Deleted Scene From Damsel Under Stress

I did a lot of rewriting on this book, and the revised version of the book came in 15,000 words too long, so there are a number of deleted scenes or alternate versions of scenes.

Skating at Rockefeller Center: Version One

In the first draft of Damsel Under Stress, when Katie and her friends head to Rockefeller Center to go skating with Philip, Katie goes along. Here’s a little of what happened:

When we reached the Rockefeller Center ice rink, I held back. “I think I’ll just watch y’all,” I said. “I’ve never been on ice skates before in my life, and I really don’t want to spend Christmas in traction. If anyone wants to leave your camera with me, I’ll take pictures.”

Gemma handed me her digital camera. “You don’t mind?” she asked.

“Not at all.”

“You know, I may stay here with you,” Connie said. “You’ve got a point about the skating thing. I’ve got Jim’s parents coming for Christmas. It’s my first time to host the family get-together, and it’ll be hard to impress the in-laws if I’m on crutches.”

We shoved our way through the crowds of tourists to get spots near the railing overlooking the rink. “Oh, look, there they are!” Connie called out, and I looked down on the ice to see Philip and Gemma, arm in arm. He moved quite gracefully, but she was struggling. He kept a hand on her back, ready to stop her from falling, but not taking over and holding her up. They were too cute, and he was too nice for her to reject him because she didn’t understand him. Not too far behind them, Marcia was valiantly staying on her feet. If I knew her, she’d have worked out the mechanics quickly enough and by the end of the afternoon she’d be teaching lessons.

I took a few pictures with Gemma’s camera, trying to capture Philip’s gallantry so that maybe she could see him more objectively.

“I like him,” Connie said, apparently noticing the same thing. “And now, what about this guy they tell me you’ve got?”

“He’s someone I work with,” I said, trying to sound cool even as I could feel myself blushing. “He’s nice, has a good job, and he’s really cute.” I shrugged. “That’s about it.”

She nudged my elbow. “Oh, come on, there has to be more to it than that.”

“We haven’t even had a real first date yet, so no, there isn’t.”

“Well, he sure impressed those two, and you know how high their standards are.”

“He’s not bad,” I admitted, even as I wanted to gush about how great he was. Connie was well aware of that, so all it took was a little more prodding before I was spilling every non-magical detail I had about Owen and our relationship so far. There wasn’t much to say when I edited the magic out, but when you analyze every glance, that can get detailed.

I’d worked my way up to the night of the office party when a voice said, “You two had the right idea.”

We both turned to see Marcia approaching us, limping a little. “What happened?” Connie asked.

“Nothing. I’m just tired. My ankles aren’t cut out for this, and Torvill and Dean will be out there all day, from the looks of it. There are enough people on the ice for them to be chaperoned without me.” She looked down onto the rink and sighed. “I’m not even sure what she’s bitching about. He seems like a good guy to me.”

“Then we’re agreed,” Connie said. “It also sounds like we all agree about Katie’s new guy.”

Marcia gave me a grin. “Oh, so she gave you all the details? You’ll have to share with me. She’s been keeping us in suspense.”

“Hey, I even introduced you to him,” I protested. Never mind that I hadn’t exactly planned to. Speaking of Owen, I wondered how things were going at the office. For once, I almost wished I had a cell phone so it would be easier to check. But I didn’t, so that meant I had to get home to see if he’d called. “I still have some last-minute shopping to do,” I said. “Do you think Gemma will mind if I take off?”