Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 30

"Nope. I'll show you sometime. I really do need to get a long, hot shower, and a large cup of coffee, or I'm never gonna make it through my shift."

"You've got over an hour. Why the rush?"

He hesitated. "Did Alec ever share those kinds of details?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Never mind. Forget I mentioned it. You must be the most naïve woman on the face of the earth. You don't know what a man likes to do for fun, you've never heard of reverse cowgirl, and you wonder why I want to take a long, hot shower before work."

"To get clean? Sorry, you lost me."

Elam laughed again. "Yes, babe. To get really clean, inside and out."

"Oh—oh! Ooooh...that's just wrong."

"Depends on your perspective."

"I'll let you go get your cheap thrills. Call me later, okay?"

"Count on it. Bye!"


Blythe hung up, holding her phone to her chest. Tears welled in her eyes. So unexpected, so glorious. Who knew when she went to the hospital, that she'd meet someone like Elam? Another coincidence? No. She didn't believe in coincidence. Fate had brought them together. Or destiny. Providence? God? Call it what you like, they were meant to find one another. Together, they were meant to free Malachi. How they would go about it, she didn't know.

Her phone rang. It was Jessamine. "Remember coffee Panera 11:00."

"I'll be there. I'm looking forward to it."

"Great! Is your mom coming?"

"I haven't asked her. I might feel up to driving myself."

"Just take it easy. Don't push."

"I won't. So much to tell you."

"Cool! Ooops, light changed. Later."

Blythe got dressed in real clothing after her shower. She even put on a bra and didn't wince when she adjusted it over her ribs. Her mother was in the kitchen, taking scones from the oven.

"Look at you! You're a real person today."

Blythe hugged and kissed her mother. "I feel pretty good. I'm set to meet Jessamine at Panera at eleven. Want to go?"

"I can't, darling. I've got a meeting here. You can take my car and go—that's if you feel up to driving."

"If it's not raining." She glanced out the window. It was sunny with a cloudless sky. "I'll give it a shot."

"If it starts raining, stop and see Aunt Mae. She'll let you hole up there, until it clears."

"Good idea."

Aunt Mae was Charlotte's aunt. She was in her early seventies, and a real spitfire. Blythe loved her dearly.

"I thought I'd plan to head back home today or tomorrow. I'm feeling pretty good now. I don't want to impose."

"It's never an imposition having you here. I'd love it if you lived with us full time. But I understand you needing your privacy, especially with a new man in your life."

"Mom, we aren't at that stage yet."

"I know, darling." Charlotte pulled Blythe's hair into a ponytail, smiling lovingly. "But you will be. And when you are, you hardly want to be around your parents. I haven't forgotten spending the entire weekend in bed—only getting up for meals, and the occasional shower."

Blythe spewed crumbs from her scone. "I can't believe you said that!"

"I wasn't always an old lady," her mother said with a smirk. "And your father was quite the hunk in those days. Hubba Hubba!" She laughed when Blythe blushed. "You kids don't corner the market on sex. He can still get my pulse racing."

"I'm happy for you, Mom. I don't want to hear about it, but I'm happy for you."

"I don't want to hear details, either. But I will say this—he looks like a man who knows what he's doing. Hang onto him."

"What – conversation isn't important? Shouldn't we build mutually enriching relationship?"

"Nothing builds that like good sex. Conversation is great, but a lively romp in bed, is divine."

"Not disagreeing with you, Mom. It's just—there hasn't been anyone other than Alec. What if he thinks that's freakish?"

"Why would he? Maybe he'll be pleased."

"What if he doesn't—measure up?" Blythe blushed, ducking her chin.

"Oh, honey! I don't know if you mean in performance or dimensions—it doesn't matter. Size isn't everything. What he does with the equipment, is. And if he's not up to snuff, everything improves with practice."

Charlotte abruptly changed the subject, but Blythe knew her mother was pleased that she had shared her concerns about her new relationship. She had to admit, she was a little nervous about making love to Elam. Alec had been a well known quanta. Elam wasn't. He was full of surprises. What would it be like? Having another man caress her in passion? Kiss her breasts, enter her body?

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 29

A low hanging fog writhed around their feet as they wandered through the swamp. Unseen creatures slithered and splashed nearby, freaking them out. Glad for his heavy boots and gear, Malachi wandered through the woods with three other men. They were spaced at regular intervals.

"See anything?" one of the men asked.

"Nope," Malachi answered. "But we know they're out here somewhere. Search and rescue has been looking for them for three days." He stepped in a puddle and sank up to his knee. Cursing, he pulled himself free. "God, I hate the woods."

"Pussy," the man next to him said. "I love camping and hiking. You should come with me and my cousins sometime. You might learn to enjoy the great outdoors."

"No thanks. I'm a city boy. I don't know shit about woods, except how to not get lost—You won't find me camping—ever."

The man chuckled, turning to face Malachi. Elam? What the hell? Blythe couldn't understand why he was talking to Malachi like they were friends. Elam seemed to have no recollection of meeting Malachi, yet here he was chatting with him. Was he lying, or was her mind playing tricks?

Confused, she woke herself from the dream and wrote it down. It was around 6:00. Unable to control the impulse anymore, she sent a text to Elam.

"Call me when you get this. I have a question."

She was stunned when her phone rang. It was Elam.

"What's wrong?" he asked as soon as she answered.

"Were you awake?"

"Yeah. Can't sleep for some reason. Which is great, since I work in a couple hours. What's wrong?"

"Did you know Malachi before the accident?"

"What? No. Why?"

"Because you've shown up in one of my dreams of him—besides the one of his wreck. The last one I had, you were tromping through the woods looking for someone. You were teasing him about not liking the great outdoors. You offered to take him camping."

Elam burst out laughing. "I guarantee that wasn't me. My idea of camping is sharing a bathroom with more than one person. I like to hike and ride bike trails, but you won't find me camping—ever."

"I wonder who it was. Why would my mind put your face in there?"

"Maybe your subconscious mind simply supplied the next handiest face. We're both emergency personnel. It would be an easy assumption."

"I suppose. You're sure you never met him?"

"Babe, I'd remember if a buddy of mine got skewered with a tree branch, don't you think?"

"Yes, I suppose." She sighed. "I'm sorry. I can't think straight about this. Events are getting all mixed up in my mind. The dreams are almost surreal. I see some things in vivid, accurate detail. Other things are oddly distorted."

"Don't over think it. I know that's not easy, but you have to try. Facts will be revealed as they're needed. I don't think we're meant to figure this out all at once. If we were, all the answers would be right there. For some reason, the journey and the finding, are as important as bringing Malachi back."

"I think you're right," Blythe replied. "But I want so badly for him to wake up. I cry when I think what his family has been through. What if he had a girlfriend or a wife who's been without him all this time? It's been horrible without Alec, but gone is gone. There is no bringing him back. To see him like that, not quite there, and not gone—it would be torture."

"I'm so sorry you lost Alec," Elam said quietly. "But I'm glad that you found me."

"I am too! I shouldn't go on and on about him."

"It's inevitable. He was a part of your life for a very long time. You've got thousands of memories of him, years of sharing." He paused, sighing heavily. "I never was someone's everything. Alec was the luckiest man in the world—He had you."

"Then I guess you're the luckiest man in the world, because now you do. I loved Alec with all my heart, and I would have been happy with him, content. But he never kissed me like you do. He never got me so hot, I fantasized about him."

Blythe hadn't intended to say any of that. It was the worst kind of confession to make, so thoroughly embarrassing. She didn't want to belittle her relationship with Alec, but she couldn't let Elam feel bad about himself because he wasn't Alec.

"You're not him. You never can be him, and I don't want you to be. When I think about you, I get goose bumps. When I'm with you, I want—everything."

"What's keeping you from taking everything?" his voice dropped to a low growl. "Because you can have whatever you want—whenever you want."

"I want the perfect moment. I want to be in top form so we don't have to worry about bumps and bruises. I want to know what the hell reverse cowgirl is."

Elam burst out laughing. "Oh, you kinky darling. I'll happily show you. Hell, I'll show you anything you want. If I don't know it, I'll figure it out, just to make you happy."

"Thank you. For being you—for not being him. For everything."

"Thank you for letting me be me." He yawned loudly. "I think I'd better get a shower. I have to be at work in about an hour. I'm going to have a difficult time concentrating, though."

"Really? Why?"

"Yeeha! Reverse cowgirl," he replied and hung up. He laughed when she called him right back.

"You bastard, you did that on purpose. Are you going to tell me what that is?"

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 28

"No, you'll be with me. I need an assistant. Better pay, better hours, more time to spend with your new lady friend. What do you say?"

"Yes, Dr. Waverly. I'm no fool. Hell, yes."

"I know you're not, Elam. That's why I want you on my team. It will take a couple days to clear it. Plan to start nine o'clock Thursday morning. We'll make a trip to Rosemont. Bring Blythe."

"Yes, ma'am. Thank you, Dr. Waverly. This opportunity means a lot to me."

"Spend a week with me, and you may not feel that way." She laughed. "I'm messing with you, kid. This is going to be fun."

He was surrounded by flying glass, grinding gears and screaming metal. Sparks illuminated the nightmarish scene. Searing, burning pain ripped through his chest. His body shook with the vibration of power tools as they tried to free him from the wreckage.

The tree branch had missed his heart, but it had pierced his right lung, skewering him to the seat. Feeling like a man sized shish kabob, he gritted his teeth.

Opening his mouth, he tried to yell, to let them know what torture it was. No sound came out. His body seized, back arching so hard, he thought it would break. Surely, they were through the branch. It wasn't that big. A few seconds with a power saw, Bam— He'd done it himself, two minutes, tops.

His agonized gaze wandered to where the men struggled with the branch. A blond man, about his age, held the branch, steadying it, as his partner cut. Each time the blade bit in, the branch regrew. They would never set him free. The blond man met his gaze. Piercing blue eyes met anguished brown ones. Recognition passed between them.

"I know you...." Malachi's voice trailed off.

"We're coming for you, buddy. Hang in there," the blond man said. "We're coming."

"Hurry, I can't hold on much longer."

"I know, my friend. I know."

"Something strange is happening," Vincent Garafolo told the nurse. "I thought I heard him moan."

The night nurse checked the read-out from Malachi's monitor. "I don't see anything unusual," she stated. "But I'll let you know if I spot anything."

"Thank you, Sherrill."

"You're welcome, Vincent. We keep hoping and praying, right?"

"We do. Every minute of the day and night."

"He's going to get better, I feel it."

"I hope so. He's the only boy we have left." He walked slowly back to the room.

When the door was shut, Sherrill picked up the phone and dialed the doctor on call. Under strict orders not to raise false hopes in the family, she had to call him immediately. She had seen something on the monitor. It was minimal, but a hopeful change, nonetheless.

"It's Sherrill at Rosemont. There was an anomaly on Malachi Garafolo's read-out."

"What did you see?"

"I'm not sure, Doctor. It looked like he was dreaming."

Blythe woke in a sweat. She could smell pine resin and the musty odor of rotting leaves. What is going on? She was inside Malachi's dream, talking to Elam. They recognized each other. Had they known one another before? Both worked for the emergency rescue services. Could they have met before his accident? If so, why would Elam keep it from her?

Puzzled by her latest dream, she glanced at her clock. It was 3:00 in the morning and she knew she hadn't a prayer of going back to sleep. She clicked on the TV, but it was channel after channel of infomercials and old movies, that weren't any damn good when they were new. Clicking it off, she got out of bed, searching the room for something to read. She didn't want to wander around the house, so she was limited to what she could find. Nothing, as it turned out, except a pen and a notebook.

Flipping it open, she thought for a moment, then started scribbling notes. She had kept a dream journal all through school and college, because someone told her it was a cool idea. Strangely, she couldn't remember who. She started writing down the dreams about the wrecks. Going over details in her mind, she realized that there was a common thread. In each of the dreams, Malachi there, working—except for the death of Brian Rogers, and the one where he was injured.

Closing her eyes, she looked over the faces, wondering if she'd recognize anyone else. As much as she hoped to see Elam in one of them, she couldn't recall that kind of detail. She badly wanted to talk to him, but didn't dare call him at this hour. He had to work in the morning and probably wouldn't thank her for waking him. Instead, she turned to a fresh sheet of paper and started writing again.

"Malachi, I don't know what you want. I don't know exactly what you need, but I want to help you. I know you don't want to be in a coma, not when you could be living your life with your friends and family. But why did you pick me? What makes me special? I really can't believe it's a coincidence. My grandfather used to say, If coincidences stack up taller than you are, they aren't coincidences anymore, that's God. So, maybe it's God that brought us together. Maybe it was God who put Elam in my path. I don't know. But I promise you, I will do everything in my power to bring you back."

She hoped that she'd be able to convey that message to him in her next dream. Reading through it again, she turned out her light and fell asleep.

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Monday, November 21, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving from the Lone Wolf Universe by Dellani Oakes

Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes

The year is 3032 and Mankind has conquered the stars. Two organizations control the majority of the business and trade: The Navigation Guild and The Galactic Mining Guild. Both vying for supremacy, the balance of power is often in flux. Now, though, the Mining Guild has a secret, the largest known deposit of Trimagnite—the liquid ore that's life's blood for the Navigation Guild. That's just the tip of the iceberg and it's up to Wil VanLipsig, the Lone Wolf, and Matilda DuLac to control the situation before it's too late.


Shakazhan: Lone Wolf Book 2 by Dellani Oakes

Book 2 in the Lone Wolf series, Shakazhan picks up where Lone Wolf ended. Things are in a right state, but this time Wil and Matilda have some new friends. With the help of the Kindred, they just might make it out of this mess alive.


The Maker Book 3 in the Lone Wolf series. by Dellani Oakes

It's Christmas and the people of Shakazhan are celebrating the holiday, and a few precious moments of peace. John Riley is dead, but he freed the nameless Kahlea, who called upon others before he, too, died. Now, the tiny force awaits the coming of the ancient evil race. Wil and Matilda are determined to find others among the natives of Shakazhan, to join them in the impending battle. Unbeknownst to them, the planet has even more secrets to reveal.


Lone Wolf Tales – Companion to Lone Wolf Series by Dellani Oakes

This is a collection of nine short stories and novellas centered in the Lone Wolf world. Discover new characters, and delve into the lives of some familiar ones. This volume includes: And Itza Danced, Blackened, Brothers at Arms, Call Me Penny, Fractured, Gone But Not Forgotten, A Little White Lie, Painkiller, There Shall Be Great Rejoicing.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 27

His brother groaned. Malachi could barely move, he couldn't reach his brother. Ignoring the searing pain in his chest, he grabbed the other seat, pulling himself toward his brother. There was a gash in his leg and another on his head. Malachi couldn't reach the thigh wound, but it was only seeping blood. The head wound gushed. He was able to tear off part of Micah's shirt, wrapping it as best he could around his brother's head. He knew it wasn't enough. Micah would die without help.

"We shouldn't have taken the back road. Should have stayed on the highway." Groaning, he tried to move, but the branch tugged against his ribs, reminding him that he wasn't in much better shape than his brother. Overcome by pain, Malachi lost consciousness.

A car pulled up and a man got out, shining a light at the Jeep. "Oh, dear God! Anyone there?"

"Help," Malachi groaned. "Please. My brother...."

"Holy Fuck!" the man swore when he saw Malachi. "Don't move. I called it in. Help's on the way."

"My brother. He's real bad."

"The ambulance is coming," the man said. "Damn, how long have you been here?"


"Christ, kid. Kid?" Distressed, the man waved his flashlight so the ambulance and fire truck would see him.

Elam approached the Jeep, peering in. He checked vital signs on the brothers. Sadly shaking his head, he walked away from Micah. When he got to Malachi, his eyes brightened. "We've got a live one! Hurry up!"

As if a recording had sped up, the figures moved quickly through the next few minutes. Blythe watched in fast motion. Malachi was put in the ambulance while they did their best to free Micah's body from the wreckage.

"Stay with me, buddy," the EMT said. "Elam, can we go any faster?"

"I'm risking an accident now," Elam replied. "A road like this in the dark? Jesus. They're lucky they weren't both killed."

In grim silence, they continued to the hospital, siren screaming.

Elam drove home in a thoughtful mood. He couldn't explain, even to himself, why he was so strongly attracted to Blythe. Yes, she was pretty, but so were lots of women. She was bright and funny, and he could think of half a dozen equally as gifted. She was vulnerable in ways that most others weren't. Perhaps that was it, his innate need to take care of people. It was the main reason he'd chosen the medical field, particularly emergency medicine.

Riding in the ambulance was an adrenaline rush. He loved problem solving, making split second decisions, and having people rely on him. He was a man that others could look at and say, "He does something. He risks his life for us." In short, he was a hero, albeit an unsung one. Perhaps martyrdom was also an ingredient?

Blythe's problem was unusual. He'd never heard of someone walking into a nightmarish reality. It seemed to be unique to her. That made him even more determined to help her.

As he unlocked the front door, his phone rang. Why would the hospital be calling? He answered as he walked through his door. His cozy apartment welcomed him home.


"Elam? It's Dr. Waverly."

He tossed his keys on the round dining table. The cross shaped keyring glittered under the round, yellow light.

"Yes, ma'am. What can I do for you?"

"Returning your call. You found our mystery man?"

This was the most enthusiasm she'd ever displayed. Usually cool and clinical, she wasn't one for overt reactions.

"Yes, Doctor. We sure did," he couldn't help sounding proud.

"Well? Details."

Elam filled her in on the visit to Rosemont. He told her word for word what Blythe had said to Malachi. His well trained eyes had spotted something hers hadn't—when Blythe spoke to Malachi, touched his hand, his eyes moved.

"You're sure?" Dr. Waverly's voice rose in excitement.

"Yes. There wasn't any when she took his hand, but when she spoke, there was a definite reaction. Small, but present."

"Did it reoccur?"


"A pity. But you said you plan to visit again?"

"Yes, ma'am. This week. I have to check my schedule."

"Have you ever thought of medical school?" Her abrupt question caught him off guard.

"Yes, in fact I got my primary degree, with that in mind. But it's hard for a white male, with no money, and no connections, to get in."

"You've got one now," she replied. "Let's plan to go Thursday."

"I'll be working in the emergency department."

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 26

Elam shivered, pulling her close. He did his best to avoid her bruises, but his excitement got the better of him. She winced and he eased his grip, but his lips never left hers and his hands traced the curves of her body. Nibbling hungrily at her neck, his fingers undid her blouse.

Blythe put her hands on his chest, pushing him away. "I'm not going to have our first time be humping on the porch swing."

"No, you're right. Come home with me."

Shaking her head, Blythe scooted away from him, putting up her hand to keep him from following her.

"I like you, Elam. So much, I can't describe it. And—dear God, I want you more than I ever thought possible. But not tonight and not like this. I feel like we've known each other forever."

"But it's really been a couple days." He nodded, turning his head away.

"Can you wait a little longer? Please?" She stroked his cheek, turning his face back to her.

"I can wait as long as you need me to. I'm not going anywhere, Blythe. I'm here for the long run. I know I'm not Alec, and you haven't known me your entire life...."

"You're an amazing man, Elam. You're smart and handsome and you make me laugh. You set my insides on fire, even more than Alec did. He was warm and comfortable, like an old robe and fuzzy slippers. You're not like that. You're new and different—and I really like that about you. Yes, I'm bound to make comparisons, but you keep coming out ahead. That doesn't diminish Alec in any way, it just shows me what a good man you are."

"Thank you," he whispered. "Then I'll take what I can get," he sighed. "And wait for what I want."

"It will be that much better."

"Keep telling yourself that." He chuckled softly, stroking her chin with his thumb.

They kissed awhile longer. The lights clicked off inside and Blythe knew her father had headed to bed. Her phone beeped. A text from her mother.

"Are you coming in soon? Daddy wants to set the alarm."

"Busted. Mom knows we're here," Elam said after glancing at her phone.

"She probably saw the car in the driveway."

"Your folks are cool. I'm twenty-eight years old and my mom would have been tapping on the window—or worse, she'd come after us with the broom."

"Mom used to do that sort of thing when I as younger, but once Alec and I made a firm commitment to one another, that stopped."

"My mother would probably turn the hose on me, if she knew what I was thinking right now."

"What are you thinking?"

Elam nibbled her lip. "What do you think I'm thinking?"

Blythe giggled. "I'd better get inside."

"Yeah. I have to work tomorrow. When are you heading back to your place?"

"Maybe tomorrow, if Mom will let me. Call me when you're done at work."

"Will do."

Elam gave Blythe another kiss and they parted. Blythe watched him back out of the driveway from the window by the front door. He stopped at the red light on the corner, so she sent him a text.

Yee Haw!

He sent one back. ur killing me.

The light changed and he made his left turn. Soon, he was out of sight. Blythe headed to the guest room. She hoped her mother would allow her to leave tomorrow. She didn't want to overstay her welcome, and she really wanted to go home, so she and Elam would have more privacy. She wasn't quite ready to take him to bed, but it was close. She liked and admired him—she was attracted to him. And she was curious what sex with another man would be like. She'd never had anyone but Alec. Would Elam discover the things she liked best? Would he do everything he could to please her, as much as she pleased him? What would he feel like inside her?

Making herself crazy with desire, she took a shower. Trying to get the goop out of her hair distracted her for a little while, but her insides hummed and thrilled for Elam's touch. She knew she wouldn't make him wait long, because she couldn't wait herself.

She wasn't afraid, when she lay down. Up until now, she'd been scared of what would happen in her dreams. Now, she was curious whether Malachi would appear in her dreams or not. If he did, would she be able to communicate with him? Her eyes shut and she fell into a deep sleep.

"What the fuck!"

The car swerved. There was a bump and a crunch. The vehicle spun. For a moment, Micah righted it, but there was a curve in the road. The brakes grabbed, but the tires slid on the grassy verge.

"We're dead!" Malachi yelled, throwing his arms up, as if that would stop the inevitable.

Micah screamed as the car hit the first tree, then the second and a third, finally grinding to a stop between two more. A branch came through the window. Malachi watched in slow motion, as it pierced his chest. Blood sprayed all over the interior, splatting against the dash and windshield. It wasn't just his blood.

"Micah! Oh, Jesus!"

He sensed his brother was near death before he touched him. The the impact had forced the steering wheel into his ribs and pelvis. This was an old Jeep, built before the days of airbags. Not that an airbag would have helped at all. The blow had crushed him. If he wasn't dead yet, he would be, from slow internal bleeding. Micah twitched, his fingers grasping at nothing.

"Micah! Buddy?"

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 25

Blythe watched with mixed emotions. She was so happy for her brother and best friend, but part of her was jealous of what they had. Another part of her felt terrible that they had never wanted to show this side of themselves to her. Why had they hidden their love? Was it really that they were embarrassed? It seemed so strange. She was so proud of her relationship with Alec, and equally proud of the budding romance with Elam. Could she have hidden her true feelings from everyone? No, she knew she couldn't have. She wanted that feeling back, that the sun rose and set in the man she loved.

Elam touched her hand, drawing her focus to him. "You okay, babe?"

Blythe managed a tear tinged smile. "Yeah. It's been an emotional day—in a good way, mostly. I feel so sorry for Mrs. Garafolo. To lose one son and have the other only half alive. It must be horrible."

"We'll figure this out, babe. I promise. Somehow, we'll find a way to help Malachi. No one should be trapped inside himself."

The ride home was pleasant. Lori and Jason necked in the back seat most of the way. Blythe and Elam used the time to get to know one another better. They talked about foods they liked, music they enjoyed, or hated. They shared a love for the same books, and liked the same movies. Blythe had lost track of how much he and Alec had in common, focusing instead on how they were different. In many ways, she and Elam had more in common than she and Alec had.

"So, besides reading, swimming and biking, what do you do for fun," Blythe asked.

Elam glanced at her, raising an eyebrow. "Really? You're serious with that question?"

"Yeah, so?" She frowned, not catching on.

"Yo, Jason," he called.

"Hm?" Her brother sounded bleary.

"Blythe wants to know what I do—for fun."

Jason burst out laughing. "Really?" He whooped, smacking his sister's arm. "We might watch sports, exercise, fish, hunt—but there's only one thing that keeps us constantly amused. If I actually have to spell it for you, I might have to slap you silly."

Blythe blushed, ducking her head. "Thanks, Jason. Nice images you've put in my mind."

"Can I see?" Elam asked. He'd stopped for a light on SR 44. He leaned toward her, eyes wide. "Oops, there it is! Reverse cowgirl? Why, you kinky darling."

"Oh, my God! You guys are such pervs!"

"Me? I did nothing," Jason protested. "But that sounds like a good idea. Honey?"

Lori smacked him. "We'll talk about that later. He's going to be uncontrollable now."

"But you still love me," Jason said, pulling her close.

"Yes, for some reason, I do."

They kissed the rest of the way home.

Elam stopped at the Donovan home. Jason and Lori got in their car, taking off without going inside. Blythe couldn't blame them. All the kissing she and Elam had done, on the way up to Ocala, had made her remember what she'd had with Alec. Their lovemaking was sporadic over the last few years, while he'd been in the military, but at least they'd had sex every few months. It had been well over a year now, and her body ached for the touch of a man. She found herself staring at his profile, cast in highlight and shadow by the lights of the house.

"It was a good trip," Elam said.

"Thank you for taking me. I hoped we'd get more from it, but it was important to get up there. Do you think he heard us?"

"I think so. Someone interviewed people who had woken from comas. One guy described it like being in a soundproof booth above his bed. He could see everyone, and he tried to respond, but there were no controls in the booth, and no door. He heard and understood everything, but couldn't talk to anyone. I think Malachi is stuck in that booth. Maybe we're the people who can help bring him back."

"Poor Malachi. That would be horrible."

Elam's hand sat on the gear shift between the seats. Blythe touched his fingers.

"Would you like to come in?"

"I'd rather find a quiet spot and kiss you," he said. "Kinda awkward with a stick shift between us."

Blythe opened her door. "Come with me. I know just the spot."

She took his hand, leading him to the side porch of the rambling Victorian. The wide, deep porch ran around three-quarters of the house. One of her favorite hangouts with Alec, had been the padded swing on the side porch. There were trees between them and their neighbors, making it the perfect spot to cuddle and kiss.

Inside, the lights of the den dimly illuminated this side of the house. The TV blared loudly. Despite what her father liked to tell people, his hearing was going. He listened to his favorite shows with the sound turned way up. They could have dropped a bomb outside and he might hear it. Right now, he was watching a movie—Clint Eastwood's Outlaw Josie Wales, based on what Blythe heard.

"Will this do?" She sat on the swing.

"I deem it acceptable," Elam said, sitting down next to her.

Without another word, they moved closer, their lips meeting with another spark. Both of them stopped, rubbing their lips with their fingertips.

"Ouch!" Blythe whispered, even though her father hadn't a prayer of hearing them.

"That was some kiss, babe."

"Yeah, kind of painful. I know what will make it all better." She teased his mouth with hers, brushing her lips lightly across his, as her fingers stroked his cheeks and earlobes.

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 24

Elam took in details of the room as he watched the women interact. It was larger than most hospital rooms. Though the bed was a standard mechanical one, it sported cotton sheets with a very high thread count. The blankets were expensive and of the best quality. There was a comfortable rocker by the bed, a widescreen TV and a sound system that cost nearly as much as he paid for his apartment every month. Beautiful religious pictures and statues graced the walls and tables. A red glass candle stood beside the bed, burning with a low flame.

"This is Malachi," Mrs. Garafolo said. "Darling, this nice young lady has come to visit. And her young man. He's one of the men who rescued you when you got hurt." She beckoned to Elam. "Please, speak to him. Part of him understands."

"I'm sure he does," Elam said. He stepped forward, shaking Malachi's limp hand. "I'm Elam, Malachi. Maybe you remember me. I helped pull you out of the wreck." He paused, exhaling slowly. "I'm so sorry about your brother. By the time we arrived, he was gone. You did a good job trying to help him. You can be proud of that. We just didn't get there in time."

He turned to Mrs. Garafolo, tears in his eyes. "I'm so sorry about your son, Micah. I found him." He closed his eyes. "I tried—"

"I know you did, dear boy. He was gone to Jesus long before you arrived. But you saved my other boy. One day, he'll wake up, and be my son again. Until then, I sit here with him all day. His father comes at night. His sisters come too. We take turns talking and singing to him. I know he's in there."

"I believe that," Blythe said. "May I?"

Mrs. Garafolo nodded.

She cradled the limp, pale hand in hers. "Hi, Malachi. I'm Blythe. Remember me? You saved me the other day. You kept me calm, and helped me move my car off the road. You opened my door and told me everything would be all right. Do you remember? I wanted to thank you, and let you know that I've been seeing you in my dreams. You saved them, just like Elam saved you. You're a hero."

She bit her lip to stop it from trembling. "I'm so sorry about your brother. I know what it's like to lose someone you love. My fiancé, Alec, he died the same day as your brother. If I figure the time differences right, it was at just about the same time. Freaky, huh? I don't know why you're in my dreams. I don't know how or why you saved me. But I want you to know, I'm here for you. If I can help you, I will. You have to tell me how. I'll let you rest now. I'll see you in my dreams." She leaned over, kissing him gently on the lips.

There was no reaction. Why she thought there would be, she didn't know. Maybe she was hoping it was like a fairy tale, where a kiss wakes the cursed person from a deep sleep. Sadly, a kiss wouldn't wake Malachi Garafolo from his slumber. But she felt better having talked to him. She knew that somehow, their spirits had met. Maybe now, she could help him, and he could wake once more.

They thanked his mother, giving her their numbers.

"We will come back soon," Elam promised. "I have to check my days off this week."

"That would be wonderful. I'd like you to meet the rest of the family."

"We'd like that," Blythe replied. "Thank you again for allowing us to visit."

"It was important for my boy to meet you," Mrs. Garafolo said with a sad smile. "I don't know how, but you'll help one another."

"He saved my life," Blythe replied, hugging the other woman. "I can't thank him enough for that."

They met up with Jason and Lori behind the hospital. There was a small pond with a gazebo in the middle. Not far away, there was a meditation garden with gravel and rakes if guests felt inclined to indulge in tracing gravel. Lori had written her name. Blythe laughed. So like her friend to find the humor in a situation.

True to her word, Sarah had given them the names of several restaurants. They stopped at a small fish camp that looked like something out of Deliverance. It was rundown and weathered outside. Inside, it smelled of good food. The tables and chairs were clean, the floor neatly swept and the beer on tap. It was still a little early for the main dinner crowd, so they mostly had the place to themselves. They ordered appetizers, sipped their beer and talked. Blythe was pleased, once again, that Elam fit into their group so well. He loved Lori's sarcastic wit, and gave her some tips on how to handle the heckler.

"I've caught your act a couple times," he admitted. "I think you and the magician are the funniest ones. Hell of a lot funnier than most of the headliners they get in."

"Thank you. A man of discerning tastes. I did think that guy, Dexter, was pretty funny."

"I caught his act. He was great. But that one dude with the weird eye. Talked about jacking way too much. He's got an audience mostly women over sixty, and he's talking about self-abuse? Man! I'm not a comedian, but I could read that audience. One old girl got up and left. Then a whole bunch stampeded for the door. He played to a half empty house. I was about to tell him he wasn't funny, just to shut him up." He chuckled.

"I remember that night," Lori said. "I opened for him. He was such a prick. Kept hitting on me because he thought he was somebody special. That was right after Jason and I got engaged. I wasn't interested in some egotistical fat boy with a lazy eye." She kissed Jason, her expression loving. "Do you know how great it is to be able to kiss you anytime I want?" They kissed again, longer this time.

Elam cleared his throat. "We should probably get on the road soon. It's nearly a three hour drive."

"You're right. I wanna get my woman home," Jason growled, nibbling Lori's ear.

©2022 Dellani Oakes

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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...