Stephanie Osborn

Snippet from A Small Medium at Large by Stephanie Osborn

a small medium at large stephanie osbornWhen Ke’ri Gla’d’s caught a cab at her hotel to head for the Machpelah Cemetery late on Halloween, she was unaware that a certain black Lexus, some distance behind, was following her to that same destination.

“Not too near, not too far,” Romeo said to India, as he drove down the street, following the yellow taxi, several cars in front.

“Here’s hoping she doesn’t catch on, and that she doesn’t make too many detours,” India agreed.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind a drive-thru, which she might do, given how much she been eatin’,” Romeo decided.

“You’ve got no room to talk, honey!” India exclaimed with a laugh. “I swear, both your legs are hollow. I don’t know where you put it all!”

“An’ there she goes, into th’ coffee shop drive-thru,” Romeo said in satisfaction. “I’mma get me a big ol’ café breve, like Meg likes, an’ a Danish. You want an espresso, or one ‘a them frozen, blended things?”

“Get me a frozen mocha, I think,” India said. “But nothing else for me.”

In moments Alpha Two were in and out, slurping drinks and sharing the Danish, while never losing sight of their target.

* * *

In short order, the Lexus drove past as the taxi let out an older woman, short and slightly stocky, dressed in a form-fitting black jumpsuit, almost a catsuit, with a black-and-scarlet drape cardigan over that. Tall black boots with silver trim shod her feet; long white hair cascaded down her back.

“That’s her,” India said. “It matches the description of her disguise we had from Alpha Four.”

“Good,” Romeo said. “Then we’ll park on the side street, head in, an’ mingle with th’ professional magicians.”

“On it.”

* * *

By the time Alpha One arrived at the cemetery at last, full night had fallen. Street lights illumined the sidewalk along the street, but within the cemetery itself lay mostly darkness, only broken by a few flashlights carried by the few foresighted individuals in attendance.

There was a large crowd already there, numbering several hundred; in fact, the crowd was so large that it spilled out of the small, cramped graveyard and into the surrounding streets. Some were in costume, some in formal dress, but most were in street clothes. They milled about, watching; some were anxious, but most were bored or amused. Several people, two of whom were in tuxedos, three of whom were in more…esoteric…clothing, took turns attempting to raise the spirit of Harry Houdini. As Alpha One insinuated themselves into the crowd, Ke’ri Gla’d’s, in what was apparently another human disguise—a short, red-headed, middle-aged female in silken caftan and robes—eased into this smaller group.

“Watch, Meg,” Echo murmured, lips barely moving. “You can tell who’s who by how they’re dressed, and how they conduct their séance. The guys in tuxes will be really formal and kind of rote, and they’ll have a real stage presence. Those are the professional magicians, and they’re just here to honor Houdini’s memory; they don’t believe his spirit will return. But the ones who are wearing the robes and buckskins and shit are the spiritualists who really believe the stuff. And they’re halfway expecting something to really happen.”

“I have the feeling they’re the ones who will be right, tonight,” Omega replied in kind. “But I sorta don’t expect any of ‘em are necessarily gonna be happy about it.”

“And I expect you’re right,” Echo agreed. “Aha. Look, across on the other side of the family plot.”

“Alpha Two,” Omega murmured. “But not sticking close together. Good. Oh, and there’s Alpha Six, and Four. Is Five still extracting from the hotel?”

“Actually, Five wasn’t scheduled to get here until after us,” Echo told her. “They were working with the hotel’s offworld management, and extracted as soon as she set foot in the taxi. They should be…glance casually over your right shoulder.”

“Aha. Got ‘em.”

“Yeah. And we blend in rather nicely with the magicians’ societies here, too.”

“Yup, I noticed that.”

“Heads up,” Echo warned. “She’s decided to take her turn. Wow. Classic Glu’gu’ik quantum spirit contact ritual.”

“Ooo,” Omega hummed, intent on the scene.

* * *

Ke’ri Gla’d’s stepped forward, threw her head back, and raised both hands toward the night sky.

“Spirit of the great Hou’d’ni, hear me; for I am Carrie Gladys Hardin! I beseech you, I who am your kindred, of your blood and kind, come to me now,” Gla’d’s invoked. “Pa Da’ko ta Gra’ko On’de, de b’oo!” She paused.

“‘In the Name of the First Creator, it is time,’” Echo whispered the translation in his partner’s ear. Just then, Gla’d’s flung her arms wide.

“Ari Ho’d’ni, ne ko’ko’be, la’la’da ge nu!” she cried.

“‘Harry Houdini, I command you, come to me!’” Echo translated again.

“Well, it’s dramatic enough,” Omega decided, sotto voce. “And the language makes it sound like a magical incantation.”

“Shush—something’s happening,” Echo hissed.

* * *

Before the alien medium, faint colors began to swirl in the darkness. Within moments the colors thickened, darkened, as the very fabric of spacetime itself seemed to distort. A bipedal, humanoid form began to take shape, hovering several feet off the ground. It was a man, some five and a half feet tall, with curly black hair, a high forehead over vivid blue eyes, and handsome, chiseled features. The crowd sucked in a collective breath of shocked excitement.

But as the ‘apparition’ of Houdini materialized, its appearance changed from the traditional aspect known from photographs, into the classic short-bodied, egg-headed look of a typical Zeta Reticulan Gray, complete with bulbous head, flattened nose, huge black eyes, and lipless mouth. The crowd surrounding the ‘medium’ shrieked in fear and drew back as far as they could. Many of those farthest from the gravesite found themselves pressed against the fence surrounding the cemetery.

* * *

Echo and Omega exchanged meaningful, mildly disturbed glances, then looked across the crowd, where Alpha Two was embedded. Omega rubbed her chin, glanced at her watch, then shook her head. It’s cool. Wait. Don’t take her yet.

Got it. Romeo nodded slightly. He made a subtle hand gesture, and he and India both sent the hand signals that forwarded the order to the other Alpha Line teams.

Meanwhile, Echo reached into his pocket, palming his cell phone. His thumb tapped several places along its screen and cover, activating the audio recording app.

‘Carrie Gladys Hardin’ held up a staying hand to the unnerved crowd.

“Hold!” she cried in English. “The spirits of the dead do not always appear as we would. Harry Houdini, I address you.”

“I…hear…” came a quavering, eerie voice, sounding almost like a distant echo.

“You know who I am.”

“I…do…”

“You know what I seek.”

“Yesss…”

“Where is it?”

Houdini’s alien shade was silent.

“I adjure you, Harry Houdini, answer me! Where is it?”

What came from the extraterrestrial spirit’s lips next was in no wise English.

“On’de, oo de n ko’te a tw’a, n do’ok a ko’a’du’ne ba’wa’ne. Tor’ko kl’ee, bo kwa’ta’do! To’de, n do’ok la on’wa ne la’la’du wo’of. D’an, der klo’vi’t do’n. K’oi’du de we. Nda’da’be. Tra’de, ba on’de, n do’ok la on’de ne k’ap wi’if’de’z, n fes’nus pe’dun ge’da n nu’ke’ke. Ka’de, n do’ok la ne du ka’ka’du b’an dan kre. Gun’gun oi’ko’s’un, wo ga lo om, qu’a’du bre. Kin’de, n do’ok k’en’ti’do, der ne wo ku. Wo’pe’wo’be p’op n b’oo! Bu’ke n dwa’z, der or’k lu’ke n kwa’z!”

And with that, the ghostly apparition faded into nothingness.

The frightened crowd bolted.

 * * *

For what happens next, see:

https://www.amazon.com/Small-Medium-Large-Division-One/dp/0998288837/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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Character Quotes, Uncategorized

Lone Wolf Tales – A Little White Lie by Dellani


“I have included analysis of Aurialonus done by an expert in aberrant psychological conditions, with an emphasis in megalomaniacal psychosis.”

“That’s a mouthful I’d not want to repeat,” Ray quipped, winking at the Admiral.

Greyling smirked, a chuckle escaping her lips. “Well, it took a little practice to get it right.” Her demeanor changed abruptly as she went back to business. “The intel information will be available to you and your team, Colonel. I have taken the liberty of including names of possible team members broken down by specialty. I fear it’s a rather short list,” she added quietly.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Lone Wolf by Dellani

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Beautiful New Cover by Suzette Vaughn

“I’d have been fully compliant to anything you said, even if it went against my common sense? If you said, Matilda, go jump off the cliff, I’d do it?”

Wil nodded again, terribly embarrassed to admit his intentional duplicity. He couldn’t bear to look at her, afraid he’d see disgust in her eyes.

“I thank you for refraining from doing that to me. I like to think I’d jump off the cliff of my own free will, not because you told me to.”

He chuckled softly. Not the menacing sound, but a true, mirthful rumble deep in his chest. “Woman, you are too much. If you weren’t dressed like a man, I’d kiss you.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from It Takes a Thief by Dellani

it-takes-a-thief-cover“So, are you blaming the robbery on this Orchid?” The D.A. asked with a disapproving sniff.

“No, sir. I did it.”

Jason’s lawyer gasped. Shaking his head, he voiced his objections, but his heart wasn’t in it.

“I planned and completed the robbery. What I did not do,” Jason spoke directly to the judge. “I did not kill those people. My plans, my methods, they’re always clean. I don’t hurt anyone and I don’t kill. I steal, Your Honor. I’m a thief, that’s a fact I don’t deny. But I never wanted anyone hurt. Orchid took the loot, shot me and left me for dead. She shot the others, killing all of them. She set me up to take the fall.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Indian Summer

Character Quotes from Indian Summer by Dellani

Indian Summer“Tell me, Ana, what do you know of Señor Enriques who was here today?”

Ana hesitated to answer at first. She was always eager to impart what she knew of the local men. Be it good or bad, she held to the gossips’ truths of the town. She sighed deeply and seated herself at the table, another thing she had never done.

“Miss Gabriella, I’d not talk awful of anyone as you know.” She held up her hand. “I know I gossip, Miss, but that’s just for sport. I mean to really speak ill of someone with full knowledge and malicious intent and I just won’t do it.” She sighed again. “All I can say, Miss, is that one is better left unnoticed. Best to let sleeping dogs lie, Miss.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Conduct Unbecoming by Dellani

conduct front coverVivica burst out laughing. She shook her head, giggling. “How is it you’re not married already with a dozen kids?”

“Lucky, I reckon,” Jasper countered. “Seriously? I never found me a woman like you. Why don’t you have yourself cloned?”

“She’s all mine, Jasper.” Teague put a protective arm around Vivica’s shoulders.

Jasper’s expression turned wounded. He put a hand on his chest as if pledging loyalty. “I’m hurt, McTeague. When have I ever poached your woman?”

“Well, there was Jenny Fortenberry. . . .”

“I mean when it really meant something? Jenny was a skank. I saved you from yourself on that one.”

“Never. ‘Cause you know I’d kill ya.” Teague’s lips twitched and he smiled.

They tapped knuckles.

“I liked it better when you couldn’t back up that claim.” Jasper winked at his friend.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Scene from For Love of Katie B by Dellani

character-quotes-image“It has been my experience that what helps a woman relax more than anything, is to punch something. Am I right, ladies?”

We all yelled in unison. Li put his hand up to his ear.

“I’m sorry. Please repeat. My hearing is fading.”

We bellowed louder, satisfying him.

“Since we men don’t much fancy being punching bags, we shall use the standing heavy bags. Taking turns, work out in pairs. Ladies first.”

We put on our gloves and started jabbing the huge, padded, water filled contraptions. I took a few experimental hits at mine, while Li walked around, correcting. When he got back to me, he frowned.

“Widen your stance, Kate. Guard your body more. Give it hell. It can’t bleed.”

I hit it harder. He continued to frown.

“Kathleen, Brent didn’t spend a butt load of money on top of the line, professional grade heavies for you to tap it like a delicate flower. Smack the f**ker!” His fist shot out, hammering the bag so hard, it jumped slightly. The water in the bottom made the blow sound like a gong. “See that label?” He pointed to the name of the manufacturer, about head height for me. “Picture a face there. Picture the man who broke your heart and make him pay.”

I raised my hand to punch. Before I could strike, he pointed a few feet lower.

“His nuts are right there,” he said. “You have knees and feet as well as hands.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from A Little White Lie

white lie coverA Little White Lie is one of 9 short stories in Lone Wolf Tales.

“So what do you want from the four of us?” Wil wanted information and now. He was a man of immediate and direct action. If there was a job, he wanted to get started on it yesterday.

“You will be going in and freeing the royal family, and putting Aurialonus to the sword,” Greyling said dramatically.

“Wait a damn second,” Wil stood, leaning over Greyling’s desk. “You want the four of us, one of whom is a semi-invalid, to take out Aurialonus and his band of merry lunatics? Those people are religious fanatics, Elise. They think that Aurialonus is a god and that he and Jesus do lunch! I like playing the odds, baby, but not that long.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Room 203 – Sequel to Room 103 – by Dellani

room 103 front coverI hung up my phone to see the eyes of everyone in the office on me. “What? I can’t have a conversation with my fiancé without all this attention?”

“I never heard you talk like that—ever,” Arnie said. “You sounded like a such…a girl!”

I threw a paperclip at him. He yelped when it caught him on the forehead. “Ow! Illegal use of paperclips, Houston!”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Savage Heart by Dellani

savage heart coverSavage Heart is the much anticipated (and demanded) sequel to my historical romance, Indian Summer. Set in the early summer of 1740, Gabriella and Manuel are now happily (or maybe not so happily) married.

“Señora Enriques is feeling a bit under the weather. I need to check on her.” Manuel moved toward the steps to the house quickly.

“She sounded a might put out to me,” Willem replied, spitting in the dirt as he led the horses away to the barn.

“Yes,” Manuel said softly. “Yes, she was.” He paused on the steps. “Willem, did you hear everything?”

“Entire country heard, I’ll warrant, sir.”

“And you think I’m wrong?”

“Not my business to judge right nor wrong on your decisions, sir. I can agree or not as I choose, makes no difference. But I will say this, that girl loves ye above her own life. If ye go ‘gainst her wishes, ye might not have a home to come back to. She’d as likely leave ye as mind ye.”

Manuel hung his head, laughing sardonically. “You’ve put your finger upon it, Willem. As usual, you point out my foibles.” 

“We all work to our strengths, sir,” the old Irishman said with a smirk. “Give her a big kiss, love her hard and maybe she’ll forgive ye. But don’t niver lie to her, sir, or I guarantee—that she’ll not forgive.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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