Tag Archive | sci-fi

Red River Radio What’s Write for Me Welcomes Jake Combs and Rami Ungar

Both Jake and Rami have been on before, and we’re thrilled to have two such talented gentlemen back on the show. I know we’re going to have a great time with lots of laughs, as well as some thrilling and exciting excerpts read by both our guests.

Tune in Wednesday, July 27 at 4 PM Eastern (3 Central, 2 Mountain, 1 Pacific) for What’s Write for Me with Jake and Rami or Listen to the Podcast at your convenience!

Jake CombsJake Combs is the author of Haunted by Shadows, an adventurous fantasy novel.

Rami Ungar

Rami Ungar, author of dark sci-fi stories, Reborn City, The Quiet Game and Daisy.

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I Love Dialogue from Call Me

doodle banner I love dialogueMoira Crane is an English teacher at the high school. Shortly after her phone is stolen, she finds herself embroiled in a nightmarish reality. She’s been accused of murdering her five close friends, other teachers with whom she worked. Unfortunately, the detective in charge of the case has been dating Moira.

His boss, Lieutenant Ritchie joined Rhys in the hallway. “My office.”

Rhys followed his lieutenant to the large, glassed in room. Ritchie closed the vertical blinds before rounding on his detective.

“You’ll recuse yourself immediately, Detective Fletcher.”

“I can do this, sir. This is my case.”

“Now it’s someone else’s. If you’re in charge, the DA can kiss it goodbye. Chain of evidence is tainted. You don’t want me to remove you. That would get ugly.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You’re shtupping the prime suspect in this case.”

“We’re not having sex, sir. And when I asked her out, she was a victim, not a suspect. Her only crime was getting involved with Nestor Montoya. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s behind all this.”

“Why?”

“To get back at Moira for leaving him.”

“You really think he’s that petty?”

“Have you read the jacket on Montoya? He’s fucking crazy. I don’t mean amusingly eccentric like my Great Uncle Boyd who thinks he’s Santa Claus. I’m talking bat-shit crazy—violently so. I have to stay on this, Lieutenant.”

“Make me a good case, Rhys.”

“To protect Moira from Nestor Montoya.”

“Other people work in this department, son,” Ritchie said gently.

“They don’t have my unique background, sir.”

There was a long pause. Rhys stood quietly, waiting. He watched the lieutenant’s face go through emotional jumping jacks.

“A defense lawyer could rip you to shreds based on the kiss and the dancing alone. Any evidence would have to be irrefutable so a judge can’t throw it out.”

“Then we’d better get irrefutable evidence, sir.”

“I’ll let the interview continue. But I withhold the right to jerk a knot in your ass at any time.”

“Yes, sir. I respectfully request that additional security be added to the station.”

“Why?” Ritchie’s eyes narrowed.

“Because I think Montoya is crazy, arrogant and stupid enough to come at us. At least here we can see him coming.”

The lieutenant leaned over the over the desk as he eyed his detective. “Are you telling me what I think you are?”

Fletcher’s chin came up his face guarded. “Depends on what you think—sir.”

“You arrested that girl to protect her. You don’t think she’s guilty, you think Montoya’s after her. Why didn’t you just put her under our protection?”

“I think further interrogation will reveal that, sir.”

“Son, you’re crazier than Mazie. Fine, you talk to her. But if you haven’t noticed, boy, that girl hates your guts.”

“Better that than dead,” Rhys mumbled.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He’s Back and Badder Than Ever!

Wil VanLipsig is back, did you miss him? New covers and a bit of spit and polish from the editor, he’s ready to face the galaxy once more! Please pop over to Amazon and bid him hello. Don’t sneak up on him, though, or it might end badly, because….

Lone Wolf if you see him coming

Book 1 Lone Wolf is available at Amazon now!

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Lone Wolf

lone wolf first four covers

For More About Dellani

Shakazhan: Book 2 in the Lone Wolf series, Shakazhan picks up where Lone Wolf ended. Things are in a right state, but this time Wil and Matilda have some new friends. With the help of the Kindred, they just might make it out of this mess alive. Available July 9, 2016 in reissue from Pennywise Press.

The Maker: Book 3 in the Lone Wolf series, The Maker takes readers inside the planet of Shakazhan, introducing new and amazing characters. Though reeling from an attack on the planet, Wil and Matilda lead a struggling, but scrappy army to victory. Reinforcements arrive from a very unexpected source. Available August 13, 2016 in reissue from Pennywise Press.

The Kahlea: Book 4 in the Lone Wolf series, The Kahlea introduces new races and exciting new characters. Realizing that their army isn’t strong enough to defeat the Kahlea alone, Wil decides to send a small exploratory party into Shakazhan with the intent of meeting the inhabitants and forming allies. Has he finally bitten off more than the can handle? This fascinating new book will be available in September from Pennywise Press.

Lone Wolf Returns!

Lone Wolf Returns Saturday, June 11, 2016

lone wolf front

Mining Guild Chairman, Emmelia Spenser, is a smart, well educated, attractive and formidable woman. She knows how to work a room to get what she wants. She’s not above a little subtle manipulation to make that happen.

Ssylvenia was always prompt. Emmelia looked up in relief. If there was one person on the board she could count on, it was Ssylvenia Louttice. They had been friends for many years. As she walked in the office, Ssylvenia was already chittering excitedly. Her translator couldn’t keep up. Emmelia did her best to calm her friend so she could get a cohesive story. What she finally learned didn’t make her happy. Apparently, the police had contacted the Marines despite assurances that it wasn’t necessary. A contingent was waiting in her outer office to address the Board. In a rare moment of self-recrimination, Chairman Spenser nearly pulled out her short, dark hair. Taking a deep breath, she released a loud, piercing, primal scream. Ssylvenia stood impassively, waiting for her friend to catch her breath.

“If you’ve quite finished,” she chittered. “The Marines are right outside. I feel sure that set their teeth on edge. I’m surprised they aren’t rushing in here, guns blazing!”

Emmelia patted her friend’s pinchers. “It’s all right, Sissy. The room is soundproofed. Show them in. I’m able to cope now.”

Holding herself as if she thought this was a terrible idea, Ssylvenia let the Marines in. The five men were resplendent in their blue and red dress uniforms. Chairman Spenser greeted them calmly, a genteel smile on her face. Not betraying her thoughts in her features, she mused, Where the hell to the Marines recruit from? I never saw such handsome, exquisitely put together men in all my life!

Sincere smile pasted on her lips, she held out her hand to the commanding officer as they were introduced. He took it in his, fingers lightly lingering on hers.

“How do you do, Chairman Spenser. I’m Captain Benjamin Drexel of the Hannibal.”

“Captain Drexel, how very nice to meet you, sir. How may I be of assistance?” Ooh, Captain Drexel, I hope you aren’t married!

Drexel was an older version of Wil VanLipsig. He was fortyish, tall, muscular, tanned, with close cropped, dark brown hair peppered with gray at the temples. His upper lip sported a full, and very luxuriant mustache. His eyes were nearly as black and piercing as VanLipsig’s. His nose looked as if it had been broken at least once, but it lent rather a nice touch to a face which would otherwise have been too handsome for his own good, or hers, for that matter.

“Please, won’t you all be seated?”

She gestured to the chairs in front of them. They waited for her to sit gracefully behind her massive oak desk. Drexel and the other officer sat. The rest stood in a semicircle behind them. Sissy hovered behind Emmelia, not sure what to do.

“Ssylvenia, please have a seat, dear. I’m sure Captain Drexel and his men won’t mind. Ssylvenia is a member of the board. Anything you wish to say may be said in front of her in strictest confidence.”

Emmelia sat languidly in her chair, for once glad of her prominent chest and deep cleavage. It seemed to be of interest to Captain Drexel and several of his men. She’d always dressed a bit daringly, if professionally. Today she wore a navy, pinstripe suit with a dangerously short, flared skirt. Instead of a blouse, she wore only a matching vest. It showed her ample bosom to great advantage. She leaned forward, enjoying the feeling of power she had over them.

“How may I be of assistance?” she repeated, drawing their attention back to her face. She fought the impulse to bat her eye lashes. It was too early for that ploy yet. Let them sweat a bit.

Drexel focused on her face with difficulty. He cleared his throat a few times, so Emmelia poured him a glass of water, carrying it around to him. Instead of sitting back down at her desk, she sat on the edge directly in front of him, crossing her legs, toes mere inches from his knee.

“I do hope this helps. Sometimes the air in this place gets a little dry.” Leaning forward just enough to give him a better peek, she handed him the glass.

His ears reddened slightly as he accepted it. Sipping politely, Drexel nearly choked on his water as the open toes of her backless pumps carelessly brushed his right knee. She smiled her sincere smile at Drexel again. To do the man credit, he didn’t drop his glass, but straightened his shoulders, sitting upright in his seat.

“Madame Chairman, there have been complaints to us from the Navigation Guild, as well as the planetary government. Frankly, they want to know just what the hell is going on here!”

Spenser giggled, something she hadn’t done in at least twenty years. “Captain Drexel, I assure you as I have the Nav Guild and the planetary government, we’re about to embark on a very dangerous mission in a few days. The area we intend to mine may have hostiles about. We don’t want our mining ship to be blown out of the sky with all those miners aboard! The warships are here to insure their safety.”

Drexel mulled that over a minute, his dark brows blending into one as he frowned. Pursing his lips, he reflected a moment longer before he spoke. “That explains the Guild ships, Madame Chairman. It doesn’t explain the presence of the mercenaries.”

“That was a decision made by Commandant John Riley. I’m afraid he got somewhat over zealous in his desire for tight security and safety for our mining teams. I’ve already rescinded his all-call and I’ve begun to send the mercenaries home. However, many of them don’t want to leave. May I prevail upon your troops to aid us in ridding this peaceful planet of their unruly presence? They’ve been somewhat disruptive, as I’m sure you’re aware.” She leaned toward Drexel in a conspiratorial manner, her mouth near his left ear, her breasts struggling against the silk of her vest. “I was about to call you myself, this situation is becoming quite hazardous. I do so hope you can help me?”

Raising pale blue eyes to his dark ones, she gave him a plaintive, helpless look. Emmelia settled back on the desk, legs crossed, leaning on her hands, chest well forward. Drexel’s ears were quite red and he stammered as he spoke. The open toes of her pumps were mere centimeters from his knee. Her skirt was more than halfway up her thigh, challenging him with its milky, smooth closeness.

“Yes, yes, Ma’am. I assure you that you can count on our assistance in this matter. I’ll order some of my troops down to see to it.” He rose somewhat awkwardly, hat in front of his muscular thighs, signaling to his men.

Chairman Spenser stood, leaning toward him again, nearly chest to chest. “Thank you ever so much, Captain Drexel. I just knew I could count on the Marines.” She pouted prettily, raising an eyebrow. “Why don’t you come back when you get off duty. We can continue this discussion privately.” Lifting her pale, blue eyes to his face imploringly, she allowed her eyelids to flutter briefly.

He nodded curtly, gulping, his throat suddenly constricted. His ears burned red and the flush rose above his collar. “I’d like that, Ma’am,” he choked.

She ran her finger along his shoulder, tapping a button on his shirt front. “Excellent. I look forward to our little chat. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Board meeting in a few minutes. Thank you all so very much for your time.”

She held her hand out to Captain Drexel. He didn’t know whether to shake it or kiss it, so did neither. He held it for a moment, bowed briefly over her fingers, hesitantly letting go. As he strutted out the door, he spun around, snapped a sharp salute, clicking his heels together before his corporal shut the door with a snap. She waited for a count of ten before turning to Sissy.

“Well, what do you think?” She spun around with her arms flung out happily.

Sissy eyed her critically. The computer voice couldn’t effectively mimic her derisive tone. “That was the most disgusting display I’ve seen you make in years. I can’t imagine what you thought you were doing. I think Captain Drexel had better be very careful!”

Emmelia threw back her head, laughing unashamedly. “Oh, Sissy, you’re always letting me know how bad I am.” She exhaled slowly, gazing at the door as if she could see Drexel walk down the hall. “I hope to be very bad indeed.”

Turning toward the board room, she thrust back her shoulders, putting on her professional manner once more. “Time to work, Sissy. Let’s hope the Board charms as easily as Captain Drexel.”

Sissy clicked and chittered behind her. “I rather doubt the Board could handle that little performance. All of them would fall over dead from the excitement.”

Laughing happily, Emmelia walked into the board room. Sissy followed, her chittering indecipherable by the translator, but Emmelia knew her friend was laughing.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Lone Wolf Is Coming Soon!

lone wolf front

Lone Wolf Returns June 11, 2016

After parting from the others, Wil and Matilda decided to walk around for awhile. She wanted to see the older, non-tourist area of town. They strolled casually down streets that grew progressively narrow and shabby. Wil put his arm protectively around her shoulders. As they wandered the seedier parts of town, they walked past a sign advertising: Lady Lena, Psychic Readings.

It had an arrow pointing down the street. In the next block, another sign. Learn your future! See Lady Lena to find out what the stars hold for you! There was another arrow. A third sign in the next block said: Does he love you? Ask Lady Lena!

Matilda eyed this last sign for a few moments. “Hm, that’s a very good question to ask Lady Lena. Maybe I should find her.”

Wil turned her toward him, her fingers entwined with his. “If you really have to ask someone, why not ask me?” He kissed her gently.

“Do you love me, Wil?”

“More than life, Romance.”

Walking a little further, a large sign stood in a front yard. In screaming orange, chartreuse and gold, it said: What does your future hold? Ask Lady Lena! No appointment necessary! Walk in and have a seat!

She tugged his hands. “Let’s go in and see her.” She pointed to a small Open sign in the window.

Wil held back cautiously, not from fear but courtesy. He knew how telepaths reacted to him and he didn’t want to hurt anyone. “Baby, if she is a real telepath—they don’t like me much.”

“Oh, how could she be? It’ll be fun. I’ve always wanted to have a psychic reading done. Come on!” She tugged his hand doggedly.

He reluctantly followed her to the porch of an old house on a back street. The door opened quietly inward, the hinges smooth and soundless. A dry, raspy voice emanated from a back room behind the faded curtain of cheap green beads. “You are expected, children. Come in and be quick!”

The room was Spartan with a single round table top sitting on crates. Three chairs surrounded it. The small room smelled of decay and mold. A timeworn ceiling fan moved the thick, moist air with very little effect. The beads jangled aside, moved by a gnarled, age spotted hand, more like a crustaceous claw than a human appendage. An old woman stepped through. The ancient, wrinkled face gazed up at them. Her clear, bright green eyes bored into theirs; steady, calm, unwavering. Wisps of thin, white hair were pushed back with another frail and trembling clawlike hand. She wore a faded black woolen dress; long sleeved, even in the oppressive heat. Around her tiny shoulders was a white knit shawl.

She smiled up at Wil, then turned to Matilda. “Welcome, my dears. Please sit.”

Wil remained standing. Matilda sat across from the old lady who hobbled to her seat. She was the tiniest woman Matilda had ever seen. Just over four feet tall, her body was frail and thin. Her gaze compelled Wil to sit reluctantly at Matilda’s side.

“Let me see your hands, child,” she said to Matilda.

Slowly, she raised her hands, holding them across the table. The old woman reached over gracefully, taking Matilda’s hands in hers. Like moths in the dark, her touch was light, fluttering. Lady Lena studied them, muttering to herself.

“These are good, strong hands. You’ve worked hard in your life, my dear.”

Lady Lena turned the palms up, tracing the lines with one delicate finger. A hiss escaped her lips. She took the other hand, tracing those lines too. She studied the palms a few moments longer, going over and over the lifeline with her nail. With a decisive nod, Lady Lena drew a dome shaped object from her lap. It could have been wood or metal, it was impossible to tell, for it was more ancient than she. The lid was dark and sleek, polished to a dull sheen, as if hundreds of hands had held it, caressing it tenderly for centuries. It was devoid of all ornamentation, with no visible seams.

Chanting, she closed her eyes, moving her hands over the box once, twice, three times. She pressed both hands on the sides of the domed container. Leaning across the table, she slid the box toward them.

“Place your right hands on the dome. If it opens, take what is offered.”

“And if it doesn’t open?” Wil asked.

The old woman’s eyes flashed brilliant green, a suppressed fire dwindled to almost nothing, throbbing in the iris. “If it doesn’t open, then I have wasted our time.” Lifting her chin, she gestured sharply to the box. “Touch it.”

They did as she told them. The dome felt warm, pulsating and sleek. Suddenly, the box flew open without a sound, startling Matilda, making her jump. Wil stiffened in his chair.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Lone Wolf Series – Meet Emmelia

lone wolf front

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes, Will Be Reissued June 11!

Mining Guild Chairman, Emmelia Spenser, is a smart, well educated, attractive and formidable woman. She knows how to work a room to get what she wants. She’s not above a little subtle manipulation to make that happen.

Ssylvenia was always prompt. Emmelia looked up in relief. If there was one person on the board she could count on, it was Ssylvenia Louttice. They had been friends for many years. As she walked in the office, Ssylvenia was already chittering excitedly. Her translator couldn’t keep up. Emmelia did her best to calm her friend so she could get a cohesive story. What she finally learned didn’t make her happy. Apparently, the police had contacted the Marines despite assurances that it wasn’t necessary. A contingent was waiting in her outer office to address the Board. In a rare moment of self-recrimination, Chairman Spenser nearly pulled out her short, dark hair. Taking a deep breath, she released a loud, piercing, primal scream. Ssylvenia stood impassively, waiting for her friend to catch her breath.

“If you’ve quite finished,” she chittered. “The Marines are right outside. I feel sure that set their teeth on edge. I’m surprised they aren’t rushing in here, guns blazing!”

Emmelia patted her friend’s pinchers. “It’s all right, Sissy. The room is soundproofed. Show them in. I’m able to cope now.”

Holding herself as if she thought this was a terrible idea, Ssylvenia let the Marines in. The five men were resplendent in their blue and red dress uniforms. Chairman Spenser greeted them calmly, a genteel smile on her face. Not betraying her thoughts in her features, she mused, Where the hell to the Marines recruit from? I never saw such handsome, exquisitely put together men in all my life!

Sincere smile pasted on her lips, she held out her hand to the commanding officer as they were introduced. He took it in his, fingers lightly lingering on hers.

“How do you do, Chairman Spenser. I’m Captain Benjamin Drexel of the Hannibal.”

“Captain Drexel, how very nice to meet you, sir. How may I be of assistance?” Ooh, Captain Drexel, I hope you aren’t married!

Drexel was an older version of Wil VanLipsig. He was fortyish, tall, muscular, tanned, with close cropped, dark brown hair peppered with gray at the temples. His upper lip sported a full, and very luxuriant mustache. His eyes were nearly as black and piercing as VanLipsig’s. His nose looked as if it had been broken at least once, but it lent rather a nice touch to a face which would otherwise have been too handsome for his own good, or hers, for that matter.

“Please, won’t you all be seated?”

She gestured to the chairs in front of them. They waited for her to sit gracefully behind her massive oak desk. Drexel and the other officer sat. The rest stood in a semicircle behind them. Sissy hovered behind Emmelia, not sure what to do.

“Ssylvenia, please have a seat, dear. I’m sure Captain Drexel and his men won’t mind. Ssylvenia is a member of the board. Anything you wish to say may be said in front of her in strictest confidence.”

Emmelia sat languidly in her chair, for once glad of her prominent chest and deep cleavage. It seemed to be of interest to Captain Drexel and several of his men. She’d always dressed a bit daringly, if professionally. Today she wore a navy, pinstripe suit with a dangerously short, flared skirt. Instead of a blouse, she wore only a matching vest. It showed her ample bosom to great advantage. She leaned forward, enjoying the feeling of power she had over them.

“How may I be of assistance?” she repeated, drawing their attention back to her face. She fought the impulse to bat her eye lashes. It was too early for that ploy yet. Let them sweat a bit.

Drexel focused on her face with difficulty. He cleared his throat a few times, so Emmelia poured him a glass of water, carrying it around to him. Instead of sitting back down at her desk, she sat on the edge directly in front of him, crossing her legs, toes mere inches from his knee.

“I do hope this helps. Sometimes the air in this place gets a little dry.” Leaning forward just enough to give him a better peek, she handed him the glass.

His ears reddened slightly as he accepted it. Sipping politely, Drexel nearly choked on his water as the open toes of her backless pumps carelessly brushed his right knee. She smiled her sincere smile at Drexel again. To do the man credit, he didn’t drop his glass, but straightened his shoulders, sitting upright in his seat.

“Madame Chairman, there have been complaints to us from the Navigation Guild, as well as the planetary government. Frankly, they want to know just what the hell is going on here!”

Spenser giggled, something she hadn’t done in at least twenty years. “Captain Drexel, I assure you as I have the Nav Guild and the planetary government, we’re about to embark on a very dangerous mission in a few days. The area we intend to mine may have hostiles about. We don’t want our mining ship to be blown out of the sky with all those miners aboard! The warships are here to insure their safety.”

Drexel mulled that over a minute, his dark brows blending into one as he frowned. Pursing his lips, he reflected a moment longer before he spoke. “That explains the Guild ships, Madame Chairman. It doesn’t explain the presence of the mercenaries.”

“That was a decision made by Commandant John Riley. I’m afraid he got somewhat over zealous in his desire for tight security and safety for our mining teams. I’ve already rescinded his all-call and I’ve begun to send the mercenaries home. However, many of them don’t want to leave. May I prevail upon your troops to aid us in ridding this peaceful planet of their unruly presence? They’ve been somewhat disruptive, as I’m sure you’re aware.” She leaned toward Drexel in a conspiratorial manner, her mouth near his left ear, her breasts struggling against the silk of her vest. “I was about to call you myself, this situation is becoming quite hazardous. I do so hope you can help me?”

Raising pale blue eyes to his dark ones, she gave him a plaintive, helpless look. Emmelia settled back on the desk, legs crossed, leaning on her hands, chest well forward. Drexel’s ears were quite red and he stammered as he spoke. The open toes of her pumps were mere centimeters from his knee. Her skirt was more than halfway up her thigh, challenging him with its milky, smooth closeness.

“Yes, yes, Ma’am. I assure you that you can count on our assistance in this matter. I’ll order some of my troops down to see to it.” He rose somewhat awkwardly, hat in front of his muscular thighs, signaling to his men.

Chairman Spenser stood, leaning toward him again, nearly chest to chest. “Thank you ever so much, Captain Drexel. I just knew I could count on the Marines.” She pouted prettily, raising an eyebrow. “Why don’t you come back when you get off duty. We can continue this discussion privately.” Lifting her pale, blue eyes to his face imploringly, she allowed her eyelids to flutter briefly.

He nodded curtly, gulping, his throat suddenly constricted. His ears burned red and the flush rose above his collar. “I’d like that, Ma’am,” he choked.

She ran her finger along his shoulder, tapping a button on his shirt front. “Excellent. I look forward to our little chat. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Board meeting in a few minutes. Thank you all so very much for your time.”

She held her hand out to Captain Drexel. He didn’t know whether to shake it or kiss it, so did neither. He held it for a moment, bowed briefly over her fingers, hesitantly letting go. As he strutted out the door, he spun around, snapped a sharp salute, clicking his heels together before his corporal shut the door with a snap. She waited for a count of ten before turning to Sissy.

“Well, what do you think?” She spun around with her arms flung out happily.

Sissy eyed her critically. The computer voice couldn’t effectively mimic her derisive tone. “That was the most disgusting display I’ve seen you make in years. I can’t imagine what you thought you were doing. I think Captain Drexel had better be very careful!”

Emmelia threw back her head, laughing unashamedly. “Oh, Sissy, you’re always letting me know how bad I am.” She exhaled slowly, gazing at the door as if she could see Drexel walk down the hall. “I hope to be very bad indeed.”

Turning toward the board room, she thrust back her shoulders, putting on her professional manner once more. “Time to work, Sissy. Let’s hope the Board charms as easily as Captain Drexel.”

Sissy clicked and chittered behind her. “I rather doubt the Board could handle that little performance. All of them would fall over dead from the excitement.”

Laughing happily, Emmelia walked into the board room. Sissy followed, her chittering indecipherable by the translator, but Emmelia knew her friend was laughing.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

For More About Dellani

lone wolf first four covers

Covers by Suzette Vaughn

Something New – Part 33 (Again)

something new coverMy apologies that this part went up a month early. This is what happens when I work late at night. Clearly, that was a mistake!

Although the interview goes extremely well, Austin is so stunned and moved by Liz bringing some of the Magician’s Fund children on the show, he’s exhausted. Instead of going out to celebrate, he simply wants to go home.

“I know it would be fun to celebrate, but I honestly just want to go home and take a nap. That was emotionally draining.”

“Let’s plan on dinner,” Gordon suggested. “You can go home, relax and we’ll all meet up—where?”

“There’s a great restaurant in my building. Owen Rhys is the chef.”

“Sounds perfect,” Elaine agreed. “At eight?”

“I’ll call for a reservation,” Dwight said, taking out his phone. Moments later, he’d confirmed their reservation.

Stu dropped off Dwight and Austin at their building before heading to the Vogel Building. They went up the back elevator again.

“When did life get so bloody complicated?” Austin asked.

“About the time you got famous,” Dwight replied. “My phone is ringing like crazy.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“Vibrate.” He pulled the phone out of his pants pocket, waving it around. “Only action I’m likely to get for awhile. Maybe I’ll just let it ring.” He winked and went home.

Austin started undressing as soon as he closed his door. He headed to the shower and let the hot water pound his back, unknotting his shoulders. Controlling his emotions had been exhausting. As much as he appreciated what Liz had done, it had brought all the horrors back. How he wished someone had done for him what he was doing for others. If he could save even one child or family from the fear and humiliation he’d felt, he would judge himself worthy.

He dressed in loose fitting jeans and ratty T-shirt. Walking around barefoot, he enjoyed the deep pile carpet. A lunch of Naomi and Dexter’s leftovers filled him up. He sipped a single beer and watched Farscape on DVD. He didn’t watch much television, but he loved to run marathons of favorite TV shows. He was deep into season one when someone knocked at his door. He paused the show and opened the door.

Liat stood there, grinning. “Mind if I join you?” She also was wearing jeans and a baggy shirt.

“Love for you to. I’ve been watching John Crichton whilst deciding whether or not to take a nap.”

“Can I interest you in something other than a nap?” She tugged his belt loops, pulling him close.

Austin smiled down at her, putting his hands on her waist. “I’d like that. I’d love to hope it involves getting naked.”

Liat playfully pushed him away. “I’ve known you since Thursday.”

“So, that’s a no.”

“That’s a be patient.”

Holding her waist, he walked backwards toward the couch. He sat down, pulling her down to straddle his lap.

“After all the sights I’ve shown you. Super novas in the beta quadrant.”

“That was just the light bulb going in one of the lamps.”

“Meteor shower in Sol Bea.”

“Styrofoam rocks hurled at us from the catwalk.”

“Bloody hell, I’m useless.”

“Almost entirely,” she replied, pushing him back against the couch.

“Well, the question burning in everyone’s mind, is this. How much of the last three days may we count as dates?”

She climbed off his lap, sitting close beside him. “Hmm. . . . We can count dinner the first night.”

“How about the snogging in my trailer.”

“Mm, no.”

“But I want to count it.”

“Why?”

“Because it was such fun. And now, may we include now?”

“Maybe. Depends upon what you want to do.”

“I’m a thirty-two year old man in a room with the most beautiful woman in the world. What do you think I want to do?” He loomed over her, his face mere inches from hers.

“Play Trivial Pursuit?”

“Not even close.” He smiled as his lips brushed her cheek.

“We’re having dinner with my parents soon.”

“And?” He nosed her hair, his tongue tickling her ear.

“And, if we do anything inappropriate—Daddy will know.”

He fell back, lying on the couch. “Dammit, that’s done it.”

“What?”

“The cock block I needed after the first time I kissed you. There it is. Your father will castrate me if I even think of shagging you.” He groaned, putting a pillow over his face. He pressed against it as if trying to suffocate himself.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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