Tag Archive | romance

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 39

Janet’s family moves. Shortly after, she and her friends head to the music competition. She’s glad for the spotlight, because she can’t see the audience.

In the middle, the chorus did a short instrumental, imitating guitar, bass and drums. Janet, Ramona and Bunny swayed, dancing to the music. Once again, their voices joined the others as the song wound to a close.

The song finished and silence followed. No one clapped, there was nothing. For the space of three surprised breaths, no one did anything. Janet and the others panicked. Had it been that bad?

Suddenly, the judges stood, clapping and smiling. The entire auditorium rose to its collective feet, cheering and applauding loudly. Pandemonium followed for several minutes. Finally, the MC came out of stage and got the attention of everyone. The room quieted eventually and everyone sat down.

“That concludes today’s contest. The judges will convene to make their choices. We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes.”

The chorus filed off the stage and the auditorium emptied slowly. Everywhere they went during the break, people were talking about them. Some furtively, as if jealous, the rest obviously impressed. Janet and her friends were in the bathroom. Standing by the sinks, they were surprised when girls from another chorus came up to them.

“Weren’t you the ones singing just now?” one girl said.

“Yes, that was us,” Bunny replied, obviously worried they were going to get in a fight.

“That was so fabulous!” the girl said.

The others joined in, congratulating them.

“If you don’t get first place, it will be totally wrong,” the girl concluded.

“Thank you. Your group was really good too,” Janet said, glad she could say that honestly.

“I thought we had a chance at winning,” the other girl said. “But you really deserve it.”

“Thank you. I hope you place too.”

The lights blinked, calling them back to the auditorium. They filed back in, taking their places. The judges were on stage with the MC. All of them were smiling. The MC stepped forward. He introduced the judges and handed the microphone to the leading judge. He smiled and took the microphone.

“Let me say first that this was one of the best contests I’ve ever judged. You’ve obviously worked very hard. With that being said, it was very difficult making the final choices.”

Each judge took a category, giving the results. Starting with Honorary Mention, they worked their way up. Finally, the head judge took the microphone.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt as to who got first place,” he said, making eye contact with Janet. “I wanted to tell this year’s winners that was the most unique performance I’ve ever heard. First place goes to Scottsbluff Senior High School!”

The entire auditorium leaped to its feet, clapping and cheering as Mr. Carter went on stage to take the award. A substantial check went along with the huge trophy.

The judge handed Mr. Carter the microphone. “I want to thank all of you for your kind words and compliments. The competition this year was fierce, and I’m proud to be part of this. The ones who really earned and deserve this award, are my students. This was their idea, they came up with the parts and perfected them. I simply stood back in awe.” He clapped for his students.

Finally, the noise died down and everyone went back to their motel rooms before dinner. Thrilled and exhausted, Janet and the others got on their bus.

“Wait until I tell Mom,” Ramona said. “She’ll be so proud!”

“That was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Diego declared loudly. “Only one other was better,” he added very quietly to Janet.

“Only one,” she agreed.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 23

Janet’s mother asks her about her date, happy that Janet had a good time. She finds herself thinking about Evander.

One thing Janet didn’t know was that she was still married to Janet’s father. She’d dated a few men, but none of them had ever been for her what Evander was; husband, lover, friend. He did for her what she saw Diego did for Janet. He filled in those little holes in her soul that had been gaping ever since.

She went in her room, shutting the door. For a time, she cried. Then she picked up the phone and made a call. The phone rang three times before a man’s voice answered.

“Hi,” she said, the tears threatening to fall again. “It’s me…. Can we talk?”

Sunday morning, Janet and her family headed to church for the early service. The high school choir was singing and she had the solo. Nervous, she walked back and forth across the end of the choir room. The wide window overlooked the parking lot two stories below. She rolled her neck and shook her arms, trying to relax.

The choir director walked in, smiling. She clapped her hands as she approached the piano. It was time for warm-ups. She played a chord and they began. Janet relaxed into the routine as they continued to sing. By the time warm-ups were over, she was feeling a little better.

They practiced their hymns and it was time to line up to go in. They processed from the rear of the church, so they had to go into the fellowship hall in the basement and come up the back stairs. Janet carried her folder, keeping to herself, not talking with her friends like she usually did.

Bunny came up beside her. “Are you okay?”

“No. I feel like throwing up.”

“You’ve done this a hundred times.”

“Not a cappella.”

“So? You’ve got perfect pitch. You’ll be fine. If it was me doing it, I’d panic. I can’t stay on pitch like you. You’re going to be great.”

“I wish I didn’t have half the service to worry about it. I want to get in and get it over with.”

“Swear to God, Janet. If you don’t calm down, I’ll clobber you.” Bunny teasingly punched her friend on the shoulder before rushing to take her place.

Janet followed, stepping into her spot in line as the organ began. The minister walked in first. He was followed by the lay minister. The choir came in next, in section order, tallest to shortest. Janet was last because she was a soloist and had to step out of the pew to stand beside the organ.

The service went by in a blur. Janet hardly paid any attention to it, waiting for her solo. Before she knew it, the director nodded to her. She stood, taking her place between the lectern and the organ. The director played her note very softly and Janet began to sing. The first note was faltering, but it added a warble to her voice that made it even prettier. It was then she glanced at the front row. Diego sat there beside her mother and sister, smiling encouragingly. He gave her a thumb’s up. Janet felt a surge of courage and her voice grew stronger.

“What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul? What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?”

She sang the first verse alone. On the chorus, the choir joined her, singing in eight part harmony, their voices blending into an intricate tapestry behind her. The song finished in silence. The quiet was interrupted by a unified sigh by everyone in the congregation. Sniffles and nose blowing followed.

The minister, lost in the music, took his time standing. Janet walked back to her seat. One of the young men in the bass section stepped forward to help her up the steps. He smiled, mouthing “Good job,” before sitting down.

“I believe that was the best this choir’s ever sung,” the minister said. “And I know it’s not customary to applaud, but in this instance, I don’t think God would mind.” He started clapping.

The entire congregation joined in. The director signaled them to stand and take a bow. They did so, sitting once more as the applause faded.

“I wish my message today were half as good as that song. I believe the lyrics say it all, What wondrous love is this.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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It’s Cyber Monday ~ Shop from Home with Primed for Revenge: Sydney Jones Novel Series by Carolyn Bowen

Primed for Revenge promo.jpg

Practicing law in a large partnership, Sydney Jones was primed for making partner. Then her life turned upside down after a disagreement with her boss at Birdman & Birdman.

Leaving the office, she was swiftly kidnapped and taken to her assailants’ hideaway, beaten, and raped. With no memory of whom she was put her at a disadvantage with her captors. Through gritted teeth, she promised a day of repercussions for their actions while mentally visualizing her revenge.

Warned by her assailants to keep her mouth shut or else, she was delivered to her home. Not recognizing her former living quarters, she was careful in exploring her options for regaining her memory.

Piecing together the reasons for her kidnapping brought her into contact with people, some she could trust and others risky. The problem was the amnesia prevented her from recognizing the difference.

Tapped for crime once nudged her toward caution for something afoul was going on at Birdman & Birdman. She prepared for a fight. With a vision of fury she made a chilling decision – never to be a victim again.

To Buy Primed for Revenge


Primed for Revenge Carolyn Bowen

Now That When Tis Done Is Over

When Tis Done cover

I’m aware this never goes very well, but now that When Tis Done is over, I need to decide what to share next. I’ve got a fourth book in the Miracle, Mississippi series, but it’s only 38 pages long, and I very much doubt I’ll finish it anytime soon. That being said, I’ve got a few things for you to choose from. I really do want your opinions, because why post something you don’t want to read?

I have a couple of (slightly) more traditional fantasies – though when do you get traditional and normal from me, hm? When hell freezes over, is when.



Alton & Velda is set in a more Medieval world. Alton is a Wood Sprite, and Velda is a River Nymph. They travel the world, seeking a place to call home. On their journey, they meet Astrid and Revanth—a princess and a man cursed to be a horse. They set out together to find the witch who cursed him, and set him free. Sounds pretty straight forward—it’s not. That is choice 1.



Raven Willoughby cover

Raven Willoughby: Origin. If you’ve read One Night in Daytona Beach, the name Raven Willoughby should be familiar. That is the hybrid vampire character that Draven plays on TV. I decided to flesh out the character and tell his story. No spoilers, but this is my original zombie(ish) tale. You’ll have to choose this if you want to know more. (Just so you know, my zombies don’t eat brains.) This is choice 2.

From here, I’m a little flummoxed. You see, I have a wealth of riches to share, and can’t make up my mind.

Poplar Mountain cover

Do you want a romantic suspense set in the mountains of Kentucky in 1939? If so, pick Poplar MountainNo sex, only a little cursing, lots of action. Choice 3.

sidetracked cover

Or would you prefer something darker, like my NaNoWriMo novel from last year, Sidetracked? It’s murder, without the romance. Not my usual fair. Choice 4.

I also have several romances to choose from. Like my other books, these aren’t normal romances in any sense of the word. My couples get along, don’t have huge arguments, and hate each other for ¾ of the book. Not that they don’t disagree and have misunderstandings, they communicate and work it out. If you want something like that, I’ve got two to choose from. (I haven’t got covers for these yet.)

Blacksmith’s Heart is set at a dude ranch in New Mexico. Girl meets cowboy and falls in love. It’s an exciting story, even if they aren’t hunting a bad guy, and it’s got some juicy love scenes (which I will have to tone down for posting – but they are still fun.) Choice 5.

Game Junkies is love—gamer/ geek style. The young couple have known one another a long time, been friends for years, but finally realize that they have more feelings than mere friendship. It has some exciting moments (not just in the bedroom) and there are a couple bad guys who get their comeuppance. (a tube of glue comes into play) This is Choice 6.

I’d say that these were the only choices, but I had a bunch more on my list—29 to be exact. They’re all good stories, so you see my dilemma? I want to find something which will entertain, that many people can enjoy. Like I said, why post something that no one wants to read. Please put your choice in the comments. You may order by number, like they do at the fast food restaurants.

So, do you want fantasy, romance, or romantic suspense? You decide, and tell me, or I’m going to have to pull a rabbit out of my hat. I haven’t got a clue.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Amanda, CD and JM!


red river radio logo

It’s officially summer and time to kick back and relax by the pool, on the beach, or wherever the mood takes you! Not hot enough for you? Well, our authors can certainly turn up the heat. All these ladies are known for spinning a great yarn, whether it be werewolves, dragons, warrior queens or witches, they have it all.

Christine Gorri

First, please welcome CD Gorri. She is a fantasy author whose books include Wolf Moon, Charley’s Christmas Wolf, and The Dragon’s Valentine.

Amanda Kimberley

Second, please welcome Amanda Kimberley, author of Forever Bound, Salem’s Trial by Judge, and a non-fiction title Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy

Both ladies are in an anthology: Wicket Nights of Summer

JM Robison

Also joining us is JM Robison, author of historical romances, The War Queen and The Foes Between us. This is JM’s second visit to our show, and we’re delighted to have her back! 

We’re so pleased to have these three magnificent authors here to chat with us!


The First Day, First Paragraph

rami-ungar-first-day-first-paragraph-tagMy good pal, and fellow author, Rami Ungar came up with this idea and tagged me. The process is simple. When tagged, you publish the first paragraph of something you’re working on, follow the instructions below, and have fun with it! Thank you, Rami, for thinking of me! ~ Dellani

So if you get this tag, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the month.

  2. Use the graphic above.

  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.

  4. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.

  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.

  6. Ask your readers for feedback.

  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of August, the person you tag has to do it on the first of September), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

it-takes-a-thief-coverMy first paragraph is from my novel, It Takes a Thief – a romantic suspense novel available in e-book format on Amazon.

Jason Banes was a thief. Despite how much he and his lawyer might publicly deny it, it was the truth. Which was why he was standing before the judge in an ill-fitting suit, sweating. A twist of fate had brought him to this. He was an excellent thief, masterful, skilled, almost magical in his ability to divide his marks from their possessions. Regardless of his skill, he’d been caught. His palms began to perspire as the judge looked over the top of her pearl studded reading glasses. She didn’t look happy. Jason saw his world collapse as she studied him. Her scrutiny made him nervous. She looked like a velociraptor ready to attack and rip his guts out with her long, sharp claws. She blinked.

I welcome your comments below!

I tag Rachel Rueben

He Thought He Saw Is Over!

He Thought He Saw redHe Thought He Saw is over. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! I thought about skipping to another book, but I decided to share the next book in the series.

the-man-who-wasnt-thereThe Man Who Wasn’t There – Book 2 in the Miracle, Mississippi series, is set in the mystical, made up town of Miracle. The Man Who Wasn’t There picks up not quite a year after He Thought He Saw ends. Jordan and Brian are happily anticipating the annual Halloween Ball, the social event of the season. This one is special, because it marks the 300th anniversary of the appearance of a magical stranger known only as The Peddlar. It also commemorates a major battle between the Circles and a cult of evil witches. Already, things are stirring and Brian’s dreams have grown tumultuous. Something wicked this way comes.

Look for The Man Who Wasn’t There starting on Sunday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time.

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Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Barbara and Karen

The New Year is upon us! As we’ve done for the last few years, Christina and I will chat with a couple of our other Red River Radio hosts, Barbara Ehrentreu and Karen Vaughan. Tune in TODAY at 4PM EST or catch our recorded podcast later.

Barbara Ehrentreu is the author of If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor and After. She has also penned a lovely book called You’ll Probably Forget Me: Living With and Without Hal.

Karen Vaughan is the author of eight cozy mysteries, among them Left for Dead, Dead on Arrival, Dead Men Don’t Swing and Dead Comic Standing.

Co-host, Christina Giguere, known by her nom de plume of Rachel Rueben, will also chat about her work. She is the author of young adult novel, Hag. She also has a wonderful vampire novel, Eternal Bond, available to read on WattPad.


Host Dellani Oakes is the author of 12 published books – mostly romantic suspense, but 4 of them are from a science-fiction series set in the distant future. Dellani’s most recent book is Lone Wolf Tales: A Lone Wolf Series Companion, a collection of short stories connected with the Lone Wolf series.

Each author will talk about her show, her goals as an author and how she feeds her writing addiction. Be sure to tune in TODAY at 4 PM EST for this fun filled show.

2016 A Good Year for Writing

Dellani Oakes with glasses2016 stunk in a lot of ways, not the least of which were all the deaths, both famous and not. Too many taken from us too soon. There was one respect in which 2016 was kind of all right. It’s a very personal way, not something that means much to anyone but me.

For several years, I’ve made a resolution to finish a book a month. This doesn’t mean that I start and finish the book in the same 30 day period (though I do that, too). This means that I take a book I’ve been working for awhile, maybe years, and I complete it. I’ve been making this same resolution for three years now, and I’ve just made it again. I don’t always meet this goal, but I feel that if I make a concerted effort and write constantly, I’m progressing well. Of course, the new goal becomes getting them publication ready—a longer and more complicated project. (And, let’s face it, a lot less fun)

In 2016, I managed to finish fourteen books! That’s better than one a month. There were a few months I didn’t complete something, but others where I did two or more. Please keep in mind, unless it states short story or novella, these are all books 50,000+ words. That includes the ones written in 5 – 10 days.

This years list includes:

January – Author of Love

February – Tarrah (a short story)

March – As yet untitled novella

April – Ranger’s Heart & When Tis Done

May – none finished as I was editing Room 103 for publication

June – How Far is Heaven, Sierra and Food Truck Hero (which was written in 6 days)

July – Raven Willoughby: Origins, Beach Bum, Alton & Velda and Game Junkies

August – He Needed Killin’ (written in 9 days)

September – none finished

October – none finished

November – So Much It Hurts (2016 NaNo, completed in 5 days)

December – none finished

Overall, not a bad year, though I did better in 2015 (25 books), but I consider anything 12 and over, a win. I finished 14 books in 2014 as well. Though I didn’t finish any books every month of the year, I started 4 new ones. I couldn’t seem to make up my mind how to finish them, but it gives me a goal for this year. Challenge accepted!

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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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.


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.


“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

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