Archive | March 2017

The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 4

the-man-who-wasnt-thereBrian and Jordan go out for a snack and meet up with Chase and Marissa. Chase tells them that 300 years ago, the town came under attack of a group of evil witches.

“How do you know all this?” Jordan asked.

“Because my dad is an amateur historian who belongs to the historical society here. He also lectures about it all over the country. It’s kind of his thing. He even discovered why the town was called Miracle.”

“Oh?” Jordan couldn’t help being interested. She leaned toward him.

“Yeah. Cause it’s a freaking Miracle anyone believes the story you, Brian and Annie just told,” Marissa interjected. “Don’t listen to him,” she cautioned. “It’s just an old wives’ tale.”

Chase flashed her a disgusted look. “Just because you choose not to believe it, doesn’t make it any less true. It’s called Miracle because of The Tin Man.”

“Like The Wizard of Oz?” Jordan sounded dubious.

“No. It’s what they called this peddler who traveled around selling pots and pans,” Brian replied. “Dad just told us about this a couple days ago.” He nodded to Chase. “Go ahead, you’ll tell it better.”

Chase winked, huddling closer. Some of the things they talked about these days would scandalize the rest of the town. “This Tin Man, or more appropriately, Peddler, no one knows his name, came into town when things were at their worst. Those that weren’t strung up to die were dead or dying from hexes that the witches had set on them.”

“There were real witches here? Like—us?” Jordan whispered.

Not like us. We were fighting them. More like—you know,” Chase tilted his head from side to side, not saying a name.

They understood completely. He meant like Gavin. Deidrich, whom they called Mr. D. He was a formidable enemy on his own. If he’d come against them with others, the events of the prior year would have been quite different.

Jordan shivered. Brian put his arm around her, holding her close. He didn’t waste his breath telling her it was okay and that they had nothing to worry about. They both knew differently. Deidrich would be back and this time, he would probably bring friends.

“There’s something special about this one,” Chase mumbled. “This is the three hundredth anniversary of the last, epic battle with the witches. They almost won. If it hadn’t been for the Peddler, they would have. He came in and rallied our people and saved the day.”

Marissa swallowed hard. Jordan shivered again. Both girls reached out for the other. Though they hadn’t started out liking one another, circumstances had made them friends.

“You’re just saying that to scare us,” Marissa said, sniffing.

Jordan bit the inside of her cheek. She knew better, so did Marissa. This couldn’t be a coincidence. The year before, Deidrich had come against them, testing their resources. They’d beaten him, but barely, and only because of Brian.

Jordan’s blue eyes riveted on him. “You be extra careful over the next few days. No risks, no stupid stunts. You don’t go out without at least one other of us.”

Brian frowned, rubbing the back of his neck uncomfortably. He might be the Dreamer, the official prophet of the bunch, but Jordan’s hunches were rarely wrong. Not only that, his dreams had been tumultuous of late. He couldn’t get a firm fix on them to record. Though he mumbled some in his sleep, nothing definitive presented itself. If Jordan told him to be careful, he’d follow her advice.

“I promise.”

“Good.”

He gave her a quick, gentle kiss. She hugged him violently, dragging him close.

“You be careful. I mean it!”

“I promise! Sheesh, Jordan. Can’t breathe!”

Chase eased her arms from Brian’s ribs. Marissa watched, wide eyed herself. She took Jordan’s hand and tugged her to the restroom. The boys didn’t question. They knew this wasn’t just a girl thing. Marissa had something important to tell Jordan.

“Why doesn’t she just tell us all?” Brian asked as he watched the girls walk quickly away.

“You know Riss. She’s shy and straight laced. If it’s the least bit—” he blushed, ducking his head.

“Sexual,” Brian supplied, nudging his friend’s ribs.

“Yeah, that. She won’t say it in front of us.”

“So, no action on that front?”

Chase’s ears turned red. “As if I’d tell you anything. But no. I don’t see that changing until she has a ring on her finger.”

Brian clapped him on the shoulder. “Sucks to be you, my brother.”

A knuckle punch to the ribs got Brian’s attention. Gasping, he clutched his side.

“Like you’ll get any further with Jordan.”

“That’s not the important thing right now,” he replied soberly. “The most important thing is learning all we can so that when he comes back around—and he will—we’re ready for him.”

“That gives us five days, Brian.”

“Yup.”

Brian sipped his cola slowly, eyes traveling the room. Any of the people here was a possible weapon against them. Had Deidrich recruited more witches like he had before? And who was this mysterious Peddler? Could they summon him? Would he help again?

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 3

the-man-who-wasnt-thereIt’s been about a year since their first battle with Mr. D. Brian and Jordan have embraced their roles in life and practice their skills to be better prepared for the next battle. Since last year, their relationship has changed, no longer just friends, they are now dating.

“Be safe,” Jackie said, making a sign of blessing on their foreheads as they leaned over to give her and Maribelle each a kiss.

“Yes, ma’am,” they chorused, laughing at one another as they walked out of the house.

Their mothers watched them go, smiling and shaking their heads.

“Were we like that?” Jackie asked.

Maribelle grinned. “Yes. I’m sure that Miles and I were awful. I knew I loved him from the time we were kids. He didn’t take to the destined for one another thing very well. He played the field.”

“So did Heath. It freaked him out when I knew every time, and called him on it.” She sipped her tea. “I don’t think Brian’s going to act like that. He doesn’t strike me as a player.”

“He and Jordan’s bond was forged in greater adversity than ours. If the circumstances were the same as ours, I could see it. I think it’s harder for the men to accept. I didn’t have a problem with the idea of Miles being my one and only.”

A plaintive wail pierced the quiet house.

“Herself’s awake. Excuse me.”

“I need to go anyway, honey. Call me later.”

They hugged and Jackie left. Maribelle went upstairs to the nursery. A tiny, pink clad form kicked and mewled in her crib. She stopped wailing when she saw her mother and smiled as she was picked up.

“Hello, precious,” Maribelle said, kissing her baby girl. “How’s my angel?” She carried the baby to a nearby rocking chair and sat down to nurse.

Elise Casey’s dark brown eyes gazed at her mother with love. Maribelle crooned to her baby as they cuddled.

The front door opened. “Where’s my girls?” Miles Casey called.

“Upstairs,” Maribelle replied.

Elise cooed as Miles walked in the nursery door. He kissed them both and sat on the footstool next to them.

“Good day or bad?” Maribelle asked.

“Good. Andre’s making excellent progress. Can’t say the same for Sweet. That boy’s got serious control issues.”

“Brian’s having trouble. I think you need to have Cliff work with him.”

“You’re the one proficient with fire, why Cliff?”

“It needs to be someone who’s not kin. I’ve pampered him. He needs a firm hand. Cliff will provide that.”

“Okay. I’ll give him a call later and see what we can work out.” He kissed her forehead. “I’m going to have a shower. Sweet boiled swamp mud. I think he caught a few crawdads or frogs too.” He sniffed himself. “Ew.”

Brian and Jordan headed to Sweeties Soda Fountain. A full service, old fashioned soda shop, they sold ice cream treats, hot dogs, hamburgers and patty melts. The decor hadn’t changed much since the shop was built in the late 1940s. They took seats at the red linoleum topped counter. Several of their friends walked in and sat next to them.

“So, going to the Halloween Ball Thursday night?” Chase asked.

“Jordan, you wouldn’t know this, but it’s been a tradition around here since our grandparents were teenagers,” his girlfriend, Marissa said.

“Longer,” Chase said. “It just wasn’t called the Halloween Ball. It was the Harvest Ball instead. They changed the name in the Seventies.”

“Why do people keep telling me that?” Jordan asked. “Honestly, I’ve been told about the stinking ball for the last month. Why is it such a big deal?”

“It’s the social event of the fall—until Homecoming,” Marissa gushed. “Come on, you have to go!”

“We’re going,” Jordan replied. “I just don’t know what the big deal is.”

“The rumor mill has a lot to say about it,” Brian replied quietly. “Apparently, back in the day, this was a big community for witches.” He nodded slowly, eyes open wide. “Isn’t that right, Annie?” he addressed their waitress, who was old enough to be his grandmother.

“That’s the skinny,” she replied. “Salem wasn’t the only place to hang witches. No one talks about it, but our town damn near wiped itself out in the early days. Between the witches getting hanged and the people getting hexed, there were only a handful of folks left. Brian’s many greats granddaddy was one of them. He went and married himself a Native bride. Somewhere, back in your ancestry, you’ve got Choctaw blood.”

Annie herself was at least half Choctaw. She bragged to be full blooded, but her brother claimed three quarters. No one argued with either of them, accepting their varying claims with a smile. Annie wandered off to take care of other customers, leaving the teenagers alone for the moment.

“You’re telling me this town hunted witches?” Jordan frowned. “And we live here, why?”

“Amazingly, our families weren’t among the ones hanged. The witches were evil and our ancestors fought against them,” Chase said, snagging one of Brian’s fries.

Brian smacked his friend’s hand. “Get your own. I’m hungry.”

Chase ate another before waving at Annie. He ordered his fries and leaned on the counter.

“How do you know all this?” Jordan asked.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 2

the-man-who-wasnt-thereOctober 2013

Flames dripped from his fingers, spilling down his arm and onto the floor. A dribble of fire worked its way up to his armpit, setting fire to his shirt. Brian slapped at the flames, burning his hand.

“Ouch! Dammit! Ow!”

“Brian!” Maribelle Casey’s voice floated down the basement steps from the kitchen

“Sorry, Mom. I burned myself.” He stuck his fingers in his mouth, pulling them out immediately when he tasted the bitter herbs that covered them. “Gak! Blerg! Gross!” He rushed to the utility sink and rinsed his mouth. Running water over his hand, he hissed as the singed digits met the cold.

Soft footsteps trotted down the stairs. “What did you do to yourself now?” Jordan’s voice interrupted his pity party.

Brian held out his hand to her. Jordan took his damp fingers, whispered a couple of words and the pain stopped.

“Quit being such a klutz, Casey,” she said as she sat on the couch.

“Yeah. Fire isn’t my thing,” he replied, sitting next to her.

Jordan giggled. “Says my pyromaniac boyfriend.” She gave him a quick kiss.

Her lips on his stopped any further protest. She was right. Fire was his second best element, which he could summon at will. Controlling it, however, wasn’t as easy. The scorch marks on the cement floor and singed carpet, paid testimony to that.

“Your mom doesn’t mind you playing with fire in the house?”

He whirled his injured finger in a circle. “Protection spells all around. I might set fire to myself, but not the house.”

“That makes it so much better.” She gave him another kiss. Jordan pulled away when he started getting fresh. “Cool it, cowboy! Mom’s upstairs.”

“Sorry.”

The change of status of their relationship was new and neither of them were exactly sure what to do with it. Their experiences a year ago had shown them that they were destined to be together, but it didn’t make it any easier to deal with the fact. Constantly in one another’s company, working on their fighting skills, spell casting and charm making had brought them closer together. It was inevitable that they would take the next step in their relationship—that of boyfriend and girlfriend.

“What are you working on today?” Jordan asked, looking over the mess he’d made on the ping pong table, which served as his practice space.

“Summoning fire and controlling it—emphasis on control. I can summon fire just great, getting it to do what I want—that’s something else.”

Jordan flicked her wrist, twirling her fingers. Flames appeared over the table, dancing merrily. She made walking motions with her fingers and they strutted around the surface. No scorch marks or ember trails for her. The flames danced a few more minutes and quietly sank to nothing. Brian watched with envy and disgust.

“You’re trying too hard,” she said. “Not only that, you’re so concerned about not setting the house on fire, you’re not channeling your attention properly. We’ll go over to Chase’s and work in the swamp.”

“Trees catch fire, you know.”

“Shall we go to the old Winn-Dixie parking lot? No trees there. I don’t think that even you could set asphalt on fire,” she replied with disgust.

“No public places, you know that.”

“Kidding!” She hopped up, reaching for his hand. “Come.”

“What? Where?”

“We’re taking a break. You need to get out of the house and I need ice cream.”

Brian laughed, standing up. He pulled her close, towering over her. He’d put on a growth spurt over the last year and shot up to six foot three. Jordan had eeked out another half inch and stopped growing. It was no end of annoyance to her that she was still nearly a foot shorter than he.

“You can have ice cream, but I want something else first.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

Brian leaned over, grinning. Jordan stood on tiptoe. Their lips met and they exchanged a short kiss.

“Another reason to get out of the house,” he murmured.

They trotted up the stairs hand in hand, bursting into the kitchen. Their mothers sat at the table, talking and drinking tea. Brian smelled jasmine and ginger.

“We’re going for ice cream,” Jordan said. “Can we bring you anything?”

“Nothing for me, thanks,” Maribelle said. “Jackie?”

“No. I’m trying to be good, with the holidays coming. I always eat too much.”

Jordan smirked, tilting her head to one side. “I dunno, Mom. I think you could stand to gain a couple pounds.”

Her mother smacked her hand playfully. “Go get your ice cream. Are you taking my car?” She reached for her keys.

“They can take mine,” Maribelle said. “I still don’t feel comfortable driving, so it’s mostly Brian’s now.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 1

the-man-who-wasnt-therePROLOGUE

Part 1

September, 1713

Luminous Cayce stood on the front porch of his spacious home, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. The full moon sparkled on the water as it rolled by. Smoking his pipe, he was content. Nothing could equal the peace he felt when he communed with the water. Its power and majesty surrounded him.

A small sound behind him made him turn around. His eldest daughter, Evangeline, stood in the doorway. This was the night of her fifteenth birthday party. The guests had finally gone home and the servants bustled around cleaning up. Her father smiled, holding out his hand.

“How does it feel to be fifteen, my lass?”

“No different from fourteen, in truth. I suppose that will change.”

“No doubt.” He put his arm around her shoulders, holding her close.

She shivered in the chilly night air. Luminous removed his coat and set it around her shoulders. She thanked him with a smile.

“Mother is asking for you. She’s feeling ill.”

“Liza will see to her.”

“She’s asking for you,” his daughter’s voice held reprimand. “You need to see to her, Father.”

He kissed her brow. “As you wish, child. Do not be out long.”

“Not long, I promise. The water is so lovely, is it not? And the scents of fall in the breeze.”

Luminous smiled. “Yes, Daughter. Tomorrow, we shall have a talk.”

She nodded, turning back to the river as he walked inside.

November, 2013

Brian Casey has a problem—several, actually. As if being a super smart, self-proclaimed social pariah weren’t enough, he recently found out that he’s descended from an ancient line of Druids. In each generation, children are born with certain gifts. For his family and generation, he is the one. Brian was surprised to find out that several of his close friends also have these gifts. It was a shock to each of them, to find out that they wield unique, magical talents. Reaching majority at the age of fifteen, these chosen few become the keepers of the balance between good and evil. None of his contemporaries were prepared for the challenges they faced—fighting a legendary evil, Deidrich. Mr. D, as they call him, is so powerful, those who know about him don’t ever mention him by name.

After their epic battle with Deidrich, where Brian was very nearly killed, the chosen ones of the new generation, determined to hone their skills. When Deidrich returns, they intend to be ready.

December of 2012 was touted by some as being the end of the world. What Brian, Jordan and their friends discover is that it’s not the end, but a beginning. A whole new magical world, full of surprises, some of them good, some deadly, await them.

Being descended from Druids isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It means long hours learning the uses of herbs, the properties of stones and metals. It’s time spent practicing control of the elements. Some can call flames, others manipulate the earth, still others summon wind or water to do their bidding.

Brian has found out that in addition to his other abilities with the four elements, he is the Dreamer, a prophet who learns the future in his dreams. He’s also been told that Jordan, his good friend, is his intended wife. In fact, each of the eight has their counterpart in another member of the chosen.

Of all the things he’s learned about himself, Brian finds this the most difficult to get his mind around. He always thought when he met the right woman, he’d fall in love and marry her. Instead, he’s been told that his future is mapped out and nothing will change it. Not that he doesn’t care about Jordan, he does. He just would have liked a choice.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw Is Over!

He Thought He Saw redHe Thought He Saw is over. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! I thought about skipping to another book, but I decided to share the next book in the series.

the-man-who-wasnt-thereThe Man Who Wasn’t There – Book 2 in the Miracle, Mississippi series, is set in the mystical, made up town of Miracle. The Man Who Wasn’t There picks up not quite a year after He Thought He Saw ends. Jordan and Brian are happily anticipating the annual Halloween Ball, the social event of the season. This one is special, because it marks the 300th anniversary of the appearance of a magical stranger known only as The Peddlar. It also commemorates a major battle between the Circles and a cult of evil witches. Already, things are stirring and Brian’s dreams have grown tumultuous. Something wicked this way comes.

Look for The Man Who Wasn’t There starting on Sunday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time.

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Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Livy, Maureen and Savannah

Dellani's Choice - Books

Be sure to join the fun on Dellani’s Tea Time – TODAY, March 13 at 4:00 PM EDT when Dellani and Christina welcome Livy Broussard, Mauareen Larter and Savannah Verte to the show. All these ladies are new to the show, so let’s welcome them and show them a good time! If you can’t join us live, the link will take you to the podcast recording later!

Livy Broussard has a website, The Fire Breathing Bunny, devoted to surviving eating disorders, as well as being the author of creative non-fiction.

MaureenLarter joins us from New South Wales. She is the author of several children’s books like Candy Cow and the Caterpillar or Broken Wing; Book 1 of the Fairies of Aurora. She also has a variety of Simple Gardening Guides.

SavannahVerte is a paranormal and fanstasy author whose books include Sultry & Sinful, Book of Time, CASE Revelations and more!

Tune…

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He Thought He Saw – Conclusion

He Thought He Saw redAfter talking to the police, they go to Chase’s house to wait for news about Brain. Soon, Heath calls to give them an update.

“Doctor decided a tree root got him when he fell. It’s great what a little compulsion can do. Never saw anyone as good at it as Claude, except maybe Clifford. Everything okay there?”

Jordan told him how it had gone with the police. Her father chuckled. “See what I mean? Stick tight, I’ll be there soon. They’re keeping Brian overnight. Might keep Maribelle too. She’s a wreck. Miles is going to stay up here. I’m going to run him up some clean things, but first, I want to get my girls home.”

“We’ll be waiting, Daddy. I love you.”

“Love you too, honey.”

The news of Brian’s condition was greeted enthusiastically. Everyone cheered and laughed except Jordan. Her mother noticed how subdued she was.

“I thought you’d be happier than anyone.”

“I am, Mom. I almost lost him. He’s my best friend and he almost died!” She burst into tears.

“But he didn’t. You saved him with your quick thinking. We couldn’t have done this tonight without you and the others. You saved our lives.”

“Is he dead?” Jordan asked. “Mr. D. Is he gone for good?”

“I don’t know. Somehow, I doubt it. I think it will need a more concerted and organized attack to kill him—if he can be killed. But for now, he’s gone.”

Heath arrived and everyone went their separate ways. To save them from having to drive all the way home at that late hour, the folks from Louisiana spent the night. Andre and his parents were with Chase. Louisa’s family went with Marissa’s and the Sweets came to Jordan’s. Brian’s house was a crime scene, so Heath gathered spare clothing for Miles and Maribelle. There were a few of Brian’s things in the clean laundry. Jordan packed those for her father to take.

“Can I come too?”

“Sure, honey. I’m sure Brian will want to see you when he wakes.”

Brian looked pale and the skin was tightly drawn over the bones in his face. He had a warming blanket over him since his body temperature wanted to drop. He looked terrible. Jordan gave a little cry when she saw him.

Maribelle was in the bed next to her son. Miles sat on the one chair in the room. There were pillows and blankets in the oversized window seat. He accepted the clean clothing gladly, and went into the bathroom to shower and change.

Jordan walked over to Brian’s bedside. She sat on the edge of the bed. Heath pulled the curtain between the two beds to allow her some privacy. He talked quietly to Maribelle while Miles was in the shower.

Jordan took Brian’s hand, lacing her fingers with his. “Hey, you goon. Get better, okay? I still owe you a smack with the pillow.” She put his hand to her cheek as she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the lips. His skin felt unnaturally cool, frightening her. Jordan blinked back tears.

“We drove him off,” she said with quiet triumph. “Mom says he may come back, but he’s gone for now. Because of you. You were so brave—stupid, but brave. Why did you grab him? Don’t you dare scare me like that again! You’re part of me now. If anything happened to you….”

She rubbed her cheek on his hand again, kissing the fingers. With her other hand, she brushed his hair from his forehead. He was bruised up, but his color looked a little better. Jordan kissed him again, her lips lingering on his. Brian’s other hand rose, brushing her hair, as he deepened the kiss.

“Best way to wake up, ever,” he murmured. His eyes opened and he smiled. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Me too—you, I mean. I’m glad you’re all right.” She pulled back the curtain. “He’s awake.”

Miles heard the announcement as he came out of the bathroom. Laughing with relief, he carefully embraced his son.

“Is Mom okay?”

“I’m right here, honey,” she called to him.

“She got pretty banged up before you got there. Your mom fights like a tiger. She kicked some serious ass.”

“She sure did,” Heath admitted. “Jackie too.”

“But Maribelle’s condition….” Miles stopped himself.

“You mean her eyes?” Brian asked.

Miles blushed, gazing lovingly at his wife. “Uh, why, no. Your mom is—that is, Mom and I….”

“You’re pregnant?” Jordan laughed, clapping her hands. “How exciting!”

“I thought you’d been gone for months on end. When did this happen?” Brian demanded.

“Well, to be honest, I’ve visited a few times. You just didn’t know.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Misdirection. Even Maribelle didn’t know where I was the whole time, or where I’d been. But I had to see her. You’ll understand when you get older. You have to renew that bond.”

“It was the bond that saved you,” Maribelle said. “If anyone but Jordan had tried to raise you, it wouldn’t have worked.”

“But why?” Brian and Jordan asked together.

“She’s your other half,” Maribelle replied. “She’s been a part of you since conception.”

“I’m not really comfortable with this whole destined to be together thing,” Brian said.

“Get used to it, my boy. It can’t be avoided,” his father replied. “Believe me, I tried to play the field and date other women. Couldn’t do it.”

“Why?”

Miles took Maribelle’s hand. “Because no one else measured up. Once you’ve found your perfect match, there’s no competition.”

“We need to let Maribelle and Brian rest now,” Heath said. “Say good night, Jordan.”

They kissed quickly, saying good night. Jordan hugged Brian’s parents and she and her father left. As they were driving home, Jordan reflected on all that had happened in the last few days.

“Do you think he’ll be back?”

Her father shrugged. “I don’t know, honey. I don’t think he’s dead, if that’s what you mean. But for now, he’s gone.”

“We’ll have to be stronger next time. He almost killed us.”

“We weren’t prepared. But we’ll study and train.”

“Next time,” Jordan vowed. “We’ll be ready.”

THE END

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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