Thursday, September 28, 2017
Room 103 is a romantic suspense book set in Pittsburg, Kansas. Why, you might ask? Because that's where I was when I thought of it.
Marice Houston is a Deputy Marshal stationed in Kansas City, Missouri. She's back in Pittsburg for her tenth college reunion. Staying at a small motel, she becomes friendly with the owner, a man who used to teach at the college, Todd Englund.
Events spin wildly out of control after Marice leaves her weapon and badge in the motel safe for security purposes. Todd is accosted by Orson Roberts, who believes that Todd killed his daughter. Using her weapon, Todd kills Roberts in self-defense. Or did he? Marice dives right in to investigate, determined to find out what happened in Room 103.
Excerpt from Room 103
"I don't want the money!" the loud male voice boomed out from the motel owner's apartment.
Eavesdropping shamelessly, I waited to see if it turned ugly, hand on my phone in case I needed to call someone. There was a lot of anger radiating from that room.
"I just want a letter of apology, acknowledgment of what they did to me."
"Come on, Englund, he wants you to have the money for pain and suffering. A public apology...."
"Would simply open old wounds—mine. I do all right here. I make a decent living. If it's all over the papers, it makes it fresh. Regardless of the apology, people are stupid and superstitious. I'll be ruined—again. Only I won't bounce back a second time."
"At least take the money."
"It feels like blood money."
"It is. Yours. It took a lot of convincing to get old man Roberts to open his tight fist and give you this. I had hoped for more, would have settled for less. Please." The other man's voice was calm, conciliatory. "Please. You deserved a better shake, Todd. I couldn't get it for you then, but you have it now."
There was a quiet rustle as if an envelope were being opened. A sharp gasp followed.
"It's still not enough. I tried to convince him that your salary would have increased over the years, but he determined a flat rate, based on your pay at the time. He's not the most astute businessman in the state for nothing. Your salary, times ten. But I did get a bump to an even six."
"Even with this money, I can't afford to pay you, Regan."
"The judge made Roberts pay me. I earned nearly as much as you, but I refused to take even a penny over. You're the victim, you deserve the most. Oh, by the way, Roberts wants you to sign a letter of receipt."
"Not on your life. Not until I get my apology."
"Exactly what I said. To that end, he wants to meet at his office tomorrow."
"Not on his turf. I don't want the officious bastard to sneak in cameras for a photo op."
"Also what I told him. So, he agreed to meet here, tomorrow at ten a.m."
"That's checkout time. Everyone will see him and I'll be busy. Tell him either six a.m., or ten p.m. His choice. We're making this easy for me, not him. And he can hand me the check personally, along with my letter."
The paper rustled again.
"As you wish. I'll call with the time."
Their voices sounded closer. I rushed to the inner lobby door and opened it as if I'd just come in. Two men walked out of the back room, looking grim and determined. One was about six foot one, dressed in jeans and a Bob Marley T-shirt. His hair was black and carefully mussed to look casual. Or maybe he simply didn't care how it looked. The other man was slightly shorter, broad shouldered, blond, clean cut, wearing an expensive suit. Both appeared surprised when they saw me, especially when their eyes took in details and noticed I was sporting a gun. It was clearly visible with my jacket open and my hand on the doorknob. Stopping in their tracks, they each took a step back. T-shirt guy started to raise his hands, his blue eyes riveted on my shoulder holster.
"I'm Marice Houston. I have a reservation. Sorry I'm late. Traffic from Kansas City was a bear."
T-shirt guy relaxed, smiling. He moved easily to the computer on the counter. "Of course, Ms. Houston. Your room is all set. No feather pillows or duvet and no pets, as well as non-smoking."
"The chairs are vinyl in this room. The blankets are washed weekly and the pillows are fluffed in the drier after every guest. I hope you'll be comfortable." He flashed a dazzling smile, his bright blue eyes twinkling behind black framed glasses.
I handed over my driver's license and credit card. Tall-Dark-and-Blue-Eyes talked easily as he worked, his long, lean fingers stroking the keyboard as he typed. He was breathtakingly handsome and I wondered if he was aware of his own appeal.
The other man stood still, in the relative safety afforded by the counter. His hazelnut brown eyes watched every move I made. I nicknamed him Slick in my mind. He was also good looking and completely aware of it. He dressed for success and that probably carried over to the bedroom. I got the distinct impression that people never said No to this man—especially not women.
Blue-Eyes handed over my license and credit card, flashing another blinding smile. "You're in room one forty-seven, in the next building down. Third room from this end." He pulled over a laminated map of the small complex. "You're here." He pointed to my room. "The ice machine and laundry are here." He pointed to the front end of the building. "If it's out of ice, there's also a machine here." He pointed to another area of the map.
I wasn't looking at the map, but at his hands. He had long, strong fingers, broad palms with a scattering of black hair on the back, and a dash on the lower knuckle. His nails were short and clean—not so much manicured as neatly clipped and filed. I looked up from the map to see him eyeing me questioningly.
"Have we met? You look really familiar. I have this feeling of déjà-vu, like I knew you long ago."
I cleared my throat, shaking back my hair. I could hardly breathe when those blue eyes focused fully on me. "I—uh—I was in school here. Seems like ages ago."
"Yes. Go Rillas!" I giggled, sounding like a little girl. Suddenly, I'd reverted to the breathless, silly co-ed of nearly 15 years ago.
He chuckled. "I know I've seen you before. A face like yours... I couldn't forget."
My fingers fluttered to my burning cheeks. His scrutiny was too much for a woman like me. I never did well with male attention. Even though I carry a gun and badge, a handsome, confident man can still make me revert to the shrinking violet.
"I hope that's a good thing."
He handed me my key card with a gentle smile, his blue eyes caressing my face. "It's a very good thing. It will come to me. Enjoy your stay, Ms. Houston."
The other man cleared his throat. "You got a license for the weapon, Miss?"
Slick struck a nerve. Glaring keenly, his square jaw jutted forward. He was ridiculously handsome, but cold. Not like Blue-Eyes, not at all. This was a man of authority who wielded it like a knife.
"I have something better." I flipped open my jacket, showing the opposite side of my belt. A marshal's badge glittered in the fluorescent lights of the office. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I want a shower and a meal."
Blue-Eyes, slightly taken aback by the badge, rallied quickly, handing me a menu. "If you want to order in, the places with a gold star give our guests discounts. Everything from pizza to Thai."
"Thank you." I gave him a tight smile, glared at the other man and turned on my heel, marching to the door.
"Did you have to do that, Regan?" I heard Blue-Eyes say as the door closed.
Todd, I reminded myself. Todd Englund. The name resonated in my memory for some reason. Vaguely, faintly, but with an abiding assurance that it wasn't in a good way.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The nip of fall is in the air (some places, not so much here in Florida), and our thoughts turn to curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book. Today's guests specialize in fantasy, and that sounds like a lot of fun!
Returning guest, Ruth Davis Hays, is the author of the fantasy series Translations from Jorthus. Her books include: The Dawnstone Tale, The Convergence, and The Excursion.
New to the show is Merri Halma author of Indigo Travelers and the Dragon's Blood Sword and Indigo Travelers and the Keys to the Shadowlands.
Step into another realm and join us as we chat to these two amazing ladies! Join us at 4:00 PM Eastern time TODAY on Blog Talk Radio
MerriHalma author of Indigo Travelers and the Dragon's Blood Sword and Indigo Travelers and the Keys to the Shadowlands
Ruth Davis Hays is author of the fantasy series Translations from Jorthus. Her books include: The Dawnstone Tale, The Convergence, and The Excursion.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Indian Summer was re-issued on Friday, September 8, 2017. This sweeping historical novel is a must read! After Irena's wedding, Gabriella and Manuel are left alone for a short time. She has some questions for him, but isn't sure how to ask.
"You've a question in your eyes, my love."
I reddened, dropping my gaze. "Am I that obvious?"
"Only to me. Now what is it? There should be no secrets between us."
I pursed my lips and thought of the best way to phrase it. "Well, you know much about me having known my father for so long, but I know so very little about you. Much of what you told me just now, it was about your aunt. Tell me of you."
He smiled pensively. "Very well, and where shall I start?" It was more a rhetorical question, but I decided to answer him in any case.
"You could begin with telling me your age." I said, suddenly becoming interested in my shoes. To rid myself of fear, I tossed my head back, looking him squarely in the eye.
His contagious laughter filled the town, echoing off the buildings. "Ah, Bella, I thought you wanted the confessions of all my sins or something the way you're acting. My age? Well I'm older than you but not old enough to be your father."
I stamped my foot, startling the horses. "I'm being serious! You know much about me, nearly my life's story. I know you're an orphan and that you love me and—that you're well appointed."
He laughed even louder. "What a minx you are to say a thing like that! All right, you win. First, you make a guess. How old do you think I am?"
I looked at him appraisingly, considering. "Well, when I first met you, I considered you an old man. I would have said a few months ago that you were in your thirties."
His laughter subsided, a twinkle in his eye."And now?"
I thought again. "Well when you laugh it takes many years off you. But when you're serious, it adds a few years. So I shall go with an average, somewhere in the middle and say three and twenty?"
"Well, I could be, but then again, perhaps not. You've not considered everything, my sweet." He ticked the points off on his fingers, dropping the reins. The mares stopped moving as soon has he set them down.
"First, I'm a trusted aide to your father. Second, I'm extremely well educated and I speak several languages fluently."
He winked at me and I tapped him with my parasol lightly on the knee.
He considered a moment. "There is no third. No, I think we have covered the salient points. So, do you still think me three and twenty?"
"Well, given the evidence as listed, I would have to say more like three and thirty." I nodded to emphasize as if I meant it.
His reaction was animated and hilarious. "Three and thirty? Th—" He was incapable of speech for a long time, then very red in the face, he sputtered. "Is that what you really think? What kind of old lecher do you think I am?"
I suppressed a giggle with great difficulty. "I don't think you an old lecher in the least! But if a man of three and thirty were interested in a young lady of fifteen, he would certainly be one. I was teasing, my love. I don't think you're above three and twenty as I originally said." So saying, I sat quietly, waiting for him to speak.
"Well, as I tire of this game, I will tell you."
"You only tire of it because you're coming out poorly." I smiled sweetly.
He waved it off as unimportant. "Be that as it may, and I don't deny that's my motivation in part. I also must get you home soon. Very well, I'm not three and thirty, nor am I three and twenty. Given the ability to speak several languages fluently, as well as some Indian dialects of this area, I worked first as an interpreter. Then I became a liaison. Having other necessary talents, I obtained my position with your father at the ripe old age of seventeen. So therefore, my sweet, I'm a mere child myself."
I counted up the years he had worked for my father.
"You're one and twenty!?" I hugged him, regardless of the looks we drew.
His smile widened as he held me closely. "Why is that so wonderful?"
"Well it's silly, really," I giggled, blushing deep red to the roots of my hair. "But I didn't want you to be too old, for fear you would tire of me since I'm still so young."
He took my hands in his. "I assure you, Gabriella, I'd never tire of you were I three and forty."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Monday, September 25, 2017
Coming November 1, 2017 from Tirgearr Publishing – So Much It Hurts! This delightful romance is set in a big city somewhere up north. I've never given it a name, and the residents refer to it as The City.
Pia Donovan is a small town girl. Newly in the City from a tiny town in Nebraska, she is overwhelmed by the fast pace. After a long day of getting lost in the worst part of town, she arrives at her destination; an historic, grand hotel in the downtown area. Picking her way across the rutted ground in front of the building, she loses her balance, nearly falling into the arms of Flynn Chancellor. Handsome and friendly, Flynn presents a happy distraction for a girl who's trying to recover from a broken heart.
Sweet, sultry music poured from the open second-story windows as Pia walked across the pitted, uneven ground. Scattered with puddles and trash, it wasn’t a very inviting aspect. The old, grand hotel building loomed above her, intimidating in the dusky light after sunset. Sighing, she forged ahead, dragging her rolling suitcase after her. It bumped into a particularly deep hole and caught. Yanking, she lost her balance and teetered to the right.
“Watch out!” Strong hands caught her, setting her on her feet. The same hands lifted her suitcase. “You all right, little lady?”
Pia wasn’t sure she liked being called a little lady by any man, but when she turned to look at him, she decided he had the right to. He was at least six foot three, maybe taller. She, a petite five three, was indeed a little lady. He flashed a brilliant smile at her.
“You’re the newbie.” He extended his hand. “Flynn Chancellor. Welcome to the fold.”
“Pia Donovan. Thank you. How does this work, exactly?”
“Didn’t get orientation?” He tugged her suitcase, ushering Pia inside.
“Sort of? They told me to report here this afternoon, but I took the wrong bus and ended up on the way to Maryville. I got as far as Walnut Street and finally figured out I was in the wrong spot.”
“Ooh, not a place for a lady of your delicate sensibilities to be.”
“Yeah, tell me about it. The driver wouldn’t let me out on the street. He dropped me at a satellite station and told me the right bus to take back.”
“That was nice of him.”
“He said he has a granddaughter my age. He wouldn’t set her loose to the wolves.”
Flynn chuckled. “Apt. I grew up in that area. It ain’t pretty.” He opened the door for her, letting her walk under his arm. It was an easy fit. “Where are you from, Pia Donovan?”
“Out of state. I moved here from Nebraska. Outside Kearney.”
“No kidding? What brings you up here?”
“I got a scholarship to City University.”
He opened a set of inner doors which led into a large, open area. To the right and left there were arched doorways which had once led to reception and lobby areas. They were now full of cast-off furniture and crowds of men and women, all about her age. Every ethnic blend imaginable greeted her small-town Nebraska eyes.
“We’ve got several music majors here. I’ll show you around, if you want.”
“I’d like that, thank you. How do I get settled?”
“We talk to Amita.” He pointed to the desk area. It had formally been the receptionist’s desk — a tall, dark wooden structure that wrapped around like a bar.
“When was this place built?”
“And they’re tearing it down?”
“No. It will, eventually, be renovated.”
She nodded, looking around her at the early elegance of the place. It sported dark wood wainscoting, light walls, brass wall sconces. This was in stark contrast with the battered linoleum laid over the original hardwood floors, holes in the walls, and pieces of plywood over missing glass panes.
“You wouldn’t know to look at it, but it was a showplace in its time. Celebrities from all over the world visited. It was built by one of the founding families, so they will never tear it down.”
“It’s still got a stateliness to it, doesn’t it?”
“It does,” he agreed.
No one was at the desk, but he leaned over and called through an open doorway. “Oi, Amita! Found our newbie!”
A tall, mocha-skinned woman with wildly curly hair came out, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Hi! You must be Pia. I’m Amita, I’m the resident manager. We expected you ages ago.”
“I got lost.”
“Ended up on Walnut Street,” Flynn added.
“Oh, my God! And lived to tell about it!”
Flynn chuckled and leaned against the tall desk, hands in pockets. Pia had a moment to take in details she hadn’t noticed outside in the dusk. He was broad-shouldered, with dancing green eyes. His chestnut colored hair was nearly to his shoulders, thick and straight, covered by a faded black fedora. Steel gauges, about the size of a quarter, stretched each earlobe. His arms were covered by intricate tattoos, forming sleeves from wrist up. His shirtsleeves were rolled just past his elbows. Rusty black pants, which looked as if they had seen better days, dangled from colorful suspenders. His huge feet were covered in clunky, leather boots. Every piece of clothing was spattered with different colors of paint.
“You’ll be in the Ambassador Suite,” Amita said with a grin, handing over a registration card for Pia to sign.
“It’s great!” Flynn said with a grin.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, September 21, 2017
One Night in Daytona Beach is part of the amazing erotic romance series, City Nights, released by Tirgearr Publishing.
He hadn't seen her in 10 years, but there she was, dressed in black leather, straddling the Harley. Draven Wick is back home, on a break from filming his vampire themed TV show, when he spots Jamie Humphrey at a Bike Week raffle. The love of his teen life, Draven never thought he'd see her again. Rekindling their romance after 10 years is the easy part. Unfortunately, Draven has been blamed for the death of a notorious bike gang leader. Staying ahead of the police, and the biker gang bent on revenge, takes Jamie and Draven to the brink of disaster.
Excerpt from One Night in Daytona Beach
Long, dangerous legs, an ass that wouldn't quit, lush curves clad in skimpy black leather, flaming red hair wafted on the breeze while the rumble of a thousand Harleys filled the air. He couldn't draw his eyes from the gorgeous redhead, whose hair reminded him of the flames on the side of his bike. Heavy metal music thrummed from gigantic speakers, banging and echoing from the sides of the nearby condos. Cameras snapped, his included, as she draped herself over the motorcycles being raffled off for charity. The line to register wound around the parking lot.
"I'd like to rev her engine," one man said as he stuffed his tickets into his wallet.
"Full throttle," the man next to him laughed loudly at their joke.
Every man there was thinking the same thing, which was the entire point of having a sexy, long legged woman straddling the chrome studded leather seat. Leaning on the handle bars, she rocked back, her chest to the sky as she arched her spine. With a quick swing of her legs, she did a shoulder stand on the seat, then lowered her feet with agonizing slowness so that the toes of her high heeled boots pointed directly at the patch of stretched black leather between her thighs.
Draven nearly dropped his phone. The man next to him let his cup of beer slide from his numb fingers. Every man in the line eyed her with fascination. Though disgusted with the behavior of the men, the women couldn't help but stare too. They were amazed that anyone could do such antics on a motorcycle. The music continued to thrum and pound at them as they watched her routine. In a fleeting moment of coherence, Draven recognized it as Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson. She was certainly slaying every man in the place with her sexy routine.
"Hey, buddy, your turn!" the man at the cash register called, snapping his fingers.
Draven stumbled forward, his legs having lost the ability to move without conscious thought. He fumbled with his wallet and phone, trying to slide one out and the other into the pockets of suddenly too-tight jeans.
"How many?" the man asked, all business.
"Um, how much are they?"
"Hundred a piece."
"You take plastic?"
"Everything but American Express."
"I'll take five."
"You got it." He filled out Draven's details, rang up the cost and scanned his plastic.
"Does the girl come with it?" the man behind Draven asked. He was old and fat, not the kind of man a girl like her would even look at once. His words might have been said in jest, but coming from his slobby, heavy jowled mouth, it was seriously pervy. The men behind the table and near him in line, gaped at him, horrified.
"That young lady is my daughter," the man who handled Draven's transaction growled. "So you watch what you say."
"How's a man let his daughter act like a hoor in public," the fat man yelled, slamming a meaty fist down on the table.
Startled by the noise, the girl lost her balance as she rolled out of the shoulder stand. Toppling, she fell. Draven leaped toward her, covering the ten feet to the cycles, in a superhuman rush. He steadied her, helping her sit up slowly. Getting a good look at her face, he felt a spark of recognition.
"Jamie Humphrey?" He touched her cheek, brushing her hair from the corner of her full, red lips.
"Draven Wick? Oh, my God! Is it really you?" She clung to him, hugging him tightly. "How many years has it been? Ten?"
"About that. God, you look fantastic!"
Clasping his face, she gazed into his golden hazel eyes. "Thank you for catching me."
"You're welcome. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Thanks."
Others had gathered around, watching the scene unfold. When it became apparent that the woman wasn't hurt, the men at the desk went back to selling tickets.
"That's not really your dad," Draven murmured.
"Of course not. He just says that so that men will leave me alone."
"How about fair time for the women?" a heavyset woman called from the line. "Let's see the hunk take his shirt off!" she whooped.
Women all over the parking lot cheered and whistled. Draven cast a saucy look at Jamie. The music had changed once more, pounding out Closer by Nine Inch Nails—the unedited version, he noted with a grin. Grabbing the bottom of his shirt, he raised it with agonizing slowness as his hips gyrated to the sexy music. Jamie played it up, running her hands under the shirt, rubbing his abs and tugging on the cloth with her teeth.
More cameras snapped and the women yelled loudly, screaming at him to take it all off. As he did a lecherous bump and grind, Draven strutted around the bike. Between the two cycles, he twirled his shirt, straddling it. Riding it like a hot woman, he continued to dance. Jamie hopped up, standing behind him, she ran her hands up and down his tight abs and hard thighs. Spinning to face her, Draven roped Jamie with his shirt, pulling her close to dirty dance with him. The song ended and he spun her under his arm, dropping her into a low dip, her back arched, breasts high. Red hair tickled the pavement as he raised her with one arm. Faces mere inches apart, they tried to catch their breath. It took some time before they realized that the line was now three times what it had been. Women ringed around them, waving money at Draven.
"You grew up nice, Wick," Jamie said, taking a step back. Her hand drifted down his chest to the top of his jeans. Eyes wide with delight, she dangled her fingers by his zipper. With tantalizing deliberateness, she touched the fabric that strained across his throbbing member.
"You keep that up, I can't be responsible," he whispered.
"You keep that up, I can't be either," she replied.
"I really wanna kiss you, Jamie."
"On the bike," she suggested. "I get paid a percentage of what they bring in."
Laughing, he picked her up, putting her on the motorcycle, facing the rear, straddling the engine. Draven took his time swinging one long, muscular, jean-clad leg over the seat. Scooting him forward with her feet, Jamie wrapped her legs around his waist. Laying her back, Draven teased and coaxed her mouth, his tongue tickling her lips. With a decisive lunge, he raised his body, grasped the handlebars and kissed her. Until that moment, Jamie had thought his antics were all for show. A consummate performer, he knew how to work a crowd. But that kiss wasn't pretending and the rock hard bad boy in his pants wasn't a prop.
He didn't linger over the kiss. His timing was, as always, superb. Leaning back, Draven swung his leg off the cycle, standing in one fluid motion as he held out his hand to her. The crowd went wild. The men at the table had to scramble to accommodate the line, bringing in extra help.
Draven stood near Jamie, hoping to kiss her again. Instead, everyone wanted pictures with them and the bikes. Most of them gave tips, some wanted autographs. They all wanted them to kiss. Draven worked the crowd, giving them just enough to keep them asking for more.
"Do you think any of them recognize you?" Jamie asked, her smile toothy and wide.
"Doubt it. I'm out of context."
"Won't they shit when they figure it out?"
He chuckled, kissing her cheek by request. "Right in their pants. You smell amazing," he said, nuzzling her neck all on his own.
A dozen cameras clicked.
"I've missed you, Jamie."
Shivering, she held his face as directed, giving him a kiss. "Me, too."
They straddled the bike again, with her in front, holding the handlebars. His long, sinewy thighs clenched against hers from behind.
"Is that a yes or no? I don't speak Biker Babe anymore."
"No one steady."
"Does he think that?"
Jamie blushed, turning her head to look at him. "Why all the questions, Wick? Got some burning desire to know all my secrets?"
Draven nibbled her neck, cheating the angle a little, so he was still camera ready. "I've got a burning desire, Humphrey, but it isn't about your secrets."
© Dellani Oakes 2015
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Blake Abernathy has been getting a lot of unexpected, and unwanted, attention from women. Since coming to Florida for a visit, he's been stalked by one group after another. It might seem ideal to some men, but for him, it's extremely annoying. Trying to get some sun in Key West, he wakes to another group of women.
As I'd napped, a gaggle of girls—mostly older teens and early twenties, had gathered. They were taking pictures and talking about me in very specific terms. I sat up, scowling.
"Just admiring the view," one of them said. She was a little older, late twenties I'd guess. Her dark hair was a tangled mess in a sloppy bun perched on top of her head, and she wore a man's tank top over her suit.
"Admire it from somewhere else."
"It's a public place," she countered.
"But this isn't," I gestured to my body. "If I came up and started taking pictures while you were tanning, you'd think I was a perv and call the cops. But because I'm a man, it's okay for you to do this?" I rolled over on my stomach. "Go away," I said.
"Rude much?" she sneered, but didn't move.
Suddenly furious, I hopped to my feet. Hiram was awake, but he just watched. I couldn't tell what he was thinking, I could barely tell what was on my mind. Rage. Pure and simple.
"Go away!" I bellowed. "I'm on vacation! My girlfriend was murdered and I don't need a bunch of stupid girls staring at me! Go!"
About that time, a lifeguard and a beach cop wandered over.
"There a problem here, sir?" the cop asked.
The anger left as fast as it had appeared. "Yes. I'm being harassed."
He gave me an evil eye. Even with his glasses on, I could see it. His stance changed. Even if I had a mind to assault a cop, which I don't, I knew he'd half kill me and still take me down.
"Look, I don't want any trouble. I was trying to relax and get some sun and I wake up to find these women taking my picture without my permission. I asked them to leave and they wouldn't."
"I asked them too, before he woke up," Hiram said. "They told me to fuck off. I'm eighty-two years old. If I'd spoken to an old person like that in my day, he'd have smacked my mouth. As they are ladies, I refrained. But they're bothering us."
"He's hot," the spokeswoman said.
"And that makes it okay?" the cop replied, arms crossed, facing her now. He was jacked to hell and back. He could have made a fortune as a cover model. As could the lifeguard.
"I'm sorry, sir. I didn't see this. I was watching the water," the guard said. He was about my age. Also jacked as all hell.
"I've had a hell of a week. Not anyone's fault—but I've been bugged and hassled by women since I got to Florida. Is there something in the water makes chicks crazy? Swear to god, I'm on vacation!"
"But he's hot as hell," another woman said. She was younger, probably about sixteen. Shouldn't have been enjoying a man's body for a few years, but she probably had already. My unkind summation was that she was a slut.
"What if you were lying out and woke up surrounded by us?" I gestured to the cop and the lifeguard. "That's okay, cause you're hot and have a nice ass. It's fine. You obviously want to be bothered and looked at. Right?" I crossed my arms, same stance as the other two guys. Hiram, he just watched.
"No! That's pervy! You have no right to invade my privacy."
The cop took a careful step forward, still not in her personal space. "But because he's got balls, not boobs, it's all right?"
That shut them up.
"Apologies, from all of you, or I'll take you in."
"For what?" Smart Mouth Teen asked.
"For unlawful assembly and creating a public nuisance. I'm sure I can think of a few other things. I got a witness." He gestured at Hiram.
My friend nodded, a satisfied smile on his face. "You're bothering my grandson," he said calmly. "And you were rude to an old man."
I wanted to add that he was a survivor from a Nazi death camp, but that was Hiram's story to share, not mine.
"Hand me your phones," The cop said, holding out his hand.
"What? Why?" The girls all screeched, holding their phones like they were golden treasure.
"We're going to delete all pictures of this man. Hand 'em over. You can come by the station later and collect them."
Still stubborn, they refused. He picked up his radio from his shoulder. They watched horrified, as he called for backup. His buddies arrived quickly and rounded up the girls, who'd been too dumb to scatter. Amazing what a group mentality does. They'd stayed there until they got arrested, protesting loudly.
"I'm sorry to have caused this big a fuss," I said. "Like I said, it's been a hell of a week."
"You're sure you're okay?" the lifeguard asked.
"I'm fine. Pissed off to end all, but we're not hurt."
The cop squatted by Hiram's chair. He'd seen the tattoo on the old man's arm. Taking off his helmet and sunglasses, he spoke to him in a language I didn't know. I thought it might be Polish. Hiram smiled, patting the man on the cheek.
"You're a good boy," he said. "Someone taught you well."
"My great-grandmother. She was in a Nazi camp first, then sent to Russia. She was one of the lucky ones. All her family survived, except her father, who died before the war."
I thought he was going to cry. Instead, he held out his hand, shaking Hiram's, before saluting him. Turning to me, he nodded.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Full Measure is one of those stories which has more than one villain. Each of them is nasty, though some more than others, and each is strongly motivated to get exactly what they want. This particular villain is a hit man called Domino, who was hired to take out Daphne and Ralan, who have just escaped an explosion.
A man in uniform approached her. He looked slightly familiar, but she couldn't place him. Her ears rang and she was dizzy. The man was tall, dark haired, with a penetrating gaze and a pleasant smile.
"Mr. Hendrix is asking for you."
"He's okay? Oh, thank God!" She almost hugged the man, but he dodged, grinning.
"He's fine. Follow me. I'll take you to him."
Daphne looked around to see if any of the team were around. She didn't see them. Hoping the man knew what he was talking about, she agreed. Disoriented, her steps were unsteady. The man grasped her arm at the elbow. His grip had a familiar feel, more of control than aid. A tingle started at the base of her scalp as the hairs on her neck rose. The man was leading her further from the crowd. Despite her dizziness, Daphne realized she'd been tricked. She yanked her arm away, but his grip tightened, fingers digging into her flesh.
His dark eyes burned angrily. "Try it, girlie. Anything you can dish out, I can take. I'm not a pushover like your boy."
"Ralan will kill you if you hurt me."
"Ralan isn't gonna kill anyone." He jerked her toward a nearby building. Shoving her through the door, he propelled her toward an idling SUV.
Pushing her roughly in the back, he slammed the door. Daphne heard a groan from behind her. She looked over the seat and saw Ralan sprawled in the cargo space. His clothing was scorched and rumpled, his face blackened, bruised and lacerated. Too horrified to speak, she stared at him. His dark eyes flickered open and he winked one swollen lid, adding a dramatic groan. A vestige his rakish smile twitched bloodied lips.
"What did you do to him?" she demanded loudly of her captor.
"Nothing he wouldn't do to me given a chance."
The man had removed the uniform top and she saw his domino tie. He smiled, eyes icy cold. "You'll think more of me later—much later." He leered at her and Daphne had the uneasy feeling that he intended to do horrible things to her while he made Ralan watch.
"You'll regret it," Daphne said, lifting her chin defiantly.
"Regret what?" his voice was as cold as his eyes, his accent reminding her of a bad Dracula movie.
"Regret hurting us."
"Oh, I doubt that, darling." It sounded like darlink.
"Never doubt me," Daphne said, her voice harsh.
She sat back, arms folded across her chest, dark eyes glaring into Domino's. He blinked, surprised, and withdrew slightly, her anger following him across the seat. Daphne knew she and Ralan had the advantage. Although he was harshly bound at wrists and ankles, she wasn't.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
“Do we have an identification?” the detective asked Jeremy.
“Yes, ma'am. Detective Chelle O'Brian, this is Dr. Jennings and this is Dr. Stanton. They were Mr. Overman's therapists.”
“Doing a bang-up job, gentlemen,” she said, snapping her lips shut.
Quaid, Boyd and Oracle stared at her, appalled. Even Jeremy had no idea what to say.
“Overman wasn't suicidal,” Oracle said. “I'd bet my license on it.”
“You might have to,” O'Brian said, her eyes flashing dangerously. “Three people in charge of his care, and he offs himself?”
“You can see any of our records,” Boyd said. “With the proper warrants. Overman was many things, but he wasn't a suicide risk. I'd more peg him for homicidal than suicidal.”
“And yet you let him go,” O'Brian said, her tone chilly.
Boyd, wisely, said nothing. Oracle started to open her mouth, but Quaid shook his head.
“Ms. O'Brian, are you a medical professional, mental health specialist? A psychiatrist or psychologist? Social worker?”
Quaid bulled over her words, holding up his hand like a stop sign. “So, it's your completely uneducated opinion that my colleagues and I weren't doing our jobs, and that's why he jumped off a bridge?”
“I didn't say that.”
“That's exactly what you said. You insinuated that we purposely put a patient at risk. We did all we could for him, but he was rude, disrespectful, abusive of our staff and, more than once, took a swing at Boyd and me. He should have been in a facility full time, but they didn't want him either. He was a low down, pain in the ass.”
“So, you cast him aside.”
“I gave him plenty of other resources to call upon. I released him to another facility, who were supposed to follow up and continue his care.”
“But you let him go!”
“You want to know what he said to Oracle? Or to Pearl? He called my friends horrible names, called me a faggot....”
“And you let a word bother you? You're a grown man.”
“No, ma'am. I didn't. But I won't hear my sweet, intelligent Asian receptionist be referred to as a retarded slope eye or my elegant, caring social worker be called a nappy headed bitch. Are you saying that their welfare is less important than his?”
He purposely kept several feet away, not advancing into her personal space. She advanced into his, poking her finger at his chest. Before she could touch him or speak, he took a step back.
“Before you commit assault in front of witnesses, maybe you'd better reflect on what you want to say to me. I did my job, as did Ms. Jones and Dr. Stanton. I'm very sorry that Mr. Overman is dead, but I find it very difficult to believe that he killed himself. I suggest you instruct Jeremy to run a complete tox screen—now, because certain drugs break down rather quickly.” He looked at his watch. “It's been what, nearly an hour?” He eyed her over his raised wrist. “Mr. Overman was officious, obnoxious, and had the most toxic personality of anyone I've ever met. What he wasn't—was suicidal. I think you're looking at a murder or a very sad accident, Ms. O'Brian. I suggest you get cracking. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're tired and would like to get home to bed. We'd be happy to talk to you tomorrow.”
“I want his records.”
“Which we'll be happy to release with the proper warrant,” Boyd said. “I already told you we're willing to cooperate. We won't, however, stand here and take anymore abuse from you. Goodnight, Detective. Jeremy, thank you for your consideration. If you need us to sign something, let's do that and get it over with so we can go home.”
“Sure, Dr. Stanton.” He pulled up the paperwork and printed it for them to sign.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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