Since I’m the kind of writer who writes by the seat of my pants, I have to do a lot of editing, revising, rewriting. Sometimes that means I need to cut a scene, either because it takes the story off course, or it isn’t meaty enough, or it paints the character in a less than ideal light. Sometimes, I need to delete a scene to stay under a certain word count. For all of those reasons, but mostly to keep under the word count limit, I cut a scene from Unmasking the Duke. I love seeing cut scenes from favorite movies, so I thought it would be fun to share this cut scene with my fans.
In the original draft of the story before I started cutting scenes, Hannah is trying to determine if she is truly in love the the duke, or if she is merely reacting to his kiss. Since she has never been kissed before, she has nothing upon which to base a comparison. So she calls in a servant, someone who saved her life in a previous story and who is young and handsome. She asks him to kiss her. It’s a dangerously scandalous request but she’s desperate to prove that being kissed by anyone is amazing and earth shaking so she can discount her reaction to the duke’s kiss.
So, for your pleasure, a deleted scene from Unmasking the Duke:
Was it possible that every man’s kiss was as heavenly as Bennett’s? Perhaps all men’s kisses were as beautiful and moving. She might be confusing love with desire. But how to learn the difference? She certainly couldn’t ask Cole to kiss her, nor the Buchanan twins, and certainly to not Mr. Hill. As she thought of men of her acquaintance, a terrible, naughty, delicious thought struck her.
In an uncharacteristic act of daring—not to mention impropriety—she summoned Cole’s valet, Stephens.
He arrived, his handsome dark looks as striking as she’d remembered. “You wanted me, Miss?”
“Yes. Please close the door.”
He obeyed and waited for her to approach.
She pushed past the butterflies having a war in her midsection. “If I asked you to do something, would you do it?”
“Of course, Miss.”
She gathered her courage. “I need you to kiss me.”
He gave a start. “Miss?”
“I have only been kissed by one man, and I need to know if I’m so shaken by the man, or by the kiss. I need to know if all kisses are that…nice. So I need you to kiss me. If what Cole has implied is true, you are something of a ladies’ man, so you ought to be experienced enough to know how to do a proper job of it. And you’re certainly handsome. Did you know I actually had a crush on you for over a year?”
He glanced sideways as if afraid someone might be listening and took a step back. “Ahhh…”
“If your kiss makes me feel the way his does, then I can more easily put him from my mind.”
His mouth opened, but nothing came out. Finally, he shook his head as a slow grin curved his mouth. “I’m sorry but I can’t do that, Miss.”
She self-consciously touched her hair. “I’m not pretty enough.”
“Oh, Miss, you’re more than pretty enough. You’re one of the fairest girls I’ve ever seen.”
“Then it should be no hardship for you to kiss me.”
He choked. “No, Miss. I admit, I’ve wanted to kiss you a fair long time. Pretty girls have that effect on me. But if Lord Tarrington found out I’d touched you, he’d skin me with his bare hands.”
“He won’t find out. All the men are out for the afternoon hunt, and my sister thinks I’m lying down with a headache.”
He grinned but eyed her uncertainly. “Are you sure? Kissing is no trifling matter.”
“I’m afraid I won’t know the answer to my problem unless I kiss a man, and I daren’t kiss one of the guests, lest they get the wrong idea. Please? Will you help me?”
Stephens chuckled. “Putting like that, how can I refuse?”
He stepped in. All the butterflies in her stomach doubled their efforts. Not only was she behaving in a scandalous manner, this moment might reveal more than she wanted to know.
He put a finger under her chin, lifted it, leaned in, and kissed her. His lips were soft and warm and gentle, and he was clearly a skilled kisser. But none of the awareness raced over her body, none of the thrill tingled in her nerve endings, none of the joyful completeness settled in her heart as it had when Bennett kissed her.
Stephens kissed her thoroughly and then stepped back, eyeing her. “Well?”
“It was pleasant, and you obviously know what you are doing.”
“It wasn’t the same as his.”
Grinning, he shook his head “Well, I’m a little offended that I can’t make every girl swoon at my kiss, but it sounds to me like you have your answer. Is it what you’d hoped?”
“No. It means I have a problem.”
He nodded, his dark eyes solemn for a moment before they twinkled. “Well, any time you need a second go, I’m at your beck and call, Miss Palmer. I think I’d risk Tarrington’s temper for another taste of your sweet mouth.”