Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Fragrance Lingers ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 2

 


"Sorry about that!" he called in a distinctive East Texas twang.

The man next to her picked up the volleyball in one hand. "Cole Bayard," he extend the hand not holding the ball.

"Mara Cross. Who's your pal?"

"He goes by Red Gilroy. Bet you can't guess why."

Mara chuckled, glancing at the man standing over her. He was better looking up close, with a firm chin and well toned physique. His navy blue swim trunks had big, white tropical flowers on them and rode low on his hips. What really caught her attention was the tattoo on his abdomen just below his navel. She could see two brightly colored serpent's heads intertwined, facing one another. She wondered how low the tattoo went below the level of his shorts. Shaking her head slightly, she realized he was speaking to her again. Blinking, she looked up at him, trying hard to focus.

"I'm sorry. I guess I've got a little jet lag."

Cole grinned flashing even white teeth in his tanned face. "No problem, Miss Cross. I was just apologizing again for the volleyball. We didn't mean to interrupt."

"Not a problem. Call me Mara. Miss Cross sounds too much like work. I'm here to forget the office, not burrow deeper into it."

Cole bounced the ball back and forth absently as if he were trying to make up his mind about something. "Mara, would you like to join Red and me for dinner?"

"Oh, well...I don't know.... It's just...."

"I know, it's abrupt, but we know some of the less traveled night spots. I'm here about six months out of the year. Red comes down fairly often. I sideline as a tour guide. It gives me something to do to take my mind off the office." He said with a completely straight face.

"I'd like that, actually," Mara decided. She was determined to enjoy herself. Dinner in a public place sounded harmless enough.

"Super! We'll pick you up at six o'clock. Dress casually, the fancy spots are for tourists." Grinning, he saluted her and ran back down to where Red was standing.

Cole moved with easy, unaffected grace, running effortlessly through the sand. When he got back to Red, he popped the ball hard over the net. It landed in his friend's outstretched hands. Mara watched them play until they went back into the hotel together. It was nearly one when Mara finally left the beach and went back to her room. A note had been slipped under her door. She opened it and grinned. It was covered in a masculine scrawl.

"I continue to be sorry about the volleyball, but I'm very glad I met you. I look forward to dinner. Cole."

Mara took a shower and ordered room service for lunch. She sat down to watch the ocean as she ate. Awed by the beauty and majesty of it, she couldn't get enough.

The day finally caught up with her, and she decided to take a nap. She set her alarm for two hours, closed the blinds, and lay down. The sun came through the drapes in a pale pink glow, making her think of bubble gum and cotton candy. With those images in her mind, she fell asleep.

When her alarm went off, she got up and decided to go shopping before dinner. She wanted something to reflect her mood and nothing to remind her of the city. There were several shops in the hotel, but she didn't like the looks of the merchandise—shoddy and overpriced. Instead, she headed for an open air market that was only a few blocks from the hotel. Her mother had given her specific directions, having been to the island many times. Booths and tables assaulted her eyes. Dozens of odors competed for her attention. There were fruits piled on rickety wagons, jewelry laid out on blankets, shoes, handbags, even bronze oil lamps.

She wanted a specific shop, one her mother had told her about. It sold beautiful, handmade dresses in a variety of colors and prints. Each one was covered in delicate embroidery. Mara found the shop just where her mother had told her, entering as if she knew the place. Her mother described it so specifically, Mara could have found her way around with her eyes closed. Racks of rainbows competed with one another for her attention, so she stood in the middle of the floor walking in a slow circle.

A lovely, bronze skinned woman appeared from behind a bead curtain at the back of the shop. She smiled warmly, extending her hands in greeting. "Welcome! I am Auria. May I help you?" Her voice was dark and rich like chocolate.

"Yes, please. I want a dress, a very specific type. My mother has brought me several after her visits."

"Can you describe them for me?" Auria's brow furrowed slightly as she concentrated.

"Gauzy, sheer material. They're brightly colored, full sleeves and lots of embroidery."

"Ah, yes! Come, I will show you. We keep those for special customers, those with better than tourist tastes. Who is your mother?"

"Rosaline Cross," she replied automatically, hardly expecting Auria to know her by name.

The woman turned happily, gasping as she took Mara's hands in hers. "You're Rosie's daughter? You must be Mara. You have your mother's eyes and her full lips. How's your mother and when is she coming to see Auria again?"

"Mom's doing great," Mara was surprised at the warmth of the greeting. "She's planning to come down in February, I think. Right now she's house sitting for me. I've got a couple of grumpy, old cats who don't do well in a kennel."

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Monday, March 01, 2021

So Much It Hurts by Dellani Oakes

 

Alone in the big city, Pia Donvan is feeling rather lost when she finally arrives at the majestic, old hotel in the downtown area. All that changes when she meets Flynn Chancellor. He and his roommate, Yancy Fredrick, take an interest in Pia, introducing her to their city. Pia seems to have found her niche, making friends with the friendly residents in the old hotel. Life seems perfect, until one weekend when everything changes forever.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Fragrance Lingers ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 1

Welcome to Fragrance Lingers, a Love in the City Romance. Mara Cross has a high powered job as an architect. She works hard, with the promise of a partnership dangled in front of her like a juicy carrot. Taking a much needed vacation, she flies to an island paradise, little knowing that something more alluring than a suntan, awaits her.


Mara Cross walked into her hotel room, tossing her shoes aside. Her luggage was piled by the door where she'd dropped it, hardly able to believe she was actually on vacation. She had two weeks to relax, unwind, and forget about the office. It was a wonderful, liberating feeling. The sun was shining, a gentle wind was blowing off the clear, blue water, soft music played in the courtyard of the hotel. It really was paradise.

Closing the door with her heel, she undressed quickly, digging for her swimming suit, sun tan oil and sandals. Her primary goal was to lose her city pallor and that could take the entire two weeks. Back home it was cold, raining, windy and gray. She hated the idea of having to return to the weather and the stress.

Shoving that aside, she picked up the phone and called her mother to let her know she was all right. No matter how old she got, her mother still worried about her. Three rings and her mother answered breathlessly. Rosalind Cross always seemed to be breathless as if she had run a race or climbed a mountain.

"Hi, Mom!"

"Mara! How was your flight?"

"Blissfully uneventful. We made good time, we had tail winds."

"Wonderful! Now, you aren't allowed to talk about the office or even think about it. Go down to the beach, have a few of those lovely drinks with the pink umbrellas and relax! Get a tan, go dancing, all that vacationy stuff!"

Mara giggled despite her fatigue. Her mother had such joy of life, it was contagious. Nothing ever stopped her or slowed her down much, even her health.

"I promise, Mom. I'll call you tonight and let you know how the first day of tanning went."

"Oh, wait till morning, dear. It's Canasta tonight and I'll be out late. Now you run along and enjoy yourself! Don't worry about a thing!"

"I love you, Mom."

"I love you too, honey. Bye bye now!" She hung up with a happy click.

Mara slathered oil on her body, grabbed her tote bag and headed to the beach. An endless array of beach chairs extended to her left and right. It was still early, so she pretty much had her choice. She found a spot not far from the water and fairly near one of the cabana bars.

She had just arranged her towel, removed her sandals and was sitting down when a slim and attractive waiter approached her. He was smiling and carrying a tray in one hand.

"Good morning, Miss. I am Julio and I will be your waiter. What may I get for you?"

Mara remembered her mother's advice. "One of the drinks with the little pink umbrellas," she grinned.

"Certainly, Miss. Would you like some help with your oil? A lady alone can't reach her back. You don't want a sunburn."

"No, not on my first day. Thank you, that would be fantastic!"

Julio rubbed oil on her back with enthusiasm. He brought her drink and started a bar tab for her.

"I'll check on you later, Miss, to see if you need anything else."

"Thank you, Julio. I'm set for now."

Smiling, he bowed slightly and walked back to the bar where he engaged the bartender in pleasant conversation. She could hear them laughing quietly as she closed her eyes and lay down on her stomach. Before she knew it, she was asleep.

The beach filled gradually, but nothing bothered Mara who was used to the noises of the city. Her apartment was in a loft unit downtown. It had once been a warehouse, back in the Prohibition Era. The historical society prevented its destruction, and her architectural firm redesigned it into apartments for young, upwardly mobile executives. She'd liked the results so well, she bought the top floor for herself.

"Miss?" It was Julio. He was bending over her looking slightly concerned. "It's been half an hour since you fell asleep. If you don't turn over soon, you're going to be toasted on one side and blank on the other."

Grinning at him, Mara obediently rolled over and ordered another drink. Julio brought it gladly, smiling happily as she added a handsome tip to the bill.

"I go off duty in an hour. If you sleep again, shall I wake you before I go?"

"Thanks, Julio, that would be great."

She was grateful for her olive toned skin. Had she been fair skinned, she'd already have been fried. She didn't fancy tending a burn for the first days of her vacation.

Mara tipped the chair up slightly and took out her book. It was a science fiction novel she'd been hoping to read for some time, but hadn't gotten past the first few pages. She flipped back to the beginning and started reading. She was just getting into the story when a volleyball landed heavily in her lap, dropped to the ground beside her and knocked over her drink. Mara looked up angrily and saw a man waving to her apologetically. He was medium height and build, with medium length, medium brown hair. He trotted up the beach, hand extended.

"I'm so sorry," his tone was sincere with a hint of a Southern accent. "I guess my friend hit it harder than he needed to. We haven't played in years, but he still thinks that he's the king of the spike."

He pointed down the beach to a short, squat, freckled, redheaded man in orange swim trunks. He looked embarrassed and his face was so red, it rivaled his hair.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Emma Dangerous is Over

 


Emma Dangerous is over, so what's next? As of the writing of this post, January 6, 2021, I have no idea. I have many stories I'd like to share with you, but I want to make sure it's the best I can offer.

I hope that at least one person is reading and enjoying these stories as much as I do. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm an audience of one – me. If you like my stories, please feel free to leave a comment and share. I'd also love it if you'd buy my books (obviously).

In the meantime, please come back and visit again. I promise to have something new for you twice a week.

As always, this is Dellani Oakes. Goodbye, and have a blessed tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Fresh out of a stint in prison, Jagger Reed wants his life back… ~ Stealing Dallas – Book 2 The Search and Seek Series by Amanda Mackey

 

Fresh out of a stint in prison, Jagger Reed wants his life back… Finally released from prison after serving only eighteen months of a twenty-year sentence, Jagger is excited to reunite with his disabled brother Dallas. With the help of Rosalind McAllister, the creative writing teacher at the prison, Jagger was given a full pardon and legal guardianship of his brother. The fight to get his old life back has just begun… When Jagger and Rose arrive to pick up Dallas from his temporary foster parent, Lena Radcliffe, they are horrified to discover she has moved out with no known address. Worried that his brother may be in danger, they enlist the help of the local police who discover Lena in Great Falls, Montana. Rose vows to help Jagger reunite with his brother. Jagger is out for blood, and heaven help anyone who stands in his way… Live or die, Jagger will find his brother so they can start fresh. But there’s more to Lena Radcliffe than meets the eye, and suddenly Jagger and Rose are in over their heads. They’re in the middle of something much bigger and more dangerous than a family dispute. The clock is ticking, and they’re running out of time to figure out Lena’s motive for… Stealing Dallas





Can Kate rise to these challenges, discover the truth ~ The Long Road Home: Romantic Murder Mystery by Carolyn Bowen

 

After a lifetime of being protected and sheltered by her parents, Kate is thrown into a state of turmoil after their sudden death. With nowhere else to turn, she finds herself living with her fiancĂ©, a conniving businessman who is well on his way to becoming a corrupt super-lawyer. At the same time, Kate’s father’s law firm houses more secrets than a politician’s hard drive. Later, she receives a shocking surprise when a long-lost half-brother enters her life. Can Kate rise to these challenges, discover the truth and re-emerge as a stronger, smarter version of herself?






Unfortunately, so far, the killer's identity and whereabouts are Undiscovered ~ Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes

 

Kent Griswald is a high powered movie executive known for his micro-managing and aggressive supervision of a movie from beginning to end. He's not well liked professionally or personally, so when someone puts a knife in his chest, no one is terribly surprised. However, someone also took pot shots at his younger brother, Connor, who has no enemies.

Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein are called in on the case, ready for action. Unfortunately, Detective Scott hadn't counted on the eyewitness, Cadence Stuart. Pretty and personable, she's also terrified that the killer may come after her next. It's up to Scott to protect her from the tall, dark killer. Unfortunately, so far, the killer's identity and whereabouts are Undiscovered.







Follow their inspiring story of faith and service ~ From Sea to Sea by Nelda Bedford Gaydou

 

From a three-week voyage of more than 7000 miles from New Orleans to Buenos Aires in 1964 through an eight-day, 3258-mile round-trip drive between Evanston, Illinois and Clovis, New Mexico in 2017, whether in their prime or in their nineties, the Bedfords have packed a lot into their life's journey. Follow their inspiring story of faith and service, set in fascinating times and places in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.








They are the Dark Knights of Heaven ~ His Soul to Keep (Dark Knights of Heaven Book 1) by TW Knight

 



Where fallen angels battle Hell’s demons, find their lost souls, and discover love while hunting for a prophecy that holds the key to either their redemption or their destruction.

At twenty-eight, Cassidy Long is happy with her life. She has a job she loves, a great family, and a future open to possibilities. That all changes after she discovers she is the vessel for the immortal soul of an angel cast out of Heaven, and the only way to break the bond is by her death. Spirited away, Cassidy finds herself in the middle of an eternal war and falling for her angel.

Rail is captivated by Cassidy immediately, but fears it’s only the connection to his soul fueling his interest. He’s vowed to never fall in love, but fate has different plans. The more he fights his growing feelings, the deeper in love he falls. Cassidy not only holds his soul, but his heart. Now, he will fight Heaven and Hell to protect her.

Heaven abandoned them, but they did not abandon their calling. Once they were the Watchers, teachers, and mentors to human kind. Now soulless and exiled from Heaven, forced into an endless war, some will fall while others rise to find their destinies. They are the Dark Knights of Heaven.









Thursday, February 18, 2021

Emma, Dangerous by Dellani Oakes – Part 69

 


Sam and Emma begin working at at Ravenwood. They are ready to spend their first night together in their new home. He carries her over the threshold, and she teases that there's a rule about him carrying her over the threshold.

"Then I've broken it. And I'm going to keep breaking it, every chance I get." His lips met hers and he kissed her a long time.

Emma sighed contentedly, touching her lips. "That feels so good. How does it feel so much better now?"

Sam pulled her shirt off, tossing it across the room. Their jeans followed. Once they were down to their underwear, Emma laughed. Sam was wearing his Sponge Bob boxers that she'd given him.

"It feels better because we aren't totally messed up. For the first time, we're going to make love without anything in our systems except a whole lotta lust." He chuckled deeply, undoing her bra.

"Sammy?"

"Hm?" his lips moved to her throat.

"No condom," she said with a sigh.

He looked at her, surprised. "You're sure?"

She nodded. "I want to feel all of you."

"As my lady wishes."

They made love slowly, savoring the experience as if it were the first time for them both. They felt reborn by the experience, their love forging an even stronger bond. As they lay together, holding one another close, Sam tickled her breast with the tips of her hair.

"I've been thinking about your proposal," Emma said softly, shifting in the bed.

"Yeah? It's still on the table. You can take me up on it any time you want."

"I still think we're too young, but there's no one in this life that I love more than you. I want us to be officially engaged."

"I'd like that. I don't have a ring for you, babe."

Emma got up, walking over to her dresser. "Donna took care of that," she said. "She did a spread for some jeweler and they gave her a bunch of stuff. It's real," she said excitedly, bringing a small velvet bag to the bed.

Upending it, she put a diamond ring in his palm. It was one large, square cut diamond, with two narrow rectangular ones flanking it. Even in the dim light, it glittered enticingly.

"Samuel Masters, will you marry me?"

Sammy chuckled, slipping the ring on her finger. "Emma Gallagher, I'd be honored to have you as my wife. Gonna have to marry you soon," he added, rubbing her abdomen. "Cause I want at least ten kids."

Emma laughed, smacking him. "Oh, you do not!" She grabbed his side, making him jump. He almost fell out of the bed. She caught him as he slipped, pulling him to her.

Sam held her close, kissing her deeply. "I love you so much, Emma. But damn, you're f**king dangerous."


©2020 Dellani Oakes

THE END

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Emma, Dangerous by Dellani Oakes – Part 68


Dr. Stewart surprises Emma and Sam with the invitation to take jobs at Ravenwood.

"We can get an apartment nearby," Emma began.

"You won't need to," Dr. Stewart said. "As it happens, the music room his only a small part of that building. There's a one room house attached. It's small, but perfect for the two of you. That's if you want it."

"We'll take it!" Sam replied, laughing. "Thank you, Dr. Stewart."

"You're very welcome, Sam. Meanwhile, there are some folks coming by to see you later today. In fact, I believe they should be arriving soon. We'll get all the paperwork out of the way tomorrow. I'm so glad we'll have you as permanent additions to the Ravenwood family." She glanced at Emma. "I know you don't like that word much."

Emma went around the desk, hugging Dr. Stewart. "I don't mind it anymore," she replied, hugging her again. "Because you've helped me see that the best family you can have, is the one you pick for yourself."

They went to the common room and found a clutch of people waiting for them. One was Rosalee, another was Dr. Rivers. Grant and a couple of their good friends were also there. They stood when Emma and Sam came in. The friends exchanged hugs and kisses.

"I'm starting the program next week," Grant announced.

"You'll do great," Sam assured him. "How about you two?" he asked the others.

"They're coming to the day groups," Grant replied. "If you and Emma can do it, we can."

"I hear we're going to be working together," Dr. Rivers told Sam as they sat down.

"We are? What?"

"The music program," he replied. "Amanda enticed me away from the ER."

"Admit it, you were bored," Rosalee added. "When my contract runs out at the hospital, I'll be joining the team here full time. Meanwhile, I'll be here part time, so we'll still see one another."

"That's fantastic!" Emma hugged them both.

Rosalee smiled, patting her shoulder. "I can't get over the changes in you both. You don't look, or act, like the same young people I saw less than two months ago. I am delighted that you're doing so well."

"Oh, hey, bro," Grant said suddenly. "We went by your foster parents' house and got your stuff."

"And we went to Emma's as well," Rosalee added. "Your parents were most cooperative in giving us your clothing and personal items. We've brought it over in a P.O.D. Storage and you can go through it at your leisure."

"Have you thought of everything?" Sam asked.

Rosalee smiled. "Yes."

Their friends stayed until after dinner. Emma and Sam went to bed in her room. His had been released, but Molly and Raleigh thought they deserved to have a little special treatment for their last few days.

Grant started the program the same day that Emma and Sam were released. Although they were no longer guests, they were allowed to join them for meals and after dinner activities. The only real difference was that they were both working, instead of just going to therapy. However, as part of their pay, they were allowed to continue conversations with Dr. Stewart and join group therapy.

That night, they went back to their small house. Emma stood at the door, surveying the cozy, well lit space. She, Molly and the girls had worked tirelessly for the last week to make it homey. Sam picked her up, carrying her inside. He shut the door with his foot before taking her to the bed.

"I thought you were only supposed to carry me over the threshold when we married."

Sam kicked off his shoes, yanked off his shirt and flopped on the bed beside her. "Maybe so, but is there a rule against it?"

Emma screwed up her face, pretending to think deeply about it. "I'm sure there's a rule somewhere."

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Fragrance Lingers ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 2

  "Sorry about that!" he called in a distinctive East Texas twang. The man next to her picked up the volleyball in one hand. &qu...