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Fedelta 2: Aftermath

Fedelta 2_ Aftermath
Image by Amaynut via Pixabay

 

Within seconds a thunderous crash was heard as the SWAT team knocked down the front door.  Like rats, their guests began to run for their lives causing the platform they were standing on to come crashing down to the ground.  Screaming, Destiny fell down along with Danny on to the shiny, mahogany floor.  As a multitude of curse words flowed from Danny’s mouth after feeling his ribs break, he writhed on the ground gasping for air.  Looking for help, Danny turned his head over to his left and found Destiny, dead, from a gunshot wound.  Seeing what was happening to their boss, two loyal goons picked him up and ran to a secret passageway which took them to an underground garage.  Danny and Destiny had planned to leave the party quickly after the deed was done so the cars were already packed.  As the police began filing into the house from north to south, they went about securing the scene.  With precision they went from room to room, announcing the words, “clear” as they secured the domicile.  A few of the older and out of shape mobsters were captured with little affair, however several did manage to escape.

Looking around the room, Amato stood there with his gun drawn but no Danny or Destiny.  All he saw around him was the mess of broken furniture and glass scattered across the room from one end to the other.

There was a large heap of wood in the middle of the room as tall as he was and so Amato went over to investigate.  To his surprise, after he kicked over the plywood from the platform  he could now see over it and next to it emerged a sparkly, red fabric.  Pushing the planks of wood away, he saw Destiny, dead.  “How the hell did they miss this?” Amato asked, and as on cue, two officers led a small group of chained gangsters out the door.  If this was overlooked, maybe Cassie was here too.  A piece of him dreaded the work ahead of them, but it had to be done, he had to know.  Calling over an officer who was standing guard at the door, “Hey you, give me a hand.”  Together they hoisted the rest of the platform and under it was another body.  “Geez,” Amato said like he had been punched in the gut.  She didn’t look good at all, in fact, she looked worse than Destiny.  He had no doubt she was dead.  Nonetheless, he bent down and checked for a pulse.  He waited and waited and then, success.  Cracking a smile, he nearly cried.  “Why am I not surprised Cassie?”  In that instant he felt like he was being watched, so Amato composed himself and barked out, “Get a bus!”

Just when he made the order, Special Agent Cohen appeared on the scene.  “Who the hell authorized this?” he asked.

Stunned as well as insulted, Amato answered, “Me.”

“This isn’t your case, you don’t do this shit anymore, remember?”

“Fine, it’s all your shit now.”

“I don’t think you understand, there are gonna be consequences for this.”

“For what?”

“Number one: you don’t have a warrant, which means any evidence you find here is inadmissible in court.  That means none of these bums are gonna be doing any time.”  Pacing around, he tried to figure a way out of this mess Amato put him in.  Pointing to Destiny, Amato said, “You mean even the dead body we found won’t convince a judge that something criminal went down here?”

Cohen’s eyes lit up, “You mean Fenetti’s dead?”

“No, Destiny.”

“Oh.” Cohen responded disappointed.

Amato was so close to punching him, but he couldn’t, there were too many witnesses and besides, Cassie needed him there.  It was times like these that he hated his job.  So like most disgruntled employees, he shoved his feelings deep down and kept his mouth shut.  This was the only way he was going to survive this Cohen ordeal.  Amato had to remind himself that after this, he could go back to his cubicle and chock on his dignity there.  It was better than doing time for shoving his foot up Special Agent Cohen’s ass.  After all, some bosses just weren’t worth the cavity search.

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Living In The Back Up Plan, Part 5

Living In The Back Up Plan, Part 5

 All Rights Reserved. © by JD Holiday, 2020

 

          Danie opened her eyes and looked to her left then around the room. Joe was drawersandmirror8-3-16finished_baknowhere in sight. He was laying next to her when they finally went to sleep. Her next thought was that last night was nothing like it had been with Ben, her only other sexual partner. She found the experience astonishingly satisfying which was an understatement. Danie was carried away by her own response and driving need.

              She looked through the open bathroom door. He’s gone, she noted with an unusual twinge of loss. She wished he had stayed. She hoped he was safe and the danger to him was over.

          Lying back on the pillow she thought about their talk while still curled together on the couch. Joe said he couldn’t stop thinking about her from that moment he met her. She lifted her head off his chest and admitted it was the same for her. They made jokes about how lame they were to not have at least exchanged phone numbers. And the time wasted.

              He said, “My parents told me not to waste time if I find the right person.” A warm glow spread through her as the reality of someone caring for her as much as she did for them. They moved to the bed and made love another time. 

          Later they talked again. He asked about her family. Danie said her parents were dead and her brothers were still living in New Jersey but said no more about the circumstances.

          Joe added that his family still lived in Maryland where he grew up. He acknowledged he hadn’t been back to see them in a while. He paused then before conceding in a strained tone, “When I was growing up my family was everything to me. I have an older sister, and with my parents we did everything together. We were so close I don’t know when the connection was lost.”

              “Sorry.” Danie had murmured not wanting to pry into the sadness she heard in his deep voice. Loss of any kind drew sorrow.

           Danie glanced at her phone on the nightstand. Eight in the morning. Looking over to the coffee table where she left the room key and her purse yesterday she sighed with relief. The key was gone. Joe must have taken it and would be back.

          Her computer made a sound for an incoming video call from one of her brothers. She scrambled out of bed, slipped on her sweat pants and pulled her shirt over her head while rushing to the table in front of the windows and clicked on incoming.                     “Hi Skylar,” Danie shouted while adjusting her shirt. Focusing on her brother’s face Danie held her breath while trying not to cry. 

          “How I miss you,” Skylar rushed to say, then his face crumbled. He turned away a second to collect himself. “Danie, how did things get this bad?”

          She took a moment to fidget with the computer and sat at the table with the windows at her back.

          Danie shrugged and shook her head. “The courts, judges who think they know better,” she said full of resentment. No matter how many times she tried to

answer that question in a reasonable manner she failed. How does she explain to her brother’s the greed and deception of others especially when they are family members? Both boys know, but the whole busy with their aunts was treacherous.

          “You only have a year or so and you’ll be able to live on your own or come be with me. Just concentrate on finishing school and getting into college,” Danie said in an attempt to have him focus on his future.

          Skylar replied, “I don’t know that I can hold on until then.”

          “Something new happen?”

          “Aunt Michelle isn’t going to sell the house as she is supposed to. She wants to live in it. That breaks our agreement doesn’t it?”

          Danie’s blood seemed to be boiling as it surged through her veins. ”Yes, it is,” she said trying to remain calm for his sake. The court had said the house was to be sold and split three ways among the three children. The money from the house was theirs and theirs alone. Neither of their aunts should get anything other than a monthly fee for taking care of Skylar and Leland. “It will still go before that same judge so it probably won’t matter. Let me think about this a bit and we’ll talk again.” She changed the subject, “How is Leland?”  

          The door to the hotel room opened. Joe came in, closed it softly behind him. He was dressed as he was yesterday in his shaggy-look disguise. His eyes were covered by sunglasses, and on his head was a knit hat, his dark brown hair hung out and

haphazardly framed his face. He glanced toward the bed first before turning to see her sitting at the table and a wide grin opened in his scruffy bearded face. Danie smoothed her uncombed hair even knowing that her bob cut almost always looked neat and in place. Joe carried two bags. One was from a local pastries shop, the other was from Starbucks. 

           Skylar continued, “Leland’s okay. He’s just sad but his friends keep him busy. I know they are a bunch of goofballs. But I think that’s good for him. I see him almost every day. I stop by when he’s coming out of school and walking home. Sometimes we go for the soda or something. Then we go home though either of us really think of it as our real homes.” There was a long pause and then he said, “I just feel so removed from you. Our lives. Our old lives.”

               “I know,” she said, “me too.”

              Joe placed the bags on the table and opened the Starbucks one and placed a cup near her. He took the other cup with him and crossed to the windows still out of sight of the computer monitor. Danie opened her coffee, sipped it while she

continued talking to her brother while watching Joe. Joe pushed aside the curtain to peered out. He looked relaxed, self-assured, yet cautious, and definitely sexy.

              She thought back to last night. The two of them, Danie felt, found a thread that could be a lasting one, but right now she feared putting any hope in it. Their bodies seemed to have a natural connection as they tenderly explored one another.

              Joe turned to watch her. Removing his sunglasses he smiled, his brows flickered in amusement. Danie turned back to the computer screen as if she’d been caught spying, as Skylar asked, “How is Reilly? I miss him, too.”

              “He’s good. He’s living with a friend of mine not far from my hotel and he’s really doing well. I’m with him every day. I’m going to get ready and go see him in a few minutes.”

              She stole another look at Joe who continued to intermittently glance out through the curtain while sipping his coffee.

              “I really miss being with him all the time,” her brother said, He added with sadness in his voice, “as much as I miss you. This is so hard. I’ll feel I’ve lost everyone.”

              Danie glanced down. ”I know.” Was all she could say.

              Skylar let out a sigh and added, “Okay, I got to go. I got a date with Amy. You know, that girl who wouldn’t date me? Now she wants to meet me I don’t know why,” he laughed. Danie smiled at that. “Why wouldn’t she? You’re a good-looking great kid.”

              “Yeah, yeah that’s my sister talking. I’ll talk to you later, Danie. Love you.”

              “I love you too, Skylar. Tell Leland I send my love and I’ll talk to you both soon.”

          She smiled at Joe as she fidgeted with closing the app on the computer.

              “One of my brothers. He’s just checking in,” she said for something to say. 

              Joe nodded. “Sounds like he is struggling, too.”

              “Yes,” she admitted.

               Joe sat down next to her. “It’s understandable,” he said opening the bag of pastries. “Are you hungry? I bought us something to eat.”

              Us. A warm thrill raced inside her that Joe voiced how she thought about them.

              Taking the napkins from the bag and placing them on the table as he added, “I have here a strawberry crossover Puff, a cherry almond Danish, a cinnamon twist and a plain scone, in case that’s what you would prefer.”

              She selected the plain scone and Joe took the danish as Danie said, “Thank you.”

              They ate in silence. Danie was unsure of whether they would see each other again and wanted to prolong this time together. All she could think to say was, “Was anybody following you when you were out earlier? I noticed you looking out the window.”

              “No,” he said with a shrug in a matter of fact tone. “Being careful is all.”

              Danie looked down at her phone. It was 9AM. She forced herself to get up. “I really have to get ready. I have to take Reilly for a walk. I can’t really leave the walking of my dog to Cyril all the time.”

              With reluctance, Dana headed for the bathroom stopping to grab a few things out of a suitcase beside the sofa.

              When the bathroom door closed Joe took out his phone. It rang five times and then Cyril was on the line.

              “Thank goodness. I didn’t want to call too early,” Cyril said. “How are you? Are you still with Danie?”

              “Yes, things are fine. Danie’s getting ready. She won’t be long now. She’ll be coming over to take the dog for a walk.”

              “Sir, Jeremy wants to see you. He’s been worried. He’ll be here shortly. We’ll wait till Danie takes Reilly out for a walk and then we’ll have a short meeting.”

Joe sighed. “What can Sir Jeremy do?”

          “He wants to see what he can do to help. Suss it out. We’re working to secure the office building so you would be safe here.”
          “Changing the subject is Anton still here?”
          “Yes, He’s waiting to see Sir Jeremy.
          Joe smiled. “What does he think? He’s going to get a rematch on the chest Game?”
          “I told him that Sir Jeremy had other things to do. He has a meeting at the Palace of Westminster,” Cyril relaid in a posh tone.

              “I don’t think there’s anything we can do. I’ll just have to stay low.”

              “Good God, you can’t do that forever! You aren’t planning to come here with Danie? We have a gate now out back of next door you can be driven into. There are spooks in front and in back. Oh, and Mrs. McMurray is available to come and get you. She’s still in charge of the apartment house next door for us,” Cyril told him.

              “I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to be seen with Danie. We don’t need her involved in this,” Joe stated. “I can’t do that forever, but what choice do I have.”

              “Let’s see what Sir Jeremy has to say. Or can come up with,” Cyril sighed and adding, “Danie’s not stupid. She’ll catch on. I haven’t told her anything. But this debacle is happening around her.”

              “Yeah, but we have to keep her out of it if we can. Who knows how they could turn her life more upside down than she’s going through. I’ll call Mrs. Mc to come get me.”

              Hearing the bathroom door open Joe ended the call.

              Danie was dressed in green slacks and a loose multi-color sweater. She grabbed a pair of ankle boots off the floor and stooped to put them on. She hesitated a second after glancing at him still sitting at the table with his legs out-stretched casually, looking at her intently, an amused grin on his face. Or, was it tenderness?

              Eyebrows raise Danie quipped, “What?”

 All Rights Reserved. © by JD Holiday, 2020

        Read the rest of Part 5 at: https://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2020/04/page-1-for-geordie-and-beam-of-light.html

Read more on the plan as well as the whole story to date at: https://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Living%20In%20The%20BackUp%20Plan

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Interview with the multi-talented Dellani Oakes

Dellani Oakes, a multi-talented woman, is the author of over a dozen award-winning novels. In addition to writing, she’s the host of a successful talk show, Books and Entertainment, where she often interviews authors, screenplay writers, and musicians. She is an author with Tirgearr Publishing company, and in addition to all of that, she’s a substitute teacher, all while managing to take care of her family. How she manages to keep up and handle it all is truly beyond me, but I couldn’t wait to find out more about her work.

Dellani started writing early in life, first pursuing poetry, but soon added song parodies, short stories, and humorous essays to her writing world. By 2002 Dellani started writing full time. In addition to multiple standalone novels, she has also contributed to several anthologies. I’m fortunate to call Dellani a friend, but everyone that knows her will tell you that she is one of the most helpful and approachable authors that you will ever meet. I can’t wait to share my interview with you, and when you read her books, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Interview Questions

  1. What is the first book that made you cry and did you write it?

That’s a hard one! I think that would have to be Little Women. My mother read to us a lot when we were younger, and that was a favorite. When Amy died, I cried like crazy. I think I was 6 or 7 at the time.

  1. Do you write what you want to write, (content-wise) or do you deliver what the market demands as in what we call marketable writing?

I always write what I love, what moves me. I’ve never been able to write toward market likes. At one time, I swore I’d never write a vampire story, but I did. However, it’s not your typical teen vampire romance (yuck). I also swore I’d never write about zombies, but I did that too. However, my zombies aren’t run of the mill zombies, either. While I might dip my toes into one genre or the other, you can expect the unexpected.

  1. What is the best investment you’ve ever made as a writer?

Crazy as it sounds, my best investment has been twofold: First, I decided to download Open Office (a free word processing program) I like it better than Word, and don’t argue with it nearly as much. Since I’m independent, and I also work for an author promotional service, I purchased Pizap to make covers and banners. It’s inexpensive and has paid for itself many times over.

  1. Which book did you write, the first experience, where a reader reached out (email, message, or other) and specifically told you that your words/work had touched or affected them in some way? … The power of your words.

I think that would be The Ninja Tattoo, a romantic suspense published with Tirgearr Publishing. One of my readers absolutely fell in love with Teague, the hero of the piece. She begged me to write a sequel and put her in it, so that’s how Conduct Unbecoming was born.

  1. How many times, if ever, have you started a project only to completely scrap it? If you’ve done this, why?

I’ve got many unfinished books, but it’s rare that I completely scrap something. I think that has happened once. I decided it really wasn’t what I wanted at all, so I deleted it. It wasn’t an easy decision, but after reading it, I realized I wasn’t ever going to finish it, and let it go.

  1. Do you ever doubt your ability as a writer?

I don’t know an author who doesn’t have moments of doubt! We spend so much time with a book, pour ourselves into it, heart and soul, finally finish it, get it published and it sits there – zero copies sold. That’s discouraging and disheartening. The only thing we can do is move on to something else, and fall in love with our work again. That’s not always easy, but if we want to continue expressing ourselves through words, we have to get over it and move on. (Not as easy as I make it sound, for sure!)

  1. Do you have a favorite character?

I have several. I adore Wil VanLipsig from my Lone Wolf Series. I also love Teague McMurtry and Jasper Waters from the Florida Families Series. My absolute favorite character would have to be Cullen Fellowes, from my Love in the City Romance Series. I haven’t published those books yet, but he’s in a bunch of them – so many, I lost track. I’m finally working on a book where he finds love. He’s an adorable guy, but he’s spent a long time looking for the One. He finally finds her.

  1. Have you ever been forced to give up on a character, hated to do it, but the storyline demand it; if so, what caused the scenario?

Yes. In fact, I had to kill off a favorite character. I cried like a baby. I was writing Wall of Time, a prequel to the Lone Wolf books (not yet published) and came up with this wonderful guy named Murdock Pickford. He’s just found out that his fiancée is going to have a baby, and he’s so excited about being a father. Then in a plot twist, which caught me completely unawares, he was horribly killed. It took me a while to get over that. I know that seems rather silly to some, but the fact is, these characters become our friends, and we’re very attached to them. To have one die so horribly, was sad. I truly didn’t want to kill Murdock, but for the story to progress, I had to.

  1. Which character have you developed caused you the most grief and why?

I think I have to go back to Wil VanLipsig to answer this. The Lone Wolf books begin in the year 3032. Wil is a Galactic Marine who was put through a series of medical experiments, which have made him virtually immortal. He’s lived 86 years, and doesn’t look a day over 30. With such a long and checkered past, he’s got a lot of baggage. It comes out at inconvenient times, causing him to overreact or go off the rails. More than once, I’ve been shocked at his actions. Then I have to realize that he’s acting well within his characteristics, and don’t reign him in. He knows what he’s doing (mostly) and his motives may not appeal to me, but they are legitimate. I feel if a character doesn’t go off the chain once in a while, I haven’t done a good job at creating him or her.

  1. I am by nature such a slow writer. How long does it take you to write a book?

With Indian Summer, my historical romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739 – it took me nearly 10 years to finish. Partly due to a lack of time, partly because of all the research. However, I have written novels in as little as 4 days. It depends on how loud and persistent the voices in my head are. If they’re cooperating, it then depends on how fast I can type, and how much sleep I get.

  1. Has there ever been a time in your life you doubted your path as a writer/author?

So many times! I think it was worst when I was sending out query letters and getting rejections day after day. That is truly depressing. Also, when I see how poorly a book is selling, or I get a royalty statement for .27 cents – bring on the doubt!

  1. Do you have a go-to author for inspiration?

I really don’t. I try not to write like other authors, though it’s often inevitable. I find more inspiration in music and movies than in reading. I have many whose work I read over and over, but not so much for inspiration, as for fun.

  1. I know you love music and listen to music when you write. Does the music affect your scenes?

I am always listening to music. I don’t do well in silence. A lot of the time, I don’t really listen to it carefully, but rather have it in the background. There are times, though, if I’m writing an action scene, I will put on fast-paced, instrumental music. I find that guitarists like Joe Satriani are good for this. I’ve written a lot of my sci-fi battle scenes with him in the background. The opening scene for Lone Wolf was written while listening to Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow album. I can still hear it in my head when I read it.

  1. Do you have any writing quirks?

If you mean like I must have certain snacks, beverage or music – no. If you mean plot elements that carry over from book to book, yes. My characters spend a lot of time in hospitals. Grant you, some of them are doctors or hospital administrators. Others have accidents, are attacked, or are clumsy. Some movies, TV shows, and books ignore injuries. Their characters come through unscathed, ready to go. The reality is, if a character gets in a knife fight, he’s more than likely going to get cut. If a woman is running down the street, and the heel comes off her shoe, she’s going to break a leg. I could go on and on, but won’t. Since my characters get into a lot of trouble, they spend a fair amount of time recovering from their injuries.

  1. What advice do you have for aspiring writers in today’s market?

Nothing beats a great editor! We may think we’ve got the best book in the world, but if it’s full of grammatical errors and typos, it’s clearly not. Whatever an author might think about keeping their work pure and unadulterated, readers want to be able to read it easily. Nothing kicks me out of a story more than errors in the text.
Also, don’t let the How-To books, articles, websites scare you. Tell the story your way. Don’t listen when someone says you can’t write in the first person, or in present tense. Tell the story the way it wants to be told. Get it finished, then go back and fix it. Any issues it has can be mended in editing. Let me reiterate my first bit of advice, find a good editor. If you can’t afford one, find a friend who is good with grammar, and ask for a favor. Many other authors will trade like for like, if you read mine, I’ll read yours. It’s helpful to have other opinions.

Finally, don’t let it get you down. You’re not going to make instant money. You’re not going to be the next Fifty Shades or Twilight—well, you might, but those are rare. Write what moves you, do your best, and keep going. Writing is an extension of yourself, do what makes you happy, and don’t worry about anything else.

Visit Dellani Oakes 

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Living In The BackUp Plan, Part 4

Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

“Are you sure I should leave you here?” Anton asked, as Joe put the car in park.

“No. I can’t think of anywhere else I can go to hideout. If she says no, I’ll show up at the safe house and go to the back entrance to see if it’s all clear,” Joe told him and opened the door.

“I’ll keep an eye out for you,” Anton remark moving over to the driver’s seat. Joe went to the rear entrance to the hotel. The few people around he deemed harmless. Once on the third floor and Joe removed the bagger hat then smooth back his hair. What kind of reception could he expect of a woman he’d met once. That never worked for him before.

Room 312 was near the end of the hall. Joe mulled over what he should say. Nothing seemed the right thing. At the door, he knocked hoping for the best.

Sick of reading real estate sites Danie closed the lid on her new laptop. She sat at the table in front of two of the room’s windows. It was so overwhelming to look at any more houses, yet she knew she had to find a place for her and Reilly to live in soon. She glanced over the spacious corner room and wished for the thousand time that her dog could stay here with her. The room was lovely and bright with light coming from the three windows overlooking two busy clean London streets, with a view of the Tower Bridge. Nothing like back home, where many streets in the cities near her town were in decline, chaos born from a lack of concerned leadership and individual greed, she mused.

Glancing around the stunning room. Danie loved the mix of the Mediterranean wood furniture and the cream color velvet Chesterfield bed, wing chair and long sofa which at the moment set askew in the middle of the room.  Earlier Danie pushed it there wanting to mix the mess made by her many suitcases scattered around. But before she could work on that, room service arrived with her dinner. She was tired of the cluttered her ten suitcases caused and thought to organized them better. Danie had moved four of her suitcases over to the wall where the couch had been. Once she had the suitcases lined up she’d push the couch back to stand in front of them. She shrugged, that was her plan for now anyway.

Deciding to get back to it, Danie took the last sip of beer from the bottle, the unused glass still on the tray with the remains of the dinner dishes. She ate most of the Bacon Butty Sandwich Cyril recommended saying the Pondham Hotel made a ‘proper’ one. It was delicious, although bad for everyone’s cholesterol count. It consisted of thick spread of salted butter on two large pieces of white bread, three generous slices of soft and translucent bacon or middle rashers, as named on the menu, and England mustard!

Danie got up intending to place the dinner tray in the hall for pick up when a knock sounded on the door. Danie put down the tray and went to the door. Leaving the security chain on, she opened it just that wide.

Even with the straggly beard and his haggard appearance Danie knew it at once it was Joe from the bar. He was in blue jeans, work boots, and a polar fleece jacket.

“Oh, hi!” Danie said loudly in astonishment. She was stunned by her feeling of excitement. When she had asked about him, Cyril said he was out on a case that was taking him out of the city.

Danie moved back to let him as she voiced the only thought that came to mind. “Is Reilly okay?”

“Reilly?” Joe questioned.

“My dog,” she replied.

Joe remembered she mentioned her dog at the bar that night. “No, it’s nothing like that,” he said, “I just need a place to stay where no one will look for me.”

Joe came in and close the door behind him, put down his briefcase and leaned against the door and looked at her.

That was when she realized what she had on. A large purple knit sweater, her comfy pink yoga pants. She swallowed feeling mortified. To cover her embarrassment she asked, “You want to stay here?”

He answered, “Yes, but before you say you’ll let me stay, I am in trouble and you could be in danger being with me.”

“What kind of danger?” Danie asked, concerned. Her mind ran through a few things that might endanger private detectives. Following wives and husband’s cheating was the first on her list.

She rushed to say, “Is it an armed lover?” Then she winced. This sounded funny even to her own ears and she blushed.

Joe frowned, not understanding where that came from. “”No, nothing like that.”

Frailty overtook him and he pointed at the couch out of place in the room. “Can I sit down? I can move that for you.” He moved around her and the luggage scattered around.

Copyright 2019 by D Holiday

Read the rest at: https://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2019/11/living-in-backup-plan-part-4.html

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Living In The BackUp Plan: Part 3

 

Living In The BackUp Plan: Part 3 drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finished_bak

© Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

 Anton gave a short wave to Raulf as he drove off and Joe walked across the road. Raulf and Joe had pushed through without stopping, each taking turns driving to reach Zagreb, Croatia and keeping to back roads to meet Anton. Joe was able to get a few catnaps in. It was a chilly morning. Anton stood, arms crossed, legs apart and leaning on the car as Joe approached. He wore a winter coat as well as a beige scarf draped around his neck. “Get in the back,” he said, tilting his head toward the car.

 Joe walks toward him, “Why?”

 “Because I have a disguise for you,” Anton stated. Then he added for positive feedback, “You need to look less like you than you do. Though the days’ growth of beard is good!”

 Joe remembered Anton had a rudimentary idea about spies. He laughed while getting a look at Anton’s car. “What’s this supposed to be?” Joe asked. He could tell that the car was once a Mercedes even with many parts of other cars on it frankensteined together. By trade, Anton was a car body expert.

 Touching the roof tenderly Anton said, “I always wanted to rebuild one of these.” He pointed at Joe, adding, “Watch your manners, and don’t make fun,” then he smiled.

 Joe got in the front seat. Anton shrugged and got in. He said, “You know I’m more interested in the motor than I am what it looks like. AND, no one who knows you will suspect you’d be in this car.”

 “Yeah, you’re right. They wouldn’t. Should I point out to you that without the mutations it would be worth money.”

 Ignoring the obvious remark Anton reached in the backseat for a plastic bag. “I bought a few things here for you to try on,” and toss the bag at Joe. “So why come to Greece?”

 “Cyril has a banking friend he can count on there. And I have something that needs securing,” Joe replied, giving his briefcase on the floor a nudge with a foot. “Thirty thousand dollars to prove I’m a traitor.”

 Anton gave a low whistled.

 Joe opened the plastic bag and looked inside. He then glared at Anton and reached inside the bag pulling out a shaggy brown wig, a knit over-sized baggy hat. Then seeing something still lodged in the bottom and pulled out a fake mustache in a fuzzy felt material. Joe pulled out the mustache and placed it over his lip. “You can’t be serious,” he said.

 With a chuckle, his friend said, “My son sent it along to you. He thought you might like to use it. It might stop them from recognizing you with all this surveillance there is around now. Well, from a far anyway, if you are up close you’re a dead man,” Anton said. “Just look at you. Are you trying to avoid them? You don’t even dress the part of a spy. A ball cap, sunglasses, a jacket. You don’t even have a rock in your shoe or you’d at least have a limp. You’re an idiot thinking what you have on would fool them. The CIA?” Anton shook his head, “You should not be in the spy business. Anyway, you are a good person. Not one of them.”

 “We avoided main roads when we could. I know what I’m doing. They wouldn’t even think I’d been heading for Athens. And, I did tell you this is dangerous being with me,” Joe reminded his friend. “If I thought you would talk to anyone I wouldn’t have asked you to do this.”

 “Giannis is a seven-year-old. He’s not going to tell anybody who would believe him if he said he knows spies?”

 “Marie’s son?” Joe asked.

 “No, no. I got rid of her. She has an apartment far away from me now. She was too much work,” Anton remarked and started the car and it came to life with a nice purr.

 “Giannis is Savvina’s son. Savvina is a great cook, Joe. A cooler is in the backseat. She’s laid out a wonderful feast, albeit it’s cold. There’s Dolmadakia, you know that’s the lamb stuffed grape leaves. Courgette Balls, buttery walnut Baklava and Biral soda pop to drink.”

 “I need coffee,” Joe remarked, putting the fake mustache back in the bag. He put on the knit baggy hat then grabbed the scar from around Anton’s neck and draped it around his own. “Tell Giannis the mustache did its job.”

 “I will tell him you wore it and thank him for you. We will stop for coffee the first chance we get,” Anton told him putting the car in gear and looked over at Joe. “Put on the sunglasses and you have an adequate disguise.”

 Without a word, Joe reached for the seatbelt. As tired as he was it took a few seconds before he said, “Anton, there’s no seat belt. What if we hit something? I’ll go through the windshield.”

 “You’d be a goner and have no more worries.”

 The car took off after three jolts and they zoomed down the road.

© Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

Read the rest at: https://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/2019/10/blog-post.html

Dellani Oakes, Sassy Sarcasm

Sassy Sarcasm ~ Or Not?

SASSY-SARCASMIt’s my month to do Sassy Sarcasm, and I’ve got nothing. I don’t like admitting this, because it makes me sound weak. Frankly, I declare defeat, on my part. In July, I had sinus surgery. That feels great, I can breathe the best I have in decades. Unfortunately, right after, my asthma flared up, and my lungs decided that bronchitis was a great option. My doctor and I don’t agree, but what can you do? Pesky buggers.

Needless to say, I don’t feel much like being creative. In fact, I’m lucky I feel like writing this about why I haven’t written a sarcasm post. I did feel as if I should post something, even if it’s not sarcasm, so I’ve hunted through my work, and picked up some dialogue snippets to share. I realize that some of them may have been shared here before, but I tried to get newer ones, so you don’t lose interest. Because, God forbid, I bore you! (Wow, I succeeded in adding a dash of sarcasm after all! – which proves I’m still alive, even if my lungs don’t feel like breathing)

From Jerrika and Delmar ~ A Love in the City Romance

Outside, the brothers did their warming stretches. Samuel took out his phone, sliding and tapping the screen a few times.

What’s that?”

New app we’re testing. For runners. Who needs an expensive Fitbit? It comes with this sensor, that fits on your chest.” He held up his shirt. A small white disc was stuck on with a gel tab. A green blinking light winked at Delmar. “Here.” He handed one to Delmar, adding the app to his phone while his brother positioned the sensor.

These are prototypes. We figure to sell them for half what the Fitbits cost. Goes with any phone.”

Great.” He didn’t sound enthusiastic, but it seemed to go over Samuel’s head.

When they were good and warm, they set out jogging around their block, then down past the church, around the cemetery, and back downtown. Delmar thought he was going at a fairly average pace, but his phone started beeping loudly.

What the hell?” He stopped, jogging in place.

It tells you when you’re overdoing,” his brother panted, hands on knees as he tried to catch his breath.

I’m just running.”

Dude, you’re going so fast, I can barely keep up.”

Why isn’t yours beeping?”

Cause it knows I’m about to die, it’s having a moment of silence.”

From Feel the Heat ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance

The enticing odor of good food greeted his hungry nose. Ed, Len’s fiance, was a chef at one of the popular, trendy restaurants in town. He’d prepared Jax’s favorite comfort meal; barbecued chicken, cole slaw, and potato salad. The food was cut up into small pieces for him, which he appreciated. His face was uncomfortable and his jaw stiff after his impact on the sidewalk.

What did that monster do to you?” Len cried when he saw his brother. “Oh, you poor thing!”

I’m okay!” He tried to block his brother’s affectionate embrace, because Len reached for his face.

You’re going to mess up my wedding pictures,” Len fussed.

I keep telling you, darling, he won’t. It’s his left side, and he’ll have his right toward the camera. I’ve already told Lily to make sure she cheats the angle a little bit, whenever he’s in frame.” He gave Jax a soft kiss on his uninjured cheek. “Come eat.”

Talked me into it. I swear, Ed, if I swung your way, I’d steal you from my brother, for sure.”

You’d try,” Len snapped. He hated when Jax made comments like that. Before he’d come out, he’d tried dating girls. All of them had flocked to his handsome, older, more masculine brother.

I’m kidding, dumb ass. Would I steal the love of your life?”

Not if you’re smart. I hear that your doctor was muy caliente,” Ed redirected.

Stunning—even with the Eighties hair. She was on her way to a themed party, when that douche bag tackled me.”

And did she carry off the look?” his brother asked.

Hell, yes. If I’d been standing, she’d have knocked me on my ass.”

And finally, from Love, Gauze and Medical Tape ~ A Love in the City Romance

You still haven’t told me your name.” Shad extended his hand again, and his cousin Aaron walked over.

Thanks for the pizza, blood. Who’s this?”

I was about to find out.”

Hi, I’m—”

Shad!” one of the orderlies, who had picked up the pizza, called to him. “Your wife is on the phone.”

Shit. I’m so sorry. It’s a madhouse today. I promise, it’s not always this crazy. Talk to her,” he ordered his cousin.

I’m Aaron.” He held out his hand. “You are?”

Not even gonna try. Every time I do, I get interrupted.”

I can call you Hey You. Or an Uber…. Unless you drove, in which case, you don’t…don’t need one.” Taking a huge bite of pizza, he concentrated on his food.

The woman tilted her head, eyeing him closely.

Swallowing, he shrugged, shaking his head. “I have no social skills,” Aaron said slowly. “I babble, and my mouth runneth over.” He made sort of a vomiting gesture. “Or, I stutter, which is incredibly annoying, or I simply repeat myself—like Rainman. Which is, to my eyes, the best film Tom Cruise ever made. I mean, I like his action stuff, but isn’t he a little long in the tooth, to be doing all this stunts, and…. You don’t care.”

I care. I agree. I’m not entirely sure how we got from your name, to Tom Cruise….”

It would take too long to explain.” He stuffed more pizza in his mouth.

Why didn’t your cousin’s wife call on his cell?” she changed the subject.

Shad turns his phone off when there’s a mess going on. He doesn’t remember to turn it back on, unless Ellie calls. His wife. Elli-Elliette. She’s named after her grand-grandfather.” Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath, opening them again. “Sorry. Th-there’s the st-stutter…. Ummm…. I’m gonna go over there,” he pointed over his shoulder to the right. “And regroup. And maybe I can find my own balls before I speak to you again. Oh, Jesus….” Getting up, he stumbled away, heading outside.

Shad came back. “Where’s Aaron going?”

Outside. Is he always like that?”

Like Rainman? Pretty much. Best film Tom Cruise ever made.” He winked, knowing that Aaron would have said the same thing.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

There ya go. It’s not specifically a Sassy Sarcasm post, but in all my work (particularly dialogue) you’ll find a smattering of sarcasm – enough to give it some flavor. These are from three of my unfinished books, but there are plenty out there for your reading pleasure. Drop by Amazon, or other online retailers, and look for my books. The latest is a steamy romantic suspense called Bad Fall. Check it out!

https://www.amazon.com/Dellani-Oakes/e/B007ZQCW3A?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1571074436&sr=8-1

author, Cereal Authors, Fiction, JD Holiday, Living In The Backup Plan, Romance, writer's life

Character Quote from Living In The Backup Plan, Part 2 by JD Holiday

 

© Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finished_bak

Joe and Cyril from Living In The Backup Plan, Part 2 by JD Holiday

Joe said. “Can you call your greek banker friend and ask for a safe deposit box account to store the money in?”

              “Will do,” Cyril denoted. “Stay safe. Ah, I looked into that woman. Though, I suppose it can wait now.”

              “Go ahead. What’d you find?”

              “Sure, her full name is Geordana Catherine Torderelli. There are two brothers who she was caring for, parents both are recently dead. Her mother’s family sued her for custody of the brothers and Danie lost. The three kids were left about three hundred thousand dollars each and split the money from the sale of their family house worth half a mill. Get this, she lives off the dividends and interest from her own money. It’s most in index funds, CD and some stocks. She’s a smart cookie”

              “Is she still at the Pondham Hotel?” Joe asked.

              Cyril did not miss his friend’s interest. “I don’t know. Is that where you met her?”

              “At the bar next door, will you see if she is still there?”

              “So this is personal!” Cyril added with a smirk.

              “No!” Joe denied with strenuous force half dreading Cyril’s teasing. But he scoffed at himself. Why not admit it? He added before ending the call, “Yeah, it is. I’ll call next when I can.”

              Still smiling, Cyril didn’t bother with the umbrella in the pouring rain and trotted home to get to work.

Read the whole story at: https://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Living%20In%20The%20BackUp%20Plan
Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan by Dellani Oakes – Part 28

among the shine clan cover“Do you greet all your female guests with a pile of clothing and a personal visit?”

He chuckled eyeing her almost hungrily. “No, just the special ones.”

He faltered as she walked over to the bed, dropping the towel and dressing unashamedly. She was tall for a woman, broad shouldered and strong. Muscles rippled under her pale skin, the light casting highlights and shadows across her breasts and thighs.

Karl sighed longingly, wanting to touch her. This was what had gotten him in trouble before, her smooth, creamy complexion, hair like golden honey and her eyes, dark, stormy, blue-grey like the ocean in a hurricane.

Half dressed, she sat beside him on the bed, staring in his light grey eyes. He had aged a lot since she had last seen him. Of course, he had been eighteen at the time, and that was nearly sixteen years ago. Time had been hard on him. His brown hair was going grey at the temples. Her hand fluttered involuntarily to move a wisp of hair from his forehead.

He caught her hand in his, kissing it gently, his lips seeking hers. Instead of falling into his embrace as she dearly wanted to, she moved away from him. Resisting him was so hard, but she must. She had never dated married men. Many of her ideals had lapsed over the years, but that one never had.

“I’ve missed you, Hannah.”

“Oh, you certainly seem to have, Karl. I’ve been gone sixteen years, and you have a child fifteen years old? I see you missed me for a week?” Her betrayed her hurt.

“I’m sorry, Hannah. I didn’t want to. The marriage was planned, you know that. Even if you’d stayed, I would still have married Uta.”

“You have four children, Karl. You don’t look like you are hurting for attention.”

“The sex is meaningless, Hannah. I never stopped loving you. You’re still so beautiful. You set me on fire!” His voice grew husky as he rose, walking to her.

“You have a wife and four children! Aren’t you worried your snooty little wife or one of your precious children will walk in on us?”

“Uta took the children to the park. I told her you and your friends needed a quiet house to get a few hours of sleep.”

“How kind of you, that is exactly what I need. Did it occur to you that I might not love you any more?”

Her words caught in her throat, forcing the bile in her stomach to gag her. She couldn’t lie to him, but this time she had to be strong.

“I was young, Karl. I made a mistake and paid dearly. I served my time and lived to tell about it. I’m not that girl any more, enamored of a handsome, gallant, intelligent, charming young man.”

“Was I all those things to you, Hannah?” He moved closer to her, touching her arms gently with his fingertips.

“Karl!” The name was a sob. Uta stood in the doorway.

“It’s not what you think, Uta,” he babbled.

“It looks as if you’re talking to a woman who’s nearly naked. What am I to assume?” Her face was tight with anger.

“Assume the worst, Uta,” Fiddlestix spat. “Just like you assumed Karl and I were sleeping together! Well, for your information, we never had sex. Not for lack of wanting to, but your little trap snared us before we could. You stole my youth, my love, and my life from me, Uta!”

Throwing on the rest of her clothing, Fiddlestix ran down the hall, banging on the doors of Blacksmith and Buzzard. Both of them answered in various stages of undress, eyes bleary.

“We’re leaving,” she told them. “I no longer feel welcome here. Mr. Fumler has promised us an escort. Get dressed. Karl, I’ll expect your team downstairs in fifteen minutes.”

Karl nodded, walking off toward the stairs. Uta stood glaring at Fiddlestix, hands balled into fists.

“Don’t ever come back, Hannah, or I swear to you…!”

“Don’t threaten me, Uta.” She pointed one powerful metal finger at Karl’s wife. “Don’t make that mistake. I’m not the girl I was. If you didn’t have children, I’d have killed you already. But a child needs its mother.” She pushed past Uta, nearly knocking her down, as she hurried outside toward her bike.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Literary, Living In The Backup Plan, Romance, writer's life

Living In The Backup Plan: Part 2

     © Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

 France was a cockup. Joe did not realize he’d applied a slang he acquired from his drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finished_bakBritish friends and associates. He walked briskly in the late evening rain using back streets. He needed to put distance between him and the hotel and lose anyone who might be following.

              From the start, he should have recognized that dinner with Caminski and Bilko was frivolous. Non-essential. Caminski could have said all that nonsense in London. Returning to his hotel room paid for by the ‘company,’ he found a subtle change though only a slight repositioning of his travel bag on the bed. Joe searched through it. Marked and sequential thirty-thousand US dollars wrapped in foil lay under his shirts. A frame to ensnare him to get him out of the way using treason and taking bribes from anyone of the USA’s enemies. Russia, China, Iran, it wouldn’t matter which.

              Joe dumped his company phone in the bathroom trash and grabbed a towel. On the bed he took the money out of his travel bag, stacked and wrapped it in the towel and stuffed it into his tumbled leather briefcase he’d carried with him to the meeting in the hotel dining room. One last glance around Joe picked up his briefcase and left the hotel by the back staircase.

              First chance Joe got he ducked into a sports store, grabbed a blue rain jacket, a black baseball cap, paid cash and put them on. Down the block was a convenience shop where Joe bought a pre-paid phone. While walking the mile to the auto repair shop and car rental service which a drinking buddy of his, Raulf owned Joe phoned him. Joe plan was to rent a car but Raulf insisted on driving him with no explanation professing that if Joe needed to get out of France that’s enough for him.

         Joe found himself focusing on the rain pelting the car’s windows mulling over what happened and why. It was half-past eight in the evening on a warm Saturday night for October and people on the streets, some under umbrellas, were hurrying to their destination. What happened had everything to do with Caminski and what was done to Rener in Istanbul. Joe guessed Caminski was haunted by Mark Rener’s death four years earlier and Ginnie Mira’s imprisonment for it. And now with her getting a new trial Caminski wanted loose ends tied up. Joe knew he was that loose end. All this time Joe could only surmise that Caminski shot Rener. Joe heard a shot, and raced to the end of the building, maybe three seconds, and there was Rener on the ground and Caminski was standing over him, his back to Joe. Caminski turned and seeing Joe said he, himself had just arrived and asked had Joe seen anything. Joe stated he had not. But clearly, Caminski feared Joe had seen him do the killing.

              Joe left Istanbul that night on a scheduled flight to Japan to work with the PSIA, Public Security Intelligence Agency Japan intelligence agency on a newly forming terrorist group. By the time his part in the operation in Japan was over, Ginnie Mira was tried and convicted for murder as a star-crossed lover. So he had to be deft with in Caminski’s view. What better way than to frame him for treason to discredit him.

              Why haven’t I seen this coming, Joe grimaced glancing at his briefcase at his feet? The thirty thousand dollars inside had to be hidden. He decided on a safe place.

         While they drove toward the outskirts of Paris he phoned Aeton Drakos. Aeton agreed to leave right away from his home in Greece to meet Joe once Raulf got him into Austria. Few people would do what he was asking of Raulf and Aeton. This was going to be a straight run, a long road trip for all of them.

              Joe hated calling in favors but he had no choice here. Aeton would do anything to help him after Joe, Cyril Jones and Meka Hebib, another detective from the Rimble’s Detective Service tracked the child traffickers who had taken Aeton’s three-year-old daughter from Aeton’s mistress’ house five years back.

         Next, Joe spent some time going over his plan. When the Central Intelligent Agency recruited him from the Marines, Joe made up several scenarios and an end game for each including something like this happening. All he had to do now was make it foolproof. But his mind turned to the woman he met at the bar the other night. The wish he had to know more about Danie Torderelli shocked him. Then another thought followed. Joe phoned the Rimble’s Detective Service emergency phone. Seven rings, hang up and wait.

              Cyril heard the burner phone ring placed on his night table and hopped out of bed, got his trousers from the chair and hopped into them. Donning his shirt, socks, and shoes he raced down the stairs to the office. Once dressed Cyril slipped the emergency phone kept in his locked deck into a pocket and headed for the back door. Out in the pouring rain, Cyril put as many blocks between him and the office as he could so the phone would not show up on the CIA’s radar. His umbrella fought the wind and rain along the way passed a second cell tower before Cyril stopped in front of a house where leaves of a large tree overhung an iron fence. He hit call on the phone and leaned against the fence letting the leaves shelter him like a canopy.

               Joe answered on the first ring. “Cyril, the worst has happened.”

              “Good heavens, I was hoping this wasn’t it,” Cyril replied.

              “Get everything out of the house, all traces of me, to a safe place as soon as you can. Especially my desk computer, the outer drive, and files the way we planned it. They’ve decided on a frame using espionage. It’s over what happened with Rener’s death and Ginnie Mira. I called Aeton. He’ll get to me in a few hours I should think. Guard this burn phone, Cyril. This is how we’ll communicate.”

              “I will. I’ll get it all done right away. Were you followed?”

              “No, I’m sure I made it without a tail. I assume they are looking for me, or they will be soon. And they’ll have the word out.”

              “I’ll tell them you’ve moved,” Cyril asked. “Can you tell me what went down?”

              “I came back from that imbecilic meeting in the hotel dining room and found marked thirty thousand US dollars planted in my travel bag,” Joe said. “Can you call your greek banker friend and ask for a safe deposit box account to store the money in?”

              “Will do,” Cyril denoted. “Stay safe. Ah, I looked into that woman. Though, I suppose it can wait now.”

              “Go ahead. What’d you find?”

              “Sure, her full name is Geordana Catherine Torderelli. There are two brothers who she was caring for, parents both are recently dead. Her mother’s family sued her for custody of the brothers and Danie lost. The three kids were left about three hundred thousand dollars each and split the money from the sale of their family house worth half a mill. Get this, she lives off the dividends and interest from her own money. It’s most in index funds, CD and some stocks. She’s a smart cookie”

              “Is she still at the Pondham Hotel?” Joe asked.

              Cyril did not miss his friend’s interest. “I don’t know. Is that where you met her?”

              “At the bar next door, will you see if she is still there?”

              “So this is personal!” Cyril added with a smirk.

              “No!” Joe denied with strenuous force half dreading Cyril’s teasing. But he scoffed at himself. Why not admit it? He added before ending the call, “Yeah, it is. I’ll call next when I can.”

              Still smiling, Cyril didn’t bother with the umbrella in the pouring rain and trotted home to get to work.

Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Read the rest of  part 2 and all of Part 1 AT https://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Living%20In%20The%20BackUp%20Plan

 

Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan by Dellani Oakes – Part 29

among the shine clan coverFiddlestix ran toward the river less than a mile away. There was a special place there she had always gone when she was upset. Her feet carried her there automatically, tears streaming down her face. Collapsing into a heap on the damp bank, she heard footsteps following her, but she did not look up, assuming it was Karl.

“Hey, chica,” Blacksmith’s voice was so unexpected, she stopped crying. “Listen, we gonna go now, or what? The men are asking about you. Let’s get out of here, okay?” He helped her stand up, eyeing her appraisingly. “He meant a lot to you, huh?”

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

His smile was gentle, warm with understanding. “There’s other men out there. Maybe you’ll find another one who’ll treat you right, eh?”

“Do you ever have regrets, Dario?”

“I have many. What kind?”

“Where you wonder what it would have been like to settle down and have a family?”

He laughed sardonically. “Sometimes, when I am very drunk, I have these thoughts. Then I find a pretty girl, have lots of sex and tequila and I feel better. We aren’t meant for that kind of life. Other people live like that. Not us.”

They had returned to the bikes and found themselves surrounded by muscular men dressed in camouflage uniforms. Karl was sending his best men with them, and for that, Fiddlestix was grateful.

Karl kissed her cheek, hugging her tightly to him, not wanting to let her go. “If you need me, you know how to contact me, Hannah,” he whispered before releasing her.

“Yes, Karl.”

“Hannah, I’m sorry….”

Fiddlestix pushed him away, turning abruptly from him. Flinging her long leg over the motorcycle, she kicked it into action. The Harlich men flanked the companions. Once they were on the road, she approached the man in charge, talking to him on her headset, explaining what had happened the night before with the Noir. His perfunctory nod punctuated the conversation.

“So, Hannah,” he said finally, switching to a private channel. “Does this mean you’re coming back?”

“No, Dirk, I’m not.”

“Because of Karl?”

“Not entirely.”

Dirk had been Karl’s best friend in those days. He knew about her disgrace, though many didn’t.

“I can’t go back to how things were. I’d fooled myself into thinking I could recapture my past. That doesn’t work.”

He nearly whispered into the microphone. “Do you still love him?”

“I thought I did, but no.”

“There are many other men around, Hannah. You don’t have to be alone unless you want to.”

She chuckled, making a rude gesture at him. “True. What’s funny is I’ve already had an invitation from someone else today, other than Karl, I mean.” She pulled ahead of him.

Puzzled, Dirk gunned his motor, trying to catch up. She wouldn’t reestablish conversation, no matter what he asked her.

They took side road, heading south. They would catch the remnants of I-95 and ride north, around the Noir territory. It was relatively safe here, as Château Noir had no hold on this area, not yet challenging the Harlichs for control. Given the hazards, the Noir didn’t really want it anyway. Alligators, snakes, panthers, sinkholes, quicksand and bogs made it one of the most dangerous areas in the county if not the state. The road was good, maintained by the Harlichs.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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