At the stoplight on the east side of I-95, she slowed as the light changed to yellow. She could have driven through, but there was a motorcycle cop three cars behind her on the left. She turned down her music and waited for the light to change. The left turners eased across State Road 44 and the police officer on the motorcycle pulled up next to her.

Zenobia risked a glance at him. She couldn’t see much because of the helmet and glasses, but she saw a strong chin, broad shoulders and tanned arms covered in silky black hair. She smiled and looked away when he turned toward her. The light changed and she carefully put the car in gear, moving forward slowly in the heavy traffic.

As luck would have it, the next light was also red. Slightly frustrated, Zenobia checked the traffic to see how badly it was backed up. Another look out the front window showed the cars were thick ahead as well as to the rear. The police officer was a car behind her, but eased up once more, crowding the SUV ahead of him. The driver peeped over her shoulder guiltily, but the officer did nothing.

Zenobia felt eyes on her and looked around to see the officer staring at her. She smiled again, nervously, and flipped her hair to cover her face. A furtive glance in her rearview mirror showed the officer staring at her, smirking. He had full lips and a hint of a five o’clock shadow. Of course, with hair that dark, he probably had a shadow right after he shaved. What little she could see of his hair was so black, it had a bluish cast to it.

The light changed and the car behind Zenobia honked. Flustered, she forgot to put her car in gear. Scrabbling around, she put it in first, took her foot off the clutch but not the brake and the car stalled. More honking followed. Mortified, she got the car started, put it in gear and jack-rabbited through the intersection as the light changed to red.

Flashing blue lights and a whoop of a siren warned her to pull over. There was an abandoned driveway from a long defunct business. Zenobia rolled over there, turning off her car. She pulled out her license and registration, ready for the officer. He was busy on the radio, calling in her humiliation and probably checking to see if she had any priors or outstanding warrants. Thankfully, her driving slate was clean. She lived a steady, boring life. At 29, she lived with her parents, putting her advanced computer degree to less than great use working on the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Far from ideal, her circumstances couldn’t be helped. She’d had a lot of difficulty finding a good paying job in her field that was also close to home.

Feeling an overwhelming desire to cry, Zenobia put her head on the steering wheel. “This is the worst day ever!” she sobbed into her lap. She forced the tears down, but couldn’t keep her shoulders from shuddering.

The clearing of a deep, male voice got her attention. She looked up in the the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen. Black eyebrows arched over thickly lashed eyes. His nose was almost too big for his face, but he made up for it by having a square jaw and a cleft in his chin. He smiled down at her.

Zenobia handed her license and registration to him. He gave them a cursory look, jotted something down on a pad with his left hand and gave them back to her.

I’m sorry about the mess back there,” she apologized quietly. “I’m still getting used to standard.”

No big thing,” he replied. His voice was deep, husky and flavored with a true Southern accent.

Are you gonna write me a ticket?” Her voice cracked making her feel even more foolish.

You okay?” He frowned, taking a step closer.

Unable to control herself another second, she burst into tears. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to get out of the ticket by crying,” she sobbed. “I just don’t know what I did wrong and I can’t afford a ticket and I’ve had the worst day ever!”

Rather than being sympathetic, he laughed. Zenobia glared at him. He laughed harder.

I’m sorry,” he gasped. “I’m not laughing at you—well, I am—but not because you’re crying. I pulled you over to make sure you aren’t having car trouble. You had such a problem at the light, I thought maybe your engine stalled. I wanted to get you out of traffic.”

You—you aren’t giving me a ticket?”

No. No.” He chuckled again. “I’m really sorry, Miss Vlachos. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Zenobia squinted up at him, surprise replacing worry. “You pronounced it right. No one ever gets it right.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Snowed

snowed-cover-4Big Mike” Reubens has been seeing more action in the last few days, than he’s seen in quite some time. However, when he finds his mother is driving from Queens to Cheyenne, Wyoming just to see him, he’s puzzled. His confusion grows when she says she’s bringing a man with her, as well as his daughter. He and Sarena bond over the phone, expressing interest in one another. They have finally arrived and Mike meets her for the first time, but his mother interrupts before he even has a chance to kiss her. At the motel, they decide to go out for dinner as a group.

“I’ll grab my coat,” Sarena said, tugging my hand. “Mike, help me find where I left my key-card.”

I followed her into her room.

“Our folks don’t know how close we’ve gotten the last few days,” she said. “I wanted them to feel like they brought us together. It’s like all your mother has talked about for the last hundred miles or so. She really hopes we’ll hit it off.”

“I’m kinda hoping the same thing myself.” I took her hands, drawing her to me.

I wanted to kiss her badly. I knew exactly how she would taste and feel—just like the woman in my dream. The moment I laid eyes on her picture, I knew she was the one I dreamed about that day. That was such a vivid dream, with taste, scent and touch…. It made me hot just to think about it. Okay, face it, just being around Sarena made me hot. I was about to kiss her, when there was a tapping at the door.

Sarena grabbed her things, including the key which was right by her purse, and we headed out. She held my hand excitedly, like a little kid. I led the way to the restaurant, asking about their trip. Ma told me in great detail how lovely the trip had been. Sarena looked ready to laugh any second, so I changed the subject to the concert. I talked about meeting Ms. Learner.

“In that uniform she can tell you have a good build?” My mother is fluffy, but not entirely dumb.

“Yeah, well, the jacket is pretty form fitting, Ma. I guess she saw something she liked.”

Sarena pinched me. I had told her all about the Big Mike fiasco. She thought it was hysterical.

“You should call her about that modeling. It could bring in some good money,” she encouraged. “And I’ll come watch,” she said as our parents got up to go to the salad bar.

“You can get a free show anytime you want,” I told her. “I’ll even show you the nudes.”

“You didn’t send those out?”

“Oh, no! Just one of them without my shirt. You know, ratty jeans, tool belt….”

“Tell me it was pulling the jeans down almost far enough to see…. Leaving that tantalizing trail….” She stopped talking suddenly because our folks were almost to the table.

“Yes,” I said, taking her hand to my lips. “That’s exactly right. Salad?” I tugged her hand, dragging her to the salad bar. “You’re killing me, Serena. I want you so bad right now.”

“Do you think you’ve got an exclusive on that? Cause I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I had anything that wasn’t battery operated and covered in latex.”

I dropped the salad tongs, my fingers suddenly numb. “Oh, God, don’t keep talking like that around the salad bar!”

“What, there’s a new law? Talking dirty taints the food?”

“You’ll make me drool on it.”

She was still laughing when we headed back to the table.

“Is there any way we can escape and head to my place?” I whispered.

“I don’t know. We’ll think of something.”

“I sure as hell hope so, baby, cause otherwise I’m going to explode.”

“Ditto….”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Something New

something new coverChuckling, Austin shuffled off. His character was called The Magician. He didn’t do magic, but his abilities seemed almost magical to the more primitive people, humans, he encountered.

“Grab your script,” the director called to him.

“Got it.” Austin tapped his temple.

The director, who was new, didn’t believe him, so he grabbed his script for a read through. The young lady opposite him was lovely. She had lush red lips, big brown eyes and walnut colored hair. She was also the one who had made the snide remark about him.

“Austin Templeton,” he said, extending his hand. “But I expect you know that.” He flashed his most charming smile.

“Liat Fogleberg,” she replied, giving him a wan smile. “But I don’t expect you’ve heard a thing about me.”

“No, but they don’t tell me anything and I don’t get introduced unless I do it myself. I did hear you’re slated for three episodes.”

“Unless you don’t like me.”

“I’m not the one who makes that decision.”

She frowned, lips pursed and brows furrowed. “You don’t? But—”

“Places!” the assistant director bellowed. “Run through for blocking.”

The next hour was spent running through the scene. They took a short break before shooting a few takes.

* * *

After the break, places were called. Austin handed Dwight the plate. Rochelle and Bunny descended like hawks, checking his hair and makeup before he went back on the set. Liat stood there, waiting for him, looking annoyed. Rochelle wiped crumbs from his lips and jacket.

“Could you possibly not eat crumbly things while we’re filming?”

“I like scones,” he pouted slightly, sounding like a spoiled child. “And they make them just for me. I’ve got half a dozen more to eat before day’s end.”

Rochelle left, laughing at him.

“Scones?” Liat’s face brightened. “Where?”

“Catering table. Get some on the next break. They’re determined to fatten me up and make me a platter every day. Help yourself.”

“Thanks. You’re sure?”

“I’ll tell them. Ready?”

“Bit nervous.”

“Why? This isn’t your first time, is it?”

Liat’s eyes narrowed and she gave him a skeptical double take. “No.”

“No nerves allowed. Look at me. Not the least bit nervous.” He did an elaborate shiver and shake, rolling his eyes before doing a jerky, robotic dance.

Liat giggled, dark eyes twinkling, as they found their marks. She took a moment to compose herself, watching Austin get into character. He underwent an amazing transition, going from a thirty-something Englishman to an ageless, alien time traveler before her eyes. She could believe he was The Magician, not Austin Templeton, actor.

“Ready? And go!” the director said.

The scene began. Austin and Liat worked well together. She picked up his energy, working with it, making it her own. By the end of the scene, they were really in sync. After a few more takes, they took another break so the technicians could reset the lights for the next scene.

“Scones!” Austin said, rubbing his hands gleefully. “Come, Morgana, the food awaits!”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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