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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Introducing Conduct Unbecoming - a Teague McMurtry Mystery



Dellani Oakes makes her home in Florida, but she grew up in Western Nebraska. Before that, she lived in Tennessee, Ohio, Massachusetts and Texas. After graduating from high school, she added Mississippi. The diverse locations gave her a unique perspective on life. Always a people watcher, Dellani put that talent to use when she became an author.
Bitten by the writing bug early in life, Dellani first pursued poetry as her medium of self-expression. Soon, she moved on the song parodies and then short stories and humorous essays. Once she got to high school, it became apparent that she needed to learn to spell when she got a paper back from her English teacher, “For content: A+. For mechanics: F.” That comment changed her life, forcing her to focus as much on how she said things as well as what she said.
Dellani took up writing full time when her youngest son started kindergarten in 2002. Since then, she has published five books. She has two romantic suspense novels are with Tirgearr Publishing and an historical romance and two sci-fi novels with Second Wind Publishing. She has also contributed to several anthologies, MJ Magazine and shares her unpublished works on her blog.
Because she loves to talk to other authors, Dellani hosts two talk shows a month on Blog Talk Radio. Listen in every second Monday of the month at 4:00 PM Eastern for Dellani's Tea Time, and every fourth Wednesday, at 4:00 PM Eastern for What's Write for Me.
Armed with bravado and wonderfully supportive friends and family, Dellani has embarked on a journey of self-publication. Conduct Unbecoming is her first venture into this new, and somewhat scary, world.

Author Interview

Where are you from?

I was born in Tennessee, but have lived in Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Nebraska,
Mississippi and now live in Florida.

What components, in your opinion, make a great story?

A great story needs good conflict, a discernible opposite of the main characters. This can be in the form of an actual person, entity or group. It can also be some hurdle the hero has to overcome. With good conflict comes good characters. They must be up to the task they've been presented with, even if they don't think so themselves. Despite weaknesses, they manage to rise to the challenge and overcome it. Good plot dynamics also add to the story. No good tale can go straight up to the climax and straight down to the denouement. There have to be levels built, like steps, guiding the reader to the conclusion.

What was the hardest part of the story to write?

It was hard to keep the plot fresh and not do a rehash of The Ninja Tattoo. I didn't want the characters in hiding, as they were before. However, when I thought of a full on confrontation, the characters stopped me. Two of the bad guys were too formidable and unpredictable for a frontal assault. I would have lost all my main characters and had a slaughter of innocents on my hands. Teague was champing at the bit to take the villain head to head and I couldn't let him. Amazingly, Jasper, who is even more impetuous than Teague, talked him out of it. After that, I let them decide and I like where they went with the story.

What was the easiest part of the story to write?

The love scenes were the easiest part. I love having people fall in love and bringing them together for the first time is always kind of magical.

Was there much research involved?

Since I had already written a story with similar aspects, there was very little research involved. I did ask an author friend of mine, Seth Bailey, for advice on a rifle for one of the scenes. Though the weapon isn't specifically named, he gave me some useful information. He also told me a real sniper wouldn't be seen or miss, which was exactly what I was after.

What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer?

Dialogue, hands down. I wrote plays in college and that has stayed with me. Info dumps, back story, characterization—all this and more can be portrayed through dialogue.

When your first started writing, did anything about the writing process surprise you?

I didn't think about how long it would take to get from the beginning to the end. I would get these fabulous ideas and couldn't type fast enough. What I thought would take an hour to write, often took 2 or 3.

Do you celebrate when you finish a story, and if so, how?

I do celebrate a little. I keep my book files separated by Finished and Unfinished files. When a book is done, I move it from one folder to the other and do a little happy dance. Sometimes, if it's a been a real bear to finish, I'll have a glass of wine. I love finishing a book, but once it's done, the real work—editing—begins. I give myself some down time afterward, before I move on to a new project or begin my first phase of editing.

Do you have a set writing routine?

No. My time is too broken up with errands I have to run, needs of my family (buggers have to eat, after all) and all the Mom and Wife stuff I have to do. I try to get in my office by 10:00 most mornings, and put in time on my various projects. Sometimes, it's editing, other times it's setting up my blog posts. Other days, I go on Facebook & promote my books or radio shows. I try to put that off until later in the day, though, because it's easy to get sucked in.
I write or edit awhile, break for a late lunch, watch reruns on Netflix and relax, before going back to work. I take another break to fix dinner. Sometimes, I stop and watch a movie with my family, then I'm back at my computer until around 1:00 a.m. I often have to make myself go to bed. I'm not usually sleepy, but I can't allow myself to stay up all night, even though I'd like to.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Always! I have to listen to music. It keeps me going and makes me feel energized. It also serves a more mundane purpose, it provides a screen between me and the outside world. Even in my office, the sounds of the rest of the house annoy and interfere. I've learned to filter out and ignore some, but I can't separate myself from it all. Also, I have constant ringing in my left ear. The doctors can't do anything about it, so I play music to tone that down.

You’re marooned on a desert island. What’s the one book you’d want with you, and why?

Give me unlimited paper & pens, I'll write my own. The voices in my head won't shut up just because I'm not at my computer.

What’s next for you? Can we look forward to a new story in the near future?

I'm always working on something. I have several books that I've shared on my blog. I plan to get these ready to self-publish. The one I'm currently sharing on my blog, Bad Fall, is actually a companion novel to Conduct Unbecoming. The main character is mentioned in Conduct Unbecoming, and one of the villains is the same. I am also writing a sequel to Bad Fall, and it's an extension of both Conduct Unbecoming and Bad Fall. The title is A Matter of Time.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Learn grammar! I realize that makes me sound like an English teacher, which I am, but it's important. I just finished reading a wonderful book that had a great plot and held my interest, but the author kept hopping from present to past tense. There were times that she switched from first person narrative to third person in the same sentence. It was a little frustrating. Also, PLEASE learn the difference between LAY and LIE and use them right! That bugs the crap out of me. I despair of ever winning that battle, because nearly everyone does it wrong.

What made you decide to venture into self-publishing?

I love my publishers, but they are busy with other authors as well as me. I have books I really want to have published, but can't get out as soon as I'd like to. I've been afraid to do this until many of my friends encouraged me to try it. Thank you Christina Giguere, Karen Vaughan and Ethel Cook-Wilson for convincing me that I could, and should, give it a try.

Excerpt from Chapter Four

As Jasper approached the door, he prayed for inspiration. It was going to take some fast talking for Nadeya not to freak out and kill him. He raised his hand to knock. Rethinking his position, he moved so he wasn't standing directly in front of the door, but slightly to the side so the thick, log wall protected him. He tapped lightly and waited for a response. The curtain over the tiny window moved aside imperceptibly. Only someone trained to be observant would have seen it.
Jasper faced the window and smiled. "I'm Jasper Waters," he said quietly. "I'm a friend of Teague's. You hid on my boat."
The door opened a crack and one dark, wary eye peered at him. "I remember you. What?"
"May I come in? The skeeters are pretty nasty and they're feasting on me."
Nadeya took a step back, leaving barely enough room for Jasper to squeeze through. She shut the door with her foot and slammed him against the wall, one hand pulled up at an uncomfortable angle behind him. She did a thorough frisking of him, leaving no areas unearthed, before letting him go. She stepped out of easy reach, eyeing him with a neutral expression.
"I just want to talk," Jasper said, holding his hands slightly from his sides.
"You're a cop. Why should I talk to you?"
"Because I don't think you killed that man on the beach. We're both friends of Teague's, maybe we could build on that."
"Teague has lots of friends. . . ."
"No, Teague knows every damn body, but there are only a few of us the calls friends. You're one of them. He told me what happened to your fiancé."
She tightened up. Jasper took a step back, raising his hands.
"Would he share that with just anyone?"
Nadeya's lower lip trembled slightly and she blinked hard. Jasper caught the hint of a tear in her eyes.
"He wouldn't unless he knew I would help. You think I drop what I'm doing and run everyone out to a crime scene just cause I'm nice? Teague and I trust each other and I'd like to extend that courtesy to you, if you'll let me."
She stared at him several minutes, sizing him up. She gestured to one of the two chairs near the window. "Want some water or instant coffee? It's all I've got."
"Water would be good, thanks." Jasper sat.
Nadeya got two bottles of water out of the mini-fridge and tossed him one. Jasper caught it with a grin. His left hand gripped it as he twisted it open.
"Nicely done. Now you know I'm a lefty."
Nadeya smirked. "And you're not armed. I could have taken your head off."
"Yup, but I trusted you wouldn't. And I thank you for that."
She nodded as she opened her own bottle. "So, you're here, talk."
Jasper told her what he and Teague had figured out about the man on the beach. He even told her about C.L.A.D.
"You know about that?" Nadeya leaned closer, whispering.
"Bits and pieces, nothing concrete. What do you know?"
Nadeya looked furtive. "I shouldn't tell you. We could get in a lot of trouble."
Jasper held his hands out, palms up. "Who am I gonna tell? Except maybe Teague. Look, the more we know about this, the better. What do you say?"
She looked away, biting her lip. "I don't know much more than you do. The only thing I know for sure was that it's supposed to be a way to reprogram people's minds."
"Like brain washing?"
"Kind of. More sophisticated, but still a way to break them. I know that someone else got ahold of it though. They were using it on us!" Anger flared in her eyes.
"Us—as in you personally?"
"No. But some of our soldiers. There was a captain I heard of, they tried to kill him off in a raid, but he took out everyone who attacked his convoy. They stole his memories and gave him a fucking medal."
"Shit! How do you know about that?"

"The subject came up as they tortured my fiancé," she mumbled.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sexy Without the Sex - Honoria

This novel is a work in progress and hasn't got a proper title. I named it after the main character, Honoria (call her Honey). Hired as the new Technical Director of a small, regional theatre, Honoria finds herself involved with one of the owner's sons, Chet. He's hot, he's jacked and he's crazy about Honey.

Every summer, Chet's family has a huge barbecue out at their home in the country. Chet and Honey have been dancing around their desire, mostly because she's concerned about a workplace romance. Finally, she throws caution to the wind and tells him how much she's attracted to him. However, after introducing her to his sisters, he's afraid she'll try to run his life like they do.

"If you can't make up your own mind and wipe your own ass, I don't want you. Even if you have the hardest abs in the state."
"Do you really think so?" He raised his shirt, examining his abs.
"Chet, you are so jacked, it's not fair! I want to rub my hands all over you! You have to know you're the sexiest thing around here. Don't you?"
He shook his head, a puzzled grin on his face. "Not really. I guess I hadn't thought about it. I don't look all that much better than I they do." He jerked his thumb behind him.
Honey stopped and faced him. They were near a large, spreading tree. She pushed him up against it, kissing him hard and deep. She had never kissed a man that way, like she wanted to eat him. He responded in kind, pulling her to him as he leaned against the tree. His strong arms were unyielding, his mouth demanding hers. His hands explored the curves of her body. She felt his desire growing and throbbing in his pants. He wanted her as badly as she wanted him. They worked together and that should have stopped her, but she had finally decided that she was tired of playing safe. She was sick of worrying about what might happen and wanted to concentrate on what would probably be the best sex she'd ever have in her life.
His lips moved to her neck, then down to her breasts as she pressed against him, bringing his head to her chest. She clutched his hair, pulling his mouth back to hers. They groped and struggled in the confines of the tree, doing everything but the actual deed. Fully clothed, they molested one another, fiercely kissing, their foreplay almost violent in nature.
"Honey, I want you."
"I know," she gasped as his lips found her nipples. "I want you too."
"Let's go back to the guest house. We can grab a quickie before dinner."
Honey giggled, kissing him deeply. "I refuse to grab a quickie. When we make love, we will savor every moment, not hump like a couple of horny teenagers in the backseat of a car."
Chet moaned as she rubbed her hand up his thigh and between his legs, feeling his size and firmness.
"I'm going to love you so hard it hurts," she promised.
"Do you like it rough?" He looked rather surprised.
"No, it will be so sweet it's painful."
Suddenly, the ferocity dissipated. They were left with the intoxicating sultry desire they had before when they first kissed. Honey was filled with a warm certainty that this was a man she could grow to love in a very short time. She really liked him, and was sure that it could be more.
"We shouldn't rush," she whispered.
Chet moaned with disappointed frustration. "You just had your hands all over my dick and now you're telling me we should wait? I'm so hot for you now, I'm going to have to jump naked in the pool just to cool down!"
"I know. I'm sorry."
"No, no. Sorry isn't good enough, Honey. I want it all. I won't be satisfied with anything but all of you." His kiss got more emphatic.
Honey lost herself in passion once more. They clung to one another, kissing and touching. Just when Honey was afraid her resolve was about to crumble, a loud dinner gong sounded, spreading the news that the food was ready.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Love Dialogue! - Excerpt from Honoria

This novel is still a work in progress and hasn't got a proper name. I simply named it Honoria after the main character. Honoria (call me Honey) is a the new Technical Director for a small, regional theatre in Tennessee. She meets Chet, the son of the owners, late one night, when she accidentally gets in bed with him, then proceeds to scream and throw her shoe at him.

The next day, she meets his twin brother, Ed, who joins them at a start of the summer barbecue hosted by their parents. The Lighting of the Grill is a big deal at their house. Ed and Honey sit back to watch. I like this scene because, although it has some humorous elements, it's not all funny. Ed is an interesting and complex character. He's a support role, but a very interesting one, who fortunately didn't try to take over the book.

Ray was already at the main house working outside with his father and Chet's, struggling to light the grill. It was really more like a fire pit. A huge brick structure, about three feet square. It had vents and an area for wood and charcoal under a grill made from metal grid work.
"You still don't have that lit?" Chet walked over to help.
Eddie took Honey's elbow, steering her to the large back porch and deck area. There were several coolers around. He led her up to them.
"Blue is beer, red is soft drinks," he explained. "White is ice. Name your poison."
"I'll take a beer."
She rarely indulged, but tonight was special, she didn't have to drive home. He handed her a cold Heineken, dropping the cooler lid with a thump. Pointing to the men at the grill, he chuckled.
"They'll be at it awhile. Each has a very distinct opinion as to how it should be lit. It's a long debate every time."
"Who wins?" Honey was interested despite herself.
"Whoever actually lights the sucker." Eddie led her to a picnic table under a tree. "So far this year Chet and Uncle Ed are tied at two, Ray's next at one and Dad's zero. Dad's usually at zero."
"Bummer. What's your score?"
"I don't actually enter the debate," Eddie explained. "I sit around and make caustic, biting remarks, throw in my two cents and make a complete pain in the ass of myself."
"I see. So you don't offer anything constructive?"
"I function best in an advisory capacity. Excuse me for a second." He walked over, looked at what they were doing, clucked his tongue and shook his head. "If you do that, you'll set yourselves on fire."
"Shut up, Eddie," they chorused.
"Don't say I didn't warn you when the paramedics arrive."
Saluting with his beer, he sat back down languidly. He stretched out his long legs, crossing his ankles as he leaned an elbow on the table. Honey stared at his profile for a full minute before she realized she was staring. Blinking rapidly, she dropped her gaze.
"It's all right," he said without looking at her. "I don't mind if you stare at me." His dark eyes flickered toward hers. "I rather like it." He smiled, so like Chet it was disarming.
"I'm sorry. I was noticing similarities," she stammered. "You look so much alike."
"We're not identical," he explained. "But we look it."
"There are a few differences," she stammered, glancing at Chet by the grill.
"Like what?"
"Your eyes aren't as dark as his. And the shape of your mouth and jaw, not quite the same." She pointed indistinctly, feebly motioning with her finger at her own lips.
"I'm not a lot like him," he commented in a flat tone. "I'm not the warm, cuddly type he is. I'm actually rather a cold, sarcastic bastard."
"I think that's for show." Honoria observed quietly. "I think you're really incredibly insecure and use sarcasm to protect yourself from getting hurt."
He took a long pull at his beer. "Interesting observation." He wouldn't look at her.
"And I'm right."
"I didn't say that." His eyes cast angrily her way.
"You didn't have to. The expression in your eyes changed. I hit it right on the head. But admitting it would mean I'd gotten too close and you don't like that."
"I'm not disagreeing with you. Go on, Dr. Freud."
"I have to wonder what hurt you so much that your confidence is that damaged. Pardon my stating the obvious, but you're totally gorgeous. You're intelligent and you have a funny, if scathing, sense of humor. So why do you try so hard to keep people away?"
"No, really. Is that what you think? Do go on." His voice was cold, his manner terse.
"Sorry. I've offended you."
"Actually, I'm fascinated. I never knew all this about myself." His dark eyes flashed dangerously. "Don't think that because you've said all this that we'll be bosom buddies for life."
"I never thought. . . ."
"You're so sure you have me figured out. I'm not saying you're right, but I'm not disagreeing either. Life's short and full of shit." He shrugged. "People fall in love, they die, such is life." He knocked back the rest of his beer.
The fire in the grill started suddenly, making the four men around it jump back with a startled yell. Honoria's attention was directed toward them for a moment. When she turned back, Ed was gone.


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I Love Dialogue - Man Tails

Jet works for the cable company and meets Callista when he goes to her home on an install. He's delighted to find out that she's his favorite screen writer. Once he gets home, he finds out that his sister, Alma, has invited her new boyfriend over for dinner. She wants Jet to meet Spense before she takes the relationship further. Conversation over dinner getsinteresting.

Jet went back to the kitchen and waited at the sink while Spense washed his hands. He washed up too and helped Alma carry plates and bowls to the table. Spense offered, but Alma had him open the wine and pour it. Once everything was on the table, they sat down and Jet offered blessing over the meal. He didn't care about that nicety, but it pleased his sister.
Alma served the chicken, giving the men a larger portion than herself. They passed the side dishes and dug in. Spense immediately complimented Alma's cooking. They discussed food for a few minutes, until the conversation seemed to peter out.
Jet cleared his throat as he wiped his lips. “I met someone interesting today,” he said casually.
Really? Anyone I'd know,” Alma asked.
She's a bit of a celebrity—Callista Saucier.”
Alma looked at him blankly. Spense nearly choked on his wine.
Seriously? I love her movies. Where?” Spense asked.
We did a cable install at her house. She's just moved into a yellow Victorian on beachside.”
I know that house. It's not far from where my folks live. Sweet location.”
Yeah, it's pretty nice. I'm taking her sightseeing tomorrow.”
Dude!” Spense held up his knuckles.
Jet tapped his hand, grinning. Alma watched the two men share what she called a man moment.
So, is she nice?” she asked her brother.
Very nice. Not what you'd expect from someone who wrote all that twisted stuff.”
Alma shrugged, shaking her head.
She writes screenplays,” Spense explained. “Horror, mostly, but I hear she's been commissioned to handle an historical romance. Is that true?” He seemed to take Jet as authority on all things Callista related.
She mentioned that today. She wasn't at all what I expected. She was so—normal. The shit on the screen, it's twisted. What kind of mind thinks of stuff like that? I had her fleshed out like a female Stephen King, but she's a cute little thing.”
Little thing?” Alma took offense at the remark. “A cute little thing? Since when do you describe a woman like that?”
Give it a rest, Cujo. Every woman I meet is a little thing. Shit, a good portion of the men are too. You try being my size for a day. Your perspective would change.” He spooned more mashed potatoes on his plate. “She's hot, okay? Heart stopping gorgeous. Smart and funny and. . . .”
And homeboy's nuts are turning a fine shade of blue,” Spense finished for him.
They tapped knuckles again, laughing.
Alma dropped her fork, eyeing her brother and boyfriend balefully. Arms crossed, she glared at them. It took a moment for the men to realize she was angry. They stopped laughing and waited for the inevitable explosion.
So, she's a cute little thing who's so hot, she's heart stopping gorgeous. Oh, smart and funny too. Anything else? Does she have big tits?” She motioned in front of her own ample cleavage.
Jet pressed his lips together. Tilting his head, he considered a moment. “Yeah. Nice and plump—real. No bra,” he said to Spense. Rasing a provocative eyebrow.
Alma's boyfriend barely acknowledged Jet's comment. It had been designed to get under Alma's skin and it had succeeded too well. She looked ready to explode.
You're unbelievable,” she yelled. “Talking about a woman like that! How dare you?”
Jet inhaled deeply, waiting for her to finish yelling. It took a couple minutes. Meanwhile, he continued to eat. Spense sat with his fork halfway to his mouth, jaw dropped, looking from one to the other like a tennis match. Eventually, Alma paused for breath.
Finished?” Jet asked.
Not even!”
He held up his hand. “Before we continue this wonderfully enlightening discussion into my character can I say something?”
Alma shrugged, tossing her hair over her shoulder.
When have I ever seriously described a woman like that? Did you listen to how I said it or just what I said? Callista is beautiful. She's got a great figure and she wasn't wearing a bra. She's also one of the smartest women I've ever met. She happens to be a very talented writer. If she decides she wants to have sex with me, I won't say no. Happy now?”
You're such a—guy!”
Babe, sorry to tell you, but we're not ashamed of that. Women act like we should be, but we're not going to apologize for wanting to get laid,” Spense said.
You're as bad as he is.”
Spense set his fork and knife down, looking serious. “Yes—yes I am. I'm a guy who thinks you're beautiful, talented, smart, funny and sexy. I want in your pants so bad, I fantasize about it on an hourly basis. Does that make me some kind of creep?”
Alma's eyes started watering. Her expression changed from stony to smiling. “Really? You think all that?”
Yeah. So don't bust Jet's balls for liking Callista. If he's attracted to her even half as much as I am to you, he's lucky to still be breathing. Cause, babe, you rob me of all reason.”
The two of them had eyes for no one else. Jet decided to remove himself from the table. Taking his plate, he went to the living room with his meal. He turned on the TV, watching some show he didn't even know the name of. He finished his meal and quietly put his plate in the sink. Alma and Spense sat at the table, food forgotten, kissing.
Jet quietly gathered his wallet and keys, heading out the side door where he could easily swing around the back of the house to his car. His phone rang as he started the car. It wasn't familiar, but he answered anyway. 

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I Love Dialogue AND Sexy Without the Sex! From "Something New"

This excerpt really fell into both categories. I love the dialogue in it, but it's a little hot too. I wrote this book in four days (June 25 - 29, 2014) and I'm quite proud of how it came out. It's a little romance, a little action, a fun read. I fell for the character, Austin. He's just adorable.

Austin is an actor in a sci-fi show, an American attempt at a Doctor Who spin-off. Liat is his current companion. They find themselves greatly attracted to one another, but haven't quite gotten together yet.

Austin dressed in loose fitting jeans and ratty T-shirt. Walking around barefoot, he enjoyed the deep pile carpet. A lunch of Naomi and Dexter's leftovers filled him up. He sipped a single beer and watched Farscape on DVD. He didn't watch much television, but he loved to run marathons of favorite TV shows. He was deep into season one when someone knocked at his door. He paused the show and opened the door.
Liat stood there, grinning. "Mind if I join you?" She also was wearing jeans and a baggy shirt.
"Love for you to. I've been watching John Crichton whilst deciding whether or not to take a nap."
"Can I interest you in something other than a nap?" She tugged his belt loops, pulling him close.
Austin smiled down at her, putting his hands on her waist. "I'd like that. I'd love to hope it involves getting naked."
Liat playfully pushed him away. "I've known you since Thursday."
"So, that's a no."
"That's a be patient."
Holding her waist, he walked backwards toward the couch. He sat down, pulling her down to straddle his lap.
"After all the sights I've shown you. Super novas in the beta quadrant."
"That was just the lightbulb going in one of the lamps."
"Meteor shower in Sol Bea."
"Styrofoam rocks hurled at us from the catwalk."
"Bloody hell, I'm useless."
"Almost entirely," she replied, pushing him back against the couch.
"Well, the question burning in everyone's mind, is this. How much of the last three days may we count as dates?"
She climbed off his lap, sitting close beside him. "Hmm. . . . We can count dinner the first night."
"How about the snogging in my trailer."
"Mm, no."
"But I want to count it."
"Why?"
"Because it was such fun. And now, may we include now?"
"Maybe. Depends upon what you want to do."
"I'm a thirty-two year old man in a room with the most beautiful woman in the world. What do you think I want to do?" He loomed over her, his face mere inches from hers.
"Play Trivial Pursuit?"
"Not even close." He smiled as his lips brushed her cheek.
"We're having dinner with my parents soon."
"And?" He nosed her hair, his tongue tickling her ear.
"And, if we do anything inappropriate—Daddy will know."
He fell back, lying on the couch. "Dammit, that's done it."
"What?"
"The cock block I needed after the first time I kissed you. There it is. Your father will castrate me if I even think of shagging you." He groaned, putting a pillow over his face. He pressed against it as if trying to suffocate himself.
Liat pulled the pillow away, laughing at him. "Daddy won't kill you."
"He'll want to. Believe me. My first girlfriend's father threatened me with a cleaver."
"Why?"
"Thought I was having my way."
"Were you?"
Austin chuckled, pouting saucily. "Yes. He had every right to threaten me. I was being very inappropriate."
"Have you been—inappropriate a lot?"
He shrugged, shaking his head against the couch. "Let's see. I'm thirty-two, been active—a good few years. Maybe ten girls in all that time? About that. Why?"
She wouldn't answer. Austin touched her cheek.
"I'm not like him," he told her. "I don't run about sticking it to every woman I meet. No one night stands, no fly by night affairs. I can't say I've always had the best sense where women are concerned. But I think my taste has improved considerably over the last three days or so."
"You're wickedly charming, you know. Virtually irresistible."
He struggled to a sitting position. "Virtually, not completely?"
"Completely. I didn't want to seem slutty."
"Never."
His lips brushed hers once more, before drifting down her throat. He nibbled her earlobe, licking behind it. His breath was hot, his tongue rough on her soft skin.
Liat shivered, leaning into him, her breasts pressing against his chest temptingly. Austin let his mouth drop to the curve of her shoulder as his hands slid up her sides. Long, lean fingers teased her breasts, not quite touching them. She shivered again as his mouth met hers. She knew she was letting it go too far, but she couldn't seem to find the strength to tell him no. Even thinking about dinner with her parents didn't sufficiently put the brakes on.
It felt so perfect in his arms. He could kiss like no one else she'd ever met and it made her wonder, again, what sex with him would be like. She wanted to know, wanted to grasp his lean hips with both hands and clamp down tight.
"Someone's at the door," Austin gasped when he heard the latch click. "Fuck!"
Dwight stepped in carrying another suit and shirt. He stopped halfway through the door when he saw Austin and Liat. She was on her back on the couch. Austin lay partly on top of her, between her legs. Their clothing was on, but they were obviously well on their way to getting naked.
"Ooops," Dwight said. "I am so sorry! I had no idea. You're the first woman he's had up here," he babbled. "I'm so used to just coming in and out. I live across the hall. . . ."
Liat started laughing. "It's okay, Dwight. We probably shouldn't be doing this anyway."
"But it's such a smashing idea, we were anyway," Austin concluded. "Until you showed up."

"You now have an effective cock block," Dwight replied, smugly. "Imagine me walking in and seeing your lovely ass in the air. See what that does for you." He winked, hung the suit and shirt on the back of the door, and left.

© 2014 Dellani Oakes