Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan by Dellani Oakes – Part 19

among the shine clan coverAt the ceremony, Kazinsky, Harmony and Fiddlestix are awarded ranks in the Shine Clan Militia. Not only that, Fiddlestix is formally adopted by the Clan. Oh—and Deacon proposed.

Deacon extended his hand. When Fiddlestix took it, he drew her to him and kissed her passionately in front of the entire assembly. He held her close, whispering in her ear. “One day, Hannah, you’ll stand here as my wife.”

Fiddlestix didn’t know what to say. She was stunned by her reception by this clannish, secluded people. They treated her like family, called her friend, and extended the warmth and comfort of their hearts and home to her. Even among her own people, she had never been so well accepted. Tears threatened to fall. To hide them, she took Deacon’s head in her hands, bringing his mouth down to hers once more. They kissed hungrily as the crowd went crazy.

Someone in the audience started yelling, “Speech! Speech!”

Everyone took up the chant. There was nothing for it, she would have to say something. Deacon led her to the center of the stage and the crowd grew quiet before being asked.

“I’m not good at giving speeches,” Fiddlestix grinned rather nervously. “But I do want to thank you all for your kindness and generosity, as well as your bravery and sacrifice. Everyone here lost someone they care about. Therefore, I honor your dead by swearing to you that I will always do my best, no matter what, to protect the Shine Clan. You are my family now. Thank you!”

She stepped back by Deacon, trying to lose herself behind his massive body. He took her hand, leading her forward once more. To loud, joyous applause, he took a bow, encouraging her to bow as well.

Blushing furiously, she backed up to hide in the ranks of her soldiers. They parted enough to let her into the front row, but refused to let her go any further. They were proud of her and they thought she deserved all the praise she was getting.

After the ceremony, a huge dinner was set up. The Shine Clan women prided themselves on being able to feed a man until he could eat no more. They pressed food on Fiddlestix’ men, practically force feeding them. After eating, the tables were pushed out of the way and musicians clamored onto an improvised stage at one end of the room. They struck up a traditional square dance and Frank Lord got up to call it.

Fiddlestix had no idea what she was doing, so she refused to dance. Deacon and Jasper tried to persuade her, but she kept refusing. Finally, in desperation, Deacon spoke to the musicians and asked for a different tune. Because it was for Fiddlestix, they heartily agreed. The square dance tune ended and the couples left the floor. The band struck up a slow dance, an old tune from the 1970’s.

It wasn’t something Fiddlestix remembered hearing before, but it was so sweetly compelling, she agreed to dance with Deacon. The melody carried her away and she lost herself in his embrace. As they danced, he sang to her, his voice a smooth, melodic tenor. The lyrics brought tears to her eyes as they danced.

“I wanna rock your gypsy soul, just like way back in the days of old. And magnificently we will go into the mystic.”

It wasn’t a long song, but the band enjoyed watching Deacon and Fiddlestix dance so much, they improvised, each instrument taking a solo. She didn’t even notice that she and Deacon were the only ones dancing until the music stopped. Her heart was so full, she wanted to cry. Tears welled in her blue eyes, dripping out the corners and down her cheeks. Deacon leaned forward, kissing her gently. Quiet applause surrounded them as they walked off the dance floor. Instead of stopping for the congratulations and well wishes, Deacon took her back to his quarters.

“Won’t everyone wonder where we’ve gone?”

Deacon got his elbow stuck in his sleeve and nearly ripped his shirt trying to get it free. “I don’t give a good damn. Let ’em wonder.”

“As their leader, don’t you have to put in an appearance?”

“Did that all ready. Hush now, woman, and kiss me.”

They made love long into the night, finally falling into an exhausted sleep once more. It seemed no time later that Jasper was again banging on the door. This time, he woke them to let Fiddlestix know that her people were ready to go. Their job done, it was time to go back to General McLain and make their report.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan by Dellani – Part 18

among the shine clan coverAfter the cyberwarriors are taken care of, Deacon and Fiddlestix enjoy one another’s company. Jasper wakes them the next day, calling them for a meeting.

After a short explanation, a sharp slap and a brief apology, he got her some clothing.

“Next time you visit, I promise to have clothes in your size for you to wear,” he smiled as he watched her dress.

“You know, I didn’t like you much when we first met,” Fiddlestix told him. “But damn if you didn’t grow on me.”

“Kind of like a fungus?” He winked. “You should marry me, Hannah-Belle. I’d make you mighty happy.”

“That’s just the sex talking, Deacon. You don’t want me. I’m a soldier, not a wife.”

“I don’t want just a wife, Hannah. I want someone who will stand beside me and help me lead, like my mama and grand-mama before her. Our women don’t take second place, they’re equal to their mates. Think about it, Hannah. The offer’s open.”

“Thanks, Deacon. I will.”

“I’m serious,” he told her, taking her hands in his. “I’ve never met a woman I wanted more than you. Stay with me, Hannah. Forget the Army. Stay here with me.” His kiss was compelling, inviting her to forget everything else.

“I can’t,” she whispered. “This is who I am, Deacon.”

“But you could be so much more.”

Dropping the subject because he could see it made her uncomfortable, he led her to the main gathering area. It was a huge auditorium lined with benches, set up like an amphitheater. They walked to the base of the steps. Deacon held out his arm to her, walking beside her up the stairs. Her soldiers were already gathered on the huge stage, Harmony and Kaz in the forefront. Deacon escorted her to the head of the line, walking to the center of the stage.

Holding up his hands, he signaled for quiet. The chatting and whispering stopped and almost complete silence fell. Fiddlestix was impressed. She had never seen a quieter, more orderly crowd.

“We are gathered here today to honor those who came to our aid. Let us rejoice that our home is once more safe and secure!”

Wild cheering filled the room, echoing off the metal lined walls. Deacon let it continue a few moments, then held up his hands once more. Silence fell again.

“For bravery in combat, and continuing to fight even though he was sorely wounded, The Fire Star goes to Corporal Walter Kazinski of the United States Army.”

Kaz limped forward, one arm in a sling. His bruised face was wreathed in a happy grin. Betsy stood by his side, supporting him. Deacon put the medal around his neck. It hung from a red and gold ribbon. They exchanged a complicated handshake and Kaz stood to one side.

“From now on, Walter Kazinski also holds the rank of Guard Sergeant in the Shine Clan Militia.”

Fiddlestix knew that Guard Sergeant was equivalent to her rank and was more than just an honorary position. If Kaz ever returned to live with the Shine Clan, his orders would be honored and followed like any other officer’s.

“For bravery in the face of the enemy, and his assistance in shutting down the enemy soldiers, The Silver Star goes to Private Steven Harmony.”

Harmony strutted forward and was given his medal on a blue and silver ribbon. He took his place beside Kaz.

“Private Harmony now holds the rank of Lance Corporal in the Shine Clan Militia.

“Finally, for bravery, courage under fire, tenacity, and ingenuity, the Shine Clan Golden Star goes to Master Sergeant Hannah Braun.”

Wild cheers exploded around the auditorium as the gold and white ribbon slid over her head. The Shine Clan members were only marginally louder than Fiddlestix’ own soldiers. Even when Deacon held his hands up for silence, it was several minutes before quiet descended again.

When everyone finally settled down, Deacon continued. “As an additional honor, Hannah has been awarded a captaincy in the Shine Clan Militia. Also, the Clan adopts her as one of its own. From now on, Hannah, you are a member of our family, second to none.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from Food Truck Hero by Dellani

character-quotes-imageRowena was dressed in clinging pink slacks and a pretty, flowered shirt that looked like a throwback to the Seventies. The creamy, gauzy fabric was gathered just under her breasts, showing enough cleavage to get my juices flowing.

“You look lovely,” I said as I wheeled in my cart.

“Thank you. You look delicious…..” A smack of her palm on her forehead, she blushed. “I’m so sorry. You look very nice,” she corrected herself.

“I like delicious better,” I murmured right next to her ear.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from One Night in Daytona Beach by Dellani

One_Night_in_Daytona_Beach_by_Dellani_Oakes - 200Once the bag was packed, Draven slung it over his shoulder.

“We’ll have to go out the front door, and hope they don’t see us.”

“Why? You think I can’t get over that fence? How the hell do you think I got out of my house to see you all those times I was grounded?”

“That was ten years ago, babe.”

“And I teach gymnastics. Duh.”

Putting her foot on the lower support, she hopped up, finding the top beam of the fence with ease. She swung over and dropped before Draven even got to the top. In fairness to him, his right arm still didn’t feel right. He lost his grip twice before getting over.

Jamie waited impatiently.

“Now I know you’re hurt. You can make that climb in your sleep.”

“Moose hit me with my baton.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Somewhere Out There by Dellani

character-quotes-image“Four o’clock?” Ouelle giggled. “When’s the last time we stayed up that late?”

“I don’t know about you, but I do it all the time. I haven’t been sleeping much.”

She shook her head, curls bouncing. “No idea. I’m usually not much of a night owl.”

Ross chuckled, brushing her hair from her face. “You used to be. Why do you think I call you Owl?”

“I always thought it was because of my name.” She frowned. “It’s not?” She covered her mouth with her hands, suppressing her giggle.

“How often did we stay up all night talking? And you’d try so hard not to wake your father, you’d hold in the laughter, hooting like a little owl.” He teased her hands away from her mouth. “You’re doing it now. Some things will never change.”

“And some things do.” She traced his lips with her finger. “I am ever so fond of you.”

Her words and smile stabbed his heart. “I love you, Ouelle. I’ve loved you forever. I can’t remember a time I didn’t. In all that time, you’ve never told me you love me. You tell me you’re fond of me, that you treasure me, but never the words I most want to hear. Do you love me Ouelle? Even a little?”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from How Far is Heaven? by Dellani

character-quotes-image“Okay,” he hesitated. “Are you sure everything is all right? We can do this another night.”

“No!” She said too loudly and suddenly. “No, I don’t want to cancel. Just please come by here and I promise we’ll talk about it in detail later.”

“Sure, Maeve. No problem.”

But he sounded odd to her, hollow and deflated. Her father watched her talk to Hal on the phone, pretending to go over the order sheet she had filled out and printed online.

“So, he’s coming by, is he?”

“Yes.” She didn’t mean to snap, it just came out that way. “Sorry, Papa. It confused him. How could I explain that my father wants to meet him? It could totally terrify him. Hal is shy, very insecure. He’s not from the city.”

“But he’s coming?”

“Yes!”

“Good. That’s very good.”

Maeve could tell that Hal had unexpectedly scored points with her father already. That was a good sign, at least she hoped so.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Bad Fall by Dellani

character-quotes-image“The Alzheimer’s lady? I saw your show last night. I want to put my Dolly in there. And me, I’ll come. Dolly’s getting a little loopy.” He made a crazy gesture by his right temple.

“I prefer to avoid terms like loopy,” Marka said gently.

The elevator opened. A few people got off and they got on. Frank greeted everyone by name. Those still on the elevator were pleased to meet Marka.

“What else to do I call her?” Mr. Witherspoon asked. “She’s got corn flakes for brains. But she’s my Dolly.” He strode purposefully off the elevator as soon as it opened.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from The Kahlea by Dellani

The Kahlea frontThe Kahlea is Book 4 in my Lone Wolf Series – coming…eventually

Dividing the ships between the four couples still left an horrendous number. In desperation, Wil called in Mai and the Cats as well. This lowered their inspections to roughly seven hundred with one or two extra which Wil said they would flip a coin over.

“Why do we have to visit them all?” Acey grumbled pettishly when given his list on a Kindred hand held. Jessia slapped him sharply on the arm.

“Aceford, shame! Of course we must inspect them all! These ships and their crews have flown all over the galaxy, and into the next, gathering us here. The least we can do is meet them. They’ll risk their lives along with us, they’re part of our family now.”

“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Acey looked sheepish.

“I know, you were just looking at all your recreational time fizzle away,” Wil nudged him pointedly.

Acey chuckled. “Lone Wolf, you and I aren’t so different.”

Wil smirked, “No, Acey, the only difference is that I’m a bigger asshole than you are.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Spy on Love by Dellani

character-quotes-image

We’ll make arrangements for an agent to call you,” Colleen said.

Your kind of agent or a real estate agent?” He leaned casually against the SUV.

Yes.” She smirked.

Brick chuckled. “Gotcha. If you need me, call.”

I will—we—will. We’ll find him, Brick. We’ll bring him home.”

I hope so.” He opened the door for her and closed it after she hopped in. “Be careful.”

Colleen grinned. “I was just going to say that to you.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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author, books, Cereal Authors, Fantasy, Fiction, GENRES, humor, Literary, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel excerpt continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

 

Chapter One (cont’d)

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After awaking in Gala’s bed with her cinnamon arms draped over him in a gentle entrapment, Keinigan had promised to get her the twenty silver by that afternoon. She let him slip out with sharp distrust in her black eyes, but he indeed did return within six hours, despite the gray rainfall that beleaguered the land.

He had proudly presented a small pouch of coins that she counted quickly in front of him. Keinigan felt offended at this show of cynicism before Gala reminded him of the last time she had taken his silver without checking it first. He conceded that she was better off counting it. She did not ask him where he had acquired the silver pents, and when she promptly turned back to the young human with whom she had been flirting as Keinigan entered, the fae realized that his time with her was concluded for now. He was free to go.

Which, he did with her rejection chafing him sorely. He had hoped to enjoy her favors once again before turning to the arduous task of finding more money.

He had borrowed the minor amount from Big Lukas, a local moneylender in the coastal region. Once the Slider Guild was paid, he had less than thirty hours in which to scrounge up twenty-five silver pents to pay Lukas.

The pent coin, so called because of its five, flat sides, was the most common monetary increment minted throughout the civilized lands on Jorthus. Silver was a rare mineral and, therefore, the base of the value system. The agreed upon value of a stamped coin was represented by its size, shape, and weight as well as the mineral from which it was made. As copper and gold were abundant, they were usually used for jewelry or smaller, round coinage. For higher increments of value, one would seek out either silver “pents” or gemstones. Gems were highly prized and held a steady value to all peoples on the world. If one was rich, it was easier to carry gemstones than bulky amounts of their stamped coin equivalent.

The interest that Big Lukas charged was exorbitant, and the faerlin planned to pay him back within one day, avoiding any accumulation. He also hoped that he would not have to work for it. Thus, the entire remainder of that day he sought out wealthy-looking patrons in the marketplace that had heavy pouches dangling from their belts in the hope that he would not have to think harder on the subject.

Life, as always, was not being kind to him. He detested manual labor and refused to beg, so he sought another way. Being left with enough to make one well-placed bet to try raising the full loan amount, Keinigan headed to the warehouses. He usually considered himself lucky at gambling. Not enough to make it a lucrative profession, but lucky enough to pick winners when he really needed them.

This night, his luck failed him.

The warehouse district of Eddermont, commonly known as The Dungs, was always teeming with some sort of game action, as well as questionable characters. Tonight, the bets were being exchanged on a number of large, long-furred rats. The seedy owners trapped, trained, and cared for the rodents. They would starve them for one day, and then race them along deep, narrow trenches that ran below the warehouse floor as drainage against flooding in that area. Several owners gained speed from them by hanging bits of food at the end of the trenches.

The rats skittered around inside their cages; a few were hungrily gnawing at the wooden bars encasing them. Keinigan looked them over. Choosing a sleek, muscular rat as his favorite, he placed his remaining money on the vermin. The odds would yield enough to pay back Lukas and have plenty to spare. This convinced him the Emmissars of Fortune were smiling on him at last.

Keinigan saw several familiar faces in The Dungs. Some he was glad to see again and some far less so. He was chatting with an eight-fingered thief from the lower end of town when he noticed a hooded person inspecting the cages. The tall, straight-shouldered figure seemed familiar to him; though, he could not have said a name or placed a face to it.

He did not give the cloaked figure any more thought at that time. It was only after the race — after he had lost all his money because a mangy, rotund rat considered unlikely to waddle, let alone win, had made a frenzied dash for the finish line — that Keinigan puzzled on how his luck had turned against him.

Many people lost or won money throughout the dark hours on many events, but only one individual walked away from that particular race with silver. Keinigan stood on the side of the trenches, stunned. Engulfed in angry shouts, he stared numbly at the exhausted rat as it collapsed at the end of the track, gasping. The little creature was not even eating its reward; it was simply lying on its side, beginning to spasm. Keinigan’s brow furrowed. Hunger had not driven that rat so furiously to win. Something else had. He stared at the animal as mumbling, cursing folk jostled him. Trying to see what would come of this odd behavior, his vision was continuously blocked.

Frustrated, Keinigan glanced over to the exit. He glimpsed the cloaked winner retreating by the far door. Two other figures also slipped out of the warehouse after it. Keinigan assumed that they were disgruntled gamblers bent on exacting a refund.

He turned back in time to see a heartbroken trainer carrying the limp, twitching body of the winning rat out of the race area. Keinigan did not call attention to the odd ailment of the rat or the fact that only one person had bet on it. He quietly decided to leave that information stored in his brain for a later time, as he had no idea how it had been accomplished. He could prove nothing.

Still, he decided to follow the winner’s path, morbidly curious if the other men would overtake the lucky gambler or not.

*******************************************************

The two “angry pursuers” had left an obvious track in the damp, sticky night, even though Keinigan slumped along without any real hope of overtaking the mysterious trio. He was mainly giving his mind time to deal with the reality that he was now broke again.

Following the trail into a dark passage, he stumbled over a soft object. With an irritated curse, he lifted himself out of the mud and froze. He smelled blood. At his feet was a body. Instinctively, he turned to run. As he did so, a fading warm glow outlined a second body propped against the alley wall. Both men had their throats slit, deeply. Warm blood spilt down their chests, into the mud, and formed a gory river that trickled into the shadows.

Keinigan got the distinct impression that neither of these dying humans was the winner in the dark cloak. He was also certain that they had not gotten their refunds.

Impulsively, he snagged a money pouch off the nearest one. It was sticky with fresh blood and desperately empty. The faerlin dropped it in revulsion. Steeling his nerves, and resisting his instinct to be gone from this scene of death, he crept closer to search their bodies. He promptly found it was a fruitless effort, for the being that had taken their lives had also cut their belt pouches open. A grating noise disturbed the end of the alley. He whirled about, snatching out his dagger in reflex. This was a bad place to be caught.

A cat fled a tumbling box; Keinigan’s heart skittered as quickly as the animal before he felt the chill stillness creep back into the alley. Looking at the paltry find from the pouches, he gave up the tracking game to mourn his loss in the safety of his inn room.

The rest of the night crept by with the shadows nagging him about the pitiful state of his affairs, which he had created by steadfastly honoring his life of crime. The nagging strangely reminded him of his mother; Keinigan responded by drinking the last of his redberry wine in order to drown it out.

Sleep began to take him, and as dawn broke over the corroded town of Eddermont, his reckoning came.

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Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/