Tag Archives: paranormal romance

A Grandfather, A Son, and Two Not-So-Holy Ghosts (by Sherrie Hansen)

Although my Wildflowers of Scotland books are contemporary, I always find a way to weave in a wee bit of history… an old kirk with architectural and religious artifacts gone missing, a sunken Spanish galleon filled with gold that was never recovered, a castle with a melancholy history all its own, or the Isle of Skye’s magical Fairy Glen. In GOLDEN ROD, I incorporated a touch of history via a 500-year-old castle that was cursed by a traveling minister when the owners refused his blessing, preferring to wait for the prayers of a Catholic priest.  At least, that’s what legend holds, and it would seem the legends are true, since no eldest son has ever inherited Lachlan Castle – not once in 500 years.

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From GOLDEN ROD:

A traveling Protestant minister who liked to speak in rhymes leveled the curse when the MacKenzie clan refused his blessing, preferring to wait until a Catholic priest could dedicate the newly built edifice.

Oh Lachlan, ye’re on shifting sand.

Nae eldest son shall have a hand

In furth’ring hist’ry on this land.

In the history of the castle, no eldest son has succeeded his father as heir of Lachlan Castle.

GR Blog - Castle

All kinds of tragedies have transpired as a result of the minister’s curse, including ghosts Laird Valan MacKenzie and Lady Rosemary being stranded at Lachlan for over 500 years.

A ghost dressed in full Highland attire roams the castle and grounds at Lachlan, on the shores of Loch Carron. A favorite of locals, Laird Valan MacKenzie so desperately wanted a son to pass the castle on to that he may have taken his wife’s life when she bore him nothing but daughters. Laird Valan’s version of the event was that his wife tripped and fell to her death despite his best efforts to save her. Many a guest has seen Laird Valan’s kilt, plaid, and sporran. Legend has it that Valan will haunt the castle until an ancient curse is broken.

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I won’t ask if you believe in ghosts because it doesn’t matter. GOLDEN ROD is a work of fiction, so all I’m asking you to do is to suspend your disbelief while you’re reading the book. But whatever our beliefs, I think we all have thoughts on the subject of ghosts. Some of us are afraid of them, or would be afraid to stay in a place that’s haunted by ghosts. Others are fascinated or even intrigued by ghostly happenings and seek out places that are reputedly haunted. What about you? Maybe you’ve had your hair stand on end when you’ve been seated around a campfire listening to ghost stories. How do you react to the subject of ghosts?

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A ghost, known as the “Blue Lady” also frequents Lachlan Castle, on Loch Carron. She is thought to be the wife of Laird Valan MacKenzie, and mother to their five daughters. Her husband allegedly pushed her from a fourth floor window so he could take a new wife who might bear him a son. The ghost of Lady Rosemary MacKenzie, who ironically, was discovered to have been pregnant with a son at the time of her death, is said to have scratched the words, The Son You Always Wanted, upside down on the window sill outside the bedroom window where she fell. The inscription can still be seen there today. It is reported that the “Blue Lady” leaves the scent of rosemary and bluebells wherever she goes. Because her own life ended so tragically, legend holds that the “Blue Lady” will haunt the castle until a Lachlan love story ends with a happily-ever-after ending. Unfortunately, due to an old curse, the dreams of many a castle resident have ended tragically, perpetuating the haunting of the castle by Lady Rosemary.

BlueBelle 2016 

I grew up watching tales of Casper the Friendly Ghost,  the classic Christmas Carol, and even Ghostbusters, so I’ve always been comfortable with the concept of ghosts. In church, we heard about the Holy Ghost, a comforting presence who is always with us. When I bought a house in St. Ansgar, Iowa and turned it into a B&B and tea house, locals told me about a friendly ghost who rescued the century old floor plans from the dump and returned them to the house when they were accidentally thrown away, among other adventures. So in one form or another, I’ve always accepted that ghosts are real.

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In GOLDEN ROD, Rod MacKenzie has felt the presence of Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary since he was young, but never had a direct encounter with them – until Katelyn O’Neal arrives from America and stirs things up.

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Katelyn thinks the whole thing is a crock, and is convinced there has to be some sort of logical, scientific explanation for the odd things that are happening to her.

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Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary, the ghostly duo from GOLDEN ROD, have very distinctive personalities and a sometimes quirky sense of humor. As Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary get more and more desperate to break the 500-year-old curse so they can rest in peace, the stakes grow higher.

GR Blog - Kilt Rock

Once Rod discovers what they’re up to, he’s more than happy to comply, or at least humor them, except that Katelyn’s niece is dying, and if he has to choose who to help, a dying twelve year old or a pair of ghosts who’ve already been dead for five hundred years, the choice is clear. Except that nothing is clear – and Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary will do anything to change history and break the curse that binds them.

Golden Rod

You’ll have to read GOLDEN ROD to learn how the story ends. In the meantime, I hope the ghosts that may haunt you are friendly ones.  Here are the Buy Links for GOLDEN ROD at Amazon:
Kindle: http://a.co/3zRGCpF
Paperback: http://a.co/8oJpv4Q

Ghosts - blur of blue

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Sea of Destiny – Part 34 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. West finally seems to realize that Kyle is a good man who is not out to hurt Emily. He more or less gives a blessing with an implied threat, but he accepts the relationship. Carmelita tells Kyle that she’s going out for the evening with Dr. West and he tells her to have a good time and make good choices.

“Baby, all Carmelita’s choices are good ones.”

“Except marrying—old what’s his name.”

“Well, even that was a good one as far as it went.”

“Which was how far?”

“The bedroom…. See you in the morning, sugar.”

* * *

The next afternoon, after a brief visit to Emily in the infirmary, Kyle and his family headed down the gangplank. The company rep , an attractive young woman named Vera, was waiting with an SUV and took them to the mission church outside town. It was an old building, but well maintained. The grounds were beautifully landscaped with native flora. The church was small, cramped, but obviously well loved. A man puttered around in the vegetable garden between the church proper and the rectory.

Vera greeted him in Spanish. Smiling, he nodded, waving for them to follow. Carmelita and Kyle walked side by side, the children following, holding hands. The woman from the company stayed with the car.

“Father Michael is expecting you,” the man said in good, but heavily accented English.

“Thank you. We really appreciate him seeing us.”

“Come in. Sit down. Something to drink? I have many bottled beverages, nice and cold.”

They each took a soft drink and waited in the priest’s office. No one felt much like talking. The children were too overwhelmed by the ancient surroundings. Kyle was deep in thought and Carmelita knew better than to tease him at a time like this.

The door opened and the priest walked in. Kyle rose to greet him, stunned to see that the man was white. He was tall, lean muscled and freckled. His close cropped hair was sun bleached to a light reddish blond.

Stumbling slightly, Kyle stepped forward to introduce himself and his family. “Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Father.”

“Not a problem,” the older white man said with a smile. “A priest’s life is full of short notice. The major drawback to my profession is that I’m constantly on call. So, how can I help you? The woman I spoke to last night was somewhat vague.”

“Carmelita, why don’t you take the kids out to the courtyard?”

“Sure. Come on, babies, let’s leave Dad here for a few.”

They followed her out quietly. Left alone, Kyle moved awkwardly in his chair.

“Father Michael, word of the work you’re doing has come to a friend of mine. Her name is Emily Geraci and she’s got cancer.”

The priest steepled his hands, nodding. “I see. She requires healing and prayer, is that it?”

“Yes, sir. The problem is, she’s very weak and her physician is hesitant about bringing her all this way.”

“Is she in Cozumel?”

“Yes, Father, on board a cruise ship.”

“I see. It’s not so far, drive her over for the service.”

“We were hoping you’d agree to come meet her instead.”

“Son, I can’t go on that ship….”

“We could meet you in a hotel in town. It would satisfy the doctor’s conditions and Emily could get the healing and prayer that she needs.”

“I’m familiar with the name Geraci. Her father owns that ship, the entire cruise line. With her money, she can get the best possible medical care. Why is she here?”

“Conventional means have been exhausted. She was in remission, but they just found another tumor last week. She really needs your help, Father.”

“Why are you acting as intermediary? You aren’t married to her.”

“I lost my wife to cancer several months ago. If I had known about you, could have brought her here, maybe she would still be alive. Carmelita believes it was Margo’s time to go.”

“And you don’t?”

“I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s Emily’s time.”

“How can you know that when you’re unsure about your wife?”

Kyle stood, pacing. “Because I’m falling in love with this woman, and she is with me—and my kids love her already. I couldn’t get this help for Margo, but I’m asking for you to help Emily.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 33 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. West isn’t convinced that Kyle is legitimately interested in Emily. He fears that Kyle is just after her money, much like her ex-husband was.

“Mr. Scott, you’ve convinced me and I don’t convince easily. Maybe you are the right one to go. I’ll set it up.”

“Can you reach someone at this hour?”

“Watch me.” He grinned. “I’ll call your cabin when it’s done. And do me a favor, will you ask Carmelita to meet me for drinks?”

“Ask her yourself when you call. She’ll think I’m being a smart ass.”

Conceding the point with a nod, the doctor picked up the phone. Kyle waved and left. A different nurse was on duty than the one he had danced with. She stopped him as he headed toward the door.

“You’re Ms. Geraci’s friend, aren’t you? The dancer?”

Kyle chuckled, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Well, I dance, but I’m not a dancer by profession.”

“You made quite an impression on Becky this morning.”

“Oh, yeah?” He chuckled. “See what being light on your feet can do for a guy?”

“I wish my boyfriend could dance. Do you give lessons?”

“I live in Orlando. Might be a bit of a trek for one of us.”

“Oh, no. I live in Winter Park. I’m just here as a favor to Dr. West. Do you give lessons?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Maybe you should. Emily said you taught her to dance and it would be so much fun if Matt could take me dancing. He’d rather watch sports.” She wrinkled her nose.

“I’ll think about it.”

“Thanks!” She kissed his cheek. “Here’s my number. Call when you get home and let me know.” She handed him a piece of paper with her number and the caption ‘dance lessons for two’. “So you know I’m not just hitting on you.” She blushed.

“I’ll let you know, but don’t get your hopes up.”

Back at the cabin, he poured himself a JD and Coke, sipping it while he waited. True to his word, Dr. West called a few minutes later.

“It’s set. The priest was incredibly easy to reach. He’ll see you tomorrow afternoon at 2:00. One of our reps will be waiting for you to take you there.”

“That’s about the time the sightseeing tour leaves, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I don’t see how you can manage both.”

“No, the point is I don’t want Emily to think I’m sneaking around behind her back. I’ll get off the ship with everyone else. My family will understand, at least I hope they will.”

“Take them with you. The rep can give you a private tour when you’re done. And having your family with you will give credence to your request.”

“Thank you, Dr. West.”

“Mr. Scott, I want Emily well as much as you do. If this helps her….”

“Yeah.” Kyle’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. He wanted to get off the phone before he started bawling like a baby. “Did you talk to Carmelita?”

“My next call. Goodnight, Mr. Scott.”

“Call me Kyle.”

“And I am Thad.”

They hung up. Kyle had the momentary qualm wondering if he was doing the right thing. Closing his eyes, Emily’s pain ravaged face floated past and he knew he had to do whatever it took to bring back the flush of health he saw in her picture.

Carmelita tapped on the suite door before opening it a crack.

“You decent?”

“As much as I ever get. I’m dressed.”

She poked her head around the door. “I’m going out for a bit. With Thaddeus.”

“Go have fun, Lita.”

“Shall I leave the suite door open so you’ll hear Mindy?”

“Yes. Let Cindy know you’re leaving.”

“She’s asleep already.”

“No she’s not, she’s faking. Probably reading some torrid romance novel with a flashlight.”

“I’ll tell her or leave her a note. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.”

“Enjoy yourself. How often do you get to have drinks with a handsome doctor? Have fun, but make good choices.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 32 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle plans to join Emily when she visits the faith healer. He gives her a crucifix, with special blessings on it, to take with her.

“Thank you, Kyle.” She touched his cheek, kissing him fleetingly, embarrassed by the emotions flooding through her.

Nothing in her life with Bob had prepared her for Kyle’s tenderness, his warmth, free spirited nature, his fathomless caring. He was a limitless font of love. His family was the same way, welcoming her into their circle as if she had always been there, a member of the most wonderful family in the world. Lips trembling, she held the crucifix to her chest.

A little, warm hand touched her left wrist. Mindy stood at her elbow, dark eyes searching her face in a disconcertingly ‘aware’ fashion. She was a child who had seen much more than her tender years should allow.

“Miss Emily?”

“Yes, Mindy?”

“You’re gonna be okay. Nobody could fix what was wrong with my mommy, but they’re gonna fix you. You’re gonna be better soon.” She kissed Emily on the cheek, hugging her neck.

Emily gulped, fighting tears. It was no use. She hugged Mindy, kissing her. “Thank you, Mindy. I feel so much better now. Look, they’re bringing in dinner. What have we here?”

Wiping her tears, she got Mindy occupied with her meal. Kyle watched how she interacted with his children, chatting with them as if she’d known them their entire lives. And they did the same with her. They weren’t replacing their mother, merely making room for someone else. Wasn’t that what Margo wanted? For all of them to be happy?

“I couldn’t have chosen better if I’d tried.”

“That’s because you didn’t choose. You let God decide.” He heard Margo’s voice in his head as if she were standing next to him. “God is good and kind and loving, Kyle. He’s also generous if you let Him. Accept this gift you’re being given.”

“I want to, Margo. I miss you, honey.” He realized that although he missed her, that dull, emptiness that he’d been feeling was gone. Instead, he was full of warmth and laughter.

For the first time in over a year, he thanked God for His blessings as his family laughed and joked with their new mother. He knew by looking at them that was what Emily would be. Carmelita met his eye, grinning happily. She knew it too. He felt better about the visit to Cozumel than he had earlier in the day. He expected a miracle and he knew they were going to get it.

Kyle accompanied Emily to the infirmary. She’d been asking to go back to her cabin, but Dr. West still refused. He wanted her nearby under the watchful eye of his nursing staff. Kyle was surprised to see such an extensive medical facility on board a ship. He suspected Dr. West had beefed it up because Emily was on board.

He was allowed to stay and visit until 10:00. Dr. West came in, insisting that Emily go to sleep.

“I slept all day, Thaddeus. I’m not the least bit tired.”

Kyle yawned expansively and stretched. “Well, it so happens that I am. So, if you’ll excuse me, Ms. Geraci, I need to go. Not because the doctor insists, but because my kids won’t settle down until I tuck them in. They’re probably robbing Lita of her sanity even as we speak.”

“It would take more than three kids to rob that woman of anything,” Dr. West remarked as he

gave Emily an injection.

Kyle kissed Emily as her eyes drifted shut, leaving with the doctor. They closed the door, standing together in the narrow corridor. Dr. West looked grim.

“You can’t talk her out of this visit, I suppose?” The doctor said softly.

“On the contrary, I think she should go.”

“I hate the idea of her getting off the ship. God knows what the conditions are at that mission church.”

“Bring him to her,” Kyle heard himself say without thinking. “Take her to one of the hotels and bring him over.”

“I hadn’t thought of that. Do you really think he’d come?” The doctor sounded almost like a little boy, not a mature man.

“I bet he’d come under the circumstances, if you asked nicely.”

“I’ll call ahead. We have an office there. One of them can try to persuade him.”

“I have a better idea. Ask them to set up an appointment for me. I’ll go see him personally.”

“Why would you even consider such a thing?” Dr. West wasn’t angry, he was curious. “You hardly know Emily, but you’d do this for her?”

“Dr. West, I recently lost my wife to cancer. I couldn’t do anything to make her well. If this will help Emily, even by easing her mind, then I’m behind it 100 percent.” His impassioned statement took the doctor by surprise. © Dellani Oakes 

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Sea of Destiny – Part 31 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny cover

Kyle is somewhat surprised to find out that Emily plans to visit a faith healer when they get to Cozumel. Already smitten, he wants her to get her miracle, because it was something he couldn’t do for his wife.

“I’ll be back after dinner,” he told her as he spun her the other way. “Take good care of her.”

“Only the best,” she gasped, giggling.

Kyle dipped, raising her slowly, humming. He danced out the door and was still dancing when he met his children.

“You’re happy today,” Carmelita smirked at him.

“I am.” He swung her into his dance, spinning her around.

“Any particular reason I should know about?”

“Nothing different than we’ve already talked about.”

“Is Miss Emily going with us, Daddy?”

“Not today, sweetie. She’s still not feeling very well.”

“How come?”

“That’s what the doctor is trying to figure out, honey.”

He had no intention of telling her. A silent agreement with his older children told him they wouldn’t say anything either.

They had a wonderful day in Cancun seeing all the sights. Kyle found his senses on overload. There was too much to see and too many things to do in one day. Exhausted, laden with their souvenirs, they went back to the ship for dinner.

To his surprise, Emily was sitting at their table when the family arrived. She smiled and waved as the children rushed to greet her. Kyle waited until they’d given her the 90 second highlight of their day and taken their seats before bending over to give her a kiss.

“I missed you today. Did you have fun?” She asked, the sparkle in her eyes.

“I missed you too. We had a great time. It would have been better with you there.”

“It will take me awhile to get where I want to see Cancun again.”

“Maybe we can come back and visit next year,” he murmured.

Her eyes filled with tears, but she smiled, taking his hand. “I’d like that.”

“Then it’s a date. Speaking of which…. Do you realize this is our anniversary?”

She giggled, blushing. The extra color looked good on her. “Is it?”

“It is. We’ve known one another exactly 72 hours. So I brought you something.”

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know. But it was so silly and ridiculous, I had to buy it.” He handed her a gift bag.

Digging into it, she brought out a snow globe with ‘Cancun’ in huge, pink letters. The water was green and had plastic shells mixed with glitter and plastic snow. When she shook it, it lit up.

“You paid money for this?” She giggled and shook the globe again.

“About two American dollars for it. Horrid, isn’t it? But the 72 hour anniversary is the plastic snow globe anniversary. I felt compelled.”

“It’s hideous. I’ll treasure it forever.” Her voice was drenched with sarcasm.

“Great.” He kissed her on the nose. “Now look in the bag again for your real present.”

She dug deeper, pulling out a small, flat package. Eyes curious, she opened it. Inside was a hand carved rosary made of Mexican jade. The detail on the crucifix was incredible. She could even see beads of blood under the crown of thorns. A small prayer book was in the bag at the very bottom.

Emily gasped, covering her mouth, trying not to cry. “It’s beautiful! Thank you, Kyle. Thank you so much!”

“I found a priest and asked him to bless it for you. We happened to pass by a church on the way back to the ship.”

“He’s failing to mention we had to go six blocks out of our way to happen upon that priest,” Carmelita smirked at Kyle. “But he coerced him into blessing it for him.”

“How on Earth did you manage to do that?”

“Six years of Spanish. Never really needed it until today. He was delighted to do it for me when I told him my girlfriend was sick on board ship.”

“Girlfriend, huh?”

“Yeah, well, this is our sixth date, you know.”

“So it is!”

“Some might debate that it was our seventh, but I don’t think I can count when I visited you in the infirmary because you were unconscious.”

“No, we can’t count that. Both parties have to be awake for it to be a date.”

“True. I asked for him to put special blessings on it for you, Emily. Take it with you when we go see the priest in Cozumel.”

© 2014 Dellani Oakes 

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Sea of Destiny – Part 19

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Kyle takes Emily to a dance class the day after they meet. The teachers are a couple who know his mother well. He embarrasses himself by talking about his early experiences on, and off, the dance floor.

 By the end of the class, they were dancing to ‘Oye Como Va’ by Carlos Santana. Kyle and Emily did extremely well together. Marion and Tony complimented them.

“If you ever want a job as a dance instructor, tell us. We still have connections all over the world. In fact, you could work on a ship of you wanted to. It’s good money and great fun.”

“It sounds like it, but I couldn’t really do that with three kids.”

“You’ve got children? Amy never told us that,” Marion said.

“Two girls and a boy.”

“Do they dance as well as you?”

Kyle shuffled his feet self-consciously. “The girls take ballet. My son is a sports freak. Nana wasn’t around to browbeat him into submission.”

“Was it so awful learning to dance?” Marion asked gently.

“Not when it gets me laid,” Kyle remarked in a smart assed fashion.

It was his stock answer and had been for so long, he didn’t even think about the implications of the comment anymore. Then he remembered he was there with a woman who wasn’t his wife, whom he had just met, and blushed a deep scarlet that clashed with his light red hair. Tony laughed loudly, clapping him on the back.

“Sorry, ladies,” Kyle mumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“My boy, that’s the most honest answer I’ve heard from any man to date,” Marion giggled, kissing him on the cheek.

“And so true,” Tony added, clapping him on the back.

“Isn’t it silly the stigmas attached to being artistic?” Emily said. “I’m an artist, so automatically I’m a flake. No matter that I’ve got two masters degrees and a doctorate, I’m still treated like I’m dumb. And I’m not even blonde!” She giggled, tossing her scarf over her shoulder.

“Has it been long?” Marion asked her kindly. “I am also a survivor, which is why I ask. You seem to be doing remarkably well. Such energy.”

“I just found out I’m in remission. I think I’m riding on an adrenaline high.”

“Take it easy, then. It’s not good to overdo, and you will be tempted right now. Had I thought about it during class, I’d have made you be more careful.”

“I won’t let her overdo,” Kyle promised. “Don Quixote to the rescue.” He put his arm protectively around Emily’s waist.

She leaned into his embrace before he realized he was holding her. It felt good to have a woman do that again.

Marion smiled. She took Kyle’s hand, holding it in both of hers. “You are a kind young man. A rare gift of empathy is in you. An old soul and a sweet spirit. Your mother must be very proud of you.”

He blushed again, glancing shyly at the floor. “I hope so. She’s not disappointed, anyway.”

“I can’t see how she could ever be disappointed with such a son. Shall we see you again tomorrow?”

“I’d love to come,” Emily said happily. “I had such fun!” Her green eyes sparkled.

“There will be sight seeing in the afternoon,” Tony said. “So take it easy when you come here. You don’t want to be too worn out to see Cancun.”

“I promise to take it easy.”

Tony and Marion left and Kyle walked with Emily back to the pool to check on his family. They were having a wonderful time playing Marco Polo with a bunch of other kids while the ship employees supervised.

Carmelita was deep in conversation with a tall, muscular, dark skinned man and didn’t even notice them. Kyle and Emily found a place in the shade and sat down.

© Dellani Oakes To Purchase Dellani’s Books

If you’re in the Orlando area, come visit Dellani at Ditter.con January 17 and 18.

Visit http://www.ditterkellen.com/dittercon.html for details

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Sea of Destiny – Part 18

sea of destiny coverDuring their conversation, Emily discloses how awful her husband was to her and how he mistreated her. Kyle’s heart goes out to the delicate woman.

 They got her shoes and walked into the dance class in plenty of time. The instructors were a married couple who were probably about the same age as Kyle’s mother. In fact, the woman really reminded him of her in the way she walked and spoke.

“Do any of you have any experience with salsa dancing?” Marion, the instructor, asked.

Kyle was the only one who raised his hand.

“What would you say your level of expertise is, Kyle?” She read his name off his nametag.

“I haven’t done it in a few years, but I used to be pretty good.”

“All right. Come up here and partner me for a moment. Let’s show the folks how it’s done.”

Shrugging, he walked over to her taking his position across from her with a shy smile.

“I apologize in advance if I step on your toes. It’s been about ten years since I did this.”

“I promise to be gentle.” She grinned at him, nodding for them to begin.

The music started at a very fast tempo. Kyle’s feet stepped automatically as he and Marion moved across the dance floor. He spun her under his arm, twirling her first left, then right. As she turned, he flipped the edge of her skirt with his fingers, then grabbed her hand, pulling her to him. In and out, back and forth, they danced as the others in the class laughed and clapped.

Stunned, Marion nearly lost her aplomb when he tossed her in the air, catching her lazily just before she hit the ground. He swung her into a low dip supporting her with one arm and his knee before swooping her up again. The music finally ended. Laughing and panting, he bowed to Marion, who dramatically collapsed into his arms.

“Oh, my God! I think I’m too worn out to teach the class now. Where on earth did you learn to dance like that?”

“Amy Kay Scott’s School of Dance,” he said proudly. “My mom taught for many years and I partnered her from the time I was eleven.”

“You’re Amy’s little boy? I thought you looked familiar. My husband and used to work with her. Marion and Tony Capella.”

“Sheesh, I’m losing my mind. I kept thinking you looked familiar.” They exchanged pleasantries for a moment more before getting back to the class.

“We must get together later and talk. Is this your wife?” She held out her hand to Emily.

“No, this is my friend Emily. We met last night at dinner.”

“Lovely to meet you, dear! Are you as accomplished as Kyle?”

“Oh, no. I’m decidedly a beginner.”

“He can probably teach you better than I can. We’ll start slowly. You don’t get to his level overnight.”

He and Emily practiced some simple steps. He showed her the woman’s part as Marion worked with the others. Tony circulated, helping his wife as well as checking on Kyle and Emily. Slightly apart, they practiced the steps and chatted quietly.

“You’re so light on your feet. I’m jealous!” Emily giggled as she messed up.

“I’ve been dancing since I could walk,” Kyle admitted with a shrug.

“Why didn’t you go into it professionally?”

“Because where we lived only fags became dancers.” He glanced at Marion’s husband. “Sorry, dude. You know the stigma.”

“All too well,” Tony replied with a distinctive Italian accent. “But women love to dance and a straight man who can move like that on the dance floor, they’re figuring he can move good other places—you catch my drift?”

Kyle did, so did Emily. The men chuckled knowingly as Emily blushed.

“I know very well what you mean. All these single women used to come to take lessons and meet guys. They all thought I was in my twenties because of my size. I was barely fifteen the first time…. Ne-ver mind,” he concluded, snapping his lips together.

“The first time you what, Kyle?” Emily feigned innocence, fluttering her eyelashes.

“Danced a salsa,” he lied. “Jumped right in like a pro.”

Tony laughed at him as he blushed, spinning Emily away from him. Tony caught her, spinning her the other direction, sending her back.

“I feel like a yo-yo,” Emily laughed when Kyle caught her.

“You don’t look like one. Which is a good thing, since they’re flat and round. Very boring, yo-yo’s. You’re much prettier.”

© Dellani Oakes 

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Sea of Destiny – Part 17

sea of destiny coverDuring a conversation with Kyle and his family, Emily discovers that he’s a widower and finds out how his wife died. 

“I’m so sorry,” Kyle said honestly. “I understand a little bit how you feel. A man can’t ever entirely understand that kind of loss….”

“But you were there to help Margo cope. She was a lucky woman.”

“Thanks. Well, this is me.” He pointed to his door. “Let me grab my shoes and the information about the class.”

“Okay.”

He opened his door, leaving it open for her. Emily stood in the doorway, looking around the room, her eyes wide.

“You can come in, Emily. I don’t mind.”

She looked around rather furtively.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.” She whispered. “Yes, fine. Sorry. It’s been awhile since I was in a strange man’s cabin. Maybe the only time, actually. The last time I was on this ship, it was my honeymoon. We stayed in this cabin.” Her eyes filled with tears as she leaned against the doorframe. “I’m so sorry. I swore I wouldn’t be this emotional. It’s just I’ve had more fun since I met you than I did my entire honeymoon.”

“That’s great—but terrible all at once. I mean, hell, you’re supposed to spend your honeymoon in bed.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Sex wasn’t all that great for me. Bob didn’t much care about my needs. God, I can’t believe I just told you that.”

“So, no multiple orgasms?” He shut the door behind them. “No screaming his name, biting the neck, that sort of thing?”

She blushed, casting her eyes away. “There was some screaming—mostly in frustration. Even after a few years, it didn’t improve and then he started fooling around on me.”

“I can’t imagine any man treating you like that. Didn’t he realize how special you are?”

She shook her head, shrugging slightly as she tried to open her door. Kyle took her key card from her, sliding it smoothly and opening the door for her.

“Not so much, I guess. He always thought I was a bit of a flake.”

“Pardon my saying this, cause I’ve never met the man, but what a douchebag. The more I hear about him, the more I want to cut his balls off and feed them to him while he bleeds to death.”

“Bizarre as this may sound, that’s one of the nicest things a man’s ever said to me. I never had anyone volunteer to fight for my honor before.”

“Margo used to tell me that I was Don Quixote in another life—tilting at windmills. I’ve always been the one to champion a cause, fight for the weak….”

“Are you a lawyer?”

He laughed, shaking his head. “No. I’m in advertising. Championing the weak doesn’t pay the bills very well. But I do ad campaigns for companies who are going green, trying to be more environmentally friendly. Not all my clients are like that, but the numbers are growing. Good PR to be ‘green’.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 16

sea of destiny coverKyle and Emily are spending time getting to know one another. His family seems quite taken with Emily, especially Mindy.

 “My mommy was sick,” Mindy’s little mouth pouted.

“I’ve been very sick too. But now I’m all better.”

“I’m glad you’re better. I like you, Miss Emily.”

“Thank you. I like you too, Mindy.”

“What’s on the docket for today?” Carmelita asked.

“I don’t know. There are all kinds of activities for the kids. Arts and crafts at nine, swimming, video games. In fact, there’s a Guitar Hero competition right after lunch.”

“There’s not!” Randy’s eyes got huge. “Which one?”

Kyle pulled out the brochure. “Says here, Guitar Hero II and Metallica.”

“Sweet!”

“I thought that would interest you and Cindy. You two kick serious butt at that game.”

“Randy’s better than me,” Cindy pouted. “He’d beat me.”

“You can compete and different levels. See?”

“You’re the queen of medium, Cindy,” Randy tried to console his sister. “I can’t even play as good as you at that setting.”

“This from the king of expert.” She smirked, nudging her brother. “But thanks. It might be fun.”

Once the children were occupied, Carmelita got her things and lay beside the pool for more hunk watching. Kyle and Emily took another stroll around the deck.

“There’s a dance class at ten,” Kyle told her. “Would you like to go?”

“What kind of dancing?”

“Salsa.” He did a few fancy steps, shaking his hips.

Giggling, Emily agreed. “I’ll need different shoes. I can’t dance in tennis shoes.”

“Ditto.” He was wearing flipflops. “How about we stroll down to the cabins, change footwear and find the class? I’ve got the brochure in my cabin.”

“Sounds good. Where is your cabin?”

“A few doors down from yours.”

“Really? Oh, how fun! Carmelita wasn’t upset that I kept you out half the night, was she?

“No, she thought it was great. The family has really taken a shine to you.”

“I’m glad. I like them too. You have a lovely family. I look at Mindy and I see a lot of myself there. What a darling she is.”

“Thanks. I’m pretty fond of her. She was kind of a surprise after the first two. We thought we’d had our family, but Fate had different plans.”

“Funny how that happens, isn’t it? I hope she wasn’t too big a shock.”

“She wasn’t so much a shock as a surprise. We’d thought about having more kids, but Margo had a few miscarriages.”

“I had a couple myself. That was the main reason we found the tumor. I’d had another one and went to the doctor to see what was wrong.”

“What a lousy way to find out.”

“Yes, so I had several tragedies to deal with simultaneously.”

© Dellani Oakes 

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Sea of Destiny – Part 15

sea of destiny cover

The children get the chance to talk to Emily and get to know her. They all seem to like her a great deal.

Once the children were occupied, Carmelita got her things and lay beside the pool for more hunk watching. Kyle and Emily took another stroll around the deck.

“There’s a dance class at ten,” Kyle told her. “Would you like to go?”

“What kind of dancing?”

“Salsa.” He did a few fancy steps, shaking his hips.

Giggling, Emily agreed. “I’ll need different shoes. I can’t dance in tennis shoes.”

“Ditto.” He was wearing flipflops. “How about we stroll down to the cabins, change footwear and find the class? I’ve got the brochure in my cabin.”

“Sounds good. Where is your cabin?”

“A few doors down from yours.”

“Really? Oh, how fun! Carmelita wasn’t upset that I kept you out half the night, was she?

“No, she thought it was great. The family has really taken a shine to you.”

“I’m glad. I like them too. You have a lovely family. I look at Mindy and I see a lot of myself there. What a darling she is.”

“Thanks. I’m pretty fond of her. She was kind of a surprise after the first two. We thought we’d had our family, but Fate had different plans.”

“Funny how that happens, isn’t it? I hope she wasn’t too big a shock.”

“She wasn’t so much a shock as a surprise. We’d thought about having more kids, but Margo had a few miscarriages.”

“I had a couple myself. That was the main reason we found the tumor. I’d had another one and went to the doctor to see what was wrong.”

“What a lousy way to find out.”

“Yes, so I had several tragedies to deal with simultaneously.”

“I’m so sorry,” Kyle said honestly. “I understand a little bit how you feel. A man can’t ever entirely understand that kind of loss….”

“But you were there to help Margo cope. She was a lucky woman.”

“Thanks. Well, this is me.” He pointed to his door. “Let me grab my shoes and the information about the class.”

“Okay.”

He opened his door, leaving it open for her. Emily stood in the doorway, looking around the room, her eyes wide.

“You can come in, Emily. I don’t mind.”

She looked around rather furtively.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.” She whispered. “Yes, fine. Sorry. It’s been awhile since I was in a strange man’s cabin. Maybe the only time, actually. The last time I was on this ship, it was my honeymoon. We stayed in this cabin.” Her eyes filled with tears as she leaned against the doorframe. “I’m so sorry. I swore I wouldn’t be this emotional. It’s just I’ve had more fun since I met you than I did my entire honeymoon.”

“That’s great—but terrible all at once. I mean, hell, you’re supposed to spend your honeymoon in bed.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Sex wasn’t all that great for me. Bob didn’t much care about my needs. God, I can’t believe I just told you that.”

“So, no multiple orgasms?” He shut the door behind them. “No screaming his name, biting the neck, that sort of thing?”

She blushed, casting her eyes away. “There was some screaming—mostly in frustration. Even after a few years, it didn’t improve and then he started fooling around on me.”

“I can’t imagine any man treating you like that. Didn’t he realize how special you are?”

She shook her head, shrugging slightly as she tried to open her door. Kyle took her key card from her, sliding it smoothly and opening the door for her.

“Not so much, I guess. He always thought I was a bit of a flake.”
“Pardon my saying this, cause I’ve never met the man, but what a douchebag. The more I hear about him, the more I want to cut his balls off and feed them to him while he bleeds to death.”

“Bizarre as this may sound, that’s one of the nicest things a man’s ever said to me. I never had anyone volunteer to fight for my honor before.”

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