Pre-edit scene from Matzoh and Mistletoe

Carina_1113_9781426897450_MatzohMistletoeThis month is all about deleted scenes, and this is a very early draft of the scene where Sam comes to Becca’s house to make trouble. I loved the finished version of it, but there were pieces of the edit I hated losing. Here’s the version that was submitted to my editor. If you read Matzoh and Mistletoe, you may recognize pieces of this.

 

Her heart clenched. “Jeremy, I…”

Before she could finish, someone pounded on her door.

Jeremy surged to his feet, zipping his jeans back up. “You expecting anyone?”

She shook her head, her eyes wide.

“Stay here.”  He didn’t wait to see if she listened, he just headed to her door and looked through the glass. Fuck. His anger went from zero to fifty in point two seconds. “Shit. It’s Sam.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

She grabbed for the doorknob but he pulled her away with an arm around her waist. “Wait, Bec. Have you seen him since your divorce?”

She frowned. “Just at a Bar Mitzvah for my nephew, but I sat with friends and stayed away from him. Why?”

Sam pounded on the door again.

“Because he sounds riled up. Stay back and let me answer it. Trust me on this, kitten.”  He skimmed his knuckles down her cheek and she didn’t flinch, thank God. She nodded, and he thanked God for that, too.  He had his weapon and his shield in a pouch hanging under his coat, but he didn’t want to go that far. Not until he knew what the hell the bastard wanted.

“Open the door, Rebeccah.  I want to talk to you. I know you’re there.”

Game on. Jeremy put himself between the door and Becca and opened it slightly, just enough so he could see Sam, but Sam couldn’t see her. “Can I help you?”

“Who the hell are you?”  Sam tried to push his way in, but Jeremy didn’t budge. He was taller than Sam, heavier, and thanks to his job it was all muscle.

“I’m a friend of Becca’s, and I don’t think she wants to see you.”

“Let him in.” Her voice came from behind him. Shit, she hadn’t stayed back like he’d told her to. “The sooner I see what he wants, the sooner he goes.”

Fuck.  He let Sam—Sam, who’d struck Becca’s face in anger—inside, but he stayed between them so he could intervene if her ex made any wrong moves.

“I want to speak with her alone,” Sam demanded, his face flushed.

Jeremy couldn’t tell whether it was from alcohol or anger, but he didn’t smell anything on the man’s breath.  He opened his mouth to answer, but his kitten beat him to the punch.

“No. Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of him.”

Sam’s face darkened. “You’re a married woman alone in a house with a man who isn’t your husband. That’s not the way a proper Jewish woman acts, Rebeccah. What would your parents think?”

Christ. Jeremy didn’t know which thing to address first, but again, Becca spoke before he could get his thoughts together.

“First off, we’re not married any more, Sam. I don’t know what delusion you’re under, but we’re divorced. This means you get no say in what I do.  Second, you know what? I don’t care how you think a proper Jewish woman should act. All that matters is how I feel and what I think, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let you dictate to me ever again. Now, what do you want? Because I’d like you to leave. Jeremy and I are busy.”

Jeremy hid his grin. His kitten had claws, and he liked it, a lot. She also had far more strength than he’d given her credit for. He’d seriously been planning on leaving, going home and giving her space, but now?  She could take what he had to say, and they were going to work through this.

Sam’s eyes widened, then narrowed to angry slits. “Jeremy? That cop you ride with on your mitzvah?  I knew I never should’ve allowed that.”

A harsh sound came from Becca.  “I want you to go, Sam. I told you before, I don’t want to see you again. I mean it.”

Sam reached into his jacket and Jeremy didn’t hesitate. Training and ten years on the line kicked in and he moved, spinning Sam and wrenching his arm back behind him as he pressed him up against the wall, face first.  He had no idea what might be in the pocket, but he wasn’t taking any chances with Becca’s life.

It took a long beat before he got control over his anger, far longer than it should’ve. He patted Sam down as quickly as possible, found nothing of concern, then released him.

Sam turned on him, his eyes spitting hate. “I’ll have your badge for that.”

Jeremy laughed, but there was no humor in it. “You can try. You know I’m a cop, and you acted in a threatening manner.  For all I know, you were reaching for a weapon. I was protecting Becca. Something you know nothing about.”

She made a distressed noise but stepped in between them. “Tell me why you’re here, and then just go. Please.”

Sam huffed and reached into his jacket again, this time pulling out an envelope and shaking it at her. “What’s the meaning of this?”

Jeremy couldn’t see what it said, but Becca didn’t even look to see what it was. Obviously, she’d set something in motion.  “I don’t want it. It’s yours. I don’t want your money, I don’t want your house, I don’t want anything else to do with you. Why is that so hard to understand?”

“We’re married.”

Becca threw up her hands, disgust written all over her face. She looked Jeremy’s way and he nodded encouragingly.  If there was any hope of them having a future, she needed to do this herself. She needed to see that, though he’d protect her as both a cop and a lover, the decisions she made in her life were hers to make. In the bedroom, they were his, with her consent. This was the difference he needed her to see, to understand. As difficult as it was, he kept his mouth shut.

“We’re not married. We’re done. And if you can’t see that then that’s your issue. Not mine.”

Sam snarled. His hand flew out, aiming toward Becca’s face, and Jeremy lost it. He snagged it from the air and stopped it dead. “Don’t. Even. Think. About. It. You’ll never touch Rebeccah again. Not in anger, not for any fucking reason. Get it through your head. Move on.”

Sam wrenched his hand back out of Jeremy’s grip and threw the door open. “I’m leaving. But don’t think this is over, Rebeccah.” He ended with a smattering of another language, and then he stalked out, slamming the door behind him.

Jeremy blew out a breath and turned to Becca. She looked shocked, horrified, digusted and relieved, all at once. “You okay, kitten?”

“He didn’t approve of you being here.”

“Too fucking bad.”  He held out his hand and waited for her to take it, testing the bounds of his patience. Finally, she did, and after locking the door, drew her to the sofa. He wanted to hold her on his lap, but he settled for this connection.  “What did he say to you in, what, Hebrew?”

 “No, Yiddish. And I…no. I won’t say those words out loud. I won’t give him that power over me.”

“I wish you would trust me.”  The words slipped out and it was too late to call them back. “Sorry. Enough on your plate without me being neurotic.”

She squeezed his hand. “I do trust you, Jeremy.  More than you realize. There’s never been a man in this house, other than my father, my brothers and the guys who delivered my appliances. And my father was here that day.”

His heart stuttered. “I, uh…thank you.”

She nodded.

“What was in that envelope?”

She shrugged. “Probably the letter from my attorney. I met with him earlier in the week and I relinquished all rights to Sam’s house, his savings, anything we had together. And I returned his family’s heirloom jewelry. I wanted a clean break. I’m not sure how he knew where I live, though. I’m unlisted, and I sent that stuff back through my lawyer so he couldn’t find me.”

He frowned. “Bec, you need a restraining order against him. I can report this, officially, and you can use it for that.”

She shook her head. “A mutual friend told me he’s supposed to be going back to New York after the New Year. I’m hoping this gets it through his head.”

Maybe.  He didn’t necessarily agree with her decision, but….

He tugged her hand lightly and she leaned into him. He wrapped his arms around her and sat back against the sofa, just holding her.  “You’re something else, you know that, kitten?”

She rubbed her face against his shirt, right over his heart. “You’re not so bad yourself, Officer Kohler. Thanks for intervening. And for letting me say what I needed to say.”

“Anytime, sweetheart. I mean that. I’m impressed with how you handled yourself.” He squeezed her tightly, since the hug might have to last him a long time. He didn’t want to say this next thing, but he needed to. It was the right thing to do, much as it sucked. “I should probably head out now.”

Excuse any grammatical errors or typos — this was an early draft! Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into what things look like before they get pared down!  If you’d like to see the finished product, please leave a comment and, from those entries, I’ll draw a winner on Saturday for an ebook copy of Matzoh and Mistletoe.


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