Tag Archive | paranormal romance

Raven Willoughby – Origins ~ A Fantasy by Dellani Oakes – Part 28

“Do you remember anything I said earlier?”

Rose’s face grew stern, and her eyes filled with tears. “Enough to know you’re leaving us.”

“Not by choice. There is nowhere I would rather be, than here with you, raising our son. I love you more than my own life, Rose. I do this to protect you. Please, forgive me for lying with another.”

“I can scarcely condemn you for that. Before we met, I had more than my share. But you come back to me, while our child is still young, do you hear? I won’t have him grow up without his father, as I did.”

“As did I. Now kiss me, my beautiful Rose, and let me hold my son.”

“What shall we name him?”

“After your father?” he took the child in his arms.

“My mother has no idea who that was. After yours?”

Smiling, he gazed into his son’s disconcerting golden eyes. Louis Willoughby,” he made a sign of the cross on the small forehead. “You look a bit like my father, from the portrait I’ve seen.”

“In my eyes, he looks exactly like his own. See, even the honey colored eyes….” She sobbed, looking over Raven’s shoulder.

Without turning around, he knew that Osceola had appeared. He felt her presence like a surge of lightning in the room.

“This is the lad?” she stepped close, leaning over the baby.

Raven didn’t want her to touch his child, but knew he shouldn’t stop her.

“He is a fine, handsome boy.”

“Thank you,” Rose said faintly. “You won’t take him from us?”

Osceola shook her head. “I am ages old, set in my ways. What would I do with a child?”

“But you said—” Raven protested.

“My sweet Raven.” She touched his cheek tenderly. “What would I do with an infant? Though I’ve lived hundreds of years, I know nothing about raising a child. And honestly, my love, I am not the nurturing type.”

“You wanted to test him,” Rose said, a faint smile on her lips.

“Yes, gentle Rose. If he gave the child freely to me, he had no right to keep either of you. If he refused outright, then he was no better a man. But if he was willing to sacrifice, to save the two of you….”

“Then he was well and truly in love,” Rose said, her soft gaze focused on her husband.

“Yes. So, now, I give you a gift.”

“You’ve given the greatest gift of all, my dark and chaotic beauty,” Raven began.

“But I choose to give this one to your son. May I?” She held out her arms.

With a nod from Rose, he handed the child to the vampire witch. “His name?”

“Louis, after my father.”

“A second name, I think. We shall name him Louis Osceola Willoughby, and he shall be the greatest warlock the world has known. He has the blood of magical royalty in his veins, for I made you, and you gave him life. Don’t be afraid, precious Rose. Your son will use his powers for good.”

“Thank you,” Rose said. “This is quite a gift you bestow upon him. When it comes time for him to be trained, may we count on you to help him find his way?”

“Yes. It would be my greatest joy. And visit, if you would, from time to time?”

“As you wish.”

Osceola handed the baby back to Rose. Beckoning to Raven, she led him outside. “I know you think of me as evil.”

“Not entirely, but there is certainly chaos in your soul.”

Osceola laughed. “Yes, that’s true. But it is calmer now, since knowing you, and sharing your blood. You stand poised to do great things, Raven Willoughby. And if you ever have need of me, cast my name upon the wind, and I shall come. Now, one last kiss before I leave.”

He kissed both her cheeks before placing a chaste kiss on her lips. Osceola sighed, smiling.

“Your wife is a truly fortunate lady.”

“Thank you. And I am a fortunate man to have loved two such wonderful women in my life. If you have need of me, I shall come.”

“You must visit on his first birthday.”

“We will.”

The air parted and she was gone.

Louis grew quickly, able to do more as a toddler, than some children twice his age. As his first birthday approached, Raven took Louis and Rose on his ship, up to see Osceola. Her home had changed. No longer a blackened cove, it was ringed sunshine drenched beaches. A cozy cottage had been built near the beach, overlooking the cove.

Osceola greeted them, not dressed in a beautiful, ocean-blue gown. Her hair swept away from her face, held with combs made from seashells. Louis threw himself into her arms, and she carried him as she showed them around.

“This is your second home,” she said with a smile. “I ask that you visit at least once a year, on his birthday, until he is fifteen. When that time comes, he will stay with me, and I will begin his training. Can you do that for me, Rose?”

“Yes, Osceola. It will be hard to be parted from my son, but I can do that.”

“It is time for you to go now,” the witch said, giving each a kiss. “Raise him well.”

With that, she disappeared. They sailed back home, delighted, and surprised, to find that they hadn’t even been gone the full day. It was still Louis’ first birthday, and the town held a party in his honor.

Each year, they did as promised, taking Louis to see Osceola. As time passed, more children came along, and all were welcome in the sunny cove. When Louis reached fifteen, he stayed behind, and they sailed home without him. Though it was difficult to say goodbye, Rose had promised.

As they cuddled in their bed, Rose laid her head upon Raven’s chest. “He’ll be all right, won’t he?”

“Yes, my sweet. He’ll be home in no time. In the meantime, you can love and spoil the rest.”

“Will they go, too?”

“If you and Osceola want them to. That is not my decision.”

“If we had not met, where would you have gone?”

“In truth, I don’t know. I suppose I would have gone to Maine, and settled there. My place of birth held nothing for me. My aunt is long dead, my parents…. No one to care if I live or die.”

“I’d have stayed here, working until I was too old to be of interest.”

“My love, you may be assured, you will always be of interest to me.”

Kissing her goodnight, he settled to sleep. In his dreams, he saw his son, grown to a man, laughing in the ocean’s surf as he conjured water sprites. With a smile on his lips, he slept deeply, dreaming of summer winds and sunshine.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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THE END

Raven Willoughby – Origins ~ A Fantasy by Dellani Oakes – Part 27

Everyone thought that a splendid idea, and they set about planning the festivities. Uriah sighed, glad he’d removed his meager belongings long ago. Once the embers cooled, he walked around, searching for anything which might have escaped the purging fire. A glint of silver caught his eye. Stooping over, he found a pair of silver daggers. He retrieved them from the ruins.

Of the bodies, nothing was left. The wreckage was cleared out that day and taken out of town to hallowed ground, to be buried. Every holy man in town was out there to add his blessings to the burial grounds. All this, and Raven slept.

Weeks passed and Raven’s ships were restored to him. The Governor was jailed in disgrace, and he was asked to take his place. He turned it down, suggesting Mr. Sterner in his stead. A unanimous vote put the solicitor into office. The former governor’s belongings were sold and the proceeds put into the town and its environs. Raven used the private docks for his fleet. The first journey his new flagship made, was to Maine to clear up the issues there. He returned to Labrador a few weeks later, to find Rose waiting for him.

She seemed thicker around the middle. It was with joy that he heard her news—she was with child. His child. A whirlwind wedding followed, and they moved into a house by the private harbor.

Months passed and her time grew near. One night, Raven had an awful dream about Osceola. She stepped from the air as she had before, snatching his newborn child from his mother’s arms. Stricken with grief, Rose flung herself in the sea. Waking with a stifled cry, he remembered Osceola’s condition for helping him.

“My son,” he whispered. “Please, my beautiful, dark temptress, do not take my son. I’ll come back to you. Father your own child. Just please. Please….”

Unable to sleep, he dressed, and kissed his bride upon the brow. Taking himself to the dock, he stood alone by the water. All the ships were out to sea, so he was alone. Standing there, he felt a presence beside him. Turning he saw the awesomely beautiful Osceola. Walking close, she took his hands, bringing them to her lips.

Raven fell to his knees, clutching her hands. “My love, you honor me with your presence.”

“I’m no longer your love,” she whispered, insisting that he rise. “You have given that to another.”

“No, I’m fond of Rose….”

Her finger touched his lips. “I do not fool myself into thinking that’s true. If you believe it, you’re a fool.” She gazed at him a long time. “Would you really come with me, give me a child?”

“If that’s what you wish. If it will keep you from taking this child.”

“Why is this child so special?”

“He is my first. My only.”

“He is the fruit of your union with the woman you love.”

He hesitated.

“You may say it.” Her face grew soft. “Say it.”

“Yes. The woman I love, had never hoped to love. This son….” He sobbed, nearly falling once more. “I will give you what I can, but I beg you, do not take my son, or my wife will surely kill herself. I cannot lose her, Osceola, or I will lose myself.”

“Would you lie with me for a year?”

“A year is a long time.”

“In my cove, a year is minutes. Will you?”

“May I see my son born? May I hold him first?”

“As you wish. And tell your wife, if you dare, what you do to save them.”

Unable to answer her, he watched as she glided back through the air. It shimmered and twinkled around her, and she was gone.

As he walked up to the house, he heard Rose scream. Mrs. Renard came out of the room, flushed and bothered.

“There you are! She’s asking for you. Don’t be long, it will be a while until you meet your son.”

Raven did as he was told. Seeing Rose’s face contorted in pain, he took her hand. Speaking gently, he told her about meeting Osceola, and the deal he’d struck with her. He wasn’t sure how much of it Rose took in, but the words spilled out.

Mrs. Renard returned with a midwife, and they shooed him out of the room. Hours passed and the screams continued. Raven paced and listened, hearing an increase in activity in the room. After a nearly deafening scream, there was silence, punctuated with the plaintive wail of a babe.

Rushing to the door, he pulled it open, nearly colliding with the startled form of Mrs. Renard. She smiled up at him.

“Come meet your son,” she said.

“It’s a boy? In truth?”

“Yes. A fine, beautiful boy, who looks just like his father.”

Raven sat on the edge of the bed, gazing at his son and his exhausted wife. Giving her a sweet kiss, he peeped around the corner of the blanket, at his little, mottled son.

“Do you wish to hold him?”

“In a moment. Give us a minute, if you would?” he asked the women.

Nodding, the went out.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Raven Willoughby – Origins ~ A Fantasy by Dellani Oakes – Part 26

Zulimara encouraged the dead to walk toward him. Closer they came, and closer still. Lunging at them, he struck down two before they reached him. Whirling and slashing, he continued to lay waste, but the stream of bodies was never ending. How many of the creatures were there?

Then, as if a message came to him on the wind, he knew what he had to do. Standing his ground, naked as the day he was born, he took careful aim, hurling one dagger at Zulimara. It struck her in the throat. A scream drowned in her blood, as it sprayed from the wound. As one, the zombies fell, shriveling to nothing as the blood poured out of Zulimara’s body.

Raven dressed hurriedly, cursing his stupidity. He’d let a woman get the better of him. Rather than dwelling on it, he found the lamps and candles in the place. Dousing Zulimara, he saw her body was showing signs of decay. Though not as advanced as the zombies, she was still far more than a newly dead corpse. Some dark magic surely lingered. Making his way out the front door, he left a trail of lamp oil. Striking a match, he lit the oil, watching the flames scurry toward Zulimara’s body. When it reached her, it sputtered with a sickly, putrid green flame, before rushing to consume the others.

Glad that there were few buildings beside his own, Raven watched the flames curl around the wood, the inky black smoke swirling upward. Did he see faces in the fire? He couldn’t be sure. Standing alone, he waited until the building was consumed, the bodies with it. No one came to put the fire out, too afraid of the zombies. He couldn’t blame them. They had no way of knowing he had brought an end to it. Or had he?

A part of him remembered that the Annabelle had not yet made port. Was she out upon the water, spawning another shipload of these creatures?

“Osceola, my sweet, will you help me?”

The air shimmered, shifted and split in front of him. Osceola stepped through, the air shifting like water around her.

“What need have you now? Did I not just help enough?”

“It was you who told me to kill Zulimara.”

“Of course, my love. What need have you of me now?”

“My ship. Is it cursed? Does it even now bring yet another load of monsters to land?”

She cast forth, breathing deeply of the wind. Dark hair coiling around her like living serpents, she rose from the ground. “Come.” Grabbing Raven’s arm, she pulled him close.

Horror replaced shock as she flew straight up, then out over the water. Below him, Raven saw the wine dark depths of the sea. The waves rolled and tumbled beneath them, splashing upward, trying to clutch him and draw him under. Not far away, he spied a ship. By the way she sat the water, he knew it was his beloved Annabelle and she was in distress. Listing to starboard, she canted sideways, nearly consumed by the trough, as the sea toyed with her. Not a sailor walked her deck, nor light graced her bow. She was lost, and alone at sea. It was then he saw them, the cold, heartless undead, stumbling up from the hold.

“Do you wish to land?” Osceola asked.

“No! Dear gods, no. Can we do something?”

“What something to you wish?”

“Set it on fire. Keep it from port. Let these people find their rest.”

“As you wish, my love.” Raising the arm which did not hold him, she conjured a flaming globe of purple fire. “This is what you desire, my sweet Raven?”

“Yes.”

Casting it downward, she watched it spiral toward the ship. Landing amidships, it burst into a blaze of red and purple, setting fire to anything which came near. Leaping and biting like a living thing, it set the ship and its unholy occupants on fire. The water of the sea closed over it, yet still it burned, sinking to the depths.

“Thank you, my beautiful, bestial love.” He kissed her longingly.

Suddenly, he was falling. Still over the sea, he prayed he would survive. His body reacted quite apart from him, and just as suddenly, he was flying. He couldn’t describe how it came about, and was sure he’d never again be able to repeat it, but there it was. He landed on the quayside, as if he were falling onto a feather bed.

“Thank you, my love,” he whispered to the wind. “Thank you.”

Stumbling with fatigue, he made his way back to the brothel, where he collapsed on the steps. They found him there at sunrise, sound asleep.

Smoke lingered and hot spots still burned in the wreckage of his office building. The townsfolk gathered, wondering what had happened to Raven. Uriah arrived a few minutes later, reporting that their hero was alive and safe.

“He’ll sleep the day away, no doubt,” Uriah said. “But if he’s right, this marks the end.”

“This is cause for celebration,” the dockside mayor said loudly. “When he wakes, we will have a party that has been unequaled in these parts!”

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Raven Willoughby – Origins ~ A Fantasy by Dellani Oakes – Part 25

Lightning flashed, thunder roared, and the front door burst open. Pieces of wood flew in all directions. Raven ducked, throwing his arms across his face. He felt splinters sting him, like bullets. They drew blood, but nothing that wouldn’t heal quickly, given his nature. Despite the entry point, the zombies didn’t move. Instead, a tall, lean figure walked in.

Shrouded in billowing black, her hair snapping and snarling around her, stood Zulimara. Shoulders erect, chin raised defiantly, she strode into the room. Though her minions gathered outside, they did not come in, for which Raven was grateful.

“You could have stopped this, so easily,” she said, her voice rasping and low.

“How? This is not my doing. This began before I arrived.”

“The locket, you fool. You knew it possessed special qualities, but you kept it. Did you give it to your whore?”

Raven frowned. “How do you even know about that?”

“Not denying it, hm? That’s a unique approach. A man who doesn’t lie!”

The zombies trembled, shuddered. One put a toe through the door. With a wave of her hand, Zulimara shut the door on them.

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“The locket! Give it to me!”

“I no longer have it.”

“What have you done, you fool?”

He said nothing. Crossing his arms, he glared at her. They stared at one another for a full minute before she advanced. He could hear her terrifying hoard outside.

“You brought this on us.” She pointed at the door.

“I did nothing of the kind. These are not my beasts, but yours.”

“The thing you met on board your vessel, the one that bit you. He killed the rest.”

Raven was still, wondering how she knew this.

“You threw their bodies overboard, didn’t give them a proper burial. Selfish bastard.”

“What would you have me do, Zulimara? Whisper prayers and set the ship on fire? I was nowhere near land, and loathe to drown.”

“Another ship picked up the bodies, taking them from the water. They intended to bring them here to bury them. Instead, they turned into those—things!” She flung her arm out. The hammering and pounding increased.

“I didn’t do that! It was not my magic, you must believe that.”

“The locket, you found it on board.”

“Yes. On one of the bodies.”

“And inside, was there a picture?”

“If there was, it was too damaged to see. Why?”

“My parents were on that ship. They were torn asunder by the beast.”

“How can you know that?”

“Because, I was there, too.”

“There was no other person on that ship! I searched every inch. No one was aboard her.”

“I hid well.”

“How did you get here?”

“I don’t know. I found myself here the night I came to your room.” She stepped closer, her hand resting on his chest. “You wanted me then, desired me.” Her fingers dropped, massaging his manhood. “Do you still want me, Raven Willoughby?”

“In case it has escaped your notice, madam, there is a hoard—” he gasped, biting his lip as her exploring got the required response. “…of zombies…just outside.”

“Charming, aren’t they? They want your blood. They want the gold you stole from them.”

“I didn’t steal it. They were dead. I gave them the burial I could, and saved myself. If that makes me a bad man….” He gasped as she grasped him, her hand working inside his breeks.

“Do you still want me, Raven Willoughby?”

Zombies be damned, he couldn’t stop himself. She knew just what to do to make him wild with desire. Grabbing her arms, he dragged her to him, divesting her of her garments. Determined to have her, regardless of the cost, he ripped her dress as she pleasured him with her hands. Soon, she had his clothing off, and she led him to the cot in back.

The banging and moaning grew louder, more insistent, as their passion raged. Wanting her more than any woman he’d ever met, he had the fleeting suspicion, she had him under a spell. He couldn’t find that he cared, when she grasped him, opening to him as she did.

The front door burst open once more. This time, the zombies struggled to get through. Naked, his knives nowhere near, Raven leaped up. Zulimara laughed nastily, as she stood and joined the zombie hoard. The first were halfway across the front room, when he remembered he had two more knives in his bag. They had been used and battered the night before, but he was not unarmed. Facing them, inside, with nothing but air surrounding him, he stood his ground.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 22 by Dellani Oakes

Sea of Destiny – Part 22 by Dellani Oakes.

Kyle feels foolish after Carmelita teases him about being a lustful male. He endures a lot of ribbing from her, but it’s a bit much on his male ego at the moment. Fortunately, Emily understands and isn’t deterred by his behavior.

Indian Summer Revisited – by Dellani Oakes

indian summer scanned cover 500 x 750

Indian Summer, Dellani’s Historical Romance

A few years after writing Indian Summer, I decided to write a contemporary romance, also set in St. Augustine. The interesting twist here is that the two many characters, Carina and Malin, are distantly related to Gabriella and Sailfish from Indian Summer.

Though they never consummate their relationship, Gabriella and Sailfish love one another. I got to thinking, “What if they were reincarnated? What if those reincarnations met up and fell in love?” And so Indian Summer Revisited was born.

Malin is a very talented musician, but his father doesn’t approve. Instead, he’s in college studying history. He meets Carina by accident, when they collide on the stairs. Since meeting her, he’s gotten a dream job playing guitar at a restaurant and has been contacted about a record contract. All the pieces of his life are falling into place.

The following is a conversation with his twin sister, Tess, who calls him because she found out, through their father, that he was working as a musician. She is more than a little annoyed with him for not telling her.

His phone vibrated in his pocket. It was his sister, Tess. He’d completely forgotten to tell her about the recording contract and he could only imagine how pissed she was going to be with him.

“Hello, brother,” she said cheerfully.

Sighing, he sat at the table to finish his beer. If Tess started out like that, she was furious and he was in really deep shit before he said a single word.

“I know I should have told you, Tess. But you see, there’s this girl—”

“Yes, I know. The beautiful brunette.” Her voice was swimming in honey.

It was the most lethal sound in the world and his insides knotted up.

“I just got off the phone with someone. I’m sure you can imagine who.”

“Dad?”

“Bingo! Right the first time! Give record boy a gold star! He’s rather upset with you. What the hell did you say to him? You didn’t goad him about Nora again, did you?”

“I swear I didn’t. I wanted to, but I thought, What would Tess do? and did the opposite. I was polite, nice, charming.”

“Suck up.”

“Tess, come on.”

“Twisted eel, evil brother, gonad king! You couldn’t tell me? I’m your only sister and you couldn’t reveal this tidbit of news when you called?”

“It just happened last night. I didn’t have this tidbit the last time I called. And I’ve been somewhat busy, Tess. I’m sorry. Didn’t Mom tell you?”

“You told our MOTHER? And you didn’t tell me?”

“Tess!”

He knew he couldn’t win. She was in full swing and he was totally screwed. If he thought he was going to get her to understand, he was dead wrong. It was better to ride it out and let her have her fit. Once she was done, then he could get a word or two in. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like that was going to happen anytime soon.

“Tess, I need to get my stuff packed up.”

“Don’t you have servants for that, Mr. Rock Star?”

“No. I’m not a rock star, I’m just singing at a local restaurant.”

“Why didn’t you tell me, Mal? God, I had to find out from him!”

“Was he mad?” He couldn’t keep the gleeful anticipation from his voice.

“He was livid. I’ve never seen him so angry. He was all red in the face and spitting. It was a beautiful moment.” The anger in her voice subsided, changing to glee.

“He didn’t threaten you with a loaded gun, did he?”

“No. The Nora bitch took them away and locked them up after the time I told him I was pregnant with Clay’s love child.”

“Why would you tell him a thing like that? He hates Clay.”

There was a slight pause and a snort of laughter. Malin gathered up some of his equipment.

“Okay, answered that one myself. I’m sorry I forgot, Tess. The last few days have been completely surreal. I’ve had exams, the new gig and a new girlfriend all since Tuesday.”

“Is she amazing?”

“She bypassed amazing when she rammed me in the gut with her elbow. Honestly, I can’t find words good enough to describe her. She’s symphonic.”

“Oh, I have to forgive you now. You’re in love, you prick. How dare you?”

“Am I? How can you tell?”

She repeated what he said, giving it her own twist. “Gag me now, I might throw up.”

“Wouldn’t you like to be described as symphonic? I think it’s pretty cool.”

“I’d love it, but Gary doesn’t know any words that big. He gets as far as hot and sexy and starts to drool. I’m thinking of breaking up with him.”

“Why’s that? I thought he was great in bed.”

“He’s okay. Clay was better.”

“What?”

“I’m kidding. We never got that far. Not that I wasn’t interested, but we knew you’d kill us both if we even tried it. He kisses well, though. Is he dating anyone?”

“Yeah, he is,” Malin sounded very annoyed. “I can’t believe you liked Clay.”

“Malin, I know you’re just a guy and all, but Clay is nearly as gorgeous as you. It makes me sick to say that, but my brother is one of the best looking men I know and his dorky friend is pretty damn jacked and hot and I’d do him in a heartbeat.”

“Tess,” Malin was getting uncomfortable. “Remember that conversation where it was way too much information?”

“Yeah, so?”

“So, we’ve reached that point again, only it’s your turn.”

“Grow up, Malin! I like sex just as much as you do.”

“Not listening.”

“I’d venture to say I’m nearly as experienced as you are.”

“Still not listening.”

“I did have a thing with your friend Benji a few months ago. He’s kind of kinky, but the things that man can do with his tongue!”

“Tess!”

“What?”

“Bye.”

He hung up, flushed and angry. He really didn’t think Tess had sex with Benji because she was always complaining that he smelled like last week’s dirty laundry. He still didn’t like hearing her talk like that and he certainly hadn’t appreciated what she had to say about Clay.

“Who was that?” Clay asked him in passing.

“That was Tess.”

“Oh, yeah? How’s she doing?”

“She misses you and your tongue.”

Clay wiggled his tongue around, confused. “Me? What for? I thought she hated me.”

“Hell if I know. She’s in one of her moods.”

“Ooh, Evil Tess has come out. Must be a full moon.” He looked up at the sky.

“Clay, did you ever do my sister?”

“Do what? Oh, Do your sister. No. Not that I wouldn’t want to, she’s smoking hot.”

Malin gave him a black look, saying nothing.

“But in a purely virginal and totally untouchable way. I’m going over there now where no one wants to murder me.”

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