A Deleted Scene

In the original version of Ivy, Rafael was introduced much, much earlier into the story.  He played a large roll though I eventually decided three baddies were a little much and the story was rather confusing.  Here’s a small deleted scene from the original, parts of which did actually end up being included into Natasha, but not much.  It hasn’t been edited, since it ended up getting thrown in the trash.  I thought I’d share.

IvyCover600

They were currently staying in the fourth floor suite of a hotel in downtown Glasgow. They’d been there for a few days. Ivy was starting to get tired of feeling like a bird in a cage. She was in the midst of going through some of the photos when voices in the hallway drew her attention. She took a peek out the door to find a group of Rafael’s men heading towards the room.

Bugger.

Grabbing her phone, Ivy rushed out to the balcony. Darren had been down in the lobby but she wasn’t sure how he’d missed seeing them unless they came up the back exit. It seemed unlikely.

“Steve?” Ivy whispered when he answered his mobile. She climbed over the balcony railing to get to the ledge that ran along the side of the outside of the building. “Rafael’s goons are outside the door.”

“Shit.” He sounded like he’d started to run. “Where are you?”

“Outside.”

“What exactly do you mean ‘outside’?” Steve asked.

“Outside. On a ledge.” Ivy tried to focus on not falling as she inched her way around to the rooftop restaurant. From the ledge, she should be able to get over the short wall to safety.

“Bloody hell, love.”

She glanced briefly down to find Steve staring up at her. His face was a little blurry but she could feel and hear his concern. “I couldn’t exactly stay in the room, now could I?”

“I’m coming up. Darren’s taking care of the bastards in the room.” Steve disappeared from view.

“Brilliant,” Ivy muttered.

Shoving her phone into her pocket and leaning her head back against the bricks for a moment, Ivy decided that looking down was bad. Slowly crawling along the ledge, she finally made it close to the wall. The last few steps would require her to jump to get over the small gap between the ledge and the rooftop on the opposite side. She took several deep breathes before attempting to leap across. Her hands grasped the wall and immediately started to slip.

Bugger.

Ivy started to slip when a hand reached down to grab her wrist and yank her over the wall. She found herself crushed against a very hard body. Steve was definitely out of breath as he held her tightly.

“Do. Not. Do. That. EVER. Again.” Steve crushed her to him.

“Sorry.” Her apology was muffled against his shirt.

Steve pushed her back. His fingers gripped her chin tightly as his lips pressed against hers repeatedly. They were brief, hard kisses punctuated with slightly out of control breaths.

“Don’t ever take a risk like that ever again.”

“Oh? And should I have stayed in the room to be grabbed by them? Hmm?” Ivy slid her arms up around his neck. “I made the best decision I could.”

“You could’ve fallen. You almost did.” Steve pushed her back against the wall.

“I will continue to do what I think is best.” Ivy glared up at him. He might be a stubborn alpha but she was tired of feeling like she had no say in her life anymore. She refused to continue to give up pieces of herself simply because some murdering bastard was after her. “I assume that we’re leaving.”

“I…” Steve seemed confused by the swirling emotions within Ivy. “Darren’s grabbing the luggage. We’ll meet him at the Range Rover downstairs to head to a safe house out in the country.”

“Fine.”

“Ivy.” He frowned when she didn’t look up at him. He kept his arm around her and led her through the hotel out to the waiting vehicle.

Grabbing her camera bag from Darren, Ivy climbed into the second row of seats in the back and pulled her legs up underneath her. She set the bag next to her with a pointed glare at Steve. Her head rested against the window.

The entire concept of running exhausted Ivy beyond belief as did the fear. Steve moved into the first row of seats while Darren got in the front to drive. The two men talked over their plan briefly while she tuned them out and stared out the window.

“Are you alright?”

Ivy tilted her head to find Steve watching her. “I’m fine.”

With a loud sigh, Steve picked the camera bag up to move it to the floor. He sat beside her and loudly cleared his throat. Ivy didn’t bother turning away from the window.

“Ivy.” His voice dropped down to a low growl. “Talk to me, love.”

“I said I was fine.” She tugged the sleeves of her jumper down so she could warm her fingers.

“Look at me.” Steve touched his fingers to her chin until she glanced away from the window. “No lies between us, promise?”

“Steve.” Ivy pulled her chin out of his grasp to stare pointedly away from him. “I would prefer to be left alone at the moment.”

“Ivy.”

“Oh go howl at something.” She shoved at him until he moved back to the first row of seats.

She continued to mutter to herself about overgrown egos and idiotic males for the next thirty minutes. She didn’t stop the diatribe until they’d pulled up to catch a ferry. She glanced around and caught sight of the sign, ‘Isle of Eigg.’

After storing her luggage in one of the three bedrooms of the cottage they’d rented, Ivy bundled up and took her camera out to get some photos before the sun set. It wasn’t long before a familiar wolf with a collar in its trotted up to her. It was tempting to ignore him but she crouched down to put the collar on him.

He gave her what she assumed was supposed to be sad eyes. He wasn’t as good at it as Gareth. She scritched his ears and buried her face against his fur anyway.

 “I am not going to be a damsel in distress like in the faery books.” Ivy grabbed him by the tips of his ears when he huffed derisively at her. “You listen to me, Steven Samuels. I might be your mate but I am not going to be treated a porcelain doll. I’m not saying that I don’t need you. I’m simply saying that smothering me to death is not an option thank you very bloody much.”

 Steve stared at her for several long moments before sneezing. He glanced behind her and then trotted off down the path. She turned to find Darren standing off to the side.

 “The wolf loves you,” he remarked casually.

 “Wolf mucus is not a term of endearment.” Ivy wandered down the road with Darren close behind.

 “He’s a wolf…an alpha. He’s the most alpha…of alphas that I’ve ever met if I’m honest.” Darren fell in step beside her. He held her backpack while she fished out her camera. “His pack has been threatened. He couldn’t protect you in the Lake District, he couldn’t keep you safe in London and then he saw you climbing on the outside of a building to rescue yourself. His instincts will always be focused on keeping you safe.”

 While Ivy snapped a few shots in the golden light of sunset, Darren talked to her about their pack. He was about to show his fox form to her when the black and grey wolf walked back up to them. He sat beside Ivy and leaned against her leg with his nose poking under her sweater.

 “Stop that.” She pushed him away and tapped her finger against his nose. “Change back. We need to talk.”

 “I’ll just…go…somewhere else.” Darren handed her bag back to her and wandered back to the cottage.

 Steve changed out of his wolf to walk with Ivy down to the south edge of isle. They sat on the rocks to look out over the water. “Please don’t tell Gareth that I sneezed on you. The bastard would never let me live that down.”

 She slid her arm around his and snuggled closer. “If I promise to try not to walk out on another ledge, will you promise to try not to act like I’m bloody Rapunzel who needs locked up in a damn tower?”

 “Agreed.”

 Find the original Ivy at: 

Ivy: AmazonNook Smashwords

Ivy

IvyCover600

My favourite scene in the entire book:

If insomnia intended to plague her, Ivy might as well get something useful out of it. She grabbed her camera bag and tripod. There was enough moonlight to allow her to easily walk one of the well-trodden paths from the cottage down to one of the nearby lakes.

Setting her tripod up in a clearing, Ivy started to play around with angles and lighting. The water shimmered perfectly under the moon. She thought if she did give into Dane’s pressure to have an exhibition, it would be filled with images of Wales. She made another adjustment and took a few more shots.

Her mum had been right about needing to get out of her flat. Not just out of the flat, she had to take more trips out of London. Her photography blossomed when it involved less concrete civilisation and more wild nature. Before Alec had died, she travelled at least one week out of a month. She hadn’t been anywhere since he passed away.

Ivy somehow didn’t find herself all that surprised when a cranky white wolf ran up to her after thirty minutes or so. He growled at her and nudged the back of her knee with his nose. He became more insistent when she ignored him.

“Stop that.” Ivy flicked him on the top of the head. “It’s the middle of Wales, not a war zone. The greatest danger I have at the moment is being knocked over by you or possibly being run over by a rampaging sheep.”

Gareth snarled at her. She had a feeling it might be the wolf version of a sarcastic snort. She raised an eyebrow at him and went back to her camera. He growled at her again, but she refused to pay any attention to him.

“I’m not arguing with…” Ivy lunged forward to grab her tripod when his tail bumped against it. “Oh, go lick yourself, and stop being so bloody growly.”

“Gareth.”

Ivy glanced over her shoulder to find her other suitor in his two-legged form. “If you’re going to growl at me too, you can bugger off and take your furry friend with you.”


Ivy: AmazonNook Smashwords

Merry Christmas!

Blueand White Christmas Still Life

 

In Masquerade, Ivy attends a ball with Alicia, Alim and Dane. In the first draft of the story, I had Steve and Gareth show up at the dance, but it ended up not quite working right. The final version has them showing up, but not in the ballroom. I thought perhaps as a little Christmas pressie, I’d give you a little bit of Steve, Gareth and Ivy.

                “What are we doing?” Ivy asked finally, exasperated with the silently mysterious Gareth sitting in the driver’s seat of Steve’s Aston Martin. “Gareth. I got all dolled up for this, I’d like to know where I’m being taken.”

                “Patience.”

                “That’s rich coming from you.” She glanced out at window as they flew by the people walking down pavement. “And we had to do this the day before Christmas?”

                “Yes.”

                “Git.”

                “Don’t speak ill of Steve when he’s not here,” Gareth teased.

                With a roll of her eyes at his abysmal joke, Ivy went back to watching the scenery go by. She’d learned it pointless to attempt to argue with Gareth about his ridiculous love of driving well beyond any limits. She simply attempted not to appear as if she were clinging to her seat belt for dear life.

                Honestly.

                Git.

                It was how Gareth preferred to drive, not that Steve was much better. He simply didn’t seem to get as much pleasure out of it as the younger wolf did. She stretched her arm out until she could rest her hand on his thigh.

                “Gareth?” Ivy’s brow furrowed in confusion while he pulled into the parking garage across from the jazz club where he’d taken her on their first date. “It’s a little early for jazz, eh?”

                “Were you aware of the fact your good friend Dane knows the owner of the club?”

                “Dane knows everyone.” Ivy took his hand as he helped her out of the vehicle. She adjusted the full skirt on her dress. “So why are we here and what does my prat of a friend have to do with anything?”

                “You danced with Alim.” Gareth glared at her petulantly which made her laugh at him. “Ivy.”

                It wasn’t until they stepped inside the club that Ivy realized he must have booked out the entire place for the night. There was no other reason for the place to be quite so deserted. She was slightly dazed as he took her hand to lead her through the tables towards the open space set aside for dancing.

                “Gareth Richardson.” Ivy gasped when his fingers tightened on hers. Gareth used his hold to guide her away from him then spin her back into his arms. “Did you set this up just for a dance? You sweet, absurd git.”

                “Merry Christmas, love.”

                “Jealous git.” She smiled while they moved in slow circles to the soft jazz playing in the background. She rested her head on his chest and looped her arms around him. “Thank you.”

                She hadn’t thought Gareth had this suave dancer in him. He confidently led her around the room, pausing occasionally to dip her low or tilt her head up for a kiss. It was everything she’d hoped for at the masquerade, but never gotten. She almost wished Steve had been there to dance with her as well.

                “May I cut in?”

                “You gits planned this.” Ivy’s eyes narrowed on the wolf in front of her and then the one behind her.

                “The appropriate response to romantic gestures is thank you, love.” Steve stepped up to her. His hand rested on her waist while his other reached up to cover the hand Gareth had rested on her shoulder. “Think we can dance together?”

                “And not fall on our arses?” Ivy’s words proved true a moment later when Gareth attempted to twist the three of them around only to land on the floor in a pile. “I stand by my initial thought—gits.”

 

Character Interview – Ivy

IvyCover600

Ivy Langdon was the first character in the Blackbird series to appear in my mind. She’s one of my favourites as a result.  I decided use some of the  questions from the Proust Questionnaire for these character interviews.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Freshly baked scones with home-made jam, a large pot of tea and my two gits arguing in the background.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing someone I love, I know how bloody awful it feels.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I hate my tendency to hermit myself away when I’m hurting.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I dislike lying.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My cameras.  I spend far more than I can really afford on my gear and studio.

What is your current state of mind?

Happy.

On what occasion do you lie?

Not very often, I usually avoid anything other than the occasional white lie.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My ears.

Which living person do you most despise?

Valentin Krupin and Marin Petrov.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

In general? A sense of humour.  In my gits? I love Gareth’s laugh, and Steve’s smile

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A sense of humour.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Bugger, git, bloody.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Ranulph says my greatest love is anything I see through the lens of my camera.  He might be right.  Though, the gits come a close second.

When and where were you happiest?

I was very happy with Alec, and I’m finding that again with Steve and Gareth.   Though in general, I find I’ve been happiest when I’m letting my photography muse lead me around.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could command attention like my mum does.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I hadn’t hermitted quite as long as I did.

Where would you most like to live?

Wales.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I think I have a rather brilliant photographic eye.

What is it that you most dislike?

Bugs.

How would you like to die?

In my sleep, I’ve felt enough pain.  I’d like to be blissfully unaware when I finally die.

What is your motto?

It’s better to laugh than to cry.

 

Writing: Genius or Insanity?

I, on occasion, get so frustrated with my characters that I write letters to them.  (Doesn’t everyone?) I thought I’d share a few of them.

Two wolves playing near forestJust a few I scribbled while writing Ivy:


 

Dear Ivy,

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

*headdesk*

Me


Dear Gareth,

Please stop yelling in my head.

I’m giving you a chapter with Ivy all to yourself and you even get to be a git to Steve. So shut the hell up so I can finish work.

Git.

Love,

Me


Dear Steve,

I don’t care if you are a wolf right now.

Sneezing at someone is never an appropriate way to end an argument.

Love,

Me


Dear Steve,

Please SHUT up for like two hours so I can finish a chapter for Darby.

Please. I realize that I am an evil writer who took your Ivy from you, but seriously.  Stop growling at me.

You are a fictional character.

Love

Me


Dear Gareth,

You can’t eat the bad guy until Steve questions him.

Stop growling.

Love,

Me


 

Dear Ivy,

Please remember that this was your idea.

Love,

Me

Deleted Scenes – Zip Me Up.

IvyCover600

Just a tiny little scene that never made it into the book but was simply too adorable not to share:

“Do you mind?” Ivy wandered into Gareth’s office.

She was on her way to a lunch meeting with Dane and a few other people that were interested in her new exhibition idea.  She’d gotten the zipper on her dress stuck half-way up her back.  She turned around and motioned for him to help.

Gareth stepped up behind her.  She didn’t need to look at him to know that he was grinning at her as his fingers danced over her bareback down to the zipper.  He gripped it and started moving it down instead of up.

“Gareth.

“Yes, Ivy?” He placed a kiss against the base of her neck before slowly bringing the zipper all the way up.  His finger brushing along her skin the entire journey. “There you go.”

“Git.”

Find Ivy at:

Amazon Amazon UK Nook Smashwords

 

This and That…

…on a Monday.

Two wolves playing near forest

A few little tidbits of news from me.

Upcoming Releases:

Natasha – Late August

Masquerade (An Ivy Short Story) – Late October.

Any book bloggers/authors who’d like to participate in Natasha’s cover reveal on August 1st, sign up here:

I’m also looking for book bloggers to interview on my blog on Fridays:

Where I’ve been:

I talked about Ivy’s Guilty Pleasures at Vampires, Werewolves and Faeries, Oh My!

And I discussed the mythos I created for the Blackbird Pack on Reading Between the Wines.

Oh and lastly, don’t forget today is the last day for Ivy’s sale!

IvySaleSquare
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ivy-Blackbird-Dahlia-Donovan-ebook/dp/B00KFMKU6W/

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ivy-Blackbird-Dahlia-Donovan-ebook/dp/B00KFMKU6W/

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ivy-dahlia-donovan/1119370357

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/432322