Character Quotes from Savage Heart

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

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

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

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

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

“And you think I’m wrong?”

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

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

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

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Savage Heart – Sequel to Indian Summer

savage heart coverIndian Summer was not only my first historical romance, it was my first published novel. After it was completed, I felt compelled to write another story for Sailfish. He was so incredibly lonely and needed a high spirited woman of his own. It took me awhile, but I finally finished Savage Heart. Below is an excerpt from this sweeping historical romance.

Sailfish is desperately in love with Gabriella Deza-Enriques, the daughter of the Spanish Governor and wife of his closest friend. Even though he knows she is married to another, he still loves her. Meli is a young woman he meets while on the road to visit St. Augustine for Gabriella’s birthday. She is injured and he saves her life. She’s not ungrateful, but she does have a way of getting under his skin.

Sailfish woke at noon the next day, to find Meli lying next to him. Her green eyes held humor as she gazed at him. He sat up slowly, wondering what she found so humorous.

“You snore,” she giggled. “And talk in your sleep. Who is Gabriella? Is she the one you love?”

“What does it matter? She’s married to another man.”

“Ah. Was she your woman first?” Her green eyes sparkled merrily.

“No.”

“So, did you try to steal her away from the other man?”

“No.”

“Tell me what happened and I’ll quit asking you,” she teased.

“And what fun would that be for you?”

Sailfish said no more, setting about breaking their primitive camp. He kicked dirt over the coals of their fire, pouring water from the river onto the dirt.

“I’m better today, thank you,” she said by way of making conversation.

Sailfish ignored her, going about his business with a singularity of focus unmatched by many.

“Why, that’s very good to hear, Meli.” She lowered her voice, pretending to be him. “Do you think you can walk all right on your own?” She kept her voice low, standing in a manly fashion with her hands on her hips. She captured his cadence and movements well, including the casual toss of his head.

“Why yes,” she turned her body, taking a more feminine stance. She batted her eyelashes. “I believe I can walk just fine today.”

Despite himself, Sailfish laughed at her, unconsciously tossing his head. “I hear insane people are very popular in towns. Perhaps they will pay to see you talk to yourself.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Dellani Knows History!

dellani knows history bannerI’m not claiming to be an expert on anything. Let’s get that stated up front. However, in a couple very specific times, in limited settings, I know a minuscule amount of history.

That being said, I can give you a fairly clear idea of events leading up to, and including, the siege of St. Augustine, Florida in 1740. Don’t ask me names, I’d have to check my notes, but I know that something significant happened there. Do you know what happened? If not, you’ll have to read my novel, Savage Heart, when it comes out. Education with a little romance to make indian summerit more palatable.

Since it’s not finished yet, you can get an feel for the times by reading Indian Summer. If I may say so, it gives an enjoyable romp through history and it told from the perspective of fifteen year old, Gabriella Deza.

If a retro setting is more your style, why not try my novel, Under the Western Sky, set in Western Nebraska in 1976. It takes place shortly after the disastrous handling of events at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Set in a time of fear, it examines the relationships between people and their perspectives on interracial couples.

I really want to focus more on this book than the other, because I sometimes forget it’s out there. I know that’s awful, but Under the Western Sky is my quiet child. Unlike some of the others, this book isn’t a hot, spicy romantic suspense. Yes, the tension is there as Libby and Bobby fight for their lives, but this is the flush of first love.

In Under the Western Sky, I focus as much on the conflict they face, as on their relationship. I like that these young people work together against adversity. Their love transcends race and color. Instead, it’s about two young people who have grown up together and care deeply for one another. It’s about the power of friendship, not just between them, but with their two best friends, Danny and Toni.

I love this book and I have promised myself I am going to share more of it with my fans. If you haven’t read Under the Western Sky, I hope you’ll get your copy today while it’s only .99¢ 

Below is a short excerpt from Chapter 9 of Under the Western Sky:

Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - 500Bobby and his best friend, Danny, are on opposite sides of the racial barrier. Danny is white and his father has been approached by a white supremacist group. His initiation was to injure, possibly kill, Bobby because he’s dating a white girl. They have a terrible fight and Bobby takes his friend down. The police have arrested Danny and he spent the night in jail.

Bobby woke the next morning to the delicious odors of coffee and bacon. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was well after nine. He couldn’t remember a time when he had slept that late on a Sunday. In fact, he couldn’t remember a time he’d slept that late in the last six years.

Bobby’s body ached from his encounter with Danny. When he examined himself in the mirror, he saw that his old friend had landed a few good punches on his ribs, leaving angry red welts on his back and chest. How could he have done that without Bobby noticing? He hurt all over and was glad he hadn’t spent the night on the lumpy old couch. His back hitched on him when he bent over to pull up his jeans.

Someone knocked on the door as he zipped his pants. Fumbling with his shirt, he invited them in. He was expecting his mother or maybe Maria, but it was Libby. She was dressed in Maria’s shorts, and a T-shirt with big pink rhinestone lips on the front. Her eyes widened when she saw the bruises on his chest.

“Your mom said to wake you for breakfast,” she said shyly, eyes downcast.

“Thanks.” He pulled her gently inside, closing the door. His lips connected with hers, leaving a spark in their wake. “I’m sorry about last night,” he sighed, holding her face in his hands. “I feel like such a bum.” His fingers traced the curve of her cheek and neck tenderly.

“No, it’s my fault. I should’ve known better.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I love you too much for that.”

They kissed a few more moments until Maria called to them from the hallway. “Rise and shine, Babu! Breakfast!” She tapped on the door, whispering. “Put it back in your pants and get out here before Mom has a piglet!”

Bobby jerked the door open in her face, leaning casually against the frame. “It’s where it belongs, Mia. Just getting a good morning kiss.” He smirked, pinching her cheek.

He still didn’t have his shirt on and Maria winced, sucking in a breath as he passed her.

“Did Danny do that?” She pressed her hand gently on his side.

“Yeah.” He flinched away from her fingers as they probed a particularly sensitive spot. “Fuck, Mia, don’t do that!” he said, more loudly than he intended.

“What’s that language I’m hearing in my house?” his mother called from the kitchen.

“Nothing, Mamá! It was a perfect stranger who said that,” Bobby called from the hallway.

“If he was perfect, he wouldn’t use that kind of…” His mother stood in the living room, a pancake turner in one hand, an oven mitt in the other. When she saw Bobby’s chest, she stopped talking. “Oh, Jesus, Maria!” She crossed herself as she approached him.

Babbling in Spanish, she examined him carefully before leading him back to the kitchen. “Jim, Toby, look! See what that brute did to my baby!”

Toby looked him over with a practiced eye. “I don’t think anything’s broken, but we better take you by the hospital to have x-rays.”

“I’m fine.” Bobby tried to pass off the pain. “Just bruised up.” Shrugging into his shirt, he winced as he pulled it down, gasping as the cloth rasped against his bruises.

“That settles it for me,” Toby said in a no-nonsense voice. “I’m taking you.”

“Can I at least eat first? I’m starving.”

Toby frowned, not wanting to agree, but not wanting the kid to be hungry.

“A man either needs food or sex after something like that,” Jim said, without thinking.

Bobby shot him an ugly look, which fortunately his mother missed. “Yeah, well, I’ll take that food now, Mom.”

Jim mouthed, “I’m sorry,” to him, winking at Maria as she stifled a giggle.

“Does it hurt as much as it looks?” Grace asked.

“Pretty much, yeah. Hurts to breathe deep. I don’t even remember him doing that to me. I didn’t feel anything at the time.”

“Yeah, you don’t,” Toby said calmly. “It’s an adrenaline thing. You get so pumped, you don’t realize you’re taking almost as much damage as you’re giving. Though in this case, I think you did more.” He winked at Bobby. “You’ll have to show me that trick. I know black belts who can’t do that.”

“I wish I could. I don’t have a clue. It was like I saw in my mind how it was done, but unless you pulled a gun on me, I don’t think I could repeat it.”

“We’ll figure it out.” Jim almost clapped him on the shoulder, but refrained. “Bruce Lee, ki ya!”

Bobby tried to laugh but it hurt. Instead, he held his ribs, groaning.

“That’s it,” Toby said, before they even sat down. “Link is on his way here. I’m taking you to the hospital.”

“I’ll take him, Toby,” Jim offered. “I think the ladies need you here more than me. As soon as Link arrives, we’ll go.”

© Dellani Oakes

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To Buy Indian Summer

Excerpt from “Savage Heart” – sequel to “Indian Summer”

View of the ocean from Turtle Mound

View of the ocean from Turtle Mound

War with the British looms on the horizon. Governor Deza knows that things could get dangerous very quickly. He insists that Gabriella and her sisters join their step-mother and go to Jamaica. Manuel plans to infiltrate the British army, posing as an Indian. For very obvious reasons, Gabriella doesn’t want him to go. They talk about it on their ride home.

“I love you so, Gabriella. You are a part of me like no other.”

“Then why are you so determined to leave?”

He was discouraged but not surprised by her sudden change of tactic. Gabriella was well known for her sneaky ways of getting the truth from him. He sighed gently, clucking to the horses to go faster. Pricking up their ears, the two graceful mares began a steady trot.

“I must, my love. You know this better than anyone.”

“Sailfish or one of his men could do the job as well. You know that’s true. His skill with languages is equal to yours. He’s brave and strong, an excellent warrior. He’d do a remarkable job.”

“He has one failing as an agent of espionage.”

“What failing could he possibly have?”

“He doesn’t know the ways of the English as well as I. He might not see trouble coming. Englishmen say one thing with their lips, but their bodies belie their words. My brother, as skillful as he is, can’t interpret them as accurately as I.”

“Take him with you, then. If he’s with you, I won’t worry.”

“You’ll always worry about me, Bella.”

“I won’t worry as much with him by your side. He will be here in a few days for my party.”

“How can I ask such a thing? I could get him killed!”

Furious, she raised her voice. “I will, then.”

Manuel’s temper also flared. “Why would he do something so dangerous for you?”

“Because he, unlike you, loves me enough to do what I ask!”

They pulled up in front of their home. Rather than waiting for Manuel to help her down, she scrambled from the carriage. Rushing inside, Gabriella slammed the door behind her.

Manuel couldn’t speak. His mouth hung open as he stared at his front door. He couldn’t believe that she had said that, nor that she would have the gall to ask his blood brother to help him on this dangerous mission.

“She’d risk us both to save but one of us.” Manuel wondered for a moment, if she ever had to choose, which man would she pick?

It had always bothered him that she had spent so much time alone with Sailfish. He knew how much his brother loved her. It was painfully evident in his eyes every time they met. He longed to touch her, kiss her, make love to her. Had she been unfaithful to him while they were apart?

His better sense prevailed whenever he got in a mental battle of what if. Gabriella loved him and he knew it. She was very religious, making her choices by the teachings of the Church. She would never have let Sailfish make love to her. Still, doubts lingered.

Sometimes when she spoke to his brother and they shared a laugh over something that had happened in her time with the tribe, her eyes glittered in a way they never did for him. There was more than just friendship on both their parts. Manuel’s logical side protested he had no right to feel this way. After all, she had married him. She was his, but had she been his brother’s first?

Shaking his head to clear it, he drew a deep, cleansing breath, wishing he knew the answers to these questions. He could never ask Gabriella. If she even thought he didn’t trust her, she would surely leave him. He couldn’t stand the idea of losing her for any reason. But lack of trust was worse than infidelity. If she’d been unfaithful, and he didn’t want to believe for a moment that she had, it was before they were wed.

“Evenin’, young master.”

Manuel jumped, startling the horses. Holding the bridle of one of them, he calmed them.

“I didn’t hear you, Willem.”

“Sorry to startle you, sir. I heard you arrive and thought as you might need help with the ladies, an all.”

“Thank you. As a matter of fact, if you’d take them, Señora Enriques is feeling a bit under the weather. I need to check on her.” Manuel moved toward the steps to the house quickly.

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

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

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

“And you think I’m wrong?”

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

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

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

“Thanks, Willem. Good night then.”

“Good night, sir.” He tipped his hat, spit and led the horses to the stable.

Manuel took the stairs to their bedroom two at a time. He heard Gabriella talking. Wondering if she spoke to Consuela, their maid, he lingered outside the door, trying not to make any noise.

“He’s so stubborn! I can’t believe what a pig headed man he can be! How can he think to leave me now, when less than a year ago, he was just coming back from his spying upon James? The gall! To think I’d stand for it!”

He heard a hairbrush clatter on the floor. Some very unladylike language followed that she would never have used around anyone but him. In point of fact, she’d probably learned it from him. He knew she must be alone.