Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Wreathed in smiles, Abudali came back to himself, poured a drink of cold water, and sighed contentedly. "Fascinating," he breathed as Wil's annoyance mounted.
"Patience, Lone Wolf. I am still reveling in the delightful talk I've had with your daughter. Hers is an astute mind. She has an amazing clarity of intellect that you sorely lack. It must come from her mother. As does her alacrity of speech and her understanding of the finer points of. . . ."
"All right! Enough of the veiled insults, Abu.” Wil inhaled deeply, exhaling slowly to calm himself. "What does she say?"
"First of all, you are correct. Her mother is Siegra. They live in a time approximately three hundred years in our past. Three hundred seventy-three, as a matter of fact."
"Is the number significant?"
"No way of telling without extensive numerology research. I can do that better with you gone. In any case, she says that she's trying to figure out how she can communicate with you too. It's not common among her people, many of whom have Hindersight, their term for psy powers. Theirs tend to be chiefly connected to precognition. The other powers, we deduce, came from your half of the genetic matrix."
"This isn't telling me what I need to know. How can she communicate with me? How can she know the things she knows?"
"I have no idea."
"Abu!" Wil was frustrated and angry. He wanted to yell and break things. This would serve no logical purpose, but would make him feel one hell of a lot better.
"But her instructor had a thought."
"Instructor? What is she being instructed in?"
"Oh, in Hindersight, of course. I thought she would have told you."
"It's not like we've had time to chat. What does her instructor think?"
"Chyou is of the mind. . . ."
"Her—instructor," Abu spoke slowly and loudly as if Wil was slow witted and hard of hearing.
"Chyou is her instructor?"
"That's what I said. Now be still. Sit down, you're pacing again."
Wil had stood in his frustration but hadn't moved from the spot. He sat with great agitation and lit another cheroot. He'd already been through five since this interview started. He began to suspect he hadn't brought enough.
"Chyou is of the mind. . . ." he prompted.
"That it is because you and her mother are from different times. Much as a man can freely travel within his lifetime, given the right instruction and correct set of parameters. . . . You know, that's an interesting phenomenon. I have been. . . ."
"Abu," Wil's low, quiet growl was more ominous than his shouting.
The old hermit cleared his throat and continued. "Be that as it may, we know that time travel along one's own lifetime is possible. It's been done, it's history. However, you may not be aware that it's been speculated that a man can travel through the lifetime of his parents. The actuality is theoretical at best. Outrageously incomprehensible at its worst.
"But," he held up a hand to stay Wil's protests, "we think that is why she is able to do this. She has been given the parameters of both her mother's lifetime and your own. Because of the disparate times you come from, she has much more leeway than a normal individual. And your daughter, Lone Wolf, is far from normal. She redefines psy powers. She's rewritten laws of contact! This should not be able to happen, but it is. Chyou thinks that's because no one ever told her it wasn't possible."
"So my daughter, whom I've never met, can contact me across space and time just because it's theoretically possible and she doesn't know she can't?"
Wil didn't know if he should jump for joy or punch the old man in the nose. He chose to remain sitting down and not react violently for the moment. He wasn't happy either way.
"Do you have any idea how confusing this is? You're talking about seventeen steps from reality. I have an open mind, Abu, but even I am struggling with this."
"Wil, I have made it as simple as I can. Perhaps you'd like the scientific lecture?"
"Is there one?" Wil asked hopefully.
"No, not really." Abu replied offhandedly. "Nothing in science can explain this. I'm truly sorry I can't make it easier to understand. I would if I could. You daughter did what any child would do, she thought of you. Because of her enormous psy power, she was able to make contact."
"And some of this comes from me? A man who never had any psy abilities, no training. . . . I'm a dumb grunt, Abu."
"Far from it, Wil." The old man was quiet and serious now. Gone was the flighty behavior, the eccentric mannerisms. "We both know the Marine doctors did incredibly intrusive things to your body. What we don't really know, as we haven't explored, is what they did to your mind."
© 2014 Dellani Oakes
To Buy Dellani's Books
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Drake Mann is a comic magician as well as a college student, studying Special Education. He's fallen for his nephew's teacher, Amalia Capo. Their happiness is marred by the fact that someone is stalking them and trying to intimidate them. Drake calls one of his cousins, who happens to be a police officer who's engaged to an FBI agent. Agent Danielle Torv comes over to spend the night on the couch in order to keep an eye on Drake, Amalia, his nephew Davy and his daughter, Shelby.
Drake showed Danielle to the front room where the fold out couch was neatly made.
"Don't worry about a thing," she assured them. "I'll check on things during the night, but I have selective hearing loss." She winked.
Drake hugged her. "Thank you. This means a lot to me."
"You're family," she replied.
Amalia was out of sorts when they went to Drake's room. She was anxious and nervous. Instead of trying to make love to her, Drake held out his arms to her.
"If you don't want to, I'll understand," he assured her. "It's a little weird for me to have someone else in the house too."
Amalia grinned. "Performance anxiety?"
"Never. But we aren't always real quiet. I don't want to make her jealous." He tickled Amalia's back with his fingers.
She gasped, jumping against him. It was her most sensitive erogenous zone and he'd found it the first time they made love. Drake loved the fact that all he had to do was brush his fingers across it and she'd react favorably. He massaged it gently and she relaxed against him with her eyes closed.
"You know that makes me crazy," she murmured.
"Mm hmmm," he replied, nibbling her ear.
"What about our audience?"
Drake leaned back slightly, looking down at her. "Well, I'm a performer, Molly. I love having an audience."
She smacked him on the chest. "Oh, you!"
"When I make you scream, try to muffle it. I don't want Dani coming in here with her weapon drawn. She might shoot me in the ass."
"That would be unfortunate. I might not get my orgasm."
"I'd be shot in the ass," he reminded her.
"Yeah. Bummer. . . . And I wouldn't get orgasms for weeks while it healed." She pursed her lips, shaking her head. "I'll be quiet. I don't want to deprive myself."
"Not to mention, I'd have a bullet in my ass."
She grabbed his ass, stroking it. "That would be a pity. You have a very nice ass."
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Moira Crane is an English teacher at the local high school. She has a strict rule about cell phones in her class and has a padded bin that everyone has to put their phones into before class begins. One day, hers rings, though she thought it was turned off. The students insist she put it in the bin with theirs. Someone steals it. She reports it to the phone company, but also goes to the police. When it turns up at a crime scene a few days later, she finds herself in a sticky situation.
"It wasn't me!" Moira Crane protested. "I didn't do it. I'm not a murderer!"
"We found this at the scene," Detective Rhys Fletcher set an evidence bag on the table. "Your fingerprints are all over it. There are texts made to all the victims, including Amy Sutherland, who still can't be found. Is that your phone?"
She reached for the bag with difficulty, her cuffed wrists making the movement awkward. "It looks like it," she replied once she'd looked at it carefully. The face was cracked and crusted with dried blood. The bright pink case with flashy rhinestones, was distinctive.
"So, you admit it's your phone."
Her dark brown eyes fastened on the police detective. "No. I admit it looks like mine."
"The case is distinctive."
"Any five year old can switch a case. That means nothing. You need to work on your listening skills, Detective Fletcher."
"If it's not your phone, why is it covered in your prints? Why have we picked up your DNA—"
"Wow, you're good," she said, her tone sarcastic. "You got a DNA sample run in less than three hours? Will wonders never cease?"
His jaw tightened, gray eyes turned steely. "Being flippant won't help your case."
She leaned forward aggressively, pleased to see him flinch slightly. "Lying doesn't help yours either. If it's my phone, it doesn't mean I was there. I reported it stolen six days ago, Detective."
He glared at her, but she could see calm resignation in his stormy eyes. "Begin with that," he said quietly.
"Begin with what?"
"The theft of your phone six days ago. Tell me everything up until now."
"Can I pee first?"
Detective Rhys Fletcher rolled his eyes. "Really? Moira—"
"I need a bathroom, Rhys. Badly. I had a latté grande before you unceremoniously arrested me—like a common criminal! The least you can do is let me urinate." She held up her wrists. "Without these, please."
"Rhys—" Her tone turned dangerous.
"All right. But Officer Simpson is going in with you."
"I distinctly hope that Simpson is a girl, or some other man will see parts of me you haven't."
Angry, she stood up. Fletcher called in a blonde, female officer. Simpson escorted Moira to the bathroom, removing the cuffs once she'd locked the door and checked the tiny window. Moira did her business and washed her hands. The cuffs were back on as soon as the paper towel hit the trash. At least Officer Simpson didn't click them quite as tightly as Fletcher had when he arrested her.
Walking through the interrogation room door, Moira sensed more people behind the glass. Smiling in their direction, she took her seat, waiting for Rhys to collect his thoughts. He repeated his demand.
Sitting as comfortably as she could in the hard, metal chair, Moira began. "Six days ago, my phone was stolen. . . ."
© 20114 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Daphne Winstead is new in town. She meets a woman named Karen at the doctor's office whose records she's going over. The practice head thinks that somone is embezzling. It's up to Daphne to find out who and how.
For now, however, the city's had the first major snow of the season, so the women get an unexpected day off. They decide to spend a long weekend at the home of Ian and Cynthia Yarrow—a multi-billionaire and his wife.
"Booya! Beat you at your own game, Mister Yarrow!" His British accent was strong, but sounded genuine.
"Someone give the man a cookie," another male voice said. "Or he's gonna explode from puffed up self-importance."
Loud laughter ensued. It faded slightly when Karen and Daphne entered the room. They looked up expectantly. Some of the faces were familiar, others weren't. The women rushed to her, hugging her and dragging her into the room. They tried to introduce her to everyone at once until Karen took control.
"Give the girl a chance to breathe! Let's start with the host and his lovely wife. Daphne, my cousin Ian Yarrow and his wife Cynthia."
A strikingly handsome man sat on a chaise lounge, his legs in some sort of odd braces. He smiled. "I'd get up, but I'm still getting used to this contraption. Welcome, Daphne. We've heard about little else from the girls. Glad to finally meet you."
"Thanks for inviting me, Mr. Yarrow."
Ian's booming laugh warmed her. "Just Ian is fine. Or Yarrow. I even answer to hey you." He took her hand. "Welcome. I'm glad to have another person to call friend. Honey?"
He deferred to the attractive redhead seated next to him. She was very pregnant, due pretty much any day, so far as Daphne could tell.
"I'm so glad to meet you. I hated that I missed the last girl's night, but we were getting Ian's brace adjusted." She stood awkwardly, hugging Daphne. The baby kicked and both women laughed.
"When are you due?"
"Soon. About a month. Gillian's due Monday."
"Which is why they invited me," a handsome dark haired man next to Reva said. "I'm Hal."
"The token doctor," Ian interjected
"What they don't know is I haven't delivered a baby since my residency."
"A hundred years ago," the ginger haired Brit said, coughing.
"Don't get cocky, squirt!" Hal said, laughing. "He thinks since he just won that round, he's da bomb!"
"The British contingent is represented by Gillian and Fritz Heathrow-Cooper," a pretty dark haired British woman said politely. "I'm Gillie and that ginger haired turnip is my husband. . . ."
"And hyphen," he added. "Fritz Cooper. She hyphenated, I didn't. What we'll do when the baby is born, I don't know. I can't see saddling a little tyke with that sort of handle, can you?"
Daphne wasn't sure what to say. She didn't want to get into the middle of an argument, if such it was. "I don't know. I never had any occasion to hyphenate."
"Sounds positively dirty when you say it like that," Fritz said with an enthusiastic rubbing of his hands. "Oi, love! Let's hyphenate!" He winked at his wife, nudging her ribs.
She smacked him playfully. "Cocky bugger. As to the babe, she won't hyphenate. Her middle name is Heathrow, her last Cooper."
"Really? When did you decide that?"
"Just now." She looked self-satisfied.
"They're a crazy bunch," Karen explained. "But fun. Last, but not least, my spouse, Luc Vaughan. Honey, this is Daphne."
"The one you're trying to hook up with Ralan? Aw, hon, she's too good for him." He kissed his wife soundly. "Kidding. He's a great guy. Nice to meet you, Daphne. What would you like to drink?"
"What are my choices?"
Gillian replied, pointing to a variety of insulated carafes. "We've got tea, Earl Grey. Hot chocolate, coffee and hot cider."
"Wow, so many choices! Cider sounds fantastic."
"Excellent choice. My idea," Ian answered. "See, someone besides me likes it, Fritz."
"Insane, she is. Has to be. So, you're dating Ralan?"
"No! What? I haven't even met him."
"Good," Derrick said as he walked in. "That means there's a chance for me to sweet talk you first."
The room exploded in laughter. They weren't laughing at Derrick, more at what he'd said. Daphne looked carefully at the pilot for the first time. He was tall, broad shouldered, blond and handsome. Every man in the room was gorgeous. How could there be so many good looking men in the world and she couldn't seem to find even one? Her two boyfriends in college were nowhere near this handsome. She said as much to the room full of people.
"That's a good question, that is," Fritz said. "Let's ponder it, shall we?"
"Ponder this," Derrick said, grabbing his groin.
"I had hoped," Cynthia said amidst loud, male laughter. "That we could go the weekend without that kind of humor."
"With this lot?" Gillian said. "It's amazing that none of them have dropped their pants and flashed us."
"Give us time," Ian countered. "The day is young and I'm sober."
"I've seen your tukas," Gillian replied in a bored tone. "Magnificent," she whispered loudly to Daphne. "Really posh. Nothing quite so remarkable as a billionaire's arse."
Her husband pinched her ribs, laughing. "I'll remember that, my girl, when you want to grab mine."
"Yours is very nice too, sweetheart," she said in a singsong voice.
"Are you always like this?" Daphne asked, somewhat taken aback.
"Sometimes we're naughty," Derrick replied, grinning as he poured himself some cider.
"I love it! You're just like my family."
© 2014 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I wrote Something New in four days in June. I got an idea and ran with it. Fortunately, the muse was willing and it came easily. I fell in love with Austin. The rest of the characters are also endearing, but I particularly love him. He's an absolute doll.
Austin is an actor on a show that is an Americanized version of Dr. Who, called The Magician. He has a run in with one of the guest directors, a pervy man named Irving. Irv the Perv tries to entice Liat, Austin's new leading lady, to do something unspeakable. Austin intervenes. Irving got fired and is now trying to sue Austin for slander and the network for wrongful termination.
Austin is having lunch with Liat, her mother Elaine (the show's producer) and Dwight, his assistant. They get a call from the God of the Network, and are summoned to the Presence. Austin isn't quite sure what to expect, but it certainly isn't what's waiting for him.
Moments later, a tall, dark haired man with broad shoulders and muscular chest, came to greet them. He trotted down the steps and stopped in front of Elaine, holding out his hands. She took them and he raised her to a standing position. His arms went around her waist, pulling her close, as he kissed her.
"Hello, darling," she said with a smile. "How was Paris?"
"Boring. French." He winked, patting her on the fanny. "You've had some excitement. Hello, Precious." He greeted his daughter with a kiss and hug.
Austin and Dwight stood, waiting anxiously. Liat's father was an intimidating man. He stood over six feet tall. His black hair was shot with silver, his blue eyes penetrating. His voice was a loud and rumbling baritone, laced with a distinctive Oxford accent.
"You've studied Shakespeare," Austin said as he stepped forward.
The man's blue eyes twinkled. "I have indeed, young man. Royal Shakespeare, 1971 through 75. Astute." He shook Austin's hand.
"No one rumbles like a Shakespearian," Austin replied. "Which must make you Gordon Vogel."
"It must, indeed! Gordon Oliver Desmond Vogel, God for short." He turned to his wife, smirking. "You told me he was sharp. Who's your friend?" He held out his hand to Dwight.
"Dwight Wales. He's my personal assistant and good friend."
"Everyone needs those," Gordon said, shaking Dwight's hand. "Friends, I mean. Assistants are a dime a dozen."
"Not good ones," Dwight said confidently. "We go for a dollar a dozen."
Gordon burst out laughing at the silly joke. "I like this one too. Can we keep them, Mummy?" He sounded like a child, directing the comment to his wife. "Sit, everyone. Beverages. Sam-u-el!" He drew out the name like a battle cry.
The windows shook when he called the name. An elderly gentleman in a black suit came to stand by the sunken room.
"You bellowed, sir?"
"Beverages, Samuel. Tea?" He asked the room in general. "Yes, tea. The Oolong."
"As you wish, sir." He bowed, turning his back to the room.
"Great man. Deaf as a post," Gordon muttered.
"I can hear you," Samuel said. "I'm not deaf."
"He's not. I just like yelling. Sit!"
He took a seat beside Elaine, his arm around her shoulders. Liat sat next to Austin, gripping his hand.
"You've been busy. Mummy tells me you've been masquerading as a Fogleberg." He tipped his head, narrowing his eyes, but his smirk gave him away.
"Are you mad?"
"Why ever for? You got the part, didn't you, all on your own merits."
"Then why would I be mad? What's all this crap that's been going on with my network in my city? What's that annoying pimple of a man doing now?"
"He doesn't mean me, does he?" Austin whispered to Liat.
"No, silly. Irving."
"He's saying Austin insulted him and called him names in public," Elaine explained.
"Did you?" he directed at Austin.
"No, sir. Unless he's a mind reader."
"Mind reading," Gordon waved it away, making a rude noise. "Very hard to prove in court. What did you do to make Irving so angry?"
"I took Liat to my trailer." He held up a hand before her father could comment. "I'll rephrase that. Pervy Irv was bothering Liat. Rather than see her karate chop his flabby arse, I took her with me to my trailer. We ate dinner, studied our lines and she went home. He didn't like that I showed him up." He shrugged.
"I called him sir in a snarky tone and did my best to follow his obtuse directions."
Gordon burst out laughing. His blue eyes twinkled merrily. The tea arrived and Elaine poured, passing the sugar and cream after. Once they served themselves, they went back to their conversation.
"After inappropriate snarkiness, what did you do?" Gordon asked.
Austin thought a moment. "Said my lines, hit my marks and nailed the scene."
"Why is the gimpy cretin saying that Austin called him names? Did you call him names?"
Austin shook his head.
"Why's he saying that?" Gordon persisted.
"I flirted with Liat in front of him."
"Did you kiss her?"
"Later. It was scripted," he hurried to explain. "Pants on, I swear."
"Yes, of course." Gordon couldn't keep a straight face. He understood the young man's distress, but he wasn't angry, simply confused. "Then what's he banging on about?"
"Then this is all just stupid, isn't it?"
Gordon leaned back, running his hand through his hair. "There are people starving in this city and he's trying to raise a stink over something that never happened?"
"Precisely my point, sir."
"Are you sleeping with my daughter?" Gordon shot at him unexpectedly.
"No, sir. I'm not."
"But you'd like to."
"Don't make me answer that one, please. I'm thirty-two, single and she's gorgeous."
Gordon laughed, nodding. "The same thing I said about her mother thirty-six years ago when I met her. Have you had lunch?"
"Yes," Elaine replied.
"Good. Did we have anything else to discuss to resolve this nonsense?"
"We're opting to let it blow over. Babs is setting up interviews and arranging his schedule with Dwight and Sandy."
"Everyone wants you, kid. How does that make you feel?"
"Terrified. It's like being the tenderest steak in the shop. Everyone wants to grill you and have a bite."
"Couldn't have put it better myself. We'll get you ready, no fear.."
© 2014 Dellani Oakes
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Now's the time to do your shopping! Books make great gifts, whether paperback or e-book, your friends and family will love you for buying them a book. Books are the ultimate escape—a vacation without the expense and hassle of traveling.
You don't need a passport or ticket to travel with a book. All you need is an imagination and the willingness to let the words transport you!
As I do every year, I invite my author friends to post their book links in the comments section below. Please feel free to share this page with friends and fans.
I invite readers to explore these pages, look for their favorite authors or discover new ones. When you buy books, you not only give a very special gift to someone you love, you give a gift to the author by acknowledging their efforts of building a story to share with you.
Give the gift that keeps giving. Buy Books!
Authors, use the comments section below to post buy links for your books. Please keep blurbs to a minimum, just the title, author and link. Thank you.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Asher Wilkinson works for an improv group called Cheesers Champions. They work at a club several nights a week. One night, he has the good fortune to meet Ruby. That same night, Asher has a confrontation with a woman in the group, Marissa. He used to date her, but broke it off when he found out how crazy she is. She still acts possessive and was jealous of Ruby. During their confrontation, she scratches him on the back, causing him some serious problems. Ruby, a doctor, helps Asher with his wound. A couple nights later, she's at the club to spend time with him.
"Full house tonight," Clay told Asher as he walked in.
"Already? Show isn't for an hour, yet."
"I know. Crazy. Apparently someone filmed the lip sync thing and put it up on You Tube. It's gotten a hundred thousand hits already."
"They keep talking about the guy with the great ass. Hansel was sure they meant him." Clay winked.
"In his dreams!" Asher laughed, heading to the dressing room.
Ruby was waiting in the hallway. She ran up to him, kissing him, carefully avoiding touching his back.
"You look a lot better. Come inside," she insisted.
"Aren't here yet. Let me look." She lifted his shirt, taking it off him before he realized what she was doing. A flip of a switch turned on makeup lights so she could see his back.
The door opened and Hansel walked in. He did a double take when he saw Ruby with Asher's shirt in her hands.
"Excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt, but I need to get ready."
"It's okay. Ruby's just checking my scratches," Asher explained. "Turns out—she's a doctor."
"Really?" Hansel flopped on the worn loveseat, long legs in front of him, hands folded on his lap. "Do tell."
"Apparently personal shopper is sexier than being a doctor," Asher explained as Ruby checked his back.
"I didn't say sexier, I said more interesting. Does this hurt?" She poked him.
He yelped. "Yeah! Kinda a lot, Doc!"
"Oops!" She smirked at him. "It looks a lot better. I do good work."
"You do. Two shots later, I sure hope it's looking better."
"Oh, did you give them in his ass?" Hansel sat up straight, leaning forward.
"Why are you asking about my ass?" Asher asked. "Are you checking out my ass?" He grabbed at his bottom with both hands, trying to cover it up.
"Bitch, please," Hansel said. "Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I'm checking out the ass of every hot guy I meet. Doctor Ruby, do you, as a woman, check out the ass of every hot man you meet?"
Ruby blushed, pressing her lips together. "Actually—I kinda do. And I'd like to lie and say it's a totally professional way, but no. . . . It's really not."
Asher held out a hand as if presenting her. "Liar? I think so! If a woman does it. . . ."
"Okay, I've examined your ass, but only for comparison purposes." He thrust out a hip at Ruby and struck a sexy pinup girl pose, his hands on one bent knee. "What do you think, Ruby?"
She made a vague gesture with her hands, mouth working as she tried not to laugh. "If you weren't gay, Hansel. I'd totally do you."
Hansel stood, tossing his head, before strutting out the door. Asher raised an eyebrow.
"I see the truth now. My lady doctor is a horndog."
"What? I'm not!"
"Totally are, babe. A complete horndog. I get it. You're only interested in me for my tight ass and rock hard abs." He slapped his stomach.
Asher laughed when she protested. Her cheeks flushed and her mouth opened in protest.
"Such—a lie! Liar!" She pounded feebly on his broad, muscular chest.
Asher held her hands, placing the palms on his pecs. He held them there, massaging her knuckles in a very sensual way.
"Did I say I minded?" His lips twitched as he tried not to laugh at her consternation. "You think a body like this happens by accident?" He raised one hand, kissing the center of her palm. "A lot of sit ups went into these abs. Gotta do a bunch of squats to get an ass this tight." He kissed her other palm, placing her hands on his chest once more. She left them there, unresisting, as he pulled her hips close to his. "All six foot two inches of hard body has been carefully sculpted in order to put that look on your face."
He leaned over to kiss her. Someone clapped loudly and slowly.
"Very well done. How long have you practiced that speech, Ash?" Riker walked by, glaring at him.
Asher let go of Ruby, putting himself between her and Riker.
"You back to stay?"
"Sorry to disappoint, but Maggie and Katie convinced me they can't do without me."
Asher nodded. "Gotcha. All this—whatever it is—this is because I slept with Kate before you even met her?"
"No." Riker turned around from the rack of shirts. "This is because you're a conceited ass who has to be the best. At acting. At womanizing. At everything. You go out of your way to upstage people and make the rest of us look bad."
© Dellani Oakes
To Buy Dellani's Books
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
After their bizarre meeting, Quinn heads to the restaurant to meet Dmitri for their date.
Dressed in a creamy linen suit with a dark green shirt, Dmitri paced the sidewalk, waiting. He came over and helped me out of the car, taking both my hands in his. I was glad I'd chosen this particular dress because he looked at me with such hunger, I could only imagine how he'd have eyed me in something more revealing.
"Thanks for meeting me. Normally I'd have come for you, but I had to go to the hospital."
"You're not sick?"
He chuckled. "No. I'm a doctor. I'm down here on a consultation. One of our residents is ill and needed a specialist."
"Oh, I see."
We walked into the restaurant and waited to be seated.
"What kind of doctor are you?" I asked. It was kind of an oddly worded question, but the only way I could think to ask it.
I frowned. I understood the word, but not what he did. Grinning, he explained his job.
"An immunologist looks at the immune system of all organisms. From there it gets rather complicated and technical."
"Don't think I can understand?" I said with a toss of my head.
"I think you'll understand just fine. I'd rather talk about something more interesting—like you."
"Good answer," I replied, raising my chin almost defiantly.
"So, you're a ranger. What do you do all day?"
"Besides startling naked men?"
Wouldn't you know that the waitress chose just then to walk up? And she's a friend of mine from high school. Cindy Wu is petite, dark haired and fair skinned. She looks like a Geisha doll. We hugged and I introduced Dmitri. He stood up, shaking her hand.
"So, naked men?" Cindy said, raising an eyebrow. "Do I hear a story?"
"I'll tell you another time," I replied diplomatically. The subject made Dmitri uncomfortable.
"I'm holding you to that. Beverages?"
"Long Island Iced Tea," Dmitri replied.
"Your usual, Quinn?" She winked as she turned toward the bar.
"Please." I blushed, ducking my head. "Great name, naughty drink," I told him. Open palm, insert face and sigh. "Great drink, naughty name, I meant to say," I mumbled.
He leaned forward conspiratorially. "Ever heard of a Freudian Slip?" he whispered, his breath warm on my ear and neck.
"Yeah." I shivered as his breath continued to caress me.
He put his finger on his nose as he leaned back.
My favorite drink is called Fuck Me Naked. A friend of mine came up with it for a contest and named it after he'd had way too much to drink. I explained this to Dmitri, leaving out the name, of course.
Cindy didn't feel the need to edit quite as much as I did. She set the Long Island Iced Tea in front of Dmitri, announcing it. Mine followed. "And a Fuck Me Naked for Quinn."
"Yes, thanks, Cindy. So much."
With a smirk and a twitch of her hips, she strode off, her black ponytail swinging with every step.
Dmitri raised his glass, laughing at me. His eyes were a remarkable shade of dark green.
"Best drink ever," I replied. "Taste." I held it out to him letting him sip from the straw.
"Wow!" He gasped, inhaling sharply. "Tastes like juice from hell! What's in that? It's lethal!"
"Three kinds of fruit brandy, four kinds of rum, Midori, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice. . . ."
"I get the idea. Good. Deadly, but good."
I took a sip from the same straw.
"Not worried about germs?"
"With the amount of alcohol in this?" I made a disgusted face. "Tell me odds of me catching something. You're the expert."
He laughed, toasting me with his drink. "Point made. I doubt anything could live through a combination like that. Including brain cells."
"It's the only one I'll have. I've missed them. Can't get this in Wyoming."
"What made you decide to be a park ranger?"
"I love the great outdoors. I grew up not far from where I'm working. I wanted to give something back."
He nodded, taking a sip.
"What made you get into immunology?"
"A sick hamster."
"My pet hamster got sick when I was twelve. I took it to the vet but he couldn't find anything wrong. So I went to the library and started exploring all the things that could cause those symptoms. It was too late for Sparky, but I found the answer."
"Something really gross that I won't mention at dinner. My line of work runs to the really gross fairly often."
"And here I thought it was all bright sunshine, a great ass and no tan line."
Cindy walked up with her pad and pen. "Do you save this stuff up for me? Or do I have the worst timing of my life?"
"The second one," Dmitri replied. "Ready to order?" he asked me.
"She gets the same thing every time. I'm here for your order."
"Oh, okay." He flipped open the menu. "The Silverado Combo. Extra hot, and black beans instead of refried."
"You got it. You sure you and Quinn aren't related? That's exactly what she always orders."
Without meaning to, Cindy had hit on a very important subject. I'd hoped to avoid it a little longer, but now it was in the open, I couldn't dodge the bullet.
"Speaking of related. . . ." I'm not sure how much of my explanation he actually got. I tend to babble when I'm nervous. The fact that I was highly attracted to him and could see our relationship eventually heading to the bedroom, I needed to clear this up swiftly.
"Hold up a second. Slow down. Let's see if I have this right." He paused, working through my speech. "I get that you've got a huge family."
"And that makes it hard to find dates who aren't related to you less than six degrees of separation."
I nodded, hoping he wasn't going to laugh or get angry. He did neither. Instead, he settled back in his seat and picked up his drink. He examined the contents a moment as if it held the secrets of the universe.
"So, before you can go to bed with me, you need to vet my family tree—make sure our kids won't have stump legs and flipper arms." He put his hands by his shoulders and waved.
I almost spewed my drink on him. Cindy walked up with our food.
"All right," she said exasperatedly. "I give up. It's going to be like this until you leave, isn't it?"
"Very likely," Dmitri said calmly. His dark green eyes were shaded by the darkest, thickest lashes I've ever seen.
"I hope you intend to leave a large tip."
"Obscenely large." He smiled up at her, eyes twinkling.
"You're forgiven." With another toss of her ponytail, she turned back toward the kitchen.
"So, does that sum it up?"
"My family is from Poland, mostly. Got a smattering of Lithuania and the Ukraine mixed in. My parents were the first generation born in the U.S.—Chicago. My grandparents escaped Communism as kids when their folks defected to the U.S. My great-grandfather was someone important in the Kremlin. He gave his life so that the rest of us could be free. Have you any family in Central Europe?"
"No. We're from Ireland, Scotland, Wales—with some American Indian tossed in for good measure and great tans."
He blushed a little, ducking his head. "Not gonna let that drop?"
"Then I sincerely hope we're not related in any way, except for the obvious." He raised his glass.
"I'm ninety-nine percent sure we're not, unless you've got a McNulty, McTeague or Tooker in your family tree."
He made a face, considering before shaking his head. "Nope. Doesn't sound familiar. Of course, I could call my mom and check that out for you." He whipped out his phone, finger poised over the screen.
"You really would!"
"I'm highly motivated."
"Yeah. You've already seen me naked. I'd like the same opportunity."
Cindy walked up with our bill. "Okay, enough!" She said, holding up her hands like we had a gun on her. "I've heard some weird conversations, but this takes the prize. Quinn, anyone but you, I'd think something really shady was going on."
"I live a colorful life," I replied. "And Dmitri's a nudist."
"It's true," Dmitri chimed in.
"He flashed me today."
"And you went out with him? Are you sick?" She was getting shrill.
I decided it was time to calm her down. "Seriously, it's okay." I gave her the short version of our meeting.
"I still think this is a weird conversation," she said as she handed Dmitri the bill.
"But now I have it in context. . . . It's still a freaking weird conversation."
"Obscenely large tip," Dmitri said with a smirk and a flourish of his credit card.
"You'll be embarrassed by the amount," he promised with a wink.
"In that case. . . . I'll be right back. But you'd better be having a normal conversation."
Dmitri smirked at me as she walked off. "We've covered everything from nudity to dead hamsters. Is there such a thing as normal conversation?"
"I don't think so. Then again, for me, this is pretty normal."
"But you live a colorful life."
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