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
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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."
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I love dialogue and I love first meetings. This scene has both. Quinn Hamilton is a park ranger. She's new on the job and just learning her way around. At the end of the week, she's sent on her first solo call. Something's wrong down near parking lot 5, but no one tells her what.
Seeing nothing untoward when I got there, I walked to the stout metal pipe barring the way. It was locked in place and I realized I had no key. I stood there trying to figure out what to do when someone spoke. It was then I noticed I wasn't alone. A man about my age stood partially hidden in the bushes, shirtless. He was the best built man I'd ever seen up close. He had the physique of a male model.
"Hi," he said, shuffling his feet shyly.
"Hi. I'm. . . ." For a moment I forgot my own name. I've seen shirtless men before. This shouldn't have taken me so much by surprise, but I was shocked speechless.
"Quinn—Hamilton. . . . Park Ranger. . . ."
"I thought all the rangers were men?" He shifted uneasily, ducking his head shyly as he combed his fingers through his walnut brown hair.
"I'm new, just started Monday. How can I help you?" I stepped forward expectantly.
The young man retreated further into the brush, wincing. "Uh. . . . could you get one of the men?"
"I assure you, I'm fully trained to handle any situation." I made to duck under the barricade.
"No! Don't!" he bellowed.
I stopped halfway under, puzzled. "Why not? Oh, I guess I should wait for you to unlock this." I stepped back, but he didn't move. "Well?"
"I'm naked," he blurted.
"What?" I shrieked. "Naked? Oh, my God!"
"This is a nudist colony. Didn't they tell you?"
I backed rapidly away, tripping over something behind me. Screaming, I fell in a heap, landing on my ass.
The young man leaped over the barricade and I saw he was indeed naked. And how! His entire body was a golden brown, his blond body hair catching the sun like burnished bronze. He landed beside me, strong hands checking to make sure I wasn't injured. Suddenly, he stopped, one hand on my left breast, the other on my ass.
"Oh, shit," he muttered. "Oh, shit!"
He scurried away, ducking under the barricade. The last I saw of him, he was a blur running through the brush in the opposite direction.
(Quinn takes care of the issue, with the help of another ranger, and prepares to leave.)
When we got back to the mule, the young man was waiting there, fully clothed in T-shirt, shorts and flipflops. Paul hopped in and took the raccoon back to the station. I lingered, feeling I needed to apologize. He spoke first.
"Sorry about all that." He made vague gestures toward the gate.
I know I blushed. I could still feel the touch of his hands on my body. It tingled invitingly.
"The guys set us up," I explained. "Don't know which of us it embarrassed more."
He closed one eye, biting his lower lip, hands shoved in the pockets of his shorts. "Well, I was naked. . . ."
"Good point. I'm Quinn Hamilton." I stepped forward, hand extended.
"Nice to meet you, now that I'm dressed. Dmitri Kolchesky-Bazan."
"That's quite a mouthful." I nearly choked on my words. The innuendos and double entendres that conjured up didn't bear thinking about. My turn to be horribly embarrassed.
Dmitri laughed. "Yes, well. I usually use only Bazan. Does that help?"
"Could have said that ten seconds ago."
"I could have," he admitted with a smirk. "I'd better get back. I just wanted you to know I'm not some kind of pervert and I do own clothing."
"I knew you weren't," I admitted. "You were even more upset by that episode than I was. It was mean of the guys to do that."
He shrugged. "On some level, I probably deserved it. I've done my share of practical jokes."
"Cool! Then you can help me plot my revenge."
"Over dinner? In a restaurant—fully clothed." He held out a hand, invitingly gesturing between us.
"I'd like that."
"Where and when?"
"How about the Cantina. Seven? I can meet you there."
"Sure. See you."
"No surprises, right? I mean, you've all ready seen me naked." Laughing, he vaulted over the gate leaving me alone once more.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
I shared a Sexy Without the Sex scene from this novel a few weeks ago. I love Lionel. He's a fun character. He's the epitome of the absent minded professor. Arista isn't quite sure what to make of him. When they first meet his behavior is quite erratic and confusing. As he's leaving after their interview, he invites her to dinner at the most exclusive Italian restaurant in town, Sarducci's. He doesn't need a reservation, he just walks right in. Arista isn't quite sure what to make of it all.
Lionel was in the lobby when she breezed into Sarducci's at 7:05. He wore the same suit as before. He smiled when he saw her, motioning to the hostess.
"This is she," he said, pointing over the crowd to Arista.
The hostess nodded, smiling as she grabbed menus. They followed her to a corner table, out of the traffic patterns, just off the main floor. They were near the windows that overlooked the river. The swirling currents wove around the water in an intricate, spiral pattern.
"Your usual, Lionel?"
"No. We'll need a minute. Thanks, Constance."
"You know the hostess by name? And you can walk in the door without a reservation?"
He frowned. "Yeah. So?" He opened the menu, glancing at it.
Arista opened her own. It was written in Italian. There were no prices beside anything.
"What's good?" she asked.
"I like everything except calamari. Always reminds me of rubber bands."
She giggled, agreeing with him. "I can't read Italian."
"No? Okay." He translated for her, pointing to some of the dishes on the surrounding tables.
Their choices made, he waved to a waiter. The young man rushed over, grinning.
"Wazzup, Doc?" He did a complicated handshake with Lionel. He spoke with a strong Hispanic accent.
Lionel ordered for them, including a bottle of wine. A wine steward brought it out, opening it with a flourish. He went through the tasting ceremony with Lionel, then filled Arista's glass. She tasted it as she'd seen him do, smiling as the fragrant bouquet filled her mouth.
"Oh, God, that's amazing!"
"1842 was a good year."
"18- Holy God! That's a hundred and seventy-one years old?" She whispered, holding the glass with greater respect.
"Yeah. Are you okay?"
"I'm in over my head," she whispered, setting the glass down like a holy relic. "This is unreal. Any second I'm going to wake up and be at home with the worst hangover of my life!"
"Arista." Lionel leaned over, trying to find her eyes. "What's wrong?"
"Today. Today is all wrong."
He said nothing, a worried frown creasing his brow.
"You're the most confusing person I ever met. I don't know if this is going to work out or not."
"Because! You're so—and so . . . !" She gestured erratically, feeling like a mime with Tourettes.
"You aren't making any sense, you know."
"Before, when I first met you, you were way out in BFE. I don't even know where you were. You stared at that paper for ten minutes, forgot I was there, and then came back all normal. You have things handed to you on a silver platter at the university. You walk into the most exclusive restaurant in town like you own the place. . . ."
"I do. Own the place. I do."
Arista groaned, her head flopping onto the table as her body finally gave up.
© 2014 Dellani Oakes
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