Thursday, March 30, 2017
The room was empty except for another doctor dressed in surgical scrubs. He looked absorbed in the science-fiction book he was reading, so Tanya leaned back and closed her eyes. Before she knew it, she'd fallen asleep. A sound startled her and she jerked awake. She blushed as she realized the sound that had woken her was her own snoring. Mortified, she glanced at the doctor, but he hadn't raised his head from his book. She shifted in her chair, straightened her shirt and closed her eyes again.
"You should head home if you're that tired," the man said without looking up from his book.
"I know," she sighed. "I'm just too exhausted to drive. I'm afraid I'd have an accident and end up back here taking up bed space."
He chuckled, setting his book aside. "You'd get some rest anyway."
"No, I wouldn't, I'd have all you bloody doctors poking me to see what made me tick," she managed a soft chuckle and nestled further into her chair.
"We'd save special tests just for you. The most intrusive possible, with blood drawn every hour. I'm sure we could find ways to occupy your time."
"No doubt," she said, starting to get annoyed now by the conversation. She wanted to rest and she wanted to be left alone, neither of which was happening. "Look," she said, sitting up in her chair. "I don't really mean to be rude...."
"Sure you do," he smiled, looking up from his book for the first time. He was quite attractive, but had a smug expression on his face as he clasped his hands together between his knees. "You say that so I won't think that you think I'm being intrusive. But whenever someone starts a sentence with things like, I don't mean to be rude, or with all due respect, they mean just the opposite."
Tanya pressed her lips in a tight line. She glared at him for no reason other than he happened to be in the line of her stare. He smiled at her, his teeth flashing white in his well tanned face. When did he have time to get a tan? Tanya was pale from all the extra hours she spent indoors in dimly lit rooms. It was bad enough he was gorgeous and tall with dark hair and dancing blue eyes, but he was tanned, muscular and had on a cologne that made her dizzy.
She stood, intending to leave the room in a huff, but the walls spun as the floor and ceiling suddenly switched places. Disoriented, she fell like a load of wet sand. Strong arms caught her before her head hit the coffee table, easing her back into the chair she'd risen from. She felt fingers on her pulse and the cold of a stethoscope on her chest. He checked her pupils next, flashing his light in her eyes. The bright beam made her eyes water.
Voices echoed down the hall, congregating outside the lounge. The chatter faded as three other doctors crowded into the room and gathered around Tanya and her tormentor. Two of them she recognized, the third was slightly familiar. All three started talking at once, asking the man what had happened, completely ignoring Tanya.
"She fell, I think she may have fainted. She didn't hit her head, I caught her before she collided with the table." He was making her sound like a fading flower or something, it was patently ridiculous.
"If it's all right with the rest of you," she said in her haughtiest tone. "I do think I'll go home now!" The haughtiness diminished somewhat by the fact she was whispering.
"I'll drive you," her friend Davida said. "I'm off shift now and I'll take you home."
"I need my car for the morning, D. I can't just leave it here."
"I'll drive her," the new doctor said. "You bring her car." He and Davida had the situation in hand.
"Does anyone want my opinion?" Tanya sounded childish and huffy even to herself, but wouldn't have admitted it for anything.
"No," Davida told her with a smile. "I'll grab my purse. Where's yours, in your locker?"
Tanya nodded slowly, but that brought on another wave of dizziness, so she stopped. Davida shoved Tanya's purse into her hands. A ten minute debate followed whether Tanya needed to be taken to the parking lot in a wheelchair.
"No! I refuse to be treated like an invalid. I can walk. Just—don't touch me," she slapped away several pairs of well-intentioned hands. "I'm not sick, I'm just tired."
Entourage in tow, she walked slowly, with as much dignity as she could muster, to the elevator. It felt like it would never reach the bottom.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Maddie and her friends are on a summer mission trip with their church youth group. They've driven hundreds of miles from Nebraska to New Mexico and are spending their first evening getting to know some of the local group members. Claire, the mean girl, has already started picking on Maddie and her friend Pati. Taking a liking to one of the local boys, who doesn't even know she's alive, Claire gets annoyed when they ignore her and her clique.
"Come on, girls," Claire said. "It's obvious this riffraff don't deserve to hang around us." She got up with forced bravado. Tossing her hair, she tried to hop gracefully from the back of the pickup, but lost her balance, tipping to one side as she landed.
The others followed her reluctantly, not wanting to leave the boys behind. Claire insisted, walking into the fellowship hall as quickly as she could.
"She's gonna pee in your shampoo," Clayton said as he watched them walk away. "Or whatever it is evil bitches from hell do to get even."
"Put condoms in your purse," Maddie said.
"Or threaten to tell people you gave someone a blow job," Pati added, not thinking of her audience.
The men all perked up with that announcement.
"Do tell," Brad said quickly. "Who was the lucky guy?"
"There wasn't one. She was going to lie and say I gave one to Cl—" She snapped her lips shut, but it was too late.
"Wow, Clay—way to go, dude!" Brad and Clayton did a complicated handshake.
"Wish I could say we had," Clayton said kindly. "Cause I'm sure it would have been great. But no. Pati hasn't sucked my man juice."
Maddie, who was closer, punched him—hard. He rubbed his arm, protesting loudly.
"Damn, that hurt! What the hell? How do you know how to punch like that?"
"I have two older brothers who thought their baby sister should know how to defend herself against dweebs and perverts." She punched him again. "And their friends too."
"Stop that! I'm sticking up for her!"
"In a totally gross way," Gabriel said, watching the exchange with amusement. "Could have done without the man juice bit."
"That was a little over the top," Clayton agreed. "But I wanted it clear."
"We got it," Luis said. "No oral pleasuring transpired. Too bad, though. Cause you're one hot mama," he stated honestly.
Pati didn't know whether to be flattered or disgusted. "Thank you," she muttered. "But I don't do any of that. Ever." That was enough true confessions for one night. She wanted to leave, but wasn't going to face the girls on her own.
"Me either," Maddie said, backing up her friend. "And it's going to stay that way," she announced, glaring at the men.
They all held up their hands, holding them like Maddie had a gun on them.
"I swear, it hadn't crossed my mind," Luis said. "Well, I lied, it did. But only because I'm a guy and that's all we think about."
The others nodded, agreeing. Pati and Maddie had to laugh. They looked like bobble heads, their chins bouncing in unison.
"Is that really all you think about?" Pati asked. "I don't have any brothers to ask."
"Oh, I never ask my brothers," Maddie said. "Just like you shouldn't ask this bunch."
"Because they'll tell you," Maddie stated. "And there are some things better off not knowing."
"Like the fact I had sex with Beverly?" Daniel said.
Brad punched him. "You had to bring that up again? Are you nuts?"
"Drunk and horny," Daniel said by way of explanation.
"Wait, you drink? You're a minister's kid," Pati said.
Daniel shrugged. "We're worse than anyone, just better at hiding it."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Gina McCarthy is stuck like so many college graduates, unable to find a job in her field. She's taken a night gate guard job at a local golf course/ exclusive residential area in Daytona. One night, shortly after she starts there, someone arrives who will change her life forever.
Headlights illuminated the interior, momentarily blinding her. The driver realized the beams were on high and set them on low. The car wasn't one she knew. All of the residents' cars were high end imports. This was a vintage Cobra, dark blue with wide white stripes on the hood and roof. She couldn't see the driver clearly, but from the height, was pretty sure it was a man. The driver pulled up next to the booth, lowering the window.
His face was in shadow. All she could see what the firm jawed profile with a five o'clock shadow, and dark, wavy hair that didn't quite touch his collar. Gina could see her own reflection in the car window. Light blonde hair was pulled back in a severe bun, dark eyes holding a question.
She opened the sliding window next to her, flashlight poised. There were lights around the booth, but they didn't penetrate the shadow of most cars. Nor were they particularly good to read by. Smiling politely, she leaned out to speak. Before she could say a word, a strong, long fingered hand flicked a driver's license at her. She studied it carefully, matching the unsmiling face in the photograph with the unsmiling face in the car. He wasn't facing the window, so all she could see was his profile.
"Yeah?" he didn't look at her.
"Mr. Caputo, I need you to face me, please."
He leaned through the window, glaring at her. "Happy now?" his eyes were dark and angry.
"I apologize, sir. It's the rules."
"Baby, if I were gonna cause trouble, I wouldn't have come to the gate in an easily identifiable, vintage, muscle car."
Gina blushed, nodding her agreement. "Again, I apologize, sir. I'm new, just learning the ropes. Are you expected?"
"Not really. My mom's house is here. I'm just rolling into town, here to close out her house and settle the estate."
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr. Caputo. I didn't realize. This is only my second week."
His face softened into kind lines. "I'm just real tired. I drove about non-stop from Houston. I'm beat."
Gina was thinking, You couldn't fly? But didn't think it was her place to ask. "I need to issue you a guest pass, Mr. Caputo."
He sighed heavily, glancing at his watch. "Is this gonna take long?"
"Five minutes, if the computer cooperates. Would you like some coffee? It's only fifteen minutes old."
"I'd love some."
"How do you take it?"
"Light. Three sugars." His face softened and he half smiled. "Thanks."
She got the coffee and he turned off the car. As she filled out the paperwork, he started humming, then singing with his music. He had a great voice. His fingers tapped the steering wheel to the drum beat. It took her a moment to realize he was singing Lyin' Eyes by the Eagles. A couple minutes later, she was done with his pass. Handing it to him, she joined him on the chorus, picking up the melody as he sang harmony. When the song ended, Zane Caputo was actually smiling.
"Not a bad voice for a security officer," he chuckled.
"Thanks. Not a bad voice for...whatever it is you do."
"I run a couple hotels. My real love is music, but my old man had other ideas. How about you? Surely this isn't your dream job?"
"No. I didn't grow up telling myself I wanted to guard snooty rich people. I got downsized from my last job. This was available."
Zane yawned loudly, apologizing with a sad smile.
"I'm keeping you up, Mr. Caputo. I'm sorry. Do you know the way to your mother's house?"
He tapped the dashboard. "GPS."
"Just a word of warning. Some of the streets here don't scan right. It might send you left when you should go right. If you don't find the house, go the other way. You can dial the gate if you need directions." Gina gave him a card with the number.
"Thanks for the tip. I've had that happen before. Irritating as shit."
"Sorry about your mom—and everything." She gestured vaguely at their surroundings.
"Not your fault. Thanks for the coffee and the chorus."
"Good night, Mr. Caputo."
"Good morning, Officer...?"
"Officer Gina." He winked as she raised the gate.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Brand New Day is a step in a slightly different direction for me. It's a story about young love, heartbreak and loss. Believe it or not, it does have a happy ending, but it takes awhile. It follows the journey of Janet and Diego, who fall in love as teenagers, but life takes them very different directions – not the least of which is the nature of Diego's job, covert ops for the military. He's just come back into Janet's life after being gone for almost a decade. Unfortunately, their reunion is short lived.
Slinging back the door, Diego got even angrier. Three people he hoped he'd never see again, stood on the porch. Diego was frowzy and disheveled from their love making. The three men knew they'd disturbed something, but they politely said nothing. The leader, a man who looked like he could break a tree in half with his pinky, walked past Diego and into the living room.
"Don't mind me, Colonel," Diego growled. "But you're trespassing in the lady's home."
"Wanna press charges, kid? Go right ahead and call," the man said calmly, smiling.
Diego refused to be dragged into a conflict. "What do you want, Colonel? I left the game. I'm done."
"You were, until now. Your country needs you."
"You played that card all ready!" Diego yelled. "I gave you seven years, and almost gave my life. It kept me from the woman I love. Now, I've got her back. We're building a life...."
"Those men who held you had friends," the colonel said with a menacing glower. "Friends who will track you down and kill you and your happy life. They're in this country looking for you. We came to give you the means to even the score."
Janet came out of the bedroom and stood beside Diego. He took her hand, drawing her close, slightly behind him as if to protect her from the large, angry man.
"Revenge? You came at me with revenge? "That's pathetic, Coffey. Even for you."
Colonel Lane Coffey eyed him grimly. "They want you dead. Only they won't just kill you. They'll kill your pretty, little woman, after they do unspeakable things to her body—while you're forced to watch. If you're lucky, it ends there. But you've got family next door. A beautiful sister, three darling little kids, a crippled father, an aging mother...."
"Enough!" Diego roared. "You've made your point, Lane. You want me back. You want me to track these guys down and bring them in."
Colonel Coffey said nothing, shifting from foot to foot uneasily.
"I see. It's like that, huh?"
Janet stepped closer, her arms circling his waist. "What's going on? What does he mean?"
"He wants me to hunt down some people and kill them," he replied coldly.
"And no one's better at that than you, Diego," Colonel Coffey said with a nasty grin.
Diego's dark eyes flashed and Janet got the impression that the man he most wanted to kill was his superior.
"If I find out this is a ploy to get me back, there won't be a safe hole to shit in." Diego took a step closer to the colonel, slipping out of Janet's embrace. He leaned in so his face was mere inches from Coffey's. "You said yourself, no one's as good as me."
"You're threatening me in front of witnesses, Hernandez."
"They don't hear a thing," Diego flung the statement into the room.
The other men paled. Janet got the impression the threat extended to them.
Colonel Coffey shook himself, squaring shoulders. "Get your things, Hernandez. We need to go."
"I'll go when I'm ready, Coffey. You're dragging me back in the game, you'll give me the time to say goodbye. I'll see you here tomorrow morning at nine o'clock. Not a second before."
Coffey tried to protest, but decided against it. He and his men left without another word.
Janet flew into Diego's arms. "You can't leave me again!"
"I have to find these guys, babe. If what Coffey says is true, none of us are safe."
"And if he's lying? They may not be here—they may never find you!"
"If they weren't a real threat, Coffey would never have come."
"He hates you!"
"No.... If those men take me again...."
"You can handle it."
"I almost broke," he told her in an agonized voice. "They did things to me no man should have to endure. And I lived. I don't know how, but I did. I can't let them do that again."
"What about me?"
"I'll be back," he promised. "You can't get rid of me."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
BrandNew Day is available in its entirety in the First Issue of MJMagazine compiled and edited by Fran Lewis
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Frank Atherton works as the assistant director at a large retirement complex. He's staying in one of the guest rooms at the facility, to keep an eye on the son of one of the residents, who is causing trouble. Frank has just seen a short interview on the in-house TV station, with the new staff psychologist, Marka Ventimiglia and is somewhat surprised when she shows up at his door.
Someone knocked at his door. Thinking it might be someone about Mr. Penwarren, he groaned quietly as he stood up.
"Be right there!" he called. He dropped his plate in the kitchen sink and went to the door. "What's he done now?" he asked automatically as he opened it.
It wasn't Sue or one of the other staff members. An attractive brunette stood there.
"I'm sorry? Who did what?"
"Oh, no one you'd know. Frank Atherton, Assistant Director. I just saw you on TV." He held out his hand after wiping it on his T-shirt.
She smiled. "Marka Ventimiglia. Nice to meet you. I feel really stupid asking, but yours is the only room with a light on. I took a chance that someone was up."
He invited her in. She hesitated a moment, then followed him inside.
"What can I do for you?"
"I'm embarrassed to ask. I'm staying in a guest room and I'm out of toilet paper."
"Really? No spare?" he was puzzled by that. "The girls usually put it under the sink."
He walked to his restroom. It was quite spacious, with a tub and a separate, walk-in shower. He opened the sink and didn't find a spare paper under there. Checking all the cupboards, he came up empty.
"That's weird. Gimme a second." He dialed housekeeping but got no answer, so he dialed the front desk. "Sue, it's Frank."
"Hi, Frank. All's quiet at the moment. Whatcha need?"
"Dr. Ventimiglia is with me and she hasn't got a spare roll of toilet paper. Neither do I."
"Oh, gosh. You want me to run some up there?"
"No, you don't need to. Is Kathy around?"
"She should be. Shall I call her?"
"I just tried. I'll call her again. Thanks." He dialed the housekeeping office a second time. No one answered. Puzzled, he hung up.
"I'll try later," he told his guest. "Do you need some immediately?"
She looked slightly uncomfortable. "As a matter of fact...."
"Please, make yourself at home. There's a nearly full roll." He gestured to his restroom. "Want some coffee?"
"Love some. I'm a caffeine addict. I also drink a lot of water. Hence the urgency." Marka closed the door behind her.
Frank set up a pot of coffee, pulled out the half and half and sugar packets. She came out just as the coffee finished.
Smiling, he served Marka, inviting her to sit on the love seat. His laptop occupied the chair. He set it carefully on the floor and clicked off the TV.
"I'll give Kathy a call again a minute," he explained. "She might be on break."
"Thanks. I'm still learning my way around. I got here yesterday."
"I caught your show tonight. Interesting. You should get a good turn out. I'll talk it up for you."
"You wouldn't believe the success I had when I was doing my clinical," she responded excitedly. "It was amazing, the results!" she sobered slightly, catching herself before she got too crazy. "I won't bore you with details. You'll have to excuse me, Mr. Atherton. I get very excited about my work."
He smiled, eyes twinkling. "I'm glad one of us can. I'm either playing nursemaid, mother or cop. I never thought I'd have a job like this. None of my duties were in the job description."
"The director, Mr. Norton, speaks very highly of you."
Frank laughed abruptly and rather rudely as he finished his coffee. "Yeah? Boy, that was lie. He thinks I want his job."
He couldn't tell if she was serious or not. Looking surprised, he set his mug down. "Not really. Too much schmoozing."
"Isn't that in your job description?"
Frank laughed, shaking his head. "I'm not a schmoozer. I'm more of an in your face kind of guy."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Wil and Matilda lead an expedition to Iyundo, a remote and nearly forgotten planet far from known space. To their surprise, the Galactic Marine ship, Hannibal, also arrives with Aisulov, head of the Galactic Committee on board. Knowing that they have to follow John Riley, to stop his diabolical scheming, they realize they will need the help of the Marines. This necessitates talking to Chairman Asilov, who isn't known for his affability. In fact, the Vandaran tends to play political games in order to gain advantage over his opponents. He hasn't counted on Wil.
Aisulov liked long, uncomfortable silences. He wanted to see how people handled them. Some grew very agitated. He noted his observations without betraying any emotion in his face.
Slatterly looked annoyed. The woman was harder to read, but she was mildly uncomfortable in his presence. VanLipsig was an enigma—his face and eyes showing nothing except what he wanted Aisulov to see.
Slatterly was an open book, with all his emotion in his face and mannerisms. It was obvious to Aisulov, however, that the Guild captain didn't care what was thought of him. He got the impression that the man could be quite unreadable if he wanted to be.
The woman must be regarded very beautiful among her own kind. Aisulov saw characteristics that he knew most humans considered desirable. His eyes lingered appreciatively on her breasts, allowing a slight leer. It was a terrible breach of protocol, but he wanted to gauge her husband's reaction.
Matilda's gaze dropped to Aisulov's lap, lingered there a moment, and traveled back to his face. A slight raising of the right eyebrow communicated volumes. Captain VanLipsig intended for him to know that she was completely unimpressed with his attributes.
Oh, she's good, that one. She plays the game like a man.
Wil said nothing, sizing up Aisulov with a blank expression. He saw a politician who liked to play mind games. It amused him, but he didn't show it. Aisulov must think they were all below him intellectually. It was a characteristic of the Vandaran people to underestimate the intellect of their human contacts. Wil had used that to his advantage in negotiations many times. Aisulov might have heard stories about him, but he hadn't heard everything or he wouldn't now be playing games.
Silent Time was an age old technique for someone who wanted to establish himself as the one in charge and give him the upper hand in negotiations. Wil could play the game as well as Aisulov, so he waited, sitting unruffled in his seat, gazing at the old moose as intensely as he himself was perused.
Marc looked like a thunder cloud. Wil knew he was annoyed with Aisulov's game, but he also knew Marc to be playing a game of his own. They'd done this often enough from the age of ten or so. It was their form of "good cop and bad cop." Marc played the overly excitable, hot tempered, agitated fellow who's impatient and ready to explode.
Wil sat quietly, sizing up the situation, coming in for the kill when the other party was occupied with Marc. It had done them in good stead many times and it was interesting to see that they still fell into the old pattern. It felt right, like a comfortable chair and well worn boots.
One last lingering look at the woman, and Aisulov swiveled his chair abruptly, facing VanLipsig. He'd tried everything he could think of to make the fellow drop his guard or show a chink in his armor. So far, nothing. Aisulov could be subtle, but he was beginning to think the man was too stupid for sophisticated techniques. He changed tactics.
"Tell me, Colonel, how is it that a man of your skills and reputation has allowed a toadying sycophant like Riley to slip through his fingers three times now? I should have thought a man like you would've captured him or at the very least killed him by now. Yet, here we sit." His broad gesture encompassed the entire universe.
Wil allowed himself a tight smile that didn't reach his eyes. He knew Aisulov was trying to embarrass him, which he found most amusing. He might have told the old man to save his breath, but it would be a waste of his own.
Aisulov liked long pauses, so did Wil. He waited a full minute before replying. His face betrayed nothing, he spoke in an even, modulated voice, his gestures and words chosen with care. He shifted in his chair, leaning back and sliding down slightly. His lackadaisical attitude was intended to mildly offend Aisulov and he could see a flicker of annoyance in the old Vandaran's face.
"It's true, Riley got away from me three times. However, I put it to you, Your Honor, how many other men would've gotten this far in the pursuit?"
Aisulov was decidedly uncomfortable. He didn't answer for a little while. When it was obvious that Wil expected a reply, he muttered. "None, Colonel, as we both know."
Wil nodded, spreading his hands in a gesture of openness and honesty.
"I further put it to you, Your Honor, what other man could possibly track him better than I? While it is true he got away again, this time incorporating an ages old device, unused for millennia, I believe I know his destination. In fact, my wife had the forethought to download information from the console before it was consumed by flames. At no small risk to herself, I might add."
Wil paused again, waiting for Aisulov to make all the appropriate noises of gratitude. To have to thank a woman was decidedly beneath his position, but humans considered their females equals. He had played the game so far, he must continue to do so. He thanked her as briefly as was polite.
Matilda inclined her head respectfully, but didn't give him the added honor of cocking her head to the right as she should have to one whom she considered an equal.
Aisulov was incensed, but decided she simply wasn't familiar with the customs of his people. He overlooked the slight, but at the same time, it rankled.
Matilda smiled to herself. Having dealt once or twice with Vandarans, she was perfectly aware she'd insulted him. Let the old boy cook in his own juice. Stare at her breasts and leer, would he? She could play the game almost as well as Marc could. She hadn't come this far in her career by the age of 28, not to have learned a thing or two. Wil glanced at her and she caught a millisecond of a twinkle in his eye.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Be sure to join the fun on Dellani's Tea Time - Monday, March 13 at 4:00 PM EDT when Dellani and Christina welcome Livy Broussard, Mauareen Larter and Savannah Verte to the show. All these ladies are new to the show, so let's welcome them and show them a good time! If you can't join us live, the link will take you to the podcast recording later!
Livy Broussard has a website, The Fire Breathing Bunny, devoted to surviving eating disorders, as well as being the author of creative non-fiction.
MaureenLarter joins us from New South Wales. She is the author of several children's books like Candy Cow and the Caterpillar or Broken Wing; Book 1 of the Fairies of Aurora. She also has a variety of Simple Gardening Guides.
SavannahVerte is a paranormal and fanstasy author whose books include Sultry & Sinful, Book of Time, CASE Revelations and more!
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Have you ever met a person who has boundless energy, is full of joy, compassion and talks non-stop? Meet Cullen Fellowes. I introduced him in a book called The Best Medicine (not yet published). He was meant to be a minor character who comes in, meets his brother's girlfriend and then takes a back seat.
There is only one thing Cullen likes to do in the back seat, and that's—sing. You thought I was going to say something else, didn't you? Well, he probably does that too. He's handsome, charming, disarming—and a rock star. He will hit on every woman he meets, because that's just the way he is. He'd probably be shocked if they all said yes, though enough of them do that he's always got companionship. I can't really describe Cullen effectively. He's like no other character I've ever met.
The non-authors out there will think I'm crazy, I know my husband does. I tell him that characters introduce themselves, start talking, develop personalities and take over the scene. This is Cullen to the hilt. He has no off switch, says whatever he thinks, comes in like a hurricane – then he hops up on stage and starts singing. I fell in love with Cullen when I first met him, and every time I encounter him, I fall for him again. Because of his dynamic personality, I've used him in a variety of books since introducing him in The Best Medicine. I offered to write his story, but he doesn't want that. He'd rather give glimpses into his life through his encounters with others. One day, he might settle down, but for now, he's Cullen the Rock Star—handsome, charming, single – with no off switch.
Below is the scene that started it all. Morgan and Tanya are both doctors and work at the same hospital. When she collapses from exhaustion one day in the doctor's lounge, Morgan comes to her rescue. He invites her to dinner that same night, and introduces her to Cullen.
The band took a short break and came out onto the deck for a smoke. The singer walked over and sat down in front of them. Cullen Fellowes was tall and dark haired like his brother, but his eyes held a wariness she didn't see in Morgan's. He smiled warmly, snagged a home fry off his brother's plate and ordered a beer with a toss of his head at the bar. Molly brought over a draft beer, checked their rum runners and went back to the bar.
"Hi," he said quietly, holding out his hand. "I'm Cullen."
"I'm Tanya," she replied, wiping her hand on her napkin before shaking his hand. "You guys are good," she said between bites. "I like the intricacies of your music and the diametric styles you've brought together. It really works. Not what I normally listen to, but I'd buy an album." She grinned at his surprised expression.
"Morph, who is this amazing woman and why is she with you and not me?"
"Because I saw her first, baby bro. Besides, you're too young for her."
"Speak for yourself, I like older women! They have more class and you can have an educated conversation with them. I always thought Vanessa was damn hot...."
A look from Morgan quelled him.
"Excuse me," Tanya said irritably. "I am here, you know, and semi-involved in this conversation. I think you need to know we just met and I'm not dating your brother. It's a friendly dinner between colleagues. As to my age, you've no idea how old I am, so could we drop that part of the conversation?"
The men looked at one another sheepishly. Morgan frowned, tight lipped at his younger brother. He shook his head slightly and went back to his meal.
"Morgan is reminding me to use my manners," Cullen replied sullenly. "He's always telling me I'll be the only rock star who never gets laid because I keep putting my foot in my mouth."
Morgan cleared his throat pointedly. Cullen looked at him again and dropped his eyes to the table, his ears and neck reddening.
"I'm sorry, I did it again. Perhaps I should just go back on stage. I don't make quite so big an ass of myself there." He rose to leave.
"It's okay," Tanya said. "I've been feeling rather like the whole family is traipsing around like the Lord of the Dance and I'm the one person in the audience who doesn't know Michael Flatley."
Cullen laughed, throwing his head back as he threw himself back into the chair. "Oh, God, Morgan! Where did you find this woman and can I possibly steal her from you? Jesus, she's refreshing! You two really must have just met if you don't know about Vanessa."
"Cullen, why don't you go back on stage?" Morgan's voice held an edge. He was getting angry with his brother.
"God, Morgan, calm down, would you? Can't I even say her name without you having a shit fit?" His voice became taunting like a little child. "Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa."
"Cullen," it was Molly this time. "Your break's over, go back on stage. The band's waiting."
"Join us in a set, Morph?" Cullen hardly seemed to realize he'd nearly caused World War III.
"Not tonight, Cull. I've got to see the lady home soon. She's had a long day."
"K. Nice to meet you, Tanya."
He kissed her hand and left for the stage, hopping up as the band began their introduction. He slid to a halt in the middle of the stage and grabbed the microphone, singing without missing a beat.
So far, Cullen has made an appearance in 15 of my books. He's been mentioned in 6. Maybe one day he'll want his story to be told, but until then, I'll leave you with this quote, which Cullen told me: “You don't need to tell my story, babe. It will just make all the women wet and all the men jealous.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Asher Wilkinson is an actor in an improvisation group that performs at a local club. He's not been having a very good night and, in a fit of anger, admits he'd fantasized about a three-way with one of the actresses, Katie and his then girlfriend, Sallie. Katie is now engaged to his friend, Riker. Misunderstandings ensue.
CAUTION – STRONG LANGUAGE
Alone, Asher headed out to the parking lot. Riker met him there, leaning against Asher's car, smoking. Sensing trouble, he stopped a yard away, readjusting his bag to get it out of his way.
"So, you're lusting after for my fiancée."
"One time, that's it. Before you two were even together."
"I was with Katie the whole time you and Sallie were together."
Raising an eyebrow, Asher spread his hands, sauntering closer. Pent up sexual tension, an argument with the women and another with Hansel, he was spoiling for a fight.
"Didn't say that," he replied. "Before you got with Kate, I had her—first." Asher shoved his friend's chest, knocking Riker back a step.
Riker's knuckles went white, his fists clenched. "You're a liar! Katie would have told me if she'd made it with you."
"Like you told her all about Manky Marissa?" Asher laughed, taunting the other man.
Riker led with his left, his swing wide and badly timed. Asher ducked, grabbing Riker's arm as it passed over his head. A short scuffle followed and Riker was face down on the hood of Asher's car.
"Never attack me in anger," Asher growled.
Riker wriggled, trying to get free. "When the hell else am I gonna hit you, f**khead?"
"You're my friend, which is why I'm not breaking your arm." Asher leaned close, his mouth an inch from Riker's ear. "I'm not apologizing for screwing Kate. I'm not apologizing for thinking of a three-way. I am apologizing for wanting to break your neck for being a f**ktard. Got it?" He pressed Riker's face onto the hood.
"Yeah, got it." Riker's voice was muffled from the hand and the hood.
"Don't come at me again. I can kill you." Asher let his friend up.
Riker wiped drool off his face. "You're f**ked up, man. Like totally crazy. No wonder you liked Marissa. Both of you are f**king nuts!"
"You wanna stop talking now," Asher said quietly. "And you wanna step off."
Riker knew better than to push his luck. He walked around the car next to Asher's, putting a ton of metal between them.
"This isn't over."
"Yes, it is." Asher got in his car and drove off. He saw Riker in his rearview, dialing his phone.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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