The plan when I write is to have a finished book that reads smoothly from begining to end. However, often the actual writing has a few twists and turns in it that end up on the cutting room floor. I've been fortunate that in most cases, I only cut a few lines here and there (LOL- "enough" few lines to make up maybe thirty pages of so), but REDEEMING THE ROGUE was different. I began with a different vision for that book - a vision with which my editor disagreed.
You see, I envisioned my Irish rogue hero kidnapping my heroine. He needed someone to serve as a hostess for him in America as well as someone familiar with diplomats and all their falderal. The heroine served both purposes - plus rumor had it that she'd already been compromised. She'd be perfect for his purposes - why not kidnap her?
Unfortunately, I'd already written well over a hundred pages or so when my editor nixed the kidnapping. She suggested a "small" change that pretty much meant that only the first chapter could remain with some editing.
Now I'm not complaining. I think the editor's suggestion made REDEEMING THE ROGUE a stronger book - but man, I hate to throw out a hundred pages of creative work!
So I'm not. I'm putting up some of the deleted scenes on my website. Here's a part of one such scene. Let me set it up for you.
Rafferty, the hero, has kidnapped Lady Arianne as he knows she’d be the perfect person to teach him what he needs to know to impersonate a diplomat. He’s locked her into his room on a masted schooner until they're far enough away that she won't be able to signal for help. He’s provided clothes for her to wear thanks to some generous ladies of the evening near the docks (grin) but they aren’t as nice as the clothes she’s wearing. Arianne undresses so as to preserve what she has. Then she explores Rafferty's cabin and finds his gun.
While Rafferty feels guilty about what he’s done, this was the only way he could think of to force her to marry him and be his hostess. Rumor has it she’s been ruined anyway, so she may come to look favorably on his actions…eventually. His friend (and stage magician) Phineas suggests that Rafferty try kindness to woo her cooperation. So he does…
Michael leaned against the wall in the narrow hallway outside his cabin and ran a hand around his freshly shaved chin, wondering if she’d notice. On Phineas’s council, he’d donned an evening vest and his freshly mended frock coat with the intent of wooing the woman who wanted no part of him. Not that he could blame her. She was accustomed to a more lavish life than he could offer. She’d been tricked to make this journey with him, as he was convinced she wouldn’t have chosen to come with a lowly Irish gent she felt was devoid of money and title. But she would come around, he told himself. If they could just have a civil conversation, she’d understand the importance of this mission and her vital role in it. If she would just…
The door slowly opened. Her swollen red eyelids made his heart clench. He hadn’t meant to hurt her, not in that way, not in a way that would draw tears. But then, who could blame her? He’d closed off her options leaving only one distasteful alternative – him.
Then his gaze shifted and all thoughts of her vulnerability vanished. The trembling barrel of his own British Bulldog revolver was pointed directly at his chest.
Blasted bleatin’ bloody hell!
He raised a brow, careful to keep anxiety off his face and out of his voice. “I see you’ve been busy.”
“Turn the boat around.”
“I can’t do that.” He kept his voice soft and low. “The Queen has been threatened by the Fenians. Lord Wessex has been murdered, most likely by the Fenians. The leaders are in America.” He held her gaze so she’d recognize his determination. “I may be just a stubborn Irishman, but I won’t turn back.”
Rafferty studied her face. Did she realize that he kept the gun loaded for emergencies? He never considered the revolver would be used on him. Her knuckles whitened in their tight grasp of a paisley shawl at her chin. He cocked his head. “Why do you want to return? It seems to me the damage has been done. Do you think London will overlook this brief venture? Do you think they’ll forget about Vienna, once gossip reaches London? And most assuredly itwill. Gossip always does.”
“I’m warning you,” she said, her voice quavered much like the revolver barrel. “Take me back home.”
He stepped forward, forcing her to either step back or push the gun barrel into his brocade vest. She chose the former. “No one knows you in America.” He backed her into the room. “If you don’t want to marry, we can still pretend to be man and wife. No one will suspect otherwise.”
The gun wobbled badly. “Don’t come any closer. I’ll shoot.”
As if to punctuate her intent, she abandoned the deathgrip on the shawl, thus adding a second hand to keeping the barrel aimed straight at his chest. His face must have betrayed the spark of interest in the expanse of skin exposed as the shawl separated. Blessed God in Heaven, was she naked underneath?
She gasped and returned the hand to hold the shawl closed.
He smiled. If she was more concerned with preserving her dignity than placing a hole through his chest, perhaps her intent was not as serious as appearances indicated.
“Do you think I’d be so foolish as to keep a loaded gun in my cabin for anyone to find?”
Doubt slipped across her face. He chanced another step forward, as proof of his stated conviction. As the Bulldog’s barrel extended only a few inches, he was close enough to smell her latest floral concoction, this one reminiscent of damp earth. He fought the distraction, but took a deep breath anyway, drawing her essence into his lungs.
“Patchouli,” he stated, as if they were sharing dinner conversation. “It reminds me of Ireland.”
She frowned, confused. Good. She was distracted. He dropped his voice to intimate levels. “Did you find the bullets? Do you know how to load a pistol?” She gnawed her luscious lower lip. He held out his hand and whispered. “Hand me the gun, Arianne.”
They stood in a stalemate. He with his hand outstretched, she with the gun. He had to admire her courage. Phineas was right, damn his eyes, the woman was not afraid to make her own decisions – even if they were the wrong ones.
He noted the moment her attention shifted. Within seconds he took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed the weapon from her hand. Only then did he glance toward the floor to see what had claimed her notice. A fat mound of white fur quietly hopped into the cabin.
“It’s a rabbit,” she said, awe in her voice. “Why is a rabbit hopping about a boat in the middle of the ocean?”
He didn’t bother to correct her. They had a long trip before them to reach the middle of anything. “I suspect that’s Phineas’s doing.” Michael broke the revolver apart, barrel down, to remove five bullets from the cylinder, then placed them in his pocket. “He likes to practice his magic before the props become Sunday supper.”
(The full deleted scene is on www.DonnaMacMeans.com. Click on extras.)
So my question to you - do you have thoughts regarding fictional romantic kidnappings, pro or con? Are you interested in reading deleted scenes? (I have, after all, one hundred pages of them.) Or do they make the story more confusing? For example - I had to change the method of transportation with the editor's suggestion. You won't find a schooner in the published version. If you're a writer, do you have scads of scenes on the cutting room floor?Let's chat and I'll give away a copy of REDEEMING THE ROGUE to someone leaving a comment.
Oh - and I'm chatting on Canned Laughter and Coffee tonight with Renee Bernard - a broadcast internet interview. It starts at 8:30 pm EST, and as an individual who suffers from foot-in-mouth disease - I'm terrified what will come out (grin). If you're so inclined, drop in for a listen.