Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Quaid Jennings is a psychologist. Along with his business partner, Boyd, he lives and works in a big city. Lonely and alone, he's happy when Boyd introduces him to Faydra, one of his many cousins. Faydra has applied to a program for psychiatric nurses and Quaid has taken her to the hospital to interview. There, he sees Clyde, one of his buddies who is a psychiatry resident.
“Who's the hot blonde in with Hagel?” Clyde asked.
“My girlfriend.” Quaid bridled slightly, drawing himself up with his shoulders squared.
“Chill, dude. You're a lucky man, but you know I don't step into another guy's action. She is to die for gorgeous, though.”
“Thanks. I think so, too. She's also got a brilliant mind and a great personality.”
“She got any sisters?”
“All brothers—six of them.”
“You're a brave man! My brothers and I vetted all our sister's dates until she was twenty. We still have a go when she brings a new man home.”
“I haven't met them yet. They live on Alabama.”
Clyde snorted. “Redneck brothers! All older?”
“Yeah.” Quaid squinted at his friend. “Why?”
“Guess you need a lesson in how Southern brothers think.” He put his arm around Quaid's shoulders. “See, we Southern boys don't think like you Yankees.” A Southern accent, which he'd concealed until now, flavored his words.
“No? Do tell.”
“Yep. That's a baby sister, whose virtue must be guarded at all costs. Men like us—the brothers—are on the prowl.”
“All men are, unless they're ancient or dead.”
“Yes, but some are more predatory than others. And a young lady's virtue is her greatest gift.”
“Which you—the brother—must protect at all costs.”
“While trying to nab the virtue of every available woman.”
“Pretty much. But see, that's the worry of that girl's brothers.”
“And if she hasn't any?”
“So much the better. Easier to pluck.”
Quaid laughed loudly, punching Clyde in the ribs. “You're insane.”
“Which is why I'm a shrink. But those good old boys will take you apart if you mistreat the baby.”
“I have no intention of doing that. Faydra's the best thing that ever happened to me. I look in her eyes and see the future.”
Clyde cleared his throat and backed up a little, scratching the back of his head.
“She's right behind me.”
“Yep. Heard every word.”
“Good that I was telling the truth, then.” He winked at his friend and turned to greet Faydra.
Fairly bouncing, she flung her arms around his neck, practically bending him in half. “I got it! I got it!” She jumped and hugged, nearly choking him.
“Fantastic!” he croaked. “Babe. Honey. Faydra!”
“Sorry! I got it!” She let go and kept hopping.
“I knew you could get it!”
“You didn't talk to anyone, pull strings?” she glowered.
“No! Not a soul. I didn't even know you had an interview here until you told me last night.”
“Good. I got it on my own.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Long, tan legs moved across my field of vision. Bright yellow board shorts came to the knee and a bold blue stripe circled the waistband. Above, rose a sculptured torso, Apollo's belt artfully delineated. The shorts rode low on his hips and powerful thighs bunched and stretched as he leaped to hit the ball. His calves bulged as he landed. Scattered with thick, black hair, they narrowed into firm ankles, ending with the sexiest man feet I've ever seen. Not that I have a foot fetish, just—wow. How can a guy have sexy feet?
"Huuuhh!" I groaned as the volley ball slammed into my lap. Belly red, skin stinging, I took stock. Nothing broken or damaged, except my pride, which had taken worse than this before, and survived.
Mr. Sexy Feet ran over, kneeling by my deck chair. "Are you okay?" His voice was sexy, too, like melted dark chocolate. Black hair that came to just below his ears, square jaw, and the deepest brown eyes I've ever seen, met my hungry gaze. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," I managed to gasp. "Yes. Fine. Stings a little."
"I'm so sorry. I lost the spike in the sun." He took up the ball, hissing as his eyes caught my reddened skin. "I can damn near read Nike on you—backwards."
His eyes took me in, from my sun bleached, tangle of hair to my rave red toenails. Did those big brown eyes linger over long on my scantily clad chest? One hesitates to speculate. He held out one broad palmed hand and smiled flashed a white toothed grin.
"J. Penn Spalding."
"What does the J stand for?" I squinted against the sun, not yet taking his hand.
He dug his toes into the sand. "By random chance, you lit on the one question I don't want to answer."
"Because, if I tell you, I'll kill any chance I have with you."
"How do you know you have a chance after smacking me with the volley ball, Mr. Spalding?"
"Cause you're still talking to me."
I tilted my head to the left, giving him a good, lingering once over. If he can look, I can look. "Benni Carstairs," I replied, taking his hand.
"What's Benni short for?"
"What's the J stand for?"
"I'll tell you over dinner."
"You're very sure of yourself, Mr. Spalding."
"Okay. Are you a local?"
"Then I pick the place."
"I'll meet you at the Blue Oyster Pub on the beach strip. Can you find it?"
"That's what GPS is for. Of course, it would be easier if you were in the car with me."
"It would, but you have to earn that."
"Fair enough. Tonight at seven o'clock?"
He was still holding my hand. Instead of shaking it again, he brushed his lips across it. He had very soft, full lips.
"Sorry again about the ball."
I grinned at him. "You did it on purpose."
He tried to look wide eyed and innocent, failing completely. "What? No. Never."
"Keep telling yourself that, J. Penn Spalding."
He tossed the ball in the air, walking backwards until he almost fell. I watched him go back to his mixed doubles game.
"She's okay," he called. The ball went over the net, landing in a woman's hands.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
Reva Kelly is having a Murphy's Law day. If something can go wrong, it does. To make it just absolutely perfect, she breaks the heel off her shoe during a client meeting. Though the shoe gets fixed, the heel breaks again when she's running for cover to escape the rain. This time, of course, she manages to break her leg. It turns out that the break was a lucky one after all, because the doctor is in—and he's hot!
There was some fumbling with the curtain and a young doctor poked his head in with a grin. "Am I in the right place? I'm looking for Reva Kelly?"
I waved, smirking sardonically. "You've found what's left of me." I grinned shyly.
He eyed me in a more than professional fashion, lingering on my broken ankle. Then his gaze drifted back up to my eyes, focusing there.
"Red hair," he murmured.
"And green eyes," I countered. "And you are?"
A brown haired, sun bronzed love god, by the look of him. His eyes were a amber brown with little flecks of gold.
"Sorry, I'm Mr. Perrine's personal physician." He smirked and winked.
"You are really a doctor, aren't you?" This was from Jane. I guess she felt like I did that he looked really young.
"Of course. Doctor Hal Perrine at your service."
"You're related to Mr. Perrine?" Jane jumped in with all the right questions before I could even formulate them.
"Yes, his great-nephew. My grandfather is his older brother."
"But you are a real doctor?" Jane couldn't let that drop.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name?" He held out his hand to her, artificial smile on his face.
"Jane Mercer, her assistant."
"Ms. Mercer, I promise, I'm a bona fide doctor. See? It even says so on my coat." He pointed to his name tag.
"How much experience do you have?"
"Is this a job interview? I came by to be polite and see if Miss Kelly needed anything."
"And I'm very grateful," I interjected. I didn't blame him for being annoyed. I have people think I'm too young for my job too. "Jane's concerned for my welfare, Dr. Perrine. She takes a sisterly interest in me. We've worked together nearly five years and we're very close."
I smiled sweetly at the doctor and flashed Jane a warning look. Her lips clamped shut on whatever comments she had, but her eyes were very expressive.
Hal picked up my chart and read through it quickly, nodding and making noncommittal noises as he did so. His smile was distracted as he put the file back down.
"Miss Kelly, Uncle Jake is really concerned about you. I've never seen him take such interest in one of his people before. You must be very special."
I shrugged. "No more so than anyone else, I'm sure. Though what use I'll be in a cast, I can't imagine."
"It won't slow you down that much. A little at first until you get used to it. The pain meds will make you groggy though."
"Have you had a broken leg, Doctor?" Jane asked abruptly.
"Yes. As a matter of fact, I've broken both legs at different times. Both arms within six months of each other, three ribs, my nose, one wrist and an odd assortment of toes. It's why I became an orthopedic man. After all my fractures, I had a pretty good working knowledge and thought I'd put it to use."
"Were you in car accidents or something?" Jane was amazed at the doctor's list of breaks.
"Mostly clumsy, but also I like extreme sports. I've been sky diving, wind surfing, bungee jumping, snow boarding from helicopters and I like to race dirt bikes."
"Is that how you broke your leg?" I asked, figuring dirt bikes were pretty dangerous.
He glanced away, rubbing his nose distractedly before answering. "Actually, I broke my leg once playing golf and the other time falling out of bed." He blushed, looking more than a little embarrassed. "What? It was a high bed!"
He looked so innocent, I had to laugh. Hal laughed heartily at himself as well. I liked Dr. Hal Perrine. He was handsome, funny and intelligent. Everything I look for in a man. Could I be so brazen as to ask him out? He wasn't wearing a wedding ring. What the hell, I had enough drugs in me to stop a truck.
"Hal," I said before I lost my nerve. "Maybe some day after I get used to the cast, we could go for a cup of coffee or bungee jumping?"
"No bungee for awhile." He tried to frown and couldn't. "But coffee sounds pretty safe. I haven't broken anything drinking coffee—yet."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Hard to believe that it's been almost five 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 Maya Tyler, Susan Clayton-Goldner and Jennie Marsland.
Maya Tyler, author of A Vampire's Tale, coming in March, will be chatting with us from 4:15 – 4:35 Eastern time.
SusanClayton-Goldner, author of A Bend in the Willow, which came out in January of 2017, will join us from 4:35 – 5:05
Jennie Marsland, author of Where the Heart Is, which came out in September or 2016, and Capture the Sky, which is due out in March, will join us from 5:05 – 5:25.
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 starting 22nd February, 2017, through 8th March 2017. Tirgearr Publishing, a Birthday Bash to remember!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Moira Crane teaches high school English, lives a quiet life and is enjoying her new home. At least she is until her phone is stolen. It doesn't seem like a big deal on the surface, but the pictures on it are priceless. She goes to the police to report it and meets Detective Rhys Fletcher. To say the spark between them takes them both by surprise, would be an understatement.
"Ooh. I like the shoes!" He knelt at her feet, touching the dark red suede. He ran his fingers up the side, fondling the bow at the back, moving slowly across the sole before caressing the top of her foot.
"Are you one of those weird foot fetish people?" Moira didn't know whether to be disgusted for flattered.
"Will you get mad if I say yes?"
"Depends on what you like to do to feet."
Rhys grinned, dusting his hands on his jeans. "Can I wash?"
She pointed to a half bath under the stairs. "You didn't answer me."
"Trying to come up with a reply that doesn't make me sound like a perv." He washed and dried his hands. "I like shoes. I like red. I think red shoes are sexy. I think women who wear red shoes are sexy. Therefore, I think you're damn sexy, with or without your red shoes."
Moira nodded, listening intently. "Thank you. I think you're pretty sexy too, even if you have a shoe fetish."
"I don't have a shoe fetish."
"Yeah? If we had sex tonight—which I am not saying we are, so don't get so happy—would you want the shoes on or off?"
"Depends. Are we in bed or somewhere else in the house?"
"On." He moved closer.
"Oooh, really?" He raised his eyebrows. "On." His chest pressed hard against hers.
"In the bed or against the wall?" His arms went around her, his hands dropping to her rear.
"Decidedly on. Pants around my ankles, and those sexy heels digging into my ass." He squeezed her butt with both hands, pressing in and up so her hips rubbed invitingly against his. "And if we're not making love tonight, please don't tease me with this anymore."
"I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't tease, but it's so much fun dirty-flirting with you."
"I don't know whether to be flattered or annoyed." Rhys nuzzled her neck.
"Be flattered, please. I don't want you annoyed. I haven't flirted or dated in such a long time. I forget the boundaries."
Rhys nibbled her earlobe. "No boundaries," he mumbled against her throat. "No limits. No pressure. I can wait, Moira. As long as it takes. Just try not to get me too worked up before we go out. It's kind of embarrassing to go in public with a hard on."
Moira giggled, bringing his face level with hers. She pouted her lips like the girl had earlier. "I promise to behave, if you do."
"I'll do my best. I make no guarantees. I'm single and it's been awhile."
Moira rubbed her lipstick off his cheeks with her thumb. "Define awhile."
"You the debate coach?"
"Yes. How did you know?"
"Lucky guess. Define awhile?" He raised his eyes, thinking, mumbling as he counted. "God, really that long? Shit! Three months. What's wrong with me?"
"I was about to ask you the same thing." She giggled when he pressed her ass again.
"I was waiting for the right woman to come along. Then all of a sudden, she dropped from the sky, right into my lap."
"I like to think so. And I'm a damn lucky man."
"I like to think so."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Blake is on his way to Key West, when he witnesses and accident on I-95 just south of Daytona. Worried about the passenger found in the wreck, he heads to the hospital and is waiting at the emergency room for the doctor's report. Little does he know that he's about to find the love of his life.
The doors behind and to my left, opened. A doctor stood there, her scrub top mussed and sweaty. Light brown hair escaped under the edge of her surgical cap.
"Are you the guy waiting for news on the truck wreck girl?"
"Yes. Blake Arbuthnot." I smiled, holding out my hand.
"Dr. Grace Healey." She held out her hand, taking mine.
She was a pretty, little thing. Let me clarify, before anyone jumps on me for that sexist sounding remark. I'm a big guy, about six two. To me, anyone under five foot eight is a little thing. This girl was probably five four, tops. My hand circled hers, looking more like a bear paw than a hand. Tanned and well muscled, it was a stark contrast between it and her ivory colored one. She smiled up at me and I felt my heart flipflop. Then I noticed the wedding ring on a chain around her neck. My heart plummeted and the happy dance that had started in my pants, stuttered to a halt.
"How is she?" I was still holding her hand. She didn't take it back, so I waited, suddenly feeling like a social inept. Then again, if I took my hand away....well, it was awkward.
"She's doing as well as can be expected. She was pretty messed up." She took back her hand, gesturing to a chair. We sat side by side in the waiting room. "Did you know her at all?"
"No. Never met her. Just saw the wreck and stopped. I didn't even know she was in there until they pulled her out. Why?"
She glanced at Rose and decided it was safe to talk in front of the older woman. "We think she's been—assaulted. We aren't a hundred percent sure, but I did a rape kit just to be safe."
"How can you not be sure? Isn't there—evidence?" I shuddered. The idea that pretty, little girl had been violated, was repugnant to me. Men that rape are the lowest of scum and should die horribly. If it was the guy in the truck, he had paid for his sin.
"There were some indications. She was pretty banged up by the wreck. Doesn't look like she was wearing a seat belt. We think she might have been asleep, or unconscious, in the back. Being that relaxed probably saved her life."
"Poor kid. I don't know what help I can be, but I'd sure like to see her when she's able to have visitors."
"Are you from here?"
"No. I'm from Natchez, Mississippi." It's not exactly Natchez, but as close as may be. I saw no reason to belabor the point. People have heard of Natchez.
"I knew you didn't sound like a Florida boy."
"No, ma'am." My Southern comes out when I flirt, too. I winked at her. Married or not, she'd just saved that girl's life. And she was pretty—damn pretty. "You from around here?"
"No, California. We moved here a few years ago."
She and her husband. Damn.
"Anyway, if you'll leave your number with Rose, I'll make sure you're informed when she's awake and able to have visitors. I need to get cleaned up. Sorry. I wanted to give you the information as soon as possible."
"Not a problem. I've worked as a first responder for five years. I've seen worse."
"I'll bet you have. Thanks for your concern, Mr. Arbuthnot." She held out her hand again.
I shook her hand again, admiring the strength in those small, long fingered hands.
"And thank you, Doctor Healey." I kissed her hand.
She blushed, smiling at me. Her eyes were an amazing shade of blue and twinkled. How I wished she wasn't married. Ah well, the beautiful ones get snatched up first. She made to rise and I jumped to my feet, helping her up. Slowly letting go my hand, she headed back to the ER.
Rose watched all this with a smile and raised eyebrows. "Well, I'll be!"
I frowned, tilting my head in question.
"I haven't seen Grace smile in a coon's age. Poor girl. Her husband was killed in an accident a few years ago." She shook her head, red waves hardly moving, but her dangling earrings did quite a dance by her large, square face.
Not married? Hmmm....
"I'm so sorry to hear that. It's a terrible thing to lose someone that way."
"Yes, it is." Rose sighed, smiling. "You made that girl blush! What on earth did you do?"
I took Rose's hand, brushing her fingers with my lips before planting a soft kiss on the careworn knuckles as if it were the soft, delicate hand of a fine lady. Rose blushed too, giggling.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Alton and Velda is my first, and so far only, attempt at medieval fantasy. I have some modern fantasy novels, but I never tried one with naiads, wood sprites and sorcerers before. It was fun and I might try it again.
Revanth is an ensorclled man, turned into a horse by an evil swamp naiad. He and his fiancee, Astrid, have been traveling with Alton and Velda. They stop for the night at a tavern only to have something untoward happen during the night.
While the women packed, Alton went out to the stable to saddle Revanth. He checked the stall where the black stallion had bedded down the night before. Saddle and bridle were where he'd left them, but Revanth was gone.
"Where's my horse?" Alton demanded. "I left him here, in your care, last night. Where is he?"
"What sort of horse, good sir?" The groom appeared somewhat touched in the head. His speech was slow and deliberate.
Alton wasn't sure the man understood him, but he described Revanth in detail.
The groom shook his head. "Warn't narry sech horse here when I come to work dis mornin'. I check 'em all. I'd o' remembered a horse that sleek—all black, you say? And a stallion? Rare, that is."
"Very rare, hence my irritation that my—horse—is—gone! See here, this is his bridle and saddle."
"Likely run off," the groom said, scratching his stubbly chin.
"He wouldn't do that."
"Why not? All animals like freedom like us folk."
"Not Revanth. Who's the law around here?"
"You don't need the law, young master. . . ."
"The name is Sir Alton of Lyndon Mead. Not young master. I want the sheriff or constable—whoever the authority is here."
"You be wanting Tom Joyce, t' Magistrate."
"That will do. Where is he?"
"Out back. He owns the tavern."
Alton barely thanked him. He went behind the tavern and found a stout, balding man. His pants and shirt were homespun and grubby from hard work. He was trying to fix a wagon wheel without much success.
When Alton approached the tavern keeper turned toward him, touching his forehead in respect. "What can I do for ye, milord?"
"My horse is missing from your stable. I saw him put up last evening. My traveling companion curried him before bed. His tack is where I left it, but my horse is not."
Tom Joyce pulled on his forelock. "Well, then. It appears we've a problem."
"Do you think so?" Alton said, surprise in his voice.
The chubby man had enough intelligence to know he was being chastised. He frowned. "No need to be like that."
"There is, I'm afraid. I have places to go. I need my horse."
"He's worth a lot of money, is he?" The older man's expression changed subtly.
Alton frowned, leaning over the much shorter man. "He's worth more than your scurvy life, old man. He's the war horse for a knight of the realm. The mud in his hooves is ten times the cost of this flea ridden tavern. If you know where he is, I'll have him back. If by your ineptitude, you're hoping that the thieves will spirit him away, let me assure you." He took a step closer. "There's no place he can go where I can't find him. And when I do, I'll make it my business to come back here, lay you open from groin to gorge—nice and slow. Am I clear?"
"As crystal." The taverner gulped, his flabby chins bobbing nervously.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Tanya and Morgan are both doctors and they work at the same hospital. They meet by accident one evening when Tanya collapses in the doctor's lounge. Hitting it off, they soon are dating. Morgan introduces her to his large, noisy and somewhat eccentric family.
"I'm working this afternoon," Tanya said. "But before I do that, I'd better go to the grocery store. In fact, we both should. Morgan hasn't a thing in his house to eat and I'm out of just about everything."
"Oh, what excitement," Molly said dryly. "And here I thought you had something fun planned, like rock climbing or hang gliding."
"No, that's next week," Morgan said, keeping his face completely straight. "I thought we'd try joining the Mile High Club tomorrow, that is if I can borrow the family jet."
Tanya glanced around the room trying to figure out if Morgan was teasing. No one smiled. They all looked as if his remark was completely normal. Just as she was about to ask, Duke's ears went red and he burst out laughing. It was an explosive sound and made her jump. He giggled until tears came to his eyes.
"I'm sorry," he told Morgan. "I just couldn't hold it any more. Tanya, the look on your face was priceless! Good one, Uncle Morph."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Duke. I'm completely serious." He took a sip of his coffee and tipped casually back in his chair.
"But—I—Whatever!" Making rude finger gestures at his uncle, he walked from the room muttering to himself.
Morgan's lip twitched and then a smile spread across his face. "No, I'm kidding about the mile high thing, Tanya. But the family does have a plane. It belongs to Uncle Scott."
"No, Uncle Stan," Molly corrected.
"I'm always mixing them up," Morgan told her. "I hope I know them by sight and haven't had them mixed up in my head for the last thirty years. I think they played a prank on me as a child and pretended to be one another to confuse me."
"It wouldn't surprise me," Molly told him. "They are a little eccentric and have a very bizarre sense of humor."
"Which is the one with gold teeth? Stan?"
"Oh. Well then I don't know which is which. My entire life has been an illusion. I'm going to require years of therapy to make me myself again."
"I can help with that," Tanya told him with a perfectly straight face. "I am a professional. I even did a short stint on a psychiatry ward. Would you say you suffer from delusions?"
"Constantly," Morgan said with a huge, dramatic sigh. "Or are they illusions? What's the one when you see things?"
"Hallucinations... or is it halitosis? I get those two mixed up."
Kenny was looking from Morgan to Tanya and back again. "She's as loony as he is. No wonder they get along so well. What a relief! I thought we had a normal one in the family and I was going to worry about her continued mental health!"
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, February 09, 2017
Fiddlestix is in an untenable position. A group of rogue cyber-soldiers has disappeared, along with their handler. They are tracked to a remote area of Tennessee mountains, owned by a militaristic organization which calls itself the Shine Clan. Ordered to retrieve the soldiers, she and her team are sent into hostile Shine Clan territory. Shortly after they're dropped in the zone, her people start to disappear. Deciding to take matters head on, Fiddlestix goes looking for the leader of the Shine Clan.
Spinning in a low, continuous circle, she bellowed for all she was worth. Hurling insults, she castigated the landscape. Harmony and Kaz looked more and more concerned. Kaz gasped suddenly, pointing over Fiddlestix' left shoulder. She felt a tingling. Moving around so she faced the opposite direction, she kept her hands carefully away from her weapons, motioning her men to do the same. Taking a step forward, she focused on the bracken to the west, waiting.
A moment later, the bushes rustled and dozens of huge men poured forth. The smallest of them was well over six feet, dwarfing Harmony, who was six foot seven. Their bodies were muscled in ways that Fiddlestix had never seen before. All of them were tall, buff and disarmingly handsome. None of them were smiling.
One man stepped forward, literally toe to toe with Fiddlestix. Well over seven feet tall, he loomed over her. At six three, she was used to looking down on most of her team members. This man made her lean back, gazing at his chin. Despite her irritation and disquietude, her heart fluttered, but not from fear. He was, for lack of a more descriptive term, gorgeous. Built along the lines of a Norse god, his golden blond hair flowed down his back. A tight, narrow braid was knotted with a red strip of leather and tossed casually over his left shoulder. His crystal blue eyes bored into her stormy gray ones.
"I'm here." His deep, husky, musical voice filled her ears. His Southern accent was strong, flavoring his words like honey. "I can't say I much appreciate the disparaging remarks about my character, though." His lips made a firm, tight line. A steely glint flickered in the back of his eyes.
"I need to speak to your leader."
Fiddlestix folded her arms across her ample chest, eyes flickering around the perimeter of the clearing, taking in the opposition. She counted twenty, but figured there were at least twice that many that she couldn't see.
"I'd like to talk to him." She made it clear she wasn't moving until he granted her what she wanted.
"Look, lady, I don't know who the hell you think you are, but do you know who you're talking to?"
A slightly shorter, but more muscular man detached himself from the group behind the blond god. He was even more massively built than the other man, dark and brooding. They had to be brothers, there was a strong family resemblance. Especially in that defiant jaw. His eyes were dark brown, the other man's were a clear, vivid blue with a steely edge.
"I'm Master Sergeant Hannah Braun of the United States Army," she began confidently. "I demand to speak...."
"Honey," the dark haired man's brown eyes danced happily. "You're speakin' to him right now. After the noise you made in our woods, do you think anyone else was gonna come? Master Sergeant Hannah Braun, meet General Deacon Scott of the Shine Clan."
Fiddlestix was stunned. This was the leader of the Shine Clan? He wasn't any older than she was! Had she heard right?
"You're General Scott? We were led to believe that your leader was an older man, in his fifties?"
Deacon's eyes clouded and his jaw worked fitfully as he tried to control his emotions. "My father was killed recently in a raid. You say you know something about the freaks who took our north gate two days ago?"
"Yes. Is there somewhere else we could talk? More private?"
"Anything you have to say to me, Master Sergeant, you can say in front of my men. You folks may keep secrets from your subordinates, but that's not Shine Clan way."
"The men who attacked you are AWOL, General Scott. Their handler, Pete Livingston, decided to walk out with his cyber unit."
"Anyone know why a man would do a fool thing like that?" This from the dark man to General Scott's left.
"No one shared that information with me," Fiddlestix said. "That being the Army's way."
"Jasper, get the lady a stool. I think we're gonna be here awhile."
"Yes, Deacon." He didn't salute, but he treated the other man with deference.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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