It's not often that I delete a scene in a book. Usually I'm adding a bit during edits. But Viscount's Wager got long on me, so I ended up cutting two scenes that weren't critical to Anthony and Gabriel's relationship development.
Actually, neither scene featured the guys - one scene was with Max & Tristan (from All In with the Duke) and the other was with Will and Jack (from Sharp Love). The scenes were fun to write, yet needed to be cut. But when I did the cutting, I promised myself I'd share them after the book released just for fun and to give readers a peek into decisions that go into finalizing a book.
I shared Max & Tristan's scene in my September newsletter (and I'll post it here later for those who don't get the newsletter). As promised in the newsletter, here is the other deleted scene from Viscount's Wager.
If you haven't read Viscount's Wager yet, this deleted scene will contain spoilers. Consider yourself warned. If you want to read on, scroll below the cover.
The scene was planned to take place in Chapter 18, between the time when Anthony and Gabriel go from the bedroom down to the study. When I wrote it, I thought I needed to show how Will and Jack knew to go to the house, but then later decided I could cover that with a line of dialogue later in the book.
Originally from Chapter 18...
Sprawled over Jack on the narrow pallet, William Drake lifted his head and listened. There it was again—a distinct thud beneath the sounds of the rain pelting against the barn’s wooden roof.
“Jack.” He gave his lover’s broad shoulder a nudge. “Did you hear that?”
“Pardon?” came Jack’s low, sleep-logged voice from the absolute darkness of the room, his chest rumbling with the word.
“I thought I heard something.”
The immense body beneath him tensed.
Will didn’t know the time, but it felt as though a few hours had passed since they’d fallen asleep. Likely too late for it to be merely Rawling and Tilden engaging in some enthusiastic bedchamber activities. A conclusion Jack must have come to as well.
“Up with you,” Jack said, all-business, the lethargy gone as if it had never been there.
Before Will could marshal his limbs to comply, large hands bracketed his ribcage and lifted him from Jack’s chest as though he weighted nothing. The blankets slipped from his back, cold air smacking his skin.
“Stay here.” There were the sounds of Jack moving about the small room in the loft—boards creaking, the shuffle of clothing.
“Like hell I’m staying here.” Will got to his feet. Where had he left his clothes?
“Will,” Jack admonished. “Stay here.”
“It’s too cold on the pallet without you. Best I get dressed and move about.” It wasn’t a lie. Sleeping on top of Jack had kept him nicely warm, but without a decent fire, the room was downright cold. And damp. Yes, he could stay under the blankets they’d found in the traveling carriage, but he did not want Jack investigating without him. Pummeling fists and brute strength couldn’t always keep one safe. “You don’t want me to catch a chill, do you?”
Another rustle of fabric. Jack let out a grunt, and stopped arguing.
Will felt around in the darkness and found his clothes and boots scattered about near the wooden stool in the corner. As he tugged on his breeches and shirt, he could feel the tension in the air. Tension that radiated from Jack.
“I am certain it is nothing to worry about,” Will said, foregoing his waistcoat and slipping his arms into the sleeves of his coat. “We are in the country. Could be an animal loitering about, or maybe it was just the rain. Or maybe those two haven’t gone to sleep yet. Perhaps they are even more vigorous in bed than we are.”
Another grunt from Jack, yet this one was lower, deeper. Not a sound of agreement.
“It’s possible. Those contained country gentlemen aren’t always as polite as they seem.” A fact Will had learned years ago. “Tilden could have Lord Rawling trussed up and bare-arsed on the bed. Maybe he has a fondness for paddles.” That was something Will did not want to walk in on. It would definitely make it uncomfortable between the four of them in the morning. Though… “Would you like a paddling?” Oh, that idea held definite merit. Jack’s muscular arse reddened and skin blazing hot. Jack bent over and begging him for another swift smack of the paddle. Jack liked to beg, and he really liked submitting. A need that was lodged into his soul. And Jack had grown more comfortable with his desires of late. Perhaps—
“Your greatcoat,” Jack said, completely ignoring Will as though he hadn’t spoken. Heavy fabric was thrust into Will’s hands. “Be sure to button it. It’s raining something fierce.”
All right. Perhaps now wasn’t the best moment to bring up a potential new erotic game for them to indulge in. Another night, then. He’d ask Jack again, and when they had the benefit of some candlelight. The look in Jack’s dark eyes would tell him immediately if he landed on something that sparked Jack’s interest.
Will donned his greatcoat, but before following Jack’s request, he checked the pockets of both it and his coat underneath. One, two, three blades. Four, actually, counting the one he kept in his right boot.
They made their way down the ladder. When they reached the end of the aisle, Jack thrust out an arm, keeping Will from preceding him. There was a squeak of hinges as Jack partially opened the barn door. A gust of wind blew a spray of rain into the aisle, misting Will’s face.
“See anything?” Will asked.
“Just the back of the house, though there is a candle lit in a room on the first floor. One of the windows on the side of the house, near the front. Drapes must be drawn, but there’s some light around the edges.”
“Maybe they haven’t retired yet.” To Will’s knowledge, there were no servants in residence, so it couldn’t be a footman moving about the house.
“We should be cautious, all the same.” Jack fully opened the barn door. “Stay behind me.”
They stepped out of the barn, Will shutting the door behind them. Cold rain smacked Will’s head, his shoulders, his face. The downpour was a constant drone of noise surrounding them. As they came up to the window in question, Jack paused. Yet the drapes were drawn too tightly for them to see into the room.
Jack motioned toward the front. They trudged through water-logged grass. Then Jack abruptly stopped and threw out his arm again, pushing Will behind him and against the side of the house.
“There’s a carriage with a team of four waiting up the drive,” Jack said over his shoulder.
Mr. Tilden had a visitor, in the dead of the night, no less. The preferred time for hired muscle to make a call.
So much for their little holiday in Derbyshire.
“Stay here,” Jack added, then he disappeared around the front of the house.
Like hell Will was staying there. He reached into his greatcoat pocket, fingers wrapping around cold steel, then followed Jack.
Copyright © 2015 by Ava March
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