Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Worried about the girls, the Henry boys have them come down to share their room, rather than sleeping in their apartment.
A noise woke Will. He sat up in bed. He saw his brother sprawled on the chairs and smiled. He should never have let him stay up, but Luke had insisted he could do his part. Another noise caught his attention, bringing him to full alert. It sounded like the squeak of the front door. It needed oiling, but Patty and Dollie left it so they could tell if anyone tried to sneak in or out during the night. Will knew that door was locked before they went to bed. He'd checked it himself.
He hopped out of bed and woke his brother. A short scramble later, Luke was awake and alert. They didn't hear anything else, but that didn't mean there wasn't someone out there. They had no weapons except the pocket knives both men carried. It was better than nothing, but wouldn't be a match if the intruder carried a gun. Still, that would have to do. Neither of them owned a weapon—not that the women would have allowed guns. They had a city dweller's fear of fire arms.
Leaving the women, they struck out in search of the intruder. They were certain someone had come in and had probably headed to the apartment. They would be disappointed to see that the women weren't there. Some perverse notion had made Will pile pillows under the blankets in their beds. He hoped it would slow down anyone who intended to do them harm.
They drew closer to the apartment and saw flashlight beams playing along the walls and floor. Plastering themselves against a wall, they listened for any sounds that would tell them where the intruder was in the apartment. Someone ran into a piece of furniture and cursed softly. Another voice shushed him. Two men? That was bad news. The brothers had counted on a single intruder.
"They aren't here," one voice said softly.
"Then we look for 'em. They got to be here somewhere."
"Ain't those fellas here?" the first voice said. "What if we run into them?"
"Then I wouldn't want ta be them," the second said.
"Hell, I seen those boys fight. I don't wanna be us right now."
Will smiled, clenching his fist that didn't hold the knife. The other switched the knife to a fighting grip. He wondered if his brother was doing the same. One thing he and Luke had learned living with their father—they could fight like hellcats. Both of them were toughened by their father's beatings. Unless the men who'd broken in had guns, Will and Luke could take them.
They heard movement inside the apartment. The lights moved toward the door. Will and Luke took up positions on either side of the door and waited.
"You head down one side of the hall and I'll head down the other," the second voice said. He sounded a little older than the first man. There was a hard edge to his words like he came from the big city.
"Shouldn't we stick together? What if we run into them Henry boys?"
They heard a soft slapping sound. "Then I'll take 'em out with my Slugger," the older man replied. The slapping sound repeated—very like the noise a hand made against a piece of seasoned hardwood.
Will and Luke waited for the men to come out the door. One emerged, the other lingered a moment. Holding their breath, the brothers waited for the second man to emerge. When he stepped out the door, the Henry brothers made their move. Will dropped to a crouch, lunging against the second man with his shoulder low. The man staggered, trying to catch his balance. He reached for his companion, only to see him fly across the hallway as Luke slammed into him with a flying tackle.
Two bodies tussled on the floor. Will couldn't see which was Luke and which his opponent. He was too concerned with his. He'd discovered that this was the man with the bat. He wasn't overly worried. There had been plenty of times his father had come after him with a chunk of firewood, intent on breaking his bones. Will had survived that, though he had sustained some nasty bruises.
The man with the bat raised it to bring it down on Will's head. Instead of waiting for him to complete the swing, that could have killed him, Will stepped up to meet him, grabbing the other man's arm. He squeezed hard, putting pressure on the ligaments and tendons in the intruder's wrist. With a snarling howl, the bat clattered to the floor. Now that he just had his fists, Will had the advantage. He slashed at the other man's arm and felt his knife connect with flesh. He cut so deeply the blade scraped bone.
His opponent screamed with pain. Rather than attacking Will, he grabbed his arm and ran for the door. Flinging it back, he hurtled down the hill toward the center of campus. Will watched him a moment, then realized that his brother probably needed him.
Luke and the other man were in a skirmish, both trying to get the upper hand. Luke landed a series of jaw shattering punches on the other man, but he was tiring. Will was busy with his own man and didn't have time for his younger brother. The most he could count on was that Will would help him as soon as he'd dispatched his opponent. When he heard the man howl and make a break for it, he tightened his grip on the second man. His hold was slipping. He felt the strength drain from him. He hit the fellow one more time and felt his body slump against the floor.
"Speak to me, Luke," Will said.
"Right here," Luke said to get his brother's attention.
"Lost ya in the dark. Should I go after the other man?" He knelt by Luke, taking his position on the floor.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Monday, November 18, 2019
Demon's Destiny is book one of the Dark City Guardians.
Garrett Duex Sabres is handsome, wealthy, brilliant and a demon with a split personality feeding on the living energy of humans. However, unlike others of his kind, Garrett chooses not to feed off pain and misery, he’s discovered a more palatable and just as potent source—sexual energy. Exploiting his charms, Garrett spends many evenings moving from one “dinner-date” to the next siphoning off small amounts from willing playmates. When Kay walks into Garrett’s life, his entire world is flipped around.
Set in the world of the Dark Knights of Heaven
Ten entertaining biographical stories set in Dickens County, Texas portray rural life during the Great Depression. They reflect the straitened circumstances, strong work ethic and close sense of community of the time, as well as the resilience and ingenuity of that generation. Despite the difficulties, or perhaps because of them, Benji’s childhood was marked by strong family ties and sheer love of life.
Alone in the big city, Pia Donvan is feeling rather lost when she finally arrives at the majestic, old hotel in the downtown area. All that changes when she meets Flynn Chancellor. He and his roommate, Yancy Fredrick, take an interest in Pia, introducing her to their city. Pia seems to have found her niche, making friends with the friendly residents in the old hotel. Life seems perfect, until one weekend when everything changes forever.
Excerpt from So Much It Hurts Chapter One
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.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Cross Stepping Your Way to Success: The Power to Transform Your Life One Step at a Time by Carolyn Bowen
When surfers hit the waters, they use a technique called cross-stepping, or moving their weight forward and backward to stay standing. Cross-stepping isn't just a good idea for surfers, though - you, too, can metaphorically use the same strategy of zig-zagging motions to achieve success. In "Cross-Stepping Your Way to Success," career coach Carolyn Bowen shows you how to zig-zag your way to success one step at a time. She examines grieving, life planning, owning your power, becoming health conscious, learning to love again, and more. With "Cross-Stepping Your Way to Success," you'll discover how to maintain your balance on the choppy waters of life!
After finally being reunited with Kyle, Dakota and Daniel have a blissful life they’ve only ever dreamed of… With secrets locked away and painful memories fading, Dakota soon learns that no matter how far or fast you run, the past always has a way of catching up to you. Taken at gunpoint by her deranged ex-husband and driven to a secluded location, she soon learns just what he has in store for her and how crazy he really is.
Lives will be lost.
Sanity will be tested.
Revenge will be sought.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
After talking to the sheriff, Luke and Will decide that spending the night with the girls again, is a good idea. They talk about Big Earl's wishes for the land.
"He let me keep my house land," Will said stubbornly. "I got me a few acres to work if I have a mind. It will surely do for us and ours when we've got kids. I don't need more than that."
"I decided that Will can share the land evenly with me once it's mine," Luke said. "Mama has the house for her and the young'uns. We work the land and provide for them like we promised. I don't hold with Daddy saying Will ain't his son. He's my brother and we went through hell with that old man. If I could of gone with Will, I would of."
Dollie took his hand in hers. "You're a fine man, Lucius Henry."
He smiled, kissing her fingers.
"Reckon you should go into town and check the bank box," Will said.
"Your father had a bank box?" Patty was shocked.
"Yup. He had a lawyer too," Will replied. "He took me up there one day, introduced us and all. Did he do that with you, Luke?"
"No, this is the first I heard of it. How long ago was that?"
"It was a few months before I left home. He had a long talk with the lawyer, but I wasn't in the room. He had him a pretty new secretary I was trying to get to know."
"Before or after you met Patty?" Luke winked at his brother.
"I'd met her but we weren't courting," Will replied, his ears going red. "Once she told me she'd date me steady, I didn't even talk to another girl except at work."
"I guess you'd better go with me," Luke said.
"We'll go tomorrow," Will replied. "All that nonsense with Ed got me thinkin' maybe there's somethin' he knows that we don't—and we should."
"First thing in the morning. Can you take the time from work?"
"Mr. Prentice gave me a few days bereavement leave." He snorted.
"It gives you a chance to get things in order," Patty said, taking his hand. "And you can spend some time working on the house."
"Every minute I can," he promised.
"It's about time to go to bed," Dollie said suddenly. "You men need to bathe and get to bed so you can be up early and head to town."
Patty exchanged an unhappy look with Will. "She's right. Much as I'd like to spend more time, we need to get some rest."
The men agreed, Will reluctantly, but he followed his brother as he went down the hall.
"You think Dollie was trying to keep us apart?" he asked Luke as they headed to the showers.
"Yup, I do. And she's right. Y'all aren't married yet. I know you're excited, but you got to keep it under control, Will. What would her daddy the preacher say if his daughter had to get married?"
"Reckon he'd wanna kill me."
"Yup, I reckon he would."
They bathed in silence and finished getting ready for bed. They lay down and put out the lamp on the table between them. Will stared at the ceiling. Luke could see the outline of his profile in the moonlight that drifted in from outside. A worried frown creased Will's brow.
"Who do you suppose it was that broke in last night?"
"I been wondering that. Got no idea."
"You think he'd try comin' back?"
"Not if he knows we're here. He'd be a fool to do that."
"We ain't sleepin' in with the girls. We're way on down the hall. Lot can happen in a minute. I think they ought to sleep in here with us. And I do mean sleep. You and me could take turns resting and the girls could take the beds."
"You think they're asleep yet?"
"Doubt it. Let's go find out."
They put on their bathrobes and tapped on the apartment door. There was a scurrying inside and Dollie opened the door. She peeped up at them, dark eyes wide.
"Is something wrong?"
"We got to thinking," Luke said. "You ought to come down to our room and sleep there. We'll behave," he added, holding his hands up where she could see them. "We're a little concerned about last night's visitor. We'd feel better if you came down to our room."
"Patty?" Dollie called over her shoulder. "What do you think?"
"I think it's a great idea." She came out of the bedroom in her bathrobe.
They walked the women to their room. The rooms were equipped for four girls, so they made up the two other beds for Patty and Dollie. They curled up and went to sleep. Will lay down to rest and Luke stayed up, sitting in one of the desk chairs with his feet up on another chair. It was uncomfortable, which was why he'd chosen it. He hadn't counted on the fact that, despite his desire to stay awake, his body needed sleep. He was still recovering from a serious infection, his body drained of its usual reserves. Before long, he'd dozed off, head lolling over the back of the chair.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Soulless and exiled from Heaven the Dark Knights have spent millennia protecting humanity from Lucifer and his demons. But the longer they live the closer they come to joining Lucifer’s ranks in Hell. Their only hope is to find their soul keepers, and love. After an attack by a demon left her injured and weak Amber Fitzpatrick welcomed the attention and caring of her rescuer Jacob—until he turned into an abusive monster. The night Amber flees the possessive, extraordinarily toxic relationship Jacob reveals his true demonic nature. Zach has more than Lucifer’s minions to contend with. Each day brings him closer to Hell. For fifty years he’s walked the thin line between sanity and giving in to his dark urges. Urges that go against his calling as a healer and a teacher. Every battle drives him closer to the edge, feeds his inner demon and pushes him to find a permanent solution to death. When Zach meets Amber he sees a chance for salvation. But Amber’s experience with Jacob makes her afraid to start any kind of relationship with Zach, especially discovering he’s not that different then the man she walked away from. Can she set her fear aside and save Zach before she loses him to the darkness forever?
From a three-week voyage of more than 7000 miles from New Orleans to Buenos Aires in 1964 through an eight-day, 3258-mile round-trip drive between Evanston, Illinois and Clovis, New Mexico in 2017, whether in their prime or in their nineties, the Bedfords have packed a lot into their life's journey. Follow their inspiring story of faith and service, set in fascinating times and places in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.
Former Army Captain, Frank Atherton, has left the dangerous life of a soldier behind. Retired from the military, he now works in a large nursing home facility, as assistant director. Things are pretty quiet, until the annoying blister of a man, Ralph Penwarren arrives, doing his best to break into his mother's apartment. Soon after his arrival, Frank meets the lovely new psychiatrist on staff, Marka Ventimiglia, who takes his breath away. Their relationship seems to be moving swiftly ahead, until Ralph Penwarren is seriously injured by a bad fall. If that weren't enough, Frank's office is trashed, his car vandalized, and a dead man is found in the ravine behind his house. Are the incidents related, or simply a series of alarming coincidences?
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.
Dakota Livingston’s whole world has been turned upside down…
After realizing she’s the sole survivor of a plane crash—the plane that was to take her to her injured father—her will to live is put to the test as she floats out at sea for days with no water or food.
Ready to give up, she’s rescued by some fisherman from a nearby island. Waking up, not knowing where she is and with no communication with the outside world, Dakota befriends a 12 year old native boy who has secrets hauntingly similar to her own. As their friendship grows it becomes clear just how similar their lives are. In a race against time, with recovery underway, Dakota is desperate to save Daniel from his own demons and return to the love of her life who has given her up for dead. Can one woman’s sheer grit and determination overcome all odds?
Sheriff Squires has dropped by the house to pay his respects, but he has some questions for Luke which make the younger Henry brother suspicious.
"Of course you do. I'm sorry. Being the law, I like to see things neat and tidy. I worry about my friends."
"I imagine you do. This ain't a thing for you to worry after. Between us and the menfolk, we got this covered. Will and me'll keep an eye on the girls for ya."
"Thanks. I knew I could count on you." Picking up his hat, he bid farewell and headed back down the mountain.
Lucius watched him drive away. "Just what are you after, Edward Squires? And why did you want to know so bad about a will?"
Rachel Henry came up a moment later, tugging at her son's arm. "You come sit down, Luke, and have something to eat. You got to keep up your strength."
He allowed himself to be persuaded to eat. He was extra hungry and knew his body was still fighting off the infection in his hand. Will and the other men came in thirty minutes later.
They spent a couple hours with the family before gathering some things together to take with them to the girls' dorm. Their mother agreed that they should stay with the girls for the time being.
"Most of the family will be heading home the next day or so, but Wilt said he'd stay on a little longer. His boys can handle the farm on their own."
Will and Luke were glad to hear their uncle was staying. He was a good man who had often helped them and their father with the farm. It was a big job for one man. Luke wasn't sure how he was going to manage. Will had his own job to do. Luke still needed the money from the school to make ends meet. He might end up hiring someone in the fall. Through the summer, he could manage with Samuel's help, but his younger brother would have school come August.
The brothers bid farewell just before lunch and headed back down the mountain. They spent the day with Patty and Dollie. After the evening meal, they helped wash up, then went outside to smoke while the women took their showers. Sitting on the front porch swing, the men shared a cigarette.
"Feels like home already," Will said with a happy sigh.
"It sure does. I could get used to being domesticated real easy."
Will chuckled, punching his brother's shoulder. "You mean you want sex regular like."
"That and the meal. Mama's a fine cook, there's no doubt. But with Daddy and a passel of young'uns to feed, I didn't never get full. It was a little better once you moved, but if there was extra, Daddy always took it. There's me workin' two jobs and lucky to get my share. Mama tried to give me her portion sometimes, but I ain't takin' food off my mother's plate. When Dollie and Patty feed me, I stay fed." He laughed, patting his belly.
Will laughed at his brother. "You're gonna get fat with a wife to feed you regular."
"Nope. I'll work it off other ways."
Will whooped, punching Luke. "I heard ya!"
Luke pretended not to mean it the way it sounded. "I don't know what you're on about. I was talking about working at the school and at the farm."
His brother chuckled, lighting another cigarette. "Yeah, I'll just bet you were."
Luke's laugh joined in. They shared another smoke, waiting for the women. A short time later, both came out with their hair damp, wearing fresh dresses and smelling sweet like soap. Luke's chest tightened when Dollie sat next to him, her body pressed next to his. She smelled so clean and fresh, he could hardly bear it. Her scent tickled his nose in a delightful way and it was all he could do not to lick her. Instead, he placed his lips on her cheek, kissing her tenderly. He nuzzled her neck, nibbling at the base of her ear.
Dollie shivered, wiggling delightedly next to him. Luke continued his ministrations. He strongly suspected his brother and Patty were doing more than just cuddle, but he was past caring. He enjoyed the little bit he could have with Dollie, knowing that they would come to that place in their relationship too.
Once the sun set, they went inside and sat in the common room, playing cards. The girls knew a variety of games. They even pulled out an old dominos set and taught the men how to play. Dollie was good, but Luke took to it like he'd played his entire life. Patty and Will couldn't compete, so they finally put the games away and sat around talking.
Luke told them about the conversation he'd had with the sheriff. "It was right strange how he kept going on about a will. Made me wonder what he was really after. And why. Don't make a whole lotta sense."
"Maybe he really was concerned about making the transition of the land simple," Patty said softly.
"Patty, I don't mean to contradict, but the fact is, up here we don't need no lawyers to tell us who gets what. A man makes his wishes known and his family sees it done."
"I was supposed to inherit Daddy's land," Will said quietly. "But when I moved to town, I lost that. He disowned me and gave the land to Luke."
"And that doesn't bother you?" Patty was incredulous.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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