Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Join us LIVE TODAY, February 28 from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog TalkRadio, or listen to the recording at your convenience.
It's that time of year again, when we gather to celebrate the birthday of Tirgearr Publishing! The Ireland based began on February 29 – since we don't have those very often, we get as close as we may.
Join Christina and Dellani when they welcome Publisher Kemberlee Shortland to the show. Also on will be authors Sue Coletta, Susan Clayton-Goldner and Tegon Maus.
Authors will chat, and read from one (or possibly more) of their books. If we're lucky, we'll be able to persuade Kemberlee to read, too!
Be sure to tune in for this fun filled show, and hear more about the Tirgearr Birthday Bash Celebration in March!
Hard to believe that it's been six years since Tirgearr Publishing opened its doors. Brainchild of author Kemberlee Shortland, Tirgearr is an Irish press which produces predominantly e-books. I've been a happy member of Tirgearr since the fall of 2012 and am proud to still be part of this wonderful company. Guests on the show will be Author and Publisher Kemberlee Shortland, and authors.
Kemberlee Shortland is the publisher as well as author of The Irish Pride Series, A B Cs of S-E-X, The Carmel Charmers Series and more. She will be on the show from start to finish and will be announcing the fun filled events for the Tirgearr Publishing, a Birthday Bash to remember!
Sue Coletta is the author of the psychological thrillers, Marred, and Cleaved. Sue will chat with us from 4:20 - 4:40 EST
Susan Clayton-Goldner is the author of murder mysteries, Redemption Lake, A River of Silence, When Time is a River and A Bend in the Willow. Susan will chat with us from 4:40 - 5:00 EST
Tegon Maus author of fantasy novels, The Gift, Machines of the Little People, The Wishing Stone, Service Before Self, Bob, and My Grandfather's Pants. Tegon will chat with us from 5:00 - 5:20 EST
Join us LIVE TODAY, February 28 from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog TalkRadio, or listen to the recording at your convenience.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Moira Crane is a high school English teacher who is having a very bad day. At school, she makes all the students put their phones in a bin, and adds hers, at their request. When she passes them back out, hers is missing. Highly distressed, she reports the phone to the company, but also goes to the police. (It's a very expensive phone and was a gift) It's not so much the phone, as the pictures on it, of her stepdaughter. She's no longer with the girl's father, who was an abusive, reprehensible man. Leaving the station, she meets someone new.
Trying to find a tissue, she dropped her keys on the pavement. Tears nearly blinded her as she groped for them. A shadow fell across her and she looked up.
"Are you all right, Miss?" He squatted next to her, picking the keys up for her.
"Not really." She took the proffered keys. "Thank you."
The man stood, holding out his hand to help her rise. He was about six feet tall, built like a swimmer with broad shoulders and muscular thighs. His gray eyes had a silver cast to them. His dark blond hair was close cropped, like a military cut. He wore a gray straw hat that would have looked ridiculous and affected on most men. On him, it looked comfortable and natural. The color matched his eyes.
"Are you sure? Can I help you?"
"I just filled out my papers." She gestured vaguely toward the door. "Someone stole my phone." She burst into tears again.
The man pulled a clean, linen handkerchief from his pocket. It coordinated with his light gray suit and purple tie.
Moira dabbed her eyes. Her makeup in ruins, she didn't want to stain the handkerchief. She handed it back to the man. He wiped gently at her face, his fingers under her trembling chin.
"Come inside," he said softly. "We'll chat."
"You're very kind, but the woman said an officer would call if he wanted to speak to me."
"Well, he does." He grinned, flipping aside his jacket. A badge glittered on his belt. "Detective Rhys Fletcher. Come inside, Miss—?" He left the sentence hanging, waiting for her to supply a name.
"Crane. Moira Crane."
"Come inside, Moira. Let's see if we can get to the bottom of this for you."
"Thank you. I don't want to waste your time. It's just a cellphone."
He gazed at her, an unreadable expression on his face. "It's more than just a phone, isn't it?"
How did he know that? How could he look right into her soul and know the pain this caused her?
Detective Fletcher held the door for her and she walked in ahead of him. She could feel his eyes on her. Normally, having a man ogle her that openly, would have embarrassed her, but she found she didn't mind.
Lois buzzed them in. Fletcher held the heavy security door for Moira, following her quickly through. He led her to a small office a few feet away. The desk was neat, although there were files and papers stacked around on every available surface.
"Sorry for the mess. They're repairing my usual office. Had a water pipe burst. So I'm stuck in the file room. They're in the process of converting to paperless." He held up a file, pulling a silly, sad-clown face.
Moira smiled. "I thought maybe you were just incredibly busy and awfully disorganized."
"Me?" Fletcher tossed his hat on a rack near the desk. "Neat as a pin. Ask Lois." He nodded to the woman outside.
"Don't listen to him, he's a slob. They're all slobs," the older woman laughed.
"Thanks. Make me look bad in front of the lady." Rhys invited Moira to take the only chair in the office. He perched on the edge of his desk, one well sculpted thigh slung over the corner.
In the small, windowless room, Moira could smell his cologne. It was dusky, spicy and tingled her nostrils. An uncomfortable warmth filled her. She shifted in the chair.
"I know it's a little cozy in here. I'm sorry." He shifted too.
Moira got the strong impression she had the same effect on him that he had on her.
"So, tell me what's wrong, Miss Crane."
Moira told him about what had happened in class and her actions afterward. Fletcher nodded, pressing his lips together.
"So, you don't think any of your students could have done this?"
"Maybe, as a joke. None would do it seriously—at least I hope not."
"Could it have been taken by mistake?"
Moira shook her head. "I doubt it. My phone case is very distinctive and childish. My ex-boyfriend's daughter gave it to me for my birthday. She's five."
Moira gulped, her eyes watering again. She pulled out a crumpled tissue from the stack Lois had given her, smiling when Fletcher's handkerchief appeared in front of her. Laughing, she took the handkerchief.
"I'm sorry, I got mascara on it." She handed it back to him.
Fletcher tossed it aside with a smile. "That's what I pay the maid for. I can't guarantee we'll get the phone back. If it was stolen, it's probably been sold off by now. But you did the right thing by contacting the phone company."
"It's the pictures," she wailed. "I don't have copies of them. I know I should have saved them—"
"But you don't think about that," he said quietly. "Not with something as precious and spontaneous."
He sounded so subdued, Moira stared at him. She never tried to read people she'd just met. Sometimes, their emotions were so obvious, she couldn't help it. The pain radiating off him was intense. He'd lost someone he loved dearly—and the pain was recent. Moira's fingers brushed his hand before she could stop it. She got a flash of a grave—no, two. One adult sized and one very small one.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered. "It must be quite awful to lose your family."
Rhys Fletcher recoiled from her touch, jumping off the edge of the desk. He knocked his lamp to the floor in his attempt to get away. The bulb shattered on the tile floor.
"Who are you? Did he send you?"
"What are you doing in there, Rhys Fletcher?" Lois called from her desk. "If you break another lamp...."
"Sorry. My fault," Moira called.
Moira stooped to pick up the lamp. Her long, sable hair cascaded over her shoulder. Their eyes met when she stood up. Fletcher's were dark, penetrating, glaring at her.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I didn't mean to pry. It's just—I sense things. I know it sounds all freakish, but when I touched you, I saw graves. Your wife and child?"
"Who are you, Miss Crane?"
"I'm an English teacher at the high school."
Fletcher signed, running his hands over his close cropped hair. "I'm sorry, Miss Crane." He adjusted his shirt sleeves, tugging at the cuffs. "It wasn't my wife and child. It was my sister and her daughter." He set the lamp well out of his way and sat on the desk once more. "I apologize. I'm naturally suspicious."
"You asked if he sent me. No one sent me, Detective Fletcher. I'm here about my phone."
"Of course. If I haven't completely blown any chance in hell I had of getting to know you better, would you like to go to dinner?"
Moira's eyes widened. "What?"
"Dinner." He eyed her calmly, smiling.
"Like a date?"
"Yes." He folded his hands in his lap, waiting.
Moira crossed her legs, twitching hair behind her ear. She couldn't read any deception in his face. He really wanted to ask her out. If the feelings she got from him early on were any indication, he was genuinely interested in her. In fact, she suspected this conversation was brought on less by him being a police officer and more about being a man.
"Are you married?" Her eyes narrowed.
"Lois, am I married?"
The older woman didn't even look up from what she was typing. "Nope, more's the pity."
"Am I dating anyone?" He winked at Moira, knowing that would be her next question.
"There's not a woman alive who would put up with you long enough." She smiled up at him. "Is that young whelp asking you out?" she directed at Moira.
"Well, he's not completely untrainable, but you'll have your hands full. He's better than most and not as bad as some others. Go for it." She waved at them. "With my blessing. Now, leave me be. I have work."
"You have the Lois Seal of Approval," Fletcher said. "What more can you ask for?"
Moira laughed. "I guess I can't ask for anything more. Okay, I'd love to have dinner. I need to go home and fix my face."
"I'll pick you up at seven."
"Don't you need my address for that?"
He picked up her paperwork, grinning as he waved it at her. "I've got it right here. All your most intimate details."
"If you weren't a cop, that would be a really pervy thing to admit," Moira said, her lips twitching as she tried to hide a smile.
"Moi?" He pointed to himself with both index fingers. "Not a perverted bone in my body," he said as he walked her out.
"You're a man, aren't you?" Lois said, without looking up. "You're all perverts."
"Well. Put that way.... At seven?"
"Yes. And thank you, Detective Fletcher."
He kissed her hand. "Rhys, please. I promise that dinner isn't part of our usual customer service."
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Gemma meets Kendrick by chance, and he asks her out. Desperately wanting to paint her portrait, he invites her to his studio. He isn't as interested in dating her so much as capturing her essence on the canvas. When Gemma meets his roommate, Vik, there is an instant attraction. Unfortunately, they aren't able to deny their attraction and Kendrick finds them kissing in Vik's studio. He goes somewhat crazy and beats up Vik. This scene takes place in the hospital when Vik is being released.
“You can go ahead and call your driver at any time,” Dr. Hennasy said with a smile. “I'll get the paperwork rolling.”
“Thank you so much,” Gemma said.
“We're going to miss you,” Dr. Hennasy said. “Not because we like you or anything, Vik. We're going to miss Minerva's treats.”
Giggling, she scuttled out as he hurled one of his pillows at her. Laughing, he lay down once more.
“Ow, that hurt. I should know better than to throw pillows at my doctor.”
“But isn't that what they're for? The doctors, and the pillows,” Gemma said as she picked it up.
Vik chuckled. “They are indeed. I say that a day hasn't really started well unless one is able to hurl at least one pillow at an unsuspecting medical professional.”
“Doctors aren't as much fun to bean as nurses,” Gemma said, putting the pillow at the end of the bed. “But nurses are generally quicker.”
Holding his ribs, Vik laughed softly. “Oh, fuck that hurts!”
“I guess laughter isn't the best medicine for a man with cracked ribs, hm? We'll make sure that the level of jocularity is kept at a minimum.”
“Jocularity,” Vik chuckled. “Yeah, that'll happen.”
James arrived about forty minutes later, trailing water from his great coat. “I had to park in east hell,” he complained. “The old man with the cart wouldn't give me a ride. He said I was fully fit and able to walk.”
“Bastard,” Vik said. “What do they pay the old arse for if not to pick people up?”
“I think he was beating it,” James said, with a none to subtle hand gesture. “Can't be sure as the drapes were drawn.”
“Ew!” Gemma said.
“Sorry, Miss. You'll have to forgive us menfolk. We can't be trusted in public.”
“Or private,” Vik added.
“Nor there,” James agreed. “Are we about out of here?”
“Just need to sign the papers,” Vik said.
“I'll tromp back down to get the car, then,” James said with a sign. “I tried calling, but you didn't answer. That's the only reason I schlepped up here.”
Gemma looked at her phone only to realize it was completely dead. “I forgot to charge it last night. I'm so sorry, James.”
“Not a problem, Miss. I'll be back,” he said in a good imitation of Arnold.
“I need to get dressed,” Vik said. “I can't do this myself.”
“I can help,” Gemma said.
Vik's head popped up, his lips clamped shut. “Uh, no. I have no boxers on. Not inviting you to that party at this stage of the game.”
Gemma giggled as he blushed. “I'll get someone.”
“Preferably a male someone,” Vik called after her.
A few minutes later, Gemma came back with an orderly. He gladly helped Vik get dressed while Gemma waited in the hallway. He opened the door, propping it open when he left. Vik sat on the bed fully clothed. He patted the bed next to him.
“I can't wait to get home and shower. Sponge bathes are okay, but they aren't that much fun.”
“Oh, I think I could give you a great sponge bath,” Gemma teased.
“You can't say things like that if I'm going to be celibate the next few weeks,” Vik said. “I have some self-control, but an invitation like that gets my imagination pumping. And I have a hell of a good imagination,” he whispered, leaning toward her.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, February 15, 2018
One of my most favorite characters came into a story as a minor character. I expected him to be the friendly, comforting police officer who walked in, did his thing and left. He didn't do that. Instead, Jasper Waters damn near took over the book! But that's because he's the kind of man who is somewhat larger than life, and has a full blown Sir Galahad Complex. (You'll find that many of my male characters do.) He takes his duty to Protect and Serve very seriously – particularly the protect part.
When things get hairy for the female lead, Amanda Bitterson, in New at Love, Jasper comes to the rescue once again. Unfortunately, he's got competition for Amanda's affections in the form of Derrick Butler. It doesn't stop Jasper from developing a little crush. (Don't worry, he gets his own woman in Conduct Unbecoming.)
Jasper is in at least 14 of my books, but I can't be 100% sure, because I don't always write his name on the cast list. Here's a scene from New at Love, which illustrates why I love Jasper so much. Amanda and Derrick have an argument, based on a complete misunderstanding. She gets angry, and he leaves abruptly. Jasper calls to check on her and finds her in tears. To help her calm down, he invites her to breakfast.
"So, what happened between you and Derrick?" Jasper asked casually, but there was more to the question than he was letting on.
"A silly argument. It's my fault for not understanding," Amanda replied.
"Don't blame yourself. There's always two sides to every conflict."
"On my side, there were a lot of misconceptions and assumptions. My interpretation of his actions was based on a variety of bad relationships. I thought he was acting like all those other guys and he wasn't."
"Bummer," Jasper didn't sound nearly as upset as he was trying to. "And what were these misconceptions and assumptions? If you don't mind me asking."
"That he just wanted to get in my pants and then leave me."
"That's happened to you?" He sounded shocked. "How could any guy do that to someone like you?"
"Not so much the getting in the pants part," she admitted with an embarrassed blush. "The leaving part. I'm a pro at that."
"So they don't love you and leave you? They just leave?"
"When I try to make it clear that they aren't getting into my pants, that's when they leave."
"Ooh...." He looked at her with a totally different expression. "So, Derrick tried to get more friendly than you wanted?"
"Not really, no. That's the assumption part. I read him totally wrong."
"So he didn't try to take advantage?"
"No. I'm not making any sense, am I?"
Jasper laughed, taking a sip of his coffee. "Not a lot, no."
"Okay, let me go over events and see if that clarifies it for you."
She told him what had happened that morning between her and Derrick. Jasper nodded, listening politely as she talked.
"So I drove him away. I've totally ruined a great relationship with a wonderful guy because I'm an idiot."
"Did you try apologizing? Just a suggestion." He held up his hands like she was holding a gun on him.
"I didn't have the chance. He drove away before I could get outside."
"Phone?" He held his thumb and finger up by his ear like a play phone. "I bet those two little words, I'm sorry, would go a long way right now."
"What if he's still angry? What if he won't forgive me?"
"My grandmother would say, what if doesn't pay the bills. Amanda, speaking from the perspective of a man who's been on the hard side of an argument, I think you should call him. I think you'll find him receptive to an apology."
"Why would he be?"
"Because if he's not, he's an idiot of the first order. He probably forgave you before he'd even driven away."
"How do you know that?"
"Because I would have." He attacked his food like it had threatened him with bodily harm. He didn't look at her for several minutes as he concentrated on his food. "Look." He set his fork down. "I'm not going to pretend that I'm not attracted to you. I see this from his perspective and I know why he left. He doesn't see any way to convince you that he's not what you think. He seems like a good guy, Amanda. Not every man would have stayed the night in the first place. Any guy who's only interested in bedding you would have used your fear to his advantage. Derrick didn't do that."
"Why are you taking his side?"
"I have no idea. Really, I kind of hoped you two would break up so I could ask you out."
Amanda was so shocked, her mouth fell open. "What? So this whole friendly breakfast thing was your attempt to get in my pants?"
He set his glass of orange juice down with a click. "Can I explain a few things about men so you know where both of us stand? You've obviously been burned a few times by real dicks. Okay, I accept that. Please, don't judge all men by the dweeb squad standards, okay? Some of us are actually gentlemen who take more than five minutes to get to know a girl. Like for instance, if this was dinner instead of breakfast, I wouldn't take you home and try to screw your brains out on the first date. Give me a few dates, yeah, I'm gonna try. By that time you'd have made up your mind how far you were going to let me go, and I'd have a pretty good idea of my limitations."
"So, what are you telling me?" She looked completely confused.
Jasper sighed a little, scratching his ear. "I'm telling you that Derrick and I are just a couple of red blooded, heterosexual males who see a gorgeous woman we'd like to get to know better. Believe me, if you weren't already involved with him, I'd try to kiss you myself."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Jed McMurtry has moved into his cousin, Teague's old house. His neighbor, Millie, has recently lost her husband. Cora, her granddaughter, has moved in with Millie, to keep an eye on her. She tells Jed that he looks a lot like her grandfather.
Cora found a picture album in the hutch by the table. She opened a page to show a happy, young couple. Jed did strongly resemble Bear, except that his hair was far lighter than the older man's. Identical dimples and a cleft in the chin, greeted him from the page. Bear's eyes, he knew, were a light aquamarine, where his were sapphire blue. The similarity was startling.
"He was twenty when they married and she was barely eighteen. Childhood sweethearts," Cora said. "She knew she wanted to marry him when she was ten and he was twelve. Only one man, her entire life. They adored one another."
"You wonder why we can't find a love like that, don't you? I can't tell you how many women have come and gone. None of that magic."
"I know," Cora said, touching the picture tenderly. "I want magic."
Jed leaned toward her, taking her face in his hands. His lips brushed hers, once, twice. On the third pass, he stroked her lips and cheek with his thumbs before kissing her. She tilted her head, accepting his kiss like the most priceless gift. They kissed a long time. Jed's fingers wound in her hair, twining in her curls. Cora held the collar of his shirt, pulling him close, though their bodies didn't really touch. It felt so good holding her, giving her kisses, that his mind drifted away from the here and now. It felt so very right with her.
Cora pushed his chest a little, backing away from him. A frown had settled on her features, confusing him.
"Did I do something wrong?"
"No. You're doing everything right. It's just—"
"You're wondering when I'm going to break your heart."
She turned away, lips trembling, tears falling.
"Do I have to?"
"What? Use me and toss me aside?" Cora's hand rose as if she were ready to hit him.
Jed took it gently, but firmly, kissing the palm. "No. Do I have to break your heart? Is it mandatory? Because I don't really want to. I like you, Cora. I'm not in the habit of hurting women—in any way. Not on purpose, anyhow. Even when you came over here, all pissed off at me, ready to rumble, I liked you. The more I'm around you, the more time I want to be around you."
"He used to say the same things. He used to tell me I was the most beautiful woman in the world, then he used me, stole from me, cheated on me and dragged me through the mud. He ripped out my heart and shredded it in front of me!"
Jed nodded. "Okay.... Fair enough. I'd love to give you some sob story and tell you I know how you feel, but honestly, I don't. I haven't got a line of hurt behind me. Most of the women I've dated, I'm still friends with. I was even in the wedding party of a couple of them. It was always a mutual break up, no tears, no hysterics, just a parting of the ways. I can't sit here and lie to you and tell you that I'm happy, though. I'm not. I'm lonely as hell and I want a good woman in my life. See, the woman I date needs a few things for me to go for her—she's got to be smart. You've got a PhD, very cool. She's got to be able to hold her own in my crazy ass family, and I think you can do that. Family is important and it's obvious that you think so too, or we wouldn't be here."
"Let me guess, hot and sexy, good in bed...."
"That would be nice," Jed replied, frowning a little. "But not the most important things. I like the fact you can cook, because I'm only moderately competent in the kitchen—as far as cooking. Otherwise, I rock in the kitchen." He chuckled when she pouted at him. "Will you give me a chance?"
"No sex," she said, holding up a finger at him. "Not yet. Everything falls apart after sex."
Jed nodded. "Okay. Deal."
"You gave into that condition way too easy."
"I'm still on the injured list. I'm not allowed to do anything anyway, so that's off the table until the doctor gives her permission. In the meantime, I like talking to you. And I sure like kissing you."
"I like that, too."
Jed glanced at the clock. "However, I have to get moving. I have a few things I have to take care of before I go to Joel's for dinner. I'd rather spend the time with you. But, since Aileen could shoot me dead, I'll go."
"We'll be fine here. Go have fun."
"It won't be nearly as fun without you."
They kissed goodbye and Jed went home.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Grab your favorite beverage, put up our feet, and enjoy the show. As always, a lot of laughs will ensue!
Thursday, February 08, 2018
Aileen Griffin is an interesting character. She was suggested to me by my friend, Aileen Aroma. She loved The Ninja Tattoo and Teague, the hero, so much, she asked to be a character in the second book Conduct Unbecoming. How could I say no? I created Aileen and she jumped into the story, hit the ground at a dead run, and carried events away like a house on fire.
Since her arrival in Conduct Unbecoming, she's been in at least five more of my books (not yet published). She continues to amaze me with what she does and says. She's one of the most formidable, capable women who's ever walked onto my pages.
Aileen Griffin got off the plane, sunglasses on her head. She walked to the car rental, then to the baggage pickup. Settled in her white Dodge Dart, she turned left onto International Speedway Boulevard, heading to the interstate. Taking the south bound exit, she drove to Edgewater. Hitting the city limits, she called Teague.
"Yes, your majesty?" he answered without saying hello.
"Funny man. You should be on stage."
"What do you want, Aileen?"
Heaving a sigh, Teague told her what he'd discovered, also mentioning the man on the beach. He didn't tell her where Nadeya was, but she didn't even ask if he'd found her yet.
"Please call me with any updates."
"No problem." He hung up.
Aileen smiled and pressed a few buttons on her phone. A special GPS program had initiated with her call. She knew exactly where he was. Setting the phone in the hands free holder on the dash, she drove confidently to Teague's location.
The dogs started barking shortly after the four of them sat down to breakfast. Han ran to the door. Leah went to the window. Standing on her hind legs, she examined the outdoors, growling. Han's hackles rose and he stalked in front of the door uneasily.
A white Dodge Dart pulled up next to Teague's truck. A trim, well built woman with light brown hair, got out of the car. She scanned the terrain like a soldier, her hands on shapely hips.
Nadeya took Vivica to the office. Jasper and Teague flanked the door, watching the woman's progress through the narrow windows beside the door. Putting his head in his hand, Teague groaned. Even in jeans and a crop top, he recognized her. He told Jasper to holster his weapon and lock up the dogs.
"It's Aileen," he said.
"The ex?" Jasper struggled a moment with Han. Leah came quietly. He put them in the guest room.
"Yeah." Teague opened the door and went down the front steps. "Let me guess. GPS program on your phone."
"Handy dandy device, McMurtry. You should try it." She held her phone up proudly, waving it in front of him.
"I don't spy on people anymore, Aileen." He frowned, hands in his pockets. "Why are you here?"
"I took time off to help. Can I come in? I need to pee."
"Gotta ask the owner. Yo, Jasper!" he called loudly.
His friend came out, dressed in jeans and a tight Black Sabbath T-shirt. He looked fierce.
"The lady needs to pee," Teague said. "May she come in?"
"You know her well, bro?"
"Dude, I used to sleep with her."
Jasper nodded. They followed him inside.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Quaid Jennings is a psychologist in the City. His business partner and best friend, Boyd, introduced Quaid to his favorite cousin, Faydra. She's from Alabama, and is just visiting the City. As a treat, they take her, and Boyd's girlfriend, Petra, out to dinner. A band is playing, and they're very good. Faydra doesn't recognize them, but it's pretty clear that Petra does.
The band went on break. Seconds later, a tall, dark haired man hopped off the stage and approached the table. Dressed in a skintight silk T-shirt and leather pants, he was quite the tasty sight. Faydra smiled as he approached. Petra's mouth fell open, then she gulped, turned pale and blushed in the space of a few seconds. When he flopped in an empty chair, she inhaled sharply.
“She has no clue who I am,” he said to Quaid, taking Faydra's hand. “Cullen Fellowes. Of Sardonic. Pleased to meet you, beautiful.” He turned to Petra, laughing. “Don't have a heart attack, babe. Or Boyd will slay me.”
“I'm sorry!” she gasped. “So.... Oh, my god!”
He glanced again at Faydra. “Still has no idea. Don't they listen to our band where you come from in Outer Mongolia?”
“Outer—hm?” She squinted at him. “I'm still trying to place you. Reckon it will come to me.”
“I don't know whether to be flattered or very disappointed,” he said to Quaid. “Your girl hasn't got a clue.”
“I live in a little bit of a bubble,” Faydra admitted. “Full time college and helping with a sick mom.”
“Then you're forgiven.” The dark haired man stood and kissed her hand. Blue eyes twinkled as he took his seat. “Your friend knows me. You okay, babe?” He kissed Petra's hand too.
She held it with her other, eyes glowing. “Yes. Fine.”
“I knew I should have become a rock star,” Boyd complained. “No one's ever looked at me that way.”
“Not me, either.” Cullen moved side to side. Petra's head followed his movement, mesmerized. Cullen chuckled. “Sorry, Dude. I think I broke her.” He took a sip of water from Petra's glass. She followed this movement too, watching his Adam's apple bounce in his throat. “So, Boyd, Quaid, how you guys been?”
“Better and better,” Quaid said, taking Faydra's hand and kissing it.
Boyd was watching Petra, who watched Cullen. Faydra squinted, trying to figure out why he looked familiar.
“This is the most awkward conversation I've ever had,” Cullen remarked with a chuckle.
“More than when Morgan gave you and your girlfriend a sex lesson?” Quaid winked at him.
“Yeah. I'm gonna....” He pointed over his shoulder at the door he'd entered from. “Guy's will be out soon. Catch ya on the next break.” Nodding, he got up and left.
Petra blinked, looking dazed. “Omigod!” she squeaked and ran for the ladies' room.
“I've got this,” Faydra said and followed.
“Dude, better me than you,” Quaid said. “Maybe you should get a Cullen makeover. Dye your hair black and get blue contacts.”
Boyd punched him, hard. “Not funny. Fay didn't look at him like he was on the menu.”
“She has no idea who he is. Which is, in itself, hilarious. I bet he never had that reaction from any female, ever.”
“Ya know what? Not helping.”
“Boyd,” Quaid spoke in a quietly commanding tone.
His friend turned unfriendly eyes on him. “What?”
“Whose bed is she in?”
“Who's giving her most excellent sex and making her scream his name over and over?”
His friend still didn't reply, merely took a gulp of his drink.
“Because it's not Cullen's name I've been hearing half a dozen times a night. He isn't the one making her smile like the Cheshire Cat.”
Boyd signaled for another drink after knocking back the first one. Monica brought another for him, removing the empty glass.
“Cullen isn't her first love—or any love. Yeah, he's hot and famous—”
If looks killed, Quaid would be on the floor, bleeding.
“But he's not you.”
“No, he's a famous rock star who held my girlfriend mesmerized. Like a fucking python with a mouse.”
“You've known him all your life. She just met him. It's a little bit of a shock. I have to admit, when I first met him, he had a similar effect on me.”
“You didn't want to have sex with him,” Boyd grumped.
Quaid laughed. “Well, I wasn't getting the full Cullen Effect. Trust me, even straight as I am, I feel the magnetism. He's the most charismatic person I ever met. If he wanted to run for president, he'd win by a landslide vote.”
“Strangely, this isn't making me feel better. Fay didn't fall all over him.”
“He wasn't turning his charm on her. She didn't even recognize him.”
“Still—not feeling better.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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