Thursday, January 20, 2022

Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 54


"No. Why?"

Canon explained the problem.

"If we don't know, I doubt Oats does. I'd better not do a search from here. And don't call from your phone."

"Why not?"

"Because, God forbid Oats has it bugged."

"How could he? He's in jail."

"He got messages out, arranged all this from jail. And someone helped get those guns, and the equipment smuggled out. He didn't do that himself. My advice, get a burner and use it to call. And take the battery out of your phone before you do any of that."

Following Cage's advice, he called Don Winthrop. Don didn't answer, which he didn't expect at this hour. He left a message. "Mr. Winthrop, Lieutenant Canon. I'm temporarily using this number. I believe my other phone may have been compromised. Can we meet?"

Five minutes later, his phone rang.

"Lieutenant? It's Don. What the hell?"

"Can you meet me at City Park by the duck pond?"

"Yeah. Give me about thirty, I'm out of town."

"I'd offer to come to you, but I think that should be a secret right now."

"You think my truck could be bugged?"

"If it were, they'd probably be there already. But take out your phone battery. I have a burner for you."

"Be there soon."

"Be careful, kid."

Anton took care of his phone. He ran a wand over the truck, but didn't find anything. Satisfied, he drove to the City Park. He saw Canon where he said he'd be, by the duck pond. Canon told him what had happened at the station.

"I heard. Were any of your people hurt?"

"A couple. Not seriously. But a hell of a body count."

"And you're sure Oats is behind it?"

"Positive."

"Why go after me?"

"He blames this on you."

"Childish."

"Very."

"What can I do, sir? Am I safe?"

"I hope so. As long as no one knows...."

"The doctors do. We were having a party when all this went down. They got called in."

"How many?"

"A dozen? More? The doctors set up the house for CV. They donated a lot of their time to help."

"Well, f**k."

"I'm not running. I can't run anymore. It gets me nowhere. This isn't your problem, sir. I can take care of myself."

"Beg to differ, son. This is exactly my problem. Oats was under my command when he attacked you. He arrested you, on my orders."

"You didn't order him to do what he did."

"Of course not, but I'm responsible for the actions of my people. I'll be lucky to have a job when this fiasco is over. If you think I'm going to let that little f**k win, and not go down swinging, you're mistaken."

"I can't let you...."

"He blew up your f**king trailer, Donald. What if it had been near the house? Or, God forbid, you were in it?"

Anton hung his head. "Before I let you do this, I need to tell you something." Squaring his shoulders, he looked Canon in the eye. "I stole the rubies. I kidnapped Tabitha."

"I figured that out. I don't give a f**k. No one was hurt, the rubies are back. We have a perp. From what I hear, he's bad news."

Confusion and relief filled Anton's heart.

"You do it again," Canon said. "I'll make it my mission to take you down."

"I'm done. I promised myself that if I got through this, it was behind me. I've got an amazing woman, now. I'm not f**king that up."

"Good. Now, here's what I propose."

Newton and Bailey took turns keeping watch. They were going to be spotted later in the day, after Canon vetted replacements. He'd been on another team a few years ago, and trusted several officers who were still there.

The family and Bailey were asleep, so Newton was drinking coffee and doing push-ups to stay awake. He heard the floor creak and reached for his weapon. Rivera walked in, hands up.

"I'm sorry to bother you, Officer Newton. I'm too wired. I can't sleep. Thought maybe you could use company."

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 53


Oliver flipped him off. Anton laughed and winced.

"Pain pill?" Tabitha asked.

"Smoked a bowl," he admitted quietly.

She clicked her tongue. "Probably better for you, but don't tell anyone I said so."

"Lips are sealed." He ran his fingers over his lips as if zipping them

Tabitha couldn't take her eyes off his mouth. His lips were dark pink and full. His face sported a few days' grown of dark stubble that framed his magnificent mouth. Even with the bruising and swelling, he was a handsome man. He stepped closer, lowering his head.

"Hey, Don!" Oliver walked in, stopped dead and backed out, apologizing. "So sorry, dude."

Anton ignored him, giving his full attention to Tabitha once more. "I've wanted to do this...." It was a soft kiss, his tongue flickering across her mouth. Anything more would have hurt him, but it was everything a first kiss should be.

With a happy sigh, Tabitha moved into the circle of his arms, wishing they could take it further.

"Food!" the women called.

Anton smiled. "Don't forget where we left off."

"As if I could," she whispered.

They walked into the kitchen, fingers entwined.

The meal was lively and fun. Even without alcohol, it got loud and silly. They were just starting to dance, when Dr. Smither's beeper went off. Tabitha's was next. Half the interns, Tabitha's, were also called.

"Some kind of crazy shoot out at the police station," Maddox said as she grabbed her bag.

"Which one?"

"SWAT!" she was gone before he could get details.

Worried about Eilene and Newton, Anton hardly noticed when the other interns cleaned up for him.

"You okay?" Oliver asked.

"I have friends on SWAT."

"Oh, man! What I heard, it wasn't them coming in. Perps only."

That made Anton feel better.

"We're gonna go—in case—" Oliver said.

"You want in on the action," Anton laughed. "Go. And thanks. Great homecoming party."

"Leftovers are in the kitchen," one of the girls said as they left.

On his own, Anton put the food away, popped open a beer and sat down to watch TV. Every channel had news of the shootout at the SWAT station. Was it Eilene and Newton's? He had no idea. Not only that, there was an explosion in the War Zone, followed by another, bigger, shootout.

"What the hell is going on?"

"Meanwhile, in the sleepy town of Waverly," the anchorman said with a troubled frown. "A trailer at the Norris Nook Park exploded. Arson investigators are going through the wreckage now. The owner had been in earlier in the day, to move a neighboring trailer, but said he would come back for his later. Arson specialist, Waylon Smith had this to say."

The picture changed to the scene. Anton saw his trailer in ruins, pieces of it scattered all over the ground. A blackened platform and four smoldering tires, were all that remained.

"We believe the possibility of arson is quite high. The propane tank blew, but the burn pattern is consistent with an explosive device. The owner is very fortunate he wasn't home. My department is in the process of tracking him down. If anyone has any information, contact the number on the screen."

Sighing, Anton picked up his phone to call. As his finger was poised to dial, it rang, startling him.

"Donnie, your trailer's on the news!" CV said.

"I know. I'm looking at it."

"You gonna call?"

"I was, but who the f**k did this? What did I ever do to anyone?"

"You ask me, you call your cop friends. You don't know who done this, or why. You keep that buffer between."

"Good idea. Thanks, CV. I'll give Lieutenant Canon a call right now. Hey, we still on for Friday?"

"That's what they tell me. Can't wait to get out of here. I'm going stir crazy."

"I feel ya, my brother. See ya soon."

"You be careful now."

"Will do." Once he hung up with CV, he placed a call to Canon, but got voice mail. "Lieutenant Canon, this is Don Winthrop. Did you hear about the trailer explosion in Waverly? That was my place, sir. Who would do that? Should I be worried? Thanks for calling me back when you can."

Leaving his phone on, he went to bed in the guest room, which shared a bath with the smaller room next door.

As he was going off shift, Canon checked his voice mail. The call from Don Winthrop filled him with disquietude.

"Cage," he said to the tech guy. "Have we got a current address on Don Winthrop?"

"A trailer in Waverly."

"Other than that?"

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 52

"Yes...."


"Someone here to see you. Can they come back here?" he asked Canon.

"Put them Conference A." He unlocked Rivera.

"Is it a lawyer?" the young man asked. He hadn't asked for one, so he was puzzled.

They wouldn't tell him, but before he went into the conference room, Canon took off his cuffs. Bailey opened the door. Two women and a girl stood there. When they saw him, they ran over.

"Mom? Esmeralda? Gigi?" He burst into tears. "When? How? They said they had you!"

"You mom can still fight," Gigi said proudly. "She and Esmeralda knocked them out and ran to my house. We were too scared to come out, especially after the house blew up. But the police did a door to door, looking for them."

Rivera hugged his family, weeping. "They said they would find you. Thank you," he whispered. "Thank you."

"Can we take him home?" Mrs. Rivera asked.

"I don't think the danger is past," Canon replied. "I want to put all of you in a safe house until we can get more of these men off the street. Your son is a very brave man, Mrs. Rivera. He's been incredibly helpful. We'll speak to the DA on his behalf."

"Thank you!" She hugged Canon, kissing his cheek.

"Corporal, let's get some food in."

"You got it, Lieutenant. Pizza good?" Bailey said.

"Pizza is great," Rivera said. "Perfect."

Food arrived, and they all sat down to eat. Luckily, there were no calls, and they were able to get their paperwork under control.

Newton and Bailey were assigned to protection detail. Before leaving for the safe house, Newton took Eilene aside.

"Sorry our plans got canceled."

"Rearranged," she said quietly. "The good thing about dating a cop—I get it. We'll have other chances. This family needs you."

They kissed a few minutes. Bailey came to get Newton.

"Ready to roll."

"Thanks," Newton said. "Be right there. You'll be okay?" He touched her cheek fondly.

"Yes. Don't worry about me."

They exchanged another short kiss and he left. Eilene went back to her paperwork. She and the other officers were still interviewing prisoners, when the next shift came on duty.

"Day will take over," Canon said. "Emergency calls are getting rerouted to the 61st. They're close and can handle our overflow easily. Go home, people. Sleep."

"Yes, sir." they chorused.

Of course, once Eilene got home, she couldn't sleep. She did a few laps in her pool, ran on her treadmill, had a shower and finally felt tired. Her last thoughts were of Newton. With a happy sigh, she let sleep take her.

Anton was excited. He was being allowed to go home. CV would join him in a few days, and by then, he planned to have the house fixed up. The Roeder Sisters, true to their word, had put all his groceries away and filled his freezer with goodies. As soon as he pulled into the driveway, they bustled over, bringing cookies, scones and a thermos of tea. They sat down to talk and snack. Once they were assured of his well being, they went home. Anton intended to wash the sheets in the master bedroom, but the sisters had done that as well. In fact, the house was perfect.

His face ached, so he smoked some weed from CV's trailer. He'd brought it over on his way home. His would stay at the park for the time being. He settled down with a beer and relaxed in his recliner until finally drifting to sleep.

A few hours later, someone knocked on the front door, waking him. Thinking it was the Roeder Sisters, he flung the door open. Instead, it was Maddox and her intern friends. They all carried food and non-alcoholic beverages. He was about to shut the door when Dr. Lister and Dr. Smithers arrived together.

"Bennett wanted to come, but he caught an emergency. We're on call, too, hence no booze," Dr. Smithers said.

"This is a welcome surprise. Between you and my neighbors, I'm set for food. The ladies across the street are great."

"We met when the ramp was being built. We invited them over."

The back door opened and the Roeders came in with a couple of the interns. Smiling and laughing, they made the rounds.

"The house is awesome!" Maddox said, dancing in the broad foyer.

"Dude, where's the sound system?" one of the male interns, a guy named Oliver, asked.

"Living room." He pointed. "Better be something good!" he called after.

The opening notes of Lazy by Deep Purple began.

"You can stay," Anton said with a grin.

"Cool! Ice?"

"Freezer, dumb ass."

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 51


"How? Why?" Newton said.

"Oats. He's like Teddy's cop—big brother. Kid came in six months ago. Took over. Brought his own heat. My guys, we're not violent. We hang out. We stick together, we help. You ask anyone in the neighborhood. Cochise Clan, we help people. My dad got killed in the riots, by folks he cared for. He had a thrift shop, a food bank. They dragged him out, beat him to death in the gutter!" He stood. This time, Bailey let him.

"So, you decided to get even," Bailey rumbled.

"No! All my guys, we lost someone. We stick together, because down there, you need friends."

"A man with no one at his back, dies," Newton said quietly.

"Yes! We don't even have guns. Teddy, he brought those. Said his cop brother got 'em outta lock up. Started to bring in drugs, too. Me and my boys, we smoke weed. But it's there, maybe you try some. Maybe you like it."

"Did you?"

The young man shrugged. "Couple times. But not my thing. Teddy brought in women, too. Not all of 'em of age. He said he's got a source. Man, I don't even wanna know. But a man, balls deep in a woman, don't think straight. They be there, giving it away. No man can say no forever."

"So, he took over," Newton said.

"Yeah, gradual like. Not all at once. Pretty soon, even my guys are answering to him. Some punk kid! Didn't even get his dick wet, until the girls came. Me, I got a kid. But Teddy don't know that. But my mom, my sister. He knew them. He's been to my house, man, eaten at my table. Because my guys are family."

"And he got your family killed."

"Yeah. A few. Most of the guys were Teddy's crew. You need me to ID them, I will. I can tell you who's good, and who's not."

"And why do we believe the man who sent us into a trap?" Bailey asked.

"My mom, my sister. If they're gone, I got nothing else to lose. I don't get to see my kid. My ex took up with another guy. Claims the boy is his. He looks just like me. Nature's way, right? But what can I do?"

"We haven't given up hope of finding your family," Newton said.

"Yeah? Maybe not. But I expect you to find their heads in a box on the porch, their bodies in pieces, cause that's what Teddy promised."

"If you can give me Oats, unimpeachable evidence of his involvement in this, I will do my best to help you. I'll break down doors, until I find your family," Newton said.

"Yeah, me too," Bailey rumbled.

"You need proof? How about a video of the f**ker making plans? You get my phone. I got your evidence."

"We'll be back," Bailey said.

When they got outside, Canon and Eilene met them.

"Think he's on the level?" Canon asked quietly.

Bailey and Newton exchanged a look. "Yes," they chorused.

"Let's get his phone."

They got the phone from Rivera's belongings and took it to him. He accessed the videos and set it to play. It was a very clear picture and the dialogue was unmistakable, irrefutable and damning. Teddy gave very explicit orders on how the entire attack was supposed to go down.

"I have others, of him and Oats talking about the women, drugs and guns. They were a couple dumb ass guys, assuming we were all loyal or scared. I took these to protect my family. I have them all saved to a Cloud account."

"How did you get this?" Bailey asked.

"Oats prides himself on being a shot caller. Wouldn't let anyone else around when he talked to Teddy. But he didn't pay attention to the fact there was a laptop sitting open. Who does, right? We used the camera to record their conversation."

"We?" Bailey jumped on the pronoun.

"Me and Eduardo. He's in the hospital. You shot him," he glared at Newton.

"He shot at me first, and missed. He'll live."

Rivera nodded. "Thank you for not killing him. He's my best friend."

"We tried not to," Bailey said quietly. "But some were pretty determined to kill us."

Crossing himself, Rivera nodded.

"We have pictures of the deceased," Newton said. He handed a tablet to Rivera.

One by one, the young man went through and identified them, telling the police if they were his or Teddy's. Most of them belonged to Teddy's crew. Only three were Rivera's men. Of the ones in jail, half were his. All those hospitalized, were Teddy's.

"I'm very sorry about your friends," Bailey said.

"Maybe they're the lucky ones," Rivera said. "What have we got to look forward to?"

"We'll make sure the DA knows you have helped. And you didn't fire a shot, just broke in."

There was a loud knock at the door. Cage stood there, smiling.

"You're Rivera, right?"

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Sunday, January 09, 2022

It's the First Dellani's Tea Time of 2022!

 

It's a New Year! Let's fill it with warmth and happiness for all! As we often do, Christina and I will be talking amongst ourselves – and we've got a lot to say! As authors, we sometimes get caught up in the dream of getting our work published, but we don't always consider how to get from Point A – writing the novel, to Point B – publishing and selling our work.

For the first show of 2022, Christina & I plan to give some helpful advice, as well as dispelling some of the myths of becoming a published author. Be sure to join us.

Christina Giguere writes under the name Rachel Rueben and is the author of Hag, a YA novel. She's also written a romantic suspense called Fedelta, and is working on the next exciting book in that series, Fedelta 2. She's got a lot to say on how authors can promote themselves, and some of the pitfalls even experienced authors face.

Dellani Oakes is the author of 15 published works. She prefers romance & romantic suspense, but has toyed with fantasies, mysteries and thrillers. She's been the host of Dellani's Tea Time and What's Write for Me since 2009, and also has a lot to say about writing, publishing and general nonsense.

Join us live, or listen at your leisure Monday, January 10 from 4-6 PM EST

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 50


"Two more from the north, two east," his partner, a woman named Estevez, added.

"You have three officers on approach. ETA four minutes," Cage said. "EMTs and fire trucks inbound in three."

They could hear the approaching sirens. One of the young men raised his weapon and fired. Estevez clutched her right arm, but returned fire with her left. The man stumbled and went down.

"Incoming!" Jones roared. "Cover!"

Newton was stuck in the steps, but he could still shoot. Picking off stragglers, he provided cover fire for Eilene to move.

"Reload," he said over coms.

Eilene opened up, picking off the outliers, as he had. More converged on their position, and the five officers were hard pressed to hold them off.

Three patrol cars screeched to a halt, soon joined by two more. Surrounded by police, the gang members finally surrendered.

The ground was littered with bodies. Luckily, of the police, only Estevez had been hit, and her wound was a graze. Newton's leg was cut, but not seriously injured. The paramedics were able to patch them both up on site.

When he'd been treated, Newton surveyed the battle ground. Twelve corpses, eight injured, only five had the good sense to surrender.

"Jesus, none of them is over twenty-five," Newton sighed. "I tried to just wing them, if they were kids."

They all had, but he and Jones had accounted for most of the dead.

"I thought I'd left this behind me. Not just the war," Newton murmured. He started to pray in Hebrew, feeling God's blessings for the dead, were needed. To his surprise, an EMT and a firefighter joined him. When they were done, Eilene started to sing. God Bless the Child. It might have seemed an odd choice to some, but to her, it was appropriate. This was a battlefield of children. The others joined her.

"That bastard has a lot to answer for," Bailey growled when the song was over. "Sixteen dead. Eleven arrested. Ten injured. These are kids. He used babies to do his dirty work."

"And no telling about this family," Eilene nodded at the house. "Or the families of the rest."

"Unless this was a setup, too," Jones said.

"The guy looked and sounded sincere. Either he was giving an Oscar-worthy performance, or he really was being coerced," Newton said.

"I'd lay even money on the strong arm," Bailey said. "I been at this a long time." He was in his early forties. "Shit like this makes me want to retire early."

They left the coroner and other medical personnel to clear the scene. The fire was under control, and wasn't their job anyway. Back at the station, they all showered and changed.

"I've been busy," Canon said when they all filed into the bullpen. "Some of these boys are talking so fast, they're getting road rash."

"How about our chatty friend who sent us there?" Newton asked.

"Left him for you and Bailey to converse with. He's in one."

The two officers went down the narrow hall. They were so broad shouldered, they couldn't walk side by side. Bailey went in first, his ebony skin taking a blue hue from the fluorescent lights. Newton looked green, his slanted eyes narrow like a reptile's. Eilene and Canon watched from the observation booth.

Bailey stood at the corner of the table, massive arms folded. Newton sat, putting his injured leg on the tabletop. He'd had some break through bleeding and the gauze was bloody. It hurt like hell, but he wouldn't admit it. However, it had soured his, usually even, temper. He channeled the pain and anger into quiet aggression.

"Know how I got that?" He pointed to his leg wound.

"No, sir," Rivera mumbled.

"Hm? Bailey's getting old. Speak up."

"No, sir," he said more loudly.

"From what's left of your mom's front porch. Now, Corporal Bailey, he thinks you set us up. Sent us into a trap. I say you genuinely thought they were there, and in danger. Which of us is right?" He swung his leg down and stood, looming over the table. "Consider very carefully before you reply."

"B-Bailey is partially right. But I thought—I really thought they were there. I swear! They were there when I left. Did you find them? Are they okay?" He tried to stand, but Bailey shoved him into the seat and stood over him.

"No," Bailey growled.

The young man faltered. "Are they—dead?"

"No idea. But twelve more of your homeboys are. Sixteen of you—dead. Ten inured, some seriously. And eleven of you in jail. You better talk fast, boy, or Corporal Bailey might lose patience."

Bailey puffed up his chest, looking even more intimidating.

"You got my friend hurt," Bailey rumbled. "Another officer was shot. I don't like when my friends get hurt!" He slammed his fist on the table. It sounded like a bomb going off.

The young man jumped. "It was Teddy. He set this up."

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 49


The young men exchanged looks, not speaking.

Bailey moved closer. "He will f**king kill you if you don't talk," he rumbled.

The oldest one took a deep breath, closing his eyes. "We were sent to teach you a lesson."

"By who? Tinkerbell?" Canon demanded.

"Don't tell him, Rivera," the youngest looking one, snarled.

"Thank you. Yuri Pavlov," he growled. "We were sent by a former colleague of yours."

"Oats is behind this?" Newton said. "The f**k!"

"He thought a lesson needed to be taught. A message sent."

"Message received," Prince said. "He's a dumb ass."

"He arranged this from jail," Rivera said quietly. "With more time, and effort, he could send better. He provided the cards, codes and equipment. The weapons are from evidence."

"Shut up, Rivera!" Pavlov yelped. "Are you outta your mind?"

"You wanna go down for this, be my guest. I don't. He threatened my family. We've failed. They're probably already dead."

"Newton, Bailey, go. Address," he said to Rivera.

The young man told him.

"If it's a lie, or my men are hurt, you die."

"He's telling the truth," the middle one said. "I have no family, but it was my life on the line."

"And you?" Canon asked Pavlov.

"I don't tell our secrets to some faggot cop," he spat.

Canon backhanded him. The younger man lot his balance and fell to his side.

"Hey! Police brutality. I have witnesses! Right, guys? You saw!"

The others turned their faces away. "Saw what?" they chorused.

More prisoners were added to the lockup, only these were put in the adult section of the holding area.

Canon got on the phone with the county jail, where Oats was being held. "You make sure he sees no one. He has no phone calls."

"His lawyer...." the security officer protested.

"Monitor the lawyer twenty-four seven. I know the sneaky little f**k is determined to make my life misery."

"He's in solitary already," the officer replied. "What should we do?"

"I wish I could put him in a straight jacket and reenact Houdini's water trick. See if he can breathe underwater."

"Kinda harsh, Loose."

"I'm sitting on six prisoners, with two more at the hospital, and four in the morgue. I'm not having a very good night here." He hung up.

"Sir," Cage said. "Bailey and Newton are on site. They have Metro as backup, and Eilene joined them from the hospital run."

"Talk to me," Canon said over coms.

"We're at the house. It's quiet," Eilene said. "Newton has thermal on."

"Not reading any heat signatures. They could have moved them," Newton reported over coms.

"Or they could be dead." Canon let loose with a string of curse words. "We were expecting mother and sister. Nothing?"

"Not a thing."

"Going in," Newton announced. What followed were directions for his team.

Canon and the others listened closely, saying nothing. This wasn't their op. Although Eilene outranked Newton, she let him take charge. A good decision on her part. He'd done more breaches than the others combined.

A door opened. "Not locked," Newton said. "Watch for booby-traps."

"Out!" one of the city cops yelled. "Out! Go-go-go! It's a trap!"

Sounds of running, scrambling, stumbling. An explosion followed, so loud it made the coms scream. Reeling from the noise, Canon sat heavily.

"Sound off. Talk to me," Eilene commanded.

The city cops answered first.

"Here, Boss," Bailey said. "Newton?"

"Newton?" Eilene's voice rose in volume and pitch. "Where are you? Speak to me! Where is he? He was right behind me. Hale! Where are you? Find him, dammit," she commanded. "Find him now. Hale!"

There was a soft groan.

"Hale?" There were sounds of running.

"Yeah. Chill, babe. I'm stuck in the bottom step."

"Oh, God, you're bleeding."

"And breathing. Shh."

Eilene was so relieved to see him, she could hardly stand it. She wanted to kiss and coddle him, but, what was left of the house, was burning.

"Three hostiles from the south on foot," a city cop named Jones, said.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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Crash Into Me ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 54

"No. Why?" Canon explained the problem. "If we don't know, I doubt Oats does. I'd better not do a search from here....