For Fleet: The White Aura by Felicia Tatum

This is for book of the week on Passionate about Books.

The White AuraHow do you live with the gut clenching truth that the one you love will die if you meet them? Twenty year old sorcerer Scott Tabors is learning how. After seeing seventeen year old Olivia Whitehead outside of a coffee shop, his heart will never be the same. He longs for her, he wants her, and he knows she will be his. They are heart mates. …but due to a curse on his family, he can’t meet her. Not yet. So for now, he visits her in her dreams. Her dreams where he can tell her everything but his name.

Olivia Whitehead is a typical junior in high school. She and her best friend are having the time of their lives, but she can’t help but notice the changes happening to her. Especially the changes in her heart after she begins dreaming about a mysterious dark haired young man. But what will happen when the school heartthrob decides he wants Olivia? Will she realize the dream man is real or will she move on?

Excerpt:

My reflection was much calmer than my inside. I was an absolute wreck inside, worried and scared about the events that would happen tonight at the dance. Wearing black dress pants and a white buttoned shirt, I looked dressed up enough to blend in if I had to go in the building for any reason. My pockets were loaded with stunning charms that would stun the attacker if I threw them at him. I had a knife in my back pocket, big enough to do damage if needed. I didn’t want this fight to become that violent, but I was prepared to protect Livvie if I had to.

Mark had similar charms and weapons to guard himself with. I had given them to him after he had left school. Grandma and Sadie were prepared with spells they had memorized. Immobilizing spells, memory erasing spells (for the dance goers), slumber charms, and they had found a few control spells that would be handy if we needed the crowd to leave without putting up a fight. Overall, I felt that we were well prepared. I couldn’t help the sinking feeling in the pit of stomach, a feeling that told me The Crimson Calamitous was much stronger and this may all be for naught.

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Giveaway on the Passionate about books page!

2 sets of magnets for The White Aura and The Vessel

2 ecopies of The Vessel

The White Aura will be on sale for 1.99 May 27-31 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Also…a sneak peak at Felecia’s new Romance, Mangled Hearts: Francesca and Cade

I’d watched her every day since school began. She moved with grace and confidence, yet I could see hurt behind her eyes when she surveyed her surroundings. I didn’t know who would want to hurt a beautiful creature like her, but it angered me. A lot. I watched her from a distance for as long as I could, until the longing in my heart to hear her voice speaking to me was too much.

               I knew it was stupid and reckless to bring myself into her life. I was the worst kind of guy for her, into all the wrong things, but something about her made me want to be…more. The first time I saw her beautiful face was during lunch. She was stuck in a little hole in the wall, her nose deep into a book. Her dark blonde hair fell around her face, and she absent mindedly pushed it behind her ear, not once looking up from her book. People walked around her, came close to stepping on her, completely ignored her…and all I could do was stare. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Two weeks after that, I’d followed her bus to the next bus stop. I prayed to be the one driving her home someday soon.

               As I approached, she hadn’t moved. She leaned back against the bench, her eyes furiously devouring the book she gripped. After I finally got her attention, my heart had almost stopped when her deep, rich brown eyes looked into mine. Her voice sounded like it came from heaven, her words singing a song to my heart. I laid a hand on her leg, the sparks shooting straight into my soul.

9 years prior-October

               I’d followed her to the bus stop every day since then. The week after our first meeting, I’d gotten the nerve to meet her at her locker. She was bent in, rummaging through her belongings, when I slid up and relaxed behind the door. I heard her groan as a book fell to the floor. I scooped in to pick it up, smiling at her as I handed it over. Her eyes widened as she whispered my name.

               “Francesca.”

               “Cade…you never talk to me in school,” she accused me.

               It stung. It was true. I didn’t want my friends getting the wrong idea or anyone saying things to her about how screwed up I was. It was selfish, and it appeared to hurt her.

               “I’m sorry. I didn’t know if you wanted to…” I admitted, taking her book bag from her.

               “What are you doing?” she questioned, eyeing my hand.

               “Walking you to class?”

               Her eyes stared down, and a small smile curved on her gorgeous face. She peered up at me, her lashes dark and framing her eyes perfectly. My breath caught when she did that. She walked around me, turning a few steps away to make sure I followed.

               “Of course I want to. We’re friends, right?” she said, sauntering off.

               Her voice hummed in my mind, sending smoke signals to my heart. I think I would have followed her anywhere. I’d walk off a cliff if it’s where she led.

Author Bio:

Felicia TatumFelicia Tatum was born and raised in Tennessee. She always loved reading, and at the age of twelve began writing. Her passion for creating stories grew and in May 2012, she finally wrote her first novel, The White Aura.

She still lives in Tennessee with her daughter and her kitty. She loves cooking and books. Animals are some of her best friends. She watches a lot of Disney channel and often dreams up new book ideas. She’s currently writing the second book in series, as well as a romance novel. Her dream is to write as many book as possible while entertaining as many people as possible.

Author Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/feliciatatumwriter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/sassybrunette55

Website: www.feliciatatum.com

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Dharromar Weiss: Anti-hero from The Translations of The Jorthus series.

Character Interview:Convergence Cover

What is your biggest fear?

If this is confession time, I will admit to having an intense dread of a certain underground creature known as a Rokworm.

What would you give up everything to have?

Haven’t I already given up everything? Wait, perhaps the answer to that would be – vindication. That would be a worthy last request.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and are you going to be able to rectify it?

Betraying someone who trusted me. That remains to be seen.

What food would you never eat?

I think I already ate it. One does do strange things in order to survive.

You’ve dressed to impress. What are you wearing?

The garments typical of Culetan, a human city on the western side of the continent Verdaillia.  A loose sleeved tunic, jerkin, and leggings. I prefer riding boots, and my cape is a necessity. Of course, I keep my sword close at hand. One never knows what will happen.

What one thing have you found unattainable thus far in your life?

Validation for being alive.

What is about to change for you?

I may loose my freedom or my life at any moment. Circumstances have ripped me from a well plotted life, and I smell chaos on the wind.

Where do you live?

I reside, for the most part, in a transdimensional manor house with an anchored door on Jorthus, in Byton Grove. It is my area of safety; untouchable by the uninvited.

Who are you? (ie: warrior, demon, doctor, mechanic)

That’s a tricky question. I could say that I am a lord. Or I could say that I am a bastard. Both would be accurate. Some call me daemon. Others call me changeling. I am fae. That is all I will attest to at this time.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? (more than physical description, please)

I see what I was taught to see by “loved ones”:  unworthiness and disappointment.

Who do you hate and why?

Everyone. Not all for the same reasons.

Gods below, this conversation took a turn for the morose, didn’t it? Forgive me. Questions about myself inevitably lead to dark places.

In The Wyverian Wilds By Crimson Kildare And Kat Marlow (An Excerpt)

Excerpt of In The Wyverian Wilds for, “The Fantastic Blog Hop!”

In the Wyverian Wilds by Crimson Kildare and Kat MarlowThe Village of Drysor Y Ddraig was laid out at the foot a large, sloping hill. The back end of the hill and the far edge of the village were bordered by a rushing river that flowed over the edge of a cliff. It was a lush, green land full of trees, plants, wild life and small insects. A view filled with beauty and tranquility.

Jamie sat on the lawn behind the house of Yates looking out over the cliffs at the roaring water of the falls. He was lost in thought when the older man, Henry, who’d come with the visiting dignitaries walked over and sat down beside him. He looked up and offered him a small smile. His eye wandering over to see Idris still deep in conversation with Charles and …Val…Val was walking down along the edge of the cliffs on the far end of the lawn. He really, really needed to talk to Val, but where to begin?

Henry watched Jamie for a few minutes and then chuckled. “You’ve so many things on your mind at once you can’t form a single coherent thought about any one of them can you young one?”

“No, I guess I can’t. I…I just have so many questions…” Jamie answered.

“May I ask what sort of questions?”

“About how I got here to begin with…I mean yeah I was frozen and they thawed me out, okay…but how is that possible after all this time, without…any kind of medicine or science…with nothing to help them but a fire?

Henry looked at Val and then at Jamie and gave him a smile in return. “This is where you wish to begin? Talking with me, about the nature of things?”

Jamie spared a guilty look for Val whose back was turned to him in that moment. “I…I…yes, because I don’t know how to begin…anything else…”

Henry nodded as he errantly picked a few blades of tall grass and began to weave them in an intricate pattern as he considered the concerns mentioned.

“You have old knowledge Jamie, compared to what is known to most now. However compared to what I know and more importantly what Thera knows it is the knowledge of the young, of a child. Long, long ago, before the times your people were able to map out and attempted to explain with their analysis and sciences there was another world, another people. These people, they were the first ones, the first of all peoples, of all beings.

They were not like you or I or anyone you’ve ever met. They were beings of…possibility. They took form as it pleased them, from them came all the variety of life that has ever existed from the smallest to the largest, from the most benign and powerless to the most clever and powerful. These people had knowledge to be sure, but their knowledge did not come from learning or analysis, but from the source of all things. They were born knowing. They also had healing and power, but theirs was made of the essence of all that is. You would call this magic. They did not have medicine, science or tools, because they did not need them. They had will. There came a time when some of these first ones grew to like physicality, to favor various forms and they chose to take on these forms permanently. This is where life on this world as we know it now and as you once knew it came from.

Now I could explain this all in much greater detail, as I used to do for Charles and his brother Cedric when they were young, but my point is that Thera, the land, the earth herself she knew what was coming. She is part of all that is and is connected to it still. She knew that great rock in the sky would come and hit her. She knew the cataclysm it would bring, the harsh reality that would be brought to bear on the peoples on her surface. So she spoke to the Great Mother and together they began to make preparations…they began to rework the nature of the people so that they might survive. They rewove the power of their will for them, giving them back the magics they had abandoned long ago…

“Okay, okay whoaaa Nelly! So what you’re telling me, is that the Earth, who you call Thera, and the Great Mother…by which you mean the spirits of all nature and the planet re-engineered the DNA of the people to give them magic, because they would be robbed of all their tools and sciences?”

“Exactly.”

“Okay…And even “IF” I choose to believe that, it explains what happened to me how?” Jamie asked.

“Easily. You are sitting on the ground in the land of the Lords of Wyveria, a people who can slip their skin and become Dragons. A people who can cast spells and affect the elements, who can speak to the wee creatures and you find my explanation what…too farfetched? How does it explain you? Do you not listen when others speak to you Logan? Did you not yourself hear Idris say he felt you in all that ice, sensed you were there, that you were pulsing with life. Does that not ring any bells for you, as it were?”

“Are you saying that I…have some sort of…magic?” Jamie asked.

“As you said yourself, you were frozen in a block of ice for many thousands of years and yet you thawed out whole and undamaged, not even the biting of frost upon your fingers and toes. What else would that be, but a great ability to heal oneself?”

Jamie blinked, “You mean I can…regenerate?!” he asked startled.

Henry merely nodded and smiled. Then he looked at Val again. “You have it in you to be a great healer Jamie Logan, go start now. Heal with words, heal with your heart.” He said nodding toward Val and gave Jamie a small shove.

Author Interview with Crimson M. Kildare and Kat Marlow

The Fantastic Blog Hop Tour

Moving along in the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour, the bus makes a stop in the midwest the home of Crimson Kildare and Kat Marlow two amazing and talented writers, not to mention, two fabulous ladies!  Today we learn what makes them tick and why writer’s block freakin’ sucks! 🙂

What is your story about?Wyveria Cover 1

CMK: The story is about three men in the far future and the challenges they face as each must deal with the very fabric of his life unraveling like an old tapestry. Both Jamie and Val will have to cope with culture shock and some severe loss issues. Idris is dealing with the murder of a father figure and the growing realization that it may be up to him to fill the man’s shoes. Now, if he can just survive both the discovery of the murderer’s identity and the duel to the death, he’ll have to win to fill them, it might just all work out in the end. So in a way our story is about magical shape shifters, the future and being displaced, but really it’s about life, about knowing yourself and embracing the challenges of being alive.

KM: It’s a romantic adventure that takes place in our future that focuses on three characters, Jamie, Val, and Idris. Jamie and Val are from our time, and due to a twist of fate they are separated and flung into this future world of magic and shape-shifters. Idris is from a clan descended from the Welsh and Celtic peoples, and when the story begins he’s dealing with the death of someone very dear to him. It falls to him to solve this mystery, while his life becomes more entwined with Jamie and Val. All three men go through a journey of adjustment and self-discovery; Jamie and Val are dealing with the loss of their world while trying to acclimate to the one they’ve woken up to. Idris is dealing with losing a mentor while facing various challenges on the way to his true destiny. It’s really about life like Crimson said, and I hope this story will inspire as well as entertain.

Where does your story take place?

CMK: It takes place on Earth in the far future in what was once Antarctica.

KM: You heard Crimson say that its future Antarctica, and you’re probably thinking, ‘Why are there Celts there?’ I’ll only say that circumstances warranted their having to leave the UK and settle elsewhere.

Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?

CMK: Writing is something I just do from my gut. I would like to take some courses to improve my understanding of classic writing techniques and textbook language skills. This way I would have more to work with when making choices about story shaping and character development.

KM: I mainly go from the gut like Crimson does, but I did hone my skills in high school. I was fortunate to have a very encouraging English teacher there, and if this novel succeeds its due in no small part to the confidence she instilled in me.

Do you have a ritual when you write? 

CMK: I write most days from 11 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. with my partner Kat Marlow. I often listen to music as I do this and the music can definitely influence the work and vise versa. I sometimes notice that as I’ve been writing my musical choices will unconsciously change with the theme of what I’m working on.

KM: I write whenever I have spare time, but I usually work better from morning to afternoon. During those hours on weekdays I’m usually working with Crimson. I listen to music sometimes, but usually I have a DVD playing in the background. I’m often playing the movies that have inspired me, such as Star Wars, certain superhero movies, or the James Bond films. I’ll also play episodes from my favorite shows, such as Law & Order: UK or Mad Men.

Do you write in multiple genres?

CMK: Yes and sometimes at the same time.

KM: I see this novel as a combination of fantasy, sci-fi, and romance, so I would say ‘yes’. I mainly write sci-fi with a dash of romance, and my ultimate dream is to write for Torchwood, Doctor Who, or a Star Wars project.

Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?

CMK: Is it hard? Yes and no. Sometimes it’s so amazingly easy and you wonder how you ever thought it would be tough. Those are the moments all writer’s live for, those golden moments where it all just flows effortlessly. The rest of the time it’s a cross between reasonably easy and pulling teeth. It just depends on your muse really.

KM: It can be when you’re blocked, or you’re having a hard time figuring out which direction to take the story next. There are merits to free-form writing, but I find it easier to map out the storyline beforehand. It’s like a seed being planted, and from there the story should grow to its full richness.

Do your family and friends read your work?

CMK: Yes they do.

KM: I’m more private about my work than Crimson, as the stories I’ve written before tend toward the explicit side. My mom does know about this novel, and she’s already expressed an interest in reading it. She’s thrilled that I’m finally stretching my muscles, and that we’re working towards publication.

Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

CMK: I find that there are three things I can do for writer’s block. Call on a piece of music that always inspires to get my creative juices flowing, work on something else to get the juices flowing or if those fail just leave it and go do something else all together. Doing something else gives my brain and my muse a rest so that when I sit down next time; the juice is flowing free, improved by the break.

KM: Yes I have, and it SUCKS! I mentioned mapping out the story beforehand, which is a useful tool. Still, even with an outline you can find yourself blocked. I always find it best to just step away from the work for a time and just clear your mind, as constantly focusing on solving the problem might only frustrate you. Relaxing with music or TV can help.  If I’m writing fan-fiction, I might watch the show or movie that it’s based on. It’s a good reminder of the character voices, and helps to re-awaken the muse.

Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?

CMK: Yes, Kat Marlow is my partner as you can see and she’s just tops! Also on occasion my mother who is a fine artist will do drawings for me if I ask her.

KM: The illustrious Ms. Kildare, who has Photoshop skills in addition to her literary mind! She’s been a great co-author, and I’m so grateful that’s she’s encouraged me to take my writing to the next level.

Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?

CMK:  Always from my heart.

KM: Always from the heart; on the surface this novel might seem to follow the fantasy/romance trend, but we’re intending for it to be much deeper than that. We’re hoping to offer something that will stand out, something unique to the genre.

Who is your favorite author of all time?

CMK: This is such a hard question to answer! There are so many I love and adore and for such vastly different things, but if the criteria are the content of what was written, the author’s intelligence and cleverness and their ability to inspire by the way they chose to live their own life as well? Then the clear winner across all of those categories would have to be the 19th century authoress Madame George Sand!

KM: That’s like trying to pick a favorite child! I think Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is one of the best novels ever written, and I adore Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. There are a few authors of the Star Wars novels that I love, such as Timothy Zahn, Troy Denning, and Aaron Allston. I’ve really enjoyed the books that John and Carole Barrowman have written so far, and they’re a great example of a successful writing partnership.

What’s best: Pen and paper or laptop?

CMK: Both have their merits and I truly love pen and paper for journaling and personal letters, but for writing a book? The laptop wins hands down!

KM: I usually prefer pen and paper, but I enjoy the benefits of writing on a laptop. No ink to waste and edits can be done with the push of a button!

What are you reading now?

CMK: I am currently reading George R.R. Martins Game of Thrones books, The Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, both of Laurel K. Hamilton’s ongoing Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series and the John and Carole Barrowman Hollow Earth series! All of them exceptional books!

KM: I’m currently reading Hollow Earth by John and Carole Barrowman and next on my list is the second book of the Star Wars: Dark Nest trilogy by Troy Denning.

If your house was on fire; what would you save: your computer or your book collection?

CMK: If my house were on fire the first thing I would save would be my 11 year old daughter. The next thing would be my laptop case in which I keep both the computer and my copy of George Sand’s Letters D’un Voyageur! That’s Letter of a Traveler for those who are interested.

KM: Oh God, another ‘pick your favorite child’ question! I consider books to be precious, so I would want to save my book collection after I save my mom. There would be a lot to carry though, and it also depends on whether I’ve transferred my computer files to a flash drive! I admittedly can’t live without my computer, but if I lose it I can always get another one. I guess I could always get new books, but some of them might be out-of-print and hard to find. I appreciate modern technology, but there’s nothing like having an actual book in your hands and turning the pages. I hope books don’t fade out completely.

Have you gotten in trouble for your work?

CMK: Kat and I both got our start writing fan fiction. Thankfully no one has ever complained about our playful musings.

KM: Thankfully no. I’m lucky to have not gotten in trouble for my publicly posted fan-fic, and as I mentioned before I keep my other work private. Whatever results from this novel remains to be seen!

Do you consider yourself a tech wiz?

CMK: Good Heavens no. I get along and that’s all I can say about that. My husband is the tech wizard in our house.

KM: Ha, barely! I’m only now getting the hang of Microsoft Word!

What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?

CMK: Not sure this is strange per se, but I’ve called complete strangers to ask them about their towns, professions and so on.

KM: I wouldn’t call this strange, but I did find it fascinating to research Welsh names. My love for the show Torchwood has led to a love and admiration for the Welsh people, and I find their language and ancient culture very interesting. I suppose that comes from my own Celtic blood, as I’m part English and Irish.

CMK: Oh me too, Irish, Scottish, English and the list goes on, lots of Celts in me.

Do you read online reviews?  If so, how do you deal with the negativity?

CMK: Yes, I want to know the reaction people have to my work and the work of other authors I admire. Sure it’s difficult when someone hates your stuff, but oddly I find I dislike it more when people knock the work of other writers I admire. I think to myself, ‘Really? But they’re so talented!’ I can find it baffling when others aren’t inspired by what seems so immediately and obviously inspiring to me. Still the finest authors who ever lived got bad reviews from time to time. No two people have exactly the same taste and that’s what makes it so exciting, because there’s room for everyone’s work.

KM: I like to know what people think of my work, and I know I’m going to have to develop a thick skin if this is going to be my career. No one likes negative things being said about their baby, but you have to remember it’s not always personal and try to take your emotions out of the equation. Ideally, critical reviews will also be constructive, and hopefully I can use such reviews to fix any flaws in my writing.

What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?

CMK: It’s a real career. It’s real work; it’s not a ‘bird course’ way to make a living. Like anything worth doing it requires three things: a modicum of talent, the ability to learn, grow and improve and the willingness to work hard and even then it’s no certain guarantee that you’ll be wildly successful. It will however guarantee that you’re worth reading, that you’re a good writer. You have to do it, because you love it, for its own sake. As Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Don’t ask me how to be a writer, just do it. If you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing? Then you’re a writer! Go do it!” That may be a bit paraphrased, but you get the idea. My mother is a phenomenal singer, truly talented, beautiful voice. She’s been singing professionally for 40 years now. She’s well known and well respected in the music industry in certain circles, but she’s not famous or wealthy. When I was a teenager I asked her, ‘After all this time, you should be famous, why do you keep doing it?” she told me, “I don’t do it to be famous. I do it because I love it. I do it because I need to, it’s who I am.”

That’s what you have to know about being a writer, a singer, an actor or anything creative; do it because it’s who you are, because it lives in you, do the best you can, learn, grow, get better and pray for the best.

KM: As I said before, you’re going to need a thick skin.  You’re also going to need determination and a willingness to work hard. Your work will not be accepted for publication right away, and you might have to submit it countless times, which can be frustrating. Most publishers will point out what they think your work is lacking, and it wouldn’t hurt to take their advice. Your work will hopefully come out better in the end. Publishers are mainly out to sell books, and sadly the quest for profits overrides good writing sometimes. The balance between good writing and sellable writing is hard to find, but it can be done.

What’s your next project?

CMK: The next book in this series which we anticipate being at least three books long. Also before any of the books will be published in complete form and offered via Amazon and possibly other publishers as well; they will be available to read chapter by chapter at our website starting April 4rth, 2013. We will put up a new chapter every month. The site is called The Looking Glass Writer’s Cooperative. Our aim is to promote both our work and the work of other writers each month, while also providing some good excerpts, reviews and articles on writers, books, television and films. We want to create a warm, welcoming space that engenders a sense of community for authors and avid readers alike.

The web address is thrutheglass.net

KM: Yes, Crimson and I will be working on the next book, and my fan-fiction is always a work-in-progress. I also write reviews for our website.

Excerpt From Lone Wolf By Dellani Oakes

fantastic blog hop bus

Today, the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour pulls into Daytona Florida, where we meet Dellani Oakes, romance novelist, blogger, and podcaster.  Shew!  I’m exhausted just saying it all!  🙂  Anyways, let’s get down to business, I promised excerpts and that’s exactly what you’ll get.  Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Dellani Oakes’ Sci-Fi novel, “Lone Wolf.”

Once he was up and dressed, Marc was all business. It seemed odd for him to be so professional when they had just been so intimate, but she knew something was bothering him.

Lone WolfAs Matilda followed Marc to the docking bay where the ship was locking on, she noticed he was armed. The energy weapon he wore was hardly standard Guild issue. On the maximum setting, it could take down a 300 pound man, putting a sizable hole in him.

“Expecting an army? You can kill a xar beast with one of those.”

“I wish I had something bigger. If I order you to fire, Commander, you fire. No questions. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir.”

Marc opened the door to the docking bay. The other ship had attached and the airlock was pressurizing. As the door spiraled open, Matilda sensed a shudder pass through Marc. He raised his weapon, covering the entrance.

Slowly, with a casual air, a man entered the airlock. Nearly as tall as Marc, he was leaner of build. His curly, dark brown hair fell to his shoulders. He stood still while Rubee scanned his identification tag before releasing the force shield in front of him.

He wore a black eye patch over his left eye and a scar ran from his left temple to the corner of his lips. It was an old scar, worn and somewhat sunken. A slight stubble of beard shaded the lower half of his face, all but the scar line, leaving a pale crescent in the dark. His uncovered eye glittered, black and dangerous in his ruggedly handsome face. Holding his arms from his sides, he waited as Rubee scanned him for weapons. Finding none, she gave clearance for him to pass.

He stepped forward, lighting a dark, thin object. The pungent odor of a cheroot filled the confined space. Squinting past the smoke, he gazed into Marc’s eyes. Marc’s weapon remained pointed at the other man’s head, his calm expression strangely predatory.

Their visitor sized Matilda up with a glance, dismissing her as non-threatening. He puffed on his cheroot thoughtfully. A crooked grin cracked his face in half, the scar pulling his left lip up at an odd angle.

“Marc, it’s been a long time.” He held out his hand.

Marc remained aloof, not taking his eyes off the visitor, lowering his weapon or acknowledging the proffered hand.

“Kind of a cold reception, isn’t it?” His voice was rasping and low.

The smile was replaced by a slight frown, a hint of sadness in the obsidian eye. Then the same placid expression took its place. Nothing in Marc’s face betrayed what he was thinking or feeling.

Marc spoke calmly. “Commander Dulac, please show Colonel VanLipsig to the lounge.”

“Of course, sir.” Looking puzzled, she did as he asked, feeling his eyes on her.

Marc followed, covering the man from the rear. When they had seated themselves, Matilda ordered three cups of joe from the synthunit. Marc kept his weapon out on his knee with his hand resting upon it. The other fellow leaned back, seemingly unconcerned and at ease. Taking a sip of the joe, he grimaced, glancing down at his cup before matching his gaze with Marc’s.

“I know we parted under difficult circumstances, but is this really necessary? I’m here to do a job, nothing more.” He carefully kept his hands in plain view, moving slowly, talking with deliberate ease.

Marc looked at him blankly. “I thought you were dead, Wil.”

VanLipsig nodded slowly, thoughtfully. “You were sure you killed me.” His voice was flat, toneless, unemotional. He shrugged casually, tilting his head to the left. “I got better.” There was a flash of a chilling smile.

“The reports….”

       “The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated,” VanLipsig quipped, dark eye glittering mischievously.

Marc’s fist dented the metal table with a furious blow. “Dammit, Wil! Can’t you stay dead?”

VanLipsig threw back his head, laughing caustically. The laugh became a long, high pitched, chilling howl. Matilda felt a shiver run through her to the very bone. She did her best not to show it, but a subtle shift of her bearing betrayed her. His gaze penetrated her soul, laying it bare, finding it wanting.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to the lady, Marc?”

“No.”

Marc hid his anger, but Matilda knew he was furious. His attitude toward VanLipsig was puzzling. They seemed to have known one another for years, obviously parting on less than amicable terms. Though VanLipsig seemed to harbor no ill will, Marc certainly did.

“May I present myself, ma’am? I’m Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, also known as the Lone Wolf. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?” He attempted to look humble. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” His glance flicked to her name tag and insignia, dark eye lingering hungrily on her chest. “Commander Dulac.” His mouth formed the words, enjoying the feel of the consonants on his tongue.

He waited patiently for a response. Getting none, his eye locked with hers, curious, intrigued. “Do you speak?”

Matilda studied him quizzically, raising an eyebrow. “There seemed little to say.”

Wil chuckled deep in his throat. It was a seductively menacing sound. He put his feet up on the table between them, relaxed, but all business.

“So, what’s this load I’m supposed to pick up?”

Matilda glanced at Marc, his blank face betraying nothing. He gave no indication that he was going to speak, so she took over the conversation.

“Trimagnite.”

VanLipsig, who was staring openly at her full breasts, raised an eyebrow. He grinned wolfishly, dragging his gaze to meet hers.

“Really? Nasty stuff.” He sounded almost gleeful.”How pure?”

She met his eyes with a challenge as his smile became predatory. Her personal scanner showed him the basic specs. His brow furrowed slightly as he read, then he handed it back to her, whistling softly in surprise.

“Show me the full scan.” All joking aside, he stood expectantly.

Matilda ushered VanLipsig to a console and typed in the commands. He leaned over her right shoulder, his face mere inches from hers. His scent tantalized her. It was  disconcerting, made all the more disturbing because he was dangerously handsome, well built, virile, wickedly seductive and extremely close. Forcing herself to look back at the screen, she felt his warm breath on her neck, tickling her skin in a very sensuous way.

He leaned forward, tapping the console, watching as the view and number readout changed. The very air between them was charged with energy. His shoulder brushed hers from behind, making her shiver

VanLipsig put his hand on her shoulder, brushing her neck slightly with his thumb, leaning in as if to kiss her. He checked himself abruptly, nearly brushing her ear with his lips. His breath stirred wisps of hair, tickling her neck.

“I’m sorry, Commander. Are you cold?” His raspy voice seemed loud, although he whispered.

She ducked out from under his arm, stepping aside. “No, I’m fine. Really. Thank you.”

Marc stood a few feet away, his eyes on the other man, saying nothing. The muscle in his jaw worked rapidly, bulging and relaxing as he fought for control.

Wil seemed unaware of them both as he read the screen, making mental calculations; sensuous lips moving as he spoke to himself. He nodded, clearing the screen, turning to them with a dazzling smile.

“No problem,” his smile broadened, but didn’t reach his eye. “I’ll just get my bots to work, then.”

He made for the door, but Marc stopped him with a powerful arm across his chest. Wil halted, pressing aggressively against Marc’s elbow.

“Old man, you know that’s dangerous.” Wil’s body stiffened defensively.

Marc glared at him, cold fury erupting. “By God, Wil! I killed you, you bastard!” Marc pounded the table next to him, scattering the cups of joe.

Wil didn’t even blink. “I told you, I got better.”

Marc’s huge fist shot out suddenly from shoulder height, all his weight behind it. Wil caught Marc’s fist, twisting up and away from his jaw, forcing Marc’s arm to bend back on itself, elbow by his ear.

“Don’t make me do this, Marc. ”

Wil held Marc’s arm, their muscles swelling and knotting as they fought for control. Marc tried to free himself from the other man’s unyielding grasp. Suddenly changing tactics, he swung at Wil with his left hand. With an audible crack, his enormous fist connected with Wil’s face. Neither man seemed to notice. Marc drew back, swinging again from the left.

Wil dropped Marc’s right hand in order to block the blow. He grabbed Marc’s arm in an elbow lock. Using the force of the attack, he spun Marc to face him, slamming his fist into Marc’s abdomen.

Instead of recoiling from the blow, Marc moved in, utilizing Wil’s momentum and his own greater weight, to put his opponent off balance. He threw Wil to the floor, hitting him with a bone grinding body slam.

Wil exhaled sharply as he grappled with one hand in Marc’s hair. Wil forced Marc’s head back at an odd angle. Marc’s face grew dark red as he gasped for breath.

Matilda reacted instinctively, her weapon trained on Wil automatically. Stance defiant, her eyes glittered with dark fire.

“Let him go,” she spoke quietly, teeth clenched.

Wil held Marc’s head, but stopped twisting.

“Why don’t you put the gun down, Ma’am, before you hurt yourself?”

Wil’s face registered momentary surprise when she didn’t immediately comply. Instead, her grip shifted on the weapon, her aim true, right between his eyes. The astonishment was quickly replaced by a placid expression. VanLipsig allowed himself a glance in her direction. Her face held a determination equal to his own. Slowly, he let go of Marc, who straightened up, shaking his head.

“Move away from him.”

VanLipsig stood in one fluid motion, taking two steps back. His hands were shoulder height, out from his body. He made no sudden movements, his demeanor passive.

“Now would one of you testosterone glutted males tell me what the hell is going on?” Her dark eyes flashed dangerously.

Lone Wolf is available through Second Wind Publishing as well as Amazon, and Barnes and Noble

About Dellani Oakes:

DellaniDellani Oakes doesn’t claim to be an expert on anything, but she has a lot of experience making something out of nothing. Thrown into the world of publishing four years ago, she found that trying to promote her work was the hardest part of being an author. Since then, she’s branched out, lost her inhibitions and faced the publishing world head on.

Dellani once told her publisher that she had enough books, finished & unfinished, to keep him busy for the next 10 years. He didn’t believe her, but he should have. Two novels, Indian Summer and Lone Wolf are published by Second Wind Publishing, but she has 42 finished romance novels and at least that many (she won’t count them) that are still in the works.

One of the 42, a romantic suspense, The Ninja Tattoo, came out September 24th from Tirgearr Publishing. The sequel to Lone Wolf, Shakazhan, is coming soon from Second Wind.

Dellani Oakes is a former A.P. English teacher, photo-journalist. She’s an avid reader & reviews the work of others. She hosts two shows for the Red River Radio Network – Dellani’s Tea Time the second Monday of each month, @ 4:00 PM Eastern and What’s Write for Me, every fourth Wednesday @ 3:00 PM Eastern on Blog Talk Radio.

Dellani Oakes WordPress site http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com

Writer’s Sanctuary http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com

Dellani’s Choice Book Reviews http://dellanischoice.wordpress.com

The Ninja Tattoo http://theninjatattoo.wordpress.com

Indian Summer http://indiansummerbydellanioakes.wordpress.com

Lone Wolf http://lonewoldbydellanioakes.wordpress.com

Look for Dellani Oakes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Good Reads, among others.

It Wasn’t Supposed To End This Way!

As I got closer to the end of Eternal Bond, I got more and more anxious because I had no idea how it was going to end.  This confuses the heck out of people.  They always ask, “How can you not know how your story is going to end?”  Easy!  I let my characters decide how they’ll end it and what my characters did shocked even me.  The heroes I so carefully created failed miserably and the bad guys wound up stealing a victory that was never meant for them.

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will share a little more from my novel Eternal Bond:

Eternal Bond By Rachel Rueben
Coming this Dec.

When Clara awoke, she wasn’t in the carriage house anymore instead, she was lying on a couch in a dimly light room.  Hearing a creaking sound, she thought someone was approaching and she slowly got up from the couch.  Turning around, she saw James hanging from the ceiling.

With a leather noose wrapped around his neck, the leather creaked, as the body swayed back and forth.

Though her lips moved, nothing came out, but a whimper.  Then a small feminine hand appeared pushing the body, making it sway faster.

Cheerfully, a familiar voice said, “Morning.”

Needing no introduction, Clara recognized who it was.  It was the devil’s consort herself, Apollonia.  Stepping out from behind the body, she revealed herself and the enormous smile on her face.

Grabbing a candle, Apollonia went over to the body and examined it with a spectacle remarking aloud, “Nicely executed, just deep enough and very clean!”

Shaking from head to toe Clara stood there scared silly.

Running her fingers through James’ hair, she said, “He was chosen just for you young, strapping—delectable.”

Clara began feeling ill, upon hearing it was all just a set up.

Looking over her shoulder at Clara, Apollonia said, “I told you Clara, thou art highly favored.”

Apollonia went back to amusing herself with the corpse, using pressure points to making the eyes bulge and lips move.

Eventually, she tore herself away from her entertainment to talk further with Clara.  Reaching out to touch her, Clara immediately jerked back from her.  Though Clara had failed in a most miserable way, she wasn’t ready to embrace those failures.

Instead, she was drawn to a window that looked like it was slowly shedding tears.  To her, it seemed as though the angels themselves were shedding tears from heaven.  Watching as the drizzle slowly crept down the glass, Clara found herself unable to react anymore, so she didn’t.  Looking over at the body and out the window again, she stood still.

Sinking deeper and deeper into despair, Apollonia spoke up and said with a tender compassion, “I know what you’re thinking, and none of it is true!”

Bewildered said, “You know not my thoughts, only God does” and she believed that, but she questioned whether He even cared anymore.  Her very soul was being eaten alive by her enemies, and all she received was silence from the throne of The Most High.

Taking the more sensitive approach, Apollonia spoke aloud everything in Clara’s tortured mind.  “You spend all your life following their commandments, whipping your very thoughts into submission.  Then, just as you taste mortality you discover, there’ll be no reward for you!  All those years of fearful sowing, yielded nothing but the whirlwind!”

Clara looked back at her in shock, because Apollonia had managed to recite every single one of her thoughts.  Clara knew she was in trouble, because Apollonia was starting to make sense.

Meeting her in the middle of the room, Clara asked, “What do you want?”

“Salvation just like you!”  Apollonia answered.

“After death comes judgment, not salvation.”  Clara said.

Sensing she was on the verge, Apollonia continued her assault asking, “Death itself was judgment on man, so what is this?”

“I do not know.”  Clara said confused.

“Then let us teach you!”  She said trying to secure the victory.

To seal the deal, Apollonia extended her hand in friendship and without looking, Clara accepted it.