Thursday, November 14, 2019
After talking to the sheriff, Luke and Will decide that spending the night with the girls again, is a good idea. They talk about Big Earl's wishes for the land.
"He let me keep my house land," Will said stubbornly. "I got me a few acres to work if I have a mind. It will surely do for us and ours when we've got kids. I don't need more than that."
"I decided that Will can share the land evenly with me once it's mine," Luke said. "Mama has the house for her and the young'uns. We work the land and provide for them like we promised. I don't hold with Daddy saying Will ain't his son. He's my brother and we went through hell with that old man. If I could of gone with Will, I would of."
Dollie took his hand in hers. "You're a fine man, Lucius Henry."
He smiled, kissing her fingers.
"Reckon you should go into town and check the bank box," Will said.
"Your father had a bank box?" Patty was shocked.
"Yup. He had a lawyer too," Will replied. "He took me up there one day, introduced us and all. Did he do that with you, Luke?"
"No, this is the first I heard of it. How long ago was that?"
"It was a few months before I left home. He had a long talk with the lawyer, but I wasn't in the room. He had him a pretty new secretary I was trying to get to know."
"Before or after you met Patty?" Luke winked at his brother.
"I'd met her but we weren't courting," Will replied, his ears going red. "Once she told me she'd date me steady, I didn't even talk to another girl except at work."
"I guess you'd better go with me," Luke said.
"We'll go tomorrow," Will replied. "All that nonsense with Ed got me thinkin' maybe there's somethin' he knows that we don't—and we should."
"First thing in the morning. Can you take the time from work?"
"Mr. Prentice gave me a few days bereavement leave." He snorted.
"It gives you a chance to get things in order," Patty said, taking his hand. "And you can spend some time working on the house."
"Every minute I can," he promised.
"It's about time to go to bed," Dollie said suddenly. "You men need to bathe and get to bed so you can be up early and head to town."
Patty exchanged an unhappy look with Will. "She's right. Much as I'd like to spend more time, we need to get some rest."
The men agreed, Will reluctantly, but he followed his brother as he went down the hall.
"You think Dollie was trying to keep us apart?" he asked Luke as they headed to the showers.
"Yup, I do. And she's right. Y'all aren't married yet. I know you're excited, but you got to keep it under control, Will. What would her daddy the preacher say if his daughter had to get married?"
"Reckon he'd wanna kill me."
"Yup, I reckon he would."
They bathed in silence and finished getting ready for bed. They lay down and put out the lamp on the table between them. Will stared at the ceiling. Luke could see the outline of his profile in the moonlight that drifted in from outside. A worried frown creased Will's brow.
"Who do you suppose it was that broke in last night?"
"I been wondering that. Got no idea."
"You think he'd try comin' back?"
"Not if he knows we're here. He'd be a fool to do that."
"We ain't sleepin' in with the girls. We're way on down the hall. Lot can happen in a minute. I think they ought to sleep in here with us. And I do mean sleep. You and me could take turns resting and the girls could take the beds."
"You think they're asleep yet?"
"Doubt it. Let's go find out."
They put on their bathrobes and tapped on the apartment door. There was a scurrying inside and Dollie opened the door. She peeped up at them, dark eyes wide.
"Is something wrong?"
"We got to thinking," Luke said. "You ought to come down to our room and sleep there. We'll behave," he added, holding his hands up where she could see them. "We're a little concerned about last night's visitor. We'd feel better if you came down to our room."
"Patty?" Dollie called over her shoulder. "What do you think?"
"I think it's a great idea." She came out of the bedroom in her bathrobe.
They walked the women to their room. The rooms were equipped for four girls, so they made up the two other beds for Patty and Dollie. They curled up and went to sleep. Will lay down to rest and Luke stayed up, sitting in one of the desk chairs with his feet up on another chair. It was uncomfortable, which was why he'd chosen it. He hadn't counted on the fact that, despite his desire to stay awake, his body needed sleep. He was still recovering from a serious infection, his body drained of its usual reserves. Before long, he'd dozed off, head lolling over the back of the chair.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Soulless and exiled from Heaven the Dark Knights have spent millennia protecting humanity from Lucifer and his demons. But the longer they live the closer they come to joining Lucifer’s ranks in Hell. Their only hope is to find their soul keepers, and love. After an attack by a demon left her injured and weak Amber Fitzpatrick welcomed the attention and caring of her rescuer Jacob—until he turned into an abusive monster. The night Amber flees the possessive, extraordinarily toxic relationship Jacob reveals his true demonic nature. Zach has more than Lucifer’s minions to contend with. Each day brings him closer to Hell. For fifty years he’s walked the thin line between sanity and giving in to his dark urges. Urges that go against his calling as a healer and a teacher. Every battle drives him closer to the edge, feeds his inner demon and pushes him to find a permanent solution to death. When Zach meets Amber he sees a chance for salvation. But Amber’s experience with Jacob makes her afraid to start any kind of relationship with Zach, especially discovering he’s not that different then the man she walked away from. Can she set her fear aside and save Zach before she loses him to the darkness forever?
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.
Former Army Captain, Frank Atherton, has left the dangerous life of a soldier behind. Retired from the military, he now works in a large nursing home facility, as assistant director. Things are pretty quiet, until the annoying blister of a man, Ralph Penwarren arrives, doing his best to break into his mother's apartment. Soon after his arrival, Frank meets the lovely new psychiatrist on staff, Marka Ventimiglia, who takes his breath away. Their relationship seems to be moving swiftly ahead, until Ralph Penwarren is seriously injured by a bad fall. If that weren't enough, Frank's office is trashed, his car vandalized, and a dead man is found in the ravine behind his house. Are the incidents related, or simply a series of alarming coincidences?
Practicing law in a large partnership, Sydney Jones was primed for making partner. Then her life turned upside down after a disagreement with her boss at Birdman & Birdman.
Dakota Livingston’s whole world has been turned upside down…
After realizing she’s the sole survivor of a plane crash—the plane that was to take her to her injured father—her will to live is put to the test as she floats out at sea for days with no water or food.
Ready to give up, she’s rescued by some fisherman from a nearby island. Waking up, not knowing where she is and with no communication with the outside world, Dakota befriends a 12 year old native boy who has secrets hauntingly similar to her own. As their friendship grows it becomes clear just how similar their lives are. In a race against time, with recovery underway, Dakota is desperate to save Daniel from his own demons and return to the love of her life who has given her up for dead. Can one woman’s sheer grit and determination overcome all odds?
Sheriff Squires has dropped by the house to pay his respects, but he has some questions for Luke which make the younger Henry brother suspicious.
"Of course you do. I'm sorry. Being the law, I like to see things neat and tidy. I worry about my friends."
"I imagine you do. This ain't a thing for you to worry after. Between us and the menfolk, we got this covered. Will and me'll keep an eye on the girls for ya."
"Thanks. I knew I could count on you." Picking up his hat, he bid farewell and headed back down the mountain.
Lucius watched him drive away. "Just what are you after, Edward Squires? And why did you want to know so bad about a will?"
Rachel Henry came up a moment later, tugging at her son's arm. "You come sit down, Luke, and have something to eat. You got to keep up your strength."
He allowed himself to be persuaded to eat. He was extra hungry and knew his body was still fighting off the infection in his hand. Will and the other men came in thirty minutes later.
They spent a couple hours with the family before gathering some things together to take with them to the girls' dorm. Their mother agreed that they should stay with the girls for the time being.
"Most of the family will be heading home the next day or so, but Wilt said he'd stay on a little longer. His boys can handle the farm on their own."
Will and Luke were glad to hear their uncle was staying. He was a good man who had often helped them and their father with the farm. It was a big job for one man. Luke wasn't sure how he was going to manage. Will had his own job to do. Luke still needed the money from the school to make ends meet. He might end up hiring someone in the fall. Through the summer, he could manage with Samuel's help, but his younger brother would have school come August.
The brothers bid farewell just before lunch and headed back down the mountain. They spent the day with Patty and Dollie. After the evening meal, they helped wash up, then went outside to smoke while the women took their showers. Sitting on the front porch swing, the men shared a cigarette.
"Feels like home already," Will said with a happy sigh.
"It sure does. I could get used to being domesticated real easy."
Will chuckled, punching his brother's shoulder. "You mean you want sex regular like."
"That and the meal. Mama's a fine cook, there's no doubt. But with Daddy and a passel of young'uns to feed, I didn't never get full. It was a little better once you moved, but if there was extra, Daddy always took it. There's me workin' two jobs and lucky to get my share. Mama tried to give me her portion sometimes, but I ain't takin' food off my mother's plate. When Dollie and Patty feed me, I stay fed." He laughed, patting his belly.
Will laughed at his brother. "You're gonna get fat with a wife to feed you regular."
"Nope. I'll work it off other ways."
Will whooped, punching Luke. "I heard ya!"
Luke pretended not to mean it the way it sounded. "I don't know what you're on about. I was talking about working at the school and at the farm."
His brother chuckled, lighting another cigarette. "Yeah, I'll just bet you were."
Luke's laugh joined in. They shared another smoke, waiting for the women. A short time later, both came out with their hair damp, wearing fresh dresses and smelling sweet like soap. Luke's chest tightened when Dollie sat next to him, her body pressed next to his. She smelled so clean and fresh, he could hardly bear it. Her scent tickled his nose in a delightful way and it was all he could do not to lick her. Instead, he placed his lips on her cheek, kissing her tenderly. He nuzzled her neck, nibbling at the base of her ear.
Dollie shivered, wiggling delightedly next to him. Luke continued his ministrations. He strongly suspected his brother and Patty were doing more than just cuddle, but he was past caring. He enjoyed the little bit he could have with Dollie, knowing that they would come to that place in their relationship too.
Once the sun set, they went inside and sat in the common room, playing cards. The girls knew a variety of games. They even pulled out an old dominos set and taught the men how to play. Dollie was good, but Luke took to it like he'd played his entire life. Patty and Will couldn't compete, so they finally put the games away and sat around talking.
Luke told them about the conversation he'd had with the sheriff. "It was right strange how he kept going on about a will. Made me wonder what he was really after. And why. Don't make a whole lotta sense."
"Maybe he really was concerned about making the transition of the land simple," Patty said softly.
"Patty, I don't mean to contradict, but the fact is, up here we don't need no lawyers to tell us who gets what. A man makes his wishes known and his family sees it done."
"I was supposed to inherit Daddy's land," Will said quietly. "But when I moved to town, I lost that. He disowned me and gave the land to Luke."
"And that doesn't bother you?" Patty was incredulous.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Will tells Luke that he and Patty made love on Luke's bed. Luke isn't sure whether to believe him or not.
"Sorry. Next time, I promise to use my bed."
"Best not be a next time or you're gonna have to marry that girl early."
"Early or later, don't matter to me."
"It'd matter if her daddy shoots you."
"He don't own a gun. I asked."
Lucius chuckled, shaking his head. "Kill ya with his bare hands, like as not."
"Naw, he's a preacher." Will gasped. "Oh, hell, Luke. He's a preacher! Holy God, I'm goin' to hell."
Lucius was still laughing ten minutes later. Willem put his pillow over his head, rolled away from his brother and went to sleep.
The next morning, the men woke early and drove up to the family home to start chores. They were surprised and pleased to see their male cousins and uncles all pitching in to do the work. None of them would let Luke help.
"You take care of your hand or Doc will have our hides," his brother Samuel said. "Ma too, for that matter. We got this. You go talk to Ma."
Lucius went to the house while Willem joined the other men to do chores. He found his mother surrounded by women. They were cooking a massive breakfast for the men to eat when they were done. Among the crowd he spotted Sheriff Edward Squires and his deputy. The sheriff waved a hand at Lucius, inviting him over. The younger man was soon at the sheriff's side.
"I heard there was some excitement down your way last night."
"How the hell would you know that when I ain't even told you yet?"
"Word gets around." The sheriff shrugged.
"What word? We ain't told a soul."
"I'm talking about the fire. What are you talking about?"
Lucius told him about someone breaking in and Dollie chasing him.
"Did she see him?" The sheriff's brow furrowed.
"Not really. Said he was a big man—but to Dollie, that's everyone." He chuckled, shaking his head.
The sheriff didn't laugh along with him. "That's pretty serious, Luke. Those two girls there all by themselves. Worries me some. Is there anyplace else they could stay?"
"Not really. But me and Will can stay awhile longer. We're in one of the dormitory rooms and pretty comfy. You really think they're in danger?"
"Strange man breaks into a place with two single women. Yeah, I think there's a problem. You boys take some things and move on in there for a spell. I'd send a man up, but I ain't got one to spare. Not with all this mess." He sighed, ruffing his thinning hair.
"Any idea who that man was in the shed?"
"Nope. All the local men are accounted for."
"It's for sure a man?"
"Yup. Doc Starbuck had a look and was able to tell. Something about the pelvis. I dunno. Can't tell much more. The fire took out most of our clues and the water and dirt took the rest. We know he's a man and probably not local. Other than that, no one knows for sure. The state police are sending a coroner to do autopsies of him—and your daddy."
"Thought we'd buried him."
"State police asked us not to. Me and the boys had to pull him out the hole once y'all had gone."
Lucius shuddered. "Does Mama know?"
"Nope. I was hoping to see you or Will. I need permission...."
"If it helps catch the man who took my mother's husband from her, you do what needs doing."
Squires patted Lucius' shoulder. "I know you weren't close to your daddy, Luke. Me and my old man got along 'bout as well as you and Earl. But he's still your daddy. We'll try and bring him justice. Ain't nobody deserves to end like he did."
Lucius nodded. "You need me to sign something?"
"I do." Squires pulled out a folded paper and handed Luke a fountain pen. "Did your daddy have a will?"
"I don't know," Lucius replied, puzzled by the question. "Mama might know. He was gonna leave the land to Willem, but he's moved to town. Guess it falls on me to tend it. Don't rightly know the way of things. Why?"
Squires shook his head, shrugging. "Curious is all."
Lucius read quickly through the paper he'd been handed. Some of it he didn't understand, but he could tell it was a consent form for a second autopsy to be conducted by the State Police. He sighed and dated as instructed at the bottom. Handing the paper back to the sheriff, he tried to smile.
"If you find out about that will...."
"Reckon Mama knows. I'll ask her later. Right now, ain't gonna trouble her. Lady just lost the man she loved," Lucius said rather forcefully. "It don't matter, Ed. We got this under control."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, November 05, 2019
Soulless and exiled from Heaven the Dark Knights have not abandoned their duty. For millennia they’ve battled demons, protecting human kind from Lucifer’s servants. Less than a year ago hundreds of demons escaped Hell world-wide, stretching the Knights resources to their limits. Now they face the greatest challenge of all—discovering love.
Breanna Thorn spent the last ten years fighting demons with her twin brother Sam, and she’s damn good at it. But at twenty three all she really wants is a normal life with dating, college and quiet. To balance the life she wants and the life she has, Bree studies demons and other supernatural creatures in hopes of better understanding the enemy. When she meets fallen angel Bass, Bree encounters a complication she never saw coming—love.
Bass’ persona of hedonism begins to crumble when he meets Breanna. She’s beautiful, intelligent, a kick ass fighter and the vessel for his immortal soul. He knows he’s no good for her but no matter how hard he tries to make Bree hate him; she keeps finding a way into his heart. He’ll do anything to keep her safe even if it means giving up everything he is.
After their parents are killed by monsters, demons, Sam Thorn focuses his life on protecting his sister and hunting the creatures that changed their lives. Now he finds himself swept up in a world where he’s surrounded by monsters and at risk of losing his sister—something he cannot, will not allow. When the rage burning inside him breaks free Sam finds he is a greater danger than the monsters he fears.
Hogart once walked the halls of Heaven, now he battles with voices in his head driving him further and further into madness. Being taken in by his fellow fallen angels, The Dark Knights, is both a blessing and a curse. Their energy quiets the demon within him but now he is permanently housed with the twins Sam and Breanna. The voices insist he kill them; his heart says otherwise.
On the road to seek work in the cotton fields of Texas, an old Ford Model T truck breaks down and forces a change of destination that ultimately leads the protagonists to the Argentine Patagonia. Follow the anecdote-driven story of a devoted couple who spent their childhood in the U.S. Southwest during the Great Depression, met and married during World War II, and together undertook a lifelong journey of adventure and service.
He hadn't seen her in 10 years, but there she was, dressed in black leather, straddling the Harley. Draven Wick is back home, on a break from filming his vampire themed TV show, when he spots Jamie Humphrey at a Bike Week raffle. The love of his teen life, Draven never thought he'd see her again. Rekindling their romance after 10 years is the easy part. Unfortunately, Draven has been blamed for the death of a notorious bike gang leader. Staying ahead of the police, and the biker gang bent on revenge, takes Jamie and Draven to the brink of disaster.
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 fiancé, 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?
Life is hard. Marriage can be harder. Especially for Dakota Livingston whose husband turned into a monster…
After surviving a beating that puts her in hospital she is determined to get her life together and move forward. While on a month’s holiday to celebrate a new chapter in her life, the last thing Dakota expects is to fall in love with handsome movie actor, Kyle Rutherford…
After a whirlwind romance, Dakota’s trip is cut short after discovering her ex-husband has injured her beloved father. Not wanting to leave her blissful new relationship with Kyle, she has no choice but to return home without him while he finishes filming a movie. A broken heart is the least of Dakota’s troubles, as fate steps in to change her life forever… Testing not only her will but her sanity.
Luke and Dollie very nearly make love, but he stops because he realizes it's only because he's feeling lusty, not because he wants to show his love.
"I—I don't understand, Luke. Why?"
He pulled his shirt on, averting his eyes as she neatened herself.
"I love you, Dollie. But right now, I just want to satisfy my lust. It wouldn't be a beautiful moment for you. Your first time should be special."
"What will you do?"
His laugh was harsh, almost angry with a hint of desperation. Luke shook his head, rubbing his throat. He tried not to laugh again, but he couldn't keep it inside. He didn't laugh because he felt humor, he laughed at the irony of his situation. Here he'd been wanting Dollie because of who and what she was. Now he wanted her only because she was a handy, willing female. He wouldn't treat her like that. She was far too special.
"I expect I'll figure something out, but I'm gonna need some time alone." He headed out the door and down the hall to the communal bathroom.
Hesitating, he made the decision to put more distance between him and Dollie. The idea that she might hear him made his stomach clench. He trotted up the stairs. Once he was alone, he couldn't make himself do what he'd gone there to do. Instead, he sat on the floor, head in his hands. Tears came unbidden, sobs shook his body. He wanted to roar and yell and scream like they'd done earlier, but he didn't dare. He'd scare Dollie and bother his brother, who would not take kindly to being interrupted.
Lucius had never had feelings like this. His emotions were in a whirl and he didn't know how to control himself. He curled up with his arms around his knees, his head on top, as he cried. A little while later, he heard movement. Thinking it was Dollie, he wiped his eyes. Raising his head, he saw his brother in the doorway. Will smiled and joined his brother on the floor. He lit a cigarette, passing it to Luke.
"Dollie told me what happened," he said quietly.
Luke blushed, shaking his head, he turned away from his brother. "God—"
"You done right, little brother. It woulda been wrong."
"Is Dollie mad?"
"No. She's confused, upset. She thinks she did something wrong."
"She did every damn thing just right, that's the problem. I wanted to do it. But I couldn't."
"I get it. Once in awhile, gallantry overrides lust and we have a moment." Will held his fingers about half an inch apart.
Lucius laughed. "Yeah, we do. A lot of men would have," he said.
"A lot of men are complete tools," Will replied. "They don't think a thing about it. But you're not made like that."
"I wanted to."
"Yeah, I would've too, if it'd been me. Pretty girl throws herself at me, I'm gonna be tempted." He shrugged, nudging his brother.
They passed the cigarette back and forth until it was finished. Will flushed the butt.
"So, do you need—a minute?"
"I'm okay for now," Luke replied. "I got up here and—dammit, Will. I can't stop crying. Like a little girl! Why?"
"You got a lot going on. In your shoes, I'd be blubbering like a baby."
Will was impetuous and impulsive, but he wasn't one to burst into tears. Will also didn't mince words or say something just to make his brother feel better. For him to say that, he meant it.
"Thank you. That means a lot to me."
Will smirked. "So suck it up now and come back downstairs. And if you need some alone time, you take it. Ain't a man alive ain't had to do that from time to time."
The men went back to the apartment, said good night and went back to their room. Will's bedding was askew. Lucius' bed was neatly made.
"Put some fresh sheets on," his brother admitted shyly.
"Did you—" He made telling hand gestures. "On my bed?"
"No, no I swear! We pulled 'em together, but tussled on mine. Just thought since we messed it up some...."
"Hope to hell you're telling me the truth." Shaking his head, Luke undressed and slid into bed.
"We totally fucked on your bed," Will said as he lay down.
Luke raised up and hit him with his pillow, hard and repeatedly. Laughing, Will protected himself.
"I'm kidding! We didn't." He lay down when Luke stopped hitting him. "But I wanted to."
"I'll do you an injury and make you unable to father children," Luke grumbled as he rolled over.
He liked to hope Will was kidding about making love on his bed, but if it had been him, if one bed had been handier, he'd have used it. His was closer to the door and he knew instinctively his brother was lying. He rolled over and hit his brother with the pillow again. Will woofed air, laughing.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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