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First Meeting from Down the Drain ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageAlthough technically Vanessa and Dario already know one another, this is the first time they’ve actually considered taking their friendship further. Since it’s a defining moment, it makes for a good first meeting.

Music played loudly and Vanessa heard voices in the back. Rather than walking through the house, she wandered around the well maintained lawn and found the party around the pool. Deb saw her coming and let her in the back screen door.

You look good enough to eat!” she teased.

I’ll take my compliments where I can get them. Thank you.”

Nessa!” Dario rushed over. He wasn’t a quiet or a subtle man, but he was good looking, above average height, muscular build with black hair and the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen.

Taking the bowl from her, he offered her a beer, or other beverage, and bustled into the house to put the bowl in the fridge. He came back with two bottles of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, handing one to her with a flourish.

A lady as lovely as you, should have the best.”

Thank you.” She took the proffered bottle and sipped as he watched. “Oh, that’s good! Yum!”

Dario smirked, ducking his head slightly. “Glad you approve. I have a cousin who works at the brewery in California. He keeps me supplied.”

Can’t you buy this at the liquor store?” she smirked, raising an eyebrow as she sipped.

Yeah.” He stretched, extending his legs, exposing a tasty patch of sculpted abdomen. “But it sounds better to the ladies if I tell them how much trouble I went to, to get it.”

Vanessa laughed, tossing her head back. “Should you tell me that? Doesn’t it spoil the mystique?”

Maybe, but you aren’t the type of woman a man should lie to.”

That sobered her slightly. “Do I—come across…. How do I—? Do I seem—mean?” she stumbled and stuttered, trying not to seem needy or bitchy.

Dario laughed, shaking his head. “Vanessa, you are a whole lot of intimidating. But underneath beats the heart of a passionate woman—who can be scary as hell.”

That doesn’t make me feel better, Dario. Just saying.”

He scooted closer, lowering his voice. “But the scary isn’t the real Vanessa. There is another, very different woman under all that intimidation. And it takes a brave, confident man to find it.”

Are you saying you’re that man?” she raised an eyebrow.

I’m saying that I’d like to find out if I am. You willing to give me a shot?”

She gave him a once over, taking in his thick black hair, fathomless eyes, full lips and square jaw. Dropping her gaze, she examined his broad shoulders and firm chest, washboard abs, powerful thighs and tight ass. He waited patiently for her decision.

Yeah. I’m willing to give you a shot.”

Cool.”

Don’t think you’re getting lucky after this party.”

Hadn’t entered my mind,” he lied.

Sure, it hadn’t.” She nudged him, laughing.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 22 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallPaisley’s class makes everyone happy, even the ones who usually complain.

Kai was pleased at their response. Paisley beamed proudly as she accepted their compliments. He walked her inside where she was teaching the Zumba class again.

“Do you think they really liked it?”

“I’ve never heard so many good things from that bunch. They’re hard to please. You’ve scored major points, babe. Congratz.”

“Thanks.” She blushed, pleased that she was doing well. “I want to make you proud of me.”

“I couldn’t be anything else. You’re fantastic. Beautiful, witty, talented—you put up with my sorry ass schedule without a complaint, and you get along great with my family. What more could I ask for?”

His arms circled her, pulling her close. Kai’s kiss lit a fire in her belly. Paisley wondered how he could have that effect on her without really trying. Her ex had never filled her with such desire. His kisses didn’t excite as much as they disgusted. She’d never been sexually attracted to Ralph at all. Kai was all kinds of exciting.

He stopped suddenly, yawning. “I need to go get some sleep, babe. Mom will bring you to the house. I’ll take you home to change before we go out.”

“Sounds good. Sleep well.”

“I’ll dream of you.”

“Good. Be sure to tell me what I’m wearing in your dream.”

“Nothing but a satisfied smile,” he replied, nipping her lip. “Bye.”

He let go reluctantly, backing toward the door as the ladies started coming in. Unable to pull himself away, he walked back toward her, kissing her once more.

“Hello, Kai,” they all said.

Some saw the kiss and raised an eyebrow. Others fanned themselves, smirking at Kai behind his back. He continued to kiss Paisley, raising a thumb to the assembled ladies, all of whom clapped and cheered, getting progressively louder as the kiss continued. He prolonged it as long as he dared. Dizzy and aroused, he gave Paisley one last, short kiss before departing.

Not sure who that buzzed more, me or her. But he was pretty sure it was him. He knew what they were missing out on, she didn’t.

Kai got home to a quiet house. It was weird to be there with it so empty and silent, like it was waiting to come alive with the presence of his family. He got a shower and shaved before heading to bed. Glad of heavy drapes, he closed them before lying down. He unplugged the phone by his bed, rolled over, falling almost instantly asleep.

The sounds of his family coming in, woke him from a deep sleep. He looked at the clock and saw that it was almost 7:00. He took another shower and brushed his teeth before pulling on his jeans. Tossing a shirt over his shoulder, he padded out to the dining room barefoot. He came up so quietly behind Paisley, she didn’t hear him right away. Spinning around, she greeted him with a surprised smile.

“I didn’t hear you come in!” Her arms went around his neck as she stood on tiptoe to give him a kiss. “I smelled your cologne.”

“Must be soap,” he said quietly, his forehead on hers. “Not wearing any.”

“It smells great,” she said, smiling.

Cody cleared his throat as he brought groceries to the refrigerator. “You could help bring food in, brother mine.”

“I could,” Kai mused, focused on Paisley. “Or I could stand her with the most beautiful woman in the world, in my arms.”

Cody thumped him in the back with a gallon of milk. “Or—you could go grab groceries and help out, bro.”

“Chill, would ya?” He kissed Paisley on the nose. “Be right back. Kick him in the ass, if he gets mouthy, huh?”

“Sure thing.” She took a fighting stance, hands clenched. “I’ve studied kick boxing for ten years, Cody. Make one wrong move, I’ll kick your sorry ass to Nebraska.”

“Could you make it Colorado instead? There’s mountains there, and I can go skiing,” the young man said as he put the groceries away.

“Nope, Nebraska. Cause it’s boring.”

Kai chuckled as he went out to his mother’s car. He loaded up a bunch of bags and carried them inside, thumping them on the counter. He and Cody tossed things back and forth, putting groceries away quickly and efficiently. Their mother came in a few minutes later, smiling, a pile of mail in her arms.

“Yea, the books I ordered came in from Amazon. Now I’ve got something to read.”

“What did you order, Nina?” Paisley asked her.

“Mom only reads romance novels,” Cody intoned solemnly. “The more sordid the better.”

“I don’t read sordid romance novels,” Nina said pompously. “Though they do get steamy,” she told Paisley with a delighted shiver.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Deserted ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting imageI’ve said it before, I’ll say it again—I love first meetings. Alyssa Kendrake is an out of work English teacher. When she gets an e-mail inviting her to audition for a TV show, she’s shocked and slightly intimidated. Since it’s a chance for work, she goes. The receptionist tells her to go upstairs and ask for directions to the audition room.

The desk on the fifth floor was unoccupied, so Alyssa waited until a tall swarthy skinned man walked by.

“Excuse me,” she said quietly.

He turned to her with a smile. “May I help you?”

“Yes, I’m looking for the casting director of Deserted. I was told to go to room fifty forty-two, but I don’t know where that is.”

“I’d be happy to show you, Miss Kendrake. I’m going there myself. My name is Barry.” He shook her hand politely.

“Thank you, Barry.”

She followed him down the hall, admiring the view. She didn’t usually allow herself to stare at a man, but he didn’t seem to notice. He was incredibly well built and his clothing set off his physique well. He wore dark gray dress pants, a dove gray shirt and no suit coat. His tie was a blend of gray and blue, like damp watercolors swirled together. He looked more like a professional athlete than someone who worked in an office.

Barry chuckled to himself. It wasn’t often a pretty woman came in the office and watched his ass as he walked down the hall. Strutting casually, he emphasized his swagger a little, to keep her looking. She thought he wasn’t aware of her gaze, but he was. He didn’t mind the lingering caress of her eyes. As a matter of fact, it was not only flattering, but a distinct thrill.

Alyssa watched the muscular man walk, thinking how long it had been since she’d had one of her own to admire up close. Blinking rapidly, she nearly ran into him when he stopped in front of room 5042. He held the door partially open, standing not quite far enough away for her to walk easily through. He leaned casually against it, one arm raised well above her head. Smiling down at her, he invited her into the room with a smile and a hand at the small of her back.

Alyssa had to turn slightly to face him, nearly brushing up against him. With a shy smile, she eased by his arm. Eyes demurely downcast, she glanced up at him like Lauren Bacall. Barry felt his pulse quicken as he closed the door behind them.

“Everyone, this is Alyssa Kendrake. She’s here about Deserted. She’s our next appointment.”

“Welcome, Alyssa,” a smiling, dark haired woman greeted her. “Please have a seat. I’m Kimberly Crimson, casting director. You’ve met Barry Sebring. Next to me is Mickey Stafford and to the left of him is Grace Bing. Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself.”

Alyssa took the indicated chair. It was softer than it looked and she sank more deeply than she anticipated, nearly losing her balance. Righting herself with difficulty, she sat on the edge so she wouldn’t have another mishap.

She looked quickly at the people in the room, sizing them up as best she could. Barry was tall, athletic, handsome. Kimberly wasn’t much over five feet, slightly rounded, with soft dark hair and eyes. Grace was somewhat older than the others. Graying hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail. Her half moon glasses rested on her nose. Mickey, who couldn’t have been much older than her high school students, was probably an intern.

“I’m Alyssa Kendrake. I’m thirty-two and a school teacher, or at least I was until all the budget cuts. To be specific, I am an out of work, high school, English teacher. I’m not really sure why I’m here. I’m not an actress.”

“You filled out an application for a clerical position,” Kimberly answered. “There was a picture with your application. I was going through the files and liked your look. It was my decision to ask you in.”

“Oh, well that’s great! I’m desperate to find something. The wolf is scratching at the door as we speak.”

They smiled politely, shuffling papers in front of them. Barry stared openly, the others kept glancing at her, scribbling notes on their papers. No one said anything for quite awhile.

“What else can you tell us about yourself?” Barry asked suddenly. “Are you married? Seeing anyone?”

Alyssa got the impression that those were more than casual questions. She couldn’t see what they had to do with anything, but turned to Barry with a friendly smile.

“I’m single, not for lack of trying. Why? Is this job contingent upon my being single?”

“No, I was just curious. Purely from a business point of view, of course,” he added quickly, glancing at Kimberly.

Miss Crimson giggled, shaking her head as she took notes. “Do you have any special talents, Alyssa?” She asked.

“I’m an English teacher and aspiring writer. I’ve done some freelance work for two of the local newspapers. I love to cook, play racquetball and swim three miles a day. My first degree is in theater and dance, but my second is in English education. Brown is my natural hair color. I wear contact lenses. I’m five foot six, weigh one hundred and ten pounds and love to listen to music.”

“What kind of music do you like?” Barry leaned forward, an intensity in his body language that hadn’t been there before.

“Just about everything, but my favorite is heavy metal. Specifically Metallica, though I really like Incubus and Rammstein.”

“Cool,” he chuckled, nodding at Kimberly. “Thank you, Alyssa. Are you available tomorrow at one for a callback?”

“My schedule is completely empty, Barry. Yes.”

“Excellent. Put her down for tomorrow at one, Grace.”

“Already got it.”

“I’ll see you out,” Barry grinned, holding the door for Alyssa once more.

“Thank you,” Alyssa blushed as she slid past him.

“My pleasure,” he gazed down at her, letting the door swing shut. “You free for dinner?”

“Tonight?”

“Or tomorrow. But tonight would be better for me.”

“Oh? Do you have pressing matters tomorrow?”

“We make our final decisions tomorrow. I’ll be tied up. Are you free at six?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.”

“I’ve got your address on your resume. I’ll pick you up at six?”

“Will this help me get the job?”

He winked, flashing a saucy grin. “Maybe.”

He had expressive, dark, jade green eyes, Alyssa noticed in passing. Her violet blue eyes penetrated his, searching the depths for what made Barry tick. His smile changed slightly as he noticed the scrutiny. Again, he didn’t seem to mind, so she indulged herself.

“Then maybe six would be good,” she giggled, blushing again.

“See you at six.” He pushed the elevator button, holding the door for her when it opened.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 18 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallKai has an unfortunate occurrence when he’s taking a nap at the fire house.

Kai laughed. “Sure—rub my face in it. She works right across the street at the club. Go over when she’s doing class. You’ll get a good look.”

“Might just have to do that. Hurry up, they’re waiting.”

Kai and his team mates went to the grocery store, wandering around until they found something for dinner. Usually they had some kind of plan, but this time none of them had any good ideas. Finally, Cherise, the only woman on the team, stopped by the kitchen kiosk in the front of the store.

“This smells good,” she said, taking a sample. “Eat.” She handed it around to the men. “We’ll take this,” she told the woman.

“Ingredients are in the cabinet over there. Everything you need for the recipe, plus sides, wine, etc.”

“No wine, we’re on duty. However, the rest of it. Load it up, guys. I decided, you cook.”

Kai laughed at the other men. All bachelors, none of them had much skill in the kitchen. He suspected he and Cherise would be cooking. He was the only one who could handle himself in food prep, and not set the kitchen on fire, or take off a finger.

As he predicted, he and Cherise fixed the meal while the others set the table and basically got in the way. When it was ready, they ate, laughing and cutting up like crazy. The meal was barely over when the alarm went off.

Grabbing their gear, they listened to find out their destination. Multiple car wreck on US-1. They hopped in the truck, taking off, sirens blaring. Traffic moved quickly out of the way, as they sped down the road.

At the scene, police had blocked off the highway, diverting traffic down a side street. Four cars littered the road, scattered from the south bound lanes to the north bound. One of the officers gave them a brief rundown as they approached.

“I’ve got six vics,” he said. “Two minor, the rest are pretty bad. One I’m not sure is gonna make it. Old guy, drunk, turned the wrong way down the highway, started going north in the south bound lanes. He’s real hurt.”

Their team was joined by EVAC from another station. They split up, two of them doing a quick triage. The others started on the worst victims first. Kai did triage, then helped as needed. Soon, they were all at the hospital being attended to by trauma physicians.

Back at the station, they cleaned up the kitchen and prayed the rest of the night was quiet. Unfortunately, an hour and a half later, another call came in.

“What is it? A full moon?” Cherise asked, gazing up at the sky as they drove.

Kai looked up too, squinting at the darkening sky through the canopy of palm trees. “Don’t see the moon yet. I dunno.”

“I was being facetious,” Cherise replied, digging his ribs with her elbow.

It was another car crash, but this one minor. No one needed an ambulance. Only scratches and bruises on the two passengers.

“I’m gonna kill Greg,” Kai said as he walked back in the station. “It’s never this busy on my shift. It’s like the bastard knew.”

“Well, I’d sure as hell rather work with you when it’s like this,” Cherise told him. “I can count on you to do what you’re told, and not argue. You don’t give me shit, or question. And you can work independently, without me riding your ass. I, for one, am glad you’re here.”

“Kai’s got a new woman,” Tommy said with a sly grin.

“And just how do you know that?” Kai was rather annoyed that the entire team knew.

“Thad told me. So, she hot?” Davis asked him as he popped open a soda.

“Does it matter?” Cherise asked, her dark eyes flashing. “Maybe Kai isn’t that superficial.”

“I’ve never seen him with a chick who wasn’t smokin’,” Davis said. “If there’s a sweet piece of ass, anywhere in the neighborhood, Kai’ll find her.” He held out his knuckles for the younger man to tap.

Kai hung his head, ignoring the dubious compliment. “Thanks, man. Make me sound as bad as you. Cherise, she’s very pretty. But I’d like her even if she wasn’t. She’s got a tender spirit,” he mused quietly, knowing she would understand, even if the men wouldn’t.

They didn’t, and teased him about it for quite some time. Cherise came to him later, sitting beside him at the table as the others watched TV.

“So, tell me about Miss Tender Spirit. What’s her name?”

Kai told her all about Paisley, including the abusive ex, and everything else that made her unique.

“She sounds real special. I’m glad she met you. If she’d met one of the goon squad, can you imagine?”

“Am I really that different? I’m just a guy.”

“You’re not just a guy,” she said quietly. “No doubt, you’re a man.” She grinned, punching his broad shoulder. “But you’re more considerate than the rest of them. You’re a lot like my husband….”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Take 2

First Meeting imageAnton’s friend, CV, isn’t feeling well. In fact, he keels over when the two of them are fishing. Worried about him, Anton takes him to the hospital. Of course, CV knows him under the name Donald Winthrop (he has several aliases). Little does he know, he’s about to meet a very special someone—again.

“Here’s Dr. Lister,” Dr. Smithers said, smiling at someone behind him.

Anton turned around and the smile wavered. He found himself less than five feet away from Tabitha Levi.

“Dr. Lister, this is Donald Winthrop, Mr. Carpenter’s medical surrogate, and neighbor.”

“Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” he smiled, holding out his hand to greet her.

Stiffly, she took his hand. “Mr. Winthrop. A pleasure.” Her grip was hard. “Delighted to make your acquaintance.”

His fingers tingled, turning dark red before she let go.

“Doctor.” His smile waned, as he did his best to pretend he’d never seen her before.

Dr. Smithers ushered Tabitha Levi―Dr. Lister―into the cubicle. Anton leaned against the wall, trying to slow his pulse and catch his breath.

Susie popped her head out the door. “They need to talk to you, sugar.”

“Yeah. Of course.” Taking a deep breath, he followed her inside.

“Here’s Donnie,” CV said, wheezing slightly.

“You okay, Old Man?”

“Hard to breathe,” CV gasped, clutching Anton’s hand.

“Doc?” Anton’s eyes found Tabitha’s.

“Let’s get him upstairs,” she ordered. “This is now emergent. Book me an OR, Susie.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She picked up a phone, talking rapidly.

The doctors got the gurney moving. Anton was allowed to walk with them as far as the surgical ward.

“Mr. Carpenter?” Tabitha said sharply as the old man’s eyes fluttered.

“CV, can you hear me?” Anton asked loudly.

His friend gasped, clutching his hand harder as he struggled to breathe. Anton trotted to keep up. He rode with them, but had to stop at the red line outside the surgery doors. He watched as CV was wheeled into a room.

“You’ll be okay, CV,” he called as the door slid shut.

“You can wait in here,” Susie said, taking his elbow.

“Thanks.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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For More About Dellani

Books & Entertainment Network Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with KG Bethlehem and F-Kenneth Taylor.

Monday, December 9th from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog Talk Radio.

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It’s December already? Wow, it doesn’t seem possible. If you’re whittling away at your gift lists, books make great gifts! Today, we have on two authors of great books. One is a frequent flyer with our network, the other fellow is brand new. We’re delighted to have them both on.

Kevin Daniel or KG Bethlehem

K.G. Bethlehem fathers one daughter, and has been writing since the late 1990s and has evolved into an accomplished author, poet, conscious-minded individual, narrative storyteller, and overall excellent writer. He is also a well-experienced short-story writer as well. His first venture into writing was poetry. He wrote, some in high school but more in college. He took a class under the tutelage of Dr. Georgia Johnston at St. Louis University and went on to perform at poetry readings around the St. Louis area from 1999-2003

K.G. Bethlehem specializes in the Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Dystopia genres where he combines well-thought storylines with a vivid imagination to comprise to ultimate reading experience.

He has self-published 6 books including his most recent full-length novel, “Astronomical”, and “Shadow Within A City”, which was co-authored with F. Kenneth Taylor, as well as his newest publication and short-story, “The Forever Spring”. His first self-published book was Avenging Knights, a fantasy novel, that came out in 2009. He’s the Co-Creator of the 2004 Dark-Comic release, ShadowKill.” Also this year Shadow Within A City II Ghost Squad’s Apocalyptic was release, Dystopian, sci fi novel written with F. Kenneth Taylor. He currently has several upcoming projects. One such project is due to come out in May of 2020 called “She is to be remembered.” This sci fantasy. Anti utopian fiction is part of the Shadow Within A City universe that will showcase a new hero fighting against an ancient foe.

F Kenneth Taylor

F. Kenneth Taylor is a Self-Published Author of 9 books in multiple genres including; Sci-Fi/Space Opera, Dystopia, Urban-Drama, and Poetry. He wrote his first manuscript in 2001, but wouldn’t become a published author until 2012. Since then, he has become a Freelance Writer/Editor and most recently, began consulting new SP Authors. However, there’s much more F. Kenneth Taylor has accomplished in writing…

2014-2019 Owner/Creator of Some’n Unique Magazine LLC

* 2015 Nominated ‘Author of the Year’ by STL Star Awards

* 2015 Featured in Dec. issue of F.U.S.E Magazine

* 2015 Guest Speaker at Gateway Elem. School

* 2016 Featured on The Hangin With Web Show

* 2016 Launched ‘Books Jazz Coffee & Smoke’ on BTR with Kevin Daniel (KG Bethlehem)

* 2017 Launched Local Poetry Open Mic, “Poetic Vibez”

* 2018 Featured on Roku TV’s, “The Women’s Cave”

* 2019 Launched new BTR Open Mic, “The Cipher” Aside from being a Self-Published Author, F.

Kenneth Taylor is also an Acrylic Abstract and Landscape Visual Artist. Losing his father in 2018, who was an amazing artist as well; re-ignited F. Kenneth’s passion and first love of Art. He was 1 of 7 hand-picked artists to have their work presented at Urb Arts in the 2019 Abstract Pop-Up Exhibit. Finally, F. Kenneth Taylor is a Spoken Word Artist who performs regularly in St. Louis, MO and select venues in Illinois.

In his down time, F. Kenneth Taylor is usually with his youngest god-daughter, who is also a budding artist, or he’s playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II (his fav. one), Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Dragon Age II, or Mass Effect II. FUN FACTS: Major Star Wars fan… Loves playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Assassin’s Creed (Brotherhood or Black Flag), Dragon Age II & Mass Effect. — He’s an avid music lover and favorite snack is Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, Banana Moon Pies & Welch’s Fruit Snacks.

Be sure to tune in when we chat with these two talented men!

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