Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Aleigha and Ellie

TODAY at 4 PM EST (3CST, 2 MST, 1 PST) on Blog Talk Radio!

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Hanukkah is two days away, and Christmas in two weeks! Have you started your shopping yet? Books make great gifts, and my guests have novels to entertain you and yours (as do my co-host and I). These lovely ladies are taking time away from holiday preparation, to share a little about themselves and their books.

AleighaSiron

Our first guest returns to the show Aleigha Siron author of Finding my Highlander and My San Francisco Highlander. Welcome back, Aleigha!

Ellie Gray

Our second guest is new to the show. Ellie Gray is the author of Warwick’s Mermaid, Beauty and the Recluse and Love on the Nile. Welcome, Ellie!

Kick back with your favorite beverage and join us for a grand time here at Dellani’s Tea Time.

To Listen LIVE or Catch the Recording

 

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When Tis Done – Part 15

 

When Tis Done coverAfter talking to Chase, Neil has a short conversation with Cynthia, then heads to bed with the promise to text her when he wakes.

Morning came early in a household with a seven year old. Neil was sleeping soundly when his bedroom door banged open and a little blonde missile landed on his bed, bouncing.

“Unka Neil! Unka Neil! Brea-fist!”

Groaning, he rolled over, putting the pillow over his face. “I’ll be up in a minute, Sugar. Let Unka Neil sleep a little longer.”

“No. No. No. Got to be up for brea-fist! Mommy said!”

Neil doubted that. More likely, Dora had said not to wake him. The bouncing intensified as Lucy pulled the pillow off his face.

“Now, now, now, Unka Neil!”

“Lucy Lou, leave Uncle Neil alone. He’s tired. He drove a long time to get here,” Chase said from the doorway.

“But it’s brea-fist, Chase!”

“He’ll be up for lunch, Peanut. Go.” He lifted his sister off the bed, carrying her to the door. Setting her down, he told her to run up stairs.

“Thank you,” Neil mumbled into his pillow. “Would locking the door help?”

“No. Then she just knocks a gabillion times.”

“She usually do this to you?”

“Yep.”

“Lucky you.”

“Why do you think I chose the basement? The stairs slow her down a few seconds.” Chuckling softly, he closed the door.

Neil dozed a little longer, but his room was directly under the kitchen. Lucy seemed determined to have him up to join the family. If it wasn’t deliberate, then she was the noisiest child he’d ever met. Then again, he hadn’t been around that many kids, at least not early in the morning. Groaning, he rolled over with the pillows pressed to his head. There was an all mighty crash, followed by scolding and wailing.

“I’m UP! Dammit!” He got dressed and went upstairs, walking into complete chaos.

A huge dog was galloping around the kitchen with Lucy in its wake. A string of puppies followed, at least six of them, and another huge animal tried to get in the door, but Dora held it with flagging strength. He grabbed the dog at the door, dragging him outside. He took the collar of the other and hauled her out onto the deck. The puppies followed, all but one that Lucy had scooped up. The mother dog tried to get back in after her baby, so Dora grabbed the puppy from her screeching daughter and set it on the deck. Neil swung the door shut. Silence settled over the house.

“What was that?” Neil gasped, pointing at the deck where the enormous dogs frolicked. “Since when do you have Shetland Ponies?”

“Those are the puppies,” Lucy yelped. “Not ponies, silly.”

Folding his arms across his chest, Neil waited for a reply.

“They help the Circle,” Chase said, handing him a cup of strong, black coffee.

“Okay.”

“Their names are Janus and Zofia. They’re our Guardians. When there’s trouble, they come to our aid. When there isn’t, they hang around different houses and procreate.” Chase nodded at the puppies. “They were born at Jordan’s house. We all went over to witness the miracle of birth.” His tone implied he hadn’t found it very miraculous.

“Lucky you.”

“Yeah, it was three in the morning and freezing cold. Jackie insisted.” Chase chuckled, pouring his own coffee, adding lots of cream and sugar.

Pancakes appeared on a plate in front of Neil, decorated with berries and butter. He said his blessing and took his first bite.

“Holy wow, these are delicious. I’ve missed your pancakes, Mama.”

She beamed. “Katie and I made those just for you.”

“Katie’s a cook? Didn’t take after her mama, then.”

Dora giggled, swatting her brother. “I’m a good cook. You should taste my possum supreme pie.”

“Mommy’s teasing. She doesn’t cook possums,” Lucy explained.

“When you were Katie’s age, you burned the pancakes, as I recall,” Neil winked at his sister. “Darn near set the kitchen on fire.”

“You know that was your fault,” Dora countered.

Neil feigned innocence. “Mine? Just how?”

“Cliff was over and the two of you scared the bejeezus outta me! I ran and hid in the pantry.”

“Wasn’t me. All Cliff’s doing.” He took an innocent bite, chewing as silence followed.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 14

When Tis Done coverNeil and Cynthia have a lovely evening, but he has to get home. As he’s walking home, something jumps him. He gets away and runs home. Finding Chase there, he sits down with his nephew to talk. He reveals that he’s loved Cynthia since he was a teenager.

“We’re so completely different,” Chase said about himself and Marissa.

“Sometimes, opposites attract. And not so different. I see things in you both, where you compliment one another. You need to work out your intimacy issues—and I don’t mean that you need to have sex. But talk about things. Make sure she knows you care. You do, you know. You love that girl, probably more than Brian loves Jordan.”

“More than you love Auntie?”

Neil shrugged. “Maybe. I have one advantage that you don’t. I’m not seventeen itching to get laid for the first time. Trust me, I remember that feeling, like your insides are on fire. You’d do a handy hydrant if you thought you could get away with it.”

Chase laughed louder than he’d intended. Clapping his hands over his mouth, he chuckled and sputtered. “Not built the right way, or I might consider it.”

“Gas tank,” Neil suggested. “Or grapefruit, I hear that works.”

“Only warmed in the microwave.”

“Always good to warm up the lotion first, but don’t nuke it. Good way to roast your willie.” He rubbed his hands together as if he had lotion on them. “Friction works best.”

“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation! I couldn’t talk to Dad like this.”

“No, but I bet you can with some of your friends.”

Chase shook his head. “Maybe when we’re older.”

“Meanwhile, I will be here for bizarre, off the wall, raunchy, inappropriate conversations whenever you like.”

“Thank you, Uncle Neil. It’s good having you home.”

“It’s good being home. And you can just call me Neil, Chase. I don’t mind.”

“Thank you—Neil.”

They said goodnight. Chase was ready for bed, so Neil took a quick shower and brushed his teeth. He could smell Cynthia’s cologne on his clothing and it made him want her again. He remembered, with a lurch, he’d promised to call when he got home. Picking up his phone, he saw a missed call. It was from Cynthia. She merely said to call as soon as he got the message. He called back immediately.

“You must think I’m a real dick,” he said when she picked up.

Cynthia laughed. “No, but I was worried.”

“I’m sorry. Chase was up when I got here. Kid needed to talk.”

“He’s going through a lot right now.”

“Yeah. I know. I hope that I can help.”

“I don’t know about Chase, but you sure helped me.”

“Yeah?” He couldn’t keep the delight from his voice. “You helped me, too, Cindy Lou.”

“Uhh, I wish I’d never told you my middle name is Louise.”

“Really? I’d forgotten that. I just always thought of Cindy Lou Who.”

“Now I really want to smack you.”

“Promise? Some gentle abuse, light bondage…. I’m up for it, but are you sure that’s how you roll, babe?”

“You are semi-impossible, Mr. Braxton.”

“Only semi? I think I should be offended. Really, the more accurate assessment is semi-improbable and nearly impossible.”

“Oh, I apologize for irregular use of adjectives.”

“I do love you, Cindy Lou.” He paused. “Shit, is it too early in this budding romance to say I love you?”

“Took you twenty years to say it. I think it’s allowed. Had we just met, Mr. Braxton, it would be entirely too soon.”

“Yeah, if we’d just met, I betcha we wouldn’t have done what we just did, either.”

“Safe bet. But we didn’t and Boy DID we!” She giggled light heartedly. “I think it’s semi-improbable that I feel this good.”

“It’s nearly impossible that you feel as good as I do.”

“Superlative Game, Mr. Braxton? Should I be offended?”

“No games, Cindy Lou, just the God’s honest truth. I feel better than I can ever remember. See what happens when I get to make love to the most beautiful woman in Miracle, Mississippi?”

“Not to mention the entire county.”

“Venture to say, the state.”

“The whole Southeast.”

“Babe, you are the most beautiful girl in the world, to me.”

Her reply was a sniffle. “I’ve missed you so much, Neil.”

“I’m back, Cynthia. I’m not going anywhere.” He yawned, loudly. “Except to bed. Jeez, is it really almost three? I’ve been awake nearly twenty-four hours!”

“Call me when you wake up.”

“How about you call me? I don’t want to wake you.”

“Shoot me a text or I will shoot you one. Whichever one of us gets the text first, calls.”

“Works. Goodnight, Cindy Lou.”

“Goodnight, Neilio,” she teased, hanging up quickly.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 13

When Tis Done coverCynthia tells Neil that he’s there to repair their Circle. He confesses to her that he’s always loved her. This time, when they kiss, they don’t stop there. Neil takes her upstairs to her room.

Fair Warning: When Tis Done is more mature than the prior two books. I have toned it down, but it still may not be appropriate for readers under 17.

Neil poured his love into the moment. The girl he’d had a crush on, had grown into a beautiful, desirable woman. The two of them shimmered like a Christmas tree. They made love, reveling in the fact that they were finally together, no longer teenagers, and able to express their desire. Afterward, Neil was tempted to stay the night, but he knew his mother would worry if he didn’t come home. More to the point, Chase would probably be up. With the promise to stay over the next time, he decided to walk home so she wouldn’t have to make the drive back by herself. It was a clear night, cool and breezy with a hint of fall in the air.

Neil thought about cutting through on the swamp road, but after all that had happened to both Circles, he decided not to risk it. Instead, he went the long way, passing by the Barrett’s house, as well as the Casey’s. As he neared his home, he sensed something not right. He’d been a Marine in hostile territory more years than not. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he watched his environment carefully. Wishing he had a weapon, he remembered that he did have keys. He placed them between his fingers, pointing out dangerously.

It rushed him from the bracken near the lane that lead to their house. Something came at him from the dark, jumping the last few feet. Ducking, he turned to follow the movement, but whatever it was, he couldn’t see it. He heard it running, but didn’t dare pursue in the dark. Worried it might return, he dogtrotted to the house. He didn’t hear or see anything else, but the sense of being watched was stronger. Dredging up the St. Michael prayer from some long forgotten memory, he repeated it as he unlocked the front door. Bolting it behind him, he made his way downstairs, turning off lights as he went. As he’d suspected, Chase was up and waiting for him. Neil dropped the keys on an end table near the couch, and slumped in the chair.

Chase cocked his head from side to side, eyeing his uncle with a twinkle in his eyes. “Holy shit, Uncle Neil! Did you and Aunt Cynthia…? Forget it, I don’t wanna know!”

“We had some adult fun. Is that a crime?”

“It is when your aura looks like that. Dude!” Blushing, he looked away.

“I didn’t know you could read auras. What else can you do?”

“All kinds of shit. You’ll have to learn it too, now that you’re taking Mom’s spot….” He blinked hard, his head dropping. “This is weird for me, Uncle Neil.”

“I know, kid. It’s weird for me too.” He sat quietly, staring at the wall, smiling a little. “I miss your dad. We used to meet up once a year and hang out. Even when I was deployed, I’d get a day or two of leave, we’d find a spot where there were no guns and bombs, and just shoot the shit.”

“Did Mom go?”

Neil shook his head. “I saw your mama in my dreams. We talked all the time. Your mom and dad, and Heath, were my best friends. And Cynthia…. No, she wasn’t my friend, she was my other half. I tried to find a woman, came close a few times, but none of them measured up. I gave her her first kiss on her front porch the night she turned fifteen. Broke my heart to leave her.”

“Why did you go? I feel like I never got to know you.”

“I couldn’t stay here. There was too much hurt. We were all close—until Dora joined the Circle. Then it was Dora and the Circle—and me. They shared so much that I didn’t. I couldn’t stand it another second. I’d always hoped that it would be me. When she was chosen, I was jealous.”

“I’m sorry, Uncle Neil. I hate that you felt like that all these years.”

“Me, too.”

“So, you think you and Aunt Cynthia will get married?”

Neil smiled, remembering the night he’d had. “If you think I’m letting that woman get away a second time, you’re messed up in the head.”

“I was dropped as a child.”

“I’ve heard rumors.”

They laughed quietly, sharing a moment.

“Was Auntie your first?” Chase asked quietly, embarrassed by the question, but wanting to know.

Neil sensed he was leading up to something else, so he answered truthfully. Besides, he’d lost any modesty he’d had when he became a Marine.

“No. That honor fell to a girl with low morals and a large tent.”

“This whole thing—of destiny. Do you believe in it?”

“Like you and Marissa being destined to be together?”

Chase nodded.

“Until tonight, kid, no. Now, I’m not sure. But give it time. Don’t rush. If the Circle chose you to be together, then you have to believe that it’s done it for a reason.”

“We’re so completely different.”

“Sometimes, opposites attract. And not so different. I see things in you both, where you compliment one another. You need to work out your intimacy issues—and I don’t mean that you need to have sex. But talk about things. Make sure she knows you care. You do, you know. You love that girl, probably more than Brian loves Jordan.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 12

When Tis Done cover

Fair Warning: When Tis Done is more mature than the prior two books. I have toned it down, but it still may not be appropriate for readers under 17.

Neil and Cynthia eat their ice cream, then things progress. Strangely, when they kiss for the first time, both of them start to glow.

“What the hell is going on?” he asked, hopping up.

“I don’t know!”

“Do you suppose we’re doing this—everywhere?”

Cynthia looked at her breasts, they were certainly shining brightly. “Drop your pants.”

“Excuse me?”

“Let’s see if it’s everywhere.”

He stopped moving, eyeing her dubiously. Moving jerkily, he undid his pants, pulling out the waistband of his boxers enough that he could see. His eyes grew wide and his face glowed bright pink.

“That shit’s not right!”

“Lit up?”

“Like a neon undercarriage,” he breathed.

Cynthia grinned, peeping down her jeans. “Day-glow here too.”

“What’s in that ice cream?”

“I don’t think it’s the ice cream and neither do you.”

“What’s going on, Cynthia? What haven’t y’all told me?”

“I think we need a pot of coffee.”

She got up and put on her shirt, much to Neil’s distress. He certainly hadn’t seen the evening going quite this way. Following her to the kitchen, he pulled his own shirt on, then washed the bowls and spoons as she set up coffee.

“We were the odd ones out,” Cynthia said. “The cast offs, if you will.”

“The bad penny.”

“Yeah. All my life, I felt left out, like I was missing out on something special.”

“Me too.”

“And then Cliff died. I felt it happen, down in my soul. It ripped me in two. I was at work, and I fell down, sobbing and throwing up. I didn’t know why, until I got the call, that he was gone.”

“I’m so sorry, Cynthia. That would be the worst thing in the world.”

“It was horrible. And I knew it was my turn. I got here as fast as I could, only to get thrown into the kind of craziness I’d never dreamed of. Swear to God, I thought we were gonna die. I’ll tell you about that in a minute.”

They went through the brief ritual of fixing their coffee, taking it back to the living room. Foot to foot once more, Cynthia told them about fighting Opal Cayce. Had he not been raised to believe, he wouldn’t have. To him, it made sense, although it was fantastical just the same.

“So, that kid…Brian. He and his girlfriend duked it out as Opal and Luminous? Far out.”

“You wouldn’t think so if you’d seen it. I was scared spitless. Our Circle was weakened because Cliff was gone. It’s out of balance now, with me and Dora in it. We need a man to make us whole.” She set her cup down on the table beside her. “We need you, Neil. I need you.”

“I—you—what?”

“You need to take Dora’s place in the Circle, just like I took Cliff’s. There has to be a balance of male to female. With Cliff gone, the balance is out of whack. I firmly believe that Opal was able to use that imbalance against us. She almost won. If it hadn’t been for Dr. Meru, she would have.”

“All my life, I knew that one of us would grow up to be the chosen one for our Circle. I always assumed, because I was older by five minutes, that it would be me. Then we turned fifteen—and I knew…. Dora was the golden grain and I was the chaff. For three years, I watched as she grew closer to our friends, learned things I could never do, and fulfilled some ages old prophecy.”

“That’s why you left when you graduated. And why you haven’t been back since.”

His eyes held deep abiding pain. “Yes. I couldn’t stand it. There was one thing I missed about Miracle, Mississippi, though.”

“What’s that?”

He leaned forward, crawling toward her again. “I missed the girl who set my soul on fire. The one who woke feelings in me that no one else has ever done. You were a scraggly-assed little girl, with no tits, braces and straw colored hair, and I loved you more than my own life. Cliff and Dora sent me pictures of you and I watched you grow up from that little girl, to the most beautiful woman in the world.”

His kiss was powerful, barely controlled. His skin was hot, and he could see the glow of them even with his eyes closed. Pressing her body against his, he deepened the kiss. The light between them flared, making shadows dance in the far corners. Lifting her in his arms, Neil carried her upstairs to her room. He knew this house as well as his own, having spent nearly as much time here as he had at home. Setting her in the middle of the bed, he pulled off his shirt before taking hers off once more.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 11

When Tis Done coverWhile talking to Heath, Neil spots a woman he’d never expected to see again—Cynthia Finley, Cliff’s younger sister. Feeling the years drop away, he finds himself drawn to her again, stronger than ever. They decide to do get supplies for banana splits before going to her house to eat.

“I used to go camping here,” he said as they walked into the Wal-Mart. “Over there, near aisle ten, is where I lost my virginity.” He chuckled. “Nothing like sex in a tent….”

“Better than the flatbed of a truck.”

“Is that how you…? Naw, you’re kidding.”

“Totally exaggerating. It was in the comfort of my boyfriend’s dorm room at college.”

“I did it all wrong, Cynthia. That should have been you and me in that tent.”

“I was fifteen when you left, Neil.”

“I know, but I loved you ever since you were twelve and shoved me off the dock.”

“You almost drowned, Neil Braxton! How could you love a woman who almost killed you?”

“Cause you jumped in to save me. Then you went under and Cliff saved us both. Jesus, I miss him. I didn’t even know how much he was in my heart, until I got home. How do you stand it?”

She blinked hard, shaking her head. “I try not to think.” Hugging him fiercely, she wiped her eyes. “Look at me. Having an emotional breakdown in the frozen foods aisle. You always did bring out the worst in me, Neil.”

“I never did. I brought out only the best, Cindy Lou.”

She tapped him with the shopping cart, knocking him sideways. Laughing, he righted himself and grabbed the door to the freezer. Fortunately, it held and he got his balance. Standing close, he touched her hair.

“If I promise not to call you Cindy Lou again, can we get the damn ice cream and go?”

“Yeah,” she sighed.

They made their purchases quickly, heading back out to her car. She drove to her home, on the edge of the swamp, where her brother and sister-in-law had lived since they were married. It was the Finley ancestral home, going back to a time when Miracle was a fly speck on a map. It was lit up by brass lamps on each porch post. Two carriage lanterns flanked the door. The stairway was long and steep, leading to the front porch, since this part of the house was on stilts. The lower part, which they called the basement, was really at ground level.

“Old place is still the same,” Neil said, smiling sadly. “We had some good times here.”

Cynthia unlocked the door, ushering him in. “Yep. You gave me my first ever kiss right over there,” she teased, pointing to the darker end of the porch.

“Was it your first? Aren’t I the lucky man.”

“Wasn’t your first, though.”

“I’m three years older, course it wasn’t. But how I wished you were older, because I wanted it to be.” His fingers wound in her hair as the door drifted shut. “I wanted all my firsts to be with you, Cynthia. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out that way.” His lips touched hers, brushing gently across them.

Her arms went around him, pulling him close. He held her around the waist with one hand, the other still wound in her hair. They kissed a long time, until they remembered the ice cream. Laughing, they went to the kitchen and got out bowls. Preparing the banana splits didn’t take long. They took their dessert to the living room, sitting together on the huge, white couch, foot to foot, like the old days.

When they were done, they set their bowls aside and stared at one another for a long minute. Neil’s eyes drooped a little, making him look sleepy, his arms crossed behind his head. Cynthia knew that expression. He always looked at her that way when he wanted a kiss. No longer a teenager, she suspected he wanted something more. She hadn’t quite made up her mind until he leaned forward. Crawling over to her, he knelt between her knees, his lips less than half an inch from hers.

“I really wanna kiss you, Cindy Lou.”

For once, the silly nickname didn’t earn him a smack or a shove. Instead, Cynthia wound her arms around his neck, pulling him to her. Touching her only with his lips, he loomed over her, kissing her deeply. Cynthia could smell his desire, it coursed through him like white heat. Hers rose to meet his, setting her veins sizzling. She pulled his shirt over his head as he reached for hers. His body felt hot, more than feverish, as if he had a fire burning under his skin. Each muscle stood out in sharp contrast, the grooves and ridges of his superb body seeming to glow from within. It took a moment to penetrate her lust induced haze, he really was glowing!

Neil stopped, staring at her body. He’d just taken off her shirt and he could swear her body shone with a pinkish-golden light—like holding your hand in front of a candle. It wasn’t his imagination.

“You’re glowing,” he gasped, his voice very nearly betraying him.

“So are you.”

He stared at his hands, shocked by what he saw. It looked like some sort of weird special effects were at work here. Both of them shone brighter than the carriage lights outside.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Undiscovered by Dellani

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 500

There was no identifying serial number on the weapon.

What a surprise.

“Interesting choice,” Scott said as he eyed the weapon. MSSR with a suppressor. Nice sniper weapon, used by the Philippine Marines, among others. Uses 5.56mm shells, roughly 10 pounds in weight, nice scope. . . .”

“Why would this one have a suppressor and not the one upstairs?” Geraci asked.

“No idea,” Scott replied.

“Why have two gunmen?”

“This guy’s a decoy. Put him where he’s gonna get seen, the real shooter goes up topside, makes the kill, and gets away clean. If this guy’s seen, he takes the fall. But he didn’t even get a shot off,” the detective mused.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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