Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Poplar Mountain Part 51 by Dellani Oakes

After the breakin, the men decide that it's not safe at the dorm and take the girls to town. Will's landlord, Mr. Reiger, allows them to stay in an empty apartment next door to Will.

"Will-Billy?" Luke gasped, laughing hard.
"Patty-Cake?" another fit of giggles hit her and she doubled over.
"Good night," Patty said, shoving Luke out the door.
"Night, Patty-Cake," he replied, winking. "Dollie, you're gonna bust a gusset if you ain't careful. Good night." He gave her a quick kiss.
Will kissed Patty one last time and the men went to Will's apartment after making sure the girls were locked and bolted into the apartment.
It was well after three when they finally settled down again. Will found it difficult to fall asleep. His mind was racing and he wondered who would want to harm the girls. They didn't know anything. They were innocent. Suddenly, it occurred to him that the reason they were being pursued was because they were innocent. They knew nothing and had no knowledge that anyone would find useful. However, they could be used as leverage against Will and Luke. Someone thought they knew something and they had better figure out what and soon.
Luke stirred in the living room. He was lying on a Murphy bed that pulled out from the living room wall. The bed was old and the springs squawked loudly when he moved.
"It sounds like a flock of chickens took over my living room," Will said from the bedroom door.
Luke sat up, looking slightly embarrassed. "Sorry. I'm worried about the girls."
"Me too." Will jerked his head toward the kitchenette.
The brothers sat at the tiny, round table while a pot of coffee perked on the stove. They knew they were never going to get back to sleep.
"Something strange is going on," Will said. "I wish to hell I knew what."
"Me too," Luke agreed. "I got this feeling like I ought to know, but it's not quite there."
"I got that same feeling. Strange that the Sheriff asked about a will."
"Yeah, and he was real odd on the phone. He acted like he was expecting a call. I mean, how often you reckon that Ed actually stays at the office all night?" Will pulled at his lip, thinking.
"Not ever. He's the boss."
"Exactly. I don't know a boss on God's green Earth who works all night."
"Me neither," Luke mused. "Did he sound surprised that we had an intruder?"
"Not really. He sounded more confused that it was me calling than the fact we had a break in."
"That doesn't surprise me. I think Ed knows more than he's letting on."
"Yup. I think you're right, little brother."
They didn't go back to sleep. Neither of them could settle down and relax. Instead, they made a list of questions to ask the bank manager and the lawyer, both of whom they intended to see the next day.
Around 7:00, the girls knocked on the door. They didn't seem surprised to find the men up and about.
"We couldn't sleep very well once we got here," Patty admitted. "It was cozy and all, but my nerves were too jangled."
"Mine too," Dollie admitted.
"You should have come over," Will said, kissing Patty.
"We thought you'd be asleep."
"We thought you were."
"Just as well," Luke said. "If you'd come over, Mr. Reiger might of thought somehin' was up."
"Good point. So, are you going to the bank today?" Dollie said.
"We are as soon as it opens up."
"We've got to go in to the office," Patty said with a pout. "It's getting on for the end of the month. I have to get the paychecks ready."
"And I've got the newsletter," Dollie said. "And they've asked me to help the students do a newspaper next year, so I've got some planning to do. I've got some equipment to buy, so I'll be looking through catalogues. Won't that be fun?"
Luke shook his head in wonder. "I never did see why girls like to go shopping so much."
Dollie swatted at him, giggling. Will didn't have much food in the apartment, so they went to the diner. After eating, the men went to the bank and the girls took Dollie's car back to the school. Lucius and Will got to the bank just as it was opening. The manager, Mr. Kelly, greeted them at the door.
"What can I help you with, gentlemen?"
"I guess you've heard about our daddy," Will said.
"I have," the bank manager said. "I'm sure sorry. Have you come to see the box?"
"Yes, sir. I got the key right here." Will pulled out a key that dangled from a red ribbon.
"Come this way," Mr. Kelly said. He led them to the vault and ushered them inside.
The walls were covered with safe deposit boxes, large and small. He led them to a medium sized one, number 187. He took another key out of his pocket, put them both into the slots and turned. He handed Will his key and took the box out of the wall. He carried it to a small, private room and set the box down before going out. As he pulled the door shut, he spoke.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

Monday, November 25, 2019

Books & Entertainment Network Presents What's Write for Me with Barbra, Katherine, Nicole & Robin

Books and Entertainment logo

Thanksgiving is almost here and Black Friday looms on the horizon. Why go out, struggling in the bad traffic, worse weather and rude people? Instead, stay home in your favorite chair and do your shopping in the comfort of your own home! While you're there, don't forget that books make great gifts!

Our authors today not only have a wonderful anthology to share, but each of them has other work just waiting for you. Kick back, have a listen, and get your shopping done early – buy books!

katherine Thomlinson

First up is the lady behind the anthology, Katherine Tomlinson. A familiar voice here on What's Write for Me, she's not only the driving force behind this collection, but many others as well. She's also the author of Picnic by the Lake of Time, Love Note, and Suicide Blonde. Welcome back to the show, Katherine!

Robin Claire Barns

We're also happy to have former guest, Robin Claire Barnes back on the show. Also known as RC Barnes, she has published a variety of short stories. She has written several novels, among them Riverdogs, Pretty Little Gun from the Tattoo Teller Series, and her newest novel, Ink for the Beloved. Welcome back, Robin!

Our next two guests are new to the show, and we're so delighted to have them with us.

Barbra Campbell

Barbra Campbell is so busy with home, children, pets, working on her PhD, playing the cello, and helping her husband,I'm shocked she has time to write! We're happy she has time in her busy schedule to spend some of it with us. She is the author of several hot and fast contemporary romance/ erotic books, among them Dangerous Curves Ahead, Hot Enough and Thankfully Yours. Welcome, Barbra!

Nicole Morgan

And finally, we're joined by a second new voice, Nicole Morgan, another author of hot, sexy romance. Nicole has written under the pen names of Taylor Brooks and Nicki Day, and is the founder of Romance Collections. She is the author of The Soldier of Fortune Series, The Sweet Awakenings Series and Incessant Passions Series, among many more. Welcome, Nicole!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Poplar Mountain Part 50 by Dellani Oakes

Someone breaks into the girls' apartment. Fortunately, the men are able to fight them off.

"Why bother? He's long gone."
"Reckon he is. I got this fella, you go call the sheriff. By damn, that tackle hurt! I'm reckon I'm gettin' old."
"I think I'm gonna throw up," Luke said, gagging. "What's that smell?"
A sweet, cloying scent came from the downed man. Both men suddenly felt nauseous and a little sleepy.
"Chloroform," Will said, rising as quickly as he could. "He was gonna knock the girls out! Get away from him afore it makes you faint."
Luke groaned. "Help me. I think the bottle broke." He staggered to his feet with Will's help.
His pajamas were damp in places from the chemical. He stripped off his clothing and Will loaned his brother his robe. Luke stumbled to the shower with Will's help, and scrubbed as much of the chloroform from his body as he could. Fresh clothing and an open window made him feel better.
While he bathed, Will used the phone in the girls' apartment to call the sheriff's office. He was surprised when Sheriff Squires answered on the first ring.
"Sheriff, it's Will Henry."
There was a stunned silence on the other end.
"Hello? You still there?"
"Yes. I'm here."
"It appears it was a good idea for us to stay here, Sheriff. We had us a couple of nighttime visitors. Damn near kilt my brother. The girls are real shook up. We got one of them fellas tied up in the hall and the other one got away, but he's bleedin'."
"I—I'll be right there. You sure you're all okay?"
"You sound shook up worse than us, Ed. You all right?"
"I'm fine, just fine. I'll be right there."
"Sounds good. We'll be waitin'."
He went back to the dorm room and waited with his brother and the girls. About half an hour later, the sheriff arrived with one of his deputies. They loaded the intruder into the car, still unconscious.
"That settles it," Will said. "We're heading to town. I don't like to take you from home, but it ain't safe here. The longer we stay here, the more vulnerable we are."
"I'm with you, Will," Luke said. "Is there room at your place in town?"
"We'll make room. The apartment next to me come up for rent. I know Able will let the girls stay there. It's fully furnished."
"Let's pack," Dollie said decisively.
The girls went to their apartment and started packing. The men gathered their belongings and joined them a few minutes later. Will called his landlord, Able Reiger, waking him. When he heard what had happened, the old man was willing to allow the girls to stay as long as they liked, for free.
"Can't have a couple young ladies in trouble! You bring 'em on over and tell 'em that I'll even call my boys. We'll have a whole army to protect 'em."
"Thanks, Able. You're a prince. Sorry I had to wake you up."
"You been a good tenant," Able said. "I got no problem being woke up for this."
"We'll see you soon."
"I'll be waitin'."
They took Will's truck as well as Dollie's car. She wasn't confident driving at night, so Luke took the wheel. Patty rode with Will. Luke followed his brother down the narrow mountain road to Harlan. Lights were on in the apartment next door to Will's. Able was waiting for them, armed and ready for anything. He intended to sit on the porch outside the apartment, but Luke talked him out of it.
"Ain't nobody but us knows they're here," he said calmly. "So long as we don't make a big issue of it, all's well."
"Yes, yes, you're right," Able agreed. "All right, but I'm right upstairs. You need me, you holler," he told the girls.
"Yes, sir," they chorused, kissing him on either cheek.
Blushing and grinning, he wandered back upstairs.
"I hope that's all the excitement for one night," Patty said. "I declare, I'm more tired now than I've ever been in my life."
"We need to sleep," Will agreed. He gave her a sweet kiss. "I love you, Patty-Cake."
"And I love you Will-Billy."
"I just love you so much, Lukey-Wooky," Dollie said, teasing him.
"I love you too, Dollie-Wolly," Luke replied, rubbing noses with her.
They burst out laughing, pointing and giggling at their siblings.
"You go ahead and laugh. When you have real pet names for each other, I'm gonna laugh my ass off," Will griped.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Poplar Mountain Part 55 by Dellani Oakes

Before leaving for their appointment with McCleary, Luke draws a map so the women know where they will be.

His lips silenced her before someone overheard them. "I promise. I'll come back hale and hardy. You stay safe."
They exchanged a furtive kiss.
Dinner was pleasant, though somewhat subdued. Rachel knew something was in the wind and didn't protest when her sons said they were going out.
"You mind yourselves up there," she said calmly. "And you take this poke with you." She pulled a burlap bag from a cupboard. It was bulky and heavy. She handed it to Will. "You find them sheep and come on home." Her eyes held more than she could say aloud.
If the men had any doubt about their mother's understanding of the situation, that one look cleared it. Rachel Henry knew much more than she'd said. With the children around, she wasn't in a position to say much, but Dollie vowed she'd find out what she could when the young'uns went to bed.
The Belloit women saw Will and Luke off, kissing them as passionately as they dared.
"You be safe," they said, over and over.
"We will," the brothers assured them.
"Go on inside, before Mama gets riled," Lucius cautioned.
The girls waited on the porch, waiting until the truck was out of sight. Inside, a cheerful fire and soft light from a lamp, greeted them. The children said their goodnights and went to their rooms. Wilt said he had some things to tend to, but Dolly suspected he was going out to check with the other menfolk, who were positioned around the property.
Once everything was quiet, Rachel patted the couch beside her. "You girls come sit down a spell. I reckon you know all that my boys do."
"Yes, ma'am," the chorused.
"Precious little, mind you. Earl was real tight lipped, but I think I got a thing or two I can tell you."
"Who is McCleary?" Dollie asked, apologizing for her outburst.
"He's an old Army buddy of Earl's. He's a geologist now, works for the state. He's a good man. This all started when they dug out the new pool—right before you got here."
"What new pool?" Dollie asked.
"Exactly," Rachel said. "They was building it on the other side, not far from Doc's place. They found something that caught their interest."
"Coal," Patty whispered.
"Coal." Rachel nodded. "They contacted McCleary's office asking for a survey. He didn't come out hisself, but he contacted Earl and told him what was happening. Well, you can imagine Earl...."
"Mad as a wet hen," Dollie said, nodding.
"Madder. Specially when the folks from down to the school come up and asked if he'd consider selling the land to a mining company."
"Someone was dumb enough to suggest that to Earl?" Dollie was appalled.
"This land has been in the Henry family over a hundred years. The school sits on land that his great-grandfather tilled. His grandfather loaned the land to the school."
"They don't own it?" Patty was surprised.
"They pay us rent every year," Rachel said. "It ain't much, but it tides us over. They come to Earl with a real fine offer from the mining company."
"But he said no," Dollie concluded.
"Damn right he did. This is our home. And you seen what a mining company would do. Come in here, dig up this good bottom land, tear down the trees, make this place not fit for man or beast. He told 'em he'd rather die than see them rape his land. They said they were patient. If he wouldn't sell, maybe his boys would. Every man's got a price, one of 'em said. Earl told 'em Reckon you don't know my boys. They can't be bought."
"And you think this is what got Earl killed?"
"I know it. When they couldn't convince him to sell, they kilt him. Now, they want to kill my boys. They're gonna have to work extra hard if they want to stop Luke and Will. Their daddy might not have been good for much, but he taught 'em to shoot and he made them tough. My boys are survivors."

The sun was getting low when Luke and Will pulled up to the narrow gap that led to their father's thinking spot. There were no other cars in sight, but that meant nothing. There could be another way in they didn't know, or McCleary could have arrived on foot.
"What's in the poke?" Will asked Luke before they got out of the truck.
Luke smiled when he opened the bag. "Remember Grandaddy Nation's pearl handled Colts?"
"The matching set Granny gave him for a wedding gift?"
"Yup!" He lifted the guns from the tote bag along with a box of shells.
They checked the guns, finding them loaded and in perfect working order. Granny Nation was ninety, she'd married at sixteen. At seventy-four years old, these guns were like new. Chuckling, they each took a gun, sliding it in their belts. They divided the shells and headed into the narrow way leading to the secret holler where their father's still was located. They took a few steps when they heard the distinctive sound of a gun being cocked. Three more joined the first.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Poplar Mountain Part 49 by Dellani Oakes

Worried about the girls, the Henry boys have them come down to share their room, rather than sleeping in their apartment.

A noise woke Will. He sat up in bed. He saw his brother sprawled on the chairs and smiled. He should never have let him stay up, but Luke had insisted he could do his part. Another noise caught his attention, bringing him to full alert. It sounded like the squeak of the front door. It needed oiling, but Patty and Dollie left it so they could tell if anyone tried to sneak in or out during the night. Will knew that door was locked before they went to bed. He'd checked it himself.
He hopped out of bed and woke his brother. A short scramble later, Luke was awake and alert. They didn't hear anything else, but that didn't mean there wasn't someone out there. They had no weapons except the pocket knives both men carried. It was better than nothing, but wouldn't be a match if the intruder carried a gun. Still, that would have to do. Neither of them owned a weapon—not that the women would have allowed guns. They had a city dweller's fear of fire arms.
Leaving the women, they struck out in search of the intruder. They were certain someone had come in and had probably headed to the apartment. They would be disappointed to see that the women weren't there. Some perverse notion had made Will pile pillows under the blankets in their beds. He hoped it would slow down anyone who intended to do them harm.
They drew closer to the apartment and saw flashlight beams playing along the walls and floor. Plastering themselves against a wall, they listened for any sounds that would tell them where the intruder was in the apartment. Someone ran into a piece of furniture and cursed softly. Another voice shushed him. Two men? That was bad news. The brothers had counted on a single intruder.
"They aren't here," one voice said softly.
"Then we look for 'em. They got to be here somewhere."
"Ain't those fellas here?" the first voice said. "What if we run into them?"
"Then I wouldn't want ta be them," the second said.
"Hell, I seen those boys fight. I don't wanna be us right now."
Will smiled, clenching his fist that didn't hold the knife. The other switched the knife to a fighting grip. He wondered if his brother was doing the same. One thing he and Luke had learned living with their father—they could fight like hellcats. Both of them were toughened by their father's beatings. Unless the men who'd broken in had guns, Will and Luke could take them.
They heard movement inside the apartment. The lights moved toward the door. Will and Luke took up positions on either side of the door and waited.
"You head down one side of the hall and I'll head down the other," the second voice said. He sounded a little older than the first man. There was a hard edge to his words like he came from the big city.
"Shouldn't we stick together? What if we run into them Henry boys?"
They heard a soft slapping sound. "Then I'll take 'em out with my Slugger," the older man replied. The slapping sound repeated—very like the noise a hand made against a piece of seasoned hardwood.
Will and Luke waited for the men to come out the door. One emerged, the other lingered a moment. Holding their breath, the brothers waited for the second man to emerge. When he stepped out the door, the Henry brothers made their move. Will dropped to a crouch, lunging against the second man with his shoulder low. The man staggered, trying to catch his balance. He reached for his companion, only to see him fly across the hallway as Luke slammed into him with a flying tackle.
Two bodies tussled on the floor. Will couldn't see which was Luke and which his opponent. He was too concerned with his. He'd discovered that this was the man with the bat. He wasn't overly worried. There had been plenty of times his father had come after him with a chunk of firewood, intent on breaking his bones. Will had survived that, though he had sustained some nasty bruises.
The man with the bat raised it to bring it down on Will's head. Instead of waiting for him to complete the swing, that could have killed him, Will stepped up to meet him, grabbing the other man's arm. He squeezed hard, putting pressure on the ligaments and tendons in the intruder's wrist. With a snarling howl, the bat clattered to the floor. Now that he just had his fists, Will had the advantage. He slashed at the other man's arm and felt his knife connect with flesh. He cut so deeply the blade scraped bone.
His opponent screamed with pain. Rather than attacking Will, he grabbed his arm and ran for the door. Flinging it back, he hurtled down the hill toward the center of campus. Will watched him a moment, then realized that his brother probably needed him.
Luke and the other man were in a skirmish, both trying to get the upper hand. Luke landed a series of jaw shattering punches on the other man, but he was tiring. Will was busy with his own man and didn't have time for his younger brother. The most he could count on was that Will would help him as soon as he'd dispatched his opponent. When he heard the man howl and make a break for it, he tightened his grip on the second man. His hold was slipping. He felt the strength drain from him. He hit the fellow one more time and felt his body slump against the floor.
"Speak to me, Luke," Will said.
"Right here," Luke said to get his brother's attention.
"Lost ya in the dark. Should I go after the other man?" He knelt by Luke, taking his position on the floor.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

Monday, November 18, 2019

Demon's Destiny, book one of the Dark City Guardians by TW Knight

Demon's Destiny is book one of the Dark City Guardians.
Garrett Duex Sabres is handsome, wealthy, brilliant and a demon with a split personality feeding on the living energy of humans. However, unlike others of his kind, Garrett chooses not to feed off pain and misery, he’s discovered a more palatable and just as potent source—sexual energy. Exploiting his charms, Garrett spends many evenings moving from one “dinner-date” to the next siphoning off small amounts from willing playmates. When Kay walks into Garrett’s life, his entire world is flipped around.
Set in the world of the Dark Knights of Heaven 

King of the Hill by Nelda Bedford Gaydou

Ten entertaining biographical stories set in Dickens County, Texas portray rural life during the Great Depression. They reflect the straitened circumstances, strong work ethic and close sense of community of the time, as well as the resilience and ingenuity of that generation. Despite the difficulties, or perhaps because of them, Benji’s childhood was marked by strong family ties and sheer love of life. 

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.

Excerpt from So Much It Hurts Chapter One

Sweet, sultry music poured from the open second-story windows as Pia walked across the pitted, uneven ground. Scattered with puddles and trash, it wasn’t a very inviting aspect. The old, grand hotel building loomed above her, intimidating in the dusky light after sunset. Sighing, she forged ahead, dragging her rolling suitcase after her. It bumped into a particularly deep hole and caught. Yanking, she lost her balance and teetered to the right.

Watch out!” Strong hands caught her, setting her on her feet. The same hands lifted her suitcase. “You all right, little lady?”
Pia wasn’t sure she liked being called a little lady by any man, but when she turned to look at him, she decided he had the right to. He was at least six foot three, maybe taller. She, a petite five three, was indeed a little lady. He flashed a brilliant smile at her.
You’re the newbie.” He extended his hand. “Flynn Chancellor. Welcome to the fold.”
Pia Donovan. Thank you. How does this work, exactly?”
Didn’t get orientation?” He tugged her suitcase, ushering Pia inside.
Sort of? They told me to report here this afternoon, but I took the wrong bus and ended up on the way to Maryville. I got as far as Walnut Street and finally figured out I was in the wrong spot.”
Ooh, not a place for a lady of your delicate sensibilities to be.”
Yeah, tell me about it. The driver wouldn’t let me out on the street. He dropped me at a satellite station and told me the right bus to take back.”
That was nice of him.”
He said he has a granddaughter my age. He wouldn’t set her loose to the wolves.”
Flynn chuckled. “Apt. I grew up in that area. It ain’t pretty.” He opened the door for her, letting her walk under his arm. It was an easy fit. “Where are you from, Pia Donovan?”
Out of state. I moved here from Nebraska. Outside Kearney.”
No kidding? What brings you up here?”
I got a scholarship to City University.”
He opened a set of inner doors which led into a large, open area. To the right and left there were arched doorways which had once led to reception and lobby areas. They were now full of cast-off furniture and crowds of men and women, all about her age. Every ethnic blend imaginable greeted her small-town Nebraska eyes.
We’ve got several music majors here. I’ll show you around, if you want.”
I’d like that, thank you. How do I get settled?”
We talk to Amita.” He pointed to the desk area. It had formally been the receptionist’s desk — a tall, dark wooden structure that wrapped around like a bar.
When was this place built?”
Early 1900s.”
And they’re tearing it down?”
No. It will, eventually, be renovated.”
She nodded, looking around her at the early elegance of the place. It sported dark wood wainscoting, light walls, brass wall sconces. This was in stark contrast with the battered linoleum laid over the original hardwood floors, holes in the walls, and pieces of plywood over missing glass panes.
You wouldn’t know to look at it, but it was a showplace in its time. Celebrities from all over the world visited. It was built by one of the founding families, so they will never tear it down.”
It’s still got a stateliness to it, doesn’t it?”
It does,” he agreed.
No one was at the desk, but he leaned over and called through an open doorway. “Oi, Amita! Found our newbie!”
A tall, mocha-skinned woman with wildly curly hair came out, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Hi! You must be Pia. I’m Amita, I’m the resident manager. We expected you ages ago.”
I got lost.”
Ended up on Walnut Street,” Flynn added.
Oh, my God! And lived to tell about it!”
Flynn chuckled and leaned against the tall desk, hands in pockets. Pia had a moment to take in details she hadn’t noticed outside in the dusk. He was broad-shouldered, with dancing green eyes. His chestnut colored hair was nearly to his shoulders, thick and straight, covered by a faded black fedora. Steel gauges, about the size of a quarter, stretched each earlobe. His arms were covered by intricate tattoos, forming sleeves from wrist up. His shirtsleeves were rolled just past his elbows. Rusty black pants, which looked as if they had seen better days, dangled from colorful suspenders. His huge feet were covered in clunky, leather boots. Every piece of clothing was spattered with different colors of paint.
You’ll be in the Ambassador Suite,” Amita said with a grin, handing over a registration card for Pia to sign.
Sounds elegant.”
It’s great!” Flynn said with a grin.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Old Time Religion ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 5

"This is Ms. Whitley. Her mother's a parishioner at St. Blase. I'm filling in for Father Charlie today." "Yeah, I h...