Tag Archive | first meeting

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

Some first meetings don’t take place in person, such is the case with Cullen Fellowes and Jazz Rialto. He sees her performing at the mall with her brothers. Making the mistake of singing with her, he outs himself—which is a problem, since he’s a famous rock star. Later, Lowell, Jazz’s brother posts the video of their performance, and Cullen makes a comment.

“Did you share it around?” Jazz asked.

“Yes, Mom. I shared it everywhere,” Lowell replied.

“Good. How did you label it?”

“The Jazz Trio sings with Cullen Fellowes.”

“You did not! He’ll be so pissed!”

“Wanna bet? Look who the first comment is from.” He pointed to the screen, reading it aloud. “Great concert! Wish it hadn’t ended in such a weird way, I wanted to come up and say hi. You all are great, and I had fun singing with you. Sang my damn song better than me! CWF

The comment was posted under the name The Cullenator, with a picture of his sassy grin, blue eyes twinkling.

“Did you reply?” She sat next to him once more.

“That comment, big sis, is directed at you.”

“Then move, and let me answer!” She grabbed the laptop, nearly knocking him off his chair.

“Don’t be lame. Let me read it before you post.”

“Fine!”

Thinking for a moment, she started typing. Lowell read over her shoulder.

“Mmm. No.”

“What? That’s a great response.”

Mr. Fellowes, my brothers and I enjoyed your participation at our concert. We hope you can join us again. You sound like you’re replying to a business letter. That sucks completely.” He deleted her message, typing one of his own.

“No! You didn’t post— Lowell!”

He’d typed: Cullen, thanks for the duet. Let’s do it again sometime. You’re super hot.

“You bastard! I can’t believe you did that! Oh, my God, you bastard!” She was in the process of pummeling him, when her phone rang. “Behave!” she cautioned. Her phone was the official business line. If the number wasn’t on her list, she treated it like a business call.

“Thank you for calling the Jazz Trio, Jazz speaking—”

“So, I’m hot, huh?” Cullen’s voice sounded over the phone, a soft laugh followed.

“Oh, God,” she whispered, hand over her eyes.

“You’re supposed to say that later, while we have sex. Right now, it’s completely inappropriate.”

“My brother wrote that. The drummer. The youngest. He can’t be trusted. My reply was—”

“Boring,” Lowell said loudly.

“Professional,” Jazz amended.

“So—boring,” Cullen said with a loud laugh. “I don’t like boring, or professional. I’m a relaxed kind of guy.”

“Why were you there?”

“At the mall? Sometimes, I like to be—boring,” he confessed. “Honestly, I like to connect with people. Growing up rich, being a rock star, it’s easy to forget what it’s like. Your music, your voice. That makes people take notice. Sorry I spoiled the ending of your concert, with my precipitous escape.”

It took her a second for her mind to flip into high vocabulary mode. Laughing softly, she cradled the phone. “It’s okay. Not being you, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be mobbed.”

“Not quite as entertaining as it might seem. I was lucky, though. Two of the security guys helped me out.”

“Who was the guy who got arrested?”

“How did you know?” he sounded genuinely puzzled.

“My brothers saw, as they drove by.”

“Tell him I filmed it,” Lowell nudged her.

“No!” she whispered.

“No? What? I didn’t ask anything,” Cullen said.

“I was telling Lowell no. He’s like a little kid, bugging me. Go away, Lowell!” She shoved at her brother.

He didn’t move, so she trotted up the stairs to her room.

“I was calling, partly to thank you for the compliment, and partly to ask you to come to the concert this Saturday.”

“Oh, gosh, I can’t!” Her face hit her palm. “I have a prior engagement.”

“Reschedule.”

“I can’t. It’s my great-grandmother’s ninety-ninth birthday. The entire clan is meeting up for a party. We’re hoping she’ll make it to a hundred, but you never know.”

“Oh, no sure. That’s far more important. Ninety-nine, huh? I didn’t think I’d even make it to thirty, that’s pretty cool.”

“Why not?”

“Why not—what?”

“Make it to thirty. You’re not sick, are you?”

His laughter rang out. “Do I look sick? I thought I looked hot.”

“You don’t. You do! Just—” She paused. “Are conversations with you always this difficult?”

“I’d love to say no, but probably. My brother says I don’t filter, and my sister says I don’t have an off switch. Both are correct.” He chuckled softly, sobering somewhat. “I didn’t think I’d make it to thirty, because I don’t live an exemplary life. I drive too fast, like to jump out of planes, love free climbing, and want to snow board in the Alps.”

“That last doesn’t sound so dangerous.”

“It is, if you jump out of a helicopter.”

“Oh. Wow. You can do that?”

“Yeah. You can do that.”

She paused so long, he thought she’d lost connection.

“Hello?”

“Yeah, hi. I was just thinking about all those things. Dangerous. Expensive.”

“They are. Both.”

“I can’t even dream of having that kind of money.”

“Actually, you can. You have talent—all three of you. You sang my song better than I do, and I wrote the damn thing. Part of my reason for this call, besides inviting you to the concert, I wanted to see if you and your brothers are available to go on the road in a few months. We’re doing a tour of the greater northeast, and Canada. Specifically Newfoundland/ Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec, and all those funky-do islands that I can’t remember the names of. You’d need your passports, and whatever instruments you prefer. Everything else provided.”

Her gasp left her breathless. “Are you serious right now?”

“Yes. This isn’t just a play to get in your pants.”

“Um….”

“Though, I would like that. But I can wait. The offer is completely serious. If you say yes, I’ll call our manager, and have him talk to yours.”

“Actually, I’m the manger for now. We can’t afford a regular one.”

“Then, you need a manager.”

“Yeah, but….”

“Call this number, and tell her I sent you.” He rattled off a phone number.

“Wait, hold on. Let me get a pen and paper.”

“Waiting, ma’am!”

She scrabbled around, finding what she needed. “Okay, go.”

He repeated the number. “Got it?”

“Yes. Who is this?”

“Babs Goldblum.”

“We can’t afford her! She’s the best agent in the business!”

“Call her. Talking is free. Mention my name, and that we want you on our tour. I guarantee she’ll say yes.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

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

To Buy Dellani’s Books

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

First Meeting imageSome first meetings don’t occur in person. That’s the case for Elizabeth Stanton and Dylan Marshall. She’s applied for a job at a local senior citizen facility, which he runs. She had to miss her appointment earlier that day, due to weather and not knowing her way around, so Dylan decides to call her instead. She’s sitting in her new home, listening to the rain on the roof, wondering when the electricity is going to come back on, when the phone rings.

Elizabeth couldn’t help hoping her power would be sooner than two hours. She didn’t like being in the dark, especially in a house that didn’t yet feel like home. To occupy herself, she pulled out her computer, only to realize she couldn’t go on line, because, of course, the Wi-Fi was out. Rain hammered her roof, sounding like hail. She was tempted to look, but didn’t fancy going out in the dark just to check the weather. Her car was covered, the roof sturdy. She wasn’t worried—too much.

Her cellphone rang, startling her. It wasn’t a number she recognized, but since it was local, she answered anyway. “Hello?”

Elizabeth Slaton?”

Yes. Who’s this?”

Dylan Marshall. We spoke earlier about the job.”

Of course.” Her heart fluttered. Had he found someone else? Was he calling to cancel their appointment? She hoped not. She needed the job and he was the only one who had called her back.

Could you possibly come in earlier than one? I got handed a job I don’t really want and can’t say no to. I have to be at a Yacht Club cruise and schmooze luncheon. I don’t know when I’ll get back.”

Certainly. Until I have a job, my time is entirely open.”

Great! I look forward to it. Hey, did you get home okay?”

Yes, but my power is out. I’m sitting here in the dark and it’s a little creepy.”

Seriously? I love sitting in the dark. It relaxes me. Of course, Darla thinks I’m totally crazy. My dog, Darla. She’s a fawn Doberman.”

Your dog thinks you’re crazy?” she giggled.

Yeah, well, since I think that, I probably am, right? I don’t know, she has a very disapproving look on her face when I do it.”

Maybe she’s just trying to see.”

Dogs have good night vision—don’t they?”

Mine didn’t. Stone stupid and blind as sticks.”

You don’t mean blind as bats?”

No. Bats see just fine. But have you ever seen a stick that had good vision? I ask you.”

He paused. “I have not. Okay, I’ll give ya that.”

What time tomorrow?”

Nine thirty or ten. Which works better?”

Let’s make it ten. I’m not sure enough of your location. I don’t own a GPS. I never needed one until I moved here.”

Where are you located? I can give you great directions and can almost guarantee you won’t get lost.”

Almost? That sounds dubious, Mr. Marshall.”

Well, I can’t factor in your ability to follow directions, so I can’t say they are definitively, one hundred percent fool proof.”

Gotcha. I’m over on the beach. I can get mainland without difficulty.”

Okay, north or south end?”

South.”

Sweet. Okay. Once you cross the causeway, turn north on US-1.”

Hang on, let me get a pen.” She scrambled around finding paper and a pen. “Okay, north on US-1.”

Have you been to the city limits to the north?”

No.”

It’s not quite five miles. You’ll want to be in the left lane. Pass the airport, pass Tops and Bottoms.”

What’s up?”

Tops and Bottoms. It’s a strip club. You can’t miss it.”

I had no idea this town was so cosmopolitan.”

He chuckled. It was a very warm sound and made Elizabeth feel comfortable.

Two blocks past, turn left onto North Street. We’re on the left, but parking is on the right. Got that?”

Yes, I think so. We’ll see how well if I’m on time tomorrow.”

Take down my number in case you get lost.” He gave her his cell number. “Where you from, Miss Slaton?”

Denver, most recently. Ever been there?”

I spent the night at the airport once. We got snowed in on Halloween. Kind of a shock for a Southern boy like me to see snow in October. You went to college, I assume. Was that in Denver, too?”

That’s why I initially went there. I went to University of Denver. I graduated with my Bachelor’s with 3.9 and started my Master’s.”

What field?”

Business management.” She laughed a little, puzzled by the conversation. “I thought we were doing this tomorrow.”

Why wait? I still have to see you in person, but get the boring stuff out of the way before you get here. How many hours before you have your masters?”

Six.”

Why’d you leave, if you don’t mind me asking.”

Never date a cowboy.”

I don’t plan to. But why?”

I never met one who could spell or adhere to monogamy.”

Oooh, gotcha. So, you’re single?” He sounded way too happy to hear that.

I don’t date my boss, Mr. Marshall,” she replied in a bone chilling tone.

No worries. We just sometimes keep some odd hours. I don’t want a husband or boyfriend thinking I’m getting a lap dance from my secretary after hours.”

Tops and Bottoms is close, you can always go there.”

Exactly! That’s what makes this location ideal.”

She sincerely hoped he was kidding, and strongly suspected he was.

You’re actually more qualified for my job than I am. I’m not that close to my Masters. I’ve got the in-house experience. I’ve been doing this sort of work for seven years now. How fast do you type?”

I can do a hundred words a minute. I know Word….”

He made an impatient noise. “Do you have an above average IQ?”

I graduated with a 3.9,” she reminded him.

Can you put up with a man who’s slightly ADD and hops from subject to subject like a squirrel on crack?”

I’m not sure I’d describe it that way, but if you’re describing yourself, I’m keeping up with you.”

Can you multi-task?”

Depends on the tasks. I can’t type and stand on my head, but I can jog on a treadmill and read.”

Can you eat and talk at the same time?”

Not with food in my mouth. I mean, I am physically capable of doing that, but ew. Why? Is that part of the job description?”

No. I’m inviting you to dinner. It’s early yet, I’m hungry and a girl’s gotta eat.”

Mr. Marshall, I….”

Have no plausible excuse,” he concluded. “And please call me Dylan. You can meet me somewhere, if you like.”

I don’t know where anything is around here. And I’m a little nervous going out in this weather. I’m not used to it.”

Okay, tell you what. I’ll come pick you up and I’ll risk the shitty weather. Will you join me then? Please? I’d really like to get to know you.”

Elizabeth sighed. “All right. I don’t usually go out with men I don’t know, Mister… Dylan.”

I don’t usually ask out complete strangers, Elizabeth. But I hate eating alone. I have no food whatsoever at my place.”

How soon will you be here?”

Twenty minutes okay?”

Yes. That’s fine. Don’t expect perfection. It’s dark and I can’t see to put on makeup.”

I don’t care. We won’t do fancy. Do you eat meat?” He paused. Elizabeth thought she heard him curse softly. “I mean like steak,” he added sheepishly.

Elizabeth burst out laughing. “I wish I could see your face! I bet it was priceless. Yes. I like steak. And I occasionally eat meat.”

Dylan groaned softly.

I mean like chicken and pork, duh!”

I’ll see you in twenty minutes. I’ll be the guy who’s got his foot in his mouth.”

Neat trick. Isn’t it hard to drive like that?”

Amusing. Yeah….”

Bye, Dylan. See you soon!”

Bye.” He hung up.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

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

To Buy Dellani’s Books

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

To Buy Dellani’s Books

First Meeting from Star Crossed

star-crossed-coverThe man in the truck frowned when he Helene her approach. He shut off the engine and got out, glowering.

“What?”

Helene stopped in her tracks. He was angry and surly, but one of the handsomest men she’d ever met.

“Hello, I’m Helene Marcos. I hear you’ve bought the last of the trees. I was wondering if you’d be willing to part with the blue spruce.”

He was already frowning and shaking his head. He ignored her hand and raised his chin at the young man, telling him to start loading with a jerk of his head. Tipping his head at Helene, he frowned. It wasn’t so much anger, she sensed, as a dislike of the cold wind. His eyes watered. A startling blue, they made a stark contrast with his sleek, black hair.

“The blue spruce. Could I buy it from you? I’ll be happy to pay whatever you did, plus ten percent?” Her voice rose to a childish, almost whimper. She hated when she did that. It made her sound like such a child. As if the blonde hair and big blue eyes weren’t enough of a problem.

“No.”

“What? Why not?”

“I need it. I ordered, and received, fifteen very specific trees. I was lucky they weren’t taken with the rest.”

Helene could feel tears in her eyes. “Surely one….”

“Look, Miss….” he’d already forgotten her name. “I work for a party planner and we have a gig Sunday night. I contracted for fifteen trees. I’m being paid for fifteen. I can’t bring fourteen.”

“But the blue….”

“Is the center piece of the display. Look, I’m sorry. If I could….” He snorted in frustration, running his hand through his hair. “There’s another lot, about two blocks down. Maybe they have a spruce?”

Her eyes filled with tears. “Sure. I’ll go look. I kind of wanted to shop here. I mean, they got robbed. By the looks of them, they’re counting on the money. I just thought….” A shuddering breath caught in her throat. The tears tickled her eyelashes. “Never mind. It’s not your problem. Thank you.” She turned and walked back to the lot, hoping to find another tree for her mother’s Christmas.

Abraham Carson watched the petite blonde walk away and let out a low groan of frustration. Gallantry warred with every other emotion in him. He wasn’t a greedy man, but he did have a contract to fulfill. And he’d seen three blue spruce trees at the other lot on his way here. Not as nice as this one….

“Miss!” he called. “Miss—Marcos?” he bellowed, extending his arm in a gesture of frustration.

She turned, her eyes wide and liquid.

Dammit. Not tears. Dammit! No tears!

“I’ll—I’ll find another tree. And you don’t have to pay extra, just give me what I paid for it.”

An angelic smile wreathed her features. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” He wasn’t, but what else could he say to that sweet face. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“Oh, thank you!” She ran over to him, placing a warm kiss on his cold cheek. “Thank you. Do you mind a check?”

“Not at all.”

“I promise it’s good. I work at Dr. Staley’s office on Tenth, though, if you have any problem with it.”

“I’m sure I won’t.”

She held her pink checkbook, full of checks scattered with hot air balloons, purple pen poised over the page. Her blue eyes widened expectantly and he realized she was waiting for his name and the amount.

“It was umm, seventy-five….” So he shaved off a few bucks. “And you can make it out to Carson’s Party Planners.”

Flashing a five star smile that struck him deeply, he waited while she wrote out the check. She handed it to him, grinning, thanking him. The check smelled like violets. Resisting the urge to sniff it, he folded it, putting it in his wallet. His boss, who was also his sister, would probably kill him. But he was a softy at heart, which was why she handled the business side and he just picked things up. He really couldn’t be trusted in a more official capacity.

“Thank you so much. My mother is really ill, and this will make her happy. I wanted the perfect tree and she always loved blue spruce.”

Could he feel any more like a complete tool? Not likely. A sick mom. The perfect tree. But the smile and those big, blue eyes, made him feel less like a heel. She kissed him again and his heart lurched.

“You’re very welcome, Miss Marcos. I hope you and your mom have a very Merry Christmas. And I’ll keep her health in my prayers.”

This smile was damn near angelic. Why had he said that? He hardly prayed anymore. His days as a choir boy were well behind him, but he hadn’t lost that grain of truth and hope that had been part of his life since he was a child.

“Hey, Chet, can you load up the lady’s tree?” he called to the young man. “The blue spruce.”

“Sure thing, Abe!” The young man hoisted the tree onto his shoulder and carried it to her car. He got it safely roped on the top and attached the red bandanna she had brought for the base of it. Whistling happily, he nodded when he accepted the tip she gave him.

Standing side by side, Abe and Chet watched Helene drive away.

“You seriously only charged her seventy-five? That was a hundred dollar tree.”

Abe watched the car turn the corner, blinking rapidly against the cold once it was gone. “Yeah, well…. I’m a sucker for big blue eyes and tears.”

“She cried? Oh, hell, I would have given it to her for free!”

Abe chuckled, knuckling the kid’s head. “I almost did, but Tina would decorate a tree with my balls if I did. Now, I have to go down the way and spend my own money on another tree.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

First Meeting from On the Fairway

first meetingHeath Otts works at a local, very posh and exclusive, golf course as a greens keeper. After work one afternoon, his boss asks him to drop off some bags of pink gravel, which were delivered to them by mistake. He takes them up to the club house as instructed, and looks for someone to give them to.

There was a flurry of activity in one of the private dining rooms. He wandered over, hands in his pockets, shoulders hunched, trying not to look as big and dirty as he was. It wasn’t easy making a man his size inconspicuous. At six foot four, he was broad shouldered, narrow hipped and handsome. Even with a day’s worth of dirt on him, he was eye catching. His wavy brown hair came to the collar of his shirt. His brilliant blue eyes surveyed the room looking for someone in charge.

A tall, well built brunette with shoulder length hair and killer legs stood a few feet away. She wore a bright blue dress that clung invitingly to her tasty curves. Heath watched her ass for several seconds before clearing his throat.

“Excuse me, miss?”

She spun around, her smile faltering when she saw his shabby attire.

“I’ve got the gravel y’all ordered.”

“Oh, of course. Thank you!”

“Where would you like me to stow it?”

She cast about for a moment, then motioned to a table near the door. “Right there is perfect. That will save you a few steps.”

“You got it!” He turned away.

“What’s your name?” she called after him.

“Heath Otts.”

“Essa Jaymes. Nice to meet you. I’m the events planner here.”

“I work greens maintenance. Pardon my stank. I just got off work.”

She reached out the shake his hand. He started to take her hand, realized he was still dirty, even after washing, and jerked it away instead.

“Sorry. I’m real dirty, Miss Jaymes. Nice to meet you, though.”

She grabbed his hand anyway, shaking firmly. “I can always wash. Nice to meet you, Heath.”

“You too. Lemme get that gravel in for ya.” He walked backward, pointing over his shoulder at the back door.

“Sure. Great. Thank you.” She looked baffled by his behavior, but smiled anyway.

So damn outta her league. . . .I’m not even in the same galaxy as her league. Fuck, I’m not even in her universe. God damn that’s a pretty woman!

His unloading went quickly. He had to carry everything in by hand, but he was strong and able to lift two bags at a time. Soon, all ten bags were stacked neatly on the table. He’d been given a paper for someone to sign, so he went looking for Miss Jaymes again. He found her on the far side of the room counting place settings.

“Just need your John Hancock,” he said, handing her a clipboard.

“Thanks again,” she said, scribbling her name. She handed it back to him. Next to it, she’d written her number. Her smile flashed. “Do they let you accept tips?”

“Ma’am?”

“Your boss. Are you allowed to take a tip?”

“I dunno. Only been working two months and no one tried to tip me before.”

She grinned, handing him a folded bill on the sly. “Shh,” she whispered. “Qviet!”

Heath took it from her furtively, turning his body so no one would see the bill exchange hands. “I feel like I’m doing a drug deal,” he murmured.

Essa laughed. “Nothing so sordid, I promise. I know the kitchen staff aren’t allowed to accept tips. It’s built into the bill. I really appreciate you doing that for me. I don’t suppose I could trouble you further? I don’t have scissors and I don’t think I can open those bags with my hands.”

“I’ll slit ’em for ya. Enough you can get your fingers in. Any more than a slit, you’ll be up to your ears in pink gravel.”

She giggled at his lame joke. “That would be super awesome! Thank you.” Essa beamed at him.

“Happy to help a lady in distress.” Heath flipped open his pocket knife and attacked the corner of each bag and stood them upright against the wall, so they wouldn’t spill.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Sexy Without the Sex from Driving Blind

sexy without the sex bannerZenobia Vlachos works as a computer tech at a big electronics store in Daytona. She meets Ax Kazan, a police officer, when he pulls her over in traffic. There is an immediate connection between them, but Zenobia isn’t about to rush to bed with him. Ax makes the excuse that he needs computer work done, to see her at work, and takes her to lunch.

After eating, Zenobia still had some time before going back to work. They took a short walk around the plaza before dropping by his car. It wasn’t so much that Ax wanted to put his computer away, though that was his excuse. He really wanted to get her somewhere more private so he could kiss her.

Keeping his distance with most of his body, he brushed her ear and neck with his nose and lips. His lips tingled, wanting to kiss her, but this was an exercise in control for him—and a way to make himself irresistible.

Ax’s hot breath on her skin made Zenobia shiver with desire. Her nipples stiffened and she felt uncomfortably warm in places she shouldn’t be thinking about in public. Ax continued his seductive journey and she continued to shiver delightfully.

I—uuuhh….. I put—um—oh, fuck,” she whispered.

Ax laughed. “Now, now, such language from a lady,” he whispered.

You bastard, you’re doing that on purpose.”

Uh huh.” He tilted his head, concentrating on the nape of her neck. He breathed on her again, his mouth less than an inch from her skin.

Oh, God,” she squeaked softly. She felt a gush of moisture in her panties.

Eyes closed, she waited for him to continue. His prominent nose tickled the hairs on the back of her neck. His hot breath puffed across her skin like a warm, sultry breeze.

How could he be making her so hot without even touching her? Zenobia didn’t understand it. Usually, men couldn’t keep their hands off her and tried every way they could to excite her. Ax had her ready to cum and he’d done it with his breath. She pressed her lips together to rid them of the tingling his erotic ministrations had prompted. She had to distract him, or she’d embarrass herself by dragging him into the comfortable back seat of his Impala.

Over seven hundred items showed up on your computer,” she whispered at him.

It took Ax a moment to put the words together. He heard her, but he certainly wasn’t listening. “What does that mean?”

It means quit cruising porn sites.”

Ax chuckled, his breath caressing her throat in little puffs. “Well, now that I’ve got you, I will.”

Eyes narrowed as she turned to face him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

That means,” he murmured seductively, his voice dropping an octave, “that I don’t need porn when I can think about you.”

The blood rushed to her face and her jaw dropped. “Oh, my God!” she said in a shocked whisper.

Is it so hard to conceive?” he murmured against her neck, fingertips lightly touching her.

No man ever said he was going to—do that—by thinking of me.”

Why are you any less exciting than a porn star? You’re beautiful, Zenobia. You have great curves in all the right places. You should be flattered.”

Zenobia pressed her lips together, considering what he said. “Strangely, I am,” she admitted with a grin. “You would really—thinking about me?”

Ax leaned closer, his mouth right by her ear. “What makes you think I haven’t already?”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

For More About Dellani

 

I Love Dialogue from Call Me

doodle banner I love dialogueDistraught over its loss of her cellphone, (the case held sentimental value) Moira Crane goes to the police station to report the theft. Detective Rhys Fletcher ushers her into his office and it becomes more of a flirtatious conversation than a police interview.

“Sorry for the mess. They’re repairing my usual office. Had a waterpipe burst. So I’m stuck in the file room. They’re in the process of converting to paperless.” He held up a file, pulling a silly, sad-clown face.

Moira smiled. “I thought maybe you were just incredibly busy and awfully disorganized.”

“Me?” Fletcher tossed his hat on a rack near the desk. “Neat as a pin. Ask Sue.” He nodded to the woman outside.

“Don’t listen to him, he’s a slob. They’re all slobs,” the older woman laughed.

“Thanks. Make me look bad in front of the lady.” He invited Moira to take the only chair in the office. He perched on the edge of his desk, one well sculpted thigh slung over the corner.

In the small, windowless room, Moira could smell his cologne. It was dusky, spicy and tingled her nostrils. An uncomfortable warmth filled her. She shifted in the chair.

“I know it’s a little cozy in here. I’m sorry.” He shifted too.

Moira got the strong impression she had the same effect on him that he had on her.

“So, tell me what’s wrong, Miss Crane.”

Moira told him about what had happened in class and her actions afterward. Fletcher nodded, pressing his lips together.

“So, you don’t think any of your students could have done this?”

“Maybe, as a joke. None would do it seriously—at least I hope not.”

“Could it have been taken by mistake?”

Moira shook her head. “I doubt it. My phone case is very distinctive and childish. My ex-boyfriend’s daughter gave it to me for my birthday. She’s five.”

Moira gulped, her eyes watering again. She pulled out a crumpled tissue from the stack Sue had given her, smiling when Fletcher’s handkerchief appeared in front of her. Laughing, she took the handkerchief.

“I’m sorry, I got mascara on it.” She handed it back to him.

Fletcher tossed it aside. “That’s what I pay the maid for.” He smiled down at her. “I can’t guarantee we’ll get the phone back. If it was stolen, it’s probably been sold off by now. But you did the right thing by contacting the phone company.”

“It’s the pictures,” she wailed. “I don’t have copies of them. I know I should have saved them—”

“But you don’t think about that,” he said quietly. “Not with something as precious and spontaneous.”

He sounded so subdued, Moira stared at him. She never tried to read people she’d just met. Sometimes, their emotions were so obvious, she couldn’t help it. The pain radiating off him was intense. He’d lost someone he loved dearly—and the pain was recent. Moira’s fingers brushed his hand before she could stop it. She got a flash of a grave—no, two. One adult sized and one very small one.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “It must be quite awful to lose your family.”

Rhys Fletcher recoiled from her touch, jumping off the edge of the desk. He knocked his lamp to the floor in his attempt to get away. The bulb shattered on the tile floor.

“Who are you? Did he send you?”

“What are you doing in there, Rhys Fletcher?” Sue called from her desk. “If you break another lamp. . . .”

“Sorry. My fault,” Moira called.

Moira stooped to pick up the lamp. Her long, sable hair cascaded over her shoulder. Their eyes met when she stood up. Fletcher’s were dark, penetrating, glaring at her.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t mean to pry. It’s just—I sense things. I know it sounds all freakish, but when I touched you, I saw graves. Your wife and child?”

“Who are you, Miss Crane?”

“I’m an English teacher at the high school.”

Fletcher sighed, running his hands over his close cropped hair. “I’m sorry, Miss Crane.” He adjusted his shirt sleeves, tugging at the cuffs. “It wasn’t my wife and child. It was my sister and her daughter.” He set the lamp well out of his way and sat on the desk once more. “I apologize. I’m naturally suspicious.”

“You asked if he sent me. No one sent me, Detective Fletcher. I’m here about my phone.”

“Of course. If I haven’t completely blown any chance in hell I had of getting to know you better, would you like to go to dinner?”

Moira’s eyes widened. “What?”

“Dinner.” He eyed her calmly, smiling.

“Like a date?”

“Yes.” He folded his hands in his lap, waiting.

Moira crossed her legs, twitching hair behind her ear. She couldn’t read any deception in his face. He really wanted to ask her out. If the feelings she got from him early on were any indication, he was genuinely interested in her. In fact, she suspected this conversation was brought on less by him being a police officer and more about being a man.

“Are you married?” Her eyes narrowed.

“Sue, am I married?”

The older woman didn’t even look up from what she was typing. “Nope, more’s the pity.”

“Am I dating anyone?” He winked at Moira, knowing that would be her next question.

“There’s not a woman alive who would put up with you long enough.” She smiled up at him. “Is that young whelp asking you out?” she directed at Moira.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Well, he’s not completely untrainable, but you’ll have your hands full. He’s better than most and not as bad as some others. Go for it.” She waved at them. “With my blessing. Now, leave me be. I have work.”

“You have the Sue Seal of Approval,” Fletcher said. “What more can you ask for?”

Moira laughed. “I guess I can’t ask for anything more. Okay, I’d love to have dinner. I need to go home and fix my face.”

“I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“Don’t you need my address for that?”

He picked up her paperwork, grinning as he waved it at her. “I’ve got it right here. All your most intimate details.”

“If you weren’t a cop, that would be a really pervy thing to admit,” Moira said, her lips twitching as she tried to hide a smile.

“Moi?” He pointed to himself with both index fingers. “Not a perverted bone in my body,” he said as he walked her out.

“You’re a man, aren’t you?” Sue said, without looking up. “You’re all perverts.”

“Well. Put that way. . . . At seven?”

“Yes. And thank you, Detective Fletcher.”

He kissed her hand. “Rhys, please. I promise that dinner isn’t part of our usual customer service.”

Giggling, Moira walked out to her car. Fletcher accompanied her,closing her door when she was settled. She turned the key and opened the window.

“I’ll run over your foot if you keep standing there.”

Taking a couple steps back, he put his hands in his pockets, squinting against the sunshine. “See you at seven, Moira.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

For More About Dellani

First Meeting from Brick

doodle banner I love dialogueI’m all for change and trying new things. That in mind, I decided to share some of my former posts from my other blog, here. I started using I Love Dialogue, Sexy Without the Sex and First Meetings a couple years ago and it’s a lot of fun for me. I choose scenes that I enjoy and share them with my readers. Not all the stories are published, or even finished, but I hope that it will whet your reading appetites. Hungry for more? Check out the buy link below.

Every Thursday, I will share something here, or on one of my other sites (linked back and shared here) for your enjoyment. Today’s scene is from a romantic suspense still in progress. It hasn’t got a title yet, but I’m toying with Spy in the House of Love.

Brick McMillan is back home in Florida for a funeral—his younger brother’s. There have been a lot of deaths in his family lately, his father, his wife and now his brother Stony. However, the night he got home, he was using Stony’s computer and got a mysterious Instant Message from a woman calling herself XYZ. She arranges a meeting with him at the Panera in Daytona.

The morning rush at Panera was tapering off when he ordered his coffee and pastry. Finding a table wasn’t hard. He sat in the main room, over to one side, near the partition. From here, he could see the back door, but not the front. He suspected that XYZ was a backdoor user. As it happened, he was right.

Brick spotted the tall, trim figured woman as soon as she walked in. Her honey colored hair was pulled back in a loose chignon. She scanned the restaurant, dark glasses raised to her forehead with one hand. She wore a slate gray suit and low heeled black shoes. Her jacket was buttoned, but there was a slight bulge under her left arm. She spotted him on her second pass. Brick held up his coffee, saluting her. Frowning, she strutted across the room, taking a seat across from him at the table.

You need to work on your entrance,” he said after taking a sip. “I knew it was you the second you walked in.”

Do you know who I am?”

By name? No. But my guess is you’re a fed, not a cop.” He leaned forward, forearms on the table, the cup between his hands.

Her frown deepened. Her silence demanded an explanation.

You don’t move like a cop. You move like a soldier. In plain clothes, those glasses, shoes you can run in—Fed.”

She flashed a wary smile. Her eyes were a vivid aquamarine. There was a scattering of freckles across her pert nose.

So, this begs the questions—Why is a federal agent so anxious to talk to my bother? And why does she sound so unconvinced that he’s dead?”

Mr. McMillan….”

He held up a finger, waving it at her as if chastising a spoiled child for bad manners. “The way this works, you introduce yourself. Then we chat.”

Call me Agent X.” She grinned and a hint of a twinkle lit up her eyes.

I’d rather not. I quit reading comic books thirty years ago.”

Colleen,” she told him.

No last name. So, like Pink or Seal….”

Something like that.” The smile faded. “Look, Brick, we can tease and flirt all day—”

Is that what this is?” He leaned forward aggressively. “I thought this was you telling me about your relationship with Stony.”

It’s not an affair.”

That much I know. My brother’s not a cheater. I figure it’s business related, but that’s a puzzler. My brother was an engineer.”

She sighed, leaning back. “May we start over?”

Sure.” He wiped his hand on his napkin before holding it out. “Brick McMillan.”

She shook it. Her grip was firm, her palm calloused. She spent a lot of time with that handgun. “Colleen Underwood.”

Federal agent.”

Yes.”

FBI? NSA?”

RNS.”

I don’t know that one—Oh! Rather Not Say,” he chuckled as he translated her acronym. “Gotcha.”

Her lips twitched into a half smile. “Yes, I know your brother. Yes, it’s business related. No, I don’t think he’s dead. If I’m right, he’s gone to ground and will contact me soon. He’s in danger.”

How do you know?”

Because, your brother works for us. He’s a spy.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books http://www.amazon.com/Dellani-Oakes/e/B007ZQCW3A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1464388230&sr=8-2

For More About Dellani http://www.dellanioakes.wordpress.com