Tag Archive | writing books

First Meeting from Fly by Night by Dellani

first meetingIn Fly by Night, I honestly hadn’t intended Elam to take the male lead. I had intended the ghostly apparition of Malachi to be the one who swept her off her feet, but it simply didn’t happen that way. Blythe met Elam and that was that, she was hooked and so was he.

“Blythe Donovan?” An orderly stood next to her with a wheelchair. He was blond, blue eyed and had lovely dimples in both cheeks. “Hello. I’m Elam, your ride to radiology,” he said with a smile. “Have a seat and we’ll head out in style.” He winked at her, his mouth twitching as he tried to suppress a grin.

“We’ll be here when you get back,” her mother said, sobbing.

Blythe said nothing until the doors closed behind her. “You’d think I’d been half killed,” she muttered. “Which is why I didn’t want Jason to call them.”

“Is Jason your boyfriend? Fiancé?”

Blythe glanced at him over her shoulder. He was tall, broad shouldered and handsome. His short, blond hair was wavy and his eyes were a mysterious shade.

“My brother. Why?”

He chuckled. “Cause you’re very pretty and I’d hate to think you’re taken.”

“The engagement ring isn’t a give away?” She wiggled her finger at him.

“Which is why I asked. So, where is the guy who goes with the ring?”

“Arlington National Cemetery.”

“Wow, walked hard into that wall. I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.” She looked at the ring. “I suppose I should take the ring off. It’s been a year.”

“You take it off when you’re ready,” he said softly. “And I am sorry. Just, you’re the prettiest woman to roll into my ER.”

“Are you trying to ask me out?”

He chuckled, nodding. “Yeah, well—I’m a guy. Sue me.”

He swung the chair around a corner, slithered past an old man with a janitor’s cart, and guided the chair into the radiology department.

“I’ll be waiting when you’re done,” he said.

“I’d give you a tip, but I left my purse with my mother.”

He chuckled, touching his forehead as he gave a deferential bow. “I live but to serve, miss.”

“Elam, are you flirting with a patient?” the technician teased.

“You caught me. Take good care of this one,” he said with a grin.

“I’ll do my best. Scoot.”

He went into the hall, closing the door behind him.

The technician took a series of films for the doctor to examine. When she was done, she opened the door. True to his word, Elam was waiting for them. He helped Blythe settle in the wheelchair and took off at a brisk pace.

“I’d give you a tour, but I think your presence is required elsewhere.”

“Thank you. I’ve seen more of the hospital today than I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s like a rabbit warren. I know all the best places to hide from the nurses and catch a nap—”

“Or hook up with a hot nurse?”

“Don’t let Grey’s Anatomy fool you. Most of our doctors and nurses are too busy looking after the patients to hump in the on-call rooms. Believe it or not, people actually sleep there.” He gasped a little for effect, taking the last turn so quickly, the chair tipped. He never lost control, righting it safely.

Blythe gave out a little Eep of surprise. Giggling, she thanked him for the ride. He bowed again, handing her a piece of paper with his name and number neatly printed on it.

“For when you decide to take off the ring,” he murmured. “Take your time.” He kissed her hand once more, before going back through the double doors separating them from the rest of the hospital.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Fragrance Lingers by Dellani

first meetingFortunately, for Mara Cross and Cole Bayard, their first meeting is a positive one. Mara hadn’t counted on having a vacation fling with a man she hardly knows, but there’s something special about Cole that she can’t quite put her finger on.

At the beach, Mara is doing her best to lose her mid-winter pallor. She’s got her fruity umbrella drink, her sunscreen and a few days worth of time to kill.

Mara tipped the chair up slightly and took out her book. It was a science fiction novel she’d been hoping to read for some time, but hadn’t gotten past the first few pages. She flipped back to the beginning and started reading. She was just getting into the story when a volleyball landed heavily in her lap, dropped to the ground beside her and knocked over her drink.

Mara looked up angrily and saw a man waving to her apologetically. He was medium height and build, with medium length, medium brown hair. He trotted up the beach, hand extended.

“I’m so sorry,” his tone was sincere with a hint of a Southern accent. “I guess my friend hit it harder than he needed to. We haven’t played in years, but he still thinks that he’s the king of the spike.”

He pointed down the beach to a short, squat, freckled, redheaded man in orange swim trunks. He looked embarrassed and his face was so red, it rivaled his hair.

“Sorry about that!” He called. He had a distinctive East Texas twang.

The man next to her picked up the volleyball in one hand. “Cole Bayard,” he extend the hand not holding the ball.

“Mara Cross. Who’s your pal?”

“He goes by Red Gilroy. Bet you can’t guess why.”

Mara chuckled, glancing at the man standing over her. He was better looking up close and had a firm chin and well toned physique. His navy blue swim trunks had big, white tropical flowers on them and rode low on his hips. What really caught her attention was the tattoo on his abdomen just below his navel.

All she could see were two brightly colored serpent’s heads intertwined, facing one another. She wondered how low the tattoo went below the level of his shorts. Shaking her head slightly, she realized he was speaking to her again. Blinking, she looked up at him, trying hard to focus.

“I’m sorry. I guess I’ve got a little jet lag.”

Cole grinned flashing even white teeth in his tanned face. “No problem, Miss Cross. I was just apologizing again for the volleyball. We didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Not a problem. Call me Mara. Miss Cross sounds too much like work. I’m here to forget the office, not burrow deeper into it.”

Cole bounced the ball back and forth absently as if he were trying to make up his mind about something. “Mara, would you like to join Red and me for dinner?”

“Oh, well… I don’t know… It’s just….”

“I know, it’s abrupt, but we know some of the less traveled night spots. I’m here about six months out of the year and Red comes down fairly often. I sideline as a tour guide. It gives me something to do to take my mind off the office.” He said with a completely straight face.

“I’d like that, actually,” Mara decided. She was determined to enjoy herself. Dinner in a public place sounded harmless enough.

“Super! We’ll pick you up at six o’clock. Dress casually, the fancy spots are for tourists.” Grinning, he saluted her and ran back down to where Red was standing.

Cole moved with easy, unaffected grace, running effortlessly through the sand. When he got back to Red, he popped the ball hard over the net. It landed in his friend’s outstretched hands. Mara watched them play until they went back into the hotel together.

It was nearly one when Mara finally left the beach and went back to her room. A note had been slipped under her door. She opened it and grinned. It was covered in a sloppy scrawl.

“I continue to be sorry about the volleyball, but I’m very glad I met you. I look forward to dinner. Cole.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Crime Makes an Entrance by Dellani

first meetingDeacon Stewart has taken the job as technical director at a small, privately owned theatre in Florida. After a drug and alcohol induced episode, he needed a break from his high pressure job in Manhattan. When the owner of the theatre, Dino, invites him to drive down to the Orlando airport to pick up the lighting designer, he doesn’t know what to expect.

Dino chuckled, enjoying Deacon’s frustration too much. “I guess it’s fine to tell you now. I was able to get Hillary K. Du Champs.”

The name was not unknown to Deacon, he had heard it often enough in theater circles up north.

“Hillary Du Champs? Sounds like a little, old French lady with a bad accent.”

Deacon went on in some detail watching Dino’s smile suddenly fade rapidly. Turning around, he saw a petite, auburn haired woman glaring up at him. She held three or four large bags which she dropped almost on Deacon’s feet.

Dino’s smile was artificial, his tan turned a few shades lighter. “Deacon Stewart, I’d like to introduce you to our lighting designer,” he gulped. “Hillary Du Champs.”

Deacon held out his hand, taking his cap off his head. “Pleased to meet you, Ms. Du Champs.”

She glared at him and didn’t take his proffered hand. “Don’t mind me,” she said with a strong Australian accent, “I’m just a little, old French lady with a bad accent!”

Deacon sighed, realizing he had put his foot in deeply this time. As penance, he picked up three of the bags, Ms. Du Champs snatched the smallest off the floor before he could touch it.

“Who’s the flunky?” she directed impolitely at Dino.

She walked ahead of Deacon, beside Dino who shortened his stride to compensate for her lack of stature. She couldn’t be much over five feet tall, Deacon thought. He’d never gotten along well with little women. They tended to be bossy and arrogant, with something to prove.

Deacon was around six foot three and lanky of build. His dark blond hair was curly, unruly and a constant source of aggravation to him. His blue eyes were rimmed with dark eyelashes, giving him a sleepy look. In high school, he’d been mistakenly accused of being stoned more often than he could count.

In an act of defiance of his military foster father, he’d gotten plugs in his ears and an eyebrow pierced. Several tattoos decorated his arms and another on his right buttock, a challenge from a college Jasper one night when they were too drunk to give a shit. He was sure he presented a bedraggled figure to the compact, attractive and well groomed woman ahead of him. Not quite the picture of a well qualified professional man.

He noted absently that she had a great figure and a nice, tight ass, which distracted him so much, he nearly ran into the door jam as the automatic door slid open. He set the bags down as they waited for the elevator and looked down at Hillary.

“I’m sorry about what I said. I didn’t realize you were there.”

“And that makes it all right to insult me, as I can’t hear you? You’re an uneducated buffoon, Mr. Whatever. I hope to have as little contact with you as possible. So just do your job, tote the bags and don’t talk to me!”

Deacon’s temper nearly got the better of him, but the elevator arrived giving them a few moments of struggle as they pulled her bags on board and hit the button for the parking garage.

Getting to the car, Dino opened the back and Deacon loaded the bags into the luggage space. He tried to open the door for Ms. Du Champs, but she walked pointedly away from him. He slid in the front seat himself, shutting the door in her face.

“Now see here,” she reprimanded him. “Since when does the flunky sit in the front seat and the professional woman sit in the back seat with the cooler?”

Deacon rolled his eyes in her direction, giving her a scathing look before lowering the brim of his cap over his eyes, resuming his relaxed travel position. “Since the flunky is the technical director of the theater and the professional woman is being a snooty bitch.” He said firmly, fastening his seat belt with an abrupt snap.

Dino started the car and took off in his usual cavalier style. Ms. Du Champs was silent for some time, just trying to stay in an upright position while Dino drove down the ramps at forty miles an hour. He cut into the outgoing traffic and sped into the night, zipping in and out of traffic seemingly at random.

“Really, Dino, do you have to drive so carelessly?” She was griping at him now, leaving Deacon off the hook for the time being.

“It’s better when you don’t look,” Deacon murmured, sliding lower into the seat.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Portrait of Love by Dellani

first meetingWhen Vik Windsor meets Gemma Reinhardt, she is actually dating his best friend and roommate, Ken. Oddly, though, Ken isn’t so much interested in dating Gemma as he is in painting her portrait. She reluctantly agrees to sit for him, and he is expecting her to arrive when Vik comes home.

There was a knock on the door. Vik was closer, so he opened it.

“I’m sorry. I’m looking for Kendrick.”

“That’s very disappointing,” Vik replied, leaning against the doorframe. “I’m Vik. Ken’s right here, pining away for you. He wasn’t sure you’d show.”

Kendrick made an exasperated sound behind him. Vik laughed.

“I’m telling his secrets. Please, come in.”

He flashed a charming smile. Gemma smiled hesitantly in return, walking around him timidly, giving him a wide berth. She scurried past him to stand by Kendrick.

“Vik is my roommate. He’s also an artist. The other half of the two man show.”

“The less talented half,” Vik said with a smirk. “And you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” He walked closer, hands in his pockets, a cheeky grin on his face. His eyes examined her pointedly, admiringly.

Gemma wasn’t sure how to react to that. She retreated from him slightly, standing closer to Kendrick, who gave her a peck on the cheek.

“I wasn’t sure you’d come. I hoped.”

“Bernie, the maid, you met her last night. She told me I owed it to myself to discover the adventure.”

“I’m not sure I know what that means.”

“Me either,” Gemma admitted. “But I’m here. I won’t go nude,” she said hastily. “But I brought some dresses that might work. Including the red one from last night because you seemed to like it so much.”

“Thank you,” Kendrick said, giving her another kiss on the cheek.

Vik’s brown eyes watched the exchange with interest. His friend was clearly interested in Gemma, though not in the way that Vik was. Ken found her a fascinating subject for his art. Vik found her fascinating in a variety of different ways, none of which pertained to art in any discernible way. She was clearly struggling with her decision, but determined to embrace the new experience.

“Shall I change?” She held up the dresses, casting about for a place to go.

“In a little while. Why don’t we talk about what I’m looking for?”

“Okay. I thought a portrait?”

“Not exactly. I want to explore your essence.”

Vik couldn’t control a snort. Kendrick glared at him. Gemma looked up, surprised that he was still there.

“Sorry. Sorry. Don’t mind me. I’m gonna get a beer. Ken? Gemma?”

“No, thank you,” Gemma replied, tersely. Her dark eyes looked him over, categorized him and dismissed him.

Vik had never felt so innocuous before. He wasn’t sure he liked the feeling. He’d never had a woman blow him off like that. He was more than passably good looking and charming. He never lacked for female companionship, yet she wouldn’t give him the time of day, he was sure.

“No, thanks.” Ken blew him off too.

Shrugging, Vik walked into the kitchen and got himself a beer. Popping the cap off against the counter, he took a long pull on it. He’d been on the go steadily for a week, drumming up sponsors for their art show, as well as customers for a new web design business they hoped to start together. Kendrick was the major talent, but Vik was the smooth talker, the charmer. He could sell people the moon and stars if he tried hard enough. It had been a very successful venture and he felt pretty good about it. It was obvious that he wasn’t going to have a chance to talk to his friend while Gemma was there, so he went upstairs for a shower.

 

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from He Needed Killin’

He Needed Killin possible cover photo2This is from my newest finished novel, He Needed Killin’ (not yet published). It’s only been read by one person, a lady who loaned her name to the text, Tory Copeland—cause she’s awesome (and so is the character named after her). Though this isn’t specifically the first meeting, it’s the first conversation between Dill and Haylee.

“So, RJ found you, huh?”

“Yeah. Not sure how that happened.”

“I do. Leanne, our dispatcher, told him when he called in. We asked her not to, but she’s honest to a fault, and it felt like a lie. In her defense, she thought he was genuinely worried about you. He can be damn convincing when he wants.”

“Yeah. He’s a snake.”

“Tell me what happened.”

“I worked partly in the office, then Bark needed me on the bar. I have experience, so I agreed. Good night, no serious issues. It felt great to be back around people, you know? It’s real isolated out there with only RJ for company. Once in awhile, he’d have a visitor, but I wasn’t allowed to talk to them. I saw Carla when she came up. Once in awhile, on my day off, I saw some folks.” He shrugged, shaking his head.

“How did you live like that?”

Dill chuckled, his gray-green eyes focusing on hers as he laid his arms on the table, hands folded. “Honestly? I have no idea. I had no other choice. Or I thought I didn’t.”

“What made you leave?”

Glancing away, Dill swallowed. He looked so young, vulnerable, Haylee wanted to hug him.

“He slapped me. All the time. What kind of a man slaps people?” His eyes darted back to hers. “And what kind of a man stands there and takes it? I stayed because I needed the money. Then it got to the point where the money wasn’t enough to make up for the humiliation. I’d rather work in a strip club with women grabbing my ass, than spend another second with that man. I was on my way back to the Purple Pony when I stopped here for dinner. Bark offered me a job, so I stayed.”

Haylee nodded, scribbling in her notebook. She couldn’t look at him. Tears welled in her eyes and she bit her lip so she wouldn’t cry. Mouth in a tight line, she swallowed and regrouped before looking up again.

While she wrote, Dill watched her. She was a pretty woman, firm jaw, high cheekbones, full lips. Her pale blonde hair was natural. Her body sported a light tan which was mostly tightly grouped freckles. She looked up at him again and he noticed that her eyes were a startling, penetrating turquoise, like a mountain lake. Swallowing quickly, he tried to pretend he hadn’t been staring.

“So, RJ found out from Leanne that you were here. Had he been drinking when he came in?”

“I’m not sure. I wasn’t that close. He was furious and started yelling about getting me back and exacting revenge. He gets very dramatic when he’s mad, starts to talk like a movie script. He made some threats and that’s when Joe ran for Bark. Bark came out with his rifle and told him to leave, but he refused. Shortly after that, you arrived.”

“Where are you staying?”

“Here. Bark’s got a couple rooms. It’s part of my wages.”

She nodded, scribbling notes. “Phone number?”

He rattled it off. “I took the battery out, though.”

“Why’s that?”

“RJ. I didn’t want him to track me. He’s got a program on his computer. Guess I can put it back in. Not like he doesn’t know where I am.”

“Good point. Besides, your mom might call, or something.”

“No, she won’t. She and my dad are dead.”

“Oh, my God, I’m so sorry!”

He wiggled his fingers to indicate that it wasn’t a problem. “They’ve been gone almost twenty years. I don’t remember them.”

“Do you have any pictures?”

“Used to. You lose things in foster care.”

Haylee couldn’t stop herself. She took his hand, squeezing his fingers. “I’m so sorry.”

Dill looked surprised and his gaze dropped to their clasped hands. Her hand was pale against his, but strong and her broad palms were calloused.

“People die,” he said calmly. “But thank you.” Raising her hand to his lips, he kissed it.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Indian Summer Revisited

first meetingI am a big fan of first meetings, or the Meet Cute as they are called in romantic comedies. These often set the tone for the relationship, and tell us a lot about how the couple will interact with one another later in the story. Although they get off to a somewhat rough start, Malin Dimas and Carina Enriques-Deza find that they are mutually interested. Carina is an art student who loves photography. She’s so absorbed in her projects, she doesn’t always pay attention where she’s going, particularly if she’s in a rush.

Class ended, but Carina hardly noticed. She had another class, then she had to work. Her less than glamorous job was waiting tables at a small outdoor restaurant on Hypolita Street.

Rushing to her class, she neatly avoided running into anyone until she got to the staircase. Going from the bright sun to the sudden shade, she was still wearing her sunglasses. She ran headlong into a tall, broad shouldered body. Her bag went one way, her body the other, while the strong male hardly moved. He did grunt, her elbow having caught him inadvertently in the midsection.

Carina sprawled on the ground, cursing in Spanish and English as the man tried to help her up. Hardly looking at him, she was trying to find the things that had fallen out of her bag.

Her phone had landed in a shallow puddle. Her pens and lip gloss were nowhere to be found. A well calloused, long fingered hand helped her up, brushing her off as a pleasant tenor voice apologized for running her down.

“I’m so sorry. I got sun dazzled I guess,” he said quietly, handing her the lip gloss and pens. “I got in this dark and I couldn’t see a damn thing. Sorry about that.” His soft Southern accent was warm and welcoming.

Carina looked up at him. He had black hair and dark brown eyes. Her own jade green eyes locked with his for a moment and she smiled.

“It’s okay. I couldn’t see either. Environmental hazard living in Florida.”

“Beg pardon?” He looked confused.

“Sunshine,” she pointed skyward.

“Well, it is the Sunshine State, right?”

“Yeah. Sorry, I really need to run. I’ve got class.”

“Oh, sure. Sorry again.”

“No problem. Sorry I elbowed your gut.”

“Missed the nuts,” he said with a grin.

Carina giggled as she trotted up the stairs. The young man walked with her, taking the steps two at a time.

“I bet your girlfriend will be grateful for that,” she said as he opened the stairwell door for her.

“Don’t have one, but I’m mighty happy you missed ’em. I’ve grown a bit attached to them over the years.”

With a sidelong glance, she eased past him as he held the door for her. He stood by it, leaning on the edge, gazing down at her. There was barely enough room to slip through, but she did because she was in a hurry. Waving to him, she dodged in her classroom as the instructor was about to close the door.

“Carina, nice you could join us.”

“Sorry. I fell,” she explained as she walked past him.

“You okay?” Those were the last words that made their way into the hallway.

Malin Dimas shouldered his backpack and walked downstairs. He would have used any excuse to walk that girl to her class. He didn’t have another class until eleven, so he headed to the nearest coffee shop, got a large double shot and wandered to the Plaza in front of Government House. Sitting on the steps of the Slave Market, he gazed out over the town.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents Mark David, Maria and Dan

Wednesday, August 24 What’s Write for Me

 

Wednesday, August 24 at 4:00 PM EDT (3 CDT, 2 MDT, 1 PDT), Dellani and Christina welcome back two guests and greet a new one.

Distinguished as being one of Dellani’s first guests, we are pleased to have Mark David Gerson on the show again. He is the author of Sara’s Year, Moonquest Series, Acts of Surrender, Birthing Your Book and many more. Mark will join us from 4:00 – 5:00

Also returning is Maria DeVivo , author of Coal Elf and The Rise of Sturd. Maria will join us 5:00 – 6:00

New to the show is Dan O’Brien, author of Sixth Prime, Lauren Westlake Mystery series, Society of Dawn series and many more. Dan will talk with us and the others from 4:00 – 6:00.

Join us in chatting with these three amazing guests LIVE or via PODCAST at your convenience.

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

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I Love Dialogue from Wall of Time, a Lone Wolf Prequel

lone wolf first four coversNeeding help with his increasingly bizarre and unique problem (having visions of his daughter, born over 300 years in his past) Wil goes to see his—well, friend is probably too strong a word—someone he doesn’t feel like killing (often). Abudali is a mystic who lives on a frozen world in a very posh cave (for a hermit). He agrees to help Wil, but after some consideration, Wil isn’t sure he’s ready for the type of help Abu has in mind.

Wil’s announcement that he was leaving fell on deaf ears. Abudali ignored what he said and smiled.

“I’m really going,” Wil told him. “I have things to do. I have a schedule to keep.”

“Of course you do. Go then, I won’t keep you.” Instead of arguing, Abu was giving him the brush off.

“Don’t you want me to? I thought for sure you’d try to make me stay.”

“How could an old, feeble man like me make a strong, virile man like you do something he doesn’t want? Go if that will make you happy. Don’t find out the answers to your burning questions. Go!” He shoved Wil toward the door, nearly knocking him back a step.

“All right, Abu. You win.”

“Excuse me? You wanted to go five seconds ago.”

“But maybe you’re right. I should stay and let you find out what they did to me.”

“Now he acts like he’s doing me a favor! You don’t have the dedication! One minute you’re leaving, the next you want to stay. Which is it?”

“May I stay, Abu?” Wil asked him, much subdued.

“Since you ask, then yes. But you have to agree to do what I tell you, even if you think it’s silly.”

“Agreed.”

“Good. We begin in an hour. Now is a time for eating.”

“You’re not going to feed me anything that gives me the shits for over two hours, are you?”

“No.”

“Or makes me puke, or anything like that?”

“Of course not. Whatever gave you that idea? Really, Wil, you’re entirely too paranoid.”

“I wonder,” Wil mumbled as he ate and drank sparingly.

Abu pressed another cup of tea on him. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that Wil realized it had been a bad idea to take the other cup of tea.

“What did you put in that?”

“I might have added a little Dimboloo Root.”

“What? Are you trying to kill me?”

Dimboloo Root was another highly toxic weed that had mind expanding capabilities. In the wrong dosage, it was lethal. Even his body would have trouble metabolizing it.

“You said you wouldn’t argue with me,” Abu told him as his ears wiggled and his nose exploded into purple flowers.

“I know what I said,” Wil struggled to stand. “But that was before my mouth went to sleep and my knees urinated pink frogs. What the hell is in that stuff? My fingers. Look at my fingers, Abu! They won’t work like this. How can I hold a guitar pick and strum the monkey?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Wil.”

Abu’s ears now looked like pontoons and his nose hair had grown at an alarming rate. It hung down to his armpits.

“You can’t strum the monkey, you have to pluck it.”

“Right.” Wil sat heavily, knowing something wasn’t right, but not sure what it was. “Why do my eyes feel like they’re melting into my kneecaps?”

“It’s the Dimboloo. You’ll be fine soon.”

“Make my pants stop burning, will you? I can’t seem to put it out.”

“Certainly, my son.” Abu patted Wil absently, spreading the flames instead of putting them out.

Wil wasn’t worried anymore because a flock of birds hovered over him with buckets. “That’s better. The ducks put it out. What are we doing?”

“Listen to me, Wil. I’m going to go into your mind now. You mustn’t fight me. The Dimboloo will help you relax. I don’t want you to fight me. Don’t attack unless I tell you to. But I’m going to give you a special code word. If I say the word barnacle you will attack whatever target I give you. If you don’t hear barnacle you will not attack. Is that clear?”

“Yes. You’ll say barnacle. Is that before or after I eat the ice cream?”

“Forget the ice cream.”

“Then how about the ducks.”

“Piss on the ducks. It puts the fire out.”

The conversation would have gone on like that awhile longer, but Wil felt as if someone had driven a steel spike in his hand. He knew how that felt, because someone had done that to him once. He didn’t like it much then either.

An old lady sat in a rocking chair wearing a brown dress and a tan shawl. She had really long ears and sharp teeth.

“Abu, if that’s your wife…. Whoa!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Wil. I have no wife.”

“I do, don’t I?” Wil tried to put on a blue flowered hat, but it melted. “Is that her?” He shuddered. “I’ve got sick taste, man. She could be my grandmother.”

“Wil, focus! You’re letting your mind wander. Enough of that!”

He slapped Wil sharply across the cheek. Wil’s head snapped sharply back and his eyes crossed. When he refocused, he was able to get a grip on what he was seeing. No, the walls weren’t melting into puddles of cotton candy. A camel wasn’t passing through the eye of a needle and his fingernails were not sixty-two inches long. However, he did feel and see Abu walking slowly through his mind, exploring.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Red River Network Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Two Barbaras and an Eric

Our first guest today is not only an incredible author, she’s another of our Red River Radio hosts and a dear friend. Please welcome BarbaraEhrentreu, author of After and If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Welcome, Barbara!

Our next guest is author Eric Williams. His book is Edric the Hatchling Gryphon and Edric the Gryphon Prince. Welcome back, Eric.

Our third guest is new to Tea Time and we are thrilled to have her here. We met during a Facebook Christmas in July event. Please help me welcome Barb Caffrey, author of Elfy on the Loose and A Little Elfy in Big Trouble, as well as Survive the Maelstrom, A Dark and Stormy Night and Joey Maverick which she co-wrote with her late husband, Michael. Welcome, Barb.