Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 25 by Dellani Oakes

among the shine clan coverFiddlestix has been hired by Donan Varin to find his wife. She, and two bodyguards, are on their way to see the Harlichs south of Daytona. But first, they have to go through the hostile Chateau Noir territory. Their leader has put a substantial bounty on Fiddlestix’ head.

They turned east, skirting the shoreline. The night-sight helped a lot. With luck, they would make it to the Harlichs without Bobby knowing they were there. Luck wasn’t with them. A guard station caught them by surprise. They weren’t as startled as the guards were. The disorganized men were dispatched in short order. However, the noise alerted the other stations. The hunt was on and they were the quarry.

“Press the yellow button,” Blacksmith said.

They hit the yellow buttons and a turbo boost kicked in, spurring them to speeds well over a hundred. Flying blindly through the woods, they dodged trees, holes and bogs. The map could not update fast enough, so it was a combination of blind faith and guesswork. Despite the boost, the guards were closing. Knowing the terrain helped their pursuers. It was going to be close.

“Ride together and hit the orange button!” Buzzard cried.

A clicking whir and Fiddlestix saw something fly from the rear of her bike. Nothing happened until the first of their antagonists entered the zone/ Shrapnel filled mini bombs exploded, riddling the group with razor sharp steel springs and rods. Others scattered a field of whirring motion sensor razors. Pandemonium ensued behind them, slowing their attackers.They road at a furious pace, making their way through the woods on prayer and adrenaline. A few more miles flew past and the going got somewhat smoother.

“We’re in Harlich territory.” Blacksmith announced, slowing his bike. “Noir won’t follow us in here.”

“There should be a guard station about half a mile to the west,” Fiddlestix told them. “I think it would be better to announce ourselves formally, don’t you?”

They displayed the orange sashes openly, riding confidently to the Harlich compound. A guard detached himself from his surroundings, weapon leveled at Fiddlestix’ bike. She stopped as soon as she saw him. Setting her kickstand, she rose slowly. Hands well out from her sides, she walked forward. Removing her helmet and goggles, she squinted at the men, looking for familiar faces. She saw none.

“State your business,” the guard yelled in heavily accented English.

“I seek an audience with Meneer Fumler,” Fiddlestix replied in flawless Dutch.

Meneer Fumler does not see just anyone,” the guard replied. “Who are you?”

She cleared her throat before replying, unsure of her welcome. “Tell him, please, that Hannah Braun wishes to speak to him.” Once her name would have opened any door here, but now she feared just the opposite.

“I’ll check. Wait here.”

The guard was back in less than five minutes. Opening the gate, ushered them in. The sun was just peeping over the river as they walked onto the compound.

“Your bikes with be tended. Follow me.”

It had been so long since she had been here, yet little had changed. The buildings were sturdily built of limestone and coquina. The houses were in orderly rows, neatly trimmed yards in front of each. All the houses faced a huge center square where the office buildings stood.

Fiddlestix forced herself to watch the guard’s back as they walked along. As they reached the main building where Karl’s office was, a flutter of fear passed through her.

“I will announce you.” The guard left them outside the door. He returned a moment later, beckoning them to follow.

Fiddlestix stood before Karl’s door, taking a deep breath, trying to relax before entering. The guard opened the door, standing aside for her to walk through. She was completely unprepared for who stood on the other side of the desk from her. This was not the fatherly figure she had anticipated, but the smiling, boyish face of Karl the Fifth!

He stepped around his desk, arms open for a welcoming hug. “Hannah, it’s so good to see you! I’d heard you were back.” He ushered her to a seat. “Why have you waited so long to come see us?”

“I was unsure how I would be received,” she replied shyly.

“I see.” He looked pensive for a moment, then curiosity took hold. Karl looked at them expectantly. “What brings you here? I assume that this is not just a social visit?”

“It’s such a surprise seeing you. I expected Papa.” She could not help falling into the old, familiar pattern of speech.

His face clouded and it was his turn to hang his head. “He died, Hannah. Cancer is indiscriminate.”

Impulsively, she reached across the desk, taking his hand in hers, squeezing gently. “I know you miss him. He was a fine man. Where are my manners? I haven’t made introductions.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 24 by Dellani Oakes

among the shine clan coverVarin tells Fiddlestix that he needs her help to find his wife. According to him, she is the only one with connections to two groups: The Shine Clan and the Harlichs. He refers to it as a blood bond. He offers to send his bodyguards with her, if she will accept the job.

“Time dribbles away from us,” Varin interjected. “If you are finished reminiscing, I need you to give Karl Fumler of the Harlichs a message.”

“What’s the message?”

“Tell him to have Scarlet contact me in the old way.”

“Nothing more?”

“No. She’ll know what to do.”

“And the Shine Clan?”

“The same, please. If she’s able, she’ll get in touch.”

“Mr. Varin, I will get your message delivered. What they do with it from there, I can’t guarantee.”

“All I ask is that you contact them. When it’s done, you will get the balance of your fee. Half of the money has been credited to your account.” He showed her confirmation of the transaction.

“Thank you, Mr. Varin. All right boys, let’s go!”

They road to Varin’s estate on the outskirts of town, in paranoid silence. After Varin was left in the care of his other bodyguards, Blacksmith led Fiddlestix into a large garage where three tweaked Harley’s waited in silent glory.

“They are the fastest bikes on the road,” Blacksmith said proudly. “Silent as shadows, armored and capable of projecting a force shield around the rider.”

“Sweet!” She walked over, touching them admiringly. The dark blue one appealed to her the most, but she did not want to seem picky. “Which is for me to ride?”

Blacksmith chuckled, pointing a stubby finger at the blue bike. “How about that one?”

“Works for me,” she tried not to sound too pleased, but her dark blue eyes twinkled happily.

Buzzard handed her a set of biker leathers complete with boots, gloves and goggles. The goggles had infrared, motion sensor, night vision and spectra-graphic capabilities. She couldn’t figure out the purpose of this setting, until she looked at Buzzard through them. She could see every piece of cyberware in his body. All of it showed red. His weapons showed up a dull blue.

“Crazy!”

“Ready?” Blacksmith was already sitting on his bike, looking like a big kid. Buzzard sat on his, making it look like a child’s toy.

“I was born ready,” Fiddlestix chuckled, putting the goggles on and switching to night-sight and swung her leg over the bike.

Fiddlestix and the bodyguards hit old US-1 and turned left. Their destination was about forty miles south in what had once been the sleepy little town of Oak Hill. It was now the last stronghold of decency left in all of eastern Volusia County, the Harlich headquarters.

The Harlich Brotherhood was started by the great-grand-father of the current leader, Karl Fumler the First. Karl Fumler the Fourth was now leader of the small, isolationist society. He ran the community like a military organization.

In a way, Fiddlestix was looking forward to a visit with Karl. When her own parents died, he raised her like his own. His son, Karl the Fifth, was three years older than she. From the time she was ten, they doted on one another. As teenagers, their interest changed, ending in disaster. Caught in a compromising position. She was given the chance to leave quietly and join the military, or live in disgrace. In comparison to being shunned, the Army hadn’t sounded too bad.

“Approaching the first Noir checkpoint,” Blacksmith told her on the headset inside the helmet. “We off road it for a few miles.”

“Won’t they catch us on their senors?”

He chuckled softly. “Really, chica, did you think Mr. Varin would send us in defenseless? Press that white button by the throttle.”

Fiddlestix saw an array of different colored buttons on her handlebars. She pressed the white one. A shimmering cloud enfolded her and the bike, undulating slightly in the wind of their passing. The two men also initiated their shields, grinning at her surprise.

“The boss knows how to spend his money,” Blacksmith added gleefully.

The bikes were almost noiseless, and their shields made them virtually undetectable on surveillance equipment. They were on side roads now, following them in short spurts. Occasionally, they would go off road to detour around the guard stations.

The line for Harlich territory was less than three miles away when Blacksmith slowed to a stop, cutting his engine. Getting off his bike, he handed them extra ammunition. He also gave them an orange sash.

“Don’t put that on until we hit Harlich territory. The configuration shows we are visitors, asking for safe passage. They’re supposed to honor it.”

“They will, as long as we don’t do anything stupid,” Fiddlestix assured him. “Karl insists upon treating everyone as a guest. But if we give him a reason, he’ll kill us himself without a qualm.”

“Nice fellow,” Blacksmith muttered.

“That nice fellow was like a father to me once,”was her terse rejoinder. She mounted her bike, kicked the starter and waited for them to do the same. “So, what do we do if we run into any of Bobby’s boys?”

“First, we hope we don’t. Barring that, we play nice unless they don’t mind their manners,. If they don’t….” Blacksmith shrugged casually.

There was no safe road where they were going, so they turned east, skirting the shoreline, doing their best to avoid swamps, lagoons and gullies. The night sight helped a lot, as did the three dimensional map of the terrain their bikes projected for them. It operated on the same principle as Doppler radar, and updated immediately, warning of hazards ahead of them. The going was slow, but so far they had avoided the Château Noir. With luck, they would make it to the Harlichs without Bobby knowing they were there.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 23 by Dellani Oakes

among the shine clan cover

Fiddlestix, now out of the military, is a solo for hire. She’s been approached by a man named Donan Varin, the Contractor King. He has a problem, and he wants her help. He’s accompanied by two bodyguards, Buzzard and Blacksmith.

The bodyguards stepped forward. Buzzard laid a restraining hand on her shoulder. Blacksmith detached her fingers from his employer’s shirt front.

“I would hate to hurt a lady, but if you do that again, ma’am, I’ll end you,” Buzzard said in a mild tone.

Shrugging their hands aside, she stalked away from Varin. “You still haven’t said what you want.”

“I hear you’re connected.”

“Maybe you heard wrong.” She lit another cigarette and waited, feigning disinterest. The set of her broad shoulders gave her away.

Varin shook his head. “You have a relationship with two groups I most need to contact. Not many can boast the same.”

“I have many acquaintances. Which ones?” She blew smoke at him casually, as if he didn’t have her full attention.

“The Shine Clan and the Harlichs.” Varin looked smug.

“I don’t know who you mean.” It was a feeble bluff.

“You know exactly who I mean. My wife also has connections with them, which is why I need your help.”

“Maybe she wanted to leave you, Varin. Did that occur to you?”

He shook his head adamantly. “Scarlet would never do that.”

“What connection does your wife have with them?”

“The same as you, blood bond.”

Fiddlestix fell silent, waiting.

“The name Scarlet Obert Varin should elicit a distinct response from both organizations.”

“Hannah Braun officially died years ago, Varin. I don’t know if my contacts will be expecting a call from me.”

“All I ask is that you try. I will pay you handsomely.”

“How handsomely?”

He named a figure that made her mind boggle. That got her full attention.

“Half now, half when the job is complete.”

“You are aware it’s a face to face. I can’t just call and expect them to talk to me.”

Varin nodded again. “I am aware of that. The boys will accompany you.”

“I’m ex Special Forces, I don’t need bodyguards.”

“It would make me feel better knowing you had company.”

Fiddlestix cracked an uncharacteristic grin, running her fingers through her short, platinum blonde, spiked hair. “I’m touched, really. But I can handle myself.”

He shook his head, adamant. “Since your last contact with the Harlichs, things have changed. Château Noir now owns most of the nearby territory. They have an open contract on you.”

“Château Noir, huh? Interesting development. When did they change the name from Black House Anarchy?”

“Two years ago,” Buzzard replied.

“You want us to go now, chica?”

“As much as I hate to admit it, Blacksmith, yes. Bad Ass Baker and his boys would like to grind me into dog food, alive.”

“Bad Ass Baker?” Buzzard looked confused. “Our intel says a guy by the name Shogun Corbett runs Noir.”

“Skinny guy with black, greasy hair and covered in tattoos with multiple piercings?”

“Yeah.” Buzzard said.

“That’s Bobby. He must have upgraded his moniker when he changed their name to Château Noir. In my day it was Bobby Alvin Baker.”

“I understand you two used to date?” This from Blacksmith.

“He had much better hygiene in those days,”was her cryptic reply. “He also was pretty bad ass in bed.”She winked at Blacksmith, who chuckled.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan Part 22 by Dellani Oakes

among the shine clan coverFiddlestix has left the military and is now freelancing as a solo. Her path leads her to Daytona Beach, where she’s sitting in a bar, waiting for something to happen.

As if on an unspoken signal, the three men approached her table, in a non-threatening manner. The bodyguards kept their hands well away from their weapons, moving in to flank the corp. He stopped by her table, asking permission to sit with a gesture of his hand. A sharp inclination of her spiked blonde head indicated he could. Taking a seat on the rickety chair, he leaned across the table in a conspiratorial manner drawing unwanted attention. Fiddlestix pressed her thick soled boot against his seat, pushing it away from the table, tapping his testicles in the process. Getting the idea, he moved back.

“Is there somewhere more appropriate we can talk?” Even his voice was medium range and uninfluenced by an accent.

Fiddlestix was formulating a snide, snappish reply when he reached up to remove his glasses. For the first time, she saw something of him that wasn’t dull brown. His eyes were a startling, vivid green. The expression in them was one of desperation. Her manner changed rapidly from sarcastic to curious.

“Sure.” she said softly.”Low’s got some private conference rooms downstairs.”

The tall, ugly one nodded slowly. The short one looked around quickly, assessing the room before Fiddlestix and the corporate rose from the table.

“Lead the way,” the short man said with a thick Hispanic accent.

Remaining wary, she strutted toward the stairs leading down to the private, secure conference rooms. They were the only aspect of Low Blow Gonzalez’ dive bar that was high tech and sophisticated, laced with a security system that made Fort Knox look like it was made from Tinker Toys. They entered one of the rooms, locking it with a code that Fiddlestix tapped in. The room would remain sealed until she released it.

The corporate took a seat in one of the broken down chairs, inviting Fiddlestix to sit. Knowing the instability of the furniture, she chose to stand instead.

“How can I be of assistance, Mr…?”

He had failed to introduce himself. Fiddlestix refused to deal with people whose names she did not know.

“Smith,” he replied with a furtive look at his bodyguards.”These two gentlemen are Blacksmith and Buzzard.”

“Your real name. I don’t deal with people who hide things from me. You want my help, be honest.”

“Donnan Varin,” he admitted quietly.

“The contractor king?”

Varin had forged an empire by building substandard housing for the poor. Dozens of lawsuits were pending. To avoid controversy, he went into hiding. Now here he sat bold as brass, begging for her help.

“Yes,” he muttered. “But it’s not what you think.”

“Mr. Varin was indisposed for awhile,” Blacksmith explained.

“A lot was done in my name,” Varin said fixing her with a commanding gaze. “My affairs were mishandled by people I thought I could trust.”

Fiddlestix propped one foot on an unsteady chair, lighting a cigarette while she waited for him to continue. Instead, he turned to Blacksmith, eyes pleading.

Blacksmith stepped forward. “What Mr. Varin is trying to say, is that while he was indisposed, things went wrong in his business and his wife disappeared.”

“Define indisposed. How could all this happen without his knowledge or consent?”

“I was medically incapacitated.”

Fiddlestix was getting annoyed, which usually meant she got violent. “That didn’t explain at all. I want plain English, Varin, or I walk.”

“Well, I was dead.”

“Dead?”

He nodded nervously. “For a period of five years, I was dead. This body is a replacement, the first one died of a rather dreadful disease.”

“You’re a clone?”

“Yes. You see, I had my former body held in stasis until I could reunite my body with my psyche.”

“Spare me the details. It sounds like it’s bordering on metaphysical, let’s not go there.” She turned away, waving her hand, ending the discussion.

“I badly need your help, Miss Braun.”

Fiddlestix whirled on him, grabbing his shirt. “Don’t ever use that name! Hannah Braun is dead.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from After Midnight by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-imageYou’re not like any other cop I ever met.”

I hope that’s a good thing.”

A very good thing. And your lieutenant. He’s a good man.”

One of the best. Scott is the reason I became a cop.”

Older brother?”

Cousin. Only two boys in a long line of girls.”

Gotta stick together.”

Do you have any family we can call for you?”

If I did, I wouldn’t be on the street,” Amos snapped. Inhaling slowly, he pushed away the anger. “I’m sorry. No one. I was an only child. Never knew my grandparents. I don’t know if I have any aunts or uncles. None I ever met.”

You want me to check?”

Amos shrugged. “If they wanted to know me, they’ve had twenty-two years to do it.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Lone Wolf Tales by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“Which one of you sorry, low life bastards is Wallace?”

The Marine next to him pointed and Billy Wallace took a step forward, saluting smartly, even if he was in his skivvies.

“That would be me, sir!”

Ben eyed him critically. “You always watch a vid in your underwear, squid?”

“No, sir, First Lieutenant. It’s just wash day, sir,” he concluded lamely.

“At ease.” The men relaxed into their stance. “Wallace, get your gear, you’ve been tapped for a special ops. You’ll be picked up at 1800. That gives you forty-five minutes to pack and get to the shuttle pad. Pilot has your orders.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir!” He saluted again, relieved when the comlink clicked off. “Special ops?” He scratched his head. “I knew I shouldn’t have taken those specialty classes.

Throwing his gear together, he grabbed his only clean uniform, wondering how to cope with his wet laundry. “Hell, y’all send that to me later, okay?”

One of the others nodded agreement. “Hey, Red Neck,” he called after Billy. “Be careful, man!”

Billy turned and grinned, his shiny shaven head reflecting a small puddle of lamp light. “Will do! Don’t wanna mess up my hair! Their laughter followed him as he walked quickly into the night.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Technically Love by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“We moved quite a bit when I was a kid.”

“Military?”

“Academics.”

“Ah,” he nodded knowingly. “Professors move almost as much. My dad’s a college professor. I sympathize.”

“Dude,” she said seriously. “We academic kids have to stick together.”

Chet eyed her with mixed admiration and seduction. “Like glue, Honey.”

“Behave!” She thumped his arm playfully.

“Oh, telling me to behave after a lead in like that?”

“It wasn’t a lead anywhere but your mind,” she tossed her curls casually as if giving him the brush off.

“All right,” he said in a sarcastic, disbelieving tone. “It wasn’t.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Ben Drexel by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“Not completely hopeless, I see.”

“They’re good men, sir.”

“I meant you, Drexel. Them, I could give a shit about. At least they’re neat. It will make going through their effects simpler.”

“Excuse me?”

“We don’t live long,” VanLipsig said without really listening to Ben. He seemed lost in his own little bubble. “Our life expectancy is the shortest in the Corps, but we keep going because it’s really all we can do.” He glanced up at Ben, his eye holding sorrow. “I never wanted to do this to any of you, kid. I want you to know that I had no choice. You’d come up on the radar. I kept you under wraps as long as I could…. What they’ve done to us isn’t right, but there’s no going back now.”

“Us? You mean your team?”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from First Love by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-image“Breasts were mentioned, Dad,” his son, Daniel, who had been silent before, commented from the rear. He was happily ensconced with the luggage and his own copy of The Hobbit.

“Breasts? Not your mother’s!” Craig was appalled.

“No, sir, Maddie’s,” Daniel explained.

“Someone tell me what happened. Be fast.”

Brad gave a 30 second account of the exchange. At the end, Craig was laughing.

“Understood. Okay, new car rule. No one mentions breasts unless in reference to poultry. Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir,” they said in unison.

“Good.”

“Maddie has a very tasty turkey on her chest,” Richard teased as he settled for another nap.

All the boys hit him—hard—while he laughed.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Portrait of Love by Dellani Oakes

character-quotes-imageVik spotted the sketch book. “Is this her?”

“Yeah.”

“Wow.” He inhaled sharply. “Dude, how do you not love her? She’s the most beautiful woman I ever saw.”

“And she’s glorious. Smart, funny, talented, sweet, naïve, pure. It’s that innocence, that purity that I love most. If I fall for her, take her to bed, she’ll lose that.”

“So instead,” his friend said slowly. “You want to paint her picture… not fall in love with her… not have sex with her…. Just paint her.”

“Yeah.”

“Dude, you’re whack,” Vik concluded, tossing the sketch pad on the chair.

“I’m aware of that.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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