Escape to wondrous worlds

Nicole Murphy & Elizabeth Dunk

Nicole Murphy & Elizabeth Dunk

Loving the Prince - deleted scenes

Every book goes through a process where scenes that you thought initially were great turn out to be not so. The reasons can be many - the scene conveys important information but in a boring way; the plot changes and the scene is no longer necessary; a character has to be deleted and all their scenes altered or changed.

In the case of the first deleted scene I’m going to present to you, it was a case of deciding we were spending too much time on this. Particularly when in this draft, Kernan didn’t have any of his own POV scenes - the entire story was told from Cassandra’s perspective and I decided to change that. I needed to free up some wordage, and so decided to handle this plotpoint (Kernan’s girlfriend and Cassandra’s cousin Hera trying to maintain a lie she told to Kernan) differently.

Note - deleted scenes can act as spoilers for the book - you have been warned!


She was in her office an hour later, looking over the report from the warehouse when Eorin came in. “Kernan’s agreed to the three scans, so it’s up to the board.”“And such fun that’s going to be.” Cassandra put the reader down. “Could you call Hera for me and tell her I need to see her straight away?”

“Sure.” Eorin frowned, but he turned and left. That was the good thing of Eorin, he might not understand why she wanted to do something but he trusted her to make the right decision. How long would it take Kernan to feel the same way? After last Saturday, probably never.

Half an hour later, Hera swept into the office. Brightly dressed in a vibrant pink pant suit with a plunging neckline, it was obvious she had been on her way out. Hera confirmed that with her first words. “I have a lunch appointment, Cassandra, so make it snappy.” She slumped elegantly into a seat and looked at her fingernails, painted to match her outfit.

I wonder how long she practices sitting like that? “Father’s going to ask the board tonight to accept Kernan Radaton as my new Protector. Of course, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that his working here will mean he’ll find out you don’t.” Cassandra sat back in her seat and waited for the explosion.

Hera sat upright. “He’s what?”

“Now, you can always vote no at the board meeting tonight, but I’m willing to bet you’ll be the only one. Kernan’s qualifications are outstanding and General Blerdon is determined to have him.”

Hera got to her feet and began to pace up and down the room. “What do I do?”

“Tell him the truth?”

Hera spun around and stared at Cassandra. “Are you crazy? He’ll dump me.”

“Which begs the question why did you lie to him in the first place?”

Hera slumped back into the chair, although it was now a much less elegant action. “Because he appreciates ambitious, hard working women. He made that blatantly obvious. If he didn’t think I was an executive here, he wouldn’t have given me the time of the day.”

Cassandra lifted a hand to pinch the bridge of her nose. “Well, I hope the past few weeks have been worth it, because it’s all about to blow up in your face.”

“Not necessarily.”

Cassandra looked at her cousin who was frowning in concentration. Now what was Hera planning? “What do you mean?”

Hera looked at her. “It’s obvious. I have to come and work here.”

“What?” Cassandra screeched as she sat bolt upright.

“I’ll come and work here. Kernan won’t start straight away, so you can bring me up to speed and when he arrives, it’ll seem I’ve always been here.”

Cassandra shook her head. “Are you nuts? Kernan’s going to be my Protector. He’ll be privy to every piece of information that goes through here. He’ll know more about the running of this place than my assistants do. You think you can convince him that you’ve always worked here?”

Hera perched herself on the edge of the chair. “Well, what else can I do?” She spread her hands wide.

“Tell him the truth.”

“I can’t.” Tears began to well in Hera’s eyes. “Cassie, you don’t understand. Kernan is such a good man, so amazing. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me and if he finds out I lied, he’ll dump me. Cassie, I can’t lose him, I can’t.”

Cassandra sighed. “Hera, he’s going to find out one day.”

“And by then he’ll be so in love with me that he’ll forgive me. Please, Cassie.”

Cassandra slumped back in her chair and stared at her desk. She really couldn’t see how Hera could value a relationship based on lies, but that really wasn’t her problem. Her problem was to stop Hera coming to work. “You can’t work here, Hera. That simply isn’t an option.”

“What if we can make him think that I did work here?”

Cassandra looked up at Hera, who was biting on her lip. “You could tell him that you resigned, because you didn’t want to be working with your boyfriend.”

“Yes, I could, couldn’t I?” Hera began to smile.

“Which doesn’t solve the problem of what you are going to do when he gets here, starts talking to people and finds out you never worked here.”

“Can’t you tell everyone to tell him I did?”

Cassandra’s eyes widened. “Hera, I’m not going to tell all the staff of the RMBC to lie for you.”

“It’s just a little white lie.”

“No, Hera.”

She sat and pouted for a while. Cassandra stared at her and refused to react. Eventually, Hera shrugged and slumped back into the seat. “Fine, don’t help me out then. I know your mother would be very disappointed to hear you are refusing to support your family.”

“Don’t try a guilt trip, Hera, it won’t work. You got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out.” Cassandra lifted the reader, hoping Hera would get the message and leave.

Hera stood and walked over to the desk. Leaning on it, she leaned over Cassandra and said, “It’s not totally my problem, Cassandra. After all, you’ve lied to him as well. It’s going to affect your working relationship if he finds out.”

Cassandra slowly counted to ten before looking up. “As I’m not the one sleeping with him, I think he’ll find it easy to get over my little white lie, especially since I lied for you.”

“Fine, be like that then.” Hera stood up. “It won’t get past the board meeting anyway. I’ll make sure of that.” And she turned and stormed out of the room.

Cassandra rolled her eyes. If relationships made someone act this stupidly, she was going to stay well away from them.


In the next two scenes, we see Kernan finally finding out what Hera has been doing and having a go at Cassandra over her involvement with it all. This is really different to the published book - in it, he works out that Hera doesn’t work at the RBMC through a conversation with someone and we see his confrontation with Hera and the end of their relationship. He doesn’t get as angry at Cassandra in the final version, but then in this version, Hera’s not only been lying about working at the RBMC, she’s been spreading falsehoods about Cassandra herself as well. In this story - Kernan doesn’t trust Cass.


Monday morning, she was already in her office when Kernan arrived at work.  The door announced him and she let him in.“Good morning, Miss Wiltmore.”  He stopped and saluted.

Cassandra frowned.  His body seemed just as rigid, his expression as frosty as it had on Friday.  “Did Eorin speak to you over the weekend?”

Kernan frowned.  “No.  Was he supposed to?”

Damn.  “Yes, he was,” Cassandra said through gritted teeth.  Now what was she to do?

“Then why don’t you tell me what he was supposed to say?”

Cassandra looked at him for several moments, considering answers and tossing them aside.  Kernan wasn’t going to believe a word she said, Hera had made certain of that.  So who would he believe?

Inspiration struck.  “I think it would be best if you spoke with General Blerdon.  Make an appointment to see him after work.”  That would give her enough time to explain things to her uncle.

Kernan’s eyes widened.  “If I’m being sacked, I’d prefer to hear it from you.”

“Sacked?  Of course you aren’t being sacked.  It’s just that the General needs to go over how the department has worked in the past.”  There, she hadn’t said anything but nor had she lied.

Kernan folded his arms across his chest and narrowed his eyes.  “You don’t have the reputation of getting other people to do your dirty work.”

Her fists clenched and she forced herself to breath slowly and unclench her hands.  “Believe me, Captain Radaton, should the day come that I need to sack you, I will do it to your face.”  And if this behaviour keeps up, enjoy it, she thought.

He looked at her for several long moments during which she kept eye contact and kept telling herself that she was the boss, she was the one in control.  Then he nodded and said, “Shall we go over the schedule for the week?”

By the time he walked out an hour later, Cassandra was ready to scream.  He was so bloody polite.  Icily polite.  The kind of polite you are to someone who you really want to thump but you know you can’t.  She got up from her desk and moved into her stretching routine, searching for the peace it normally gave her but today, it would not come.  She finished as annoyed as she had begun.  Hera’s game was going to finish and it was going to finish today.  If Blerdon couldn’t convince Kernan of the truth, she’d send him to her father.  He’d have to believe the President of the Company.  Decision made, she made the call to Blerdon and explained the situation to him, then was able to concentrate on her work.

#

Kernan left to see the General the moment the normal working day was over.  Cassandra remained in her office, waiting for him to return.

An hour later, the door chimed.  “Kernan Radaton requests admittance.”

“Permission Granted.”  Cassandra stood and walked around the desk.  She was going to face Kernan as an equal, not as his boss.

He stormed in and words spat from his mouth.  “You lied to me.”

“I’m sorry.  I thought it would be an innocent lie, just to support Hera.  The moment I realised it’s implications, I begged her to tell you the truth.”

He laughed, the bitter laugh of the disillusioned.  “And to think I purposely studied you, came to admire you and your abilities, aimed to work with you and you’re just a liar who likes playing with people’s lives.”

Cassandra’s eyes widened.  She had never anticipated him being this upset.  She took a step forward.  “It’s not like that.  I had no idea what Hera was planning at the party and she was begging me not to call her a liar in front of you.  She’s my cousin.  What was I supposed to do?”  She spread her hands.

Kernan folded his arms across his chest.  “Tell the truth.”

“We were at a party, she was showing you off to the family.  She’d been telling me earlier how happy she was, being with you.  You wanted me to destroy all that over what was at the time a little white lie?  Haven’t you ever told a little lie to help out your family?”

“But it wasn’t a little lie, was it?  I came here to work for you.  Why didn’t you tell me then?”

“Because that was Hera’s job.  She’d started the lie, she needed to end it.  I told her so.  I told her several times.  She was coming up with all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas, like actually coming to work here, or saying that she’d resigned because she didn’t want to work with you.  I convinced her you’d soon find out the truth and would hate her even more for that deception.”

His eyes narrowed.  “Do you know what she did do?”

Cassandra shook her head.  “I know she said something outrageous because you could barely hide your contempt and it was affecting our working relationship.  But Hera told me I couldn’t tell you, because you wouldn’t believe me, so I had to find someone you would believe.”

He let out a sigh.  “Peace, she’s a piece of work.”  He slumped down into a chair, all the anger seeming to drain from him and leave him wrecked.

Cassandra was tempted to go to him, to try and comfort him but realised she was the last person he’d want such comfort from.  “Hera only did it to impress you.  You mean a great deal to her.”

“You don’t lie to people who mean a great deal to you.”  His voice sounded hollow.  He rested his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands together, looking down at the floor.

Cassandra rolled her eyes.  The things she did for her family.  “She was concerned that you wouldn’t take her seriously if she wasn’t an ambitious, hard working woman.  In truth, she’s very concerned in the running of the company and is one of our most conscientious board members.”

“And between board meetings, swans around lunching with friends and throwing parties.  I wondered why she was adapting to not working so well.”

“Hera does a great deal of charity work.”  Cassandra wondered how all this twisting of the truth would affect her chances of a peaceful afterlife.

“By paying for her friends to live equally indolent lives, you mean.”

“You’re being much too harsh on her.  Understandable, but you’ve been with her for some time now.  You know that Hera is a remarkable woman.”

He looked up at her, his face once again expressionless.  “You’d do anything for your family, wouldn’t you?”

Cassandra stiffened, a little annoyed that he had so easily seen her motivation.  “At the end of the day, family is really all you have.  You rely on them and they rely on you.”

“Rely on you?  After one week, I’ve already gained the impression that this family would fall apart without you.”

“Oh, not me.  Without Father, we’d fall apart.  He’s our glue.”

“And once he’s gone, you figure it will be you.  You know, your family is full of strong, resilient people.  They could survive without both you and your father.”

“But would they still be a family?”  Cassandra smiled.  “Enough of that.  What are you going to do about Hera?”

“I’m inclined to put her over my knee and spank her like I used to my sister when she lied to me.”

Cassandra’s eyes widened, then a smile pulled at her lips.  It was the first time he’d shown signs of a sense of humour.  “Are you sure that would be a punishment for her?”

For a moment, she thought she’d overstepped the mark, then Kernan grinned.  “Good point.”

Seeing his grin, Cassandra walked over and sat down next to him.  “You’re not going to let this break you and Hera up, are you?  Because she’s been so happy since you came and you are definitely the best man she’s ever had.  Peace, some of the screwballs she used to go out with.”  Cassandra shook her head.

“I don’t know.”  Kernan leant back in the chair.  “I’ll have to sleep on it.”

Cassandra nodded.  “Listen, whatever you do, can you make sure Hera finds out in the afternoon?  Our mornings this week are packed.”

“Your wish is my command, Miss Wiltmore.”  He saluted, but it was more like Eorin’s affectionate salutes than his former crisp ones.  Hope began to burn in Cassandra that the two of them would get on.

“And am I forgiven?”

“Just this once.  But if I catch you in a lie again, no matter how small, I’ll take you over my knee.  Understand?”  He wiggled a finger at her.

“Like to see you get away with spanking your boss.”  Cassandra grinned.  Things were going to be just fine.

“Good point.”  He stood.  “See you in the morning, Miss Wiltmore.”

After he had left, Cassandra looked up at the ceiling.  “Look, I don’t know if you’re real and we certainly don’t talk much, but if you could see your way clear to having Kernan forgive Hera and keep them together, at least until the negotiations are over, I’d be much obliged.”  Then she turned off the lights and left.


The final deleted scenes I’m going to show you come from a section of the book that I ripped out and ended up using in the next book. The idea of it, that is, with new characters and a new reason. But with the changes I made to Cassandra’s story, the mentatnet ceremony (a made-up ceremony to enable Cassandra to read Grendon’s (Grendon is the Great Youson of Flactor and a complete idiot who is obsessed with her) mind without him knowing it) wasn’t necessary. At least, not doing it this way :) But I want to share with you some of the happenings around the ceremony, prove how horrible Grendon is and how wonderful Kernan is.


The air was cooler outside the tent and as it washed over her, Cassandra felt lassitude seep through her muscles.

Suddenly, the idea of sleeping and bed sounded a good one.

Then they pushed through a row of plants and Cassandra saw who her guard was and all thoughts of sleeping rushed from her mind.

“Enjoy,” the priestess murmured and withdrew.

With a cry of delight, Cassandra launched herself into Kernan’s arms.

“I missed you,” she said, laughing in his ear as he swung her around.

“Not as much as I missed you.” He put her down and kissed, deep and hard and with both demand and plea and she responded with her whole heart and soul.

Then he pulled away with a sigh. “I promised your father we wouldn’t. He wants you to be able to work on Grendon with a clean conscious.”

Cassandra pouted. “Then why did he let you come?”

“I think he feared I’d drive him insane with my concern for you.”

Cassandra cupped the side of his face. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she said. “I need you.”

“And I’ll always be with you. Always. No matter where you go.”

She realised what he was saying – that he would go with her to Flactor, still be her protector even if she had to marry Grendon. “That’s too much. It will be too hard for you.”

“Never seeing you again would be worse.”

Cassandra leant against hir, wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed herself against his chest. “Thank you. It’s selfish, but I know I’ll be able to survive if I’ve got you.”

“That’s all I need.” Kernan kissed the top of her head. “Besides, you’re going to get what you need from him tomorrow, the wedding will never go ahead and we won’t have to hide from anyone. By the way – how did your father come up with this?”

Cassandra laughed. “Would you believe my pet parrot?”

Kernan shook his head. “It’s a good thing that I’m so sensible and mature. I can see I’m going to need it to survive life in the Wiltmore family.”

“You’ll do more than survive,” Cassandra said. “You’re going to thrive. I promise.”

#

The dreams came – her and Grendon together, her legs spread wide, him thudding into her. Just as he’d been showing all day.

Cassandra slowly became aware of a weight across her body, but it didn’t feel right – not part of the dream.

Then she woke, and realised that while she was sleeping in Kernan’s arms, she’d been dreaming of Grendon.

She sat bolt upright. No, not dreaming. Grendon had put those images in her mind, like he had been all day. He’d entered her mind while she was sleeping – something that was illegal in every land in the planet.

“Cass?” Kernan’s sleepy grumble was matched by a whispered, “Cassandra?” coming from the bushes that surrounded their sleeping spot.

Cassandra pulled herself from Kernan’s grip and jumped to her feet. “Grendon’s coming,” she told him mentally. She stepped onto her own unused sleeping mat and mussed it with her feet, so it would look like she’d always been there.

A rustle and Grendon stepped into the artificial room the row of potplants created. Silvery light shone over his naked body, dancing across the head of his erect penis.

“Cassandra. You’re ready for me.” He came forward, arms outstretched.

Cassandra put her hands up to hold him off. “Grendon, what are you doing here? The priestesses said we can’t be together until mentatnet is achieved.”

“It is,” Grendon said. “We’ve been so connected all day, my darling. How can you possibly want more?”

He reached for her but stopped and frowned over her shoulder. “What’s he doing here?”

“Protecting her,” Kernan said, stepping up beside her. “As I am sworn to do and will continue doing for the rest of my life.”

It was hard not to smile at the sincerity of that delcaration.

“I absolve you of your duty,” Grendon said. “My wife doesn’t need you any more. You may leave us.”

“I only obey Miss Wiltmore’s commands.”

The short conversation between the two men had given Cassandra enough time to decide how to handle this.

“Grendon.” Cassandra tried to make her voice waver, to make it sound emotional. “I can’t believe you care so little about me, about our marriage.”

His gaze flicked from Kernan back to her. “Of course I care about you. Can’t you see how much I care?” He gestured to his erection.

“But you don’t want us to have a good marriage,” Cassandra said, sounding to her own ears on the verge of tears. “If you did, you’d be willing to fulfil all the requirements of the mentatnet, instead of just wanting this moment of satisfaction.”

“Of course I want us to have a good marriage,” Grendon. “But I don’t see –”

“That’s because we don’t yet have mentatnet. If we did, you would see. You wouldn’t even have to ask me, cause you’d just know.” Damn, she’d wanted that last word to catch, like she was about to break into sobs. “I can’t believe you’d risk a lifetime of happiness for one night of pleasure.”

Grendon wrung his hands. “But I want you. You want me. See how ready I am? Remember how good we are?”

“All I can think of is how much better we’d be. Please, Grendon.”

“Fine,” he growled. “Just this once. But next time, Cassandra, you will succumb to my will as a good wife should.” And he turned and stormed back through the plants, knocking one over and spilling dirt over the concrete roof.

“You are not marrying him,” Kernan growled.

“I certainly hope not,” Cassandra said. She shuddered. What other things would Grendon decide to plant in her mind while she slept if she was his wife?

She could report what he’d done, except how to prove it? Usually the accusation would result in an immediate mind scan, but as a prince Grendon could refuse it. The only people who could force him to undergo one were the planetarium, and she doubted the Prince of Rica would believe her. Gareth probably would, but without the Prince’s support he wouldn’t be able to force the matter in the planetarium.

So she had no choice but to continue with the plan and hope that tomorrow, she’d find the clues in Grendon’s psyche that would lead her to the consortium and freedom.

“Come back to sleep,” Kernan said, touching her shoulder.

“Not with you,” Cassandra said. “We can’t risk it, knowing Grendon isn’t prepared to abide by the rules. We were lucky that I woke this time – what if I don’t next time, and he finds me in your arms?”

So she lay down on her own bedding, so aware of the man lying near her, so desperate for his comforting touch and feeling more alone than she ever had in her life.

It was a long time before she went to sleep.


Recent release

Much Ado About Love

Trix Leon has put her heart and soul into Messina, and now it could all be taken away from her. Ben Anthony seems to have the ability to save her but while she trusts him with her pleasure, will she trust him with her love? Based on the Shakespeare play 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

Buy now from iTunes / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Aus / Nook / Kobo / Booktopia

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