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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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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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Introducing The Music Behind the Story

Love Under the Sun

music-behind-the-story

I love music. It’s as much a part of me as the air I breathe. If I’m awake, I’m listening to music. Different songs set different moods and paint pictures with lyrics and melody. When I write, I listen to music. Usually, it’s a background sound that I don’t pay attention to. Once in a while, though, the song inspires me, changing what I write. Other times, the songs become a major thematic or plot element, winding strands of notes around it like a silky scarf.

I frequently share music videos on Facebook, since I listen to You Tube constantly throughout the day. I tend to share some of the same songs over and over, because they never fail to attract my notice. These songs touch me in some visceral way, and I must share the joy I feel with my friends. This is especially true when I find a…

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He Thought He Saw – Part 62

He Thought He Saw redThey discover that Brian’s house has been attacked and the police are there. Instead of sticking around, they look for clues leading to their parents. They pick up a trail and follow the adults to the woods.

Deidrich stood in the clearing, surrounded by a variety of black, unsightly creatures that ranged from evil looking birds to stumpy, imps with horns. Deidrich swung his arms, hurling blue balls of energy at the huddled people. Janus stood with them, attacking any imps that came near.

Jordan couldn’t see Brian in the circle of trees. Her parents and his fought Deidrich alone. Shocked, she almost jumped out into the clearing. A voice in her head told her to wait. She gazed across the clearing and saw Brain in the trees. He held a finger to his lips, motioning with his hands. Instructions filled her mind and she knew exactly what he wanted her to do. She gave mental instructions to the others. They all walked silently away, taking up positions at cardinal and ordinal directions of the compass. Brian was to the north. Jordan moved to her right, directly across from his position, taking the south. The others deployed themselves at east and west, as well as northwest and southeast.

With a jolt, Jordan realized they were two short. They needed Chase and Marissa, but there had been no time to call them. She could only hope that the same message Ginnifer had received, had been transmitted to the Finleys.

The group in the middle was suffering. Birds and imps, directed by Deidrich, got past their defenses, attacking relentlessly. Their spells and wards did very little good. They were otherwise unarmed. Their clothing was minimal. Not only were the creatures damaging them, but the cold was taking its toll. Maribelle Casey staggered, an imp dragging at her leg.

When their members were in position, Brian sent the message to attack. Quickly and silently, they moved into the clearing, weapons ready. With a roar, Brian attacked the imp that was attacking his mother, beating the creature with his bo. The imp howled, letting go of Maribelle. She scrambled closer to her husband. He helped her stand and kicked another imp away.

The one on Brian, snarled, lunging for him. Brian jabbed it, then raised the bo for an overhead strike. The imp took the opportunity to jump at him, but Andre was there, swinging a metal staff at it. The end of the staff clipped the imp in the chest, hurling it across the clearing. Ginnifer skewered it with a katana. The imp burst with a shower of black sparks, leaving a little pile of ash behind.

The clearing became a blur of black creatures, spinning weapons and spells. It looked as if the battle was turning in favor of their small band. Attacking with renewed vigor, the humans rallied. Suddenly, the woods around them exploded with even more creatures. Huge,black bats with red eyes and long talons, swooped in, diving and slashing.

Ginnifer and Louisa went down. Sweet and Andre ran to them, swinging and smashing the bats. Maribelle Casey sat on the ground, her strength nearly gone. Miles stood next to her, doing his best to protect her with his spells and body.

Brian worked his way to his parents swinging and kicking, clearing his way. He sensed Jordan doing the same from the other side of the circle. When he got to his father’s side, he handed him another set of tonfa that he’d carried. Miles smiled his thanks, face grim as he faced another bat. This one dove toward the ground, trying to claw Maribelle. Miles smashed into the mud, grinding its head under his boot. It exploded and turned to dust.

In the flurry of bats, Deidrich had disappeared. Brian cast about, looking for him, as he battled the imps, birds and bats in their relentless attacks.

From behind him, he heard the sound of something large crashing through the woods. By the noise it made, and the way the ground shook, Brian knew it was at least the size of an elephant. It burst through the trees, bellowing. Blazing red eyes searched the group, halting when they got to Brian. With measured intent, the beast moved toward him. It lumbered on all fours, its coat long, tangled and matted. Like a giant buffalo, it had a heavy head, a hump on its back and long, curved, lethal looking horns.

Brian shuddered. The beast smiled. There was cunning and intelligence in the glare of its red eyes.

“Stay back, son,” Miles warned.

“No. You stay back. Take care of Mom,” Brian replied.

The bats continued to dive, but left Brian alone. As the rest of the humans fought the bats off, Brian moved closer to the buffalo. He circled so that if it charged him, it wouldn’t trample the others. Jordan saw what he was doing and ran after him. Brian sensed her coming and warned her off, but she ignored him.

“We’re stronger together,” she gasped as she got to his side.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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Red River Radio Presents the Incognito Show with Lady Jane Sinclair and Cheryl Kerr

4755b-red2briver2bradio2blogoSometimes, a girl’s got to have her secrets and once in awhile that means writing under an assumed name. Today’s guests have chosen to write using a pseudonym. Why? We’ll find out today on Dellani’s Tea Time. Did you know that Dellani and Christina also use pseudonyms? Well, we’ll be talking about that too.

Tune in today for Dellani’s Tea Time at 4 PM Eastern time on Blog Talk Radio!

 

Lady Jane Sinclair is the author of Guilty Pleasures, On Loan for the Night, Nothing Lasts Forever and It’s All About the Money. I think I’m sensing a theme here, Lady Jane. We welcome her to the show in this alter ego.

Cheryl Kerr is the author of See Ya and Photo Finish. We’re pleased to welcome her back to the show.

He Thought He Saw – Part 42

He Thought He Saw redUnfortunately for Brian and Jordan, his mother catches them kissing in the den while lying on Brian’s bed. She lectures them briefly about self-control.

Jordan laughed lightly, grinning up at him. “As I recall, it was a pretty mutual thing. But she’s right. Self-control.”

Brian chuckled, shaking his head. “Yeah. That’s gonna happen.” He walked off.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jordan called after him.

Brian merely continued to laugh and shake his head. A pillow hit him in back of the head. That seemed to be Jordan’s major method of communication when she was angry with him. At least it wasn’t painful, even if it was annoying. Another pillow hit him, and another.

“How many of those damn things are there?” He whirled around and the next one caught him in the face. “Jordan, dammit!”

Whap! Another pillow.

“Tell me what you meant.” Whap!

“Dammit, Jordan!” He ducked the next pillow, catching it as it whizzed over his shoulder.

Apparently, she’d run out. The pillows stopped coming at him. Instead, she stood in the doorway, looking for all the world like she wanted to cry.

“I didn’t mean anything bad, jeez! What is this? Death by Stuffing?”

“You’re not funny,” she whimpered. “And you’re laughing at me.”

“I’m not—no. Not at you, silly. At myself.” He walked over, taking her hands in his. “I didn’t mean what I said before about not being attracted to you. You’re all kinds of hot, Jordan. If I were a different kind of guy, I’d be all over that. But we have to stay focused on whatever it is we’re supposed to do.” He moved a step closer, gazing down at her. “It felt good kissing you. And sometime, I’d like to do that again. But not in your parents’ house.”

Jordan nodded, biting her lower lip. Her dark eyes filled with tears. She came toward him, putting her arms around his waist. Brian held her close, arms around her back. She was so short, he could rest his chin on her head. Jordan pressed her cheek to his chest.

“I’m really scared, Brian. What are we fighting? How do we do it?”

“I don’t know, Jordan. We’ll read Dad’s papers today and see what we can find out.”

“Life was so much easier before.”

“Yeah, but it was boring as hell. Being a social pariah isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Jordan laughed, loosening her hold on Brain. She smiled up at him. “Speak for yourself, dweeb. I rocked being an outcast.”

Brian’s stomach growled, then Jordan’s. They laughed at one another and themselves as they headed to the kitchen.

Their parents sat around the table, sipping coffee and eating scones. Jackie had prepared three kinds—blueberry, cranberry orange and lemon. Brian heaped his plate with one of each. He put a couple on a plate for Jordan as she served them each a mug of coffee.

“That’s what I call teamwork,” Heath said with a grin. “Sorry there’s no school again today.”

“Ah, well,” Brian said, sighing. “I do miss the excitement of the classroom. All that learning. Blissful.”

Jordan nearly choked on her scone. Brian helpfully patted her on the back. Heath chuckled, raising his coffee in salute.

“I’m sure that it’s extremely enlightening and enervating,” Heath mused.

“Oh, Daddy. Using all those big lawyer words! How do you do it?” Jordan gushed, batting her eyelashes at her father, her tone sarcastic in the extreme.

“Jackie, my love, we have a smart-alec as a daughter.”

“Do you think so, honey? What gave you that idea?”She also batted her eyelashes at her husband.

Heath threw up his hands in defeat. “I swear, Maribelle, if you pull the same thing on me, I’m gonna retire.”

“Retire from what?” She asked innocently. Her beatific smile was as disarming as the fluttering eyelashes.

“That’s it.” Heath threw his napkin into the middle of the table. “I’ve officially conceded the battle.”

“What battle are you conceding, darling?” Jackie asked.

“The Battle of the Sexes. I’m out gunned. Brian, throw in the towel now before they gank you too.”

“Gee, golly, whiz, Heath. You folded awfully fast. If that’s the kind of backup I’ve got, I don’t stand a chance.”

“Pick your battles, son. It’s safer that way.”

Brian laughed at his mock defeat. It was exactly the same kind of thing that his dad would have said. Heath reminded him a lot of his father. They were only slightly similar in looks, but the way they viewed the world was very much the same. Their warm, bantering way with their wives and children, even the way they laughed. Brian suddenly missed his dad, so much that it actually hurt. His chest tightened and he thought he was going to cry.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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