Most Wanted “Deleted” Scene #2
Originally posted on Cocktails & Books.
I really enjoy writing in the first-person. However, as a reader of first-person, it can sometimes be frustrating to not know what other characters are thinking or feeling. In TURN TO ME, the second book in my Kathleen Turner Series, I write a prologue and epilogue that are each in the third person – one from each of the heroes’ perspectives – as a bit of a “present” to my readers. Those chapters seem to have gone over very well, so I got the idea that it might be fun to fill in a “missing” scene from third-person point-of-view. I put a poll up on my website with four choices of scenes readers would like to read, and this scene was the #2 vote-getter. I hope you enjoy it.
By Request – Most Wanted “Deleted” Scene, Runner-up
In NO TURNING BACK (book one in the “Kathleen Turner Series”), Kade takes Kathleen to a fleabag motel on the outskirts of Chicago. Kathleen falls into an exhausted sleep and wakes to find Blane there – and Kade gone.
Here’s what she missed.
Kade sat in a chair in the motel room, quietly watching the woman asleep on the bed.
It was late, but Kade didn’t sleep, his mind in too much turmoil to consider slumber. And the root of the turmoil was the slight form huddled under the sole blanket, her long, strawberry blonde hair spilling like a waterfall on the pillow behind her.
After he’d gotten off the phone with Blane, Kade had gone to retrieve her suitcase from the hotel downtown and get his car. Returning, he’d taken a shower and pulled on a pair of jeans from the duffel bag of clothes he always kept with him, Kathleen not once rousing from her deep sleep, despite the noise he made.
Twisting off the cap of the cheap bottle of vodka he’d bought, Kade poured it over the ice he’d placed in the motel’s plastic cup, filling it to the brim. Leaning back, he propped his feet on the chair opposite him next to the small, wood laminate table. He took a long drink of the cold liquor, a drop of condensation dripping onto his chest and sliding down his stomach.
Kade released a sigh, finally allowing his body to relax. The mission was over. The girl was safe. Blane was on his way.
Blane. His brother. A man with more honor and integrity than Kade knew he would ever have, though he tried to be worthy of his brother’s unswerving loyalty and affection. Blane didn’t like his choice of career, but that choice had enabled Kade to protect his brother on more than one occasion, which was reason enough to continue.
A slight noise turned Kade’s attention back to the girl.
Irritating beyond belief, stubborn to a fault, annoyingly optimistic, foolishly brave, beautiful, strong, loyal.
And his brother’s.
Kade took another long drink, emptying the glass. Reaching for the bottle, he gave himself a refill, delaying the moment when his eyes would be drawn irresistibly back to her. Kathleen.
She turned in her sleep, putting her back to him, and the covers twisted around her bare legs.
Kade’s body tensed, his gaze taking in the angry, red welts crisscrossing the backs of her thighs.
If there was one thing he couldn’t stand, one thing he could not abide, it was a man physically abusing a woman. He recalled with bitter clarity the moment he’d paused outside Kathleen’s hotel room door, the muffled sound of her scream passing through the thick walls. Precious seconds were lost as he bypassed the lock on the door, the silence after her scream making his gut clench in a way he hadn’t felt in years.
He expected the worst when he walked into the bedroom, but she was still alive. She was screaming, but now it was muffled by the mattress her face had been shoved into. The sharp slap of leather against flesh filled the room as Stephen Avery took his rage out on her fragile skin.
Cold fury filled Kade and he didn’t think twice before putting Avery in a headlock, a quick, hard wrench causing a sickening crack, then his body went limp.
Kade dropped the lifeless body to the floor, already forgotten, and reached for Kathleen, quickly turning her so she could breathe. Dragging in a lungful of air, she screamed again, striking out at him, and he realized she didn’t know she was free. Catching her wrists, he said, “Kathleen, stop, it’s all right. You’re safe now.”
When her eyes opened to meet his, Kade felt as though an electric shock had gone through him. The blue of her eyes was as clear and deep as the most pristine of mountain lakes. The shock on her face was quickly followed by relief. The purity in her gaze, looking at him as though he was everything to her, held Kade temporarily enthralled, even as her eyes again filled with tears.
Turning weakly on her side, Kathleen curled into a tiny ball, drawing her knees up to her chest. Then she began to sob in earnest.
The sick feeling was back in his gut, each sob causing a stab that made Kade wince. Making a quick decision, Kade reached for her, sliding his arms under her knees and behind her shoulders. She didn’t resist as he carefully lifted her. He carried her into the living room, sitting on the couch with her in his lap. Grabbing a blanket, he pulled it across her body, covering her nakedness.
She curled more closely against him as she cried, and Kade did not speak. Her hair was falling out of some pins she’d used to put it up, so he began methodically removing them, the silken tresses of her hair spilling over his hands as he worked.
In that moment, he knew something had changed, had altered irrevocably inside him.
A whimper from the bed drew Kade out of his reverie. Setting his cup on the table, he hurried to the bed.
Kathleen was having a nightmare. She began to thrash, whimpers coming from her throat as tears leaked from her eyes. Kade caught one of her hands in his.
“Shh,” he soothed. “You’re safe. It’s all right.” His hand drifted softly across her brow into her hair. The motion seemed to quiet her, so Kade repeated it several times until she was once again breathing deeply and evenly. He moved the thin blanket to again cover her legs, hiding the telltale marks from view.
Standing, he gazed down at her. His fingers reached out to gently brush away the tracks of tears from her cheek.
Abruptly turning away, Kade went to the window, grabbed his drink and downed it. He had to get out of here.
Pulling a shirt over his head and shoving his arms into his leather jacket, he holstered his gun and pocketed his phone, keys and wallet. Checking his watch, he did a quick calculation. Blane would be here any minute. With one last glance at the bed, he went out the door. He’d wait for Blane outside.
As Kade had predicted, Blane arrived twenty minutes later. Kade walked over to the car.
“How’s the shoulder?” Kade asked as Blane got out.
“It’ll heal.” Blane surveyed Kade, his arms akimbo. “I wanted you to keep her from coming at all and I’m pissed that you didn’t. But it looks like you kept her alive, so thank you.”
Kade’s lips twisted. “Sounds like one cancels out the other to me.”
Blane snorted in reply. After a moment, he asked, “So are you going back to Indy?”
Kade shook his head. “I’ve got some business to take care of back east. I’ll be in touch.”
“She’s inside. Asleep,” Kade said, handing the motel key to Blane.
“Is she all right?”
The image of Avery with the belt flashed through Kade’s mind. He made an instinctive decision. “She’s fine,” he lied. He couldn’t say why he didn’t tell Blane about the incident, he just didn’t. It was a private horror between Kathleen and himself, and for some reason unknown to him, it would feel like betraying her trust if he told Blane about it.
Blane clasped him lightly on the shoulder as he walked by and Kade watched as he disappeared into the motel room.
The sound of gravel crunched under his boots as he walked to his car. Sliding behind the wheel, he stared for several moments at the motel room door, behind which Blane was even now probably pulling Kathleen into his arms….
Kade turned on the car with a quick jerk of his wrist. Moments later, he was flying down an empty highway. The sun gradually rose as the miles went by, the silence inside the car unabated. After a few hours, he stopped for gas, and it was only when he went to toss his jacket into the back of the car that he saw it.
A yellow, manila envelope, staring accusingly at him from the seat. It was thick with payment for a hit he’d never delivered on.