Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Aleigha, Andy and William

TODAY from 4-6 pm Eastern, on Dellani’s Tea Time, Dellani and Christina will chat with three fascinating authors. 

william beck

They will welcome back a favorite guest, political thriller author, William Beck – Crosscurrents, Solemn Vow, Red 7 among others.


Also along for the ride, Aleigha Siron, author of the historical romance, Finding My Highlander

Andy Peloquin

Last, but by no means least, dark fantasy author, Andy Peloquin – Blade of the Destroyer, Child of the Night Guild, Gateway to the Past and others.

Listen Live or Catch the Recording at Your Convenience!


The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 7

the-man-who-wasnt-thereAfter Marissa announces that Brian has to dance naked to summon the Peddler, the teens and their parents, organize a meeting of the Circle members so they can discuss the ritual and make plans.

They carried the platters outside. Chase’s parents had just arrived and Cliff joined their fathers on the screened lanai. Chase’s younger sisters, Katie and Lucy, went to play with the baby. The boys were heading back to the kitchen when Marissa’s family knocked. They were just greeting the boys when the first of the Louisiana contingent arrived. Andre and his parents came up the sidewalk with his girlfriend, Louisa. Sweet and his parents pulled up seconds later. Louisa’s parents drove up at the same time as Ginnifer and her mother and father.

Each of them had brothers and sisters, all of whom were younger. They joined Chase’s sisters in the yard. They fussed over the baby, taking turns carrying her. Brian didn’t have to make good on the bath offer. Louisa and Ginnifer did it for him. They kept the baby off the ground afterward, so she didn’t need another one.

Once dinner was ready, they took places at the long tables the men had set up in the backyard. The dogs lay down at the head and foot of the assembly, alert and happy, hoping for scraps. Dishes passed around the table as everyone took what they wanted. Laughter and happy chatter filled the air. Although they had come together for a serious reason, none of them wanted to miss out on catching up and enjoying each other’s company.

“I feel happiest when I’m with all of you,” Maribelle declared. “This is the best group of people I know.”

“I agree,” Miles said. “Which makes our reason for being here the more serious.”

“Wait, you know what this is about?” Brian asked.

“Sure, son. We talked this over with the Barretts a couple days ago. We just hadn’t set a date until Jordan called and said we needed to meet tonight. Now, what’s up? I hear that Marissa had something to tell us.

She blushed a fiery red when all eyes turned on her. Jordan opened her mouth to take over, but Marissa shook her head.

“I’ve got this.” She squared her shoulders, sitting up straighter. “I’m not the Dreamer,” her eyes flickered over to Brian. “But I get things. Flashes and images, mostly. Sometimes I hear a voice.” She gestured vaguely to her right ear. “Anyway, we were talking today about the Harvest Ball and the witch trials in 1713. And—the Peddler.”

Finding it hard to continue, she ducked her head. “Anyway,” she muttered toward her chest. “I got this—impression—I guess you’d call it. I know we have to summon him to help us. And it has to be Brian. And he has to dance….” She couldn’t make herself say the words.

“Naked,” Brian blurted. “And I want to know if that’s accurate. And I want to know why me? And, more importantly, why naked?” he asked loudly. Angry and embarrassed, he found control difficult. The tables shook slightly, the earth trembling under them.

“Son,” Miles Casey said gently. “We’ll figure this out. Some of our older rituals had to be conducted in the nude.”

“Why? Can’t I at least wear a loin cloth? Cause I don’t want—everything—on display.” He gestured vaguely in the area of his zipper.

“I’ll do some checking.” Miles Casey thought it prudent to hide the smirk he felt twitching his lips.

“But why Brian?” Jordan asked. “Couldn’t any of us perform the same ritual and have the same result?”

Cliff Finley shook his head. “I’d have to do some research, but I’m pretty sure it has to be him. A variety of reasons, not the least of which is, he’s the Dreamer.”

Brian rolled his eyes, putting his head on the table, nearly in his plate. “Did I mention that I really hate being the Dreamer? That I hate all of this? Why can’t I just be some normal, stupid teenager who makes mistakes and decisions that don’t involve people getting killed—or buried alive—or dancing naked?”

He felt a touch on his hand and calming assurance filled him. He sat up to see his baby sister. She leaned from Jordan’s arms. Her little spit covered hand wrapped around his finger as her dark brown eyes met his. Sometimes, she seemed so much older than six months. She reached for him and he took her, holding her close. Her hands embraced his face and she put her forehead next to his. Closing his eyes, joy filled him, shoving aside the scary thoughts. He knew that he could do whatever was needed. He had the best family and friends in the world. He could handle it—even if it meant dancing naked.

“None of us wanted this,” Dr. Beauchamps, Andre’s father said softly. “Each of us fought against it, denying our powers, wishing for someone else to take the burden. None of us had to face what you’ve faced, Brian. No one else at this table knows exactly what you’re going through because none of us have been in your shoes. I know it isn’t easy—we all do. We fight our inner battles every day just to keep going, trying to act normal. I am telepathic, you know. If I allow myself, I can read the minds of every person here. It takes unimaginable control to keep all your voices away.”

“I have visions,” Marissa admitted. “And I’m not exactly telepathic, but I get flashes of images and I see things about people. I know when they’re good at heart or when they’re mean. I can also tell when they’re sick or in pain. That’s why I’m learning to heal.”

Andre cleared his throat. “I see auras, like Jackie. And I feel strong vibrations of emotions. I can tell what y’all are thinkin’ without you sayin’ a word. Like Marissa, I know sickness, as well as every emotional combination there is. Hearing voices would be worse, but this is disconcerting enough. We aren’t trying to belittle what you’re feeling, Brian. We’re telling you that we know what you’re going through. Our challenges are different, but no less annoying and painful.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Music Behind the Story from First Love by Dellani

Historical Novels by Dellani Oakes

music-behind-the-storyA few weeks ago, I shared Music Behind Under the Western Sky, set in 1976. This isn’t my only story set in that same time period, though First Love isn’t published yet. The Seventies were an era of great music, no doubt about it. We had bands like Carlos Santana, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Gary Wright. Fantastic songs filled the airwaves and my characters, like me and my friends, listened to each new song with enthusiasm.

I did a lot of research so that I would have the right songs for the year. Though I lived through this era, my memory for when each song came out, was kind of faulty. I enjoyed revisiting songs from my past and now sharing them with you. One of the first songs mentioned is Love is Alive by Gary Wright. No visit to the Seventies would be complete without Stairway to…

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 6

Marissa tells Brian that she has the impression that he needs to summon the Peddler. Not only does it have to be he who does it, but he has to dance—naked. Understandably upset by that announcement, Brian freaks out a little, so they leave Sweeties and go to Chase’s house.

“So, naked,” Brian said.

“Huh?” Chase, who was the only one who hadn’t heard, was immediately vigilant.

Brian explained briefly while the girls took the time to vacate by cleaning up the work space.

“So…. Naked.” Chase nodded, laughing.

“Don’t laugh or you’ll join me,” Brian snapped. “Why me? And why naked? I’m asking our folks about this. Because no f**king way!”

“Brian!” Marissa scolded.

“Hush, Marissa. If you’d been told you had to dance around with no clothing, you’d be upset too,” Jordan said. “We’ll ask Dora,” she advised. “She knows about rituals and stuff. In fact, we need a meeting of the families. Tonight. My house. Eight.”

“That’s okay with your folks?” Chase asked.

“Yes,” Jordan said. “It will be when I tell them. Everyone. Your folks too,” she added with a squint of her eyes at Marissa. “They might like to spend their Saturday nights being all pious, but this is more important.”

Marissa pressed her lips together on whatever snarky reply she’d intended. Jordan was right. Marissa had learned a lot in the last year, not the least of which was that agreeing with Jordan was the prudent thing. She was right more often than she was wrong and she was a strong leader. While they might never be best friends, like Brian and Chase, they were grudgingly learning to get along.

“I’ll let them know,” she said with a gulp.

“We need to go,” Jordan said. “If I’m going to invite people over, I’ll need to clean up and prepare.”

“I’ll help,” Marissa volunteered. “We can make those Shrewsbury Drops your mom showed us last weekend. And I’ve been working on a new tea blend.” The girls chatted as they walked upstairs.

Brian and Chase followed them more soberly. Brian walked with his hands in his pockets, head down. Chase wasn’t much perkier.

“See you tonight,” Chase said at the front door.

“Yeah.” Brian stopped, turning around to face his friend before heading to his car. “Life got too damn complicated, didn’t it? I mean, we should be worrying about football and our grades—whether we’re gonna get laid before we’re twenty.”

“Why us?” Chase asked, his eyes wandering over to where Marissa and Jordan were. “And why, for God’s sake, Marissa?” he dug his toe into the grass by the porch. “I mean, I like her and all. But Jesus!”

Brian chuckled, smacking his friend in the arm. “Exactly. I know it’s not easy, Chase. Jordan makes me crazy. I can’t even imagine what Marissa’s like. But do you love her?”

Chase shrugged, rolling his eyes helplessly. “How would I know? You have any vast experience to draw from?”


“Brian!” Jordan called. There was command in her voice.

“Just got a jerk on the short leash,” Brian said quietly. “See you later.”

“Yup.” They tapped knuckles.

Jordan was right that her parents didn’t object to having the meeting at their house. In fact, Jackie even suggested calling their Louisiana friends too. None of them were surprised to find out that they were already planning to come up.

“Spend the night,” Jackie suggested. “We’ve all got room.”

That was decided and they set about getting the house in order. Jordan and Marissa talked on the phone, organizing rooms and food while the boys cleaned bathrooms and made the guest beds. Once that was accomplished, they joined the women in the kitchen, pitching in to prep vegetables or wash dishes as needed.

Maribelle and Miles Casey arrived with Elise in tow. Heath walked in the door a few minutes later. Maribelle joined them in the kitchen, but Miles and Heath took Elise outside to play in the huge back yard. Their job was to start the gigantic grill and set potatoes baking in the coals.

They were greeted by delighted yelps of two huge dogs. Zofia and Janus had stayed behind after Mr. D. left. They had deigned to make Jordan’s house their home, though they visited Brian and the others regularly. Sometimes, they would disappear for days at a time, coming back filthy and tired. No one knew where they went, but none of them questioned the actions of the two enormous dogs. Elise loved the huge animals and they doted on her. They played gently with the baby, letting her tug at them, climb over them and roll around in the grass.

“I just gave her a bath,” Maribelle said with a sigh. “She’ll be filthy again before dinner.”

“It’s okay, Mom. I’ll give her a bath when the dogs finish mauling her.”

Maribelle giggled, swatting at her son. “Thank you. You’ll make a good father one day.”

Brian blushed. “Thanks.” He had no words for how embarrassed he felt. Everyone in the room knew that when he had children, at some unspecified time in the future, it would be with Jordan. Strangely, the subject didn’t seem to bother her.

“Corn’s ready for the grill,” Chase said, showing the foil wrapped bundles.

“Potatoes are already in the coals,” Brian said. “Let’s get these out there.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 5

the-man-who-wasnt-thereChase tells the other three the story of how Miracle, Mississippi got its name – Because of The Tin Man, also known as the Peddler, who helped their ancestors fight the evil witches.

“Yo, blood,” Chase jabbed him again. “Ladies,” he stood, welcoming the girls back.

Marissa allowed a virginal kiss on the cheek. It was more than he’d given him a year ago. It might not seem like much, but to Chase, it was a vast improvement. It was hard for him to accept that Marissa was to be his one, true love. As many times as he tried to break up and walk away, the attempts failed and they ended up back together. He couldn’t fight it, but he kept trying.

It wasn’t that he didn’t care about her, he did. It was the fact that she kept him at bay while all his friends were getting action. Well, except for Brian. He wasn’t in as dire straits as Chase, but Jordan was good at putting the brakes on. Still, he could see them consummating their relationship before they married and he’d still be languishing.

“Chase, honey?” Marissa said softly, stroking his cheek. “Will you be a sweetie and get me a slice of pie?”

“Sure.” He raised a hand to get Annie’s attention.

“I meant for you to go on over to the counter,” she pointed to the other side of the store where the pie was kept. “And ask.”

“Sure.” Chase knew she wanted to tell Brian something. It either concerned him or was potentially embarrassing. Why the hell do I have to be hooked up with a religious freak?

“With ice cream,” she called after him.

Chase nodded, waving as he walked away. Once Chase was out of hearing range, Marissa nodded to Jordan.

“Don’t yell,” Jordan said.

“Um…. What?”


“Okay…. Jordan?”

She pursed her lips, glancing at Marissa. “We think that we need to summon the Peddler.”

“Okay. Do we know how?”

The girls exchanged another glance, blushing.

“Yes, sort of. You won’t like it.”

“Do I have to dance naked at moonlight or something?”

They didn’t say anything. Their silence confirmed it.

“No. Oh, f**k no!”

Marissa glared. Jordan’s lips twitched as she suppressed a smirk.

“You promised not to yell,” Marissa snipped. “And language, Brian.”

“No. No, no, no, no, no—no. f**k no.”

“It’s the only way,” Marissa said. “It has to be you.”

“I want a second—no, third and fourth opinions on that. No freaking way I’m dancing around naked in this weather. Not at all, I might add. I didn’t even do that when I was a little kid. There is no way in hell!”

“You okay, Brian?” Annie asked. “You’re freaking folks out, honey. Settle down, or I’ll ask you to leave.”

“Sorry, Annie. The girls pulled a prank. I apologize for losing it.”

“You girls be nice to Brian. He’s a delicate flower.” She winked and pinched his cheek.

“Yeah, like oleander or nightshade,” Chase said. He arrived with a tray holding four pieces of pie with ice cream on the side. “I wanted pie too,” he confessed. “Not just so you could get me out of the way. You know, anything you said to embarrass my boy, you can say in front of me. I’ve got your back, babe.” He kissed Marissa lightly on the lips.

Her blue eyes sparkled for a moment, lighting her too pale face with a healthy pink glow.

“I couldn’t have said that in front of you. It was bad enough to tell Brian.”

“This isn’t over,” Brian snarled. “Don’t think that pie and Annie are going to stop me from discussing this. It isn’t settled.”

His anger seethed and bubbled under the surface. He was tall enough to be intimidating, even when he wasn’t trying. Jordan flinched away from his barely controlled anger. The silverware and water glasses near them trembled a few seconds, then stopped.

Rather than showing her distress, Jordan popped a bite of peach pie into his mouth. It was his favorite and Sweeties made it fresh every day. Chase had gotten his with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream, also his favorite He closed his eyes, rolling the tender peach and flaky crust over his tongue. A lingering kiss followed.

“Everything is better with pie,” she assured him. “We’ll ask the parental units. Don’t worry. If you have to dance, I’ll do it with you.”

He chuckled, the sound rumbling deep in his chest as he pulled her close. “Count on it.” He kissed her again, trying hard not to be fresh, but his hands had a mind of their own.

Chase cleared his throat. “Y’all done or you want I should get you a room?”

Brian punched him. “Jealous.”

“As all hell,” Chase replied. He ate the rest of his pie in irritated silence.

They headed over to Chase’s house and gathered in his basement. It, too, had been converted to practice space. They spent the next thirty minutes showing one another new things they had learned. No one wanted to broach the subject of Brian’s naked midnight dance, but it couldn’t be avoided for ever.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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The First Day, First Paragraph

rami-ungar-first-day-first-paragraph-tagMy good pal, and fellow author, Rami Ungar came up with this idea and tagged me. The process is simple. When tagged, you publish the first paragraph of something you’re working on, follow the instructions below, and have fun with it! Thank you, Rami, for thinking of me! ~ Dellani

So if you get this tag, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the month.

  2. Use the graphic above.

  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.

  4. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.

  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.

  6. Ask your readers for feedback.

  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of August, the person you tag has to do it on the first of September), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

it-takes-a-thief-coverMy first paragraph is from my novel, It Takes a Thief – a romantic suspense novel available in e-book format on Amazon.

Jason Banes was a thief. Despite how much he and his lawyer might publicly deny it, it was the truth. Which was why he was standing before the judge in an ill-fitting suit, sweating. A twist of fate had brought him to this. He was an excellent thief, masterful, skilled, almost magical in his ability to divide his marks from their possessions. Regardless of his skill, he’d been caught. His palms began to perspire as the judge looked over the top of her pearl studded reading glasses. She didn’t look happy. Jason saw his world collapse as she studied him. Her scrutiny made him nervous. She looked like a velociraptor ready to attack and rip his guts out with her long, sharp claws. She blinked.

I welcome your comments below!

I tag Rachel Rueben

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.”


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.”


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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