Lone Wolf Returns!
Wil's back and he's just as bad as ever (but in a totally hot and lethal way). Join him and Matilda as they wend their way into deep space, in a space race with the infamous John Riley.
You can find Lone Wolf for sale at Amazon with this fantastic new cover! Please note, if it hasn't got this cover, it isn't the Dellani Oakes authorized edition and I don't get paid. (For full disclosure on this, click here.)
For your reading enjoyment, a teaser from Chapter 5 of Lone Wolf!
The room was Spartan with a single round table top sitting on crates. Three chairs surrounded it. The small room smelled of decay and mold. A timeworn ceiling fan moved the thick, moist air with very little effect. The beads jangled aside, moved by a gnarled, age spotted hand, more like a crustaceous claw than a human appendage. An old woman stepped through. The ancient, wrinkled face gazed up at them. Her clear, bright green eyes bored into theirs; steady, calm, unwavering. Wisps of thin, white hair were pushed back with another frail and trembling clawlike hand. She wore a faded black woolen dress; long sleeved, even in the oppressive heat. Around her tiny shoulders was a white knit shawl.
She smiled up at Wil, then turned to Matilda. "Welcome, my dears. Please sit."
Wil remained standing. Matilda sat across from the old lady who hobbled to her seat. She was the tiniest woman Matilda had ever seen. Just over four feet tall, her body was frail and thin. Her gaze compelled Wil to sit reluctantly at Matilda's side.
"Let me see your hands, child," she said to Matilda.
Slowly, she raised her hands, holding them across the table. The old woman reached over gracefully, taking Matilda's hands in hers. Like moths in the dark, her touch was light, fluttering. Lady Lena studied them, muttering to herself.
"These are good, strong hands. You've worked hard in your life, my dear."
Lady Lena turned the palms up, tracing the lines with one delicate finger. A hiss escaped her lips. She took the other hand, tracing those lines too. She studied the palms a few moments longer, going over and over the lifeline with her nail. With a decisive nod, Lady Lena drew a dome shaped object from her lap. It could have been wood or metal, it was impossible to tell, for it was more ancient than she. The lid was dark and sleek, polished to a dull sheen, as if hundreds of hands had held it, caressing it tenderly for centuries. It was devoid of all ornamentation, with no visible seams.
Chanting, she closed her eyes, moving her hands over the box once, twice, three times. She pressed both hands on the sides of the domed container. Leaning across the table, she slid the box toward them.
"Place your right hands on the dome. If it opens, take what is offered."
"And if it doesn't open?" Wil asked.
The old woman's eyes flashed brilliant green, a suppressed fire dwindled to almost nothing, throbbing in the iris. "If it doesn't open, then I have wasted our time." Lifting her chin, she gestured sharply to the box. "Touch it."
They did as she told them. The dome felt warm, pulsating and sleek. Suddenly, the box flew open without a sound, startling Matilda, making her jump. Wil stiffened in his chair. Inside were two rings, one shiny black, the other matte white. They were suspended in the air above the box, spinning around in and out of one another. A bright light illuminated them from below, though Wil couldn't detect its source. Faster they spun until only a blur. They came to a gradual stop, no longer black and white, but a silky gray. The rings floated serenely in midair above the box.
"Take them quickly! They will be offered only once!"
Lady Lena motioned to Matilda first, who gingerly reached out toward the nearest ring. Wil remained wary and reluctant to touch the ring.
The vivid green eyes locked with his black one without wavering or blinking. "Take it, boy. One can't work alone and this offer lasts only a short time. Take it!"
Reaching out his hand, he took the other ring. The box flicked shut, grazing his knuckles. The old woman took the dome back into her lap, waiting as they put on the rings.
"It's time for you to go now, children." She rose to leave.
Wil got up angrily. "We came for a reading, old woman! We'll have one before we leave."
The old lady glared at him, then the anger passed from her face. "Very well, a reading you came for, one you shall have," she replied sorrowfully. "But be warned, not all like what I see."
Her eyes took on a faraway expression, her breathing slowed to a mere flutter as she went into a trance. Even to Wil the skeptic, it looked authentic and he had to admit that this old woman truly held great power. He could sense it vibrating in the very air surrounding them.
"The Lone Wolf howls alone now, the Romance gone from his life. Into the Halls of the Hallowed Dead you shall go. Into greater darkness shall you pass. What was lost to the Ancient One shall be returned, the journey started. To love's end shall you come, life everlasting shall be yours. Love eternal." She blinked, coming out of her trance quickly, a touch of sorrow in her eyes. "Go now, children."
As they turned to leave, she pointed at Wil, saying sternly, "Beware, Lone Wolf, lest the Rat-Faced Man fasten his teeth onto your heels. Proceed with caution, the claws of the Dragon Lady are sharper than you know." She strode from the room, the bead curtain clattering behind her with a note of finality.
They walked quickly from that place. Wil felt the hackles rise on his neck. Matilda had an odd urgency to leave. They went a dozen or so paces from the house when the air shimmered and the ground shook. Looking behind them, they saw that the house gone. Only the rings on their fingers bore evidence to the fact that they had been there.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes