Thursday, December 29, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 39

"It's my mother," he explained. Frustrated, he answered, sounding more than a little tense. "Hello, Mom."

"I've interrupted. I'm so sorry. I do have to tell you something, before you take that lovely girl to bed for the first time."

Exhaling slowly, Elam closed his eyes, waiting. How did his mother always seem to know when he was going to be bad? How could she always sense that he was interested in a new woman? It was spooky, the way she had of reading his mind. Not that she normally intruded, she just always knew.

"What makes you think that?"

"Because of your tone, for one thing. For another, the vibrations I'm receiving are really quite alarming. You can't do this right now, Son."

"Mom!" His voice cracked like a teenager's. Turning red with embarrassment and frustration, he clamped his lips together.

Her laugh burbled forth like water over bells. His mother had the most musical laugh of anyone he knew. "Sunshine, you know I'd never intrude in your sex life—which has been sadly dry for some time," she scolded. "If I'm to be a grandmother before I'm sixty, you'd best get in gear."

"Mom, this really isn't the time."

"On the contrary, it's exactly the time, so put me on speaker, wipe the butter off your chest, and let me tell you why I called."

He didn't question how she knew about the butter, the shirt, or the woman. Reluctantly, he did as he was told. Elam knew from experience, if he tried to put his mother off, she'd pester him until she got what she wanted. Since she didn't do this often, he knew it must be important. He put the phone on the counter, pressing the speaker button.

"Mom, this is Blythe...."

"I know," his mother said with a smile in her voice. "We haven't chatted in a long time, darling. They've come back, haven't they." There was sorrow in her voice.

"I'm sorry? What have come back?" Blythe asked, but she knew.

"The dreams, dear one. But they're worse this time."


"Yes, my dear. How lovely to hear your voice, all grown up."

Elam stared at her, his jaw dropping open. "You know my mother? How?"

"When I was a girl, I had nightmares—hellish ones, horrifying. My parents tried everything. Eventually, they found your mother, and she helped me."

"Something strange and amazing has happened, traumatic, but interesting," Katrinka said. "Before this relationship can continue, you must resolve this issue. My son can make you very happy, Blythe."

His blue eyes met her dark brown ones.

"I have no doubt of that."

"You feel drawn to one another. It's like that with soul mates. But you must put the dead to rest before you can be truly happy. They want to rest, Blythe. They need their release. You can give them that."


"You'll come see me tomorrow. Elam may come too, if he likes. But he's not essential to the process."

"All right. I will try anything to get these dreams out of my head. And I want to help Malachi."

"Then come see me tomorrow. The vibrations will be strongest around nine. Come a little before that and don't eat or drink anything."

"We'll be there, Mom. I don't have to work tomorrow."

"Excellent. Now, good night kisses, cuddle up in that cozy bed. And, Son?"

"Yes, ma'am?" Elam closed his eyes, knowing what was coming.

"Keep it in your pants."

He groaned, wanting to bang his head on the table. He was mortified that she would talk to him like that, but it gave him the perfect cock block. His mother would know if he broke his promise. She would only put a squash on his sex life, if it would put Blythe in jeopardy.

"I promise, Mom."

"Good. I raised a proper gent. Good night, Blythe, dear."

"Good night, Mrs. Armitage."

"Katrinka, please. Or Katie, as you wish."

She hung up, leaving them staring at one another.

"That was the weirdest conversation I've ever had with my mother," Elam said. "And I've had some strange ones. The sex lesson among the top five."

"I would have thought that was number one."

Elam shook his head, pursing his lips. "No." He wouldn't say anything more. Instead, he went to the bathroom and washed the butter off his chest. He put his shirt on when his skin was still slightly damp. When he came back, the soft, gray T-shirt clung to his body, emphasizing his lean musculature. Blythe took the time to wash her hands and finish fixing the popcorn. She carried it to the living room where the DVD player waited.

"What movie did you choose?"

"You'll probably hate it." She handed him the box.

"I happen to totally love this movie. I think it's excellent."

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 38

"I want to meet your parents," she whispered. "I know it's silly, but I want to know that they'll like me. Alec's mom—she never seemed to think I was good enough for her son. I never knew how I came up lacking."

"My mother is probably the least judgmental person you'll ever meet. She's so accepting, she would adopt the entire world if she could." He chuckled, blushing, glad that Blythe couldn't see it in the moonlight. "She caught me and my first girlfriend together."


"Oh, yeah. Full on naked, not quite coupling, but so close. Instead of being angry, she gave us a sex lesson so I wouldn't hurt my girlfriend. I have to say, it was much better her way, and a good time was had."

"Did she tell the girl's mother?"

"No, thank God! Wendy's mom is ultra-religious. If she'd known that her daughter had sex with the son of a heathen, she'd have strung me up by my balls. It was a good relationship, until they moved our junior year."

"Would you have stayed with her?"

He shook his head. "Hers was not my kind of crazy."

"And mine is?"

"Your kind of crazy isn't born of religious frenzy, and Bible thumping lunatics."

"I don't know, I've been known to thump a Bible or two in my time."

A cool wind blew off the water, making them both shiver.

"How about a movie?" Blythe suggested. "I've got tons I've never seen."

"Sounds good. Mind if I catch a shower? I came over right after work."

"Sure, there are fresh towels in the master bath."

"Thanks. Did I tell you what Dr. Waverly said?"

"About me? Did she get test results?"

"Not yet. No, about me. She wants me to be her assistant."

"Really? Do you have any experience with that?"

"Some. Pay bump and better hours."

"That's wonderful!"

"And she wants to go see Malachi with us on Thursday."

"Really? Does she think she can help him?"

"She doesn't know until she sees him, but it's worth a shot."

"Yes, it is.

They stood in Blythe's bedroom, a few feet from the bed. She wanted to tackle him and ravage his body, but restrained herself. She was afraid and not quite ready to commit to that next step.

"Shower's through there. Fresh towels are on the bar. There's bath gel and shampoo, whatever you need."

"Thanks. I'll be out soon."

"I'll find a movie and fix popcorn."

"See you in a few." He desperately wanted to take her in the shower with him, but refrained. He still wanted her, but decided he'd better approach her differently, more slowly. Alec was her husband. He was still reeling from that revelation.

Blythe headed to the living room, closing and locking the glass door, she pulled the drapes over it. She grabbed one of her favorite movies from the shelf, putting it in the DVD player, before heading to the kitchen. She liked freshly popped corn, not the microwave variety.

Elam came out a few minutes later, finding her in the kitchen, popping corn on the stove. It smelled fantastic. He leaned on the counter, shirt over one shoulder, his feet bare, dressed only in a pair of low riding jeans.

"When you said you were popping corn, I had no idea it would be this special."

"I can eat micro-waved stuff, but I prefer this. Dad spoiled me. He used to fix it every Sunday evening. We'd have popcorn and soda for dinner while we watched Donovan Family Theatre."

He snagged a piece of popcorn from the bowl. Blythe smacked at his hand, making him laugh.

"It's not quite ready. Patience, Grasshopper."

She added melted butter, with kosher salt, pepper and paprika, tossing the popcorn with her fingers. Elam took one buttery hand in his, licking the butter and spices from her index finger. He laved it sensually with his tongue.

"Yum. Does the popcorn taste as good as you?"

Blythe fed him a piece. He chewed slowly, closing his eyes before licking another finger.

"Nope, you taste better."

Elam took a piece of popcorn, holding it in his teeth, inviting her to take it. Smiling, Blythe complied, biting the fluffy kernel in half. Their mouths met, oily from the butter. Elam licked her lips, tasting the spices and her own special flavor, before kissing her deeply.

Blythe tried not to touch him with her greasy hands, but he had other ideas. Pulling her close, he put her hands on his chest, kissing her even more passionately than before. Her top was halfway off when his phone rang. He wouldn't have answered, except that was the special ring he'd set for his mother. She rarely called him, certainly not after nine o'clock at night.

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Thursday, December 22, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 37

"Then, babe, what's the problem?"

"Will you like making love to me? Maybe I'm weird, and do something totally strange, but Alec never told me, because he loved me. What if I make funny noises, or drool?"

"Funny noises are part of the process. As for drool, as long as you're drooling because I'm so hot and sexy, I can work with that." Elam kissed her throat, his mouth traveling to her breast.

"I don't know if I'm ready to do this right now. How do you know when you're ready to move on?"

Elam's hand slid between her legs, rasping against the denim. His fingers pressed upward until she gasped.

"You like that?"


He nipped her earlobe. "You're ready."

"Will your mom like me?"

"My—what?" A puzzled frown flickered across his brow. "Mom? Where did that even come from? Of course, my mom will like you. Why?"

"Alec's mom hates me."

"You do know that talking about moms, especially the mother of your dead fiancé, is guaranteed to cool the mood, right?" He removed his hand, sitting up.

"I'm sorry. I just—I'm a horrible person!" Blythe burst out crying.

Elam found her shirt and slipped it over her head before putting on his own.

"You aren't a horrible person. You're confused and scared." He sat next to her, putting his arms around her as he brought her head to his shoulder.

"But you want sex, and I don't. I mean, I do—but I don't. Does that make any sense?"

"Yeah. And sure, I want sex, but it's no fun unless you participate, babe. You do want me, though," he assured her.

"So confident, Mr. Armitage. What makes you think I do?"

"The fact you've been all over me any chance you got. Not saying I mind," he added, defensively, as she bridled. "I love it. Makes getting in your pants a hell of a lot easier."

Blythe shoved at him. When he wouldn't let go, she hit him with a cushion. Elam laughed, kissing her protesting mouth.

"If that was all I wanted, would I still be here?"

Blythe pouted. "I guess not."

"Believe me, if a man simply wants to get laid, he goes for an easy mark. Bang the drunk chick at the party, pick up a girl in the bar, call an old girlfriend who's feeling frisky. You don't go for the girl who has dreams of accidents, and mourns here dead fiancé. Nope, that's for the guy who sees that she's wonderful, even if she's damaged. That's the woman who simultaneously grips you by the balls and the heart, and won't let go." He leaned over, nuzzling her neck. "And you realize, somewhere in all that crazy weirdness, you don't want to be released."

"Alec and I were married."

"What?" Elam sat up, staring at her, horrified.

"We had a Skype wedding, about a month before he was killed. We planned a real wedding when he came home, but for about five weeks, I was Mrs. Alec Singleton."

"Why didn't you tell me before?" His eyes held pain and betrayal.

"I didn't think it mattered. He's dead."

"Dead husband trumps dead fiancé," he said softly. "I feel like a real dick, now."


He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Because when I get around you, all I can think about is taking care of you, being with you. And all this time, I've been having fantasies about another man's wife!"

He jumped up from the couch and rushed to the plate glass window that overlooked the water. Angry and distraught, he fumbled with the latch. Blythe followed, calmly releasing the tricky door lock. The panel slid silently open. As if released from a prison, Elam stepped through the opening, head back, arms wide. He inhaled the briny breeze from the river.

The water glittered silver in the moonlight, the ripples catching and throwing reflections at random. Platinum light outlined Elam's body as he stood near the railing. Framed with the night, he looked magical. Blythe moved close, touching his shoulders with her hands. He stiffened, then relaxed beneath her touch.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I was married so short a time, and engaged so much longer, I still felt like he was my fiancé, not my husband. I didn't mean to lie to you." She moved closer, putting her cheek between his muscular shoulders, holding him close around the waist. "You fantasized about me?"

Elam chuckled, turning to face her. "All that rant, that's what you take away from that conversation?"

"It's the most important part. None of the rest matters."

"Do you know how hard it's been, keeping my hands off you?"

Blythe nodded. "A little longer?"

Elam kissed her. "As long as you need." He pulled her closer, his lips brushing her ear. "But know this, when the time comes, when I'm inside you, it's my name you'll scream—not his."

Blythe nodded in answer. She couldn't put in words everything she felt. Elam took her breath away. And her common sense. And her self-control. In good ways.

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 36

"Does he know there was no Bobby?"

"You mean, does he know that I was Lori's first? Jesus, I hope not. He'd kill me."

"Why does he hate you so much?"

"No idea. We never got along well. It's like we're complete opposites. He's into football, drinking beer, and hunting. He still likes to go muddin' with his truck on the weekends. I'm more of a rugby, hard ale kind of guy. I don't particularly like shooting guns at innocent animals. I prefer my car to be clean, and well maintained. He thinks I'm a fag."

"Because you have manners?" Blythe rolled her eyes.

"He's trying to be accepting, now. At least her mom likes me. She always has."

"That's good. If one parent likes you, you're a step ahead. I never thought Alec's mom liked me much."

"She liked you just fine," his tone wasn't convincing.

Blythe shot him a skeptical look. "Don't lie to me. I imagine she hates me about as much as Lori's dad hates you. But his dad likes me."

"That's good."

"His mom always resented that I got his pension. I guess she thought they should have gotten it. I know they lost their son, but I lost my husband. I have nothing but a box of memories to show for it. I really wanted his baby, Jason. So much."

"I know, sis. For the last six months, that was all he could talk about, coming home and starting a family. He would have made a great dad." He paused, his mouth working as he tried not to cry. "I think...I think Elam will make a good dad. You're really lucky to have him."

"Thank you. I think so, too."

Keys rattled in the door. Jason stood as Lori and Elam walked in.

"Hey, baby!" He gave Lori a kiss.

Elam laid his things on the love seat and joined Blythe on the couch. His kiss was light and platonic in front of Jason.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. Little nervous about going to sleep."

"That's why I'm here. I'll keep the scary monsters away." He kissed her forehead. "Somehow, we'll get through this."


Their kiss was much less platonic that time. Jason cleared his throat.

"I think we're gonna go now. Early day tomorrow. I need to get to bed."

"It's not even eight o'clock," Blythe protested.

"Well, you know me, I like a good ten hours.... Babe?"

He and Lori made their excuses and left. Elam watched them go, chuckling.

"Your brother thinks we're going to be bad."

Blythe raised an eyebrow. "Is he right?"

"Totally depends on you. I'm always up for being naughty." Elam leaned back, arms spread across the back of the couch.

"I bet you are." Blythe gave him a long, slow once over, teasing him with her eyes. She imagined him naked and aroused. Just the thought of it nearly did her in.

Elam moved closer, putting his arms around her, kissing her tenderly. Soon, the kiss grew into much more. There were hands involved, and even a couple of feet at some point. His fingers crept under her top, rubbing her breasts through the silky fabric of her bra.

Blythe shivered, loving the feel of his hands on her body. The idea of making love to him excited her more than it ever had with Alec. Not that they didn't have a good sex life, they did. But sometimes, she found herself going through the motions, because she knew he wanted her. There was no doubt in her mind that Elam wanted her, and she wanted him, too. He undid the front closure on her bra, releasing her breasts. She slipped it off as he raised her shirt over her head. It was gone in one swift movement. His followed, flying across the room and tangling in the light fixture over the table.

Laughing, Elam hopped up and pulled it down. Blythe kicked off her shoes while she waited. He did the same before sitting on the couch once more. Blythe pulled him on top of her, their bare chests pressed tightly against each other. Soon, Elam's mouth found one breast, then the other. He licked and suckled lavishly, enjoying the soft, roundness of her. It amused Blythe that he found such pleasure in little things. The flick of his tongue, the sigh she made in response, excited him.

They lay on the couch a long time, kissing and fondling. There was no rush to get to the main event. It was fun exploring like a couple of teenagers, having sex for the first time. Blythe felt very much like this was her virgin experience, all over again. Alec was the only man she'd ever been with. Would she know how to please Elam? After ten years together, she and Alec had no secrets from one another. She knew exactly what he liked and expected.

Elam sensed the change in her. "What's wrong?"

"How do I know if I'm doing this right," she said, panic in her voice.

"You have had sex before?"

"Yes, lots of times."

"Did it feel good? Did you get your Oh, God moment?"

"Yes, but—"

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 35

"They can do it without me."

"How about you and I take Charlotte's car back to the house. That will give them time to talk, and you don't have to be part of it."

"Good idea," Jason replied. "Blythe, is that okay?"


Elam grabbed his keys. Giving a quick kiss to Blythe, he waited at the door while Lori kissed Jason goodbye, then the two of them left.

"Thank you," Elam said, leaning his shoulders on the wall. "I couldn't listen. I see people sick, dead, or dying every day. I couldn't handle that."

"She already told me about it," Lori said with a shudder. "I don't have it in me to listen to it again. Jason wants to know it all, chapter and verse, and I'd rather not know. He's dead, we're not." She shook her head. "People might think I'm callous for that attitude."

"Not me. I get it." Elam pressed the button for the elevator.

"You're a good man, Elam. I like you, and I think you'll be good for Blythe. She needs a strong man who won't mind the crazy."

Elam chuckled, allowing her to enter the elevator first. "Is there a lot of crazy around? Other than this, I mean." He spun his finger in the air, encompassing everything.

"A little. Jason has this spooky way of knowing things before they happen. Blythe has had dreams that came true. Nothing else is as freaky as what's happening now, though she did have a lot of trouble with nightmares as a kid."

"Really? Did she outgrow them?"

"I'm not sure. I intend to find out. Maybe it's something that will work again. I just know that these dreams are getting worse. Pretty soon, she's not going to be sleeping at all."

"I'm staying tonight. When we drop Charlotte's car, we can grab her stuff, then we'll stop by my place and I'll pack an overnight bag."

"Pack for a couple nights at least. Please? I don't like the idea of her being alone. She's so independent, she won't let her mother fuss over her forever."

"Of course. I'm here for the long run, Lori. If I were going to bail, I'd have done it by now."

Lori laid her fingers on his arm. "Thank you. You're a good man, Elam."

"I try."

"I expect something from you—other than guard duty." Lori slid into the car.

Elam waited until she was settled before closing the door. "Oh? What's that?"

"When you make love to her, take your time, and do it well. She hasn't had a man since Alec."

"I'll do my best, I promise."


He followed Lori to the Donovan's house. They bid a short good night, with Elam assuring Charlotte and Don that he wasn't leaving Blythe alone. A short conversation later, Elam and Lori headed for his apartment. She came up and talked to him while he packed an overnight bag.

"Don't forget condoms," Lori prompted as he packed his razor.

"Um—didn't plan on needing any."

"Don't be insipid. There's always a chance."

Elam blushed, his ears and cheeks going red. "I'm not planning to take advantage of the situation, Lori."

"And if things transpire the way you hope, you don't want her to think it was premeditated. Gotcha. Girlfriend's probably got some, anyhow."

Elam wouldn't look at her as he finished packing.

"I embarrassed you. I'm sorry."

"I'm not like that, Lori. I like her a lot and yeah, I'd love to get lucky."

"Good to know you're not a player." She smiled kindly, handing him his toothpaste.

"Since I was sixteen, I've had six serious girlfriends. I'm the opposite of a player."

"And that's one reason you're so adorable. Ready?"

"Yeah." He zipped up the overnight bag and picked up his garment bag.

Blythe and Jason sat on the couch in her living room. He held her hands as she described her dream of Alec's death.

"But you didn't feel anything, right?"


"Thank God. I can't even imagine. What a horrible way to die."

"War is horrible."

Jason nodded, trying to gather his thoughts. "I'm sorry about how I've been—with you dating other guys. I know you need to move on. And Elam, he's a great guy. He'll be good for you."

"Not like we're getting married or anything."

"Maybe. Who can say. But the important thing is to leave yourself open to the possibilities."

"What was the real reason you and Lori didn't tell us about being together? Didn't you think we'd be happy for you?"

"It wasn't our family that was the problem. Her dad—hates me. I mean, he loathes the very ground I walk on."

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 34

The voices faded into nothing. Blythe's eyes flew open. She raised her chin, screaming her sorrow and anger. It wasn't enough to be a part of Malachi's accident, she had now witnessed Alec's death—experienced it first hand.

"What do you want from me?" she cried, pounding her fists on the floor. "What do you want?"

Someone knocked loudly on her door. The echo of it finally reached her ears.

"Blythe? Blythe!" It was Lori.

A key rattled in the lock as her best friend let herself into the apartment. Blythe stumbled to the door of her office, sobbing so hard, it hurt.

"Oh, honey! What's wrong? Was it another dream?" She led Blythe to the nearby guest room, making her sit on the bed. "Deep breaths. Talk to me."

Blythe told Lori what she'd experienced. She kept interrupting herself with sobs and gulps, but the full story eventually emerged.

"That's it. I'm calling your mom. You aren't to be on your own until this is resolved."

"No! Call Elam. Please? Don't call Mom. She'll treat me like a baby, and I can't handle that."

"You're sure?"

Blythe nodded.

"Okay, but I'm calling Jason, too."

Blythe sighed, unable to argue. She had no energy left in her. She heard Lori make the calls, glad that she called Elam first. That accomplished, Lori made a pot of coffee. They each sipped a mug while they waited for the men.

Jason and Elam arrived within seconds of one another. Jason reached the gate first and Elam followed him in. Parking in guest spaces, they raced to the elevator, taking it to the eighth floor apartment. Neither of them spoke, too absorbed in their own worries. Jason produced a key, letting them in. Lori greeted them at the door. Blythe sat on the couch, wrapped in a soft blanket.

Elam didn't even stop to speak to Lori. He dashed across the room, taking Blythe in his arms. "Are you all right? Are you hurt? Did you feel any pain?"

"I'm okay. No, it didn't hurt. I'm fine, I promise. Just—shaken."

"No doubt! Oh, babe, I wish I'd been here. I'm so sorry you went through that alone." He held her as if she would break, practiced hands checking her for injuries.

Blythe grabbed his hands, holding them in hers. "I'm okay, now that you're here. It was horrible," she whispered. "But I'm glad I know what happened. He died trying to save his friend."

"Alec was a good man," Elam said. "Every time he saved another person, he was a hero."

She nodded, bringing his hands to her face. Kissing his fingers, she gazed into his eyes. "You are, too," she whispered. "In every way, as much a hero as he was."

"You shouldn't be alone," Elam cautioned. "Can I take you to your mom's?"

"No. I want to stay here. Her car—she needs her car back."

"I'll take it," Lori volunteered. "I can leave my car here for you. Jason can drive me home."

"Thank you. You're all so good to me."

"If you won't go to your mother's, I'm staying," Elam declared. "I'm not letting you stay alone."

"I can't. I need to be here."

"Should we all stay?" Jason asked, clearly worried about his sister.

"Elam's got it," Lori said. "I'm going to order a pizza or something. Honey?"

She nodded for Jason to follow her. He did so reluctantly, with many backward glances at his sister and Elam.

"He's got it," Lori murmured. "Give them some space."

"But she's.... She just—"

Lori took his hands, stopping the jumble of words. "I know. He's got it."

Jason kissed her deeply, holding her close. Resting his forehead on hers, Jason whispered. "Is it horrible of me to want to know exactly what happened?"

"Give her some time to assimilate it. Don't ask her now, but listen if she volunteers it."

Jason sighed, holding her even closer. The pressure of her body against his was comforting. He could feel Lori's heartbeat against his chest. Her warmth, her scent, were comforting.

"Let's get some food," Lori, ever practical, decided. "We all need to eat."

She placed a call to Dominos, ordering two large pizzas and a bottle of root beer for delivery. Not wanting to interrupt whatever might be happening in the living room, Lori made Jason hang out in the kitchen until the pizza came. He paid for it while she gathered plates, napkins and glasses.

Elam and Blythe joined them. They had obviously been kissing. Blythe's hair was a mess, her lip gloss a smeared disaster, and their lips were puffy. Jason and Lori, who had spent a good deal of their time similarly engaged, didn't comment.

Lori purposely steered conversation away from the accident, dreams, and talk of Alec's death. She kept all talk light and non-stressful. Elam clearly appreciated it, but she suspected Blythe was annoyed with her. That was a huge difference between the two friends. Blythe liked to talk herself silly, examining every aspect of a situation, putting it all under a microscope. Lori liked to shove things aside, and think about them on her own. She went over things in her mind, reflecting and reviewing, before making a decision. Blythe liked to bounce ideas around, talking a subject into the dirt, asking everyone to help her make her decisions.

"Don't you think we should talk about this?" Blythe asked finally.

"No," Lori said. "I know you're all about dialogue, but I don't want to know gory details."

"I do," Jason said. "I want to know. I'm sorry," he told Lori. "It's important for me to know."

"I don't want to hear it," Lori argued. "I don't think it's healthy to dwell on it."

"If it helps them process," Elam interjected. "We should let them."

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 33

The kitchen doorway opened to her right, with another at the other end, leading to a dining area. It was also accessible by a short hallway, separated from the kitchen by a wall. To her left, another hallway opened in a T, two bedrooms with a bathroom between. The living room faced the river to the east, as did the master bedroom and adjoining bath. A cozy, nautical theme carried throughout. Her grandfather loved to sail. He bought all kinds of ocean themed items for her. Lighthouses, seashells, ropes with fancy knots tied in them, buoys and model ships covered every available wall and shelf.

Blythe went to her office in the second guest room, formerly her bedroom, when they spent weekends here as a family. White boards lined three of the walls. The fourth held her desk and computer, with three screens, and a laptop.

Taking up a handful of dry erase markers, she faced the boards. On one, she wrote "November 1, 2012: Micah died. Alec died. Malachi injured. Coma. Rosemont.

On the second: Elam – paramedic. Malachi – paramedic. Alec – medic.

She wasn't sure if this was important to the situation, or simply because she seemed to favor a particular personality type. Not that they looked at all alike, but Elam and Alec were certainly similar in many ways. What little she'd observed of Malachi, he displayed the same caring, take command kind of traits the other two did. All three men put their lives in danger to help others. It had gotten Alec killed. She prayed it wouldn't cost Elam and Malachi their lives, as well.

On a third board, she listed her dreams. She didn't go into detail, merely wrote down what she could remember about the location, names of victims and whether or not she saw Malachi. Even to her, the information seemed vague, rife with supposition. The coincidences mounted. These, she listed on the first board.

Once she was done, she sat on the floor of the room, knees drawn up to her chin, reading through them dozens of times, adding details here and there, until she had them memorized. Suddenly tired, she closed her eyes, cradling her head on her knees.

The world around her was black, though unfamiliar stars sparkled in the velvet sky. She hunched behind a cluster of jumbled rocks. Realizing it wasn't a natural formation, but a ruined building, she looked around. Sand, lots of it, and rough terrain. It wasn't the only crumbling building. This seemed to have been part of a small town, now in shattered ruins.

The man next to her held up a hand, gesturing. Blythe didn't understand, but her host body did. He followed his leader, head low, body bent over.

Blythe took in the details of her companions. All of them were dressed in fatigues and wore helmets. She followed blindly, letting the soldier do his job. She feared that any interference from her could cost him his life.

The men drew near their destination. The leader signaled again, and they took up their positions. The world exploded with bright lights and deafening sound. Blythe tried to scream, but the body she occupied stayed quiet, waiting. Another signal and they attacked. Her host ran through the target zone, shooting anything that presented itself. Explosions ripped apart buildings, taking down anyone in their path. Her host avoided most of these, skirting around the perimeter. Nearby, one of his companions went down, the victim of a sniper's bullet. Blythe's body ducked for cover.

"Sniper in the northwest tower," he reported. These were the first words he'd spoken.

"Copy that, Red Ranger. Can you see him?"

"Negative. But Big Blue is down. I can get to him—"

"Negative. Stay put. We're on our way."

More bullets zinged, and the downed man took another hit. He bled profusely, his thigh and chest in shreds.

"Blue hasn't got a chance, if I don't move now."

"Negative, Red Ranger."

Her body moved quickly to the downed man. He grabbed the wounded soldier's shoulder straps and pulled. He managed to find minimal cover behind a stack of burned out cars. Taking something from his pack, he bound the leg wound. The chest would wasn't going to be easy, but his hands moved with confidence, turning red with the other man's blood. The stacked cars took a terrible beating. More than one gunman seemed to have targeted the two men. Still, the medic worked quickly, trying to save his patient.

Something hit the topmost car, bouncing on the ground nearby. "Fuck!" her host yelled, picking it up. He tossed it in the air in the general direction of the sniper, before flattening himself over his patient.

The grenade exploded, damaging the sniper's precarious perch. It toppled and fell. The sniper screamed as he descended. The scream ended in a sickening crunch.

Two men ran up, one obviously angry. "Dammit, Alec! What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking I needed to save my partner."

Blythe heard his voice clearly and saw his hands, sticky and red, work tirelessly to help his friend.

"Let's get out of here." He half rose, his head less than two inches above the cars he crouched behind. There was a loud report a few yards away. The world went black for Blythe as he fell to the ground.

"Alec! Alec! Medic is down. Repeat, Medic is down. Alec? Aw, sweet Jesus...."

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 32

"Have I told you about my dreams?" Blythe asked, knowing she hadn't. "Because I think you need to hear about them. I'm not expecting you to analyze them, or do therapy. Just listen."

"Okay. Tell me about your dreams." Jessamine sipped her coffee through a straw, eyeing Blythe over the rim of the cup.

"It started the day after I had my accident. I kept having dreams of car accidents. I was injured, dying, and a tall, black haired man was there. He saved me. In fact, when I had my own accident, a tall, black haired man helped me. He moved the car, opened the car door, and told me everything would be all right. You said there was no one there, but there was."

"I promise, Blythe. There wasn't."

"You couldn't see him, but he was there. I could smell his cologne and feel the warmth of his hand when he touched me. And I told you about Elam."

"The hot orderly."

"Yes. We're dating. He helped me find my mystery man. It seems that a guy who was injured in a car accident, is a paramedic. He used to work around here. The night of his accident, Elam was on duty and helped rescue him. The guy's brother was dead at the scene, but the other man lived. Weird thing, though. He had a tree branch in his chest. They had to cut the limb, stabilize it and rush him to the hospital to have it removed. Unfortunately, he only briefly regained consciousness before lapsing into a coma."

"How—awful! And you were there—in your dream? You saw this?"

"Yes. I was in his body. I wasn't in pain, but I felt the tree pierce my chest. I saw my blood spray all over the car and watched my brother—his brother—die. I couldn't save him."

"What a horrible feeling."

"It was. Elam and I went to visit him on Monday. His name is Mal—"

"Malachi Garafolo," Jessamine said softly, her voice catching in her throat. "You know Mal? My Mal?"

Blythe smiled. "I've seen him in my dreams. I've talked to him. His mother let us come for a visit."

"She did? Total strangers?"

"Because Elam is one of the ones who rescued him. I don't think she'd have allowed it otherwise. We're going again Thursday. Is there anything you'd like me to tell him?"

"Oh, my God! Yes! Tell him I'm sorry, and I love him more than life. Tell him to come back to me. I need him."

"I will."

"Do you think she'd let me see him?"

"I don't know, Jessamine. You can ask."

"But what if she tells me no?"

"Even if she tells you no, are you any worse off than you were? But if she says yes, you've got a chance to make it right again."

"How? He's in a coma, Blythe! He can't hear me."

"But he can. I know he can. I held his hand, I spoke to him. I sensed that part of him heard me, and tried to respond. Would you like to come with us on Thursday?"

"I can't," Jessamine said, shaking her head. "She'll never let me near him."

"Okay. I thought it was worth taking a chance."

"I'll think about it, I'll let you know. Thank you."

"You're welcome. I hope you'll reconsider."

"I'll think about it." She smiled weakly, wiping her eyes. "Oh, God, is that the time? I need to get going. Let's do this again, okay? Next week?"

"Sure. I'd like that."

They hugged and Jessamine dashed to her car, coffee in hand. Blythe watched her with a sad smile. Another coincidence that wasn't a coincidence. What were the odds of her meeting the woman Malachi loved? That Malachi would be the one who helped her, Elam had saved him, and that Alec and Micah had died on the same day—exactly a year before.

It wasn't coincidence anymore, it was God. He left nothing to chance. He planned everything. She didn't understand why Micah and Alec had to die, but she sensed that she and Elam were meant to be together, now. Jessamine deserved her chance with Malachi. Blythe was determined to give her that chance.

Blythe spent another half hour at Panera before deciding to head home—her home. She needed time to think where she wouldn't have to ditch her parents, or hide from Jason and Lori. She needed a chance to organize her thoughts. The best place for that was her office.

Her apartment, actually a condo her parents had purchased in the late 1980s, was in one of two condos downtown, on the river. It sat at the end of Canal Street in New Smyrna, giving her an incredible view of the water.

When she and Alec announced their engagement, her parents deeded them the condo. After their long distance ceremony, she'd moved in. Her parents insisted that she stay after his death. Blythe wondered, as she walked in the door, if she'd have to move now, and let Jason and Lori have it. She couldn't bear that thought, shoving it out of her mind. This was her home now. She couldn't imagine leaving it.

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Old Time Religion ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 25

Obi took a moment to compare the sisters. Frankie had dark brown hair, and blue eyes. Though their coloring was different, they clearly were...