Monday, September 25, 2017
Coming November 1, 2017 from Tirgearr Publishing – So Much It Hurts! This delightful romance is set in a big city somewhere up north. I've never given it a name, and the residents refer to it as The City.
Pia Donovan is a small town girl. Newly in the City from a tiny town in Nebraska, she is overwhelmed by the fast pace. After a long day of getting lost in the worst part of town, she arrives at her destination; an historic, grand hotel in the downtown area. Picking her way across the rutted ground in front of the building, she loses her balance, nearly falling into the arms of Flynn Chancellor. Handsome and friendly, Flynn presents a happy distraction for a girl who's trying to recover from a broken heart.
Sweet, sultry music poured from the open second-story windows as Pia walked across the pitted, uneven ground. Scattered with puddles and trash, it wasn’t a very inviting aspect. The old, grand hotel building loomed above her, intimidating in the dusky light after sunset. Sighing, she forged ahead, dragging her rolling suitcase after her. It bumped into a particularly deep hole and caught. Yanking, she lost her balance and teetered to the right.
“Watch out!” Strong hands caught her, setting her on her feet. The same hands lifted her suitcase. “You all right, little lady?”
Pia wasn’t sure she liked being called a little lady by any man, but when she turned to look at him, she decided he had the right to. He was at least six foot three, maybe taller. She, a petite five three, was indeed a little lady. He flashed a brilliant smile at her.
“You’re the newbie.” He extended his hand. “Flynn Chancellor. Welcome to the fold.”
“Pia Donovan. Thank you. How does this work, exactly?”
“Didn’t get orientation?” He tugged her suitcase, ushering Pia inside.
“Sort of? They told me to report here this afternoon, but I took the wrong bus and ended up on the way to Maryville. I got as far as Walnut Street and finally figured out I was in the wrong spot.”
“Ooh, not a place for a lady of your delicate sensibilities to be.”
“Yeah, tell me about it. The driver wouldn’t let me out on the street. He dropped me at a satellite station and told me the right bus to take back.”
“That was nice of him.”
“He said he has a granddaughter my age. He wouldn’t set her loose to the wolves.”
Flynn chuckled. “Apt. I grew up in that area. It ain’t pretty.” He opened the door for her, letting her walk under his arm. It was an easy fit. “Where are you from, Pia Donovan?”
“Out of state. I moved here from Nebraska. Outside Kearney.”
“No kidding? What brings you up here?”
“I got a scholarship to City University.”
He opened a set of inner doors which led into a large, open area. To the right and left there were arched doorways which had once led to reception and lobby areas. They were now full of cast-off furniture and crowds of men and women, all about her age. Every ethnic blend imaginable greeted her small-town Nebraska eyes.
“We’ve got several music majors here. I’ll show you around, if you want.”
“I’d like that, thank you. How do I get settled?”
“We talk to Amita.” He pointed to the desk area. It had formally been the receptionist’s desk — a tall, dark wooden structure that wrapped around like a bar.
“When was this place built?”
“And they’re tearing it down?”
“No. It will, eventually, be renovated.”
She nodded, looking around her at the early elegance of the place. It sported dark wood wainscoting, light walls, brass wall sconces. This was in stark contrast with the battered linoleum laid over the original hardwood floors, holes in the walls, and pieces of plywood over missing glass panes.
“You wouldn’t know to look at it, but it was a showplace in its time. Celebrities from all over the world visited. It was built by one of the founding families, so they will never tear it down.”
“It’s still got a stateliness to it, doesn’t it?”
“It does,” he agreed.
No one was at the desk, but he leaned over and called through an open doorway. “Oi, Amita! Found our newbie!”
A tall, mocha-skinned woman with wildly curly hair came out, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Hi! You must be Pia. I’m Amita, I’m the resident manager. We expected you ages ago.”
“I got lost.”
“Ended up on Walnut Street,” Flynn added.
“Oh, my God! And lived to tell about it!”
Flynn chuckled and leaned against the tall desk, hands in pockets. Pia had a moment to take in details she hadn’t noticed outside in the dusk. He was broad-shouldered, with dancing green eyes. His chestnut colored hair was nearly to his shoulders, thick and straight, covered by a faded black fedora. Steel gauges, about the size of a quarter, stretched each earlobe. His arms were covered by intricate tattoos, forming sleeves from wrist up. His shirtsleeves were rolled just past his elbows. Rusty black pants, which looked as if they had seen better days, dangled from colorful suspenders. His huge feet were covered in clunky, leather boots. Every piece of clothing was spattered with different colors of paint.
“You’ll be in the Ambassador Suite,” Amita said with a grin, handing over a registration card for Pia to sign.
“It’s great!” Flynn said with a grin.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, September 21, 2017
One Night in Daytona Beach is part of the amazing erotic romance series, City Nights, released by Tirgearr Publishing.
He hadn't seen her in 10 years, but there she was, dressed in black leather, straddling the Harley. Draven Wick is back home, on a break from filming his vampire themed TV show, when he spots Jamie Humphrey at a Bike Week raffle. The love of his teen life, Draven never thought he'd see her again. Rekindling their romance after 10 years is the easy part. Unfortunately, Draven has been blamed for the death of a notorious bike gang leader. Staying ahead of the police, and the biker gang bent on revenge, takes Jamie and Draven to the brink of disaster.
Excerpt from One Night in Daytona Beach
Long, dangerous legs, an ass that wouldn't quit, lush curves clad in skimpy black leather, flaming red hair wafted on the breeze while the rumble of a thousand Harleys filled the air. He couldn't draw his eyes from the gorgeous redhead, whose hair reminded him of the flames on the side of his bike. Heavy metal music thrummed from gigantic speakers, banging and echoing from the sides of the nearby condos. Cameras snapped, his included, as she draped herself over the motorcycles being raffled off for charity. The line to register wound around the parking lot.
"I'd like to rev her engine," one man said as he stuffed his tickets into his wallet.
"Full throttle," the man next to him laughed loudly at their joke.
Every man there was thinking the same thing, which was the entire point of having a sexy, long legged woman straddling the chrome studded leather seat. Leaning on the handle bars, she rocked back, her chest to the sky as she arched her spine. With a quick swing of her legs, she did a shoulder stand on the seat, then lowered her feet with agonizing slowness so that the toes of her high heeled boots pointed directly at the patch of stretched black leather between her thighs.
Draven nearly dropped his phone. The man next to him let his cup of beer slide from his numb fingers. Every man in the line eyed her with fascination. Though disgusted with the behavior of the men, the women couldn't help but stare too. They were amazed that anyone could do such antics on a motorcycle. The music continued to thrum and pound at them as they watched her routine. In a fleeting moment of coherence, Draven recognized it as Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson. She was certainly slaying every man in the place with her sexy routine.
"Hey, buddy, your turn!" the man at the cash register called, snapping his fingers.
Draven stumbled forward, his legs having lost the ability to move without conscious thought. He fumbled with his wallet and phone, trying to slide one out and the other into the pockets of suddenly too-tight jeans.
"How many?" the man asked, all business.
"Um, how much are they?"
"Hundred a piece."
"You take plastic?"
"Everything but American Express."
"I'll take five."
"You got it." He filled out Draven's details, rang up the cost and scanned his plastic.
"Does the girl come with it?" the man behind Draven asked. He was old and fat, not the kind of man a girl like her would even look at once. His words might have been said in jest, but coming from his slobby, heavy jowled mouth, it was seriously pervy. The men behind the table and near him in line, gaped at him, horrified.
"That young lady is my daughter," the man who handled Draven's transaction growled. "So you watch what you say."
"How's a man let his daughter act like a hoor in public," the fat man yelled, slamming a meaty fist down on the table.
Startled by the noise, the girl lost her balance as she rolled out of the shoulder stand. Toppling, she fell. Draven leaped toward her, covering the ten feet to the cycles, in a superhuman rush. He steadied her, helping her sit up slowly. Getting a good look at her face, he felt a spark of recognition.
"Jamie Humphrey?" He touched her cheek, brushing her hair from the corner of her full, red lips.
"Draven Wick? Oh, my God! Is it really you?" She clung to him, hugging him tightly. "How many years has it been? Ten?"
"About that. God, you look fantastic!"
Clasping his face, she gazed into his golden hazel eyes. "Thank you for catching me."
"You're welcome. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Thanks."
Others had gathered around, watching the scene unfold. When it became apparent that the woman wasn't hurt, the men at the desk went back to selling tickets.
"That's not really your dad," Draven murmured.
"Of course not. He just says that so that men will leave me alone."
"How about fair time for the women?" a heavyset woman called from the line. "Let's see the hunk take his shirt off!" she whooped.
Women all over the parking lot cheered and whistled. Draven cast a saucy look at Jamie. The music had changed once more, pounding out Closer by Nine Inch Nails—the unedited version, he noted with a grin. Grabbing the bottom of his shirt, he raised it with agonizing slowness as his hips gyrated to the sexy music. Jamie played it up, running her hands under the shirt, rubbing his abs and tugging on the cloth with her teeth.
More cameras snapped and the women yelled loudly, screaming at him to take it all off. As he did a lecherous bump and grind, Draven strutted around the bike. Between the two cycles, he twirled his shirt, straddling it. Riding it like a hot woman, he continued to dance. Jamie hopped up, standing behind him, she ran her hands up and down his tight abs and hard thighs. Spinning to face her, Draven roped Jamie with his shirt, pulling her close to dirty dance with him. The song ended and he spun her under his arm, dropping her into a low dip, her back arched, breasts high. Red hair tickled the pavement as he raised her with one arm. Faces mere inches apart, they tried to catch their breath. It took some time before they realized that the line was now three times what it had been. Women ringed around them, waving money at Draven.
"You grew up nice, Wick," Jamie said, taking a step back. Her hand drifted down his chest to the top of his jeans. Eyes wide with delight, she dangled her fingers by his zipper. With tantalizing deliberateness, she touched the fabric that strained across his throbbing member.
"You keep that up, I can't be responsible," he whispered.
"You keep that up, I can't be either," she replied.
"I really wanna kiss you, Jamie."
"On the bike," she suggested. "I get paid a percentage of what they bring in."
Laughing, he picked her up, putting her on the motorcycle, facing the rear, straddling the engine. Draven took his time swinging one long, muscular, jean-clad leg over the seat. Scooting him forward with her feet, Jamie wrapped her legs around his waist. Laying her back, Draven teased and coaxed her mouth, his tongue tickling her lips. With a decisive lunge, he raised his body, grasped the handlebars and kissed her. Until that moment, Jamie had thought his antics were all for show. A consummate performer, he knew how to work a crowd. But that kiss wasn't pretending and the rock hard bad boy in his pants wasn't a prop.
He didn't linger over the kiss. His timing was, as always, superb. Leaning back, Draven swung his leg off the cycle, standing in one fluid motion as he held out his hand to her. The crowd went wild. The men at the table had to scramble to accommodate the line, bringing in extra help.
Draven stood near Jamie, hoping to kiss her again. Instead, everyone wanted pictures with them and the bikes. Most of them gave tips, some wanted autographs. They all wanted them to kiss. Draven worked the crowd, giving them just enough to keep them asking for more.
"Do you think any of them recognize you?" Jamie asked, her smile toothy and wide.
"Doubt it. I'm out of context."
"Won't they shit when they figure it out?"
He chuckled, kissing her cheek by request. "Right in their pants. You smell amazing," he said, nuzzling her neck all on his own.
A dozen cameras clicked.
"I've missed you, Jamie."
Shivering, she held his face as directed, giving him a kiss. "Me, too."
They straddled the bike again, with her in front, holding the handlebars. His long, sinewy thighs clenched against hers from behind.
"Is that a yes or no? I don't speak Biker Babe anymore."
"No one steady."
"Does he think that?"
Jamie blushed, turning her head to look at him. "Why all the questions, Wick? Got some burning desire to know all my secrets?"
Draven nibbled her neck, cheating the angle a little, so he was still camera ready. "I've got a burning desire, Humphrey, but it isn't about your secrets."
© Dellani Oakes 2015
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Blake Abernathy has been getting a lot of unexpected, and unwanted, attention from women. Since coming to Florida for a visit, he's been stalked by one group after another. It might seem ideal to some men, but for him, it's extremely annoying. Trying to get some sun in Key West, he wakes to another group of women.
As I'd napped, a gaggle of girls—mostly older teens and early twenties, had gathered. They were taking pictures and talking about me in very specific terms. I sat up, scowling.
"Just admiring the view," one of them said. She was a little older, late twenties I'd guess. Her dark hair was a tangled mess in a sloppy bun perched on top of her head, and she wore a man's tank top over her suit.
"Admire it from somewhere else."
"It's a public place," she countered.
"But this isn't," I gestured to my body. "If I came up and started taking pictures while you were tanning, you'd think I was a perv and call the cops. But because I'm a man, it's okay for you to do this?" I rolled over on my stomach. "Go away," I said.
"Rude much?" she sneered, but didn't move.
Suddenly furious, I hopped to my feet. Hiram was awake, but he just watched. I couldn't tell what he was thinking, I could barely tell what was on my mind. Rage. Pure and simple.
"Go away!" I bellowed. "I'm on vacation! My girlfriend was murdered and I don't need a bunch of stupid girls staring at me! Go!"
About that time, a lifeguard and a beach cop wandered over.
"There a problem here, sir?" the cop asked.
The anger left as fast as it had appeared. "Yes. I'm being harassed."
He gave me an evil eye. Even with his glasses on, I could see it. His stance changed. Even if I had a mind to assault a cop, which I don't, I knew he'd half kill me and still take me down.
"Look, I don't want any trouble. I was trying to relax and get some sun and I wake up to find these women taking my picture without my permission. I asked them to leave and they wouldn't."
"I asked them too, before he woke up," Hiram said. "They told me to fuck off. I'm eighty-two years old. If I'd spoken to an old person like that in my day, he'd have smacked my mouth. As they are ladies, I refrained. But they're bothering us."
"He's hot," the spokeswoman said.
"And that makes it okay?" the cop replied, arms crossed, facing her now. He was jacked to hell and back. He could have made a fortune as a cover model. As could the lifeguard.
"I'm sorry, sir. I didn't see this. I was watching the water," the guard said. He was about my age. Also jacked as all hell.
"I've had a hell of a week. Not anyone's fault—but I've been bugged and hassled by women since I got to Florida. Is there something in the water makes chicks crazy? Swear to god, I'm on vacation!"
"But he's hot as hell," another woman said. She was younger, probably about sixteen. Shouldn't have been enjoying a man's body for a few years, but she probably had already. My unkind summation was that she was a slut.
"What if you were lying out and woke up surrounded by us?" I gestured to the cop and the lifeguard. "That's okay, cause you're hot and have a nice ass. It's fine. You obviously want to be bothered and looked at. Right?" I crossed my arms, same stance as the other two guys. Hiram, he just watched.
"No! That's pervy! You have no right to invade my privacy."
The cop took a careful step forward, still not in her personal space. "But because he's got balls, not boobs, it's all right?"
That shut them up.
"Apologies, from all of you, or I'll take you in."
"For what?" Smart Mouth Teen asked.
"For unlawful assembly and creating a public nuisance. I'm sure I can think of a few other things. I got a witness." He gestured at Hiram.
My friend nodded, a satisfied smile on his face. "You're bothering my grandson," he said calmly. "And you were rude to an old man."
I wanted to add that he was a survivor from a Nazi death camp, but that was Hiram's story to share, not mine.
"Hand me your phones," The cop said, holding out his hand.
"What? Why?" The girls all screeched, holding their phones like they were golden treasure.
"We're going to delete all pictures of this man. Hand 'em over. You can come by the station later and collect them."
Still stubborn, they refused. He picked up his radio from his shoulder. They watched horrified, as he called for backup. His buddies arrived quickly and rounded up the girls, who'd been too dumb to scatter. Amazing what a group mentality does. They'd stayed there until they got arrested, protesting loudly.
"I'm sorry to have caused this big a fuss," I said. "Like I said, it's been a hell of a week."
"You're sure you're okay?" the lifeguard asked.
"I'm fine. Pissed off to end all, but we're not hurt."
The cop squatted by Hiram's chair. He'd seen the tattoo on the old man's arm. Taking off his helmet and sunglasses, he spoke to him in a language I didn't know. I thought it might be Polish. Hiram smiled, patting the man on the cheek.
"You're a good boy," he said. "Someone taught you well."
"My great-grandmother. She was in a Nazi camp first, then sent to Russia. She was one of the lucky ones. All her family survived, except her father, who died before the war."
I thought he was going to cry. Instead, he held out his hand, shaking Hiram's, before saluting him. Turning to me, he nodded.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Full Measure is one of those stories which has more than one villain. Each of them is nasty, though some more than others, and each is strongly motivated to get exactly what they want. This particular villain is a hit man called Domino, who was hired to take out Daphne and Ralan, who have just escaped an explosion.
A man in uniform approached her. He looked slightly familiar, but she couldn't place him. Her ears rang and she was dizzy. The man was tall, dark haired, with a penetrating gaze and a pleasant smile.
"Mr. Hendrix is asking for you."
"He's okay? Oh, thank God!" She almost hugged the man, but he dodged, grinning.
"He's fine. Follow me. I'll take you to him."
Daphne looked around to see if any of the team were around. She didn't see them. Hoping the man knew what he was talking about, she agreed. Disoriented, her steps were unsteady. The man grasped her arm at the elbow. His grip had a familiar feel, more of control than aid. A tingle started at the base of her scalp as the hairs on her neck rose. The man was leading her further from the crowd. Despite her dizziness, Daphne realized she'd been tricked. She yanked her arm away, but his grip tightened, fingers digging into her flesh.
His dark eyes burned angrily. "Try it, girlie. Anything you can dish out, I can take. I'm not a pushover like your boy."
"Ralan will kill you if you hurt me."
"Ralan isn't gonna kill anyone." He jerked her toward a nearby building. Shoving her through the door, he propelled her toward an idling SUV.
Pushing her roughly in the back, he slammed the door. Daphne heard a groan from behind her. She looked over the seat and saw Ralan sprawled in the cargo space. His clothing was scorched and rumpled, his face blackened, bruised and lacerated. Too horrified to speak, she stared at him. His dark eyes flickered open and he winked one swollen lid, adding a dramatic groan. A vestige his rakish smile twitched bloodied lips.
"What did you do to him?" she demanded loudly of her captor.
"Nothing he wouldn't do to me given a chance."
The man had removed the uniform top and she saw his domino tie. He smiled, eyes icy cold. "You'll think more of me later—much later." He leered at her and Daphne had the uneasy feeling that he intended to do horrible things to her while he made Ralan watch.
"You'll regret it," Daphne said, lifting her chin defiantly.
"Regret what?" his voice was as cold as his eyes, his accent reminding her of a bad Dracula movie.
"Regret hurting us."
"Oh, I doubt that, darling." It sounded like darlink.
"Never doubt me," Daphne said, her voice harsh.
She sat back, arms folded across her chest, dark eyes glaring into Domino's. He blinked, surprised, and withdrew slightly, her anger following him across the seat. Daphne knew she and Ralan had the advantage. Although he was harshly bound at wrists and ankles, she wasn't.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
“Do we have an identification?” the detective asked Jeremy.
“Yes, ma'am. Detective Chelle O'Brian, this is Dr. Jennings and this is Dr. Stanton. They were Mr. Overman's therapists.”
“Doing a bang-up job, gentlemen,” she said, snapping her lips shut.
Quaid, Boyd and Oracle stared at her, appalled. Even Jeremy had no idea what to say.
“Overman wasn't suicidal,” Oracle said. “I'd bet my license on it.”
“You might have to,” O'Brian said, her eyes flashing dangerously. “Three people in charge of his care, and he offs himself?”
“You can see any of our records,” Boyd said. “With the proper warrants. Overman was many things, but he wasn't a suicide risk. I'd more peg him for homicidal than suicidal.”
“And yet you let him go,” O'Brian said, her tone chilly.
Boyd, wisely, said nothing. Oracle started to open her mouth, but Quaid shook his head.
“Ms. O'Brian, are you a medical professional, mental health specialist? A psychiatrist or psychologist? Social worker?”
Quaid bulled over her words, holding up his hand like a stop sign. “So, it's your completely uneducated opinion that my colleagues and I weren't doing our jobs, and that's why he jumped off a bridge?”
“I didn't say that.”
“That's exactly what you said. You insinuated that we purposely put a patient at risk. We did all we could for him, but he was rude, disrespectful, abusive of our staff and, more than once, took a swing at Boyd and me. He should have been in a facility full time, but they didn't want him either. He was a low down, pain in the ass.”
“So, you cast him aside.”
“I gave him plenty of other resources to call upon. I released him to another facility, who were supposed to follow up and continue his care.”
“But you let him go!”
“You want to know what he said to Oracle? Or to Pearl? He called my friends horrible names, called me a faggot....”
“And you let a word bother you? You're a grown man.”
“No, ma'am. I didn't. But I won't hear my sweet, intelligent Asian receptionist be referred to as a retarded slope eye or my elegant, caring social worker be called a nappy headed bitch. Are you saying that their welfare is less important than his?”
He purposely kept several feet away, not advancing into her personal space. She advanced into his, poking her finger at his chest. Before she could touch him or speak, he took a step back.
“Before you commit assault in front of witnesses, maybe you'd better reflect on what you want to say to me. I did my job, as did Ms. Jones and Dr. Stanton. I'm very sorry that Mr. Overman is dead, but I find it very difficult to believe that he killed himself. I suggest you instruct Jeremy to run a complete tox screen—now, because certain drugs break down rather quickly.” He looked at his watch. “It's been what, nearly an hour?” He eyed her over his raised wrist. “Mr. Overman was officious, obnoxious, and had the most toxic personality of anyone I've ever met. What he wasn't—was suicidal. I think you're looking at a murder or a very sad accident, Ms. O'Brian. I suggest you get cracking. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're tired and would like to get home to bed. We'd be happy to talk to you tomorrow.”
“I want his records.”
“Which we'll be happy to release with the proper warrant,” Boyd said. “I already told you we're willing to cooperate. We won't, however, stand here and take anymore abuse from you. Goodnight, Detective. Jeremy, thank you for your consideration. If you need us to sign something, let's do that and get it over with so we can go home.”
“Sure, Dr. Stanton.” He pulled up the paperwork and printed it for them to sign.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, September 07, 2017
Teague McMurtry gave six years of his life to the Army. Now, he's trying to settle down and get his college degree. He's got his own yard business and is working hard at building his life.
Things are going great until he runs awry of the wrong biker gang. Little does he know that his chance meeting with Vivica Rambo initiates a series of events that could prove deadly for them both.
Excerpt from The Ninja Tattoo
"Wild Gardens. Teague speaking. How may I help you?"
"So, it is you," said the cheerful female voice on the other end. "It's not every day a man buys a girl a cup of coffee and runs off without a word. I had to beg Jenny to tell me your name, but she wouldn't give me your number."
"It's right on the side of the truck," he said with a laugh in his voice.
"So I noticed as you drove slowly by. You did that on purpose, you sly devil. Peak a girl's interest and satisfy her curiosity at the same time."
"Damn, I'm good. I didn't know I was that slick."
"Sneaky, you mean. So, hit any other women with doors in the past few hours?"
"No, but I've been kissed by a beautiful, older woman."
"No, but I've been kissed by a beautiful, older woman."
"Ooh, I'm jealous! Tell me who she is, I'll pay her a visit."
Teague laughed, picturing this nameless, exotic beauty coming up against Daisy.
"You might give the old girl heart failure," he said. "Daisy's spry, but I think you'd scare her half to death. Why don't you just let me buy you dinner to make up for my infidelity?"
There was a short pause. She sounded somewhat surprised when she answered, though whether with him or herself, he couldn't tell. "You know, I'd really like that, Teague."
"Great! Are you free tonight?"
"You're sure not shy. Do you always ask mysterious women out right after you meet them?"
"Only the ones I hit with the door. The others have to wait the standard three days before I ask them out."
"Am I setting myself up to get played?" She sounded concerned.
Wanting to immediately kill that thought, Teague turned serious before replying. "I promise, I'm not like that," he said solemnly. "I don't even know your name."
Did he hear a sniffle? Had he made the woman cry? Cursing himself silently, he waited. She cleared her throat before replying.
"That's a beautiful name."
"Thank you. So, is Teague your first name?"
"Yeah. My mom's maiden name. Originally McTeague. Dad talked her out of that, thank God."
She giggled, then laughed louder. "Fine Irish name it is," she said with a fairly decent brogue.
"Aye, so it is, lassie. So, about dinner?"
"Talk about persistent! Okay, what about dinner?"
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, September 05, 2017
A twig snapping nearby caught Alton's attention and he swiveled slightly toward the sound. A man stood a few yards away. For him to be that close, he must have incredible woodcraft. It wasn't something that most humans were capable of. In fact, he didn't know of any, in all his wide travels, would could accomplish that feat—sneaking up on a wood sprite in the woods.
"Who are you?" he said, rising slowly, glad his sword was near to hand. He drew it, slowly, holding it casually in his left hand.
"I let you hear me, Sprite. Do I look like a fool to you?"
Alton tipped his head, nodding. "Yes. But I'm willing to cast aside first impressions."
"The more fool you for engaging me when my friends come up behind you."
"You mean the burly fellow with fetid breath to my right behind and the slow one with the club foot who's trying to sneak up quietly to my left? Or do you mean the idiot in the tree with a longbow? Awkward choice."
"A lone wood sprite thinks he can take on four of us?"
"Four to one? The odds aren't evenly stacked, are they?"
"Surrender now, and we'll leave your ears—maybe."
"I meant," Alton snickered, weaving an intricate pattern with his sword. "Not evenly stacked—for you."
His foot shot out, kicking the club footed man like a mule. The oaf to his right got a fist to his balls. Alton grabbed the man in front of him, swinging around before the bowman could get off his shot. The bow snagged in the branches and he dropped his arrow. The quiet man struggled, all feet and elbows as he tried to free himself.
Alton chuckled. "Boy, you picked the wrong man to attack." He shook his head. He shoved the young man from him, tripping him so he fell on his knees. "Go home, child. And next time, send a man to ambush me."
"I'm not a boy! I have lain with women...."
"One, perhaps—paid in full, was she? Just because you can use your pecker doesn't make a man of you."
The young man rushed him, coming in low and fast, quicker than most humans. Alton braced himself, lowering his center of gravity and met him. The boy impacted with Alton's firm abdomen. Gasping for breath, he tried to topple the wood sprite. Rather than wasting anymore time, Alton brought his elbow down on the boy's back, knocking him to his knees once more.
"I can do this all night," the wood sprite bragged.
The boy struggled to his feet and rushed the wood sprite once more. A knee to the face bloodied him, but didn't stop him. The third pass, Alton held out his hand and held the boy by the forehead as he swung useless fists at the wood sprite's midsection. With another blow to the back, Alton dropped the boy. Stepping carelessly, he put his foot on the young man's neck and pressed his face into the dirt. He gave a glance at the friends, but they had run away somewhere early on in the skirmish.
"Do you have a death wish?"
The boy squirmed. Alton increased pressure and the wiggling stopped.
"Do you have a death wish?" he repeated very slowly.
"No!" the boy roared. Getting a mouthful of dirt, he coughed and sneezed.
"Didn't anyone tell you that attacking a well armed wood sprite was a sure way to die? Or did you think your fae blood would save you? Even three quarters, or half, you are no match for a full blooded fae, especially one who's lived as long as I."
"You're just a kid, barely my age!"
The words were blurred and muffled by the loose dirt, but Alton made them out well enough. Laughing caustically, he let the boy go.
"Son, you're an idiot as well as pathetic. Don't you know that fae don't age like humans? I'm far older than I look. How old are you?"
Alton chuckled. "I am nearly ten times that. Can you count that high?"
Rubbing the dirt from his face with his sleeve, the boy blushed.
"Thought not. Never assume you have the advantage."
"Because I didn't assume, I knew. Now, had you and your friends been as well trained as me, I might be the one bleeding and covered in dirt. A man traveling this road may seem an easy target, but would I be traveling with only one companion if I weren't fully capable of taking care of myself?"
"Companion? I see no companion." The young face hardened, his aspect changed slightly. "While my friends and I distracted you, Old Man, someone's made off with your friend."
Alton's eyes narrowed and the hair rose on the back of his neck.
"Do you think that even an ignorant farm boy wouldn't have more sense than to attack a full fae, even with four to one odds? Never assume you have the advantage."
Alton spared a quick glance for Revanth. His bedroll was there, tumbled around. A scuffle had ensued. While the boy distracted Alton, someone had made off with his companion.
"Gods balls! Who sent you?"
"Who do you think? My mother says hello." In a blink, he was gone, disappearing into the woods as if he'd never been.
"You haven't won, Rialtia!" he bellowed into the darkness. "You will never win!"
A mocking laugh echoed around him, melting into the darkness.
As he gathered up their scattered belongings, Alton tried to make contact with Revanth. He could only assume his friend was unconscious, because each time he met with only silence. Leading Revanth's steed, he followed the unique, lingering scent of his formerly horsey friend. Distinctive, it stood out like a beacon among all the other smells.
"I'm coming, brother," he cast out to the shadows of the night. "I'm coming."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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